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Old 11-02-2012, 08:40 AM   #1
Dalaran1991
Location: Paris
Join Date: Nov 2012
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Aikido and sparring: how to?

Greetings fellow Aikidokas

I'm new to the forum and a humble 4th kyu. Nevertheless it has become part of my life and I can no longer live without being thrown or throwing people at least 3 times a week

I live on campus (college student) and mine is totally secluded and I have no car. There's a martial art club on campus that teaches both Aikido and Tongsudo (some forms of Korean Karate). Somehow I'm the only Aikidoka there. Other people just love punching and kicking stuff.

Now my question is, to get some training in, I often spar with people in the club. Since then I've noticed that as an Aikidoka I can deal with a substantial attack (tsuki, yokomen, shomen, etc.) but when it comes down to sparring, i.e assume a fighting stance and jabbing with fists and legs as fast as possible, I'm a little clueless. For once the attacker doesn't put momentum into the attack. Second they are pretty much static, maybe only pivoting to face me. Taisabakis for evasion simply takes too long to dodge a quick jab, and the moment I could grab a limb they would quickly retract it (not that they have put any force in the attack anyway).

And again, since aikidoka don't attack save for atemi, I feel quite at a disadvantage with all those fists flailing around at full speed.

Now I know that I'm simply a 4th kyu, and that Aikido is not necessarily meant for sparring (ain't nobody got time for that ) , but how do you deal with it?

Appreciate your wisdom!!
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Old 11-02-2012, 08:55 AM   #2
Cliff Judge
Dojo: Aikido Shobukan Dojo
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Re: Aikido and sparring: how to?

Quote:
Long Trinh wrote: View Post
Greetings fellow Aikidokas

I'm new to the forum and a humble 4th kyu. Nevertheless it has become part of my life and I can no longer live without being thrown or throwing people at least 3 times a week

I live on campus (college student) and mine is totally secluded and I have no car. There's a martial art club on campus that teaches both Aikido and Tongsudo (some forms of Korean Karate). Somehow I'm the only Aikidoka there. Other people just love punching and kicking stuff.

Now my question is, to get some training in, I often spar with people in the club. Since then I've noticed that as an Aikidoka I can deal with a substantial attack (tsuki, yokomen, shomen, etc.) but when it comes down to sparring, i.e assume a fighting stance and jabbing with fists and legs as fast as possible, I'm a little clueless. For once the attacker doesn't put momentum into the attack. Second they are pretty much static, maybe only pivoting to face me. Taisabakis for evasion simply takes too long to dodge a quick jab, and the moment I could grab a limb they would quickly retract it (not that they have put any force in the attack anyway).

And again, since aikidoka don't attack save for atemi, I feel quite at a disadvantage with all those fists flailing around at full speed.

Now I know that I'm simply a 4th kyu, and that Aikido is not necessarily meant for sparring (ain't nobody got time for that ) , but how do you deal with it?

Appreciate your wisdom!!
Hit them with shomen or yokmen attacks, see if you can break their posture or maybe even try to block you. if they block you, try a technique. Might only work the first couple of times.
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Old 11-02-2012, 09:22 AM   #3
phitruong
Dojo: Charlotte Aikikai Agatsu Dojo
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Re: Aikido and sparring: how to?

depends on how you being taught in aikido. there are a number of principles that govern time and space which might help. however, it depends on how you are being taught in aikido. this video gives you some ideas http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsZk7Eha1Us some would say that's not aikido. you can try to tell that to him. one principle - irimi first, irimi later, and when you are done irimi some more.

oh ya! did i mention irimi?

lets see if i can paraphrase Saotome sensei. "hands feet no enemy. enemy enemy" *with the accent* when you go after a snake, you don't go after the tail or the body, you go after the part that controls the body and the tail, i.e. the head or more correctly, the mind that controls. have you thought of sparring naked?

"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 11-02-2012, 09:40 AM   #4
Dalaran1991
Location: Paris
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Re: Aikido and sparring: how to?

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
Hit them with shomen or yokmen attacks, see if you can break their posture or maybe even try to block you. if they block you, try a technique. Might only work the first couple of times.
I did try shomen attacks and frankly that the only thing that works. People never expect to be attacked like that, they do block it and it hurt them, not me (yay to striking with the palm!) and sometimes I can pull an ikkyo on them. Problem is, since I'm the one doing the grabbing AND trying to pull the technique at the same time, I feel quite uncomfortable. Probably I'm not at the level to control and redirect energy yet when I'm attacking. They would try to yank and pull their arms out of the way, and I would lose the technique. I'm fine with people pulling or pushing me, but the opposite?

Quote:
oh ya! did i mention irimi?

lets see if i can paraphrase Saotome sensei. "hands feet no enemy. enemy enemy" *with the accent* when you go after a snake, you don't go after the tail or the body, you go after the part that controls the body and the tail, i.e. the head or more correctly, the mind that controls. have you thought of sparring naked?
Well, that's exactly the problem... How can you Irimi if there's nothing to Iriminage into???? Like in Aikido we always have distance between uke and tori, but in sparring, I would be face to face with the guy and his feet is like, right next to my feet (but instead of holding my hands he's trying to jab the crap out of my face) There's no room to taisabaki or irimi. I would try to back side way to tempt them to charge, but instead they simply close the distance to sparring distance. No attack from a proper distance to channel a technique...

And I'm not so sure I'm ok sparring naked with my buddies They can save those parts for their wives
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Old 11-02-2012, 10:56 AM   #5
lbb
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Re: Aikido and sparring: how to?

So, if you're sometimes the only aikidoka there, who are you learning from? Are there scheduled classes, or what's the story?

There can be a benefit to mixing it up with people from different styles, but what is it you're trying to do here? You're "sparring", if you want to call it that, against people who practice a different style and follow different rules (you follow rules too, don't kid yourself). You're getting frustrated because they're not being obliging and attacking you in ways that let you show off your aikido, and they're probably getting frustrated with you because you insist on attacking with hands to the face, which in Korean striking styles is not allowed in sparring matches. First figure out what it is you're trying to accomplish, then talk to your sparring partners and see if they are agreeable and if you can work out some mutually agreeable baseline rules that will make the practice worthwhile for both of you. If you just want to know how to be "effective" against Tang Soo Do practitioners when no one's really trying to hurt anyone and no one wants to get hurt, I suppose one approach is for both of you to walk out of the practice telling yourself that you won because in a REAL fight he/she wouldn't be able to etc. etc. etc. Maybe satisfying in the moment, but if you're there to try and learn something...a lot less so. In your place, I'd step back and try to figure out why you're there.

Another possibility is, if you show up and there's no one to teach you aikido, just fall in and learn Tang Soo Do. If you do that, though, be a Tang Soo Do student. Don't be the annoying guy who has to constantly disrupt the class saying, "Oh, in AIKIDO we..." and disrupting the class by not getting with the program.

Last edited by lbb : 11-02-2012 at 11:04 AM.
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Old 11-02-2012, 10:59 AM   #6
phitruong
Dojo: Charlotte Aikikai Agatsu Dojo
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Re: Aikido and sparring: how to?

Quote:
Long Trinh wrote: View Post
Well, that's exactly the problem... How can you Irimi if there's nothing to Iriminage into???? Like in Aikido we always have distance between uke and tori, but in sparring, I would be face to face with the guy and his feet is like, right next to my feet (but instead of holding my hands he's trying to jab the crap out of my face) There's no room to taisabaki or irimi. I would try to back side way to tempt them to charge, but instead they simply close the distance to sparring distance. No attack from a proper distance to channel a technique...
i mentioned irimi, not iriminage. irimi means entering, as in, going in and take over the space. if you watch the video of Saotome sensei, he didn't back off. he went in and dominate the space. you control the center line.

"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 11-02-2012, 11:07 AM   #7
Krystal Locke
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Re: Aikido and sparring: how to?

If you are going into a sparring situation, you are almost necessarily fighting their fight. Dont do that, fight your fight. Use the tai sabaki you are taught to evade until you get an attack you can deal with. Incorporate more atemi waza into your aikido, get a better feel for effective ma-ai and the openings you are being given. Look for places where you can connect with a punch and follow it back in.

What are you looking to gain from punchy-kicky sparring?
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Old 11-02-2012, 11:17 AM   #8
Krystal Locke
Location: Phoenix, Oregon
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Re: Aikido and sparring: how to?

Quote:
Long Trinh wrote: View Post
Well, that's exactly the problem... How can you Irimi if there's nothing to Iriminage into???? Like in Aikido we always have distance between uke and tori, but in sparring, I would be face to face with the guy and his feet is like, right next to my feet (but instead of holding my hands he's trying to jab the crap out of my face) There's no room to taisabaki or irimi. I would try to back side way to tempt them to charge, but instead they simply close the distance to sparring distance. No attack from a proper distance to channel a technique...

And I'm not so sure I'm ok sparring naked with my buddies They can save those parts for their wives
Use your tai sabaki to maintain distance or regain it once you've been crowded. Slip a jab and iriminage of some sort is right there, almost always. Use a trained sparrer's retraction to connect with their arm and enter along the line of the punch.

None of this comes quickly or easily. Train more, and train in what you want to learn. If you have trouble with sparrers crowding you, get your aikido ukes to compress their distance for a while. Or, figure out the "trick" of expanding your ma-ai so that you are seeing an attacker's intent and mechanics from far away so that you can respond before you are in range. Look very carefully at body mechanics and ranges in your stances. A simple, barely perceptible weight shift can add 6 inches to a punch's range without moving the feet at all.

What does your sensei say?
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Old 11-02-2012, 11:53 AM   #9
ChrisHein
 
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Re: Aikido and sparring: how to?

Hello,
I've spent a lot of time sparring with Aikido. I've spent time trying to use Aikido on professional fighters as well. The first thing you'll learn is that Aikido doesn't work. The second thing you'll learn (if you keep looking) is that Aikido works perfectly, but not like you or most anyone else who is "sparring" expected.

The techniques that we find in Aikido don't come from a culture of boxing and wrestling, at least not as we think of those terms. They come from people who used weapons. The samurai weren't worried about getting into a ring and out boxing or wrestling someone, they were worried about killing and being killed. So unless you're going to take a weapon out of someone's hand, or keep them from taking one out of yours, much of what you learn in technical Aikido is not useful.

You have to understand that when you are talking about "sparring" you're describing a very specific context, one where two people are squaring up, unarmed, and attempting to show one another up (I don't mean that in a critical or negative way). This is not the context from which the techniques found in Aikido where born. So Aikido technique, at least a very large part of it, will not help you within your context.

So your options are to:
A) practice other contexts
Come up with some other ways to "spar". If you create the right context, you'll find all your sparring mates trying to copy your Aikido technique, because within the right context, the techniques found in Aikido are undoubtedly the best choices.

B) learn a new skill set, and practice the philosophy of Aikido movement within that new skill set.

Personally, I've tried both of these, and they are both very fun. I would say that I like "A" better though, as it is surprising how effective Aikido can be, when viewed in the right context.

Best of luck to you, whatever you end up doing. And good for you for sparring!!!
(p.s. If you want some sparring context ideas, shoot me an "im" and I'll give you a few)

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Old 11-02-2012, 02:30 PM   #10
Dalaran1991
Location: Paris
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Re: Aikido and sparring: how to?

Lots of good advices here! I guess I forgot to describe my situation. I learned Aikido when I was in Paris. I was lucky I found a Dojo that was to me, the best dojo you can find on earth. People are nice, fun and extremely skilled. Sensei was one of the best in France. And it's free I practiced almost 25 hours per week and became close friends with all my aikidokas.

All of that changed when I came back to America.... Like I said, the campus is secluded. The nearest Aikido dojo is like 2 hours away, and I have no car. There's absolutely no way I can get the training I used to get. I felt like I had drug withdrawal. I was desperate to get some training. The only thing available for me is the school's club. And the Sensei is , well, he is just a good Yudanshan who decided to teach us. And he only shows Aikido for 30 min each class. None of the people there seem to believe in Aikido.

So I guess in a sense I was stuck. I can get 1 hour per week of aikido (if you dismiss the fact that no one there even knows what ukemi is), and the rest I have to make do with sparring with the people there. I did learn a thing or two, but no where near the level I used to get in Paris.

I was just trying to think positive "maybe I can learn something from sparring with people". Not sure if it's the right mindset anymore. Recently I've only been frustrated.
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:12 AM   #11
phitruong
Dojo: Charlotte Aikikai Agatsu Dojo
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Re: Aikido and sparring: how to?

Quote:
Long Trinh wrote: View Post
I was just trying to think positive "maybe I can learn something from sparring with people". Not sure if it's the right mindset anymore. Recently I've only been frustrated.
sounded like you have all the symptom of AWS (aikido withdrawn syndrome). the treatment for that is to not think, talk, and discuss about aikido and jump wholeheartedly into tang soo do. if you still have issue, then have your friends beating you with a very big and ugly stick every time you talk or think or do aikido. it will hurt you very much but your friends will enjoy it.

just learn tang soo do for awhile. you might learn some interesting stuffs. know the word "shoshin"? you are not in a hurry do you?

"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 11-06-2012, 02:08 PM   #12
aiki-jujutsuka
 
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Re: Aikido and sparring: how to?

Is this freestyle sparring or is this Tongsudo sparring? If its the latter then I assume you are fighting on their terms, which would make applying Aikido techniques very difficult! If, however, they are prepared to incorporate other styles into a more freestyle approach then try grappling them to the ground and applying Aikido wrist locks or arm locks. Roy Dean had a lot of success in grappling contests blending BJJ & Aikido locks. If grappling is disallowed then try and time your irimi to when they retract their fist, don't try and 'catch' the punch - follow the arm back and apply bodyweight through a gakun grip or atemi either to the body or face.
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