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Old 05-02-2013, 01:07 PM   #101
Chris Li
 
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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Matthew Story wrote: View Post
On the contrary, there can be no claim of misuse without a general consensus on what is proper use. And before you claim that no such consensus exists, think about the way you answered the last time someone who heard you do aikido asked, "What's that?" I bet you talked about a Japanese martial art with throws and locks and not aiki principles.

The definition I'm advocating is the definition we all already use when pressed.
Well, you'd certainly be wrong there.

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You invented a position for me and then refuted it, regardless of the fact that it was not actually my position. That is the very definition of straw man. I have not, at any point in this thread, advocated a definition of aikido based on the curriculum at my particular club. For you to claim that I am doing so is, to be frank, an outright lie.

And now I think I'll leave this thread before I start being a real jerk. But I might revisit this subject on my blog.
I apologize, I ought to have said something like "based upon your particular experience", in the sense that other people's experiences produce different definitions.

Let's not get too excited here, you cited a purely technical standard of definition:

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Matthew Story wrote: View Post
The technical curriculum of throws and locks is the only way to arrive at a definition of aikido that has any practical meaning at all, no matter what O Sensei says.
And that is what I was talking about. If it's a straw man, then you put it there. But I agree, and I've already tried to step back from the conversation a couple of times already, it's not going anywhere useful.

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-02-2013, 03:06 PM   #102
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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My point is that there is a very big difference between aiki and aikido. Just because you see aiki in something doesn't mean there is aikido there. To say that MMA fighters (most of whom have never trained aikido) are doing aikido makes about as much sense as to say that every musician who improvises is playing jazz. Sure, improvisation is a foundational, unifiying concept of jazz, but that doesn't mean jazz has a monopoly.
It's just a metaphor for the similarities; furthermore, what you call aiki, others might not call aiki. So the question to my mind isn't whether we can pinpoint a truly objective definition (good luck), but whether we can understand the semantics intended...which is always a process, particularly the closer we try to look at something. My current definition of Aikido (i.e. Ueshiba Aikido) is the study deriving from Ueshiba Morihei's lineage of teaching. It would leave a lot of room for interpretation if we were going to base it on the representative behaviors available, which, depending on your school of thought regarding "aiki" itself, may or may not actually include aiki.
That all said, I love how often Aikido is derided for its "grab my wrist" mode of engagement (because apparently no one ever grabs your wrist in a "real" fight), but I've seen plenty of wrist/forearm engagements in the handful of MMA matches I've seen...of course I have yet to see (or to recognize, at least) a viable connection to center through that grab/suppression. "Aikido is all over the place" because we all share the same human form and pretty much every martial art will overlap based on that.
My mid-stream-tossed wooden nickle...
Take care,
Matt

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Old 05-02-2013, 05:06 PM   #103
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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I only know what you have told me. You have told me that anything done with aiki can be properly called aikido. If I accept that statement as true, it logically follows (since aiki is not exclusive to our particular martial art), that many different martial arts and activities could be accurately and properly called aikido, at least some of the time. And if that is the case, then the term aikido cannot function as the name for our particular martial art.
Mary is the "apple" of my eye, I have an Adam's "apple", I work on "Apple" computers. Do any of these uses of the word apple prevent it from functioning as the name of the fruit? Aikido is a Way, a process of discovery. A Way that is delineated by a set of principles that have come down to us through O Sensei via his own process of discovery.

The word Aikido in that broader sense can be associated with almost any activity if the activity is performed in accordance with Aikido principles. While we wouldn't call basket weaving done with mind/body coordination Aikido, mainly due to the conventional notion that Aikido is a martial art, we would not be unjustified in doing so. Many words do not have precise, mathematical-like definitions. In fact, many words are their own opposites. When it comes to word usage you have to consider the contextual framework that the word is used in.

Perhaps as you continue your training you will come to see Aikido in a richer context that allows for a broader definition of the word while not preventing it from functioning as the name of the art we practice.

Ron

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Old 05-03-2013, 02:03 AM   #104
Lee Salzman
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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1. In terms of linguistics, I think that "aiki" is possessive of many activities. Activities may not necessarily be possessive of aiki. Specifically, Aiki-do claims that as an activity it is inclusive of aiki. A person with aiki may express that aiki in a variety of activities. In asserting this claim, even here on Aikiweb we regularly post about the expression of verbal aikido or interpersonal aikido. It is therefore possible to say, "I did aikido this morning" and refer to a non-aikido activity possessed of aiki, such as avoiding a conflict with the ol' ball and chain. The fact the language did not explicitly say "verbal" aikido is more an illustration of poor communication.
2. If the curriculum of aikido defines "aiki" then we have two issues:
First, Probably Ueshiba Sensei would've been doing something like Daito ryu Ueshiba Ha or some such offshoot of the parent curriculum (Daito Ryu) as adopted by a single practitioner. Second, a mixed martial artist who is practicing the technical curriculum of aikido would be practicing aikido; or, practicing Ueshiba ha Daito ryu as mentioned before.

Yes. From a principle-based perspective, Aikido shares with many other fighting and body conditioning systems the same core principles we define as "aiki". O Sensei was unselfish of sharing "aiki" and mentioned in several different occassions where he opined that a practictioner he observed was doing aiki. Remember, aikido was neither the only name for what O Sensei taught, nor was it the name O Sensei chose.

I understand aikido has a pressure to define itself and establish itself within the fighting systems. I also understand we are trying to do this with a relatively young curriculum, of which the majority is derived from its parent art. I also understand that a great number of our practitioners are unable to express with clarity and consistency what is aiki. I am not convinced we wish to express our art as a collusion of waza that breaks down when applied within other fighting systems. Rather, I prefer to see it as an expression of aiki, which may be included in the practice of many activities.
This is almost a mirror of the debate over whether the USA's Constitution is a living document or a strict, inalterable code. And sadly, I don't think that there will be a scholarly winner on that debate any time soon, but due to mission creep the Constitution ends up a living document anyway.

It is quite possible that Morihei Ueshiba really did mean aikido, the thing, not the name, as he practiced it, was Daito Ryu-inspired aiki focused through the lens of his spiritual beliefs and Daito Ryu-derived waza. But several generations later, when aikido has grown to encompass a lot more than that strict interpretation of what he was doing, and at its root codified, morphed, and expanded by many others than merely him (and as far as historical evidence says, he wasn't really involved in codifying it anyway), can we put the genie back in the bottle and say aikido is just that anymore, just what Morihei Ueshiba was doing?

As a practitioner and student of aiki (but not necessarily aikido, as I see it) as a technical skill set, I do not dare to claim that by doing so I am doing aikido by that. If I say I do aikido, it is only that I have actually practiced in aikido dojos with a credible lineage to Morihei Ueshiba, and that's even side-stepping the debate about whether those dojos are recognized by the Hombu dojo. As you note, aiki is not unique to aikido either, so it is not a necessary and sufficient condition to really say you're doing aikido just on that count alone. Trying to reestablish aikido as merely the study of aiki is a losing battle, whether or not it ever was.

On that note, it is somewhat laughable to think of aikido waza being applied in any sort of freestyle sparring. 5 minutes of experimentation will yield predictable results in this regard for just about anyone. But aiki? That stuff is dangerous in the hands of an experienced fighter. Whether or not the experienced fighter will be able to learn aiki is debatable. Aiki is in that sense ethically/spiritually neutral - it has no care of how you apply it. Want to beat someone to death with it? For good or evil, go ahead, it will let you! But aikido, such as it is, certainly has a philosophy behind when and how you apply it that is at odds with that and gives it a reason to exist beyond merely the study of aiki.

But now that the DR-aiki is making its way back to the masses, aikido, the modern organism, has a lot of thought and reflection to carry out as to whether that particular innovation should again be a part of the core identity of aikido - because it certainly is a fantastic tool to work with for enhancing the study of aikido - or whether aikido shall just remain an amorphous panacea ideology and/or a set of fantastical low-probability jujitsu overlaid with rolling gymnastics.

Last edited by Lee Salzman : 05-03-2013 at 02:14 AM.
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:34 AM   #105
Cliff Judge
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

I don't think Ueshiba thought of aiki as an ethically or morally neutral thing at all. This is one of the ways I think you guys are cutting yourselves off from the majority of the point of Aikido by framing aiki as a technical object. You are closing a lot of doors.

I also think you are misapplying the term aiki. A year back people were speaking mostly of internal power and then it became IP/Aiki and now you just say aiki. Aiki is a term that was not applied to particularly important aspects of martial arts before the sensational, travelling medicine show days of the late Meiji / Taisho / Showa periods. Other Japanese systems had their own ideas about internal power, as inner teachings. If it was considered to be such a game-changer, you would imagine the game would have been changed when people relied on these skills to survive and do their job.

And as a sidebar....I'm finding it curious how loudly the "Aikido waza are 87% correlated with Daito ryu kata" idea, promulgated by John Driscoll, is being thumped in this and a couple other recent threads. Most of the waza in Aikido - even some of the Daito ryu kata that are not commonly practiced in Aikido, for example Obi Otoshi - are common old jujutsu techniques.

I think you could argue that the simple fact that Aikido is a non-competitive gendai budo descended from jujutsu, and is an environment in which is preserved old jujutsu techniques that are too dangerous for competition, is a better reason for its continued transmission than some poorly-defined skill that is apparently completely separate from the technical syllabus.

For me it really does make the most sense that Aikido is the martial art transmitted from Morihei Ueshiba that uses a collection of techniques distilled from classical jujutsu to create an environment where the practitioner has a chance to experience aiki.
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:50 AM   #106
Lee Salzman
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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I don't think Ueshiba thought of aiki as an ethically or morally neutral thing at all. This is one of the ways I think you guys are cutting yourselves off from the majority of the point of Aikido by framing aiki as a technical object. You are closing a lot of doors.
I see it as opening doors. If there are no ethical boundaries placed upon it, we are more free to do what we want with it. At the same time it makes the ethical choice aspect all the more important: we have the power to destroy, but we choose not to. Why would an art stress ethics at all if to even apply it precluded unethical outcomes?

Quote:
I also think you are misapplying the term aiki. A year back people were speaking mostly of internal power and then it became IP/Aiki and now you just say aiki. Aiki is a term that was not applied to particularly important aspects of martial arts before the sensational, travelling medicine show days of the late Meiji / Taisho / Showa periods. Other Japanese systems had their own ideas about internal power, as inner teachings. If it was considered to be such a game-changer, you would imagine the game would have been changed when people relied on these skills to survive and do their job.
Internal power and aiki are separate but related things, not to be confused. Internal power is the basis on which later aiki skills can be developed, but you're not going to develop aiki skills without sufficient internal power. IP is the fulcrum, so it just kind of goes without saying that when someone talks about aiki they are talking about IP, and a specific sort that is necessary to the later development of aiki. IP by itself does not automatically confer ability with aiki. I think if you look back on what people were saying, there is no contradiction here.
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:55 AM   #107
Chris Li
 
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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I don't think Ueshiba thought of aiki as an ethically or morally neutral thing at all. This is one of the ways I think you guys are cutting yourselves off from the majority of the point of Aikido by framing aiki as a technical object. You are closing a lot of doors.

I also think you are misapplying the term aiki. A year back people were speaking mostly of internal power and then it became IP/Aiki and now you just say aiki. Aiki is a term that was not applied to particularly important aspects of martial arts before the sensational, travelling medicine show days of the late Meiji / Taisho / Showa periods. Other Japanese systems had their own ideas about internal power, as inner teachings. If it was considered to be such a game-changer, you would imagine the game would have been changed when people relied on these skills to survive and do their job.

And as a sidebar....I'm finding it curious how loudly the "Aikido waza are 87% correlated with Daito ryu kata" idea, promulgated by John Driscoll, is being thumped in this and a couple other recent threads. Most of the waza in Aikido - even some of the Daito ryu kata that are not commonly practiced in Aikido, for example Obi Otoshi - are common old jujutsu techniques.

I think you could argue that the simple fact that Aikido is a non-competitive gendai budo descended from jujutsu, and is an environment in which is preserved old jujutsu techniques that are too dangerous for competition, is a better reason for its continued transmission than some poorly-defined skill that is apparently completely separate from the technical syllabus.

For me it really does make the most sense that Aikido is the martial art transmitted from Morihei Ueshiba that uses a collection of techniques distilled from classical jujutsu to create an environment where the practitioner has a chance to experience aiki.
IP/Aiki just didn't show up much in the context of this particular thread, there hasn't been any real change in terms that I've seen.

There are plenty of discussions on a technical level on AikiWeb that don't get accused of "cutting yourselves off from the majority of the point of Aikido" or "closing a lot of doors". Does discussing the mechanics of kote-gaeshi mean that we're throwing away any spiritual dimension of Aikido?

Discussion of Aiki as a technical method has nothing to do cutting anything off from anything. In fact, I would argue that Ueshiba found his way to the spiritual side of Aiki that he quoted so often through the technical method, that in fact he said that very thing, and that this was (according to him) "the only way that he knew" to get there. The two are tied together intimately. So much so that I could well argue that it is conventional modern Aikido has cut itself off from the very methods that Morihei Ueshiba himself employed.

For that matter, there are plenty of Aikido folks (and even styles) that place little or no emphasis on the spiritual side at all, why aren't those folks criticized for that on Aikiweb?

You're right about "common old jujutsu techniques", of course, and that's really my point about the difficulty of defining Aikido by a particular technical curriculum. I don't know about none competitive anymore, there are at least two major styles that have competition, and some minor ones.

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-03-2013, 12:02 PM   #108
Cliff Judge
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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Discussion of Aiki as a technical method has nothing to do cutting anything off from anything. In fact, I would argue that Ueshiba found his way to the spiritual side of Aiki that he quoted so often through the technical method, that in fact he said that very thing, and that this was (according to him) "the only way that he knew" to get there. The two are tied together intimately. So much so that I could well argue that it is conventional modern Aikido has cut itself off from the very methods that Morihei Ueshiba himself employed.
Right, what technical method is this again? Haha just kidding.

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
You're right about "common old jujutsu techniques", of course, and that's really my point about the difficulty of defining Aikido by a particular technical curriculum. I don't know about none competitive anymore, there are at least two major styles that have competition, and some minor ones.
Yeah and their technical curricula have changed to suit the fact that they practice competitively. Which shows that the technical curriculum that you learn from a teacher of Aikido is what characterizes Aikido. if somebody teaches you something technical, and says it is Aikido, there needs to be something that clearly demonstrates that this technical think was transmitted by Ueshiba for it to be Aikido. (If the teacher makes no claim of it being Aikido but you like it and find it useful training that fits in with your Aikido practice that's a different story.)
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:10 PM   #109
Cliff Judge
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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I see it as opening doors. If there are no ethical boundaries placed upon it, we are more free to do what we want with it. At the same time it makes the ethical choice aspect all the more important: we have the power to destroy, but we choose not to. Why would an art stress ethics at all if to even apply it precluded unethical outcomes?
I am saying that the whole process of you bringing aiki down to a level where it can exist in terms of "what you want to do with it" limits your potential. This more boils down to taking the washer/dryer combo over Door Number Two which is fine. Seems to me that this has been established as a lesser path hundreds of years ago...just my take on it. Your outline certainly has understandable appeal.

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Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
Internal power and aiki are separate but related things, not to be confused. Internal power is the basis on which later aiki skills can be developed, but you're not going to develop aiki skills without sufficient internal power. IP is the fulcrum, so it just kind of goes without saying that when someone talks about aiki they are talking about IP, and a specific sort that is necessary to the later development of aiki. IP by itself does not automatically confer ability with aiki. I think if you look back on what people were saying, there is no contradiction here.
So you are saying that you develop IP in order to - eventually, somewhere down the line - develop aiki? So are you saying you have already attained such a level of skill with IP that you can being to apply / use / make aiki? Otherwise your viewpoint is predictive, right? You are speaking from a viewpoint you expect to have once you have attained future, expected understanding?

i.e. Aiki will be a disruptive force in MMA based on how you imagine you will understand it when you have attained the level where you actually can understand it?
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:35 PM   #110
Lee Salzman
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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I am saying that the whole process of you bringing aiki down to a level where it can exist in terms of "what you want to do with it" limits your potential. This more boils down to taking the washer/dryer combo over Door Number Two which is fine. Seems to me that this has been established as a lesser path hundreds of years ago...just my take on it. Your outline certainly has understandable appeal.
The most I can say is I was never presented with the choice of washer/dryer or Door Number Two within aikido. I was shown how to do plenty of aikido waza and plenty of hand-wringing as to how somehow 40 years from now I would figure out what aiki was, training from the outside in, it would just happen without me realizing it. Oh, that's just the 20 year throw, or that's just the 30 year pin! Aikido might be better to name techniques by the number of decades people commonly assign to their learning process.

I looked at my own progress, that of my sempais, and that of my senseis, and what I was seeing just was doing nothing to reassure me that it was a path which followed to completion would yield any insight into what aiki was. About the only coherent answer to the question boiled down to - see such and such shihan, isn't he amazing? Oh, everyone had hypotheses about what's going on, but as unique and bountiful as snowflakes. And when I started going out just testing the results of my labor? The results were certainly not pretty. I had learned a catalogue of things to do under various situations, but funnily enough, in even the most menial of martial encounters that did not fit within the mold of aikido if X then Y practice, I was pretty hosed. Even if I had the setup for X, the Y never came to be - but hey, it worked in the dojo!

Then I was shown, explicitly, aiki, just not from within aikido, training from the inside out, that put things in a far more logical order - first develop aiki, then apply it to waza if so inclined - not the reverse. So, huzzah, it's something I can both rationally understand and train in focused manner, so that, maybe before I die, I will be able to competently apply it!

And even if Morihei Ueshiba was a outlier genius in his development of aiki, wouldn't it be somewhat absurd to make us all rediscover it if on our own, which, the theory goes, requires unusual genius in the first place, if there was an explicit method by which to learn it? Where is the concise methodology for teaching beyond if uke does X, nage does Y, that explains the core of what students are trying to learn from the beginning? I never got to see it, if it existed.

So if the choice is washer/dryer combo and Door Number Two, somehow I ended up with gold and jewels and I'm not regretting it.

Quote:
So you are saying that you develop IP in order to - eventually, somewhere down the line - develop aiki? So are you saying you have already attained such a level of skill with IP that you can being to apply / use / make aiki? Otherwise your viewpoint is predictive, right? You are speaking from a viewpoint you expect to have once you have attained future, expected understanding?
You can develop IP and aiki concurrently, no need to be an expert at IP to work on aiki, but the failures related to lack of IP skill become very pronounced the more you try to do aiki. Like all things, the better you become at it, the better the results you get, but you do not have to be a master of it to get useful results from it. Just like I don't have to be a world-class chef to not burn my food on the stove.

Last edited by Lee Salzman : 05-03-2013 at 12:38 PM.
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Old 05-03-2013, 01:07 PM   #111
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

Huh. Thanks for clarifying that.
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Old 05-03-2013, 01:25 PM   #112
Chris Li
 
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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Yeah and their technical curricula have changed to suit the fact that they practice competitively. Which shows that the technical curriculum that you learn from a teacher of Aikido is what characterizes Aikido. if somebody teaches you something technical, and says it is Aikido, there needs to be something that clearly demonstrates that this technical think was transmitted by Ueshiba for it to be Aikido. (If the teacher makes no claim of it being Aikido but you like it and find it useful training that fits in with your Aikido practice that's a different story.)
Everybody has changed their curriculum, for various reasons, and they all (including Kenji Tomiki) claim a technical transmission from Ueshiba, competition or not. What you do with Saotome is not quite the same as what you would have done in Iwama with Ueshiba - there's nothing wrong with that, of course.

I think that "transmitted from Ueshiba" is probably a better argument than the purely technical one for classifying something as "Aikido", but it still has plenty of problems. For one, the word "Aikido" itself isn't the exclusive property of the Ueshiba family, nor was it invented by them. For another, as I noted before, there are plenty of people with links to Ueshiba that are practicing what many other people don't consider to be "Aikido".

Why not just say that person A is doing this thing and person B is also doing the same thing and leave it at that without branding or trying to claim an exclusive brand? If you want a brand for your organization there already is one, the Aikikai, which is properly trademarked and of which both you and Saotome are members.

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-03-2013, 01:41 PM   #113
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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Why not just say that person A is doing this thing and person B is also doing the same thing and leave it at that without branding or trying to claim an exclusive brand?
I would so prefer that to the general bent of this forum for the last year.

The problems really start when person A is doing this thing and person B claims they are not only doing the same thing, but that it is really much better and more exclusive than what person A is doing. But they cannot clearly define what B is, because that is proprietary and really it is person A's fault for not going to the seminars where they can find out what B is. And why would person A question the lineage from whence person B is learning what they are doing? Really person B is just trying to help fix the broken deficiencies in what person A is doing. Person A should be thankful. And in the meantime, person B would totally kick person A's ass in a fight because what person B is doing is so much more effective. Though person A does have one point, that maybe what they are doing is more "spiritual," if you are into all that.
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Old 05-03-2013, 01:56 PM   #114
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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I would so prefer that to the general bent of this forum for the last year.

The problems really start when person A is doing this thing and person B claims they are not only doing the same thing, but that it is really much better and more exclusive than what person A is doing. But they cannot clearly define what B is, because that is proprietary and really it is person A's fault for not going to the seminars where they can find out what B is. And why would person A question the lineage from whence person B is learning what they are doing? Really person B is just trying to help fix the broken deficiencies in what person A is doing. Person A should be thankful. And in the meantime, person B would totally kick person A's ass in a fight because what person B is doing is so much more effective. Though person A does have one point, that maybe what they are doing is more "spiritual," if you are into all that.
Person B has posted some very definitive explanations on Aikiweb, more than once, with no excuses about being "propietary" - person B has gone to some lengths, on Aikiweb, to state specifically that what they are doing is not proprietary, but is and has been done by many people and in many traditions.

But, like any other physical/mental practice, there is a limit to how effective such descriptions are without some common context, that's all.

And person A hasn't shown anywhere at all that they are "more spiritual" - I'm not even sure how you would show that.

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-03-2013, 04:08 PM   #115
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

Well, for one, I think it is not terribly productive to revisit the glory days of the Person B show… Speaking personally, the discussions here on aikiweb involving Person B got Person Me to go out and explore some of the flesh and blood people behind these posts, and I think my aikido has greatly benefited from these encounters. The current discussion seems to have evolved to be about whether aikido is best defined by technical waza, OR by its focus on exploring/developing/expressing the nature of aiki. I completely agree with Cliff's statement that "Aikido is the martial art transmitted from Morihei Ueshiba that uses a collection of techniques distilled from classical jujutsu [via his background in daito-ryu] to create an environment where the practitioner has a chance to experience aiki". My first addition would be to go on to say that it seems reasonable that one would be able to take that aiki principle and use it in a variety of circumstances (ex. intellectually, verbally, and other physical endeavors such as MMA). And secondly, that if aikido is about experiencing aiki, then solo exercises that help you develop internal harmony/aiki are a critical aspect of aikido practice. The reason I brought up the 82% (not 87%) is because Aikido has historically tried to distance itself from other arts including its parent art, daito-ryu -- and I think that if we want to define the art, focusing on the waza is not the way to do it. It's like focusing on the difference between shotokan and taekwondo by focusing on a basic front kick. That's not a useful differentiator in my opinion. You gotta go with the butterfly kick (which I have been told is "the most beautiful move in all of martial arts")…

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Old 05-06-2013, 10:19 AM   #116
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Person B has posted some very definitive explanations on Aikiweb, more than once, with no excuses about being "propietary" - person B has gone to some lengths, on Aikiweb, to state specifically that what they are doing is not proprietary, but is and has been done by many people and in many traditions.

But, like any other physical/mental practice, there is a limit to how effective such descriptions are without some common context, that's all.

And person A hasn't shown anywhere at all that they are "more spiritual" - I'm not even sure how you would show that.

Best,

Chris
Ha ha...this cracks me up. Are we now not even allowed to say Dan's name here now?

Has he become the Voldemort of the aikido community? He may have been cast out, but speaketh his name and his presence returns, potentially corrupting new users who decide to use the search function to find the Dark Lord.

Last edited by allowedcloud : 05-06-2013 at 10:20 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 05-06-2013, 10:24 AM   #117
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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Mary is the "apple" of my eye, I have an Adam's "apple", I work on "Apple" computers. Do any of these uses of the word apple prevent it from functioning as the name of the fruit? Aikido is a Way, a process of discovery. A Way that is delineated by a set of principles that have come down to us through O Sensei via his own process of discovery.

The word Aikido in that broader sense can be associated with almost any activity if the activity is performed in accordance with Aikido principles. While we wouldn't call basket weaving done with mind/body coordination Aikido, mainly due to the conventional notion that Aikido is a martial art, we would not be unjustified in doing so. Many words do not have precise, mathematical-like definitions. In fact, many words are their own opposites. When it comes to word usage you have to consider the contextual framework that the word is used in.

Perhaps as you continue your training you will come to see Aikido in a richer context that allows for a broader definition of the word while not preventing it from functioning as the name of the art we practice.

Ron
Ron, your "apple" example is about metaphor, which is not what I'm talking about. Everybody knows that an apple is a fruit and that an "Adam's apple" is a fanciful name for something that is not an apple and has virtually nothing in common with an apple. When the person who started this thread says he sees aikido in MMA fights, he's not being fanciful; he means it. What I'd like to know is, under what definition of the word aikido can it be true that we see aikido in MMA, and how could such a definition function as a definitive name for the martial art practiced by the followers of Ueshiba, Saito, Nishio, Saotome, Homma, Tomiki, Shioda, etc?

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Old 05-06-2013, 10:57 AM   #118
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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Well, for one, I think it is not terribly productive to revisit the glory days of the Person B show… Speaking personally, the discussions here on aikiweb involving Person B got Person Me to go out and explore some of the flesh and blood people behind these posts, and I think my aikido has greatly benefited from these encounters. The current discussion seems to have evolved to be about whether aikido is best defined by technical waza, OR by its focus on exploring/developing/expressing the nature of aiki. I completely agree with Cliff's statement that "Aikido is the martial art transmitted from Morihei Ueshiba that uses a collection of techniques distilled from classical jujutsu [via his background in daito-ryu] to create an environment where the practitioner has a chance to experience aiki". My first addition would be to go on to say that it seems reasonable that one would be able to take that aiki principle and use it in a variety of circumstances (ex. intellectually, verbally, and other physical endeavors such as MMA). And secondly, that if aikido is about experiencing aiki, then solo exercises that help you develop internal harmony/aiki are a critical aspect of aikido practice. The reason I brought up the 82% (not 87%) is because Aikido has historically tried to distance itself from other arts including its parent art, daito-ryu -- and I think that if we want to define the art, focusing on the waza is not the way to do it.
Then what is the way to do it?

I would agree that, since aikido is ideally both a search for and an expression of something greater and more important than just a martial art, trying to define it technically seems on the surface to be a bit narrow. I would also agree that Ueshiba himself never defined aikido so narrowly.

But for the purposes of language, both those things are secondary concerns. Our primary concerns are (a) having a word that can function as the name for our martial art, and (b) keeping the definition of that word specific enough that it can be used functionally.

If we are not going to define aikido according to technique and lineage, then how are we going to define it?

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Old 05-06-2013, 01:37 PM   #119
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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Then what is the way to do it?

I would agree that, since aikido is ideally both a search for and an expression of something greater and more important than just a martial art, trying to define it technically seems on the surface to be a bit narrow. I would also agree that Ueshiba himself never defined aikido so narrowly.

But for the purposes of language, both those things are secondary concerns. Our primary concerns are (a) having a word that can function as the name for our martial art, and (b) keeping the definition of that word specific enough that it can be used functionally.

If we are not going to define aikido according to technique and lineage, then how are we going to define it?
I think you have kinda answered your question. For me, I am working on defining my aikido by functionaling expressing... aiki. Aiki is the "something greater than" component of our curriculum. Bill Gleason said in an interview that he felt most aikido people were not practicing aiki. While controversial at the time, we now hear this from other people and we now have other people than can demonstrate Gleason Sensei's point.

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Old 05-06-2013, 01:44 PM   #120
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

Mathew,
Thank you for the reply, and nice to see that we have managed to drag you back into the discussion. I think I now see what you are getting at, and I apologize for being dense. Unlike Chris, I am definitely NOT a linguist. If you agree that aikido is "ideally both a search for and an expression of something greater and more important than just a martial art", then I believe we are on roughly the same page. I think that where we differ is that I am fine with Aikido being defined using a broad definition that encompasses the general principle of aiki whereas you are looking for a very tight physical description of aikido. I hope this is accurate? For me, this seems like a never-ending semantic battle, where you say, "OK, aikido is defined as the techniques ikkyo, nikkyo, sankyo, etc…" and then someone comes along and asks you to define ikkyo, which has many many variations -- most of which are designed to forestall the attack. In my opinion, this path also leads to a non-functional unwieldy definition.

Defining the art is waaay above my paygrade, as I am just seeing the tip of the iceberg. If I am alive in 50 years, I suspect I will have a much better definition. For now, I will keep it fairly broad in scope. I see aikido as the focus on "aiki", and that includes intra-personal aiki (i.e. inner harmony both physically and spiritually) as well as inter-personal aiki (i.e. creating connection between two or more people either physically, intellectually, or spiritually). In terms of a functional definition, I guess I just don't understand what you are looking for in terms of "functionality". Are you just trying to distinguish it from another martial art? Are you trying to use it to describe the physical movements to someone who isn't familiar with jujitsu? I asked you this earlier, but do you consider the solo exercises as "aikido" in your functional definition?

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Old 05-06-2013, 10:11 PM   #121
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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Ron, your "apple" example is about metaphor, which is not what I'm talking about. Everybody knows that an apple is a fruit and that an "Adam's apple" is a fanciful name for something that is not an apple and has virtually nothing in common with an apple. When the person who started this thread says he sees aikido in MMA fights, he's not being fanciful; he means it. What I'd like to know is, under what definition of the word aikido can it be true that we see aikido in MMA, and how could such a definition function as a definitive name for the martial art practiced by the followers of Ueshiba, Saito, Nishio, Saotome, Homma, Tomiki, Shioda, etc?
Rik Ellis, a British MMA fighter and son of AikiWeb poster Henry Ellis, posted on his blog: "For me, my Aikido is in my mind and my body." If you watch any of Rik's video clips you won't see Aikido expressed in the form that you are used to, yet he would probably tell you that he takes his Aikido into the cage with him, and uses it. Aikido isn't form, it's not techniques. The form and techniques are expressions of the Art of Aikido not the Art itself. What binds the many expressions of Aikido together are the principles.

From the Art of Peace: "The techniques of the Way of Peace change constantly, every encounter is unique, and the appropriate response should emerge naturally. Today's techniques will be different tomorrow.Do not get caught up with the form and appearance of a challenge. The Art of Peace has no form - it is the study of the spirit."

So if you would like to know,

Quote:
Matthew Story wrote: View Post
...under what definition of the word aikido can it be true that we see aikido in MMA, and how could such a definition function as a definitive name for the martial art practiced by the followers of Ueshiba, Saito, Nishio, Saotome, Homma, Tomiki, Shioda, etc?
why not simply let O Sensei provide it for you? Aikido "is the study of the spirit."

Ron

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Old 05-07-2013, 01:26 PM   #122
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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Rik Ellis, a British MMA fighter and son of AikiWeb poster Henry Ellis, posted on his blog: "For me, my Aikido is in my mind and my body." If you watch any of Rik's video clips you won't see Aikido expressed in the form that you are used to, yet he would probably tell you that he takes his Aikido into the cage with him, and uses it. Aikido isn't form, it's not techniques. The form and techniques are expressions of the Art of Aikido not the Art itself. What binds the many expressions of Aikido together are the principles.

From the Art of Peace: "The techniques of the Way of Peace change constantly, every encounter is unique, and the appropriate response should emerge naturally. Today's techniques will be different tomorrow.Do not get caught up with the form and appearance of a challenge. The Art of Peace has no form - it is the study of the spirit."

So if you would like to know,

why not simply let O Sensei provide it for you? Aikido "is the study of the spirit."

Ron
"The study of the spirit" is not a functional definition. If you tell a friend you have aikido tomorrow, and someone asks, "What's that?" you're not going to tell them it's the study of the spirit, because that could mean anything and he's going to have no idea what you're talking about. The word aikido has to mean something more specific than that, or else it has no meaning at all.

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Old 05-07-2013, 01:36 PM   #123
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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Mathew,
Thank you for the reply, and nice to see that we have managed to drag you back into the discussion. I think I now see what you are getting at, and I apologize for being dense. Unlike Chris, I am definitely NOT a linguist. If you agree that aikido is "ideally both a search for and an expression of something greater and more important than just a martial art", then I believe we are on roughly the same page. I think that where we differ is that I am fine with Aikido being defined using a broad definition that encompasses the general principle of aiki whereas you are looking for a very tight physical description of aikido. I hope this is accurate? For me, this seems like a never-ending semantic battle, where you say, "OK, aikido is defined as the techniques ikkyo, nikkyo, sankyo, etc…" and then someone comes along and asks you to define ikkyo, which has many many variations -- most of which are designed to forestall the attack. In my opinion, this path also leads to a non-functional unwieldy definition.

Defining the art is waaay above my paygrade, as I am just seeing the tip of the iceberg. If I am alive in 50 years, I suspect I will have a much better definition. For now, I will keep it fairly broad in scope. I see aikido as the focus on "aiki", and that includes intra-personal aiki (i.e. inner harmony both physically and spiritually) as well as inter-personal aiki (i.e. creating connection between two or more people either physically, intellectually, or spiritually). In terms of a functional definition, I guess I just don't understand what you are looking for in terms of "functionality". Are you just trying to distinguish it from another martial art? Are you trying to use it to describe the physical movements to someone who isn't familiar with jujitsu? I asked you this earlier, but do you consider the solo exercises as "aikido" in your functional definition?
I think that, when we use the word aikido, we need to be talking about O Sensei's martial art, not the principles of O Sensei's martial art. Since none of those principles are exclusive to O Sensei's martial art, including them in the definition of the word aikido prevents aikido from functioning as the name for O Sensei's martial art. And in that case, the martial art needs another name.

I, for one, think it makes a lot more sense to say "aiki" when we mean aiki, and to say "aikido" only when we are referring to Morihei Ueshiba's martial art which expresses the principle of aiki through a technical curriculum based on Takeda's Daito-ryu aiki-jujutsu.

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Old 05-07-2013, 01:43 PM   #124
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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"The study of the spirit" is not a functional definition. If you tell a friend you have aikido tomorrow, and someone asks, "What's that?" you're not going to tell them it's the study of the spirit, because that could mean anything and he's going to have no idea what you're talking about. The word aikido has to mean something more specific than that, or else it has no meaning at all.
Matt, you're looking for a one size fits all meaning for a process that individualizes it's meaning for each practitioner. The meaning of Aikido grows and changes with time. At the point you are at in your practice it sounds like you need Aikido to be defined in absolute terms that you can rely on to be invariant; to provide a firm footing upon which you can build your knowledge.

I think that this is very common among Aikido students. I know that it was for me. Anyway, find what works for you and run with it. The expanded meaning of Aikido reveals itself over time according to the needs of the student.

Ron

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Old 05-07-2013, 02:27 PM   #125
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Re: Can we see that aikido is all over the place in MMA?

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Matt, you're looking for a one size fits all meaning for a process that individualizes it's meaning for each practitioner. The meaning of Aikido grows and changes with time. At the point you are at in your practice it sounds like you need Aikido to be defined in absolute terms that you can rely on to be invariant; to provide a firm footing upon which you can build your knowledge.

I think that this is very common among Aikido students. I know that it was for me. Anyway, find what works for you and run with it. The expanded meaning of Aikido reveals itself over time according to the needs of the student.

Ron
What works for me is not enough. I need to be able to say it to someone else and be reasonably sure that they have an idea of what I'm talking about. Otherwise it's just a meaningless string of syllables.

Let me make an analogy here to another word with a highly disputed definition. C.S. Lewis got a lot of flack from some readers over his use of the word Christian. They thought it was very presumptuous of him to think he could decide what a Christian really is, and believed that Christianity was something much bigger than just acceptance of a set of doctrines. He replied thus:
Quote:
People ask: 'Who are you, to lay down who is, and who is not a Christian?' or 'May not many a man who cannot believe these doctrines be far more truly a Christian, far closer to the spirit of Christ, than some who do?' Now this objection is in one sense very right, very charitable, very spiritual, very sensitive. It has every available quality except that of being useful. We simply cannot, without disaster, use language as these objectors want us to use it.
...
Now if once we allow people to start spiritualizing and refining, or as they might say ‘deepening,' the sense of the word Christian, it will... speedily become a useless word. In the first place, Christians themselves will never be able to apply it to anyone. It is not for us to say who, in the deepest sense, is or is not close to the spirit of Christ. We do not see into men's hearts. We cannot judge, and are indeed forbidden to judge. It would be wicked arrogance for us to say that any man is, or is not, a Christian in this refined sense. And obviously a word which we can never apply is not going to be a very useful word.
You are right that I am inexperienced, and that I have no authority to tell anyone what the true meaning of aikido is in the deepest sense. But I'm merely talking about the word here. If everyone used the word the way you suggest, the word would cease to mean anything at all.

Last edited by OwlMatt : 05-07-2013 at 02:38 PM.

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