Mark Rasmus wrote:
...We have similiar exercises in Wing Chun, except we hold the shape instead of dropping the arm and relax while our partner presses on it...
Is this the "unbendable arm" exercise in Aikido?
Thanks for your posts Mark, it's nice to see someone speak with a degree of experience on Wing Chun. Are you practising Aikido in Japan currently, or were you put off by your experience with this teacher? Regarding what you say about Aikidoka "training an art form rather than training to fight", I tend to disagree.
Unless we fight with no absolutely rules, then we can never be truly engaged in combat, rather we are doing an approximation of combat. We can get quite close to "actual combat" by fighting with limited rules, where strikes, clinches and groundwork may all play a part, but this is not something we see in many arts, as sparring tends to be limited to the type of fighting seen in that style (e.g. normally no strikes in BJJ sparring, and no groundwork in Muay Thai sparring).
By this logic, I would argue that most martial arts teach an art form rather than a way of fighting. However, it is the essence of the art is the link to its use in fighting, and this is especially true of Aikido. Sensitivity, body movement, balance, etc. If it is a practitioners intention to train Aikido for "fighting" (I should probably say "self defence"), then they must understand these attributes in the context of using them against a resisting opponent. The principles remain exactly the same, it's just the execution may change slightly. This is where I suppose a little sparring couldn't hurt
Of course, we must accept that a large proportion of Aikido students are simply not that interested in fighting, and will probably never get into a fight for the rest of their lives. This is something that many people cannot seem to understand about it when they critisize Aikido. Which is entirely their loss.
Please accept my apologies if I am talking bollocks. I am certainly no expert.