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Old 12-04-2013, 11:32 AM   #76
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

Bernd wrote:

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If we carefully watch the videos of "Rendez-vous with adventure" and the video of O Sensei with Americans on the rooftop, we might suspect that his actions affect these strangers quite less effectively than his own disciples. If now we drew an analogy to Tohei and the five Judoka versus Tohei and Herman the foreigner, we might conclude, that Aiki based arts - without adapting them - are more effective on people who by cultural heritage or otherwise are trained to react in a specific way.
With this assumption and with the additional restriction on Tohei that "the foreign guest" isn't to injure we wouldn't need a bad day for Tohei to see him face those difficulties.
Nice analysis. I think this is spot on in my book.

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Old 12-04-2013, 11:35 AM   #77
Keith Larman
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

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Bernd Lehnen wrote: View Post
If we carefully watch the videos of "Rendez-vous with adventure" and the video of O Sensei with Americans on the rooftop, we might suspect that his actions affect these strangers quite less effectively than his own disciples. If now we drew an analogy to Tohei and the five Judoka versus Tohei and Herman the foreigner, we might conclude, that Aiki based arts - without adapting them - are more effective on people who by cultural heritage or otherwise are trained to react in a specific way.
With this assumption and with the additional restriction on Tohei that "the foreign guest" isn't to injure we wouldn't need a bad day for Tohei to see him face those difficulties.

Just musing...

Best,
Bernd
I sometimes joke that watching the Herman video is Aikido's Rorschach test. The interpretations are always interesting and reflect a great deal more upon the commentator's background than maybe what's actually in the video.

That said we recently had a new young guy join our dojo. Enthusiastic, willing to put it out there. Falling skills still developing and clearly no prior experience in martial arts. He comes in strong and hard but gets that stiff, teetering, falling over awkwardly appearance very quickly. So he can be a challenge to work with assuming you're a) trying to teach him something and b) you don't want to see an injury. I was thinking about all this stuff a few days ago when I saw him in a class. I watched the instructor more easily lay him down gently, even if it was often not exactly what the instructor was trying to teach. The less experienced students often aborted or froze up because of his lack of "proper" ukemi.

I remember other beginners who were bigger, stronger, and even more willing. And yeah, it can end up looking much like the now famous Herman. One guy I remember would try grabbing me on both wrists then pull down putting his face directly in front of my hips. I kept thinking I should either ask him on a date or knee his nose out the back of his head. Of course that's not terribly aiki, but I wonder often what you'd see if someone pulled something like that with the elder Ueshiba (and no one was filming). I suspect there would be a mess on the mat.

Anyway, my rambling point here is that could be all sorts of stuff going on, not the least of which would be training and/or cultural assumptions. Other sources of discussion could be whether things many today consider "non-aikido" like a strong knee to the face might really belong in aikido as an assumed thing. Remember that many of the early Aikido guys came with prior knowledge in other arts. So are we also looking at "let's add in this aiki stuff to power and refine some of our techniques. But yeah, if the dude is gonna stick his face right in front of your knee, obviously, "blend" your knee with his face 'with ki'."

I can think of all sorts of ways to interpret this video and how it all fits in to the larger narrative about Aikido. Some love to bring it up saying Tohei wasn't all that good. Others like to point out the limitations on Tohei. Some use it to criticize aikido at large. Others use it as an example of how even in an ugly situation with limitations it can still control to some extent. So... Shrug. And shrug some more.

Clearly Tohei was a strong man. Powerful. And by all accounts powerful in many ways beyond just muscle. A favorite comment of a sensei of mine who trained with him was that his kotegaeshi felt like someone put a pallet of bricks on your wrist, just very gently. Beyond that, well, I'll leave it up to those who actually got significant hands on with the man since I realize now I'm looking at the same set of tea leaves seeing what I want to see...

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Old 12-04-2013, 02:26 PM   #78
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

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Keith Larman wrote: View Post
One guy I remember would try grabbing me on both wrists then pull down putting his face directly in front of my hips. I kept thinking I should either ask him on a date or knee his nose out the back of his head. Of course that's not terribly aiki...
So this puzzles me. In our dojo, it would be perfectly appropriate for a senior to tell a junior that they've put themselves in a martially moronic position, perhaps mime the strike they've opened themselves to, and give them some hints on how the attack they're doing can be accomplished more effectively and less self-destructively. If Sensei sees too much of it going on, he'll stop everybody and tell us all off for lacking martial awareness.

Is this not appropriate in other dojos? Are ukes expected to learn how to keep themselves out of trouble by osmosis?

Evolution doesn't prove God doesn't exist, any more than hammers prove carpenters don't exist.
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Old 12-04-2013, 02:39 PM   #79
Keith Larman
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

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Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
So this puzzles me. In our dojo, it would be perfectly appropriate for a senior to tell a junior that they've put themselves in a martially moronic position, perhaps mime the strike they've opened themselves to, and give them some hints on how the attack they're doing can be accomplished more effectively and less self-destructively. If Sensei sees too much of it going on, he'll stop everybody and tell us all off for lacking martial awareness.

Is this not appropriate in other dojos? Are ukes expected to learn how to keep themselves out of trouble by osmosis?
Of course. I was talking about how a beginner who hasn't yet learned about those things will behave the first time they get out there. *OF COURSE* you show students the openings and problems. That's how they learn not to do those things. Herman didn't have that yet so it was a big, oafish attack with tons of openings. Just openings that for the most part would involve hitting him in the face or taking him down in a way that would likely injure an inexperienced person. Which was my point about how most of the early students in Aikido had prior experience in martial arts and would know better than to leave just gaping holes in their attacks.

And I will add that some people seem rather immune to advice about not leaving openings. Sometimes even after having it demonstrated in real time.

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Old 12-04-2013, 02:40 PM   #80
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

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Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
In our dojo, it would be perfectly appropriate for a senior to tell a junior that they've put themselves in a martially moronic position, perhaps mime the strike they've opened themselves to, and give them some hints on how the attack they're doing can be accomplished more effectively and less self-destructively.
This is what I've experienced too..
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Old 12-04-2013, 03:42 PM   #81
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

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Bernd Lehnen wrote: View Post
It's debatable wether DRAJJ is a Koryu and, even if it's concerned with great effectiveness, wether the martial aspect is rather limited or restricted on purpose.
BTW, is there any indication that Aiki based arts like DRAJJ or Aikido have proven any martial value in the more recent cross-cultural conflicts from the Falkland war to the conflict in Afghanistan?
Also, remember there are different branches of Daito ryu and the nature of their training is different...there is even greater divergence than between different styles of Aikido. So your mileage will vary considerably when judging a focus on martial aspects.

As far as I am aware...there is very little "proof of martial value" of ANY martial art system in ANY conflict, whether cross or intracultural. Skulls of fallen swordsmen in the west of Japan who had their own tsuba lodged in their skulls due to the ferocity of Satsuma warriors is the only thing I can think of.
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Old 12-04-2013, 09:11 PM   #82
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

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Keith Larman wrote: View Post
*OF COURSE* you show students the openings and problems. That's how they learn not to do those things.
Okie-dokie then, we're on the same page. I wasn't getting that from your post.

Evolution doesn't prove God doesn't exist, any more than hammers prove carpenters don't exist.
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Old 12-05-2013, 06:00 AM   #83
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

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Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post

Tohei (or the Aikikai) wisely chose not to try that in Europe. People like Mochizuki Minoru, Abe Tadashi or Abbe Kenshiro were more appropiate to deal with european judoka, and lets not forget what Mochizuki told Ueshiba after his european adventure.
Well,

this time, it would have been only one instead of five but, obviously, they declined his request.

Just to remember Jon Bluming, a great budoka from Holland, the Netherlands.
He might have been on the same page with Ellis about this topic. Here's an excerpt of an Interview:

Quote:
Q: To impress the Westerners who were attracted to martial arts, do you think that some Japanese personalities have greatly exaggerated their capabilities and historical facts with unbelievable stories?
 
A: Definitely yes! And the worst place is Asia. But there are plenty who really are what they say. Please allow me to tell you a funny example of this. My wife works for the Dutch-Chinese travel office. One day while I was waiting for her, I picked up a Chinese magazine about sports. I saw some Chinese wushu, and there was an article in memoriam of a 100-year-old Chinese wushu teacher who had passed away. He was very famous in his district because he had defeated a tiger with his bare hands many years before. I would have loved to talked to the man and taken some lessons from him, but I am afraid I would not have been able to keep a straight face! In another magazine, some time later, I found the same story. This time it was a black bear. Well, it's up to you guys to believe it or not. Some wushu people said they believed it, and that's the kind the money grabbers love so much because they pay a lot of money for this ****. I remember that Draeger Sensei took me to the Ueshiba dojo for aikido classes. I looked on in amazement. The movements were very nice, but on the street nobody is going to run around you and jump all over himself when taken by the wrist! I asked the sensei if I could fight one of his students or his son, but he told me they did not fight. I asked them if that's how they did their championships, but they said they didn't. So I told them that I could take dancing lessons in Holland. To be honest, in the modern fashion of aikijitsu, there are some very good and real street-fighting techniques that are useful. I even studied some, so that has changed for the better. This is simply an example to show you how those stupid stories come into the world.

Q: You seem to be very upset with people talking on the Internet. Why?
 
A: Because it is a very easy way for those cowards who don't have the courage -- and I would love to use another word -- to criticize and bad-mouth others who dedicate their whole lives to budo and have the scars to prove it. It is very easy to write and talk trash, but it's impossible to find one of these cowards who will show up and tell you things to your face so you can get back at them with your fist. Talk is cheap, and the Internet helps to make even cheaper!

Q: What do you consider to be the most important qualities of a successful budoka?
 
A: Honesty. In my dojo, there is no religious talk, no discrimination of any kind and there is no BS. All we do is train. Make the dojo a brotherhood, a sort of budo family. What you learn today you should show the others later and help the lower grades achieve a higher level by teaching them what you have learnt. Don't pick on the beginners just to show how good you are because they don't come to the dojo to be beaten up by a bully. It is especially important for the sensei to look for those kinds of bullies because they can screw up the whole dojo. Don't believe all the famous stories that turn out to be all lies.
You may read more about him on this website scrolling down to "Founder: Jon Bluming"

www.jigoku-dojo.com/‎

Best,
Bernd
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:00 PM   #84
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

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Cliff Judge wrote: View Post

As far as I am aware...there is very little "proof of martial value" of ANY martial art system in ANY conflict, whether cross or intracultural. Skulls of fallen swordsmen in the west of Japan who had their own tsuba lodged in their skulls due to the ferocity of Satsuma warriors is the only thing I can think of.
Cliff, hope I am not missing your point, but thought I'd use it anyway to convey some thoughts.

Some of the proof might be anecdotal, but I think we can conclude that there are clearly formed martial training methods. Grossman addresses this extensively in "On Killing", and my friend Pete Jensen wrote his doctoral dissertation examining specifically the effects of hand to hand combat and looked at how participants felt their training impacted their survivability.

http://trace.tennessee.edu/cgi/viewc...t=utk_graddiss

A common theme in both their works spans not necessarily the techniques that are used, but the mental states, the mentality requiring a detachment from the enemy, the processing of information, the ability to make decisions quickly under stress, and the willingness to do what is necessary. Of course, technical/physical responses have been inculcated through training.

Of course both Grossman and Pete address military aspects of killing and one might conclude that this does not apply to civilian situations and therefore, is not relevant.

However, I submit that by it's basic definition ALL martial arts are about this, and the exact same issues would surface in any violent encounter that you would need to use your hands to defend yourself.

What I see as problematic is the "de-martialing" of martial systems to something other than what they were intended to do. This is a pervasive them in arts such as Aikido that tend to take on a philosophical bend or emphasize particular desired physical aspects such as KI development or IS.

When systems are "de-martialed" the become something else. It is no longer really an "effective, holistic martial practice. A different psychology is created, and of course, you will end up with a different end state than the original intent. Different priorities are placed on parts of the system, and whole parts of the system become ignored all together because they do not appear to compliment the "civil" mindset or philosophy that is being promoted.

Not that there is anything wrong with that. Apparently millions of people like these systems.

However, there are martial systems and practices today that produce the desired skill sets necessary to survive hand to hand encounters, and we have proof from those that have survived these encounters, even if it is anecdotal.

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Old 12-05-2013, 01:54 PM   #85
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
When systems are "de-martialed" the become something else. It is no longer really an "effective, holistic martial practice. A different psychology is created, and of course, you will end up with a different end state than the original intent. Different priorities are placed on parts of the system, and whole parts of the system become ignored all together because they do not appear to compliment the "civil" mindset or philosophy that is being promoted.
how is that different from take an army trained for combat/warfare and use it as a police force?

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 12-05-2013, 04:30 PM   #86
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

Phi, I think martially there is no difference between a police force and a military force.

What separates police from Army/Military is the the authority and purpose. Some times it can be the same forces can be used for both. ie with National Guards and Gendarmeries. By definitions modern nation/states use militaries as a means to meet external political or national objectives or national will. Whereas police forces by definition are used internally to enforce laws of that nation, state, or jurisdiction.

So for me, they are both are elements of power used for different endstates.

take away the purpose and endstates and you really have the same basic elements....so no difference when we look at them martially.

However, the purpose of both may drive different tactics, techniques and procedures in the implementation of the spectrum of use of force. However, many of them may be the same as well.

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Old 12-06-2013, 07:42 AM   #87
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Cliff, hope I am not missing your point, but thought I'd use it anyway to convey some thoughts.

Some of the proof might be anecdotal, but I think we can conclude that there are clearly formed martial training methods. Grossman addresses this extensively in "On Killing", and my friend Pete Jensen wrote his doctoral dissertation examining specifically the effects of hand to hand combat and looked at how participants felt their training impacted their survivability.

http://trace.tennessee.edu/cgi/viewc...t=utk_graddiss

A common theme in both their works spans not necessarily the techniques that are used, but the mental states, the mentality requiring a detachment from the enemy, the processing of information, the ability to make decisions quickly under stress, and the willingness to do what is necessary. Of course, technical/physical responses have been inculcated through training.

Of course both Grossman and Pete address military aspects of killing and one might conclude that this does not apply to civilian situations and therefore, is not relevant.

However, I submit that by it's basic definition ALL martial arts are about this, and the exact same issues would surface in any violent encounter that you would need to use your hands to defend yourself.

What I see as problematic is the "de-martialing" of martial systems to something other than what they were intended to do. This is a pervasive them in arts such as Aikido that tend to take on a philosophical bend or emphasize particular desired physical aspects such as KI development or IS.

When systems are "de-martialed" the become something else. It is no longer really an "effective, holistic martial practice. A different psychology is created, and of course, you will end up with a different end state than the original intent. Different priorities are placed on parts of the system, and whole parts of the system become ignored all together because they do not appear to compliment the "civil" mindset or philosophy that is being promoted.

Not that there is anything wrong with that. Apparently millions of people like these systems.

However, there are martial systems and practices today that produce the desired skill sets necessary to survive hand to hand encounters, and we have proof from those that have survived these encounters, even if it is anecdotal.
I've read Grossman, but thanks for the link to your friends paper! I will check that out.

Berndt was asking if there was any evidence of Aiki-related arts being effective in actual conflicts. I guess I expanded the class of martial arts, but only to include other traditional, non-competitive arts in my mind. Obviously people have fought and there have been winners due to training and preparation for combat. Lately, I suppose I have been "open to the idea" that koryu bujutsu is not actually that type of thing (very firmly rooted in it though).

One thing that "de-martialling" a system can entail is a decoupling of it from the necessities of the battlefield with regard to the liklihood that death of one or more combatants is a fine outcome for the other. I'm wondering if you might be able to look at this as a positive, if the art were meant for the general population and not only professional warriors, people who may face a lot of conflict in their lives but rarely lethal conflict. In other words, what if you could have a martial art that had martial underpinnings, but dealt with conflict at a sufficiently abstract level that it could be useful for a middle manager trying to get more funding for his team, a lawyer trying to construct a winning argument, a parent or teacher of a difficult youth, or a police officer trying to de-escalate a situation? I suspect it would be harder to see where the rubber meets the road, but it might be a good thing to put out there.
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Old 12-06-2013, 12:31 PM   #88
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Re: It Aint Necessarily So: Rendez-vous with Adventure by Ellis Amdur

Figured I got it wrong Cliff! Thanks for clarifying.

Couple of thoughts to your last paragraph.

My friend Ron Donvito was the creator of the LINES system for the Marine Corps in the late 1980 and 1990s. LINE was all about creating the warrior mindset to overcome your enemy and bring to bear quick and lethal force. Ron has been very clear about that.

Marine Corps adopted MCMAP around 2001 to address the fact that Marines needed to be concerned with the spectrum of the use of force. The Army Combatives program has also been modified to also address Use of Force issues as well. Both systems recognize that there is a need for something other than simply creating death and destruction, although at the base, both systems want to inculcate the warrior ethos. That is, the willingness to meet with and confront violence.

So if you use these two systems as models of martial success, then it becomes necessary to address a very wide spectrum of interaction.

However, this is different than a "de-martialed" system that seeks primarily to develop traits and characteristics other than those mentioned above. You provide some good examples of "de-martialed" concepts. I think these things are fine examples of how we can draw from the shape and form of martial systems to find ways to help people in other areas. I think that these things are a positive outshoot or benefit.

I think there is some grey area we will find though. Such as the example of the police officer using his skills to de-escalate a potentially violent situation. Personally, I have found much value in my martial training.

However, I would argue that the police officer is a bad example. He has to have martial potential to back up what he is facing. It must exist, if it does not, then his words have no meaning what so ever.

If the mental aspects of say a "zen tai chi" practice help reduce the stress in a lawyer, or improve the mobility of a senior citizen...that is a fine thing indeed. But they do not need to necessarily do this through a martial system, they could achieve this through any number of means.

however, the reverse does not follow for those that need martial skill. They cannot practice a de-martialed system and be able to bring to bear the necessary skills in a violent encounter...so therefore, any value that they gain is really a false platform if that is indeed the need. (not sure if this makes any sense at all!!!!).

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