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Old 05-22-2012, 10:19 PM   #1
Andrew Macdonald
Join Date: Nov 2009
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Testing your aiki\back to basics

I believe (rightly or wrongly) that aikido used to be a very simple art, as most effective martials arts are. Not simple in the way that you can learn to use it in a matter of months but simple in the way that the movemtns were very gross, and the teachniques didn;t have a series of 5 movemnts to get the job done.

When competition as taken of aikido, and aikido changed focus a little the simple didn;t do it for people anymore so they had to find a way to develop. this came through with very large dramatic break falls very complex techniques that look good and basically the 'martial trick shot' i.e. setting up a series of movements which look tough and complex and then end in a throw, and the crowd goes wild. Aikido is not the only art that suffers from this

so if we went right back to the begining simpler movements but based very much more on function, I know of a few schools who reality test their ikido, most notebly in London. by reality test i mean that the attecker is allowed to doi anything and you are trying to apply your aikido to the situation.

I thik alot of the extra movements and techniques would be lost very quickly but also the art itself would find its roots again.

As an aside, I have always found the harder training to be more spiritually beneficial, but of course you need both
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Old 05-23-2012, 03:34 AM   #2
Alex Megann
Dojo: Southampton Aikikai
Location: Southampton
Join Date: Sep 2004
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United Kingdom
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Re: Testing your aiki\back to basics

Quote:
Andrew Macdonald wrote: View Post
I believe (rightly or wrongly) that aikido used to be a very simple art, as most effective martials arts are. Not simple in the way that you can learn to use it in a matter of months but simple in the way that the movemtns were very gross, and the teachniques didn;t have a series of 5 movemnts to get the job done.

When competition as taken of aikido, and aikido changed focus a little the simple didn;t do it for people anymore so they had to find a way to develop. this came through with very large dramatic break falls very complex techniques that look good and basically the 'martial trick shot' i.e. setting up a series of movements which look tough and complex and then end in a throw, and the crowd goes wild. Aikido is not the only art that suffers from this
That doesn't sound very familiar to me! The teachers I respect most teach simple, powerful movements that take the attacker's strength straight away.

Quote:
Andrew Macdonald wrote: View Post
I know of a few schools who reality test their ikido, most notebly in London. by reality test i mean that the attecker is allowed to doi anything and you are trying to apply your aikido to the situation.
Interesting. Which schools would you recommend, then?

Alex
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Old 05-23-2012, 04:38 AM   #3
JJF
 
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Dojo: Vestfyn Aikikai Denmark
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Denmark
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Re: Testing your aiki\back to basics

I believe the 'long' techniques that we practice are a chance to get to experience the sensation of keeping uke unbalanced by leading his energy, applying atemi, exploring distance and hipmovement not to mention a great way to train your ability to maintain focus.

They should be trained in combination with more simple and direct waza with a thorough discussion on the way they differ and the way the complete each other in your training.

Of course a 'real life aikido technique' would most likely be a lot shorter and a lot more direct.

The problem - as I see it - with 'testing your technique' in a type of competition is that you should reach a certain level of competence before you do it. Otherwise you are likely to either:
Hurt uke
Resort to using power in stead of technique
Create a lot of rules for the 'real life' aikido training'

The first issue is by far the worst.
The second is - again in my book - counterproductive to learning aikido skill.
The third is just another way of doing what we already do. Which is to create an artificial situation for practicing skills we hold in high value in our aikido. I just don't place the 'working in a real life situation' over 'Learning the basic aikido skills', and if I did, I would be doing something else.

If you really just 'let go' and practice with everything goes attacks, you would need to have a very high level of skill for your aikido to 'work' in the way I believe it is supposed to work and still keep your uke alive and unharmed.

The way we usually practice aikido, we gradually build upon previous experience, and in the end we should be able to do 'everything goes' aikido between two experienced aikido-ka's. But I believe it takes a long time with dedicated training before you can do that.

Yes Aikido can be a great self-defence system. I am quite confident in this. I just think this type of training you describe should not be a part of your training before both uke and nage reaches the proper level.

So.. I guess I would think more than twice before going to a class like that.

Just my thoughts.

JJ

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:02 AM   #4
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Dojo: Team Combat USA
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Re: Testing your aiki\back to basics

I think that back in the day you had a bunch or experienced and seasoned guys that had actual fighting experience even if it was judo. They came to ueshiba looking for more than the basics. To study the subtle things known as aiki.

I think today we have a bunch of folks fro. Different walks of life with varying levels of experiences goals, ages, and understandings of what they do or want to do. It makes for a very confusing martial world, and yes, you get people with different agendas and experiences on the mat and you have what you have today.

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Old 05-23-2012, 05:45 AM   #5
Mario Tobias
Join Date: Aug 2006
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Re: Testing your aiki\back to basics

Here is my interpretation.

Beginners do it the long way. As you progress in your training, your movement becomes more efficient. As you progress more, you understand more efficient shorter ways of doing the techniques and with minimal movement. I would imagine by the time you get to a very high level that you can break down techniques to its simplest but most efficient form manipulating uke as if were the long form.

I would just wonder why very senior aidoka would opt to use techniques with more than 5 steps as you said to get the job done since the art is based on efficiency. I think the goal for us aikidoka in my opinion is how to achieve techniques from what it would normally take 5 steps as beginners down to 1 or 2 steps with the same results. If you can't find ways of doing the technique more efficiently and how to break it in its simplest form then I think one really hasn't progressed or just showing off but the effectiveness of the technique is now in question..
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Old 05-23-2012, 08:08 AM   #6
Edgecrusher
 
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Re: Testing your aiki\back to basics

Quote:
Mario Tobias wrote: View Post
Here is my interpretation.

Beginners do it the long way. As you progress in your training, your movement becomes more efficient. As you progress more, you understand more efficient shorter ways of doing the techniques and with minimal movement. I would imagine by the time you get to a very high level that you can break down techniques to its simplest but most efficient form manipulating uke as if were the long form.

I would just wonder why very senior aidoka would opt to use techniques with more than 5 steps as you said to get the job done since the art is based on efficiency. I think the goal for us aikidoka in my opinion is how to achieve techniques from what it would normally take 5 steps as beginners down to 1 or 2 steps with the same results. If you can't find ways of doing the technique more efficiently and how to break it in its simplest form then I think one really hasn't progressed or just showing off but the effectiveness of the technique is now in question..
I agree fully, when beginning it is important to get the steps and movements down and as you advance that movement becomes minimal and more effective (smaller circle). Well said.
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Old 05-23-2012, 08:12 AM   #7
Cliff Judge
Location: Kawasaki, Kanagawa
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Japan
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Re: Testing your aiki\back to basics

When you see large, complex movements in Aikido, this is due to two characteristics of early Aikido:

1) It was kata-based; kata are not techniques that you would necessarily apply to a real situation but are a packaged set of techniques that are designed to challenge you such that you can absorb certain principals and develop certain types of proprioception.

2) Early Aikido and Daito ryu was a bit of a traveling road show. In order to attract students, I believe that Takeda Sokaku developed a set of kata and waza that were designed to look impressive, and others that were designed to look fake but feel magical. I think Takeda was something of a product of Aizu culture in this, but he was also a wanderer who sought out trouble. Osensei, I think, had a natural talent for manifesting incredible martial feats in front of an audience.

I think (most, mainstream) modern Aikido IS kata-based, but most practitioners look at what they are doing as though they are attempting to perfect and study techniques. So we question what we are doing when a particular technique doesn't work, when it is usually because we have found ourselves in a kata that we didn't mean to be in and we are misapplying the technique.

I definitely think (most, mainstream) Aikido has retained the exhibition-oriented nature of its founder and his teacher. This is one of the best and most lamented aspects of Aikido, the showy shihan demonstrating flashy moves that look beautiful but would never work on the street / in the cage. Osensei was groomed as something of a martial showman by a genius who invented the concept, and then after decades of spiritual austerities he came to see the martial showmanship as a sacred rite that would ease the friction between heaven and earth through man.

As far as testing your aiki skills, in my VERY humble, only-have-the-barest-inklings-of-an-idea opinion, this can be very difficult and potentially detrimental because you really need to train hard before you can feel whether you are doing something correctly or not. If you just jump into a free context you run the risk of developing bad habits. It is easy to feel it when you muscle something and it works or it doesn't work, but it is much harder to tell when you have it or don't using aiki.
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