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Old 01-30-2010, 07:03 PM   #101
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Alex wrote:

Quote:
Not really. I think you're assuming people are quite dim and can't react to the circumstances without very specific training. I went into break up a fight about a month back, got into contact with the opponent, slipped on the ice and took him down with me. I extricated myself from under him and got onto my knees and pinned him. I've never trained to do that, never even considered what I'd do in that situaton. I've certainly never trained on ice to have someone land on me while trying to take ukemi while trying to get a choke on. It was just the obvious thing to do with my training in the circumstances.
I was in a position which didn't suit me or what I'm trained to do, so I moved to one that did, that's a principle of Aikido; move to where you're strongest and work from there. I'd argue that for anyone with even a basic level of training in any art that is common sense.
I have been in similar situations (breaking up a fight and bouncing) and have had similar experiences and the results that you have had.

The fact that you could change the situation and dictate the terms of the fight means you were in control of the situation for whatever reason.

I think though, that you have to be careful with drawing the conclusion that it is not necessary to not train under the conditions that George outlines.

You were breaking up a fight. That could be much different than being the object of the fight. How much investment was the person fighting really putting into things to defeat you?

What happens when you can no longer dictate the terms and conditions of the situation? How do the environmental considerations impact you then?

Noise, smell, lights, movement....what happens when you are "behind" in the process and you are taking in lots of sensory information and trying to figure out what is going on?

This occurs when you are "ambushed" and trying to process all the input.

Sure, I agree, it is possible to NOT train as George states and be sucessful, apparently you were.

However, as you state, YOU decided to break up the fight. You were able to get into the fight and dictate the terms. Yes, I understand that you slipped on the ice and lost some of the terms, and it sounds like you were able to gain back control. I am sure your training helped you out in this area.

I'd caution against assuming that you'd be sucessful in every situation though. I think it depends on many things.

Things such as the level of investment of the person your fighting and his intent. THe number of folks involved, Light...space, etc.

One of the most dangerous things for someone, I believe is to actually have an encounter and realize success. It can cause you to discount and dismiss alot of other things and form a set of criteria that is totally framed around the situational conditions of that particular encounter.

Anyway, not trying to say you are wrong, as you clearly demonstrated that your training was good enough for that encounter.

I just caution you to make sure you understand the things in the situation that played in your success when you evaluate other situations based on your success!

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Old 01-31-2010, 03:34 AM   #102
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Quote:
Alex Lawrence wrote: View Post
Not really. I think you're assuming people are quite dim and can't react to the circumstances without very specific training. I went into break up a fight about a month back, got into contact with the opponent, slipped on the ice and took him down with me. I extricated myself from under him and got onto my knees and pinned him. I've never trained to do that, never even considered what I'd do in that situaton. I've certainly never trained on ice to have someone land on me while trying to take ukemi while trying to get a choke on. It was just the obvious thing to do with my training in the circumstances.
I was in a position which didn't suit me or what I'm trained to do, so I moved to one that did, that's a principle of Aikido; move to where you're strongest and work from there. I'd argue that for anyone with even a basic level of training in any art that is common sense.
The fact that you managed to come up with something for which you had not trained and were able to prevail does not in any way invalidate what I was saying. Scenario based training is absolutely the way to go if you are training for practical application. Just read
Peyton Quinn's book Real Fighting: Adrenaline Stress Conditioning Through Scenario-Based Training. His experience is replete with martial artists who could not access their skills under pressure.

Folks are always touting the "martial" effectiveness of Aikido based on encounters with subjects who have little or no actual training. Ellis Amdur once defined martial arts as "training to fight another professional". What you are talking about is simple "self defense".

In self defense, one is not training with the expectation that one will encounter a highly trained opponent. Dangerous perhaps. Armed, quite possibly, but not highly trained.

Quote:
I'd be seriously shocked if we're not all thinking that way. Can anyone here honestly say that they've not contemplated how they would react in a given situation with the training they have? I think it's true of any art that you care to name that if you don't contemplate it's use outside of training it wont be effective. Otherwise you're just training to train, you're learning nothing except how to learn learning.
I'd be seriously shocked if many of the Aikido folks I know do think this way at all. This is a young males fantasy world. Sure, when I was young I thought about what I would do if I encountered one or more evil doers out on the street. Of course, in 34 years of Aikido that's never happened. Nor has a single one of my students ever done so except for my law enforcement, executive protection and security students (who did not study Aikido with me but a far more eclectic mix of skills)..

Quote:
In an Aikido context that means you become brilliant at learning Aikido and no doubt your Aikido kata will be excellent, but what good is that? Is being able to perform Aikido kata of any use? Well you can't fight with it, so not martially it has no value. Is the simple repetition of Aikido kata better than the simple repetition of Karate kata? Will you reach any greater spiritual or philosophical insights by performing Aikido kata than you will performing Karate kata? No.
I absolutely reject the notion that the art of Aikido has no value outside of some anticipated practical self defense application or martial encounter with a trained martial artist (duel?).

Aikido is an art, the practice of which has its own inherent value. As I have said many times, if one is training properly, some degree of self defense capability is a by product of the training. But is not the point of the training.

This is not just an issue with Aikido, it exists in most traditional martial arts. If real world application is the standard by which we judge, then many of the elements of our training are archaic and irrelevant. And many practical techniques, strategies, and technologies are ignored. So we dump what seems impractical and add what seems modern and up to date. Soon it isn't the same art at all.

Aikido is an art which, in my opinion, is about the study of connection... physical, psychological, and spiritual. Nothing I have heard or read about the Founder or his deshi, including what I heard from my own teacher who was one, contradicts this view. If you look at the entire quarter century period of the Founder's life after WWII, which is when the art actually became Aikido (1942), I would say that the Founder's teaching showed a staggering lack on concern for the practical application of the art. His entire focus was on how the techniques of Aikido contained the various principles at work in the universe, that the doing of Aikido could and would on some level, bring things into harmony.

All the time I see people bringing the mind of conflict into the dojo and trying to remake Aikido into something it is not. The people who do this never get very good at the art. In the pursuit of "practical" skills, they content themselves with the surface and never delve into what is far deeper in the practice.

Quote:
It's only when, IMO, you start imagining how you would apply the lessons of Aikido kata to the real world that you start to really learn Aikido. That's when it ceases to be the repetition of a dead form and becomes a living process and it's only when you start to imagine and mentally reherse its actual application that Aikido becomes an art seperate from any other otherwise you can repeat any kata from any art ad infinitum with the same results.
I think that this misses the point entirely. This kind of statement shows a lack of understanding of what kata is. It is not and never was a "stale repetition of a dead form". Kata means form. Marshal McKuen once said, "the media is the message". Well, in Aikido the form is the message. The basic techniques of the art illuminate the these fundamental forms. These then combine and recombine to create an infinite interplay of form. One can spend ones entire life in the study of how to bring ones body and mind into accord with these forms. The more you know, the more you understand you don't know.

Masakatsu, agatsu "true victory is victory over oneself". It isn't about winning over another.

I was trained by one of the most martially capable Aikido teachers of the post war period. I always find it ironic when I end up one side of a disagreement with someone who is championing Aikido as a "martial art". I've taught bouncers, executive protection, law enforcement, corrections, and security professionals. I get "application". But none of that was Aikido. Aikido is so much more than that.

Quote:
As you've said, the spirtual content was in O-Sensei's spiritual practice not in his martial practice. So logically the martial practice isn't an efficent route to spirital insights or development. If you want those you have to meditate and practice misogi. Logically the martial side has to stand on its own as martial practice or it is simply a distraction from serious spiritual practice. If it doesn't stand on its own it should be abandoned as a pointless exercise and Aikido should adopt meditation and misogi as it's main practices. Or "recreate" a martially effective form of Aikido.
O-Sensei stated that training was misogi. The Founder made no distinction between his Aikido and the other practices he pursued. That included farming. It was all Aikido to him. There is no question that we have perhaps limited the scope of what Aikido is more than the Founder did. I for one am not prepared to move to the country and investigate how farming fits in to my Aikido. But I think we received an art from the Founder that quite clearly was not intended as a practical fighting style. Ellis Amdur has quite an interesting section in his latest book about how and why the forms of Aikido were developed by the Founder after the war. Practicality of application did not enter into it. Making the art about fighting will cause the practitioner to miss entirely what is right there before him.

Quote:
Personally speaking I practice Aikido because for me it's an excellent martial art. For my spirtual development I go seek the advice and teachings of the monks and nuns at the local buddhist centre, they can help me more in my spiritual practice than my Aikido instructor can.

All the above is IMO of course.
The fact that your Aikido instructor can't match the local Buddhist teachers on the spiritual side of things is the direct result of the divorce of Aikido practice from its spiritual roots. When the art is merely physical, when technique is simply about whether it works or not, one isn't going to get very deep into anything more ethereal.

I am not saying that technique shouldn't "work". I am saying that practical application is not the point nor is it the standard by which the art's value is measured. It certainly wasn't what the Founder was thinking about when he created the art.

And all of what I am saying is certainly my opinion. People can make Aikido into whatever they want. There's no copyright or trademark on Aikido. The attempt to contain it in a box as in a certain style or other is laughable and can't be done. So make it whatever you want. I am just suggesting that folks not settle for Aikido lite. That's just what an Aikido limited towards practical application can be. It just misses the really good stuff.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 01-31-2010 at 03:41 AM.

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Old 01-31-2010, 10:19 AM   #103
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Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Aikido is an art, the practice of which has its own inherent value. As I have said many times, if one is training properly, some degree of self defense capability is a by product of the training. But is not the point of the training.

This is not just an issue with Aikido, it exists in most traditional martial arts. If real world application is the standard by which we judge, then many of the elements of our training are archaic and irrelevant. And many practical techniques, strategies, and technologies are ignored. So we dump what seems impractical and add what seems modern and up to date. Soon it isn't the same art at all.
If you'll allow a digression...omit the word "martial" from the above, and swap out "Aikido" for, say, "ceramics", and it seems to me that the same holds true. Seems to me -- and I speak as an outsider, as someone who has no talent whatsoever for the fine arts -- that there are many practices that are diminished if they are judged either by purely utilitarian standards or purely decorative aesthetics.

With any pastime that doesn't consist purely of immediate gratification, the reasons why people pursue it are numerous and diverse, but generally consist of various longer-term gains. It's interesting that the pursuit of a practice that seemingly takes you far away from immediate gratification, can eventually lead back to a reward that is pretty much purely in the moment. As Buzz Holmstrom wrote in his journal after being the first boater to run the Grand Canyon solo:

"I had thought -- once past [the last big rapid] -- my reward will begin -- but now -- everything ahead seems kind of empty & I realize that I have already had my reward -- in the doing of the thing..."

How many rewards go unclaimed, simply because we're looking for them in the wrong places?
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Old 01-31-2010, 10:44 AM   #104
Ryan Seznee
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Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Quote:
Mark Kruger wrote: View Post
...
Striking with a closed fist (boxing) figures prominently in the ancient greek world, almost disappears in the medieval european world, and reappears in the modern. I suspect that it is a function of armor. Punching a metal breastplate... not so good. So it all but disappears from toolbox until that armor goes away.
...
Boxing didn't disappear from the Greek/Roman world (or the modern civilized world at the time) till it was made illegal by the religious (largely Christian) influence on the emperor at the time. In the original conception of boxing, fighters armored their fists to make striking more effective (this is how it came to be know as "boxing" in the first place). This resulted in a LOT of deaths, which is why it was banned by law. It was seen as too barbaric, which one could argue that it was too martially effective... depending on your definition.
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Old 01-31-2010, 12:25 PM   #105
Walter Martindale
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Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

This is a great thread thanks mainly to Ledyard Sensei's contribution. Thank you for these remarks.

Another "effective" defense/fight training group are the TFT people
http://www.targetfocustraining.com/
Well, according to their testimonials.. I haven't been able to afford (or access, really) their material or training. Anyone here have experience with them?

Again - Thank you George...
Walter
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Old 01-31-2010, 02:18 PM   #106
mickeygelum
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Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Greetings All,

Here is an article that I feel is relevant to this thread. It is written by a federal law enforcement agent, who is also a very skilled martial artist.

Here is the link to his profile,
http://www.blackbeltmag.com/archives/746
Here is the link to the essay,
http://www.albokalisilat.org/rant9.html

Train well,

Mickey
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Old 01-31-2010, 08:49 PM   #107
Ketsan
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Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Just read
Peyton Quinn's book Real Fighting: Adrenaline Stress Conditioning Through Scenario-Based Training. His experience is replete with martial artists who could not access their skills under pressure.
I'd call that an untrained mind. Pure and simple. That's what happens when you don't consider the practical application of what you're doing. Then when the mind is put in such a situation it naturally yells out, "What do I do?"

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Folks are always touting the "martial" effectiveness of Aikido based on encounters with subjects who have little or no actual training. Ellis Amdur once defined martial arts as "training to fight another professional". What you are talking about is simple "self defense".
Well this is true, but then this is probably because there just aren't really that many professionals out there. Speaking personally I'm in Aikido because I'd spent years learning TKD, Kick boxing, Lau Gar and Jujutsu, went to an Aikido class and lost to my instructor. From that I've gone on to watch Aikidoka defeat practitioners of just about any art you care to mention.

Ueshiba was famous for doing just that, so at some point something's gone seriously wrong if Aikido practitioners are no longer capable, as a group of doing that.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
In self defense, one is not training with the expectation that one will encounter a highly trained opponent. Dangerous perhaps. Armed, quite possibly, but not highly trained.
As you point out, we're studying Aikido, not self defence. Ueshiba trained to defeat Judoka, there are notes about how to do it, aren't there? No doubt if Muay Thai or any art you care to mention had been as big as Judo was in Japan at the time he'd have been equally interested in developing ways of using his training to defeat them. Isn't this adaption, this harmonisation really what Aikido is about?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
I'd be seriously shocked if many of the Aikido folks I know do think this way at all. This is a young males fantasy world. Sure, when I was young I thought about what I would do if I encountered one or more evil doers out on the street. Of course, in 34 years of Aikido that's never happened. Nor has a single one of my students ever done so except for my law enforcement, executive protection and security students (who did not study Aikido with me but a far more eclectic mix of skills)..
The people most likely to survive an emergency tend to be the people that plan for it. This is true of all situations. Survivors from airliner fires tend to be the ones who were planning their escape before there was a fire. They plan on every flight and probably every situation they consider potentially dangerous. This is true of many survivors from all types of disasters. Atheletes do it too; they visualise the event before it happens. Buddhism has tantra where they visualise being a buddha to develop those qualities in themselves.
The young males fantasy world would seem to have a highly practical end product: It trains the mind to react and instils confidence. Simply constantly visualising being calm and collected while under attack has uses.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
I absolutely reject the notion that the art of Aikido has no value outside of some anticipated practical self defense application or martial encounter with a trained martial artist (duel?).

Aikido is an art, the practice of which has its own inherent value. As I have said many times, if one is training properly, some degree of self defense capability is a by product of the training. But is not the point of the training.
I agree but I think serious martial training is an aspect of Aikido and linked to that martial effectiveness.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
This is not just an issue with Aikido, it exists in most traditional martial arts. If real world application is the standard by which we judge, then many of the elements of our training are archaic and irrelevant. And many practical techniques, strategies, and technologies are ignored. So we dump what seems impractical and add what seems modern and up to date. Soon it isn't the same art at all.
If they're archaic and irrelevent now they've been archaic and irrelevent for hundreds of years. They've never been effective systems. I think it more likey that people's mentality is different today than it was when these systems were created.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Aikido is an art which, in my opinion, is about the study of connection... physical, psychological, and spiritual. Nothing I have heard or read about the Founder or his deshi, including what I heard from my own teacher who was one, contradicts this view. If you look at the entire quarter century period of the Founder's life after WWII, which is when the art actually became Aikido (1942), I would say that the Founder's teaching showed a staggering lack on concern for the practical application of the art. His entire focus was on how the techniques of Aikido contained the various principles at work in the universe, that the doing of Aikido could and would on some level, bring things into harmony.

All the time I see people bringing the mind of conflict into the dojo and trying to remake Aikido into something it is not. The people who do this never get very good at the art. In the pursuit of "practical" skills, they content themselves with the surface and never delve into what is far deeper in the practice.
Hmm, my line comes through Chiba who was/is quite adament that Aikido is a fighting art, or at least that's what was imparted to his students who now head up the association. Although that, I feel, is changing as the association moves closer to hombu. I don't disagree that Aikido is about connection per se but I do ask the question, "Great, you've connected and you're in harmony, and what?" For me the answer, at least in part, is that it makes you more effective in a martial sense.

I'm curious, how would you define being good at Aikido? Can you watch someone perform and see it or is it something that's felt? How do you know someone is good at producing this connection?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
I think that this misses the point entirely. This kind of statement shows a lack of understanding of what kata is. It is not and never was a "stale repetition of a dead form". Kata means form. Marshal McKuen once said, "the media is the message". Well, in Aikido the form is the message. The basic techniques of the art illuminate the these fundamental forms. These then combine and recombine to create an infinite interplay of form. One can spend ones entire life in the study of how to bring ones body and mind into accord with these forms. The more you know, the more you understand you don't know.
Actually I agree with you. My point was that if all the student ever does is learn to perform the kata, as some sport karate dojo do, without studying it content and finding applications then they're just performing a dead form.

In actual fact one thing I love about Aikido is the richness of the kata. Everytime I do my "fantasizing" as us young men are apt to do and I reach a problem or every time I have a sparring match with someone from another martial art and I reach a problem the first port of call for me is the kata.

My view of Aikido is defined by my current understanding of the kata. In the kata we enter in, take control to prevent resistance and then throw or submit the person. That's a martial skill, that's fighting, the kata contain all the information to make you really good at entering in, unbalancing and throwing or submitting someone.

This is the skill I'm assessed on everytime I grade and from checking this skill presumably my instructors make judgements about how well I'm connecting to uke. The two, IMO, are obviously one and the same. My instructors can't show me how to do this in a non-martial context and the kata certainly don't show me how this is done. Ueshiba didn't arrive at this understanding through martial arts either, he arrived at his realisations through meditation and misogi.

To make matters worse I can see the same techniques in other arts and they're not talking about connection, they're talking about flattening people. Even worse the Aikido version of the technique is, in my experience, always more effective. Not because the form of the kata is better per se but because the kata contains better information.
Perhaps the jujutsu version of shiho nage misses the information about extending and stretching the opponent for example.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Masakatsu, agatsu "true victory is victory over oneself". It isn't about winning over another.
Victory over yourself is the basis of all victory. An untrained mind lends itself to defeat more than it does victory.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
I was trained by one of the most martially capable Aikido teachers of the post war period. I always find it ironic when I end up one side of a disagreement with someone who is championing Aikido as a "martial art". I've taught bouncers, executive protection, law enforcement, corrections, and security professionals. I get "application". But none of that was Aikido. Aikido is so much more than that.
I see it as that Aikido contains martial arts or that martial arts is the tool used to realise Aikido. Why have a martial form without a martial intent? Why have correctness of technique if that correctness has no physical use? I don't see why you couldn't teach connection with ball room dancing. In fact it would probably be easier to do so if only because there would be less conflict between the goal and the method.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
O-Sensei stated that training was misogi. The Founder made no distinction between his Aikido and the other practices he pursued. That included farming. It was all Aikido to him. There is no question that we have perhaps limited the scope of what Aikido is more than the Founder did. I for one am not prepared to move to the country and investigate how farming fits in to my Aikido. But I think we received an art from the Founder that quite clearly was not intended as a practical fighting style. Ellis Amdur has quite an interesting section in his latest book about how and why the forms of Aikido were developed by the Founder after the war. Practicality of application did not enter into it. Making the art about fighting will cause the practitioner to miss entirely what is right there before him.
Well I suppose if you goal is connection to the universe everything becomes Aikido. Unless you can find something outside of the universe.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
The fact that your Aikido instructor can't match the local Buddhist teachers on the spiritual side of things is the direct result of the divorce of Aikido practice from its spiritual roots. When the art is merely physical, when technique is simply about whether it works or not, one isn't going to get very deep into anything more ethereal.

I am not saying that technique shouldn't "work". I am saying that practical application is not the point nor is it the standard by which the art's value is measured. It certainly wasn't what the Founder was thinking about when he created the art.
Surely though if you're better connected to the universe and everyone in it and your mind-body connection is good then practical application comes more naturally? Isn't that basically what Ueshiba was on about? Surely practical application would actually be a test for your ability to connect and harmonize?
Surely we also get into the realm of skillful means in that you would be in harmony with the situation and would therefore do the most appropriate thing? Occasionally that's actually how I see Aikido.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
And all of what I am saying is certainly my opinion. People can make Aikido into whatever they want. There's no copyright or trademark on Aikido. The attempt to contain it in a box as in a certain style or other is laughable and can't be done. So make it whatever you want. I am just suggesting that folks not settle for Aikido lite. That's just what an Aikido limited towards practical application can be. It just misses the really good stuff.
There are no techniques in Aikido.
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Old 02-01-2010, 12:41 PM   #108
Aikibu
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Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Brilliant Post Alex and I agree with many of your replies to Sensei Ledyard...and Sensei Ledyard's musings are right on as well...

This is the kind of exchange Aikido needs to keep it relevant as a Martial Art...and...A Way...

The Irony here is I believe these two parts or "points of view" to be symbiotic...both would seriously lose something without the other...

I however am from the same "school" as you are...Aikido if it is to stay relevant as a Martial Art...It must have the tools to be one...and without those tools... One cannot build a place to house one's spirit.

William Hazen

Last edited by Aikibu : 02-01-2010 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 03-31-2012, 12:46 AM   #109
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Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Effective? Simple answer, do you feel better off for having trained?

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Old 03-31-2012, 05:33 AM   #110
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

IMO how it makes you feel is not what is important. I think you need feedback that is honest and objective as can be. There is nothing wrong with doing things that make you feel good, it is a big part of our overall health and well being, however when focusing on effectiveness, feeling good about yourself is not the highest priority in training

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Old 03-31-2012, 07:45 AM   #111
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Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
As Buzz Holmstrom wrote in his journal after being the first boater to run the Grand Canyon solo:

"I had thought -- once past [the last big rapid] -- my reward will begin -- but now -- everything ahead seems kind of empty & I realize that I have already had my reward -- in the doing of the thing..."
That is a great quote. Thanks for that.
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Old 03-31-2012, 11:16 AM   #112
jackie adams
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Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Reducing down Japanese martial arts and aikido to only a way of fighting omits a wealth of other knowledge and experiences broadening and enriching the practitioner. Worst of all, it renders the greater effectiveness of martial arts.

The world is a big place, I can't reduce the world to my little sphere of existence. Having that said, most of us who are taking Aikido, for example, don't need to prepare for battle, We are not soldiers who will go to war. Our daily lives don't dictate we must rely on the effectiveness of our training for self defense.

The bulk of martial arts teach as technique isn't effective any more warfare combat. Being aware of many types of modern wars from drug wars in Mexico to large scale wars of Africa and the Middle East, modern warfare techniques are favored. Martial arts are not used as they where when they came into existence in ancient times.

In our daily lives, for most, we have the luxury of not being attacked at any instant no matter where we go. We have police to protect us. We have a favorable societal structure, allowing us a freedom to live our lives without the constant need to use self-protection from violent attacks. If the decision is made to pursue a path of martial arts fighting, it is granted as a choice by way of fighting venues, not as a requirement for daily living.

The living topography of modern life not being consumed by the need for self protection allows greater freedoms to peruse interests. In turn, people then focus on their well being beyond combat needs. Our needs change. Martial art purpose changes to fulfill our other purposes. For examples, to exercise mind and body. To broaden our horizons. To be in something with other people; eliciting friendships, learning about ourselves and others. To fulfill our spiritual, moral, ethical needs. There are a myriad host of other areas in the human experience (including the tangible and abstract self defense) martial arts / Aikido offers benefits outside the combat experience.

Modern martial arts, and Aikido in particular are a great opportunity to expand a person's life in many areas. Because of that, martial arts/ Aikido has a greater appeal to a wider swath of society. All sorts of people from different walks of life, different backgrounds, different reasons to join a class. The result from a diverse population is sustainability of the martial arts as a whole. Therefore, delineating the greater purpose and effectiveness of martial arts - IMHO

Last edited by jackie adams : 03-31-2012 at 11:18 AM. Reason: added: "and purpose" , "- IMHO"
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Old 03-31-2012, 11:46 AM   #113
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Yes, but the topic is about martial ineffectiveness, or conversely effectiveness.

I agree that there are many benefits to a practice of budo in reference to the many great examples you give.

I don't entirely agree however, that as citizens we should allow ourselves to simply hand over our responsibilities of martial power and force to society or institutions simply because they ask us too, or we have painted a perspective that we have evolved to such a degree of civility that there is no longer a need to understand or possess martial competence.

I think there is a balance. I think as budoka you take on the roll, or should, of that of a warrior. It does not mean you need to walk around with a big stick or gun or be paranoid, a survivalist, or aggressive.

I think it does require you to think, understand the nature of violence, our society, how fragile peace really can be, and at some level realize the triggers of when you must stand up for something...and when not.

The institutions want you to become a passive sheep they can control. It makes life easier for society and manageable.

Having the courage to be an active and engaged citizen is important. It can be voting, protesting, military service, volunteer work, or any number of things that are important to you to promote.

However the luxury of peace we live in must be protected at the base level by the people and not the institutions and governments. I have seen too many bad things in areas where this is allowed to happen.

Budoka have a responsibilty .

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Old 03-31-2012, 11:48 AM   #114
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Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

so yeah...at some level it is important that martially we are effective in what could be called the fighting end of things.

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Old 03-31-2012, 02:57 PM   #115
lars beyer
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Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Yes, but the topic is about martial ineffectiveness, or conversely effectiveness.

I agree that there are many benefits to a practice of budo in reference to the many great examples you give.

I don't entirely agree however, that as citizens we should allow ourselves to simply hand over our responsibilities of martial power and force to society or institutions simply because they ask us too, or we have painted a perspective that we have evolved to such a degree of civility that there is no longer a need to understand or possess martial competence.

I think there is a balance. I think as budoka you take on the roll, or should, of that of a warrior. It does not mean you need to walk around with a big stick or gun or be paranoid, a survivalist, or aggressive.

I think it does require you to think, understand the nature of violence, our society, how fragile peace really can be, and at some level realize the triggers of when you must stand up for something...and when not.

The institutions want you to become a passive sheep they can control. It makes life easier for society and manageable.

Having the courage to be an active and engaged citizen is important. It can be voting, protesting, military service, volunteer work, or any number of things that are important to you to promote.

However the luxury of peace we live in must be protected at the base level by the people and not the institutions and governments. I have seen too many bad things in areas where this is allowed to happen.

Budoka have a responsibilty .
I feel your logic is a bit slippery because there is a very fine line between martial arts practise and paramilitary training..
Let me give you an example from real life:

I know a ninjutsu guy who was arrested for carrying a nunchaku on the street and he was subject to police surveillance for a period of time because the judge who sentenced him regard his ninjutsu school as a paramilitary organisation, which makes sence because they engage in modern tactical weapons practise, combat swimming, climbing buildings, stealthy night attack drills etc. I guess itīs a normal reaction to ask oneself why civilians need to know stuff like that ?
How effective do we need our martial skills to be in order to feel they are "up to date" so to speak..?
And why do we practise martial arts anyway? For me personally itīs a question of personal protection and development and thatīs it. You can only change yourself.
IMHO
Lars
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Old 03-31-2012, 03:17 PM   #116
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Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Yes, but the topic is about martial ineffectiveness, or conversely effectiveness.

I agree that there are many benefits to a practice of budo in reference to the many great examples you give.

I don't entirely agree however, that as citizens we should allow ourselves to simply hand over our responsibilities of martial power and force to society or institutions simply because they ask us too, or we have painted a perspective that we have evolved to such a degree of civility that there is no longer a need to understand or possess martial competence.
Exactly. A democracy is supposed to allow everyone feedback in decision making. Some of the most crucial decisions are how a group of people are going to deal with violence, either inside the national community, or outside. If average citizens are not capable of facing and reflecting on the realities of violence, then they cannot make good, or even marginally competent decisions on the governance of same. I agree with what you say about turning over responsibility to institutions simply because they ask us to. Institutions are made up of people who have made some common agreements, or in a Boydian sense, share a common orientation. I think the problems arise when particular factions capture an institution and tilt its operation to their specific goals and objectives which may no longer reflect the common good of the people who have nominally accepted the institution's orientation. We might say that those who have captured the institution do have a common orientation, but theirs is to their own self-aggrandizement and personal profit.

Part of the problem too is what happens when members of a community no longer understand the principles of reciprocity and obligation, because it is from those fundamental building blocks that a community can prevent institutional capture. That tension, between personal and institutional loyalty is a longer topic, and probably beyond the scope of this thread. It is, however, part of an article I'm working on right now that will go out next week. Kind of appropriate that I found myself reading your post this afternoon.
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Old 03-31-2012, 03:22 PM   #117
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Quote:
Lars Beyer wrote: View Post
How effective do we need our martial skills to be in order to feel they are "up to date" so to speak..?
As effective as is allowed in a society where the State has the legitimate monopoly over the means of violence.

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Old 03-31-2012, 04:36 PM   #118
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Quote:
Lars Beyer wrote: View Post
I feel your logic is a bit slippery because there is a very fine line between martial arts practise and paramilitary training..
Let me give you an example from real life:

I know a ninjutsu guy who was arrested for carrying a nunchaku on the street and he was subject to police surveillance for a period of time because the judge who sentenced him regard his ninjutsu school as a paramilitary organisation, which makes sence because they engage in modern tactical weapons practise, combat swimming, climbing buildings, stealthy night attack drills etc. I guess itīs a normal reaction to ask oneself why civilians need to know stuff like that ?
How effective do we need our martial skills to be in order to feel they are "up to date" so to speak..?
And why do we practise martial arts anyway? For me personally itīs a question of personal protection and development and thatīs it. You can only change yourself.
IMHO
Lars
Didn't mean to imply that people need to run around with weapons or as ninjas...just that we need to have the courage and willingness to stand up and hold ourselves and others accountable. At the very basic level, however, it does mean the willingness to face physical conflict. It could be like Ghandi, or it could be in the form of armed resistance.

Agreed you can only change yourself, but you can also hold others responsible and accountable for their actions.

I can't really speak to what exactly civilians need to know. Each of us has to make our own decisions in that area. Agreed, in this day of firepower and technology it is difficult to keep skills up to date. Again, even if you simply have the willingness or courage to get involved, hold them accountable, that is what I think is important. Effectiveness can come in many ways and forms.

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Old 03-31-2012, 05:05 PM   #119
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Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Kinda getting off topic, sorry for that. To get back on topic. I guess what I a, really saying is that budo is centered around basically seven virtues. As budoka it is our responsibility to be true to them. It can be tough to do, as we are constantly faced with compromises in our lives. Budo should give you the skills in order to learn to be strong and have courage to stand up for what you believe in.

Sometimes this is not comfortable nor does it go in line with the majority. So for me, it is not enough to feel good about yourself, but getting to the truth. Martially, budo should be giving us the skills we meed to do the right things even in the face of adversity.

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Old 03-31-2012, 05:47 PM   #120
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Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Having stared hundreds of times into the eyes of a 105 year old zen master, I can assure you there is no greater martial effectiveness than knowing the workings of one's own mind ... all the techniques in the world will not help you in the presence of such a warrior.

To that end, is aikido an effective martial art? Does it help really you understand the workings of your own mind? Does your teacher teach this? Do you teach this?

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Old 03-31-2012, 09:46 PM   #121
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Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

For years I've read the discussions on this forum and I see that you are not at all interested in Morihei Ueshiba's art, but what is left after it, and today is called aikido. And this, in no case is a martial art, and hence the discussion about its effectiveness on the street does not make sense.

The Art of Morihei Ueshiba is ingeniously simple, effective as a martial art, and easy to master. It contains a modest resource (techniques), probably just too simple to meet commercial requirements. It basically boils down to two words. Avoid and kill. It is important to focus on all the selected techniques. Why these and not others of the possible thousands? And we are talking only about twelve (ikkyo, nikyo, sankyo, yonkyo, shiho-nage, kote-gaeshi, irimi-nage, kaiten-nage, ude-kime-nage, juji-nage, koshi-nage and tenchi-nage). They are special. To understand it ask the question - how to achieve a goal if trained reflexes allow us to avoid the attack? Simple. Just make your opponent look up and then bend him down and hit his head on the ground to break the neck. No need at all to unhinge him (!!). These are the assumptions, the limit on the battlefield, and unacceptable in any way on the street.

I added my 2 cents on the adaptation of these dangerous assumptions to self-defense as shown on youtube. Among 12 techniques I focused on the middle of them. I brought the end of all the techniques into one. It let me control the projection by throwing the opponent on his back. By holding the opponent's hand his head is safe. What I proposed is similar to Morihei Ueshiba's approach, no less, he did not take into account the fact that the attacker will have the opportunity to repeat his attack.

My approach is related to the experience as a competitor, coach and referee in Judo. In most cases the competitor during the judo match is classified as stunned after the fall of the 'ippon' despite the fall in training thousands of times. And here I go back to topic trying to express my view on the effectiveness of martial arts on the street. It is not about that, as in sport, to establish your dominance by emaciation, or injury to an opponent. There is only one way to survive - you should intimidate him. Have him come up against the unexpected. Demonstrate your power.
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Old 03-31-2012, 11:31 PM   #122
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Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Here's where we might be seeing the world a little differently ...

I'm sure it has been asked before, but given a martial artist in a tough neighborhood, in which case do we consider his art more effective ...
- He/she gets into a 'street fight' and 'wins' (however we choose to define it)?
- He/she does not get into a fight?

The corollary ... who is most likely to get in a street fight -
- The martial artist who is convinced that there is trouble coming, and hurries along.
- The martial artist who is convinced that there is trouble coming, but has trained 10 years for just this moment.
- The martial artist who understands that 'being convinced that there is trouble coming' is just a thought ... a thought that is free to come and go ... and so the thought goes..

The last question ... if being 'dominant' (the 2nd martial artist in the above question) is such an advantage, why is it that nearly every bar fight begins with a confrontation involving the biggest guy in there?

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Old 04-01-2012, 12:06 AM   #123
lars beyer
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Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Didn't mean to imply that people need to run around with weapons or as ninjas...just that we need to have the courage and willingness to stand up and hold ourselves and others accountable. At the very basic level, however, it does mean the willingness to face physical conflict. It could be like Ghandi, or it could be in the form of armed resistance.

Agreed you can only change yourself, but you can also hold others responsible and accountable for their actions.

I can't really speak to what exactly civilians need to know. Each of us has to make our own decisions in that area. Agreed, in this day of firepower and technology it is difficult to keep skills up to date. Again, even if you simply have the willingness or courage to get involved, hold them accountable, that is what I think is important. Effectiveness can come in many ways and forms.
I get your point, and I want to add that paramilitary training and uncontrolled spread of firearms leads to conflict and civil war.
We only need to look to those countries that Nato and UN have decided to engage.
It is my belief that Aikido can help change the world for the better, maybe not in a giant leap but inch by inch and it starts on the individual level.

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.
Groucho Marx

Last edited by lars beyer : 04-01-2012 at 12:11 AM. Reason: donīt want to start yet another conflict.. :)
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Old 04-01-2012, 12:53 AM   #124
jackie adams
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Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Ineffectiveness is defined by effectiveness. I can't help to think there is more to effectiveness then to limit it to just individual physical performance in a control space or environment. In other words, I am talking about student evaluation of effectiveness in a dojo. Martial arts (synonymous with Aikido) is dependent on group dynamics.

If you don't have a training partner you can't practice. In that sequence of thought, if you only have one partner, you therefore limit the scope of your training experiences available; equate to knowledge and skill.

In contrast if you expand the scope of your training to include others and their experiences, you therefore increase your training experiences exponentially. The greater the training dynamic as a result of the contact with others increases both the knowledge and skill bases of all individuals. The more the merrier.

The interpretation in evaluating ineffectiveness or effectiveness, as they go hand in hand, based on a comprehensive scale rather than a minimal scale. Effectiveness is beyond both skill and skill set performance evaluation of any one individual. Determining what is effectiveness and ineffectiveness in a dojo is trumped by the value gained from the group training dynamic. The more people you train with, the more they offer. Therefore, the more there is to exchange with in all areas that the martial arts offers. Ineffectiveness is best determined by the scope of training partner experiences in and out of the dojo, and not solely on the individual's skill set performance.
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Old 04-01-2012, 03:01 AM   #125
lars beyer
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Re: Martial Ineffectiveness

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
As effective as is allowed in a society where the State has the legitimate monopoly over the means of violence.
Without this monopoly there would be no state.. so it sounds a bit contradictory to me.
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