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Old 03-25-2013, 02:26 PM   #1
aiki-jujutsuka
 
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how do we define martial?

So I've been watching the Nishio Aikido dvd series, I bought and downloaded on aikidojournal.com. I have been greatly inspired by his approach to maintaining the martial integrity of Aikido, and many of his variations to training that are designed to emphasize the place of atemi in Aikido, appear like a bridge into Aikido for me from my Aiki-Jujutsu experience. His commitment to teaching the Ken and Jo techniques that have influenced the empty hand techniques is also very praise worthy, and the Samurai heritage of the art is very compelling to me. However, the very reason for the dvd series is a defence of Aikido as a martial art or budo.

As a student of aiki and jujutsu (I say that deliberately as I am trying to walk the twin path of Aikido and Aiki-Jujutsu) I want to know how we define "martial"? If Aikido is questioned by the martial arts community as whether it can be considered a martial art, then what do we mean by "martial"? Is there a universal definition for martial? When we speak of "martial art" does Judo, Karate, Muay Thai, Kick-boxing, Iaido, Kendo, Kung Fu etc. understand the same thing? I mean I know the arts are different - some are grappling arts, others striking, yet others weapons based but are there underlying principles that unite all of them underneath the umbrella of martial art and if so then where does the question come from regarding Aikido's place within this umbrella?

From what I've read about O'Sensei's understanding of the true nature of budo, it differed radically from the traditional concept but nevertheless he was a serious martial artist (having trained in multiple disciplines) who was well respected amongst his peers (I've heard Jigoro Kano had very complimentary things to say about Aikido). Why then do so many modern students of Aikido not share the same respect O'Sensei earnt?
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Old 03-25-2013, 02:43 PM   #2
Cliff Judge
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Re: how do we define martial?

To what extent do you require your uke to cooperate with your technique for it to work? That's pretty much an equivalent question to "is your technique martial."
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Old 03-25-2013, 05:37 PM   #3
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Re: how do we define martial?

In the old days, people fought to the death or until someone was seriously crippled. This is what Takeda did and people knew it. People knew that Osensei learned from Takeda so that ferocity was transferred. Osensei hurt a lot of highly trained martial artists.

We don't do that anymore, at least not publicly. So that respect is not given by the modern smash artists. They have the attitude that if I don't see it, then it's not true. I talked to bjj/mma instructor and he reiterated this same statement. He said that kotegaeshi doesn't work for he isn't going to leave his jab out there for his wrist to be grabbed.. A lot of what we do is so subtle or internal that the smash artist just can't see it so the won't give the respect due.
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:30 PM   #4
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Re: how do we define martial?

Ewen, Nishio didn't think very highly of the Samurai, said they were shit. Nor did he think very highly of most of what's passed off as aikido. Even in the videos he finally made, he goes on multiple times saying that "99% of aikido is ineffective."

In almost all cases, what Nishio gets into, is that the very first movement - the opening - is absolutely vital, and the beginning and the end of the story. He shows how a lot of aikido disregards that first step, and then just proceeds to prance around and deliver the finishing techniques - nikyo, kote gaeshi, shihonage, etc.

If you watch Nishio, he makes a big use of of what he's called something along the lines of the "dead zone." And one of them is uses is 10 degrees off the line of attack. Play around with it yourself. Step off the line 10 degrees and see that uke can not touch you from there. Then try 20, 30 - you'll see quite clearly that you'll get plowed - because if nage is in that position, uke can do all sorts of things, and nage is quite limited. And by then, it's all too late.

10 degrees off the line also does something else; with the first entering step - and the corresponding tai sabaki that manifests from it - your reach magically gets about 9" longer than what it was when uke committed to the attack. That atemi, whether actually delivered as a physical force, is still applied as an energetic force. Uke's center is taken, they are unbalanced, and they kind strike you and kick you and make use of any kind of weapon they may have.

Another interesting thing about Nishio's openings, is that any of them - when applied correctly - are effective against any attack. Think about that. Any opening is effective against any attack.

The important thing that's missed in a lot of aikido - and personally, I think it was because aikido steps became infection with karate steps and range - is that aikido's initial movement is a half step. Not a whole step. You can see even shihan in aikido taking whole steps to 30-45 degrees off the line. That's not martially effective aikido.

Now, if you were a karateka and you were faster and stronger and you wanted to deliver a crushing blow - that would send uke away from you - then, by all means - take a whole step to 30-45 degrees, and knock out uke. But there again, a crushing blow and sending uke away from nage is the antithesis of aikido. Effective aikido invites uke into nage's space. Nage does not disrupt uke's breathing.

Play with it yourself. Take one of the initial openings from the Nishio video. Don't even be concerning with whatever finishing technique he's doing. Just the initial movement. Play with it. Most of them involve a half step 10 degrees off line - whether that half step is forward or lateral. After you've worked with one, just one, have uke try various attacks. Start with hand grabs, then tsukis, then kicks, then weapons. Just do the same movement. Don't even change sides. You'll find that even doing the same opening movement to the same side, uke will not be able to do anything, regardless if they kick left, punch right, haymaker, bottle to the head, kick to the groin.

We've tested this over and over, not only with other aikidoka, but with uke from various arts. We even get kids in on it - getting attacked by adults with bokkens. As long as that first initial movement is done correctly and at the right time - the show stops there.

Hope that helps some. Interested to hear about your explorations. Cheers...

Dan Richards - Aiki Research

"Budo must always reflect its surroundings. If it isn't newer and stronger, it isn't valid." - Shoji Nishio
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:05 AM   #5
aiki-jujutsuka
 
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Re: how do we define martial?

Quote:
Dan Richards wrote: View Post
Ewen, Nishio didn't think very highly of the Samurai, said they were shit. Nor did he think very highly of most of what's passed off as aikido. Even in the videos he finally made, he goes on multiple times saying that "99% of aikido is ineffective."
But wasn't he a student of O'Sensei? Is his attitude a reflection of his opinions of Morihei Ueshiba? Why would he become an 8th Dan in Aikido if he thought 99% of it was ineffective?

The dead zone is something that I've heard of before, getting off the centre line. I will be sure to try and practice moving 10 degrees off line after Easter.

I think Nishio Aikido is going to be very important to my own development as I try to internalize the methods, principles and techniques.
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:51 AM   #6
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Re: how do we define martial?

Quote:
Ewen Ebsworth wrote: View Post
But wasn't he a student of O'Sensei? Is his attitude a reflection of his opinions of Morihei Ueshiba? Why would he become an 8th Dan in Aikido if he thought 99% of it was ineffective?
I feel like the reason you don't have the answer to these questions has to do with the fact that you believe there is a difference between "Aikido" and "aiki-jujutsu".
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:55 AM   #7
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Re: how do we define martial?

Quote:
Ewen Ebsworth wrote: View Post
But wasn't he a student of O'Sensei? Is his attitude a reflection of his opinions of Morihei Ueshiba? Why would he become an 8th Dan in Aikido if he thought 99% of it was ineffective? .
What has rank to do with effectiveness?

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Old 03-26-2013, 11:06 AM   #8
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Re: how do we define martial?

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Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
What has rank to do with effectiveness?
I just find it strange to think Nishio Sensei would dedicate so much of his life to Aikido if he really believed 99% of it was ineffective. Nishio Sensei obviously is concerned about Aikido retaining its martial integrity as an art and has sought to augment this by becoming a student of other forms of budo. However, he could easily have chosen to give up Aikido in favour of another martial art that he saw as more effective.
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Old 03-26-2013, 11:27 AM   #9
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Re: how do we define martial?

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
I feel like the reason you don't have the answer to these questions has to do with the fact that you believe there is a difference between "Aikido" and "aiki-jujutsu".
What do you mean? How do you see the relationship between AJJ and Aikido? Insofar as Morihei Ueshiba obtained his menkyo in Daito-Ryu Aiki-Jujutsu and instructed in Daito-Ryu AJJ before fully developing his Aikido then I do believe there is a correlation between Aikido and Aiki-Jujutsu. I would even go as far to say that Aikido and Aiki-Jujutsu are two sides of the same coin. In an interview Katsuyuki Kondo once said he thought there was no difference between Aikido and Daito-Ryu AJJ; although he did emphasize that the Aikido syllabus does not draw from all 118 techniques of the Daito-Ryu AJJ hiden mokuroko. So there are differences from a standpoint of how many Daito-Ryu AJJ techniques found there way into Aikido. Not to mention the principles of the triangle, circle, square that Ueshiba chose to emphasize. I believe they are articulated to a greater degree in Aikido?
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Old 03-26-2013, 11:34 AM   #10
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Re: how do we define martial?

Quote:
Ewen Ebsworth wrote: View Post
What do you mean? How do you see the relationship between AJJ and Aikido? Insofar as Morihei Ueshiba obtained his menkyo in Daito-Ryu Aiki-Jujutsu and instructed in Daito-Ryu AJJ before fully developing his Aikido then I do believe there is a correlation between Aikido and Aiki-Jujutsu. I would even go as far to say that Aikido and Aiki-Jujutsu are two sides of the same coin. In an interview Katsuyuki Kondo once said he thought there was no difference between Aikido and Daito-Ryu AJJ; although he did emphasize that the Aikido syllabus does not draw from all 118 techniques of the Daito-Ryu AJJ hiden mokuroko. So there are differences from a standpoint of how many Daito-Ryu AJJ techniques found there way into Aikido. Not to mention the principles of the triangle, circle, square that Ueshiba chose to emphasize. I believe they are articulated to a greater degree in Aikido?
wondering if you have read this thread http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15096

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 03-26-2013, 11:43 AM   #11
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Re: how do we define martial?

Quote:
Ewen Ebsworth wrote: View Post
I just find it strange to think Nishio Sensei would dedicate so much of his life to Aikido if he really believed 99% of it was ineffective. Nishio Sensei obviously is concerned about Aikido retaining its martial integrity as an art and has sought to augment this by becoming a student of other forms of budo. However, he could easily have chosen to give up Aikido in favour of another martial art that he saw as more effective.
Maybe he just found the ideals and teachings of Ueshiba to be more important than waza? Maybe the paradox of non-violence and martial integrity was as faschinating to him as it is to so many others?
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Old 03-26-2013, 11:51 AM   #12
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Re: how do we define martial?

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
wondering if you have read this thread http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15096
wow, a very detailed analysis and comparison - 82% correlation between Aikido and Daito-Ryu that is very a impressive statistic! Thank you.
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Old 03-26-2013, 12:13 PM   #13
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Re: how do we define martial?

Quote:
Ewen Ebsworth wrote: View Post
What do you mean? How do you see the relationship between AJJ and Aikido? Insofar as Morihei Ueshiba obtained his menkyo in Daito-Ryu Aiki-Jujutsu and instructed in Daito-Ryu AJJ before fully developing his Aikido then I do believe there is a correlation between Aikido and Aiki-Jujutsu. I would even go as far to say that Aikido and Aiki-Jujutsu are two sides of the same coin. In an interview Katsuyuki Kondo once said he thought there was no difference between Aikido and Daito-Ryu AJJ; although he did emphasize that the Aikido syllabus does not draw from all 118 techniques of the Daito-Ryu AJJ hiden mokuroko. So there are differences from a standpoint of how many Daito-Ryu AJJ techniques found there way into Aikido. Not to mention the principles of the triangle, circle, square that Ueshiba chose to emphasize. I believe they are articulated to a greater degree in Aikido?
What is the purpose of any of these techniques? What is the purpose of any of these martial arts?
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Old 03-26-2013, 12:28 PM   #14
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Re: how do we define martial?

Quote:
Ewen Ebsworth wrote: View Post
I just find it strange to think Nishio Sensei would dedicate so much of his life to Aikido if he really believed 99% of it was ineffective. Nishio Sensei obviously is concerned about Aikido retaining its martial integrity as an art and has sought to augment this by becoming a student of other forms of budo. However, he could easily have chosen to give up Aikido in favour of another martial art that he saw as more effective.
Oh, he thought Ueshiba's aikido was effective. What he saw that he didn't feel to be valid as a martial art was the way most people were training aikido. You have to understand that Ueshiba was, among other things, highly skilled with weapons. And Nishio was one of the very few students who actually became skilled in the use of weapons, and also incorporated them intimately in his aikido development. He didn't actually have to give up aikido, he was allowed to develop his own discoveries, Nishio Aikido. So he did start his own ryu.

Nishio was critical of aikido teachers and practices that don't employ atemi and weapons. You'd be hard pressed to find a direct student of Ueshiba who continuously harps on the principles of aikido and budo to the degree that Nishio does.

http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2012/0...tanley-pranin/

Last edited by Dan Richards : 03-26-2013 at 12:32 PM.

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Old 03-27-2013, 05:52 AM   #15
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Re: how do we define martial?

I think one of the things we have to bear in mind is the context here.

Aikido training is ineffective martially 90-99% of the time but that prepares the trainee/student for the 1% of martial effectiveness.

This is not unique - think of the rounds of sparring a boxer requires before a competitive bout.

The problem arises when we forget the 1%.
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Old 03-27-2013, 12:24 PM   #16
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Re: how do we define martial?

In Western context, martial is a reference to combat education systems organized and disseminated for the purpose of combat training. In the classical sense, hand-to-hand combat would be a martial art just as tactics and strategy (board games) and communications (literacy). From this:
1. Most "martial arts" in the classical sense have ceased evolution in combat effectiveness. They derive the legitimacy of the "martial" claim from an historical perspective, not a current application.
2. "Martial arts" were originally disseminated using a militaristic education paradigm. The current [mainstream] dissemination style is inconsistent with the militaristic style.

Aikido is a martial art. For those doing aikido, it is an effective and powerful system on which to base modern combat technique. The fact that:
A. "Aikido" has marginalized "aiki do" and removed much of the effectiveness of the foundation of aikido.
B. "Aikido" has marginalized the instruction of an effective combat system (kicking, punching, etc.)
C. "Aikido" has emphasized the philosophical foundation of training as a market niche

O'Sensei, and some of his deshi, possessed a strong foundation in aiki, on which they laid a strong fighting system. "Aikido" right now is struggling to express aiki, and we have no fighting system in place once we do express aiki. You're left with a lot of talk and pointing to a picture of a guy that could do it - you can only get so much ethos that way...

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Old 03-27-2013, 12:42 PM   #17
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Re: how do we define martial?

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
"Aikido" right now is struggling to express aiki,
I am surprised that it even qualifies as a struggle. Last time I checked, martial arts lack arms, legs, and entire bodies, which I think would be prerequisites for expressing aiki.
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Old 03-28-2013, 05:16 AM   #18
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Re: how do we define martial?

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Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
What is the purpose of any of these techniques? What is the purpose of any of these martial arts?
Better yet...what is your personal reason for training. That drives what u do, or should more than anything else. Two people can be side by side in same dojo and be doing entirely two different things with respect to martial quality.

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Old 03-28-2013, 05:18 AM   #19
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Re: how do we define martial?

Great post Jon...sums it up for me.

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Old 03-28-2013, 07:26 AM   #20
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Re: how do we define martial?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Great post Jon...sums it up for me.
Concise.
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:15 AM   #21
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Re: how do we define martial?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Better yet...what is your personal reason for training. That drives what u do, or should more than anything else. Two people can be side by side in same dojo and be doing entirely two different things with respect to martial quality.
Yes. I tend to not think that either of these two hypothetical people have grounds to criticize the art because of what the other one is doing.
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:40 AM   #22
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Re: how do we define martial?

A "martial art" that actually functions as effective preparation for real combat is an extremely rare thing. So any definition of "martial" for which combat effectiveness is an essential criterion must be discarded, or else we need to come up with a new name for 99% of martial arts.

With all that in mind, my definition of a "martial art" is one (a) whose techniques are descended from an origin in physical conflict, and (b) which is ideally practiced with the dangers of physical conflict in mind.

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Old 03-28-2013, 12:42 PM   #23
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Re: how do we define martial?

All this time I thought it was a marital art .... my wife is gonna kill me.

When you do it right you don't die ... when you do it wrong you die. Works for both marital and martial arts.

"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 03-28-2013, 02:55 PM   #24
Dan Rubin
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Re: how do we define martial?

Quote:
Ewen Ebsworth wrote: View Post
I want to know how we define "martial"...
...but, apparently, you're not interested in how we define "art." Why?
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Old 03-28-2013, 03:13 PM   #25
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Re: how do we define martial?

Quote:
Dan Rubin wrote: View Post
...but, apparently, you're not interested in how we define "art." Why?
And, is "art" even the most appropriate word to use, i.e. as the choice for representing -do or -jutsu? (Personally, I'm OK with it.)

Mert
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