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Old 01-18-2013, 02:00 PM   #1
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
Location: New York
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,302
100) Your Aikido Matters: January 2013

A number of weeks ago, I was speaking with a senior teacher in Aikido.  This person related to me a fellow teacher talking about it not being important if the Aikido being taught “worked”.  I, like that senior teacher, did not agree with that perspective.  Imagine you are a soldier and you are asked to go into battle with an assault rifle whose motto is “it doesn’t matter if it works as longs as it looks good!”  Imagine going on a cross-country drive with a car whose motto is “nice looking, might not make it for the long haul.”  I think that you get the idea.
We are teaching a MARTIAL art.  Granted, the word martial reflects a very archaic usage of this term.  None the less, what we are teaching should have some value when a person is caught up in a physical conflict.  The founder of our art was a fierce martial artist who seemed to have no problems in making Aikido work for him.  If a person is teaching some type of movement patterns, calling it Aikido, with no concern as to the martial aspects of what he/she is doing, then I would encourage that person to follow the path that Noro Sensei took.
We teach an art in which waza is essentially kata.  The attacks and the movements are stylized and represent far more than is visible to the uninformed eye.  Simple changes to the movements of the nage can result in devastating results to the attacker.  Big movement patterns  in our waza can be reduced to hardly observable movements with the same energy patterns that are contained in the big movements.The attacks are simply patterned movements.  They represent a host of realistic attack movements.      Linear attack, elliptical, arcing, etc, attacks can be executed with different body parts, but the nature of the attack movements are essentially the same.  The manner in which we apply techniques to those attacking movements should be easily transferable to attend to the attacking body part.  There is so much there for us to learn if we can simply look beyond how things appear to be.
Everything we do in our lives should matter.    Our ability to be able to provide to protect ourselves allows us to be able to create a more peaceful world.  What kind of peace can we keep without a genuine ability to protect.  Some of the most peaceful people I have met, have been remarkable warriors who understood a world of violence.  The ability to act and choose to create and maintain a peaceful environment cannot be done by words alone.  Aikido can provide us with some tools to help achieve this goal.   If the tools do not work then the goals are fantasies best lived away from having to own up to a larger reality.
I do not expect every student of mine to be able to stare down and beat down any and all attackers.  I do teach in a manner that can provide a student the opportunity to realistically employ Aikido if needed.  I can provide the opportunities, but the students need to practice with the sincerity that allows these opportunities to become realized if necessary.
I look forward to this year of sincere and safe training!
Marc Abrams Sensei

(Original blog post may be found here.)
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Old 01-18-2013, 02:57 PM   #2
Dojo: aikido of charlotte
Location: Charlotte
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 112
Re: 100) Your Aikido Matters: January 2013

I agree. I trained for 15 years and had to stop for about 4 years, and I would like to resume training. One thing that I was starting to experiment with was how to turn those stylized motions to motions that could deal with contemporary attacks. It does take modification. The angles are different if nothing else. In a more sophiticated way of thinking than just adjusting to the angles, is for instance, most people are right handed so a good overall strategy would be to expect a single punch or attack to more probably come from the right side. If someone attacks with a punching attack and is not just wild, they might be expected to lead with their left and follow with the right. You of course have to be able to deal with more than just that, but its probably a decent expectation as a strategy. So you have to modify your movements to deal with feinting, weak leads that are not suitable for moving them, and still dealing with perhaps following punches. Punching attacks rarely come in ones, and we don't train to that. If repitition builds muscle memory, then repitition in these types of attacks would seemingly result in better outcomes. If someone doesn't ever get to the point of exploring these things on their own, then it all you do is practice the classical kata, the jump may never be made.
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Old 01-19-2013, 01:54 PM   #3
Dojo: North Winnipeg Aikikai
Location: Winnipeg, Canada
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 265
Re: 100) Your Aikido Matters: January 2013

I have been exploring how to adjust and condense the longer, classical Aikido technique forms that I learned for more contemporary sorts of attacks. It has been very interesting! With only minor adjustments the basic techniques of iriminage, shihonage, ikkyo, sankyo, kotegaeshi, etc can be applied in very short, quick ways against straights, roundhouses, chest shoves and so on. Here's a few examples:






Anybody else modifying technique for more contemporary attacks? If so, what have you discovered?

Just so you all know, I've been doing Aikido for over twenty-five years. I'm not some novice mucking about (though to someone who's been doing Aikido for fifty years, that may be how I seem. Ah, well.) I'm also not abandoning practice of the classical forms in pursuit of the adapted technique. After all this time classical Aikido still has much to teach me.

"Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
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Old 01-19-2013, 03:09 PM   #4
ChrisHein's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido of Fresno
Location: Fresno , CA
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,646
Re: 100) Your Aikido Matters: January 2013

I think form modification needs to happen inside of the actual situation you are useing in.

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