Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > General

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 10-28-2017, 02:03 PM   #1
Trolloc63
Location: Omaha
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 14
United_States
Offline
Confused Lost in Aikido

My apologies for the length, but I have some concerns. The short version is: Live in Nebraska and there are 3 Aikido dojos near me, all are traditional. I have tried all 3 of them and am somewhat disheartened by them. I do enjoy the Aikido; however, I find the traditional version to be very unrealistic in a fight. I'm having a hard time "suspending reality" while trying to learn Aikido. Coming off a Gracie Combatives BJJ/Krav Maga background, it's very hard see the effectiveness of the traditional Aikido side.

I just don't see the utility in today's types of fight situations. Now all Aikido is not useless. I see a great deal of utility from "before the fight" situations like grabs, shoves, and that sort of thing. But it seems less effective with let's say wild street punches and boxing like punches. And of course, we cannot forget take downs such as tackles or clinches.

I guess what I'm getting to, is I would like to get my black belt in the traditional Aikido and possibly look at other styles within Aikido to satisfy my "street" experience. I want Aikido to be practical and work on the street. And I guess I'm wondering whether that is even possible?
I have looked at a few dojos around the US that offer the Tenshin style like Lenny Sly and a few others. Iwama is another one. They seem to be very practical. What are your thoughts on this process of mine? Anyone else struggle with this issue?
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-28-2017, 02:50 PM   #2
Janet Rosen
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Janet Rosen's Avatar
Location: Left Coast
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 4,339
Offline
Re: Lost in Aikido

Aikido training you see is basically giving you building blocks for a language. Now, this may not be an approach that works for you, and that's fine. But that's the perspective I'll ask you to look at it through:

The prearranged attack-response are basically a kata to build in muscle memory akin to learning phonemes, then over time being able to put together sentences, and eventually a coherent narrative. At highest level, improvised poetry.

At the same time the building blocks of learning movements are being drilled, there should be an emphasis on executing them with good structure and letting excess tension go. Different dojo will address this at different stages of training. It's totally variable, even within associations: Some will never go past drilling people in sentences so understanding remains rudimentary, some think they are teaching poetry but lack structure or martial effectiveness.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-28-2017, 03:15 PM   #3
Trolloc63
Location: Omaha
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 14
United_States
Offline
Re: Lost in Aikido

I get the gist of what you are trying to tell me. We start with the foundation and work our way up, just like math per se. But this really doesn't answer the question. How can we cultivate this foundation into a street atmosphere? Does this require the right kind of style? Or perhaps different backgrounds in martial arts? Is it even possible to make Aikido more martial?
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-28-2017, 05:43 PM   #4
Avery Jenkins
 
Avery Jenkins's Avatar
Dojo: Litchfield Hills Aikikai
Location: Litchfield, CT
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 158
Offline
Re: Lost in Aikido

I think you probably need to get way better at aikido before you try to "cultivate this foundation in a street atmosphere." As Janet pointed out, you are just learning to spell "the." No way in hell that you're going to be able to write War and Peace with your knowledge base.

For the record, I've used aikido in, err, non-dojo applications. Works fine for me. YMMV. It takes years to get remotely good enough. You may not have the patience, but if you do. the rewards will be worth it.

Avery Jenkins
www.averyjenkins.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-28-2017, 06:06 PM   #5
Avery Jenkins
 
Avery Jenkins's Avatar
Dojo: Litchfield Hills Aikikai
Location: Litchfield, CT
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 158
Offline
Re: Lost in Aikido

I also have to chuckle when people comment that aikido "isn't martial." I think about classes where you have some guy with a 4-foot solid oak stick or a practice sword made of hickory taking whacks at you. Or someone grabs you around the throat with a knife in his hand. I dunno, that seems pretty martial to me.

Avery Jenkins
www.averyjenkins.com
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-28-2017, 08:29 PM   #6
Peter Goldsbury
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Peter Goldsbury's Avatar
Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,221
Japan
Offline
Re: Lost in Aikido

Hello,

You are not the first to have asked these questions and I am sure will not be the last. Generally, they cause people to panic a bit and rush to the defence of aikido as an art that is as fully martial as all the rest. The argument then goes that the martial aspects are more hidden than other aspects, the 'spiritual' aspects, for example, and so it takes longer to find them.

Well, I never understood aikido to be a 'spiritual' martial art and over the years I have found my understanding to be correct. When I started, my teacher always emphasized that it had to work - and by this he meant that in an encounter, like a fight, it had to be effective. So we did lots of free sparring and loads of weapons training. We gradually worked the waza (the techniques) into the training.

All my teachers have been Japanese and after my first teacher returned to Japan, I had to find another. I lived in central London and trained in a famous judo dojo. On my way to training sessions I passed posters depicting a mean looking Japanese, dressed in black and holding a sword. His name was Chiba. I took a few classes and in particular I looked at how dojo members attacked him: they were all tough yudansha, but never stood a chance after the initial moves.

Then I moved to the States and trained at the main dojo in Cambridge, Mass. The Japanese instructor was an old school friend of Chiba and had started aikido at Chiba's urging. I lived near Harvard Square and used to walk home after training. We had been warned to be careful, for there had been a spate of murders and the culprits came from a tough suburb named Roxbury. I asked one of the senior yudansha, Fred W., who came from New York and had done street fighting as a kind of hobby. His injuries meant that he could be extremely upset if you attacked him in a certain way - and he would always compensate. He answered that I was unlikely to be attacked, since I was young and athletic and also carried my training gear over my shoulder. They would assume that I did karate - which was fine.

BUT, there is always a first time and past practice is never a 100% reliable guide to what might happen.

Quote:
Joe Patach wrote: View Post
My apologies for the length, but I have some concerns. The short version is: Live in Nebraska and there are 3 Aikido dojos near me, all are traditional. I have tried all 3 of them and am somewhat disheartened by them. I do enjoy the Aikido; however, I find the traditional version to be very unrealistic in a fight. I'm having a hard time "suspending reality" while trying to learn Aikido. Coming off a Gracie Combatives BJJ/Krav Maga background, it's very hard see the effectiveness of the traditional Aikido side.
PAG. Since Chiba moved to the US, I assume he has students who are still active. In my opinion, it is totally unrealistic to have to "suspend reality" while learning aikido, so if your teacher cannot take account of what you have been doing up to now, find a new teacher, or learn a different martial art. I lived in the US in the mid-70s, so I have no idea about what training is like now. However, there are some names that stand out for me: Bruce Bookman, George Ledyard, Haruo Matsuoka. There is also one other person you need to meet and train with and his name is Dan Harden. Others can tell you more about him than I can but what I have heard about him is a good recommendation.

However, it seems to me that you need to base your aikido training on the "reality" that you are used to; otherwise you will never be satisfied. So, why do you want to move from Gracie Combatives etc to aikido?

Quote:
Joe Patach wrote: View Post
I just don't see the utility in today's types of fight situations. Now all Aikido is not useless. I see a great deal of utility from "before the fight" situations like grabs, shoves, and that sort of thing. But it seems less effective with let's say wild street punches and boxing like punches. And of course, we cannot forget take downs such as tackles or clinches.
PAG. I have been living in Japan for the past few decades and so I am unaware of "today's types of fight situations" as you put it. Have they changed from what I was used to when I lived in the States? Then it was basically fists, feet or weapons, all used with varying degrees of skill or ingenuity. Chiba S once advised me to be very, very careful of knife attacks. He went out of his way to tell me this, so I concluded that he was singling out something unusual or important in his own training experience.

Here in Japan, the police take an extremely dim view of attacks with weapons, but, on the other hand, we do not train aikido here as a spiritual art. In fact, aikido is taught to the police here, but the aikido they do is Yoshinkan, not Aikikai - and I think this is for historical reasons to do with how aikido began in Hiroshima. The dojo I run is attached to the Aikikai, bit is independent. It is really a family dojo, with an age range from the mid-70s, down to elementary school kids. I took over the dojo a few years ago, and my main contribution has been to teach weapons as they train in Iwama, which is the base that Chiba S used.

But I can tell you that a dozen yelling school kids coming at you all at once is a force to be reckoned with. Usually, I don't stand a chance and I am the chief instructor.

Quote:
Joe Patach wrote: View Post
I guess what I'm getting to, is I would like to get my black belt in the traditional Aikido and possibly look at other styles within Aikido to satisfy my "street" experience. I want Aikido to be practical and work on the street. And I guess I'm wondering whether that is even possible?
PAG. I should tell you that if you came to my dojo and told me that you wanted to get your first dan before going off somewhere else, I probably wouldn't let you in. Not because you are an aikido atheist or aikido agnostic, but because you are being unrealistic in your expectations. The parameters of aikido are what they are and it is not up to me to change them. In the Aikikai, when you reach 5th dan the diploma is bigger and the wording is different, so the Aikikai regard 5th dan as a good target for a reasonable degree of mastery in the art.
Incidentally, have you thought of BJJ?

Quote:
Joe Patach wrote: View Post
I have looked at a few dojos around the US that offer the Tenshin style like Lenny Sly and a few others. Iwama is another one. They seem to be very practical. What are your thoughts on this process of mine? Anyone else struggle with this issue?
PAG. Well, I have never struggled with this issue because it has never been an issue. However, my own training history has been to move from teacher to teacher, not to train in the art simply because it is called aikido. Each of my teachers has been recommended by the previous one. I have taught philosophy for many years and one thing you should never do in an art like aikido is to 'falsify' reality, but you also need to question what your reality actually is.

Finally, in aikido there is always a tension between an organization and individuals who form the organization. The tension should be creative, but if it is not creative, the problem might lie with the organization - it is not really fit for its purpose; or it lies with one or some of the individuals - their 'reality' and the goals they are pursuing do not fit yours and what you want to do.

Best wishes and apologies for the long post.

P Goldsbury

P A Goldsbury
_______________________
Kokusai Dojo,
Hiroshima,
Japan
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-28-2017, 11:36 PM   #7
Rupert Atkinson
 
Rupert Atkinson's Avatar
Dojo: Wherever I am.
Location: New Zealand
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 986
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: Lost in Aikido

Quote:
Joe Patach wrote: View Post
I just don't see the utility in today's types of fight situations. Now all Aikido is not useless. I see a great deal of utility from "before the fight" situations like grabs, shoves, and that sort of thing. But it seems less effective with let's say wild street punches and boxing like punches. And of course, we cannot forget take downs such as tackles or clinches.
If you get hooked on Aikido you will find yourself in the dojo rather than on the street and will therefore have no need for it.

Sounds to me like you need to find a new street to live on.

  Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2017, 05:01 PM   #8
Trolloc63
Location: Omaha
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 14
United_States
Offline
Re: Lost in Aikido

First of all, thank you everyone for replying. This has been giving me different points of view to think about. And thanks for all the different types of replies. Its nice that this forum is active and people respond to it.

However, I do have to interject, so again I apologize. I may be vilified for talking about this as I have given away my location, so the dojos in town may read this and know who I am. Anyway. I mean no disrespect. But my question still stands. I have no interest in fighting anyone, or getting into any street encounters. I live in a safe area, so this has nothing to do with it.

But, god forbid, and the fight picks me, will Aikido be effective on the street? What i'm mainly talking about is street encounters, which we have already covered (wild street punches, trained boxing type punches, grappling, and weapons). You see, I don't want to dedicate all this time to something that will not help me on the street. But I wound by lying if I said Aikido did not interest me.

And I know BJJ can work, that is, the street application. The schools around here are all sport application. I was in the Gracie Combatives program in Sioux City, IA. Did it for 9 months and the drive was too much.

Do you guys see what I'm getting at? Lenny Sly's stuff seems very effective, but then many vids debunk the things he is working on. I'm not saying that they are correct.

I mean no disrespect to my local dojos. But I just feel that the training at each one has some level of being unrealistic. Perhaps I need to supplement my Aikido training with something else to fill in this gap.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2017, 05:09 PM   #9
StephanS
 
StephanS's Avatar
Dojo: Enighet
Location: Malmö, Sweden
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 14
Sweden
Offline
Re: Lost in Aikido

It's easy, if you don't like the dojos(/teacher/teachings/students/aikido/style whatever), don't train there. Maybe check out the local BJJ and/or Krav Maga dojos. If that's what you like, that should be what you train.

  Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2017, 07:32 PM   #10
Ellis Amdur
 
Ellis Amdur's Avatar
Location: Seattle
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 899
Offline
Re: Lost in Aikido

Mr. Patach - I think you have a truly legitimate question, particularly because the first generation aikidoka were very proud of their fighting ability. And Terry Dobson, (look him up - American postwar uchi-deshi) told me that he was the only guy who hadn't been in any fights among the uchideshi (he had before aikido, to be sure) and he felt quite inadequate - so he was always looking for an opportunity to get in a fight and test what he learned. (he later worked as a bouncer in a bar in Vermont, and threw and disarmed a guy swinging a chainsaw using a kokyunage)

I train in a variety of venue. In one school, a KravMaga, BJJ and other systems - very powerful - I'm brought in to inject something different - grappling with weaponry. And the BJJ guys, many of whom in a roll can beat me in less than 30 seconds - are all "dead." NOTE: they are quickly able to incorporate what I show them and close that vulnerability. (Note too, that I'm teaching from another art, not aikido, lest there be a misunderstanding).

Aikido is taught a variety of ways - with a variety of objectives. The techniques, obviously, are stilted - and the method of training is not 'live,' to use Matt Thornton's term. If, however, those techniques are a means of achieving a particular type of reflexes, physical strength and stability, they can easily lend themselves to being melded to what you already know. And one can do interesting things with pure aikido technique with a small dowel or flashlight in the palm of one's hand.

It's a cliche to say that each art has it's merits, but I work a lot with police and correctional officers and I know more than a few who train in aikido, and have used aikido techniques very effectively. One problem, though, it takes a lot longer time to get 'good enough' - it sounds, too, like you've some experience with more 'rugged' forms of unarmed self-defense. I have no doubt that if you happen to care for aikido and train diligently, you, like countless people before you will get to a point that your other training will meld with your aikido. But you have to care about aikido a whole lot to train that hard.
Best
Ellis Amdur

  Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2017, 07:06 AM   #11
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,182
United_States
Offline
Re: Lost in Aikido

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Then I moved to the States and trained at the main dojo in Cambridge, Mass. The Japanese instructor was an old school friend of Chiba and had started aikido at Chiba's urging. I lived near Harvard Square and used to walk home after training. We had been warned to be careful, for there had been a spate of murders and the culprits came from a tough suburb named Roxbury.
I'm sorry, I may never stop laughing after hearing Roxbury referred to as a "suburb" by someone living in Cambridge.

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
PAG. Since Chiba moved to the US, I assume he has students who are still active.
There are some in Birankai, but none near Nebraska.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2017, 08:05 AM   #12
Peter Goldsbury
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Peter Goldsbury's Avatar
Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,221
Japan
Offline
Re: Lost in Aikido

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I'm sorry, I may never stop laughing after hearing Roxbury referred to as a "suburb" by someone living in Cambridge. .
Why? Is it not a suburb of Boston?

The advice was given to me by a distant relative, an American who lived on Commonwealth Avenue in the Back Bay area of Boston and worked as a buyer for Lord & Taylor. I am not sure that she used the term suburb, but she was adamant that I should never go to or through Roxbury.

PAG

P A Goldsbury
_______________________
Kokusai Dojo,
Hiroshima,
Japan
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2017, 08:28 AM   #13
Mary Eastland
 
Mary Eastland's Avatar
Dojo: Berkshire Hills Aikido
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,431
Offline
Re: Lost in Aikido

Hi Joe:

I had similar concerns when I started training. Aikido awakened a question in me that could not be answered fast enough. Not because I wanted to be able to fight but because I needed to be able to defend myself.

I started training in self defense along side of aikido. After 15 years of training and teaching self defense I let go of it because I was finally comfortable enough to depend on the inner aspects of aikido to help me feel safer.

We all have to ask our own questions and seek our own answers as we travel on these paths.

Last edited by Mary Eastland : 10-30-2017 at 08:29 AM. Reason: double word

  Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2017, 09:32 AM   #14
SeiserL
 
SeiserL's Avatar
Location: Florida Gulf coast
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 3,886
United_States
Offline
Re: Lost in Aikido

I started Aikido with a long FMA background (okay, I still burn rattan and play with sharp objects) ...
IMHO, we need to find an art/training/teacher that matches what we want ...
If you don't like the schools/teachers, then don't train there hoping they will become what you want them to be ...
I truly believe that its up to us the provide the intent/intensity to the training, that way we can learn from anyone/everyone ...
There are faster ways to self-defense skills that are not found in traditional/sports schools ...
But, I would not give up my 22+ years in the Aiki world for any faster route ...
Self-knowledge and self-defense are more attitude/intent/intensity than any school/dojo/teacher can show you ...
But, by training and knowing yourself, you can probably find what you want where you are ...

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!
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2017, 12:53 PM   #15
Erick Mead
 
Erick Mead's Avatar
Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,618
United_States
Offline
Re: Lost in Aikido

Quote:
Joe Patach wrote: View Post
I get the gist of what you are trying to tell me. We start with the foundation and work our way up, just like math per se. But this really doesn't answer the question.
I would take a slight detour from your math metaphor and use music instead. Aikido is like teaching a form of music theory in conjunction with perfomance training, steadily incorporating that theory into the trained physical movements. As with music, there are other ways of understanding the principles involved. Pentatonic is not the same as fully chromatic eight-tone scale, much less the twelve-tone system ( if you even call THAT music ) (Martial arts have no trademark on methodological rivalry)

One does not teach guitar or piano by starting with fast arpeggios. As in musical training, we alter the scale in both space and time to expand our attention to key elements. We expand the space or scale of action (stepping punches v. jabs for instance) where interactions and shapes of correct action may be more readily perceived in larger, slower movements, than in the "martial reality" of often short, sharp action. In training, I often say that aikido can certainly work fast, indeed almost imperceptibly so, as Ikeda Shihan has on more than one occasion helpfully persuaded me

But in training modes, the test of it, I also point out, is whether it works slow as well. Aikido is about structural compromise -- substituting momentum may well knock someone down -- but not by using what aikido trains to deploy. Once done slow AND correctly -- then tighter scale and pacing can be added to the training regimen. And rare is the beast among really good musicians that ever stops practicing his scales. Yukio Sagawa, a well-reputed aiki adept -- though in Daito-ryu, recounted his decades of daily intensive training with the furibo -- to much the same purposes.

Quote:
Joe Patach wrote: View Post
How can we cultivate this foundation into a street atmosphere?
K.I.S.S. principle applies. To start down the road of martially applicable performance, teach simple, and buildable controls of space and structure, according to proper aikido principles. Teaching basics of irimi-tenkan in dealing with the structure of a straight punch is one of these. It is easily mastered by bare beginners. Once understood, the lesson can then be developed and evolved top apply to other interactions and with other forms of strike. "Chopsticks" is likewise hardly great musical art in itself, but it is undeniably musical and one can learn it's basics in one sitting, and practicing it is highly applicable to other more "performative" works.

Quote:
Joe Patach wrote: View Post
Does this require the right kind of style?
... in teaching, I would say, yes. The problem is that few teachers actually think this way about their art. They are largely concrete, bodily driven learners -- and usually teach that way, too. I suspect that Japan's very categorized social mode encourages analytical minds (who might take the approach I suggest, as I do myself) largely to do other things. Relatively fewer are likely to enter or stay with martial arts for the long haul.

In the West, we have a broader and more varied view of this kind of "fit" to vocation/avocation, and so, in my experience, we seem to get a comparably wider variety of perspectives in teaching and training methods. FWIW, I perceive that Saotome came to the U.S. -- judging from his body of work -- largely for this reason. He had ways he wanted to approach things that, in my view, probably did not accommodate themselves well to the strictures of the categories of thought in his homeland, much less to the natural social and pedagogical dynamics of an iemoto system of martial art.

Quote:
Joe Patach wrote: View Post
Or perhaps different backgrounds in martial arts?
I have found no martial background to be a hindrance -- or much of an aid in seeking what aikido is seeking in physical terms. Some are more relatable than others. The late Hooker Sensei, my first teacher, forever spoke of his devotion to regular sanchin-no-kata, which he felt aided his numerous long-term health diffculties, among other things. Ostensibly, that training seems remote or highly divorced from aikido, but now I see that it is in fact highly and deeply relatable to what we are going for, in both training and in application. "The stuff" is inherent in the human body, and aspects of it may be and are found and trained in many other arts, though our focus is more explicit and intensive on the point, and theirs typically less intense in that focus and more pragmatically allied to other kinds of action.

Quote:
Joe Patach wrote: View Post
Is it even possible to make Aikido more martial?
If he were alive to ask the question, I would dare you to ask it of Hooker Sensei. The wolfish smile on his face alone would back you up a step or two, -- just before he invited you to indulge him to answer the point somewhat more directly.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 10-30-2017 at 12:55 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2017, 09:41 PM   #16
Ellis Amdur
 
Ellis Amdur's Avatar
Location: Seattle
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 899
Offline
Suburbia

Peter - In 'technical parlance, Roxbury is a neighborhood of Boston (actually a dissolved municipality - it had it's own gov't, once upon a time, but was subsumed within Boston). I understand your confusion. When I heard my wife talk about all the crime in the 'suburbs' of Paris, I was surprised - in her terminology, these were areas of the city, cut-off by roads and lack of direct mass transit - kind of like dwellings outside a medieval castle wall. In America, we usually think of suburbs are being affluent towns near a city where there are lawns, playgrounds, good schools, and to be frank, mostly white people, although this is a stereotype, to say the least.

A Roxbury story: In 1970, I hitchhiked up to Boston and hear there was a hippie shelter one could stay - in Roxbury. There was a free converted school bus that had a route to several counter-culture locations, and I hopped on the last bus to the shelter, only to find that it had closed months before. And I had no ride out - and I was totally unaware of any of the dynamics of 1970 racially atomized Boston.

So I decided to walk all the way to Cambridge, where I knew someone who might be able to put me up. And I was getting a lot of hostile looks and comments, and a couple of guys started shadowing me. A young woman approached and asked if I wanted to tighten up, and first I thought it was because I was so good looking (I'm sure you understand my mistake) but then I realized it was a commercial offer and I thanked her and said "no, I don't have any money, anyway" all of which surprised her. And then she said, "If you are looking for drugs, . . . " and I said, "no, really, I don't have any money.""
And she stopped dead in the street, put her hands on her hips and said, "Then what is a white boy walking through Roxbury at midnight if he isn't looking for p***y or drugs?" And when I said I was just walking to somewhere else, she said, "Well, you are not going to make it out of here alive." And then she put her arm in mine, and insisted on walking me, at least 20 blocks to protect me. I said I was alright, but she said, "No you're not." And whenever someone approached - some gangster youths, drug hustlers, whatever, - she'd tighten her arm and snarl, "White boy's with me!" And everyone would back off. And at the end of 20 blocks, she let me go, and said, "Don't be so stupid." And walked away . . ..another angel in America.
Ellis

  Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2017, 11:30 PM   #17
Peter Goldsbury
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Peter Goldsbury's Avatar
Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,221
Japan
Offline
Re: Lost in Aikido

Hello Ellis,

I came to the US in 1973 on a non-teaching fellowship in Classics at Harvard University. I lived in an ancient dormitory for graduate students on Oxford Street. It was called Conant Hall, and was clearly named after someone notable. Your post sent me to Apple Maps and I located the hall. It was situated next to a couple of museums. I shared a set of rooms with a man named Rick, who had graduated from Dartmouth College and who was doing architecture. His father was a surgeon from Wisconsin. Many of his friends came from the Boston area and so I was sometimes part of a group. It never entered our heads to go anywhere near Roxbury.

On training days, I would walk across the Harvard campus to Harvard Square and take a bus to Central Square. After an apres-training beverage with a group of aikido friends, I would walk back along Massachusetts Avenue and then take some short cuts across the campus back to Conant Hall.

My father had spent his retirement doing research into family history and had discovered that the family had another name, which was Goldsborough (-borough, -burgh and -bury all have similar roots: the names mean town). This was my cousin's name and she was delighted to discover distant relatives in the UK and even more delighted to find out that I was at Harvard, where generations of her and her late husband's family had been students. She introduced me to her friends, who were all old Boston families and all Harvard graduates.

I did not meet my cousin very often, but occasionally I would have dinner with her Harvard friends or wander over to Lord & Taylor's in Boston, where I was requested to talk quite a lot, so her staff could listen to my accent. It was my cousin who cautioned me about Roxbury. She knew I walked home from Central Square frequently and might have thought that I liked walking for relaxation and worried that my walks might include Roxbury.

The aikido dojo (New England Aikikai) was a very interesting community. The shihan, Mitsunari Kanai, was a sword fanatic and spent most of his time in his little office, in the far corner of the dojo, polishing swords. Nevertheless, training had a different feel to that in Chiba's dojo in London, although both dojos had cohorts of tough yudansha and I think no one would have seriously questioned whether aikido really 'worked' in these circumstances - at either dojo.

Best wishes,

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 10-30-2017 at 11:33 PM.

P A Goldsbury
_______________________
Kokusai Dojo,
Hiroshima,
Japan
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2017, 07:04 AM   #18
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,182
United_States
Offline
Re: Lost in Aikido

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Why? Is it not a suburb of Boston?
No, it's a neighborhood of Boston. It's not without its hazards, but nervous white folks tend to think it's much more dangerous than it is.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2017, 06:06 PM   #19
Peter Goldsbury
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Peter Goldsbury's Avatar
Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,221
Japan
Offline
Re: Lost in Aikido

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
No, it's a neighborhood of Boston. It's not without its hazards, but nervous white folks tend to think it's much more dangerous than it is.
I see. You use the present tense, but I was there in the seventies and Ellis's cautionary tale suggests that it was not true then. To understand my confusion, you should know that I live in both a suburb and a neighbourhood of Hiroshima. Ushita used to be a village and was actually called Ushita-mura. Then it became an official part of Hiroshima City. The areas are divided into specific numbered blocks and without this the post office would not be able to deliver mail. There are no street numbers and several houses can share the same address. There are various Japanese terms for both suburb and neighbourhood, but these are merely general descriptions and do not have any official sanction. And, since aikido is a Japanese budo, there are clubs in all areas of the city. My own dojo is part of a culture centre in a large shopping mall.

P A Goldsbury
_______________________
Kokusai Dojo,
Hiroshima,
Japan
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2017, 08:13 PM   #20
Trolloc63
Location: Omaha
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 14
United_States
Offline
Re: Lost in Aikido

I appreciate all the replies I have seen so far. All of you have great perspectives on Aikido. I think at this point my choice is either put up or shut up. I have been on the sidelines for far too long.

I believe I will continue with my Aikido career. Out of the 3 schools in this area, I will pick the school that feels right for me. My eventual goal will be to get my black belt. Upon obtaining this, I will have to investigate other "forms" of Aikido.

Beyond that, I will most likely mix my Aikido with other arts such as boxing, muay thai, 52 blocks, judo, wing chun.

Having spent too much time watching YouTube vids, I do feel that Aikido can be very martial if it is practiced right. I feel that the tools I need can be obtain with a variety of teachers and approaches, but it will be a long road ahead. The gaps in Aikido may need to be filled with other strategies, but it is doable.
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2017, 06:36 AM   #21
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,182
United_States
Offline
Re: Lost in Aikido

Quote:
Joe Patach wrote: View Post
I believe I will continue with my Aikido career. Out of the 3 schools in this area, I will pick the school that feels right for me. My eventual goal will be to get my black belt. Upon obtaining this, I will have to investigate other "forms" of Aikido.

Beyond that, I will most likely mix my Aikido with other arts such as boxing, muay thai, 52 blocks, judo, wing chun.
One piece of advice only: try to avoid planning out your experience in something which you have yet to experience first-hand. It's a bit like planning to build a house with a tool whose purpose you only vaguely understand and have never used, in conjunction with other tools that you may or may not be familiar with and that may not work together (let's see, I'll take a wankel rotary engine and add an electron microscope and the result will be...). Set aside your goals and preconceptions. Experience aikido without narratives. Resist the newbie impulse to shout "I get it!" after a whole month of training. Stand back from fervent declarations of what your capital-P Path is, at least until you've walked a good ways along it. Do not make the mistake, as you touch the elephant's trunk, of concluding that the elephant is like a snake.
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2017, 06:59 AM   #22
shuckser
Dojo: Brighton Aikikai, UK
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 59
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: Lost in Aikido

If you want to be effective on the street, learn to be a comedian.

Seriously. Words move faster than fists, and can be much more disarming.
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2017, 12:51 PM   #23
Garth Jones
Dojo: Allegheny Aikido
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 163
United_States
Offline
Re: Lost in Aikido

I suggest that anybody trying to evaluate the 'effectiveness' (whatever that means) of one martial art versus another read 'Meditations on Violence' by Rory Miller. It's available free online at https://ymaa.com/sites/default/files...n-Violence.pdf
Cheers,
Garth
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2017, 10:17 PM   #24
jurasketu
Dojo: Roswell Budokan
Location: Roswell GA
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 141
United_States
Offline
Re: Lost in Aikido

Or if you prefer to compensate the author properly for their hard work and effort.

https://www.amazon.com/Meditations-V.../dp/B01DN0GVM4

All paths lead to death. I strongly recommend taking one of the scenic routes.
AWA - Nidan - Started Aikido training in 2008
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2017, 05:06 AM   #25
Walter Martindale
Location: Cambridge, ON
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 761
Canada
Offline
Re: Lost in Aikido

Quote:
Garth Jones wrote: View Post
I suggest that anybody trying to evaluate the 'effectiveness' (whatever that means) of one martial art versus another read 'Meditations on Violence' by Rory Miller. It's available free online at https://ymaa.com/sites/default/files...n-Violence.pdf
Cheers,
Garth
This link takes one to a sample showing the introductory material and first chapters. Having read it, I'm considering buying a copy, making the link below, to Amazon, helpful...

Quote:
Robin Johnson wrote: View Post
Or if you prefer to compensate the author properly for their hard work and effort.

https://www.amazon.com/Meditations-V.../dp/B01DN0GVM4
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 24 Peter Goldsbury Columns 6 07-07-2013 05:40 PM
Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation 23 Peter Goldsbury Columns 6 05-18-2013 06:52 AM
Aikido Scam by an Indian group ze'ev erlich General 10 08-02-2009 06:46 PM
AikiWeb Raffle for Mary Heiny Sensei akiy General 68 05-27-2008 10:37 AM
Baseline skillset eyrie Non-Aikido Martial Traditions 1633 05-23-2008 01:35 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:28 AM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2018 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2018 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate