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Old 04-23-2013, 08:20 AM   #26
phitruong
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
My goal is that when this MMA craze passes our aikido will be peaceful and effective as we continue to jouney on our path.
nope. we still have WWE to contend with. like the rock or the undertaker, i'll call myself - phi the aikidude and my costume will be my leather chaps and that's all. personally, i think you guys should pray that MMA craze won't ever pass.

"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 04-23-2013, 09:55 AM   #27
lars beyer
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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Phi Truong wrote: View Post
nope. we still have WWE to contend with. like the rock or the undertaker, i'll call myself - phi the aikidude and my costume will be my leather chaps and that's all. personally, i think you guys should pray that MMA craze won't ever pass.
Now picture that...

Peace
Lars

Last edited by lars beyer : 04-23-2013 at 09:56 AM. Reason: no reason
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Old 04-23-2013, 10:53 AM   #28
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

Somewhat out of order...

I think that sports like mixed martial arts apply a pressure to traditional systems to re-evaluate themselves. I do not think this is a bad thing. I think the success or failure of MMA as a sport is largely irrelevant to traditional systems, as they are apple and oranges. I think aikido has a great opportunity to evaluate themselves and I hope we take advantage of it. I hope our MMA friends take the opportunity to share what they are learning on the mat, after all they are training with an intensity that we rarely experience in our regular training.

Now, some of that "learning" is painful. As part of our evaluative process, we are getting a great look at the floor as our training falls apart in some respects and MMA guys training for 6 months are eating aikido people alive. We are also getting a great look at our presumption that aiki is some mystical force exclusive to aikido. Finally, our confidence is being shaken as we see better [sport] fighters in shorter training periods who are not choosing traditional training. Throw in a rising minority of aikido outlyers who are training through a different paradigm and rising to meet this challenge and aikido has some couch issues.

Aiki is a great tool, learn from where you find it.

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Old 04-23-2013, 12:10 PM   #29
Cliff Judge
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Somewhat out of order...

I think that sports like mixed martial arts apply a pressure to traditional systems to re-evaluate themselves. I do not think this is a bad thing. I think the success or failure of MMA as a sport is largely irrelevant to traditional systems, as they are apple and oranges. I think aikido has a great opportunity to evaluate themselves and I hope we take advantage of it. I hope our MMA friends take the opportunity to share what they are learning on the mat, after all they are training with an intensity that we rarely experience in our regular training.

Now, some of that "learning" is painful. As part of our evaluative process, we are getting a great look at the floor as our training falls apart in some respects and MMA guys training for 6 months are eating aikido people alive. We are also getting a great look at our presumption that aiki is some mystical force exclusive to aikido. Finally, our confidence is being shaken as we see better [sport] fighters in shorter training periods who are not choosing traditional training. Throw in a rising minority of aikido outlyers who are training through a different paradigm and rising to meet this challenge and aikido has some couch issues.

Aiki is a great tool, learn from where you find it.
I dunno. If MMA puts any pressure on traditional martial arts, it is on practitioners, not on systems.

Most of the usual "MMA vs Aikido" stuff seems to fit here. In what venue are MMA people who have trained for 6 months "eating Aikido people alive?" The ring? Give the Aikido people 6 months of training and see what happens, right? Are the MMA people stepping onto the mat to learn Aikido, either traditional kihon or internal strength principles?
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Old 04-23-2013, 02:38 PM   #30
Robert Cowham
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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I do have a question, though ... and not trying to be insulting. What is the benefit of learning how "not to be moved?"

This seems tacky/insulting to say, but "Best way block punch, you no be there." Right? It's always seemed best to me. I know there are certain jutsu branches out there that seem to specialize in "hit me and you can't hurt me" but that smacks of the arms race between armor-piercing vs. armor with armor-piercing always coming out on top.
I've always quite liked Peter Ralston's approach to this in Cheng Hsin - yielding works with every attack - the "won't be moved" approach tends to find eventually the one person who can move you! That said, when he was training for full contact competition (1978 when he won), he learnt qigongs and iron shirt methods to lessen injury.
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:43 AM   #31
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
I dunno. If MMA puts any pressure on traditional martial arts, it is on practitioners, not on systems.

Most of the usual "MMA vs Aikido" stuff seems to fit here. In what venue are MMA people who have trained for 6 months "eating Aikido people alive?" The ring? Give the Aikido people 6 months of training and see what happens, right? Are the MMA people stepping onto the mat to learn Aikido, either traditional kihon or internal strength principles?
I was thinking more along the lines of systems evaluating teaching methodology, developing combat styles, kata and the like. I believe a good example of this was the Gracie style jujutsu introducing effective use of the gi in the ring... I think the personal struggle practitioners experience is real, but in the sense personal skill will always exist as a comparative metric.

The venue to which I was referring was not necessarily even ring fighting, but simple situations like "don't let your partner throw you" or "don't let you partner grab you" or "don't let your partner hit you." I think MMA in particular is more advanced in the "independent movement" theory, mostly because they want to [independently] kick your butt. Aikido stills talks about 4-legged animals and connecting to our partners. MMA is a great resource to illustrate, for example, why we do not want to connect to our partner.

Are MMA people stepping onto the mat to learn aikido? Not to any measureable amount of which I am aware. However, aikido has done a poor job of marketing our skills to the professional fighting circuit. My personal attitude is that if I know a judo player, or a MMA fighter and they are looking for an edge I will help them to the best of my ability. 2 of our judo guys just medaled at US Nationals - I could not be happier and if they ever asked I would be pleased to see how aiki could help them play better judo.

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Old 04-24-2013, 11:35 AM   #32
Mert Gambito
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

Quote:
Michael Varin wrote:
It's comments like this
Quote:
Mert Gambito wrote:
As for Anderson Silva, count me in as a big fan too. However, I'm curious how he would do in a static push test while relaxed in shizentai or on one foot against a fully committed pusher/uke, with the only point of contact between the parties being where the push is occurring. If those assigned the "aiki proficient" tag by those who've trained with them are known to use their aiki to profound effect whether in motion against motion (to Dan Richards' points in the OP) or motion-in-stillness against motion, e.g. Sagawa and Koichi Tohei in the past, Dan Harden and Howard Popkin (vetted as recently as a few days ago here on AikiWeb) in the present -- all proponents of solo exercises / aiki-taiso (as was O-Sensei) -- then you'd expect similar abilities in others assigned the tag. Well, maybe Steven Seagal has Silva doing torifune and circling a jo overhead, and it's just not documented on YouTube.
that confuse the situation.
I think I was successful in differentiating between martial prowess of different stripes.

You can find push tests in aikido, Daito-ryu and Hakkoryu. In addition, the initial contact between nage / tori and uke is, in essence, a push test during waza.

Dan Harden teaches a number of MMA folks. The ones we've met in Hawaii had no prior exposure to anything like aiki-taiso of any flavor, yet they now see the value of push tests and motion-in-stillness solo training. One of them routinely trains at BJ Penn's UFC gym in Honolulu, then goes to a park in Waikiki to work on six directions, spiraling, etc. When I meet him to do push tests, they're more like push and pull tests, with single- and double-legs (i.e. aiki from the back of the knees), pulling for standing fit-ins / judo uchi-komi, etc.

The time is coming when mixed martial artists will bow into Chris Li's Aikido Sangenkai classes. It would've already happened if the MMAist I mentioned above wasn't so busy on the weekends running a business.

Last edited by Mert Gambito : 04-24-2013 at 11:38 AM.

Mert
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:46 AM   #33
Cliff Judge
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
I was thinking more along the lines of systems evaluating teaching methodology, developing combat styles, kata and the like. I believe a good example of this was the Gracie style jujutsu introducing effective use of the gi in the ring... I think the personal struggle practitioners experience is real, but in the sense personal skill will always exist as a comparative metric.

The venue to which I was referring was not necessarily even ring fighting, but simple situations like "don't let your partner throw you" or "don't let you partner grab you" or "don't let your partner hit you." I think MMA in particular is more advanced in the "independent movement" theory, mostly because they want to [independently] kick your butt. Aikido stills talks about 4-legged animals and connecting to our partners. MMA is a great resource to illustrate, for example, why we do not want to connect to our partner.

Are MMA people stepping onto the mat to learn aikido? Not to any measureable amount of which I am aware. However, aikido has done a poor job of marketing our skills to the professional fighting circuit. My personal attitude is that if I know a judo player, or a MMA fighter and they are looking for an edge I will help them to the best of my ability. 2 of our judo guys just medaled at US Nationals - I could not be happier and if they ever asked I would be pleased to see how aiki could help them play better judo.
Hmmm. So this thread is about aiki as a type of technique, and how you can see it used in MMA sometimes, and you are saying that you'd like it if aiki-as-technique were more or a plug-n-play thing that you could teach to people who could then apply it in an MMA setting better. Possibly MMA is just one example here, for you. Your criticism is that you have to get into the entire Aikido thing to do that.

I feel like this is basically the same conversation people have been having for decades. You step onto the mat and right away, you are given notions such as "nonresistance" and "don't make it a struggle" and "no competition" and "Satsuninto / Katsujinken". Then years later, mysteriously, you start to wonder why Aikido hasn't increased your ability to struggle, resist, fight, or compete.

I dunno...but there is a baby in that bathwater.
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Old 04-24-2013, 02:19 PM   #34
Lee Salzman
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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Hmmm. So this thread is about aiki as a type of technique, and how you can see it used in MMA sometimes, and you are saying that you'd like it if aiki-as-technique were more or a plug-n-play thing that you could teach to people who could then apply it in an MMA setting better. Possibly MMA is just one example here, for you. Your criticism is that you have to get into the entire Aikido thing to do that.

I feel like this is basically the same conversation people have been having for decades. You step onto the mat and right away, you are given notions such as "nonresistance" and "don't make it a struggle" and "no competition" and "Satsuninto / Katsujinken". Then years later, mysteriously, you start to wonder why Aikido hasn't increased your ability to struggle, resist, fight, or compete.

I dunno...but there is a baby in that bathwater.
The funny thing is, you can improve at MMA by non-struggle, non-resistance, non-competition, etc... The fighting part, well, MMA is fighting, I'll give you that - but even then, it takes on a waaay different meaning when you do it with IP and aiki. None of these are in any way contrary to MMA, not do they really require the learning of waza to apply into MMA. It seems like, from my experience, the more I dump the waza, the bathwater if you will, the easier it is for me to find the baby, aiki, and teach it how to fight MMA-style. To abuse the metaphor further, the bathwater is so murky and thick, I don't think anyone could find the baby in it if they tried short of that - I know I could not.

So, yep, if you expect to just do MMA like you always did with aiki, it's not going to happen. No argument there. There's a long slow learning process that will change you, and your fighting from the very core of your being to the outside of your body where people can and will feel it. So long as you're willing to accept that, aiki really is plug-and-play with MMA.
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:20 PM   #35
Cliff Judge
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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The funny thing is, you can improve at MMA by non-struggle, non-resistance, non-competition, etc... The fighting part, well, MMA is fighting, I'll give you that - but even then, it takes on a waaay different meaning when you do it with IP and aiki. None of these are in any way contrary to MMA, not do they really require the learning of waza to apply into MMA. It seems like, from my experience, the more I dump the waza, the bathwater if you will, the easier it is for me to find the baby, aiki, and teach it how to fight MMA-style. To abuse the metaphor further, the bathwater is so murky and thick, I don't think anyone could find the baby in it if they tried short of that - I know I could not.

So, yep, if you expect to just do MMA like you always did with aiki, it's not going to happen. No argument there. There's a long slow learning process that will change you, and your fighting from the very core of your being to the outside of your body where people can and will feel it. So long as you're willing to accept that, aiki really is plug-and-play with MMA.
What are you referring to when you say waza? Technique, like ikkyo nikkyo sankyo etc?

It seems to me like you are talking about extracting a single facet of aiki, packing it into waza, and then dumping the riai, or purpose of the art. I mean its a budo, you can't just rip the heart of it out and go use it for self-aggrandizement. What the heck is that about?

I am serious about all of these issues having been solved by the 1980s. You IP guys need to rewatch "Star Wars" and the original "Karate Kid."
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:28 PM   #36
Chris Li
 
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
What are you referring to when you say waza? Technique, like ikkyo nikkyo sankyo etc?

It seems to me like you are talking about extracting a single facet of aiki, packing it into waza, and then dumping the riai, or purpose of the art. I mean its a budo, you can't just rip the heart of it out and go use it for self-aggrandizement. What the heck is that about?

I am serious about all of these issues having been solved by the 1980s. You IP guys need to rewatch "Star Wars" and the original "Karate Kid."
You've mentioned this kind of thing a couple of times, but so far as I can see nobody's dumping anything. Who's ripping out hearts, and what are you talking about?

I haven't seen much self-aggrandizement, either, or maybe it's just that there's so much of that in the Aikido community anyway that I just didn't notice.

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-24-2013, 03:40 PM   #37
Cliff Judge
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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You've mentioned this kind of thing a couple of times, but so far as I can see nobody's dumping anything. Who's ripping out hearts, and what are you talking about?

I haven't seen much self-aggrandizement, either, or maybe it's just that there's so much of that in the Aikido community anyway that I just didn't notice.

Best,

Chris
I think I am having a conversation with Lee and Jon about dumping waza and focusing on IP in order to get more MMA guys interested in going to your dojo to win more prize fights. What parts of this am I hallucinating?
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:58 PM   #38
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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I think I am having a conversation with Lee and Jon about dumping waza and focusing on IP in order to get more MMA guys interested in going to your dojo to win more prize fights. What parts of this am I hallucinating?
Well, you were talking about "dumping the heart of the art", are you saying that those specific waza are the "heart of the art"?

I don't think that either of them (they'll have to answer for themselves) have said anything about trying to get more MMA guys into the dojo to win prize fights, they were talking about applicability, mostly. Of course, a number of people started training with Ueshiba in order to turn themselves into better fighters, so I don't know what would be wrong with that anyway.

FWIW, Sokaku Takeda, Morihei Ueshiba, and most of Ueshiba's students participated in the "MMA" of their times, so I'm really not sure what the problem is.

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-24-2013, 05:40 PM   #39
Cliff Judge
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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FWIW, Sokaku Takeda, Morihei Ueshiba, and most of Ueshiba's students participated in the "MMA" of their times, so I'm really not sure what the problem is.
Which ones were these?
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Old 04-24-2013, 05:50 PM   #40
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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Which ones were these?
The people? Most of the ushideshi cross trained at one time or another, and quite a few of them went out to test it out, ask around (start with Saotome...).

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-24-2013, 06:59 PM   #41
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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Hmmm. So this thread is about aiki as a type of technique, and how you can see it used in MMA sometimes, and you are saying that you'd like it if aiki-as-technique were more or a plug-n-play thing that you could teach to people who could then apply it in an MMA setting better. Possibly MMA is just one example here, for you. Your criticism is that you have to get into the entire Aikido thing to do that. ...

I dunno...but there is a baby in that bathwater.
I think MMA is a sport that could benefit from exposure to aiki. I think aikido is a vehicle through which we can share our knowledge of aiki. I think sport fighting is not traditional training and individuals who would benefit from exposure to aiki are not necessarily interested in traditional training. Specifically, I think most of our kata collection is either illegal or impractical in sport fighting. My observation is that many aikido people have difficulty expressing aiki outside of kata, and because of this difficulty we are faced with this "do aikido where we can orchestrate aiki," or nothing at all.

I think the ability to express aiki without kata is indicative of skill. I think the ability to express aiki without connection is indicative of skill. I think asking people to do such a thing is neither outrageous nor unreasonable. What's better, it is real sharing of what I believe to be the heart of aikido - aiki. Not just sharing kata, but actual aiki.

I am not trying to be derogatory of aikido. In fact, I firmly believe we have much to share with the sport fight community, if we want to. I also firmly believe creating a method by which we can share aiki without the box of kata is an important ability.

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Old 04-24-2013, 07:07 PM   #42
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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It seems to me like you are talking about extracting a single facet of aiki, packing it into waza, and then dumping the riai, or purpose of the art. I mean its a budo, you can't just rip the heart of it out and go use it for self-aggrandizement. What the heck is that about?
I can appreciate this comment. I am not in support of bastardizing aikido. My argument is these individuals are not prospective students of traditional systems (right now). They have no interest in the budo, yet. They have no interest in practicing aikido, yet. I believe these interactions to foster an appreciation and possible return to aikido when budo does become important to them.

Also, I am not convinced that it was O Sensei who packed aikido with form, function, and philosophy; rather, it seems like the early the senior students of O Sensei did that.

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Old 04-24-2013, 08:07 PM   #43
Cliff Judge
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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I think MMA is a sport that could benefit from exposure to aiki. I think aikido is a vehicle through which we can share our knowledge of aiki. I think sport fighting is not traditional training and individuals who would benefit from exposure to aiki are not necessarily interested in traditional training. Specifically, I think most of our kata collection is either illegal or impractical in sport fighting. My observation is that many aikido people have difficulty expressing aiki outside of kata, and because of this difficulty we are faced with this "do aikido where we can orchestrate aiki," or nothing at all.

I think the ability to express aiki without kata is indicative of skill. I think the ability to express aiki without connection is indicative of skill. I think asking people to do such a thing is neither outrageous nor unreasonable. What's better, it is real sharing of what I believe to be the heart of aikido - aiki. Not just sharing kata, but actual aiki.

I am not trying to be derogatory of aikido. In fact, I firmly believe we have much to share with the sport fight community, if we want to. I also firmly believe creating a method by which we can share aiki without the box of kata is an important ability.
So you are talking about separating the heart of Aikido - aiki - and making a waza out of it that you can train apart from the history, traditions, organizations, philosophy, spiritual goals, and cultural underpinnings of Aikido.

I think that would be a fine thing for a motivated individual to devote him or herself to. I don't think of it as a problem for "the art" as you put it earlier though. In fact I am not sure why you would want to continue to use terms such as aiki if you are going to be rid of all of that stuff.

I am of the opinion that what you come up with will be no easier or faster a path to skill than any traditional form of Aikido, and without the trappings, you might get fewer people interested in it. Maybe these aren't concerns.

I am also strongly of the opinion that it wouldn't be much of a disruptor in the marketplace of MMA technologies. If you are going into a ring where you must grapple or beat your opponent into submission, BJJ and Muay Thai will still be the go-to systems.

But it sure would be something if I were wrong! I dare you!
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:23 PM   #44
Cliff Judge
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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Also, I am not convinced that it was O Sensei who packed aikido with form, function, and philosophy; rather, it seems like the early the senior students of O Sensei did that.
I know...but how reasonable is it to disregard how his senior students interpreted and worked with what he taught them? They spent more time training with him than you did!

One of the worst things about the Aiki arts is the idea that they were never taught in good faith.

Takeda was a paranoid individual, and from all of his students comes the notion that "True Aiki must only be shared with a select few special students" because it is "so easy to steal." Whether this is wholly true or to any degree false it is a poisonous notion.
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Old 04-24-2013, 09:46 PM   #45
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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I know...but how reasonable is it to disregard how his senior students interpreted and worked with what he taught them? They spent more time training with him than you did!

One of the worst things about the Aiki arts is the idea that they were never taught in good faith.

Takeda was a paranoid individual, and from all of his students comes the notion that "True Aiki must only be shared with a select few special students" because it is "so easy to steal." Whether this is wholly true or to any degree false it is a poisonous notion.
If time in were the only measure then the most senior would always have the most correct opinion. But we all know that seniority and experience don't actually match up so cleanly with actual ability and understanding in most cases - or, in most cases outside of Aikido, anyway.

After a number of years in (and some of us have a large number!) it's entirely reasonable to evaluate what we've been doing based upon our own experiences. Saotome did no less - a number of his seniors told him that he should stay in Tokyo and study a little bit longer, was that reasonable?

Mochizuki (who had spent a lot more time with Ueshiba) told Tamura that what he was doing wasn't even Aikido - would it have been more reasonable for Tamura to follow Mochizuki then stay with the Aikikai?

I respect all those folks who spent time training with and without Ueshiba - but at some point you have to stand up and form your own opinions.

Takeda as a paranoid certainly can't be ignored. And whether or not Ueshiba taught in good faith or not - it's beyond question that his students had a more than difficult time understanding him, by their own admission. That's not an unimportant consideration.

It's really only poisonous if you go down the path of Ueshiba-as-avatar - if you evaluate him as a man in the company of other men (and women) working on common principles then it all works out.

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-25-2013, 12:44 AM   #46
Lee Salzman
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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So you are talking about separating the heart of Aikido - aiki - and making a waza out of it that you can train apart from the history, traditions, organizations, philosophy, spiritual goals, and cultural underpinnings of Aikido.

I think that would be a fine thing for a motivated individual to devote him or herself to. I don't think of it as a problem for "the art" as you put it earlier though. In fact I am not sure why you would want to continue to use terms such as aiki if you are going to be rid of all of that stuff.

I am of the opinion that what you come up with will be no easier or faster a path to skill than any traditional form of Aikido, and without the trappings, you might get fewer people interested in it. Maybe these aren't concerns.

I am also strongly of the opinion that it wouldn't be much of a disruptor in the marketplace of MMA technologies. If you are going into a ring where you must grapple or beat your opponent into submission, BJJ and Muay Thai will still be the go-to systems.

But it sure would be something if I were wrong! I dare you!
For better or worse, the heart of Aikido - aiki - is a set of skills that is independent of history, traditions, organizations, philosophy, spiritual goals, and cultural underpinnings of Aikido. If you have one without the other, is it Aikido? I don't think so, even myself, you need both, to have the art that, as the legacy of Morihei Ueshiba, his son, others like Tohei, Shioda, etc., is known as Aikido. Aiki without the wrapping is just aiki, aikido without aiki is just martial dance class. Aiki is the glue that holds all the wrapping together, gives it life and purpose. I can show up to the dojo, wear my gi and hakama, bow nicely, say all the right things, know all the right history, pay respects to all the right people, move my arms to and fro like such and such, but if there is no aiki in it, what am I doing? Just jujitsu with philosophical trappings.

And, eh, neither I nor, I believe, Jon (apologize for putting words in your mouth, Jon ), or, hell, even the people we are learning from *cough*, are claiming to be inventing or innovating or coming up with anything as pertains to aiki. Aiki, the skill set, is old hat. It's just being shown to us, and it was shown to others before, and others before even that. It's just taken many of us forever to find it and learn it in or after our Aikido careers.

Why use the term aiki? Because that is what it is! It is a distinct thing I had never encountered before in palpable form - that is to say, it can be isolated and trained without going so far as using anything that can be construed as recognizable techniques be it throws or locks or atemi. It was conveniently labeled aiki in that form I encountered it - so hence, aiki is aiki. No preexisting name for it within the totality of my experience would do it justice, so, it is aiki!

Aiki as a distinct skill set is not only a potential disruptor for MMA, it is a potential shot in the arm for Aikido. Not aiki as applied in Aikido, but aiki as a distinct teachable entity, so that we can pull it out and verify, when doing Aikido, where is our aiki? How good at it are we? Are we really using it well to best effect to achieve all the trappings that the art of Aikido demands?

MMA sport careers last the blink of an eye, there's a certain age when you have to get in and get out by, be in good fighting condition, etc. and, so, yeah, I don't see MMA guys achieving high levels of skill with aiki, let alone Aikido, in the span of that time. It doesn't mean they still can't get some short term benefits from it, but it is a long road. But after that, when they're just in it to do MMA as budo? The sky is the limit.

As far as things like BJJ or Muay Thai? Aiki does not replace these any more than it replaces Aikido as a way of application. I do BJJ, judo, boxing, some Aikido still, getting into stick work, etc. and aiki does not replace any of these for teaching me how to not get the crap beat out of me, but it gives me a profound new way of interpreting them, however. Aiki will not make you into a fighter, it will just make you a better fighter.

Last edited by Lee Salzman : 04-25-2013 at 12:48 AM.
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Old 04-25-2013, 10:24 AM   #47
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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I dunno. If MMA puts any pressure on traditional martial arts, it is on practitioners, not on systems.

Most of the usual "MMA vs Aikido" stuff seems to fit here. In what venue are MMA people who have trained for 6 months "eating Aikido people alive?" The ring? Give the Aikido people 6 months of training and see what happens, right? Are the MMA people stepping onto the mat to learn Aikido, either traditional kihon or internal strength principles?
Agree, but I think it is putting pressue on the institutions.

Long story and I have to run, but my whole reason for getting involved in the MMA movement was exactly that, geting my ass handed to me by someone that had been training only for a few months. It broke me down and had me made, but I looked at it to figure out what I was not understanding about the paradigm shift I was facing. In the end, I reached a deeper understanding about martial arts, dynamic movement, and the spectrum of conflict and what fits were in the greater scheme of things. I am a better martial artist for not sticking my head into the sand.

In the end, Aikido still had a place in my training, albeit not the same as it did before. however it is just as valuable once I figured out what was wrong with my methods of training.

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Old 04-25-2013, 10:50 AM   #48
jonreading
 
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
So you are talking about separating the heart of Aikido - aiki - and making a waza out of it that you can train apart from the history, traditions, organizations, philosophy, spiritual goals, and cultural underpinnings of Aikido.

I think that would be a fine thing for a motivated individual to devote him or herself to. I don't think of it as a problem for "the art" as you put it earlier though. In fact I am not sure why you would want to continue to use terms such as aiki if you are going to be rid of all of that stuff.

I am of the opinion that what you come up with will be no easier or faster a path to skill than any traditional form of Aikido, and without the trappings, you might get fewer people interested in it. Maybe these aren't concerns.

I am also strongly of the opinion that it wouldn't be much of a disruptor in the marketplace of MMA technologies. If you are going into a ring where you must grapple or beat your opponent into submission, BJJ and Muay Thai will still be the go-to systems.

But it sure would be something if I were wrong! I dare you!
Well, I don't know about "separating" the art. What I am thinking about is looking at the parentage and drawing from the larger education of aiki, rather than the child art of aikido. Much in the same fashion as algebra, while a distinct form of math, still relies of the foundation of a mathematical education. In this sense Lee's comments are accurate - aiki is old stuff; we are not "inventing" anything. More likely, we are re-discovering an education process. There could very well be a reason the processes dissappeared - they may not be better than the aiki-do process.

I think this is a problem for the aikido community because I think there is a practicing segment of the community that is not practicing aikido with aiki. Drawing upon that larger education will therefore be impossible. I think this was part of the problem the early shihan encountered - the task of educating new students in aiki without the significant training background from which many of the early shihan came.

I think MMA is developing very fast. Most fighters share experience in the same arts - kickboxing, wrestling, ju jutsu, etc. They are branching into other arts to see what can be useful. Karate and judo are [relatively] new comers to the sport. One trick can win a fight... sometimes a big fight. If it works, they will come...

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Old 04-25-2013, 11:58 AM   #49
Cliff Judge
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

Quote:
Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
For better or worse, the heart of Aikido - aiki - is a set of skills that is independent of history, traditions, organizations, philosophy, spiritual goals, and cultural underpinnings of Aikido. If you have one without the other, is it Aikido? I don't think so, even myself, you need both, to have the art that, as the legacy of Morihei Ueshiba, his son, others like Tohei, Shioda, etc., is known as Aikido. Aiki without the wrapping is just aiki, aikido without aiki is just martial dance class. Aiki is the glue that holds all the wrapping together, gives it life and purpose. I can show up to the dojo, wear my gi and hakama, bow nicely, say all the right things, know all the right history, pay respects to all the right people, move my arms to and fro like such and such, but if there is no aiki in it, what am I doing? Just jujitsu with philosophical trappings.

And, eh, neither I nor, I believe, Jon (apologize for putting words in your mouth, Jon ), or, hell, even the people we are learning from *cough*, are claiming to be inventing or innovating or coming up with anything as pertains to aiki. Aiki, the skill set, is old hat. It's just being shown to us, and it was shown to others before, and others before even that. It's just taken many of us forever to find it and learn it in or after our Aikido careers.

Why use the term aiki? Because that is what it is! It is a distinct thing I had never encountered before in palpable form - that is to say, it can be isolated and trained without going so far as using anything that can be construed as recognizable techniques be it throws or locks or atemi. It was conveniently labeled aiki in that form I encountered it - so hence, aiki is aiki. No preexisting name for it within the totality of my experience would do it justice, so, it is aiki!

Aiki as a distinct skill set is not only a potential disruptor for MMA, it is a potential shot in the arm for Aikido. Not aiki as applied in Aikido, but aiki as a distinct teachable entity, so that we can pull it out and verify, when doing Aikido, where is our aiki? How good at it are we? Are we really using it well to best effect to achieve all the trappings that the art of Aikido demands?

MMA sport careers last the blink of an eye, there's a certain age when you have to get in and get out by, be in good fighting condition, etc. and, so, yeah, I don't see MMA guys achieving high levels of skill with aiki, let alone Aikido, in the span of that time. It doesn't mean they still can't get some short term benefits from it, but it is a long road. But after that, when they're just in it to do MMA as budo? The sky is the limit.

As far as things like BJJ or Muay Thai? Aiki does not replace these any more than it replaces Aikido as a way of application. I do BJJ, judo, boxing, some Aikido still, getting into stick work, etc. and aiki does not replace any of these for teaching me how to not get the crap beat out of me, but it gives me a profound new way of interpreting them, however. Aiki will not make you into a fighter, it will just make you a better fighter.
Let me make two or three points here.

First, I think its a bad idea to look at aiki as a skill set. This thread is an interesting place to talk about this, because back on the first page there is a video of aiki happening in an MMA fight. But it was accidental. The fighters wound up in a certain position, and one of them was in a flow state and realized what the situation was and just let the aiki happen. There is no skill on evidence here, it was not a technique he had prepared, it was a spontaneous technique. Aiki manifested itself, and he allowed it to happen.

The lightbulb that should go off here is that it isn't about acquiring more skill in setting this up, it should be about learning how to freely enter the flow state where this can happen, if it is in the cards to do so. I think if you are of the mind that this is a skill, or a technique, or even "power" or "strength" then you are just erecting more obstacles for yourself from ever figuring it out. (I am certainly not saying I have!)

I think aiki is the ultimate flow state basically - your mind is in harmony with the rotation of the universe, so without moving you find yourself at the exact point where forces meet and resolve. When I ask myself what kind of martial art would be good for learning how to get into this state as required, I think a system that emphasized creativity and improvisation of movement, and allowed both partners to do unexpected things to the other while minimizing the chances for injury would be a good place to start. Allowing both partners to work without any particular goal would also be highly important - and that is why competition is right out for me. This is exactly what I strive for in my Aikido training and it is what I think my teacher is trying to tell me.

Second, I think the more you focus on making aiki follow your mind as opposed to your mind following aiki, you can develop some skills and techniques, but these are things that belong in a bag of tricks to use once in awhile or in concert with other, more consistent things, such as leverage, physical strength, timing, awareness, etc. Aiki may be an old concept but it doesn't show up much in martial arts developed by people who fought professionally. It comes to us from a time when the "samurai" were a quickly-fading, legendary part of the past, when there was social foment and people had leisure to focus on impressive tricks. The Chinese arts that focus on similar skills were leisure or religious activities. So I think it is a fine thing to build a martial practice around in this day and age, but what I am hearing from Kevin, who is a professional warrior, is that it served him best to look into other elements of combat and not focus entirely on aiki.

Third, Lee, I find it really funny that you want to lose the budo aspects of Aikido and try to work on a concept you call aiki, but then one of the reasons you think this is a good thing is so you can offer your de-budoed "aiki...do" to retired and late-career MMA guys...as a budo.

Or maybe it is better to say you want to offer your MMA buds something that is not a traditional budo, its a bud.....o.

Last edited by Cliff Judge : 04-25-2013 at 12:01 PM.
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Old 04-25-2013, 12:18 PM   #50
Cliff Judge
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Well, I don't know about "separating" the art. What I am thinking about is looking at the parentage and drawing from the larger education of aiki, rather than the child art of aikido. Much in the same fashion as algebra, while a distinct form of math, still relies of the foundation of a mathematical education. In this sense Lee's comments are accurate - aiki is old stuff; we are not "inventing" anything. More likely, we are re-discovering an education process. There could very well be a reason the processes dissappeared - they may not be better than the aiki-do process.

I think this is a problem for the aikido community because I think there is a practicing segment of the community that is not practicing aikido with aiki. Drawing upon that larger education will therefore be impossible. I think this was part of the problem the early shihan encountered - the task of educating new students in aiki without the significant training background from which many of the early shihan came.

I think MMA is developing very fast. Most fighters share experience in the same arts - kickboxing, wrestling, ju jutsu, etc. They are branching into other arts to see what can be useful. Karate and judo are [relatively] new comers to the sport. One trick can win a fight... sometimes a big fight. If it works, they will come...
I really think it would be better if you guys developed a new vocabulary and really did just say "Hey we've studied some deep martial arts and we're putting together a way to work on these things in the modern world." What you are doing is new. I think sometime in the next ten years you will realize that anchoring yourself to Aikido is holding you back.

To the extent that aiki is nothing new, you could look at it as a single tool in a larger toolbox, or you could look at it as a high-level teaching that should sit atop a rather large pyramid. as in many of the koryu jujutsu systems. In the older jujutsu systems, it is an inner secret, but not necessarily the organizing principle of the system. Aikido's problem is that aiki IS the organizing principle of the system, BUT ITS ALSO THE INNER SECRET. Which is presented directly and openly, but most people completely miss, because they have nothing at the bottom of their skills pyramid. (hmmm maybe that was why Osensei reputedly only took students who were already advanced in other arts).

So Aikido as developed by Kisshomaru etc fills in the mass of the pyramid with ukemi training, softened jujutsu technique, bits and pieces, oh and a spiritual center about getting through life resolving opposing forces non-destructively. It seems like the new IP movement tries to make aiki the bottom of the pyramid itself.

I am not going to pretend that this isn't a fascinating idea. I think hanging onto the bits of Aikido and Daito ryu framing is going to hamper your work. There is certainly this dynamic where anytime you boost what you are doing, you seem to be putting down what Aikido people are doing, which I don't think is your intention, at least not most of you.
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