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Old 03-08-2017, 07:35 AM   #26
SeiserL
 
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Re: Is the Aikidoka losing faith in their own martial art? I hope not.

Just to stir the pot and be a bit politically-incorrect, I don't really see many people practicing Aikido as a true/realistic martial/fighting-art.
How we practice in how we fight.
What is the intent that fuels our practice?
Why are we doing it?
With many/most practitioners not being able to attack/punch/kick realistically/effectively, how can we call what we do as a "martial" art?

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 03-08-2017, 08:29 AM   #27
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Is the Aikidoka losing faith in their own martial art? I hope not.

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
Just to stir the pot and be a bit politically-incorrect, I don't really see many people practicing Aikido as a true/realistic martial/fighting-art.
How we practice in how we fight.
What is the intent that fuels our practice?
Why are we doing it?
With many/most practitioners not being able to attack/punch/kick realistically/effectively, how can we call what we do as a "martial" art?
Well, maybe Aikido is not a martial art but other thing, could be Aikido is a technology of the self and the "martial" elements are not really relevant.
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Old 03-08-2017, 11:17 AM   #28
RonRagusa
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Re: Is the Aikidoka losing faith in their own martial art? I hope not.

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Well, maybe Aikido is not a martial art but other thing, could be Aikido is a technology of the self and the "martial" elements are not really relevant.
Or maybe it's all there for the taking and it's up to the practitioner to find what's self-relevant and pursue that path. Different strokes and all that...

Ron

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Old 03-08-2017, 11:47 AM   #29
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Is the Aikidoka losing faith in their own martial art? I hope not.

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Or maybe it's all there for the taking and it's up to the practitioner to find what's self-relevant and pursue that path. Different strokes and all that...

Ron
As long as he/she is being honest about that, there will be no problem.
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Old 03-08-2017, 12:09 PM   #30
RonRagusa
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Re: Is the Aikidoka losing faith in their own martial art? I hope not.

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
As long as he/she is being honest about that, there will be no problem.
The honesty of one's training becomes evident when one examines the results. If one wishes to practice aikido as a martial/fighting art then after a period of time one should be able to demonstrate the efficacy of aikido as a martial/fighting art. OTOH if aikido "is a technology of the self" (interesting thought BTW) then after a period of time one should notice fundamental physical and mental changes taking place that are attributable to that training.

In either event, it's not a matter of faith in the art of aikido. Being an art, aikido is mutable. It's shaped by those who practice it, in whatever form.

Ron

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Old 03-09-2017, 07:58 PM   #31
GovernorSilver
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Re: Is the Aikidoka losing faith in their own martial art? I hope not.

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
Just to stir the pot and be a bit politically-incorrect, I don't really see many people practicing Aikido as a true/realistic martial/fighting-art.
How we practice in how we fight.
What is the intent that fuels our practice?
Why are we doing it?
With many/most practitioners not being able to attack/punch/kick realistically/effectively, how can we call what we do as a "martial" art?
Your experience in Aikido dwarfs mine by far, so I'm looking forward to your answers to your own questions.
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Old 03-10-2017, 05:30 AM   #32
erikmenzel
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Re: Is the Aikidoka losing faith in their own martial art? I hope not.

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
How we practice in how we fight.
What is the intent that fuels our practice?
Why are we doing it?
I for one practice. I practice to practice. The goal of my training is to be, to be what I am now. I am teaching myself to stay in the now, to not dwell on the past and to not dream about the future.

This kind of training is hard. For me because letting go and accepting what is coming toward you without fear or anticipation is hard. For my partners because I ask exactly the same from them.

I am doing it because it is enjoyable, because I sense myself growing and feel this growth transition into the rest of my life. I am doing it because I believe it will turn me into a person who can have positive effect on his surroundings. Courtesy is the beginning, the middle and the end of everything.

All I do just is, the rest is just unneeded clutter.

Erik doesn't matter

(BTW if I read this myself it sound fairly vague, but for me it is not. It is clear, hard but clear.)

Erik Jurrien Menzel
kokoro o makuru taisanmen ni hirake
Personal:www.kuipers-menzel.com
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Old 03-10-2017, 01:53 PM   #33
SeiserL
 
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Re: Is the Aikidoka losing faith in their own martial art? I hope not.

Quote:
Paolo Valladolid wrote: View Post
Your experience in Aikido dwarfs mine by far, so I'm looking forward to your answers to your own questions.
I train with the intent to apply Aikido as an effective/efficient martial art ...
I train because Aikido is an interesting study in human structure/alignment/balance and connection/movement ...
To each there own ...
I tend to go to the far end of the bell-shaped curve of normal distribution ...
the mat is less crowded there ... LOL

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 03-10-2017, 10:26 PM   #34
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Re: Is the Aikidoka losing faith in their own martial art? I hope not.

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
I train with the intent to apply Aikido as an effective/efficient martial art ...
I train because Aikido is an interesting study in human structure/alignment/balance and connection/movement ...
To each there own ...
I tend to go to the far end of the bell-shaped curve of normal distribution ...
the mat is less crowded there ... LOL
Thank you sir!

My answers:

What is the intent that fuels our practice?

I intend to apply whatever corrections are given to me by my sempai/sensei and keep trying to understand what they're saying. There's nothing wrong with their English, it's just I don't always make the connection between what they say and what they do with the movement. I usually have to repeat the movement a hundred times before I start getting it - I'd be SOL if I were trying to study with Ueshiba, if he really did teach by showing a movement once - and only once! - then getting mad when students asked him to repeat it.

I am convinced this dojo is committed to teaching Aikido as an art of self-defense. I wasn't sure after the first couple of classes, but after training with certain top students of the dojo founder, I've bought into their party line, as it were. it's not any stirring speech/prose that sold me; it's the day-to-day, week-to-week interaction with these individuals, the way they carry themselves, how they describe applicable scenarios to the waza being practiced, etc.... all the little things that add up.

Why are we doing it?
I initially started studying a completely different martial arts that happened to use the space of an Aikido dojo. I was told I could avoid paying a per-class mat fee by joining the Aikido dojo. So I did, and started showing up to Aikido classes, because I was paying for them anyway. I enjoyed them enough that I kept coming back.

I like the emphasis on efficient movement. I also like the emphasis on active ukemi: Uke trying not to give free openings to nage, protecting himself/herself from sloppy nage, looking for counters... similar to what Ellis Amdur teaches in his "Ukemi From the Ground Up" DVD.

With many/most practitioners not being able to attack/punch/kick realistically/effectively, how can we call what we do as a "martial" art?

I have friends who can't even tell the difference between Aikido and "karate", so I'd be at a loss to explain to them why Aikido is/isn't really a martial art.

I haven't seen anyone in any Aikido dojo kick like a capoeira mestre, or throw knee/elbow strikes like a good Muay Thai fighter. OTOH, I regularly practice with people coming at me with wooden swords and sticks/poles - I figure that counts for something.

Last edited by GovernorSilver : 03-10-2017 at 10:37 PM.
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Old 03-21-2017, 12:13 PM   #35
ColinC
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Re: Is the Aikidoka losing faith in their own martial art? I hope not.

Some great conversation and food for thought here.
I don't know about losing faith, but a crisis of faith every now and then is not only necessary, it's required if one is to continue learning! Blind allegiance to anything is a sad excuse for being an adult, I feel. We have to question, investigate, go deeper, and, yes, even look at our faith in anything in life. To do otherwise is to completely undermine our true potential.

We've all seen it. Of course some Aikidoka walk away, but that's fine. I hit some limits myself and looked outside for some cross training - it's helpful, but doesn't negate what "works" with Aikido. A good foundation of striking and some ground work, areas where modern Aikido can be lacking IMO, is a good idea for one to be adept at self-defense.

I think the core of the question is "does Aikido work"? As my Sensei says, that depends... Sure it works, but does your Aikido work? Maybe, maybe not. In other words it's not the art or technique, it's the person.

I think we also need to define what we're even talking about here. Perhaps there are more, but, grossly defined, I see Martial arts falling into three categories (of course there are no fine lines, and shades of gray between the three):
-Sport/competition
-Show/ demonstration
-Self-defense

If you want sport, then best to study something else. A lot of Aikido has become show, and, if that's your thing, then great for you… But I worry that those who train for show think their art is also for self-defense, and I think that is where a lot of the flack comes from. All those youtube videos of how to disarm this or that attacker, done in a show method and teaching showy poor-principle techniques with ridiculously complaint ukes… It makes me cringe. It makes me cringe even more when I'm honest and I see the way I've trained sometimes in those videos! Honesty is imperative here, most importantly for senior ranks and instructors.

Personally I am interested in real self-defense, which Aikido is excellent for. But I do feel there are some holes, especially for someone like myself who did not come through another martial art. So I do some cross-training for striking and a bit of ground work. Some controlled sparring is also helpful -- call it 2-way jiyu waza if you will. In this situation, with other well-trained martial artists, then some things work very well (standard kokyo nage from the outside, controlling uke's head), and some work only with a very specific and proper setup and execution (udio sai wrist controls), which can be difficult to do against another person who is relaxed and can follow the ebb and flow of a physical confrontation.

The core principles of Aikido work all day long and in nearly every situation; the issue is most techniques are not executed with all the principles firing, which makes for poor and or "it doesn't work" technique. In those cases, we need to be able to stay relaxed and flow around -- henka waza in other words. I think the problem is that is a very senior level concept that isn't really touched until senior dan ranks. Therefore, even, say someone who's 10 years in and earned Nidan, might not be very adept at flow when facing another well-trained opponent.

That said, I trust that other well-trained martial artists are not going to be the ones off mugging and jumping people, so I'm not at all concerned with the whole Aikido vs this-that-or-another art -- it's an ego-based argument and only academic.

I think that's also a big issue -- the ego-based arguments and puffing up of chests as to who is king of the martial arts hill…. I'd rather be busy training than banging out insults and counterpoints on the keyboard. If you're feeling offended that someone ‘dissed Aikido. If you are in person, invite them to train with you -- you very well will learn something. If you are on your computer or mobile devise, turn it off and go train. But you have to train honestly and take into consideration the valid and accurate critiques. If your feelings are hurt by what someone says or thinks, it's not your martial art that's the problem, it is you that is the problem!

In Gassho
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Old 03-21-2017, 12:34 PM   #36
ColinC
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Re: Is the Aikidoka losing faith in their own martial art? I hope not.

Too late to edit and add this:

And if you're losing faith or questioning faith in your art, that's an awesome place to be! Don't shy away from it, explore, practice, and work out your issues. We all have more to learn. If you must walk away, then be honest and don't walk away not knowing how to do it properly. Again, to quote my Sensei - you cannot say you don't like something if you do not know how to do it.
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Old 03-22-2017, 08:45 AM   #37
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Re: Is the Aikidoka losing faith in their own martial art? I hope not.

Nope, haven't lost faith (or interest) in Aikido. MMA practitioners are focused on fighting within a system of rules, for the sole purpose of competition. Nothing inherently wrong with that, just not my jam. They don't use Aikido, that's their business.

I practice Aikido for a variety of reasons, and self-defence is just one of those reasons. In the last few years, I started taking the perspective that, to be useful in that respect, Aikido may not be the most efficient route to that goal, but that it ultimately will lead there. I think there are benefits to this slower progression - besides teaching patience and humility, it forces long-time students to consider the hows and whys of what they do.

For example, recently I've come to some very small realizations about why having Uke's wrist in certain positions is more effective than others; it's taken 8 years of (occasionally sporadic) practice to put all the pieces together, and maybe I'm just slow, but I'd like to think that the reason I've figured this out is because I've spent countless hours bending wrists (mine and others), and trying to understand what is happening.
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Old 03-22-2017, 09:11 AM   #38
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Re: Is the Aikidoka losing faith in their own martial art? I hope not.

Every time this subject comes up, we have people speaking in absolute terms about relative situations. Why do people always want to discuss what's a "realistic fighting art" while never saying "realistic with regard to what"? Who are you fighting and why? And why do people refuse to answer that question? That renders the entire discussion pointless to me.
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Old 05-14-2017, 11:36 AM   #39
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Re: Is the Aikidoka losing faith in their own martial art? I hope not.

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Every time this subject comes up, we have people speaking in absolute terms about relative situations. Why do people always want to discuss what's a "realistic fighting art" while never saying "realistic with regard to what"? Who are you fighting and why? And why do people refuse to answer that question? That renders the entire discussion pointless to me.
Thankyou Mary! x
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Old 05-19-2017, 02:12 PM   #40
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Re: Is the Aikidoka losing faith in their own martial art? I hope not.

I still love Aikido! And plan on doing it for a very long time.

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Old 05-22-2017, 03:50 PM   #41
nikyu62
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Re: Is the Aikidoka losing faith in their own martial art? I hope not.

As a useful budo, Aikido requires no faith when practiced as such; the usefulness is apparent. What requires faith is the precept that practice of Aikido results in practitioners who live up to the lofty spiritual principles espoused by the Founder. Given the divisions that exist among ranking practitioners, that precept is in question.
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Old 05-29-2017, 07:11 PM   #42
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Re: Is the Aikidoka losing faith in their own martial art? I hope not.

Aikido practitioners should make up their mind on what they want Aikido to be and do. In doing that, from a martial perspective, I think Aikido should not feel pressed to address the dueling discourse that currently dominates our self-defense commercial market. Philosophically, I think Aikidoka should stick to their arena of dealing with assaultive behavior and mentalities because there is a deeper and more useful truth in that than in trying to figure out how to apply Aikido to dueling environments. Even commercially, I think Aikidoka should again stick to this position. There is no way, in my opinion, that Aikido can address the combative assumptions of the dueling culture without either doing so poorly or without degenerating the art into something it is not, or something in the end that is incapable of addressing assaultive behavior and/or combat environments. Today, popular Aikido is primarily populated by two groups: one group that further insulates itself from the larger martial purpose, and one group that feels pressed to identify Aikido with and in terms of the MMA discourse. The first group is slowing losing its numbers, like any group that stays away from others, and the second group is losing their art. I would propose a third option be found and practiced, one that acknowledges that the problem is not that the art is traditional but that we are not traditional enough in our understanding of the art.

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
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Old 05-30-2017, 03:56 AM   #43
observer
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Re: Is the Aikidoka losing faith in their own martial art? I hope not.

When reading what others write about aikido, it amazes me that politically correctness dominated our aikido society for many years before it came to public life. Europe is practically defenseless, the US has reduced its military capabilities by half, and in the end it all comes down to putting endless fences to the sky. That's because there is this third option in our mind, my Santa Barbara friend David wrote about.

Aikido is a skill like any other. Should be served when needed. Just like a foreign language. The rules that define aikido are very simple, and it is probably worthy to talk about them again.

Attacks are not important in Aikido. Essential are the directions from which they come and there are nine of them. They are fields of a 3x3 square. Since none of the attacks is intended to reach the target, it does not matter what attack it is. Whether by hand, by foot, or by spear, knife or sword. We react to these attacks with only six techniques, performed on both sides. Every direction of an attack has always the same reaction (technique). This reaction ends physical confrontation in two ways. The attacker is dead or alive with the knowledge that his life has been spared.

Such an attack response is not a fight. Fighting is the clash of strength, mass, skill, experience and speed. In aikido, only speed is counted. I'm talking about the speed of response to attack and technique's execution. These two skills can be mastered independently of each other and coordinated within a few months to a degree that allows them to step out of the oppression of a non-martial arts striker.

As you can see from the discussion these simple rules do not exist in our aikido society anymore. It means that Morihei Ueshiba's life achievement is degraded. Is it not worthy to think about it before it's too late?
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Old 05-30-2017, 06:43 AM   #44
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Is the Aikidoka losing faith in their own martial art? I hope not.

Quote:
David Valadez wrote: View Post
I would propose a third option be found and practiced, one that acknowledges that the problem is not that the art is traditional but that we are not traditional enough in our understanding of the art.
Hi David,

What do you mean by traditional.
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Old 05-30-2017, 11:32 AM   #45
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Re: Is the Aikidoka losing faith in their own martial art? I hope not.

Hi Demetrio,

To be clear, I do not mean "traditionalistic." "Tradition" for me, and in particular to this topic here, I find a stark contrast between the following:

Traditional Understanding: Martial viability and spiritual maturity were not contrasting in nature but were rather co-dependent.
Modern Understanding: Spiritual maturity stands in contrast to martial viability and/or independent to martial viability.

Traditional Understanding: The term "combat effectiveness" related to non-rule-governed weapon armed fighting.
Modern Understanding: The term "combat effectiveness" related to rule-governed weaponless duels.

Traditional Understanding: "Training" means daily training (4-6 hours a day?).
Modern Understanding: "Training" means two to five hours per week training.

Traditional Understanding: Physical strength supplemented technique.
Modern Understanding: Physical strength stands in contrast or opposition to technique.

Traditional Understanding: Training was concept oriented.
Modern Understanding: Training is technique oriented.

Traditional Understanding: Live application was a problem of mind development and the training oriented itself toward mind cultivation and spontaneity.
Modern Understanding: Live application is a problem of simplification and the training is oriented toward reducing and simplifying technique architectures.

Traditional Understanding: The tactical elements of the art were understood to work to make each element martial viable (e.g. ne-waza and the threat of ne-waza set up nage waza; nage waza and the threat of nage waza set up katame waza and atemi waza; empty-handed elements support and are supported by weapons; etc.)
Modern Understanding: The art is contained entirely within Aikido Kihon Waza (empty hand) and there is no tactical co-dependence between multiple elements.

Can we start here? I could go on if necessary but I think this allows the discussion to continue. Let me know.

Thanks,
Dave

David M. Valadez
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Old 06-06-2017, 10:41 AM   #46
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Re: Is the Aikidoka losing faith in their own martial art? I hope not.

Aikidoka does not want to get punched, so he trains without punching, and gets punched.

The majority of Aikidoka are not losing faith, they just do not want to confront the reality of what Aikido is.

Aikido is a combat form, it is meant for fighting. It is a method of doing efficient violence to stop a person doing violence to them. Harmonizing with uke is not a feel-good concept, it is a fight stopping principle. But most instructors have no concept of violence, so they teach an aikido that has no concept of violent effectiveness.

The majority of aikidoka are not losing faith, they are losing the guts to actually fight.
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Old 06-07-2017, 07:06 AM   #47
MrIggy
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Re: Is the Aikidoka losing faith in their own martial art? I hope not.

Quote:
Hansel Wong wrote: View Post
Aikidoka does not want to get punched, so he trains without punching, and gets punched.

The majority of Aikidoka are not losing faith, they just do not want to confront the reality of what Aikido is.

Aikido is a combat form, it is meant for fighting. It is a method of doing efficient violence to stop a person doing violence to them. Harmonizing with uke is not a feel-good concept, it is a fight stopping principle. But most instructors have no concept of violence, so they teach an aikido that has no concept of violent effectiveness.

The majority of aikidoka are not losing faith, they are losing the guts to actually fight.
I wouldn't use the term violence though. We are supposed to learn martial skill in other to stop violence, off course this means that in practice we have to get violent, or at least intensive, in other to learn how to confront it but the ideal is in fact do develop martial skill, which includes a tranquil mind, so that we don't have to be violent rather more skilled then our opponents in order to stop them from hurting us but also not to go over the line when stopping them. For example, some guy jumps me, I thrust him in the face with my elbow, he looses a couple of teeth, and drop him to the ground and subdue him. Someone would say that I was violent but in reality if I wanted to be violent I could have pummeled on him while he was down until not even his own mother could recognize him. There are off course situations, the life and death ones, that unfortunately call for the line to be crossed sometimes. However, even in those situations it's not supposed to be about violence from our point of view rather about the martial ability to render the violent person or persons incapable of violence at any cost. That way there is a clear distinction about what violence is and isn't in the Aikido context.

Last edited by MrIggy : 06-07-2017 at 07:09 AM.
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Old 06-07-2017, 10:31 AM   #48
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Re: Is the Aikidoka losing faith in their own martial art? I hope not.

Quote:
Hansel Wong wrote: View Post
Aikidoka does not want to get punched, so he trains without punching, and gets punched.

The majority of Aikidoka are not losing faith, they just do not want to confront the reality of what Aikido is.

Aikido is a combat form, it is meant for fighting. It is a method of doing efficient violence to stop a person doing violence to them. Harmonizing with uke is not a feel-good concept, it is a fight stopping principle. But most instructors have no concept of violence, so they teach an aikido that has no concept of violent effectiveness.

The majority of aikidoka are not losing faith, they are losing the guts to actually fight.
What to say to this??? Men and women who want to fight should train in a fighting art. Aikido is not about fighting...why the big dilemma?...Find an art that addresses your needs.

Aikido does address violence...from another perspective which includes cultivating a peaceful feeling and focusing on what you actually can change...for example: yourself. Aikido is a revolutionary concept....

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Old 06-07-2017, 09:31 PM   #49
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Re: Is the Aikidoka losing faith in their own martial art? I hope not.

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
What to say to this??? Men and women who want to fight should train in a fighting art. Aikido is not about fighting...why the big dilemma?...Find an art that addresses your needs.

Aikido does address violence...from another perspective which includes cultivating a peaceful feeling and focusing on what you actually can change...for example: yourself. Aikido is a revolutionary concept....
Good response. I have my point of view, but I certainly don't try to make it everyone's point of view. Why does everyone's Aikido have to be the same? Or better, why do some people have to have everyone's Aikido be the same? Or even better, why do some people have to believe that "same" is good or even possible?

Personally, meaning "my perspective," while I have my take on Aikido, because it makes sense for me, in my take, in my Aikido, in that Aikido, it makes no sense this effort to "save Aikido" that so floods the Net now and drives people and their understanding of the art to denounce someone's else. It's such a fiction, this single Aikido that is supposed to be saved! Even this idea, "Their poor students, I have to save them!" that you hear as the ultimate justification, the reason hat allows cruelty, aggressiveness, self-righteousness, etc. - what a joke such a thought this is in my Aikido. In my Aikido, like in the Usual Suspects, when we are told that the greatest trick the Devil ever played was to convince the world he did not exist, the greatest trick the Aikikai and all the other federations ever played on the world was convincing Aikidoka that an "Aikido" exists.

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
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Old 06-08-2017, 08:59 AM   #50
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Re: Is the Aikidoka losing faith in their own martial art? I hope not.

All good discussion. But we should never lose sight of one question ... why study any art? That it would be very hard indeed to separate the choice to practice Aikido from any Aikidoka's ideal of someone who is also practicing it or has practiced it in the past (as in a teacher or the founder).

For example, Leonard Cohen studied Zen with Joshu Sasaki. He once made a comment that I found very interesting. When asked about how he got interested in Zen, he said something to the effect ... "If I met Sasaki and he was teaching physics, I would have become a physics student."

Jim Redel BHC Aikido
"The universe, aikido, the mind - both hands clapping!"
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