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Old 03-06-2012, 12:45 PM   #1
Nujabes
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The Mental Side of Aikido?

I have been interested in martial arts for a very long time but have never went to any classes. I have always loved Japanese culture, samurai's,bushido,art, zen, psycology, the mind etc.... I am looking into taking Aikido because I love the philosophy behind it and the mental fitness you gain from it. The art of Aikido amazes me!. However I dont know if Aikido is effective in a random street encounter.

I was wondering if theres any Aikidoka's that can tell me the mental side of aikido? ( i am interested in the psychology of aikido self - actualization, Harmony, respect, finding more about your self, confidence etc )

I love the philosophy and ART of aikido but is it effective on the street or am i better of taking something like Judo? (There isn't really any close judo schools around me) likely i probably wouldn't put my self in a situation to put my self in a fight nor probably ever have to use self defense but if something were to happen would I have the tools to defend myself with Aikido
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Old 03-06-2012, 01:35 PM   #2
Alic
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Re: Aikido?

The Yoshinkan school of Aikido has an unoffical friendly rivallry with the local yakuza-gumi's. The senshusei and uchi-deshi would stalk the streets of shinjuku and kabukicho look for yaks to pick fights with, just as Shioda Gozo once did in his youth. The Yakuzas are good sports and goes along with it, and they get beaten up due to lack of train. They then send more veteran guys to beat our boys up, and we call our sempais over. It goes back and forth, and both sides gain valuable combat experiences. No hard feelings though, since they respect Shioda kancho and the Yoshinkan name. It's a tradition of sorts, since those students eventually become riot police officals, and the Yak's lifelong rivals.

If the training allows you to take on Yakuzas on the streets of Tokyo, do you think some drunk thug will stand a chance?

Mind you though, it depends on how hard you train yourself!
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Old 03-06-2012, 01:42 PM   #3
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Aikido?

Quote:
Spencer King wrote: View Post
I have been interested in martial arts for a very long time but have never went to any classes. I have always loved Japanese culture, samurai's,bushido,art, zen, psycology, the mind etc.... I am looking into taking Aikido because I love the philosophy behind it and the mental fitness you gain from it. The art of Aikido amazes me!. However I dont know if Aikido is effective in a random street encounter.

I was wondering if theres any Aikidoka's that can tell me the mental side of aikido? ( i am interested in the psychology of aikido self - actualization, Harmony, respect, finding more about your self, confidence etc )

I love the philosophy and ART of aikido but is it effective on the street or am i better of taking something like Judo? (There isn't really any close judo schools around me) likely i probably wouldn't put my self in a situation to put my self in a fight nor probably ever have to use self defense but if something were to happen would I have the tools to defend myself with Aikido
I came to Aikido because of the philosophy I perceived in it. I think it's good to understand there is no one concise philosophy though. Aikido has had several leaders who often interpreted things in different terms...including issues of effectiveness. In general, if you're looking for "street effectiveness" then you probably want to hedge your bets and take something like judo. This isn't to say Aikido isn't effective, but I think "fight" ability is usually lower in priority for many schools.
Perhaps it's better to check out several schools and observe the practice to see what might suit you best. Even if the first school seems exactly like what you want, I'd still make it a point to check out a few more just to get a better idea of how they compare...and I'd make sure to base my decision more on the school than on the style.
I also recommend reading the columns in aikiweb to get a better idea on the philosophy/etc.
Good luck!
Matt

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 03-06-2012, 01:57 PM   #4
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Aikido?

Quote:
Alic Xie wrote: View Post
The Yoshinkan school of Aikido has an unoffical friendly rivallry with the local yakuza-gumi's. The senshusei and uchi-deshi would stalk the streets of shinjuku and kabukicho look for yaks to pick fights with, just as Shioda Gozo once did in his youth. The Yakuzas are good sports and goes along with it, and they get beaten up due to lack of train. They then send more veteran guys to beat our boys up, and we call our sempais over. It goes back and forth, and both sides gain valuable combat experiences. No hard feelings though, since they respect Shioda kancho and the Yoshinkan name. It's a tradition of sorts, since those students eventually become riot police officals, and the Yak's lifelong rivals.

If the training allows you to take on Yakuzas on the streets of Tokyo, do you think some drunk thug will stand a chance?
Don't forget the beatings of unionists and assorted pinko commies.

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Old 03-06-2012, 02:25 PM   #5
lbb
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Re: Aikido?

Heya Spencer,

My thoughts:

1. Your choice of martial art is going to be limited to what is available to you. If there's no school of a particular style near you, you won't be able to train in that style. That being the case, it doesn't make much sense to research all the martial arts styles out there in search of the "best" (in the abstract) style -- you're much better off looking at the styles that are actually available to you, as expressed by the schools that are to be found in your area. FWIW, that's how I got into aikido: I moved to a new town, and the only good martial arts school here was an aikido school. Rather than continue training in another style that I already knew and might have preferred, I chose the good school that was actually available to me.

2. As Matthew says, there is no concise, discrete "philosophy of aikido". In my experience, philosophy plays a minor role at best in day-to-day aikido training: most senseis don't spend a lot of time lecturing on aikido philosophy and what it all means. Likewise, most schools don't focus on esoteric practices such as meditation, which typically takes the form of a token "moment of silence" before or after class, although some dojos do have zazen sessions. If your primary interest is philosophical topics or esoteric practices, you will probably find more satisfaction if you go after those things directly rather than try to pick them up through aikido.

3. Likewise, character traits such as self-actualization, respect, harmony, focus, self-awareness, etc. are not taught as such in aikido training, nor in any other martial art that I have encountered. This may come as a shocker, because it seems like every martial arts school just can't resist trotting out these words and phrases in their advertising They're very effective bait for parents who want to give their children a magic pill to give them all these positive character traits ("Hmm, little Bobby is awfully impulsive, and he has trouble focusing...I know! I'll sign him up for karate lessons!"), but a martial art doesn't teach these traits -- sensei isn't going to sit the class down and work on their harmony or whatever. Now, it does seem to be the case quite often that people who train in a martial art, and who stay with it for a decent period of time, do develop or enhance some positive character traits -- but it doesn't happen via the magic pill method. I believe that these traits can be learned through martial arts training, or through many other practices, if you stay with it and are honest with yourself in your training. The combination of persistence and honesty and time tends to get you closer to yourself, I guess, is the best way I can express it. But it's really nothing like taking a Harmony pill and a Respect pill and a Self-Actualization pill, and there's no way to explain to someone at the beginning of the process how they'll feel when they come out the other end.

4. Self-defense: you say that you want to know how aikido would do in a "random street encounter" or "if something were to happen". That's a bit like walking into a hardware store, picking up a random tool, and saying, "Hey, is this tool any good?" If you did that at my local general store, the proprietor would probably say something like, "It's pretty good for driving nails, but it's not so good for shoveling snow. If you want to drive nails, you're in luck; if you want to shovel snow, the shovels are over in the barn; and if you don't know what you want, any tool will do." Compared to some martial arts, aikido is a complicated tool: it takes a while before you have the skills to use it outside of a controlled partner-practice situation. So, if you're routinely going into bars and getting into fights, or if you work as a police officer or a bouncer in a bar, maybe it's not the best tool for you. On the other hand, it's worth considering whether you need a self-defense tool at all. Yeah, yeah, I know, "just in case" -- and I'm sure that there's someone in southern Alabama who bought a snowblower "just in case" it snows two feet there. Most of us would look at that and say that it's not a worthwhile investment for an event that probably happens once a millennium. Likewise, most of us aren't forced to defend ourselves routinely, and on the rare occasions when we are, we find that a little foresight and common sense does more than any amount of martial arts skill. I had someone get road-ragey on me last week because I was driving "too slow" (I was stopped at a crosswalk with a short elderly pedestrian in front of my car). A smile, an apology and an explanation took care of the problem. Aikido wasn't needed, and honestly, if you neglect the skills of avoiding trouble and defusing conflict, aikido is not gonna save you.
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Old 03-06-2012, 05:19 PM   #6
LinTal
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Re: The Mental Side of Aikido?

Beautifully said.

The world changes when you do.
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Old 03-07-2012, 04:31 AM   #7
SeiserL
 
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Re: The Mental Side of Aikido?

IMHO, there isn't necessarily a mental side of Aikido in that many people successfully practice the physical art without directly training the mind.

The practice of Aikido is only an opportunity to study and practice the psychology, philosophy, and spirituality you personally bring to it.

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 03-07-2012, 10:00 AM   #8
JanP
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Re: The Mental Side of Aikido?

Personally, I don't believe that any martial art will prepare you for a fight. Certainly training helps you to gain more knowledge that a regular person about a particular martial art. However, in any fight if fear takes over , all your training it's gone out the window, you will forget all your teachings. Thus, "IMHO (Lynn's word)" not being mentally prepare for a fight will make you lose.
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Old 03-07-2012, 02:07 PM   #9
phitruong
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Re: The Mental Side of Aikido?

i thought aikido is all mental (watched too much of harry potter), didn't know it even has a side. is it a side of fries or sweet potato fries or bean and rice or coleslaw or baked bean?

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 03-07-2012, 03:31 PM   #10
Janet Rosen
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Re: The Mental Side of Aikido?

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
i thought aikido is all mental (watched too much of harry potter), didn't know it even has a side. is it a side of fries or sweet potato fries or bean and rice or coleslaw or baked bean?
Kim chee, dude

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 03-07-2012, 05:22 PM   #11
roadtoad
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Re: The Mental Side of Aikido?

You should know that the musogi breathing technique, taught in many aikido schools, is very close to zazen, the breathing technique taught in many zen schools. And that some have called aikido, 'moving zen'.
Many amazing developments can come from practicing these arts.
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Old 03-08-2012, 07:19 AM   #12
phitruong
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Re: The Mental Side of Aikido?

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
Kim chee, dude
NOOOOOOOO not that, anything but that! btw, you got the recipe for it that you can share? i got a pretty hot pepper plant would like to try my hand at kimchee.

*sorry for going off thread*

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 03-08-2012, 07:23 AM   #13
phitruong
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Re: The Mental Side of Aikido?

Quote:
Ike Spenser wrote: View Post
You should know that the musogi breathing technique, taught in many aikido schools, is very close to zazen, the breathing technique taught in many zen schools. And that some have called aikido, 'moving zen'.
Many amazing developments can come from practicing these arts.
you know, you give me an idea. i am thinking of forming a furniture moving company with the name "Moving Zen" and hiring a bunch of aikidoka to do the work. they might move the furniture and they might not, but that's zen.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 03-08-2012, 08:02 AM   #14
aikidoka81
 
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Re: The Mental Side of Aikido?

Aikido really helps me relax and destress. Maybe it's just the exercise but I feel that it is also the spiritual side of Aikido that is helping me relax. This may sound crazy but whenever techniques are done on my wrist I feel so relaxed and destressed. It's like my wrist muscles are connected to my brain.
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Old 03-08-2012, 10:57 AM   #15
Janet Rosen
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Re: The Mental Side of Aikido?

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
NOOOOOOOO not that, anything but that! btw, you got the recipe for it that you can share? i got a pretty hot pepper plant would like to try my hand at kimchee.

*sorry for going off thread*
Yes, will post tonight after I get back from the dojo, in a separate and appropriate location on the forum!

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 03-08-2012, 12:00 PM   #16
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: The Mental Side of Aikido?

Quote:
Jan Pop wrote: View Post
Personally, I don't believe that any martial art will prepare you for a fight. Certainly training helps you to gain more knowledge that a regular person about a particular martial art. However, in any fight if fear takes over , all your training it's gone out the window, you will forget all your teachings. Thus, "IMHO (Lynn's word)" not being mentally prepare for a fight will make you lose.
Disagree, there are many aspects of martial arts that will prepare you for a fight.

Mary provided a very well thought out and articulated answer which I agree with.

You are correct that fear is experienced. The negative effects can be minimized through proper training.

Won't go into proper training, as this is not the purpose of this thread.

Mental aspects of training...well I believe that mental, spiritual, and physical benefits are in good training, however, I think the mental and spiritual are by products of good hard training as a member of a dojo community. These things cannot be compartmentalized, which we have a tendency to do in our western culture. work, play, and everything we do can and should be mental and spiritual as well. So it is a foreign question to me, why budo would be a separate and distinct practice from anything else we do on a daily basis.

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Old 03-08-2012, 04:07 PM   #17
genin
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Re: The Mental Side of Aikido?

Nujabes, if you are attracted to the philosophy of Aikido, then pursue it. Join a dojo or take some classes. Unless you are finding yourself in situations where you are being beaten up every day, the combat effectiveness of Aikido is mostly irrelevant. In all likelihood, your Aikido training would teach you to avoid conflict altogether, rather than teach you to defeat your enemy head on.
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Old 04-16-2012, 11:10 PM   #18
bothhandsclapping
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Re: The Mental Side of Aikido?

having studied both zen and aikido for over 20 years each ... I firmly believe that the highest achievement of an individual is to understand the essence of his/her own mind. when you have achieved that, then self-defense is irrelevant. having said that, unfortunately, there is little inherent in aikido that will get you to this point ... it's all depends on a teacher.

now, studying aikido with the aid of an enlightened teacher can be the vehicle towards understanding the essence of mind, but so can an intense study of physics, geology or gardening (with the aid of an enlightened teacher).

my suggestion ... find the enlightened teacher first and then study with him/her - whatever they teach. it's not at all what they teach that is important, rather that your decision to study is your price of admission to their insights ...

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Old 04-17-2012, 06:43 AM   #19
phitruong
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Re: The Mental Side of Aikido?

Quote:
Jim Redel wrote: View Post
having studied both zen and aikido for over 20 years each ... I firmly believe that the highest achievement of an individual is to understand the essence of his/her own mind. when you have achieved that, then self-defense is irrelevant. having said that, unfortunately, there is little inherent in aikido that will get you to this point ... it's all depends on a teacher.

my suggestion ... find the enlightened teacher first and then study with him/her - whatever they teach. it's not at all what they teach that is important, rather that your decision to study is your price of admission to their insights ...
how do you find an enlightened teacher? how do know if that person is enlightened? how does one wolf know another? and if you are a wolf, why would you need another wolf to tell you that you are a wolf? and how do you study zen? is it like study a donut? does the donut define by the hole or there is really not a donut which is in my case, because i just ate the last one?

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:51 AM   #20
bothhandsclapping
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Re: The Mental Side of Aikido?

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
how do you find an enlightened teacher? how do know if that person is enlightened? how does one wolf know another? and if you are a wolf, why would you need another wolf to tell you that you are a wolf? and how do you study zen? is it like study a donut? does the donut define by the hole or there is really not a donut which is in my case, because i just ate the last one?
... ... ...

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Old 04-17-2012, 08:26 AM   #21
Alberto_Italiano
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Re: The Mental Side of Aikido?

Quote:
Spencer King wrote: View Post
(...) However I dont know if Aikido is effective in a random street encounter.

(...) I love the philosophy and ART of aikido but is it effective on the street or am i better of taking something like Judo?
Put it this way: would you ask the same question when considering another Martial path (other than Aikido, that is)?
The answer to such latter question, is necessarily the answer to the former too.
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Old 04-24-2012, 07:22 PM   #22
Noreaster
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Re: The Mental Side of Aikido?

I just don’t seem to understand why people question the effectiveness of Aikido in a real confrontation. While I concur that a vast majority of confrontations are avoidable there are some which are not unfortunately. If Aikido, as some say, will not save you then it should cease calling itself a form of self-defense as this forms a dangerous misconception in a potential student’s mind. While I enjoy some of the philosophical aspects of Aikido I also appreciate a practical approach to the art i.e. as in what will work if a confrontation should happen. I recently read a short bio of Roy Suenaka and his adventures in Okinawa at the behest of O’Sensai and I was very impressed with this man’s achievements. This bio should lay to rest any ideas of Aikido and its effectiveness in a real confrontation. I apologize if I give offence as I’m new but these are my thoughts and perhaps I can learn something from some of you about this………
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Old 04-24-2012, 10:51 PM   #23
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Re: The Mental Side of Aikido?

Why do people question it? lots of reasons. and their perspectives will vary. There is much in aikido that is very relevant and effective. The problem lay not in the core of what is taught, but how it is taught and the conditions in which it is taught.

So, depending on the teacher and the student...YMMV. it comes down to an individual or smaller subset of practice.

The larger problem is that most people that teach aikido and study it...really don't get what fighting is all about and the things that you have to do to become proficient developing the skills to fight.

Aikido, by it's nature, while grounded at its foundation in decent and correct jiu jitsu, tends to focus on a very specific practice that tries to enhance and encourage the development of some very specific things...that well, while maybe beneficial, are maybe not the highest priority skills you would need to study in order to actually become proficient in fighting skills.

Many see that concentrating on the "priorities" of fighting to be counterproductive to the development of the mind, body, and spirit connection in aikido.

So, it is not so much that WHAT is studied in aikido is not effective...it is more about the HOW it is studied. You have to put the emphasis on the HOW...not the WHAT. that is the big thing that many fail to realize...and hence the THOUSANDS of post of debate and the dissonance that is experienced by many.

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Old 04-25-2012, 03:45 AM   #24
SeiserL
 
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Re: The Mental Side of Aikido?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Many see that concentrating on the "priorities" of fighting to be counterproductive to the development of the mind, body, and spirit connection in aikido.

So, it is not so much that WHAT is studied in aikido is not effective...it is more about the HOW it is studied. You have to put the emphasis on the HOW...not the WHAT. that is the big thing that many fail to realize...and hence the THOUSANDS of post of debate and the dissonance that is experienced by many.
Once again, gotta go with Leavitt.

1st order change is about the content, what.
2nd order change is about the process, how.
3rd order change is about the identity, who.

IMHO, Aikido is only a tool and an opportunity to develop what you intend it to develop.

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 04-25-2012, 04:00 AM   #25
sakumeikan
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Re: The Mental Side of Aikido?

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
you know, you give me an idea. i am thinking of forming a furniture moving company with the name "Moving Zen" and hiring a bunch of aikidoka to do the work. they might move the furniture and they might not, but that's zen.
Dear Phi,
Maybe the guys would meditate for hours thinking about moving the grand piano and the assorted junk in the house?Or maybe the guys would extend their Ki and hope that the Ki extension would shift the stuff, while they took up sensible things like guzzling Hamburgers/Doughnuts and quaffing crates of beer?.Please extend your Ki and send me a Double Cheeseburger, french fries, Coke [Giant sized] .I feel the force of Ki extending infinitely to all the restaurants and pubs across the Universe . I am confident that the members of this Forum will send me a deluge of my favourite tit bits in response to my super powers.
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