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Old 09-04-2012, 08:58 AM   #1
Chris Evans
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Question "combat"

I've noticed that couple of my aikido "sensei" (or "instructors") say" there's no 'combat' in aikido."

That sounds like euphemism, clinging or being "attached" to a word, just semantics.

Aikido is martial: the physics of aikido studies violence for protection, self-defense, & combat, and even "fighting" for the purpose of saving life, reduce suffering, & restore or promote peace. Granted the main stream aikidoka mindset eschews competition, sports, and prize fighting. Nevertheless, for yudansha aikidoka, open-minded unpredictable "sparring" or kumite might add joyful practice that may enhance confidence, if you don't mind having to heal from inevitable and unintended training injuries from time to time.

Full disclosure: I am an aikido neophyte. I understand that in order to acquire the waza skill, we, mudansha, must train slowly and carefully, with cooperation, at the kihon level, to first hone the basics. But eventually, when forced to, will want to move at the appropriate speed of "combat," physically "harmonizing" with resistance? So then, isn't an aikido form of "jissen or jiju kumite" be useful for advanced aikido students??

in gassho,

Chris

Last edited by Chris Evans : 09-04-2012 at 09:07 AM.

"The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools."
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:47 AM   #2
Chris Evans
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Re: "combat"

Related to my post: http://members.aikidojournal.com/pub...-and-taijutsu/

"...Another reason for the secondary emphasis on atemiwaza in Japanese systems is the fact that, even when one’s opponent is not wearing any sort of protective equipment, it is difficult to defeat (by killing or incapacitating) a trained fighter with one blow; under these circumstances, failure is more likely than success...."

All that makes sense to me, which is why I am switching emphasis from karate to aiki-budo (& jujutsu). For when I am called on to save life, I assume that the other unkind humans are armed, but I am very likely to be not armed. I like the ideal of doing the least harm, while saving life...a value that resonates well with Christian mercy and Buddhist kindness teachings.

Last edited by Chris Evans : 09-04-2012 at 09:50 AM.

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Old 09-04-2012, 11:06 AM   #3
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Re: "combat"

Quote:
Chris Evans wrote: View Post
"...difficult to defeat (by killing or incapacitating)..."

For when I am called on to save life.
Dissonance has a hollow ring to it.

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
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Old 09-04-2012, 11:21 AM   #4
Chris Evans
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Talking Re: "combat"

Quote:
Robert M Watson Jr wrote: View Post
Dissonance has a hollow ring to it.
Empty examples have a hollow ring unlike any. Show us the dissonance you see?

Here's an example: A karateka steps in a beating in a train to end the felony battery in progress: Perhaps wasn't dramatic as saving a life, but "combat" has occurred and has positively stopped the suffering although the perp got away, which is OK since the civilian has no power of cohersive arrest.

Last edited by Chris Evans : 09-04-2012 at 11:23 AM.

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Old 09-04-2012, 03:13 PM   #5
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Re: "combat"

There was a similar discussion in the introduction section recently But the way I see it it is more the state of mind. Being in a fighting/combative must destroy my enemy state is not in harmony with aikido principles. At least not according to how I understand Heiny sensei who states that aikido is not a fighting art.

I often use comparisons to horses as my way of understanding what I learn in aikido To me it is similar to a horse who will strike out if he feels threatened and cannot escape a threat in order to protect himself but he will not desire to cause you harm, he is only trying to protect himself, and he will cease retaliation once he has ensured his safety. Fighting/combat to me holds an attitude where the fighters will continue to punish the offender past the time when the attack is neutralized.

A horse can be as deadly as a Lion but unlike a lion a horse does not want to eat you for diner. Something like that. Perhaps I misunderstand Heiny Sensei's words though...
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Old 09-04-2012, 03:33 PM   #6
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Thumbs up Re: "combat"

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
There was a similar discussion in the introduction section recently But the way I see it it is more the state of mind. Being in a fighting/combative must destroy my enemy state is not in harmony with aikido principles. At least not according to how I understand Heiny sensei who states that aikido is not a fighting art.

I often use comparisons to horses as my way of understanding what I learn in aikido To me it is similar to a horse who will strike out if he feels threatened and cannot escape a threat in order to protect himself but he will not desire to cause you harm, he is only trying to protect himself, and he will cease retaliation once he has ensured his safety. Fighting/combat to me holds an attitude where the fighters will continue to punish the offender past the time when the attack is neutralized.

A horse can be as deadly as a Lion but unlike a lion a horse does not want to eat you for diner. Something like that. Perhaps I misunderstand Heiny Sensei's words though...
Ahhhhhh, thanks for this clear example of the non-retaliation/non-conquest mindset in aikido.

"The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools."
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:39 PM   #7
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Re: "combat"

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
Fighting/combat to me holds an attitude where the fighters will continue to punish the offender past the time when the attack is neutralized.
This generalization is generally not true. A very typical approach is remove the immediate threat and move on to the next one until the mission is achieved. No time for dwelling as you described. That would be pathological - not typical.

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:41 PM   #8
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Re: "combat"

Quote:
Chris Evans wrote: View Post
Empty examples have a hollow ring unlike any. Show us the dissonance you see?

Here's an example: A karateka steps in a beating in a train to end the felony battery in progress: Perhaps wasn't dramatic as saving a life, but "combat" has occurred and has positively stopped the suffering although the perp got away, which is OK since the civilian has no power of cohersive arrest.
Seems like you found karate lacking since unable to kill/stop with a single blow so moved to aikido - that is dissonance of a high order.

The cup is only empty if one is unable to see the potential it could hold.

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
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Old 09-04-2012, 07:06 PM   #9
Chris Evans
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Smile Re: "combat"

Quote:
Robert M Watson Jr wrote: View Post
This generalization is generally not true. A very typical approach is remove the immediate threat and move on to the next one until the mission is achieved. No time for dwelling as you described. That would be pathological - not typical.
Ah hah, true, "...would be pathological - not typical..."
Just because an open minded budoka used all the training to strike down an assailant does not mean we'd give into anger for punishment. As a mattter of opinion, most of the combat sports players I know have strong self-control and sense of fairness.

Combat can be a form of protection in action: A "tool" or a word is only as beneficial as the persons' virtue and the conditions of that time.

I can see how aikido isn't just fun, but can enhance an ethical persons' combat capability.

Last edited by Chris Evans : 09-04-2012 at 07:10 PM.

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Old 09-04-2012, 07:16 PM   #10
Chris Evans
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Re: "combat"

Quote:
Robert M Watson Jr wrote: View Post
Seems like you found karate lacking since unable to kill/stop with a single blow so moved to aikido - that is dissonance of a high order.

The cup is only empty if one is unable to see the potential it could hold.
Wow. What are you smoking? I believe in karate. I have felt its confidence inspiring power. And i have used it in worthy fashion, more than once ..including one strike to restore peace. I have no plans to quit karate practice I will chase these two rabbits: keep up with karate & investigate aiki-budō Osu

Last edited by Chris Evans : 09-04-2012 at 07:23 PM.

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Old 09-04-2012, 07:21 PM   #11
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Re: "combat"

There is no fighting in Aikido. However, that doesn't mean that Aikido can't be very mean. My understanding of a fight is that both individuals are actively attacking and defending. In Aikido, we only defend. If you think of fighting, then your body tenses up which is no good in Aikido. My Sensei taught us to be happy. When you are happy, you can relax, when you can relax, the energy flows freely from you and through you.
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Old 09-05-2012, 01:01 AM   #12
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Re: "combat"

There are many means to an end...and aikido is one of them. I think we're kidding ourselves when we say there's no combat nor fighting in aikido. Once you engage, it's already combat/fighting. The only question is how confrontational do we want to get.

Only the most advanced practitioners who don't need to fight because in their spirit they have won have the right to say there is no fighting, but this does not only apply to aikido but to any martial art in general.
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:37 AM   #13
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Re: "combat"

years ago Dennis Hooker sensei said "Uke does 50%. Nage does 50%. That makes 100% aikido." so half of the time, as uke, we learn how to fight/attack; the other half, we learn how to defend. if we don't attack well, then our defensive sucks (which is a technical term of getting our ass kicked to kingdom come). to say aikido has no fighting is to not doing uke job. it's all about fighting and resolve such conflict, sometimes hard, sometimes soft and anywhere in between.

you know i have not encountered a martial art that spent so much time rationalizing their action and trying so hard to come out smelling like roses; yet ignoring the manure that makes the roses smell so nice.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:56 AM   #14
Chris Evans
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Freaky! ....so much time rationalizing...

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
years ago Dennis Hooker sensei said "Uke does 50%. Nage does 50%. That makes 100% aikido." so half of the time, as uke, we learn how to fight/attack; the other half, we learn how to defend. if we don't attack well, then our defensive sucks (which is a technical term of getting our ass kicked to kingdom come). to say aikido has no fighting is to not doing uke job. it's all about fighting and resolve such conflict, sometimes hard, sometimes soft and anywhere in between.

you know i have not encountered a martial art that spent so much time rationalizing their action and trying so hard to come out smelling like roses; yet ignoring the manure that makes the roses smell so nice.
ha haaah, good description of over thinking aikidoka: "...so much time rationalizing their action and trying so hard to come out smelling like roses; yet ignoring the manure that makes the roses [look] so nice..."

Just train hard, but seek out strong yet open-minded & humble instruction: "I hurt, therefore I am."

"The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools."
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:58 AM   #15
Chris Evans
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Talking kidding ourselves when we say there's no combat nor fighting in aikido

Quote:
Mario Tobias wrote: View Post
There are many means to an end...and aikido is one of them. I think we're kidding ourselves when we say there's no combat nor fighting in aikido. Once you engage, it's already combat/fighting. The only question is how confrontational do we want to get.

Only the most advanced practitioners who don't need to fight because in their spirit they have won have the right to say there is no fighting, but this does not only apply to aikido but to any martial art in general.
Thank you.


"The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools."
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Old 09-05-2012, 10:32 AM   #16
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Re: "combat"

Quote:
Chris Evans wrote: View Post
Wow. What are you smoking? I believe in karate. I have felt its confidence inspiring power. And i have used it in worthy fashion, more than once ..including one strike to restore peace. I have no plans to quit karate practice I will chase these two rabbits: keep up with karate & investigate aiki-budō Osu
Read your #2 post with an objective perspective. Maybe that conveys a message you did not intend but it reads stangely to me.

Smoking? You're the one in Berkeley! Although there was a funny odor in the dojo last Wednesday eve ...

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
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Old 09-05-2012, 11:11 AM   #17
Chris Evans
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Blush! we're in Berkeley!

Quote:
Robert M Watson Jr wrote: View Post
Read your #2 post with an objective perspective. Maybe that conveys a message you did not intend but it reads stangely to me.

Smoking? You're the one in Berkeley! Although there was a funny odor in the dojo last Wednesday eve ...
over thinking, seeing, and smelling things with imaginative assumptions?

the only oder you might detect from me are my sweaty body order, unless i am talking too much, then perhaps halitosis or hot curry from Kabana.
As a zazen student, I care not for mind bending substances, aside from a pint from the Triple Rock or the Jupiter breweries.

Berkeley is a fine place for all kinds of folks, a boon of a town for those of us that enjoy the combative arts or sports along with all its cultural diversity, but too bad we no longer have our own rifle range. Personality, contact competitions and martial sports have their place, as secondary outlet for the primary importance of earnestly learning a "real" martial art (or two).

P.s. in that BART incident, I did not sense the need to throw even one punch or strike...that perp' walked away abruptly after colliding with me when I jumped in the middle of that beating.

Big hug. (here i am not being ironic or trying to be funny, just sincere)

Last edited by Chris Evans : 09-05-2012 at 11:22 AM.

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Old 09-05-2012, 03:17 PM   #18
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Re: "combat"

Be assured - just because there is no combat in Aikido does not mean that Aikido cannot be used in combat.
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Old 09-21-2012, 02:00 PM   #19
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Re: "combat"

"Life is conflict, survival, and conquest." John Boyd

You can parse and nuance this anyway you want, but to me, Aikido is one path (of many) through this. If Aikido, as a martial art, wants to survive, it needs to be able to navigate itself, somehow, through this process.

Jim.....

Last edited by James Sawers : 09-21-2012 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 09-23-2012, 08:19 AM   #20
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Re: "combat"

I think there is a difference between combat and conflict. There are arts that engage with combat, then there are arts that deal with conflict. I think Aikido comes under the latter. Aikido seeks a peaceful resolution to conflict through harmonizing with an attacker's energy. Thus there is no contest in Aikido. The aim of AJJ is the same, to subdue conflict rather than allow it to escalate or engage in a 'fight'. That is not to say that the waza of Aikido/AJJ is not combative, but rather combat is not the aim.
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Old 09-23-2012, 02:54 PM   #21
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Re: "combat"

Quote:
Ewen Ebsworth wrote: View Post
I think there is a difference between combat and conflict. There are arts that engage with combat, then there are arts that deal with conflict. I think Aikido comes under the latter. Aikido seeks a peaceful resolution to conflict through harmonizing with an attacker's energy. Thus there is no contest in Aikido. The aim of AJJ is the same, to subdue conflict rather than allow it to escalate or engage in a 'fight'. That is not to say that the waza of Aikido/AJJ is not combative, but rather combat is not the aim.
Combat is conflict. Conflict can be combat. I certainly agree with the rest.

Jim......
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:03 AM   #22
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Re: "combat"

I agree with you Jim that combat is conflict, sorry if I was not clear in my original post. However whenever I think of conflict (in a civilian context) I think of a hostile situation that can be resolved in a number of ways some of which are combative but not all of them. To my mind sports like boxing and MMA deal with combat because they are duals to see who is the better fighter. The UFC even has fight of the night, submission of the night and KO of the night bonuses to encourage fighters to be as aggressive and combative as possible. Fighters become 'fan favourites' based on how exciting and aggressive their fighting style is. Aikido/AJJ on the other hand place no value in fighting for sport and so seem to eschew combat other than when absolutely necessary in self-defence; yet even then I interpret it as conflict resolution not combat. The aim is not to 'win' as in a dual or contest but rather to subdue, defeat and even protect - firstly yourself and even your attacker.
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:12 AM   #23
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Re: "combat"

I am haggling semantics but... To me, "combat" is a term used to describe fighting, specifically fighting within a military designation and in a organized fashion. Over the years I have chosen to be more particular about combat arts, fighting arts and martial arts. As Cliff said, I think that aikido can be used as a combative art, but aikido training resists defining an "enemy" with whom to combat.

Second, I think aikido resolves confrontation. Conflict resolution is somewhat of a political buzz term that we like because it sounds productive and positive. I believe the terminology gives us three issues (that I know of): 1. that nage is resolving the conflict. 2. that nage's intention is the correct resolution. 3. that aikido happens once there is conflict. Uke is responsible for resolving the confrontation. The assumption nage is always right is simply outrageous. We [should] be connected to our partner before the moment of conflict arises.

For example. Robin Hood and Little John wish to cross the river using a fallen tree. Both begin crossing and confront each other on the log. In the story, Robin Hood refuses to retract and allow Little John to cross, Little John the same. We have a confrontation which created a conflict. However, if either party would have let the other pass, the confrontation would not have yielded a conflict. I think it is important that we consider conflict can be physical, emotional, or mental. And, that there are pre-indicators to conflict that we look to identify.

I think in general, it takes significant training to remove yourself physically, emotionally, and mental from the investment of a fight. I think when you reach this stage the role of sparring or more intense training can improve your aikido because it will provide a different stress. I think it is generally very difficult for people to actually do this and is why we see it rarely in aikido.
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Old 09-24-2012, 12:08 PM   #24
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Re: "combat"

"The assumption nage is always right is simply outrageous."


Nice post, with good reasoning. I particularly like the above quote. Never quite thought about it in these terms before.

As, I think, both Jon and Ewen are saying, Aikido has/is creating a distinct path through a sometimes hostile universe, that deals with handling combat/conflict in such a way as to minimize damage, as much as possible to both conflicting parties, and, going further, attempting to establish principles/methods such that any potential confrontations can be recognized/mediated before reaching the combat/conflict state.

Sorry if I misinterpreted either of your posts.


In Good Practice...

Jim

Last edited by James Sawers : 09-24-2012 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 09-24-2012, 02:53 PM   #25
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Re: "combat"

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
For example. Robin Hood and Little John wish to cross the river using a fallen tree. Both begin crossing and confront each other on the log. In the story, Robin Hood refuses to retract and allow Little John to cross, Little John the same. We have a confrontation which created a conflict. However, if either party would have let the other pass, the confrontation would not have yielded a conflict.
... and Robin Hood and Little John would have gone their separate ways, and Little John wouldn't have joined Robin Hood's band and become his BFF.

Without the honest encounter, no meeting of the spirit and heart.

Aikido teaches the way of the honest encounter. Neither giving up and running away, nor making the other an enemy (which is my interpretation of saying Aikido is not about "combat").

But the honest encounter is also not about winning. It's about Robin Hood sitting up in the muddy brook and acknowledging that he's been beaten. It's about changing the terms of the encounter, because Aikido's not about fighting.

There's a fun video of Saotome Sensei out there giving a demo. Uke comes in with an attack and Saotome puts out a hand to shake. Uke looks confused and foolish for a moment and then shakes hands. Just a demo, but speaks to a core truth--Aikido offers a third way out. Change uke's mind, change the encounter.

But Aikido practice teaches finding the third way through martial competence. Without that, uke just beats you to the ground and it's over. Robin Hood has to be competent with the singlestick to stand on the log in the first place. Just ducking or avoiding isn't good enough--it's just a faster way to land in the brook.

And that's the paradox of Aikido.

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