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Old 06-21-2005, 10:52 PM   #26
Michael Neal
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Re: Is aikido dying?

I don't think Aikido is dying, it is just reaching a point where it has to change a little to meet the needs of the times.
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Old 06-22-2005, 03:46 AM   #27
happysod
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Quote:
it is just reaching a point where it has to change a little to meet the needs of the times
I agree and disagree in that I think aikido is always changing, even to the extent that it's inception was a response to the changes in the culture that produced it.

As regards the "better in the old days" theme, my view is that what has changed isn't so much aikido (or any other martial art), but that of the plethora of communication now available on what was a relatively closed shop subject. Even in the relatively limited time that I've been practicing, I can't remember being able to window shop across the martial arts in the way the web allows us to now.

This has good and bad points, complete frauds have a harder time selling their rubbish as gold, but equally people are perhaps too quick to judge without experiencing things first hand and fads in martial arts are becoming just as important as training.

aikido dying, what melodramatic rot!
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Old 06-22-2005, 04:14 AM   #28
xuzen
 
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Quote:
Michael Neal wrote:
I don't think Aikido is dying, it is just reaching a point where it has to change a little to meet the needs of the times.
How?
More aiki newaza?
Train aiki cage fighters?
Nike sponshorship deal?
Oscar for the best performing aikidoka?
Do away with the Hakama?

Boon.

SHOMEN-ATE (TM), the solution to 90% of aikido and life's problems.
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Old 06-22-2005, 05:02 AM   #29
happysod
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Quote:
Train aiki cage fighters?
I humbly nominate the orcs and thugs for this bit, don't worry, we aiki-fruities will do all the hard bits like sponsorship deals and contracts - just think, ring girls and boys in spandex hakama with your dojos logo on their pert little haras!
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Old 06-22-2005, 05:19 AM   #30
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Quote:
Ian Hurst wrote:
I humbly nominate the orcs and thugs for this bit, don't worry, we aiki-fruities will do all the hard bits like sponsorship deals and contracts - just think, ring girls and boys in spandex hakama with your dojos logo on their pert little haras!
I think that if Aikido Shiai had ponpon girls/boys no one would mind about "competions" at all.... </humour>

The people who understand, understand prefectly.
yann@york-aikido.org York Shodokan Aikido
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Old 06-22-2005, 10:07 AM   #31
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Michael,

I correspond with you enough to understand your position on Aikido and the changes it needs. However, you say "it needs to change to meet the times".

What has changed since mid 1950's that would require aikido to change?

I think aikido as an art would evolve based on personalities, and perspectives of individuals. I think the underlying prinicples though to be somewhat timeless, and therefore require no change based on society or "times".

to me, "times" would refer to things like "marketing" , "popularity"...reason i would not change aikido for.

Other thing would be philosophical perspective. I would contend that very little has evolved in the underpinnings of philosophy that would change it.

The MMA perspective certainly has changed the paradigm of many people with repect to MA and TMA as a whole. That is a good thing. A wonderful movement which I fully embrace. However I stop short of saying aikido should change because of this movement.

Interested to hear your perspective.
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Old 06-22-2005, 11:16 AM   #32
Robert Rumpf
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Considering that I've seen virtually no effort put into recruitment, advertising, or retention in any dojo I've ever been at, I'm surprised that Aikido still has as many practitioners as it does have. The closest thing I've ever seen to a recruitment drive is when dojo's give demonstrations and hand out flyers. That is fairly uncommon, where I've been.

So, if Aikido is dying off in terms of practitioners, there are certainly no shortage of steps that could be taken to fix the problem in terms of providing access and letting people be aware that it exists. Pricing could also be examined, instead of having a fixed arbitrary monthly fee as it tends to be.

There are also a thousand other things that students and instructors could do to help retain beginners that step on the mat, if they were really interested. That interest is usually not there in the general sense.. which is in my opinion part of that cultural baggage that Aikido carries with it. This type of beginner-friendly culture comes from the top in any given dojo.

But maybe I've just been lucky in terms of the places I've lived and trained and Aikido is dying elsewhere. My current dojo has no problem getting new members - the doors are open in the summer, and so pedestrians on the sidewalk often look in and stop by. Some even come back to train.

I think that when a particular dojo is dying off, the management of the dojo needs to think about what they want and how to get to that place. Unfortunately being a good martial artist or even a good martial arts teacher doesn't necessitate being a good manager.

Rob
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Old 06-22-2005, 11:36 AM   #33
james c williams
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Re: Is aikido dying?

I believe (please correct me if mistaken) the original poster is referring to aikido dying in a way other than popularity and amount of participants.

Aikido isn't Sony Enterprises that needs vast advertisements etc. It needs people that will follow and at that follow it in the most earnest fashion possible.

James
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Old 06-22-2005, 12:10 PM   #34
Robert Rumpf
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Quote:
I believe (please correct me if mistaken) the original poster is referring to aikido dying in a way other than popularity and amount of participants.
Yeah, you're right. Sorry. Still, I stand by my irrelevent point.

Also, the more practitioners that exist, the more sources there are to draw from when trying to distill what you consider to be the pure version (which is actually YOUR version) of the art.

I don't think I've ever heard of old-timers in any field or any endeavor standing up and saying that the kids now have much more spirit and verve and liveliness and are doing a much better job than they had when they were younger. If these old-timers see this as being a problem, with their authority and influence they are unfortunately the only ones able to try to correct it. I wish them luck. Its often most difficult to undo your own mistakes.

If it is instead an uncorrectable fall in quality that is not due to them and Aikido is in decline as a function of civilization, mankind, and the quality of humanity being in decline... well... better luck next civilization. I personally think we are on an upswing.

I always find it to be really ironic but also extremely revealing when a teacher complains about the quality and lack of their students' knowledge or about their students actions. Or even the actions and quality of their student's students.... etc. Who else did they get this knowledge from, if not the teacher (be it directly or indirectly)?

I realize that people do sometimes learn bad behavior elsewhere, but teachers can have a very strong influence on their students even if it is a bad habit from outside. Very often you see the same Aikido from the same people who have studied with the same instructor forever, and then that someone finally makes the same mistakes at the wrong time and someone else gets hurt or a shodan test is a fiasco, and everyone is so surprised.

Looking at this post, I'm not sure if I even addressed the thread better, but what can you do. Its a rainy day and I don't feel like working.

Rob
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Old 06-22-2005, 10:58 PM   #35
Michael Neal
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Kevin,

I don't think Aikido should change to compete in MMA. What I mean is that things like MMA have shown some of the weaknesses of many martial arts, including my favorite art of Judo. Not that people should adjust their training to prepare for cage fighting but just to expand the training methodology some in order to deal with some realities that are often overlooked. One example, doing more Aikido randori with the attempt to balance technique development and application of those techniques in an uncomfortable situation. Some Aikidoka do that now but many do not on a regular basis and others do none at all.

While the spirituality aspect of Aikido is really not my cup of tea, I think it would only enhance the spiritual aspects of Aikido to make the training more effective martially. Balance is the key in my opinion, too much focus on spirituality is not good, but neither is too much randori or competition, or too much cooperative practice, or too much weapons training etc...

Just my opinion, I think Aikido is evolving as we speak, many people are crosstraining and bringing that to their Aikido experience. On the other hand that is in direct conflict with those who see Aikido as more of a spiritual thing and who are not as concerned with the martial aspects. I guess what I am trying to say is Aikido in general is struggling with which direction to head in.

Just take a look at how many diffferent Aikido organizations and styles there are. To me this kind of thing coupled with my previous points was unsettling to me as an Aikidoka.

While in arts like BJJ, Judo, Muay Thai and some others there may be some disagreement here and there but you pretty much know what you are getting. The only real variable usually is the quality of instruction.

Last edited by Michael Neal : 06-22-2005 at 11:04 PM.
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Old 06-22-2005, 11:34 PM   #36
Amassus
 
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Is Aikido dying?

Not as far as I can see.

Just train people.

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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Old 06-23-2005, 12:27 AM   #37
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Thanks for your comments Michael.

I understand your perspective. As a DO art, I don't think things like MMA have shown the weaknesses of aikido, just maybe some other applications of the art to more SU oriented aspects. I submit that aikido does just as it was designed to do, demonstrate the philosophical principles the founder intended it to focus on. I think there is too much to understand and to be uncovered from what O'Sensei was trying to convey to even begin to say that it needs to be changed. Just trying to explore what he was communicating is a lifetime I believe.

Its like trying to understand Van Gogh by revising his paintings or something. You cannot understand the art the man was creating by changing it, you must interpret Van Gogh's art through your own experiences.

I think what is changing for many is the paradigm of what martial arts can be. MMA and UFC put a focus back on the SU arts. Gave a great deal of legitmacy in some cases, invalidated many things as well. The internet has also played a huge role as well.

I think what we are seeing is a return to the SU forms of the DO arts in many cases. I submit that the weaknesses in Judo and Aikido are not weaknesses, just that you and many (including myself) may not want to concentrate on the WAY as created by the founders Kano and Ueshiba.

Many are "rediscovering" the underpinnings upon what these arts were founded on. In addition we are adding things taken from other sources, and re-interpreting the arts based on our modern paradigms and social structure.

It is an exciting time to be involved in the MA worlds.


I look at the "changes" not so much as needing to apply to aikido, but applying the principles of aikido to other situations. The changes become "offshoots" or "versions" of aikido. I think those are good things.

I'd say the core of aikido should stay the same. At the same time, we should encourage innovation, and variation. It keeps us honest with oursevles and our art!

I know in many ways we are saying the same things. Certainly in many respects have the same endstate in mind. However, I believe, where we differ in perspective, and how we choose to label it can make all the difference in the world!
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Old 06-23-2005, 06:03 AM   #38
ad_adrian
 
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Quote:
James Williams wrote:
I believe (please correct me if mistaken) the original poster is referring to aikido dying in a way other than popularity and amount of participants.

James
yes james you are completely right...i thikn the popularity is more then it was definatly way back it has nothing to do with it


on another note i think its great that its traditional thats what i like the fact that its related to an ancient martial art. i like the fact its not changed to a new age thing
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Old 06-23-2005, 08:23 AM   #39
Michael Neal
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Quote:
I'd say the core of aikido should stay the same. At the same time, we should encourage innovation, and variation. It keeps us honest with oursevles and our art!
Right, that is pretty much what I was trying to say.
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Old 06-26-2005, 04:20 PM   #40
CNYMike
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Quote:
Jean de Rochefort wrote:
Lord knows, I'm no expert. And although I agree with the previous post, I'm compelled to interpret Shioda's statement.

I think what he means can be demonstrated with this exercise: Go up to an Aikidoka and try to whack him in the gut. I think, chances are, you'll succeed in whacking him in the gut.
Which proves .... what?

I whacked my Kali teacher in the face a couple of weeks ago. I second-guessed him and thought he wanted me to demonstrate a counter to what he was doing and I stuck my fist out when he wasn't ready for it.

A few years ago, I also accidentally hit Guro Kevin Seman in the family jewels with a stick -- I was trying to show off with a disarm and it pinwheeled You Know Where. I felt very bad about, but later he said, "Don't worry about it -- just remember this stuff is dangerous and be careful."

Now, anyone who thinks this means Guro Kevin doesn't know who to dance is welcome to jump in the ring with him. Most people who have, including my current instructor, speak of the experience with an "I'm alive" timber in their voices.

So you walk up to an Aikidoka and whack him in the gut when he (or she) doesn't expect it. So what?
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Old 06-26-2005, 04:40 PM   #41
CNYMike
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Quote:
Michael Neal wrote:
..... many people are crosstraining and bringing that to their Aikido experience. On the other hand that is in direct conflict with those who see Aikido as more of a spiritual thing and who are not as concerned with the martial aspects. I guess what I am trying to say is Aikido in general is struggling with which direction to head in.
Well, my purpose in crosstraining is to learn the arts I'm training in, not bring stuff from one art into another. So the things I'm doing in Karate, Kali, and Serak for the most part stay there when I do Aikido. So in this repsect, Aikido's spirituality wouldn't be a problem because I'm NOT trying to combine things when I cross-train. If anything, I'm trying to learn to compartmentalize them and keep them separate.

Obviously, at the muscle memory level, things get shmoosed toegether; that can't be helped. But my take on crosstraining is that the whole point of going to a class in art X is to learn art X, and arts Y and Z stay as far out of it as you can keep them.

Quote:
Just take a look at how many diffferent Aikido organizations and styles there are. To me this kind of thing coupled with my previous points was unsettling to me as an Aikidoka.
That's nothing compared to the number of FMA styles there are; every family in every little village has their own take on it.

Quote:
While in arts like BJJ, Judo, Muay Thai and some others there may be some disagreement here and there but you pretty much know what you are getting. The only real variable usually is the quality of instruction.
I don't know about Judo, but WRT BJJ and Thai Boxing, you have to remember they're relatively new to the North American martial arts scene. I'm pretty certain there wasn't any Thai Boxing in my area prior to 15 years ago, yet even at that time there was a bunch of karate schools and a couple of Aikido dojos. So they haven't had time to fracture and politicize as others have. Give 'em another 30 years and see what happens.
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Old 06-26-2005, 05:54 PM   #42
Adam Alexander
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
Which proves .... what?

So you walk up to an Aikidoka and whack him in the gut when he (or she) doesn't expect it. So what?
That they don't have the physical essence of the art...atleast that's my opinion.

My perspective is that Aikido's filled with a lot more talk than action...a lot more intellectual examination of technique without corresponding practice.

I'm not claiming to be great by any mean (the thought makes me chuckle), but I train hard. I train everday (nearly). I do lots of reps. When I was recently in a situation that called on my skills--totally unexpectedly (which "being ready" is a laughable concept to me)--I reacted in such a way as to eliminate an attack.

Very recently, I witnessed I high ranking Aikidoka find himself in the same position. He failed the "real world" test.

I wouldn't say that he's "not good." But, I think it reflects what Shioda was saying.

Just my opinion--but, it's the same opinion I have of any "expert" who gets whacked in the same way.
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Old 06-26-2005, 06:01 PM   #43
Adam Alexander
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Quote:
Tarik Ghbeish wrote:
Most? Based on what? Here, perhaps? There's always a fringe of people who show up (in places like this) and talk about aikido but never get on the mat. It shows up pretty quickly though.
I've visited five styles of Aikido. All were the same. I've been to a dozen different schools (within those styles) all were the same.

In fact, I've visited Karate schools and Judo schools. They seemed less inclined to having conversations on the mat...but I thought their method of training left something to be desired.

Average people=average training.
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Old 06-26-2005, 08:59 PM   #44
CNYMike
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Quote:
Jean de Rochefort wrote:
That they don't have the physical essence of the art...atleast that's my opinion.

My perspective is that Aikido's filled with a lot more talk than action...a lot more intellectual examination of technique without corresponding practice.
I'm not sure what that means. "Intellectual examination" to me means "talking about it" without doing it, and in both the dojos I've been in (including the one I'm in) we do the techniques, not sit around and talk about them.

However, because of the other things I'm doing, I only do Aikido once a week. Someone who takes the opportunities to go to all the practices available around here can do it up to six times a week during the summer, seven during the academic year.

That's a lot of Aikido.

Quote:
..... When I was recently in a situation that called on my skills--totally unexpectedly (which "being ready" is a laughable concept to me)--I reacted in such a way as to eliminate an attack.

Very recently, I witnessed I high ranking Aikidoka find himself in the same position. He failed the "real world" test.

I wouldn't say that he's "not good." But, I think it reflects what Shioda was saying .....
Maybe. Maybe not. What if he'd trained every day and did as many reps as you? Then what?
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Old 06-26-2005, 09:46 PM   #45
dan guthrie
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Are there any reliable numbers? A census of all martial arts? I have a video tape that says there were 300K Aikidoka about 10 years ago. That number seems small to me.

I would imagine there were huge gains in all martial arts when Bruce Lee was popular. If those numbers decreased when he died would that mean the Jeet Kune Do was dying?
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Old 06-27-2005, 10:54 AM   #46
CNYMike
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Quote:
Dan Guthrie wrote:
Are there any reliable numbers? A census of all martial arts? I have a video tape that says there were 300K Aikidoka about 10 years ago. That number seems small to me.
The figure I've cited for Aikido is from Moriteru Ueshiba Doshu's BEST AIKIDO 2 book, where he mentions the estimate of 1.5 million Aikidoka workd wide. I don't know what the figure was for 10 years ago, but 300K to 1.5 million would be a pretty big jump.

Quote:
I would imagine there were huge gains in all martial arts when Bruce Lee was popular. If those numbers decreased when he died would that mean the Jeet Kune Do was dying?
I think just the opposite has happened; Jun Fan JKD seems to be spreading, although because it's 'younger' than Aikido, it might not have spread as far.
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Old 06-27-2005, 02:46 PM   #47
Adam Alexander
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
I'm not sure what that means. "Intellectual examination" to me means "talking about it" without doing it, and in both the dojos I've been in (including the one I'm in) we do the techniques, not sit around and talk about them.
I don't know how this became about how you train.

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
Maybe. Maybe not. What if he'd trained every day and did as many reps as you? Then what?
That's the point. If he trained enough--just as if anyone trains enough--it's reflex...by the time you've realized what's happened, you've already reacted...and then you're standing there looking at your hands like they just shot magic because it's so shocking.

On that score, I think Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai" represents it pretty well when they're soliciting the service of samurai and testing them by whacking them as they walk through the door.

Anyone who gets whacked by an "unexpected" attack may still be an excellent teacher, but I wouldn't consider them an excellent practitioner--I believe that's what Shioda meant.
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Old 06-27-2005, 09:46 PM   #48
CNYMike
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Quote:
Jean de Rochefort wrote:
I don't know how this became about how you train.
You tell me; I was replying to what you said in an earlier post.


Quote:
.... Anyone who gets whacked by an "unexpected" attack may still be an excellent teacher, but I wouldn't consider them an excellent practitioner--I believe that's what Shioda meant.
Assuming that's a standard anyone can realistically meet in any art.
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Old 06-28-2005, 02:30 PM   #49
Adam Alexander
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
You tell me; I was replying to what you said in an earlier post.
Well, suffice to say...if you get whacked "unexpectedly" you need to train harder.

IMO
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Old 06-28-2005, 07:36 PM   #50
maikerus
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Re: Is aikido dying?

Quote:
Jean de Rochefort wrote:
Well, suffice to say...if you get whacked "unexpectedly" you need to train harder.

IMO
True...however I have heard that there was one All Japan Yoshinkan Demonstration where Shioda G. got whacked in the head by one of his uchideshi who misunderstood a signal as Shioda G. went to say something to the crowd.

So...yes everyone needs to keep training. And sometimes you screw up.

FWIW,

--Michael

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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