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Old 01-11-2011, 11:31 AM   #176
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Quote:
Don Magee wrote: View Post
I take an opposite approach. I do not see competition and sports as things that remove spiritual enlightenment from martial arts, I just see them as a different path to gaining the same enlightenment.

I think many old martial art masters were just that, namely old and locked in their ways. They couldn't see that sports offer the same paths as their ways because they were not their ways.

I think man learns the most about himself when he tests himself. Training for and competing in competition is one way to approach that. As I watch my wife train for an upcoming marathon, I see her go though the same personal discoveries, hardships and awakenings that I myself encountered when training in martial arts.
Nicely put Don......
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Old 01-11-2011, 12:12 PM   #177
Eric Winters
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Quote:
Don Magee wrote: View Post
I take an opposite approach. I do not see competition and sports as things that remove spiritual enlightenment from martial arts, I just see them as a different path to gaining the same enlightenment.

I think many old martial art masters were just that, namely old and locked in their ways. They couldn't see that sports offer the same paths as their ways because they were not their ways.

I think man learns the most about himself when he tests himself. Training for and competing in competition is one way to approach that. As I watch my wife train for an upcoming marathon, I see her go though the same personal discoveries, hardships and awakenings that I myself encountered when training in martial arts.
Agreed,

Eric
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Old 01-11-2011, 01:17 PM   #178
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Graham Jenkins wrote: View Post
but it's beside the point, and off-topic.
I don't agree.

Quote:
The point under discussion was whether playing games is essential to achieving martial effectiveness
If you call "playing games" training with the same tools combat sports/military people use or with the so called "aliveness" or in what Threadgill Sensei (a classical budo teacher) calls a psycho-chemical stress response environment then, for me and for martial effectiveness purposes, is essential*.

Quote:
...but wait: doesn't the Yoshinkan headquarters train the Tokyo riot police...?
They also train in more arts.

BTW, even the Ki Aikido people have competitions

*unless you have the IHTBF, or so it is said.

@ Eric
I've used BJJ-MMA as a susbsitute for "freewheeling training". Not the same thing but at least is something.
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Old 01-11-2011, 02:07 PM   #179
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

This is beginning to be fun........
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Old 01-11-2011, 03:32 PM   #180
Gorgeous George
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
I don't agree.

If you call "playing games" training with the same tools combat sports/military people use or with the so called "aliveness" or in what Threadgill Sensei (a classical budo teacher) calls a psycho-chemical stress response environment then, for me and for martial effectiveness purposes, is essential*.

They also train in more arts.

BTW, even the Ki Aikido people have competitions

*unless you have the IHTBF, or so it is said.

@ Eric
I've used BJJ-MMA as a susbsitute for "freewheeling training". Not the same thing but at least is something.
You don't have to agree: you can still be wrong.

I was refuting the argument that competition is essential to achieving effectiveness in aikido, by mentioning those who have fought actual wars, but not competed in their aikido training; you replied by pointing out that Tomiki Sensei taught competition, and trained soldiers for war...it's irrelevant/besides the point/off-topic - it has no effect on this fact.

Martial arts competitions: yes, they're a game - there are rules, and are practiced for fun.
I mean, i've had someone try to mug me: I didn't get a week,or a month's advance notice; I didn't get a list of rules of what the mugger wasn't allowed to do; it was me and him, alone on the street, at midnight: there was no referee, and there was no knowledge that I could stop at any time, and walk away alive - when you know that you could die, it can kind of have a psychological effect on how you approach a competition with someone.
Kind of like stagefright, maybe...

I was also driving down the motorway, one day, when I noticed the car in the outside lane was dragging its side along the barrier; I pointed this out to my friend - who was driving - and he applied the brakes; the car in the outside lane then swung across all three lanes of traffic, narrowly missing our car, and smashed into the barrier on the inside lane.

I kept my cool throughout all of this, which, potentially, could have led to my death, or that of others; we slowed down, and pulled over, checking that the young lady was alright, and calling her an ambulance, and the police - and all this without competing in my aikido...although I still see it as a matter of life and death, and it actually helped to save my life that day.

Have competitions if you like - but don't tell me that unless I do, aikido will be useless in real-life: I know it isn't, from first-hand experience.

Good day.
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Old 01-11-2011, 03:56 PM   #181
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Quote:
Graham Jenkins wrote: View Post
You don't have to agree: you can still be wrong.
Me being wrong doesn't imply you're right.

Quote:
I was refuting the argument that competition is essential to achieving effectiveness in aikido, by mentioning those who have fought actual wars,
Wars that were fought using guns, airplanes, battleships, etc (and by people who were trained in military combatives) ... not with aikido techniques.

Quote:
Martial arts competitions: yes, they're a game - there are rules, and are practiced for fun
And for self developement

Quote:
I mean, i've had someone try to mug me: I didn't get a week,or a month's advance notice; I didn't get a list of rules of what the mugger wasn't allowed to do; it was me and him, alone on the street, at midnight: there was no referee, and there was no knowledge that I could stop at any time, and walk away alive - when you know that you could die, it can kind of have a psychological effect on how you approach a competition with someone.
Kind of like stagefright, maybe...
If you want to start a competition about who has been in worse situations than a mugging attempt go for it, but I've the feeling you're going to lose.

Quote:
I was also driving down the motorway, one day, when I noticed the car in the outside lane was dragging its side along the barrier; I pointed this out to my friend - who was driving - and he applied the brakes; the car in the outside lane then swung across all three lanes of traffic, narrowly missing our car, and smashed into the barrier on the inside lane.

I kept my cool throughout all of this, which, potentially, could have led to my death, or that of others; we slowed down, and pulled over, checking that the young lady was alright, and calling her an ambulance, and the police - and all this without competing in my aikido...although I still see it as a matter of life and death, and it actually helped to save my life that day.
Things like this happen everyday all around the world to people who never stepped on an aikido dojo. Go figure. Correlation is not causation.

Quote:
Have competitions if you like - but don't tell me that unless I do, aikido will be useless in real-life: I know it isn't, from first-hand experience.
Useful in real life is not the same than effective in self defense.

Regards.


BTW, would you mind to check Black Belt Magazine, # aug 89, pg 35 to see how was the training in aikido under O Sensei before WWII?

Last edited by Demetrio Cereijo : 01-11-2011 at 04:01 PM.
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Old 01-11-2011, 05:43 PM   #182
c walker
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

I don't think many people would disagree that playing sports can have a very positive impact on a person. There are obviously many physical benefits as well as emotional ones, such as overcoming nerves and the fear of competing, right through to learning how to win and lose and having the class to treat them the same. There is also a good social side to playing sports especially for children. Nothing beats seeing your once shy and physically awkward child come out of there shell and positively bloom through there participation of there chosen sport.

So I am a big sports fan, but my Aikido is not a sport. My Aikido is a Budo and most definetly not a Budo Sportiff. There seems to be in my opinion a common misconception on this thread and it seems to be mainly coming from the Tomiki practitioners. And that is when they compete it in any way translates to a practical altercation outside of the dojo/arena. I understand there can be some benefits to competing it can improve conditioning, and can be a lot of fun if that's your thing. What I think is a little misguided is the notion it has any practical or tactical use when being assaulted or regretably finding yourself in a position where you can not avoid, escape or communicate your way out off.. When competing (ignoring the obvious such as rules, referees and environment) two men face each other and get into there stances there is an abundance of time and space, there is some movement mostly to and fro, backwards and forwards, one attacks one defends there is a certain rhythm to it all.

Now compere that to someone trying to physically assault you There may be no warning, there is no time, no space, no forward and backwards, just constant, violent, forward intention that doesn't stop until the attacker achieves what he was after, or you have stopped him. A real altercation looks and feels nothing like a competition because it isn't and to many people on here seem to think what your doing in competition translates to what happens outside of the arena walls.it doesn't and that's why my Aikido is not a sport.

Cheers.
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Old 01-11-2011, 06:44 PM   #183
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Chris Walker wrote: View Post
I don't think many people would disagree that playing sports can have a very positive impact on a person. There are obviously many physical benefits as well as emotional ones, such as overcoming nerves and the fear of competing, right through to learning how to win and lose and having the class to treat them the same. There is also a good social side to playing sports especially for children. Nothing beats seeing your once shy and physically awkward child come out of there shell and positively bloom through there participation of there chosen sport.

So I am a big sports fan, but my Aikido is not a sport. My Aikido is a Budo and most definetly not a Budo Sportiff. There seems to be in my opinion a common misconception on this thread and it seems to be mainly coming from the Tomiki practitioners. And that is when they compete it in any way translates to a practical altercation outside of the dojo/arena. I understand there can be some benefits to competing it can improve conditioning, and can be a lot of fun if that's your thing. What I think is a little misguided is the notion it has any practical or tactical use when being assaulted or regretably finding yourself in a position where you can not avoid, escape or communicate your way out off.. When competing (ignoring the obvious such as rules, referees and environment) two men face each other and get into there stances there is an abundance of time and space, there is some movement mostly to and fro, backwards and forwards, one attacks one defends there is a certain rhythm to it all.

Now compere that to someone trying to physically assault you There may be no warning, there is no time, no space, no forward and backwards, just constant, violent, forward intention that doesn't stop until the attacker achieves what he was after, or you have stopped him. A real altercation looks and feels nothing like a competition because it isn't and to many people on here seem to think what your doing in competition translates to what happens outside of the arena walls.it doesn't and that's why my Aikido is not a sport.

Cheers.
What does come from competition is the adrenalin rush and keeping your calm even though the volcano wants to explode, the fact that you are going out to win as a gentleman.... it's much harder to win when there are rules to abide by..... one reason it's a little easier to fight for real when in a hostile situ..... an edge, the conditioning, I know.... it works.....
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Old 01-12-2011, 12:37 AM   #184
Eric Winters
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Demetrio,

I did BJJ for a year and had a blast but hurt my neck. I may get back into it at some point but I am having enough trouble trying to do TSYR as well as plugging those principles into my aikido.

Best,

Eric
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:55 AM   #185
DonMagee
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Quote:
Chris Walker wrote: View Post

Now compere that to someone trying to physically assault you There may be no warning, there is no time, no space, no forward and backwards, just constant, violent, forward intention that doesn't stop until the attacker achieves what he was after, or you have stopped him. A real altercation looks and feels nothing like a competition because it isn't and to many people on here seem to think what your doing in competition translates to what happens outside of the arena walls.it doesn't and that's why my Aikido is not a sport.

Cheers.
You seem to think that aliveness training can't have these things. I'd say that kind of training is a good gauge of ability.

If you fail in a friendly round of sparing I'm going to wager you are more likely to fail on the street. If you can't punch me in the face I have even less confidence you can eye gouge.

blah blah blah, just search any of my other posts and pretend I typed it here.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 01-12-2011, 10:06 AM   #186
c walker
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Hi Tony, hope you are well mate.

I would agree with you regarding the adrenalin rush you can experience when competing in sports and the obvious benefits of learning to control the effects and work with them in a positive way. Being exposed to adrenalin is in no way exclusive to sports or competition. Having a meeting with your boss, visiting the dentist, bungee jumping, singing at a karaoke bar sober (it still haunts me ), pressure testing or grading in Aikido can all create the same adrenalin and its effects on the body and mind.

Where I would differ slightly, is that all the above create a slow release of adrenaline over a period of time for example the run up to your competition or bungee jump etc. Although the effects on the body/mind can be unsettling it does not come close to the massive adrenaline dump that you experience when you are being assaulted or are about to be attacked. The effects on the body can be quite devastating and triggers the Fight/Flight or if really unlucky Freeze syndrome. It's a completely different feeling to the one experienced when competing in sports in my opinion.

I was also surprised to read that in your opinion it is easier to survive/win a physical assault on the street than it is to win a sport's contest. We have very different views on this and I could not disagree more with what you are saying. However, I do respect that your own personnel experiences have drawn you to this conclusion its just that mine tell me the very opposite is true.

Cheers .
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Old 01-12-2011, 10:10 AM   #187
Janet Rosen
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

It may or may not be "my cup of tea" - don't know as I've never had a chance to play w/ you "thugs" :-) but I don't see anything per se objectionable with a well-defined competition as a training tool within a larger framework.

Janet Rosen
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Old 01-12-2011, 10:16 AM   #188
DonMagee
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Quote:
Chris Walker wrote: View Post
Hi Tony, hope you are well mate.

I would agree with you regarding the adrenalin rush you can experience when competing in sports and the obvious benefits of learning to control the effects and work with them in a positive way. Being exposed to adrenalin is in no way exclusive to sports or competition. Having a meeting with your boss, visiting the dentist, bungee jumping, singing at a karaoke bar sober (it still haunts me ), pressure testing or grading in Aikido can all create the same adrenalin and its effects on the body and mind.

Where I would differ slightly, is that all the above create a slow release of adrenaline over a period of time for example the run up to your competition or bungee jump etc. Although the effects on the body/mind can be unsettling it does not come close to the massive adrenaline dump that you experience when you are being assaulted or are about to be attacked. The effects on the body can be quite devastating and triggers the Fight/Flight or if really unlucky Freeze syndrome. It's a completely different feeling to the one experienced when competing in sports in my opinion.

I was also surprised to read that in your opinion it is easier to survive/win a physical assault on the street than it is to win a sport's contest. We have very different views on this and I could not disagree more with what you are saying. However, I do respect that your own personnel experiences have drawn you to this conclusion its just that mine tell me the very opposite is true.

Cheers .
My first boxing sparing match and my first bjj sparing match had far greater dumps then any fight I have ever been in. Also having watched at least 400 amateur mma bouts. I'd say most of them go down about the same as any 1 on 1 fight with 2 unprepared individuals who are scared, pumped and just wanting to get out of there as soon as possible.

What I find entertaining is the suggestion that not experiencing sparing and being in a even more relaxed and comfortable place doing training that has basically 0 risk (complaint drilling) will better prepare you for the dump and for real resistance.

It might not be perfect, but at least for me sparing and competition is what actually prepared me. I had trained for years and was man handled by white belts my first day in 'that silly sport stuff'

but here I go blah blahing again.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 01-12-2011, 10:25 AM   #189
c walker
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Hi Don

I am unsure why you have come to the conclusion I don't see the advantages of aliveness training (as you call it), or pressure testing your Aikido. I am all for it, and would positively encourage it.Its just that I don't call it sport or a competition. As for the eye gouges/strikes mate leave them to the self defence/modern combative guys they are not a viable option in a conflict situation unless your flat on your back being choked.

Cheers.
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Old 01-12-2011, 10:49 AM   #190
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

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Chris Walker wrote: View Post
So I am a big sports fan, but my Aikido is not a sport. My Aikido is a Budo and most definetly not a Budo Sportiff.
Chris, we all know aikido is not a sport.

Quote:
There seems to be in my opinion a common misconception on this thread and it seems to be mainly coming from the Tomiki practitioners. And that is when they compete it in any way translates to a practical altercation outside of the dojo/arena.
I didn't see shodothugs claiming direct translation from randori/shiai to street self defense. What they claim is the physical and mental attributes required for shiai and developed via randori (fitness, pain tolerance, thoughness, ability to improvise and react on the fly, stress management, etc) are the same attributes needed for self defense

Quote:
What I think is a little misguided is the notion it (competition) has any practical or tactical use when being assaulted or regretably finding yourself in a position where you can not avoid, escape or communicate your way out off.
However I think the misguided are those who held the opposite notion.

Quote:
When competing (ignoring the obvious such as rules, referees and environment) two men face each other and get into there stances there is an abundance of time and space, there is some movement mostly to and fro, backwards and forwards, one attacks one defends there is a certain rhythm to it all
This also happens a lot in real life, especially in the very common cases of intra-specific affective aggresion.

Quote:
Now compere that to someone trying to physically assault you There may be no warning, there is no time, no space, no forward and backwards, just constant, violent, forward intention that doesn't stop until the attacker achieves what he was after, or you have stopped him.
This is a possibly a case of inter-specific predatory aggresion.

I don't think you can mix both cases (even when they don't always come in their pure form) like if there were the same thing.

Quote:
A real altercation looks and feels nothing like a competition because it isn't and to many people on here seem to think what your doing in competition translates to what happens outside of the arena walls.it doesn't
In my experience, lots of real altercations look and feel close enough to a competition, even if they aren't exactly the same, for requiring similar instructive strategies for the overlapping aspects between both and different instructive strategies for the non overlapping aspects.

Quote:
and that's why my Aikido is not a sport.
It doesn't need to be but... is your aikido a budo?

Regards.

PS.

Quote:
I was also surprised to read that in your opinion it is easier to survive/win a physical assault on the street than it is to win a sport's contest.
In my experience, a street punk (even armed) is an easier opponent than someone trained in combat sports.

Quote:
they (eyegouges and the like) are not a viable option in a conflict situation unless your flat on your back being choked.
You've chosen the less viable option for when you're flat on your back being choked. This says a lot.

Regards again.

Last edited by Demetrio Cereijo : 01-12-2011 at 11:00 AM. Reason: adressing later posts.
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Old 01-12-2011, 11:00 AM   #191
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Quote:
Chris Walker wrote: View Post
Hi Tony, hope you are well mate.

I would agree with you regarding the adrenalin rush you can experience when competing in sports and the obvious benefits of learning to control the effects and work with them in a positive way. Being exposed to adrenalin is in no way exclusive to sports or competition. Having a meeting with your boss, visiting the dentist, bungee jumping, singing at a karaoke bar sober (it still haunts me ), pressure testing or grading in Aikido can all create the same adrenalin and its effects on the body and mind.

Where I would differ slightly, is that all the above create a slow release of adrenaline over a period of time for example the run up to your competition or bungee jump etc. Although the effects on the body/mind can be unsettling it does not come close to the massive adrenaline dump that you experience when you are being assaulted or are about to be attacked. The effects on the body can be quite devastating and triggers the Fight/Flight or if really unlucky Freeze syndrome. It's a completely different feeling to the one experienced when competing in sports in my opinion.

I was also surprised to read that in your opinion it is easier to survive/win a physical assault on the street than it is to win a sport's contest. We have very different views on this and I could not disagree more with what you are saying. However, I do respect that your own personnel experiences have drawn you to this conclusion its just that mine tell me the very opposite is true.

Cheers .
Actually Chris I have experienced the big dump you describe, and that has been on many an occasion, where I have had to face assault in my job...... Over the last 23 years I have been assaulted 18 times by people that were either high on alcohol or drugs or both. It it is not pretty I can assure you of that!! I have won through on "spirit" alone and have managed to conduct myself in a gentlemanly way, with only one incident where a dislocated shoulder had became apparent, due to their stupid reaction, the alcohol he had imbibed and that he didn't know that it was!
I was arrested and charged with assault. The outcome in court was that I acted within the law and was cleared of any malicious wrong doing. On all other occasions it was restraint and the fact that I was able to "dump" them on their rear ends or fronts, which usually sufficed because of winding and the need to "fight" was taken away by harsh pinning..... I am convinced that this was made possible through my training in competition and regular randori/shiai training, which is the norm in T/S aikido..... And the earlier judo training I have some experience in....
He on the other hand had to pay the court costs and the discomfort of
his wrong doing....
I do not "look" for trouble. It has a habit of finding me and is one of the drawbacks of the profession I'm in, which happens is very vulnerable to these kind of incidents.....
I might add that I have not always got away completely unscathed and have had to endure some bruising and cuts on half of those occasions......

I am well. but getting wiser..... thanks, hope you are to.......

Last edited by Tony Wagstaffe : 01-12-2011 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 01-12-2011, 04:55 PM   #192
c walker
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Hi Tony,

This is the first thread I have posted on other than the introduction section since I joined the forum. I may be wrong, but the reason I added my own opinion is that there seems to be a common theme being quite forcefully endorsed. This being, unless you were competing in randori/shiai your Aikido was not going to be a practical or effective martial art. I know for a fact this not to be true. I enjoyed reading your post, and I can see you have a wealth of experience to draw on. I can imagine how unpleasant and unnerving it could be, being on your own in town late at night or on a run down council estate with a group of drunk males for company, but you seem more than up to the job…. I am well mate, thank you for asking.

Hi Demetrio

Although we seem to not share the same opinion on this subject I enjoyed your post.To be honest mate I might have bitten of more than I can chew. I had to look up what intraspecific affective aggression/ inter-specific predatory aggression means

I agree with you that if two guys feel the need to duke it out for whatever reason (normally because they have not got a brain) maybe sometimes at the very beginning it can resemble a sparring match but after the first engagement it looks and feels nothing like competing/sparring in the dojo. As for my Aikido being a budo I sincerely hope it is. I practise diligently both on and off the mat but its definitely an on going process/journey (following the way and all that it entails). You have also took me out of context when I commented on eye gouges/strikes (apologise everyone for turning this bit in to caveman territory) I said
"
As for the eye gouges/strikes mate leave them to the self defence/modern combative guys they are not a viable option in a conflict situation unless your flat on your back being choked."

At no point do I mention this being my first, second or even third option. I was merely commenting that in my opinion, eye gouges are fairly redundant unless your in a compromised grappling position. Take care mate.

Cheers.

P.S. "In my experience, a street punk (even armed) is an easier opponent than someone trained in combat sports." ……..This tells me a lot
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:46 PM   #193
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Hi Chris

Quote:
Chris Walker wrote: View Post
I had to look up what intraspecific affective aggression/ inter-specific predatory aggression means
I made a mistake, my fault. I meant intra-specific predatory aggression. Sorry.

But I think you got the idea. There are many different kinds of aggresion and there are no a single method of self defense that gives answers to all the possibilities. As you served and worked as doorman I think further ellaboration is not needed.

Quote:
I agree with you that if two guys feel the need to duke it out for whatever reason (normally because they have not got a brain) maybe sometimes at the very beginning it can resemble a sparring match but after the first engagement it looks and feels nothing like competing/sparring in the dojo
I dare to insist in this kind of situation looks and feels more like sparring/competing than contrived kata practise

Quote:
As for my Aikido being a budo I sincerely hope it is
Me too. If it weren't a budo, why bother in practising it?

On the issue of what to do in compromised grapping situations, I think that trying to provide technical advice in a foreign language could be more confusing than illustrative. I'd suggest you to give ground grappling a try (under competent instruction, of course) for IHTBF.

Quote:
Take care mate
Same here. Regards

Quote:
P.S. "In my experience, a street punk (even armed) is an easier opponent than someone trained in combat sports." ……..This tells me a lot


PS: I understand you follow the teachings of the late Tamura Sensei. I'd like to know what is your opinion about the kind of practise seen in this clip
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Old 01-15-2011, 07:56 AM   #194
niall
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

My blog post this week is about competition in aikido. I'd be glad to have comments.

http://www.aikiweb.com/blogs/moon-in...and-budo-4106/

Thanks.

we can make our minds so like still water, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life
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Old 01-15-2011, 08:18 AM   #195
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Quote:
Niall Matthews wrote: View Post
My blog post this week is about competition in aikido. I'd be glad to have comments.

http://www.aikiweb.com/blogs/moon-in...and-budo-4106/

Thanks.
Criticism (positive, of course) is allowed?
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Old 01-15-2011, 08:52 AM   #196
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Naturally.

we can make our minds so like still water, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life
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Old 01-15-2011, 07:43 PM   #197
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Apropos of this thread, I've been reading some of Jigoro Kano's writings. He makes an important distinction between competition for the sake of testing/developing one's art, and competition as entertainment for the masses. (He was thinking of sumo, but MMA and boxing are much the same.)

He doesn't seem to think much of martial entertainment, or the people who participate in it. Partly he seems to have seen the lifestyle as decadent and inappropriate for a warrior, and partly he seems to view the goals of professional sports as opposed to those of judo. (Remember, he saw judo as a Way for personal development, not merely a martial art.)

Might be worth digging into Ueshiba Sensei's writings to see if he drew a similar line between the two types of competition.

Katherine
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Old 01-15-2011, 07:46 PM   #198
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Well, I think you have provided the readers of your entry some openings that could be exploited. For instance:

Quote:
But Japanese martial arts - budo and bujutsu - are completely different. For hundreds of years people have studied budo and bujutsu without matches and competition. They are learned by studying basic movements and kata - stylized forms.
This statement lacks accuracy. There are various examples of koryu bujutsu ryu where matches are held for training purposes. As I'm not a koryu practitioner (and much less an authority in classical japanese martial arts) I can point only to a few of them:
Video:
Owari-kan ryu Sojutsu (more info here), Tendo Ryu Naginatajutsu, Jikishinkage ryu, Maniwa nen ryu (you have to pay for it).

Plus various accounts of koryu practitioners like Ellis Amdur:
Quote:
Araki-ryu, my primary study, always prided itself on its realistic, no-nonsense methods of close combat. Battle in the raw: no prettiness, no aesthetic flourishes, just gut-wrenching survival by any means necessary. Being a so-called classical martial tradition, the principal method of training was pre-arranged forms. However, we sometimes did freestyle training with oaken weapons, as close to the edge as we were willing to go. (...) One day my instructor came in with shinai (bamboo sword) and kendo masks and gloves. No chest protectors. He said that as long as we clung to form practice as our mainstay and in freestyle practice had to pull our blows, we would never know if our techniques had any integrity at all. He conceded that we ran the risk, using "safety" equipment, of covering ground already walked over by modern martial sports like kendo, but he felt we could counter this with two things: maintaining our kata training and freestyle work with wooden weapons, and making the whole body a target. In addition, by minimizing our protection, with no body or leg armor, we would not lose our flinch reactions, because bamboo weapons promised pain if not minor injury. This would keep us honest, as unlike martial sports, there would be no designated target areas for strikes. Just as in a fight to the death, the whole body was a target.
Source: http://www.koryu.com/library/eamdur2.html
I'd suggest reading his book "Old School: Essays on Japanese Martial Traditions"

Josh Reyer (I think he sometimes posts here):
Quote:
The earliest records of free shiai in Shinkage-ryu go back to the Sengoku period and the 2nd soke Yagyu Munetoshi, who in one poem extols high-level students who think they really have an idea about Shinkage-ryu to do shiai with a kodachi versus a standard sized shinai. Back in those days, and in the early to mid 1700s, such shiai were done without bogu.
Source: http://e-budo.com/forum/showpost.php...&postcount=117

Koryu budo websites:
Quote:
There is also the Aikuchi roppo, an advanced form of trainning using fukuro shinai. The fukuro shinai used is made with six strips of bamboo and horse leather. Aikuchi roppo is not constituted by formalized kata, but by free forms, in wich shidachi, using two swords, counter the attacks made by uchidachi
Source: http://www.nitenichiryu.jp/joomla/in...page&Itemid=53

Scholars: Japanese sports: a history, Chapters 1 & 2. Legacies of the Sword: The Kashima-Shinryu and Samurai Martial Culture especially the part dealing with the developement of fukuro shinai (I'll give you the page numbers later as I don't have it at hand at this moment).

And this without digging much. I figure someone knowdlegeable about classical japanese martial arts could give more examples pointing the inexactitude of your statement. Inexactitude that could be used against your conclusions.

Another statement I find problematic:
Quote:
O Sensei Morihei Ueshiba the founder of aikido deliberately kept it free of contests and competition.
I believe O Sensei banned (for a lack of better word) 試合.
However, I think we have to consider not only the context and his motivations to be sure what he was trying to convey and why, because he could have arrived to banning 試合 based in erroneous assumptions (unless his words have to be taken as holy scripture or if his person was preserved from even the possibility of error like the Pope when teaching ex cathedra). Maybe we are interpreting his words erroneously. Maybe we should analyze if this banning is still valid considering we are living in different times, countries and cultures. And, last but not least, consider if followind blindly the banning we are falling into the heresy.

I think statements like this one of O Sensei, being so open to interpretation, analisis and discussion, are not useful to support banning matches if they are done as quality controls.

Another statement I have issues with is:
Quote:
He (O sensei) used a phrase, Masakatsu agatsu 正勝吾勝 winning over yourself, to emphasize this.
I think I've read something about this phrase, possibly written by Prof. Goldsbury, that points to "winning over yourself" being a poor translation of the name of a deity in the Kojiki. Maybe you should check with him to be sure.

Also:
Quote:
There is another phrase in Japanese martial arts, kokkishin 克己心, that also means winning over yourself
I don't know about Japanese language but I'm not sure if "self - restraint" has the same meaning of "winning over yourself" in English (but as English is a language I barely know, probably I'm wrong). However I'm sure in Spanish "dominio de sí mismo" is not exactly the same as "victoria sobre uno mismo". Can you ellaborate?.

OTOH:
Quote:
Tomiki Sensei was a judoka who was sent personally by Kano Jigoro Sensei to study aikido with O Sensei.
This is in contradiction with:

In the autumn of 1926 Kenji Tomiki was introduced to Morihei Ueshiba in Tokyo by his friend Hidetaro Nishimura (formerly Kubota) from the Waseda University Judo Club. Tomiki was immediately impressed by Ueshiba's aikido techniques. The techniques were different from judo but left a deep impression on him. After this, with his younger brother Kensaburo, Tomiki started going to Ueshiba's dojo in Gotanda every day. During the following summer holiday in 1927 Tomiki went to Ayabe, because Ueshiba had moved there, and trained with him for a month.
Source: http://homepage2.nifty.com/shodokan/en/rekishi3.html

Consider also Kano didn't saw O Sensei demoing until 4 years later, then we have serious discrepancies between your statement and both Shodokan home page and Nidai Doshu.

BTW, the use of loaded words like "Most aikido practitioners have a more traditional and purist vision of aikido." and qualifiyng Tomiki line as "minor style" makes me think on you having some kind of agenda.

So, reading your entry, I feel that if someone tried to destroy the arguments you have used to support your conclusions he/she will have a very easy job. Too much suki for someone of your rank, experience and skill, methinks.

PS: bold mine.

Last edited by Demetrio Cereijo : 01-15-2011 at 07:52 PM.
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Old 01-15-2011, 09:48 PM   #199
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

Thanks Demetrio. I appreciate all your comments and the trouble you went to. There is a danger though in getting absorbed with details and missing the main points as a result. Of course the details must be accurate but please don't forget to consider the thesis. Thanks for doing it in English. Your English is excellent but you should be careful about making inferences which do not exist. In English the statements of general principle I made about budo and bujutsu do not imply that there could never be any exceptions. Minor is an accurate description of competition aikido. Traditional and purist are also accurate terms. They are not loaded. It looks as if I misunderstood the timing about Tomiki Sensei and O Sensei so thanks for that accurate information (and I'll include that in the post). But that detail is not relevant to the point that Tomiki Sensei took his judo Weltanschauung and imposed it on his aikido.

masakatsu agatsu 正勝吾勝 correct victory self victory
apparently this is a phrase or part of a phrase from Shinto and I have not heard it in a normal martial arts context other than in the words of O Sensei. I'd be interested to hear the interpretations of other people.

kokkishin 克己心 victory over self (victory with a sense of beyond)
This phrase is sometimes heard in martial arts including kendo.

Last edited by niall : 01-15-2011 at 10:00 PM.

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Old 01-15-2011, 10:09 PM   #200
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Re: Aikido as Sport: Did O'Sensei Condemn It?

One more point about kokkishin as I understand it.

Kokkishin 克己心 victory over self DOES contain the idea of competiton. But in the sense that you go beyond the self of yesterday.And tomorrow you will strive to go beyond the self of today.

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