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Old 07-09-2006, 02:15 PM   #151
DonMagee
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Re: Brawling with a friend

I actually expect to hear that exact argument. Obviously you could ask the wrong questions, anything can be debunked with the right setup. How does aikido help prepare us for 15 men armed with machine guys, wild dogs, and land mines? You need to understand your goals in the martial arts, and what the teacher is claiming to teach you before you start asking questions. So your very first question is "What do I want from my training?". The very next question is to your prospective teacher, "I want X from the martial arts, can you provide it?".

I wouldn't complain if I was studying Thai boxing and they didn't do ground training. If I did, I obviously didn't ask the first two questions. I would question the teacher if he started teaching anti-grappling techniques though. It is important to understand what you are asking. I had to design a network for a previous employer of mine. Then wanted 100% uptime. I asked what would be an acceptable downtime. I was informed nothing would be acceptable. So I had to start asking questions like "If a nuke is detonated on US soil and destroys most of the country, is that an acceptable downtime. If a major flood covers this entire state, is that a acceptable downtime. etc. Till we found what that 100% was really about.

Going back to my example with my friend, if that teacher would say "We don't deal with that area of combat, we are specialized", then that is an acceptable answer to the question. It is still ok to question because obviously, I needed to be informed. Instead I was told to shutup and be respectful. If I asked "How do you deal with a ground fighter?" And you said "Aikido doesn't' deal with groundfighitng, if it is important to you I would suggest finding a judo school" that is an acceptable answer, you acknowledged my question and gave it an answer. Now if I said "How does aikido deal with ground fighting?" and you said "Shut up! Don't question me, this art will destroy a ground fighter." That is not an acceptable answer. But if I honestly want to know how aikido deals with ground fighting, it is important that I ask.

Lets say I see a teacher demonstrating a technique. He claims this technique will break legs. I look at how I have been attacked in the past, what I know about the human body, and what I've seen in other arts and decide that I don't think he will be breaking legs. What should I do? Should I just shutup and train? Should I ask how this will break the leg? Should I tell him I don't think it will work? Which question or response will benefit me more? If I leave without telling him anything, neither of us grow. I do not learn if I was wrong, he doesn't learn why he lost a student. If I shutup and train I will gain nothing. I will waste my time going though motions on something I will never actually use because I don't believe it works. The teacher will never know I don't understand and will think he is doing a great job educating when really we are both wasting our time. If I ask my teacher, I'm disrespectful because he told me "This breaks legs" and by asking I'm saying "I don't think this breaks legs". Of course he is hearing "You are wrong and a sucky martial artist", but that is just his ego getting bruised. What he should hear is "I don't quite understand, please help me understand." Hopefully one of two things will happen when I tell him that I don't understand how this will break legs.
1) We will explore the technique and I will understand how this breaks legs.
2) We will explore the technique and find that it really doesn't' break legs, or that it is very low percentage leg breaking technique.

If the answer is 2, then we can decide to either a) keep the technique because it teaches some other important concept vital to the art. or b) throw the technique out or modify it so that it does work.

so we have an inquiry, then isolation as we explore, drill, and test the technique. And finally a proof as we integrate the technique into our own self. I don't need to ask what anything is giving me, because I am exploring it as I learn it. I know exactly what I am gaining and what abilities and weaknesses I have. I don't have to understand the system to help the teacher learn. In fact you learn the most trying to explain something to a newbie. Because they are not yet programmed to think like you do. Eventually everyone drinks the cool-aid and you start to group think. By asking questions you can help stall that process and keep ideas fresh and flowing.

Finally I don't think training methods are part of tradition. I think teachers had to teach with the best tools and knowledge they had at the time. If I was teaching before the advent of proper mouth protection, should we not start using mouth guards because it is against the tradition? Again, I'm not saying throw tradition out. I'm saying don't let tradition get in the way of exploring new things that might benefit your training. Keep traditions for as long as it makes sense to do so. But at the same time, leave your comfort zone now and then and think outside of the box. If you find something very good, bring it back and help the rest of us.

I did leave my aikido school. I left for a lot of reasons but a big one was that I had found what I feel are better training methods. I explained it to my teacher, he accepted my critique and we parted on fairly good terms. He didn't change because he didn't feel anything was wrong with his training. I didn't' argue with him, he produces fine students. However I didn't agree so I left. However it is my duty to say "You should consider this". Its about the right time and place. Its not my duty to say "You should do this" in the middle of class. Its my duty to ask questions pertaining to the training in class. Its my duty to talk privately to my teacher after class about ideas I have for improving the training. I said my piece, he did not agree, to stay would be wasting both of our times. At least he knows why I left, and I know why I left, we both learned something about ourselves and each other. However, this is a public forum. This is a place to discuss ideas and explore theory. Sure, we could all sit around and just talk about how great aikido is, and hold hands and tell stories about how great we all are. But does that help us grow? Does that help us improve? Shouldn't we use this to explore new ideas or perceived gaps or flaws in our training. I really believe in the philosophy behind aikido, it is only the training method I feel is lacking.

You asked how I know the current methods don't get good results. I never said they didn't get good results. Obviously they must work becuase there are people who can do aikido. I simply said these other methods get better more consistent results in a faster time frame. I feel I explained many times my beliefs on how these training methods improve over the current methods. I'm not going to explain it again because you can scroll up. This conversation is way way off base from where I wanted to go. I wanted to explore the merits of this training method, not if we should be talking about it or not. I dint care if a bunch of old folks believe we should talk about changing things. I simply wanted to discuss the merits of the I-method paired with aikido. Almost no one has addressed the merits of the training, instead we have focused the majority of this conversation on how someone might feel if we talked about it. Which is in my opinion silly. Especially because besides you, nobody has said they would be offended by adding this training to their current training. In fact nobody has said they liked or disliked the training method. And nobody has said the method will or will not work in the realm of aikido.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 07-09-2006, 03:14 PM   #152
Michael Douglas
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Re: Brawling with a friend

Wow, great clear post Don.
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Old 07-09-2006, 05:35 PM   #153
DonMagee
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Re: Brawling with a friend

Well, I never claimed to be a writer...

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 07-09-2006, 05:52 PM   #154
dps
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Re: Brawling with a friend

Don,

Is this the method you are talking about?


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Inquiry Method)
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Inquiry education (sometimes known as the inquiry method) is a student-centered method of education focused on asking questions. Students are encouraged to ask questions which are meaningful to them, and which do not necessarily have easy answers; teachers are encouraged to avoid giving answers when this is possible, and in any case to avoid giving direct answers in favor of asking more questions. The method was advocated by Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner in their book Teaching as a Subversive Activity.

The inquiry method is motivated by Postman's and Weingartner's recognition that the activities and behaviors of intelligent people ("good learners") at all stages in life focuses on the process of inquiry, not an end product of static knowledge. They write that certain characteristics are common to all good learners (Teaching as a Subversive Activity, pp. 31-33), saying that all good learners have:

* self-confidence in their learning ability;
* pleasure in problem solving;
* a keen sense of relevance;
* reliance on their own judgment over other people's or society's;
* no fear of being wrong;
* no haste in answering;
* flexibility in point of view;
* respect for facts, and the ability to distinguish between fact and opinion;
* no need for final answers to all questions, and comfort in not knowing an answer to difficult questions rather than settling for a simplistic answer.

In an attempt to instill students with these qualities and behaviors, a teacher adhering to the inquiry method in pedagogy must behave very differently from a traditional teacher. Postman and Weingartner suggest that inquiry teachers have the following characteristics (pp. 34-37):

* they avoid telling students what they "ought to know";
* they talk to students mostly by questioning, and especially by asking divergent questions;
* they do not accept short, simple answers to questions;
* they encourage students to interact directly with one another, and avoid judging what is said in student interactions;
* they do not summarize students' discussion;
* they do not plan the exact direction of their lessons in advance, and allow it to develop in response to students' interests;
* their lessons pose problems to students;
* they gauge their success by change in students' inquiry behaviors (with the above characteristics of "good learners" as a goal).
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Old 07-09-2006, 09:20 PM   #155
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Re: Brawling with a friend

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
Tomiki, however, did go against the founder's wishes. THAT was disrepectful.
In my mind, "disrespect" doesn't denote this sort of thing. Disrespectful would be to intentionally insult and from what I understand, Tomiki didn't do that. To have your own opinion and differ from your teacher isn't itself rude. As for the "competitions" in Shodokan, I view it as quite similar to traditional keiko. It's all about attitude; not superficial appearances. One can just as easily get too competitive-minded in regular training as in a tournament. It seems quite similar to when we test: depending upon the level one is testing for, uke is expected to attack sincerely. This means that if nage is not prepared enough, nage will not be able to perform the technique and will be thrown...or some such similar result will happen. This seems like merely a more formalized version of "competitions".

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
If they explicitly tell you "don't do x," don't do it. If it's "you can do anything but x," then there's some wiggle room to explore and experiment once you know enough to know what you're doing. I've seen advanced people -- just on either side of shodan -- trying different things during seminars, but they're advanced students. They have the tools to express themselves, so it must be ok.
I can certainly agree that while a direct student of someone, if they tell you not to do something, you ought not do it out of respect for the hierarchy you've placed yourself into. I also understand Japanese culture is very hierarchical in nature, so I can see how many people would feel as you do with regard to repsect, however in the same way you suggest a shodan has room to play around to express his or her self, I think someone like Tomiki has room to do so too. "Aikido" is not a proper noun with a trademark denoting a precise, immutable thing. I think the "-do" at the end makes it much more open to interpretation and loose in definition, thus I think you can have many forms of "Aikido," and not all have to be directly in line with exactly what Osensei taught. We can argue the philosophical virtues of any system within the general category of aikido, but I think it's perfectly fitting for Shodokan to claim the title "Aikido". There is a marked distinction by virtue of the fact that it's called "Shodokan" or "Tomiki Ryu" Aikido. For me, this is a sufficient distinction to denote any differences between it and other forms of Aikido.

Quote:
But even allowing for change, did O Sensei mean for us to change things indescriminantly, to challenge things just because we can? To do whatever we want and call it Aikido? ...When you deviate from those things, you've gone over the line and you can't honestly call it Aikido anymore. You would have to call it something else, and that's ok.
I agree with what I think is the essence of this message. It's good to denote a distinction between differences so one can tell the difference. I also think the changes you refered to shouldn't be indescriminate, but I don't think Tomiki was indescriminate. He took his experiences and based his choices off of those, just as Osensei did. I think Tomiki had great respect for Osensei or he wouldn't have aligned himself so closely.

Quote:
But doing your own thing and calling it someone else's .... no. O Sensei didn't do that, did he? That's why we're debating about Aikido and not Daito Ryu Aikijutusu. When he came up with his own art, he gave it its own name and identity, instead of trying to pass it off as someone else's. The same lesson is true for us today.
My understanding is that the term "aikido" was determined by a council which oversaw budo in Japan. I see the term "aikido" as more generic than you do. Shodokan doesn't claim to be exactly as Osensei taught in every way, but if you train at a Shodokan dojo, you can clearly see it is Aikido. I've trained at three different dojo (relatively few, I know): Kannagara Jinja; ASU; Shodokan. Each was "same same, but different." Also, taking into consideration organizations like Nihon Goshin Aikido, which claims no lineage from Ueshiba-sama, and to me it really drives this point home.

Last edited by mathewjgano : 07-09-2006 at 09:22 PM.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 07-09-2006, 10:45 PM   #156
CNYMike
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Re: Brawling with a friend

Quote:
Don Magee wrote:
I actually expect to hear that exact argument. Obviously you could ask the wrong questions, anything can be debunked with the right setup. How does aikido help prepare us for 15 men armed with machine guys, wild dogs, and land mines? .....
Obviously I exxagerated a little. You don't have to be quite so obvious to get the same result. It can be subtle; you can think you're not doing something and you are.

Quote:
..... Lets say I see a teacher demonstrating a technique. He claims this technique will break legs. I look at how I have been attacked in the past, what I know about the human body, and what I've seen in other arts and decide that I don't think he will be breaking legs. What should I do? Should I just shutup and train? Should I ask how this will break the leg? Should I tell him I don't think it will work? Which question or response will benefit me more? If I leave without telling him anything, neither of us grow. I do not learn if I was wrong, he doesn't learn why he lost a student. If I shutup and train I will gain nothing. I will waste my time going though motions on something I will never actually use because I don't believe it works. The teacher will never know I don't understand and will think he is doing a great job educating when really we are both wasting our time. If I ask my teacher, I'm disrespectful because he told me "This breaks legs" and by asking I'm saying "I don't think this breaks legs". Of course he is hearing "You are wrong and a sucky martial artist", but that is just his ego getting bruised. What he should hear is "I don't quite understand, please help me understand." Hopefully one of two things will happen when I tell him that I don't understand how this will break legs.
1) We will explore the technique and I will understand how this breaks legs.
2) We will explore the technique and find that it really doesn't' break legs, or that it is very low percentage leg breaking technique.

If the answer is 2, then we can decide to either a) keep the technique because it teaches some other important concept vital to the art. or b) throw the technique out or modify it so that it does work.
Ok. Thanks for explaining that.

Quote:
.... I don't think training methods are part of tradition .....
I disagree.


Quote:
.... This conversation is way way off base from where I wanted to go ..... simply wanted to discuss the merits of the I-method paired with aikido .....
Ok. I'll bite. Let's see how it works, based on the difinition you provided in another post:

Quote:
Introduce: Demonstrate and explain the material being taught, let them drill it to get a basic understanding and put it static reps.
This pretty much sums up most Aikido classes: Techniques are demonstrated and explained, and then we repeat them until the instructor decides to do something else. (What interests me is the "organic" quality of the class, when to get from technque A to B, you tweak something in A.)

Quote:
Isolate: Work on the material in isolation, usually with drills or restricted sparring with progressively increasing resistance/difficulty.
Slightly dicey. Does "in isolation" mean on your own time, or in the class? I understand Yudansha have leeway to experiment, but whether it's as much you're thinking, I don't know. If "restricited sparring" means you still know who uke and nage are, that might work. Otherwise, no.

Quote:
Intregrate: Have the students encorporate the material into their whole game, usually in free rolling/sparring.
No chance of using because many branches of Aikido don't have freestyle sparring or rolling. That's when we come full circle back to the direction we were in before. Fully integrating the I-method would require a major change in Aikido, namely including sparring. And that brings us all the way back to whole discussion of sparring, respect, etc. And that's where the I-method hits a brick wall.

Quote:
..... besides you, nobody has said they would be offended by adding this training to their current training .....
I didn't say I would be offended either. I never used those words. I said, if they tell you "you can't spar in Aikido," you don't spar. Which means chunks of the I-method can't be used, at least as-is. I wasn't taking offense; I just feel that's what you should do. Obviously, if you're in Tomiki's system, you might have an easier time of doing that. But if he's not in my lineage and if the people above me say "don't spar," I won't spar. Call that blind obediance if you want, but that's what I believe. So within the context of an Aikido class, I think it hits a brick wall.

Now, there are a few potential loopholes. One hinges on how much wiggle room black belts have when they are playing around. That I don't know. And even if they still can't do freestyle sparring, there are "semi freestyle" things where you know who uke and nage is but that's it. Would the latter two phases be adapted to that? Of course, if it hinges on freestyle, then it hits a brick wall.

Another loophole: What is the rule for open mat time after an Aikido class is over? I do not know. Are you restricted to doing Aikido? Can you do whatever you want as long as you don't bother anyone else? If the latter then two like-minded people could continue work with the I-method. But not in a formal Aikido class. There those aspects couldn't be used.

Yes, I noticed I am the only one taking this tack, even more disconcerting because my thinking was influenced by someone who's not involved with Aikido at all! But I still believe you don't do what they tell you not to do. Maybe outside a formal Aikido class you can get away with it. But in class lineage, tradition, and respect should, at least in my opinion, all be as important as the techniques, and come into play. Why am I the only one saying that? I don't know. But I don't by the idea of bypassing those things because it suits you; they're part of the package, not something you can discard if you want.

So to recap, no the I-method itself does not offend me, but it would be best if it were adapted to Aikido, not the other way around.
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Old 07-09-2006, 10:48 PM   #157
CNYMike
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Re: Brawling with a friend

^^ Now that I think about it, there's one more brick wall: If there's no sparring in Aikido ever, formal class or not, then the I-method again hits a brick wall unless you can adapt it to that context.
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Old 07-09-2006, 11:32 PM   #158
DonMagee
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Re: Brawling with a friend

David , that is the method I am refering too.

Michael, here's a question for you. If you train in aikido and you are told that sparing is against the tradition and philosphy of aikido and you join another art that spars, is that not as disrespectful? How can you train in 5 arts and not have a conflict of tradition. Keeping them isolated from each other is basically saying this tradition only matters when i'm in class, outside of class it is worthless. This tells me the tradition is not as important as was stated, because a "do" is supose to be a way of life. If the tradition is important to this way of life you must live it always. Otherwise you are just as bad as someone willfully going against the wishes of their teacher.

Last edited by DonMagee : 07-09-2006 at 11:35 PM.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 07-10-2006, 12:08 AM   #159
dps
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Re: Brawling with a friend

Quote:
Don Magee wrote:
David , that is the method I am refering too..
This is the way we trained when I started twenty years ago and the way we train now with some minor variations.

Sparring,
'A form of martial arts training in which two opponents face one another and simulate actual combat."
from wikipedia

Sounds like what we do at my dojo.

Learning Aikido is as complicated as we individually make it.

One of my favorite Ancient Chinese Acronyms is; K.I.S.S. ( Keep It Simple Stupid).

Last edited by dps : 07-10-2006 at 12:11 AM.
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Old 07-10-2006, 12:12 AM   #160
dps
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Re: Brawling with a friend

The famous Ancient Chinese Acronym was not directed at any one in particular, except maybe me.
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Old 07-10-2006, 12:51 AM   #161
CNYMike
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Re: Brawling with a friend

Quote:
Don Magee wrote:
..... Michael, here's a question for you. If you train in aikido and you are told that sparing is against the tradition and philosphy of aikido and you join another art that spars, is that not as disrespectful? ......
No. I work very hard to be respectful to everything I do. When I am in Aikido, I do Aikido. When I am in Kali or Jun Fan, I do those arts. If I told my Jun Fan Sifu, "I can't spar here because I'm not allowed to in Aikido," would that be respectful? No, it would not. Which is why when he tells me to spar, I spar.

What about the members of this board who do both Aikido and Judo? Are they all to be considered disrespectful to Aikido now? Good luck defending that position.

Now, Don, let me ask you something:

Now that I have taken the debate in exactly the direction you wanted to go and answered the question you raised, why are you responding with what is basically a personal attack? If you still don't agree with me, fine. I have no problem with agreeing to disagree and leaving it at that; we aren't going to change each other's minds here. But that you have responded by trying to bait me leads me to wonder if you have run out of anything substantive to say.
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Old 07-10-2006, 07:00 AM   #162
DonMagee
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Re: Brawling with a friend

I'm sorry you think I was attacking you. I'm just trying to understand your position. I spent time thinking about it and the more I do the more I think it is absurd. So tradition is only important when you are in class? To say when you are in Kali that aikido tradition does not matter is saying you place very little value in this tradition. It seems you are saying we should respect tradition, but only when it is convenient. If the value of tradition is so small that it only matters while your actually in front of your teacher and in class, is it really that valuable? It seems it is false respect, real respect would extend beyond the realms of the class. Again, this is not a personal attack. This is simply how I see it. Personally, I don't see a problem with cross-training, but I'm exploring the logical extension of your position.

I didn't respond to your comments on the I-method because you still haven't' said anything substantially different then before, you just reworded it to say "We can't do this because of tradition". No point it repeating myself over and over.

Anyways, I'm hijacking the conversation away again. Yes, I know I wont change your mind. That's not the purpose of this conversation. I'm having this conversation to better understand my position and how I train. Not to make you change training methods. I hope everyone else is doing the same. If you like I'll quit replying to you. I don't want to fight on the internet, it's not healthy. I'm sure others will post their opinions eventually.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 07-10-2006, 07:19 AM   #163
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Brawling with a friend

Quote:
Don Magee wrote:
I don't want to fight on the internet, it's not healthy.
it's alot healthier than fighting for reals!
peace
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Old 07-10-2006, 10:26 AM   #164
CNYMike
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Re: Brawling with a friend

Quote:
Don Magee wrote:
I'm sorry you think I was attacking you. I'm just trying to understand your position. I spent time thinking about it and the more I do the more I think it is absurd. So tradition is only important when you are in class? To say when you are in Kali that aikido tradition does not matter is saying you place very little value in this tradition ....
Wrong. I respect the Kali "tradition" as well. It is not that Aikido does not have value, it all has value.

Although if you noticed, I never used the word "tradition." You did. What I have said is part of learning a martial art is preserving and propogating that system. It doesn't matter what art it is. There are things in Kali that have no practical application in our society, like espada y daga: Even if you could get away with walking around with a stick in one hand and a dagger in the other and not be picked up by the cops, you will NOT get into a fight with someone armed the same way. But we still cycle through espada y daga once every few months. Why? Because it is part of the system.

It is because of this that we must be careful in what we do. Does that mean no changes at all, like no modern equipment? No. I don't think you will find any Thai Boxers today fighting with glass glued to their hands. But you will not find a Thai Boxing instructor caught dead doing anything but standing respectfully when his teacher is talking. It's not just th techniques they are teaching but the bits of the culture.

Some might say, "Well, we're talking about Aikido." Well, that's the thinking I apply to all the arts I train in -- Aikido, Kali, Serak, whatever. When in Kali, I have to respect that system; I can not decide to not follow it because I am doing in Aikido. In Aikido, I must do things their way. It is not about being "convenient." "Convenience" does not enter into it.

Beyond that, the only opinions that matter are my teachers'. When I joined the dojo, I asked my sensei if it was ok if I came once a week; he said "Yes." I asked him if my doing other arts was a problem and he said "No." He knows what I do and who I train under (Guro Andy and Sensei used to have classes back-to-back on Fridays before both left the school that had been hosting them), and he's never said anything about it. No one has every accused me of "false respect" or lectured me on how I should follow Aikido's precepts in other classes .... except you, and you're not even in Aikido anymore, much less in a position to tell me what to do! My Kali instructor, for his part, fully supports my doing Aikido; he's never said anyhting about how I should comport myself in that class, although I think he would be dissapointed if I didn't do what I was supposed to do. NO ONE has said anything about a "conflict of tradition" .... except you. Well, why should I listen to you? Why should anybody? You deny being on a crusade to change Aikido, but you want their attention all the same. What difference does it make if you never come back?

I do not know how I could have been any clearer than I have in spelling out my position; why do you seek to "understand" it? Am I really that incomprehensible? Or am I just saying something you don't want to hear? What you tell me matters less than what you tell yourself.
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Old 07-10-2006, 01:02 PM   #165
DonMagee
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Re: Brawling with a friend

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Michael Gallagher wrote:
Wrong. I respect the Kali "tradition" as well. It is not that Aikido does not have value, it all has value.

Although if you noticed, I never used the word "tradition." You did. What I have said is part of learning a martial art is preserving and propogating that system. It doesn't matter what art it is. There are things in Kali that have no practical application in our society, like espada y daga: Even if you could get away with walking around with a stick in one hand and a dagger in the other and not be picked up by the cops, you will NOT get into a fight with someone armed the same way. But we still cycle through espada y daga once every few months. Why? Because it is part of the system.

It is because of this that we must be careful in what we do. Does that mean no changes at all, like no modern equipment? No. I don't think you will find any Thai Boxers today fighting with glass glued to their hands. But you will not find a Thai Boxing instructor caught dead doing anything but standing respectfully when his teacher is talking. It's not just th techniques they are teaching but the bits of the culture.

Some might say, "Well, we're talking about Aikido." Well, that's the thinking I apply to all the arts I train in -- Aikido, Kali, Serak, whatever. When in Kali, I have to respect that system; I can not decide to not follow it because I am doing in Aikido. In Aikido, I must do things their way. It is not about being "convenient." "Convenience" does not enter into it.

Beyond that, the only opinions that matter are my teachers'. When I joined the dojo, I asked my sensei if it was ok if I came once a week; he said "Yes." I asked him if my doing other arts was a problem and he said "No." He knows what I do and who I train under (Guro Andy and Sensei used to have classes back-to-back on Fridays before both left the school that had been hosting them), and he's never said anything about it. No one has every accused me of "false respect" or lectured me on how I should follow Aikido's precepts in other classes .... except you, and you're not even in Aikido anymore, much less in a position to tell me what to do! My Kali instructor, for his part, fully supports my doing Aikido; he's never said anyhting about how I should comport myself in that class, although I think he would be dissapointed if I didn't do what I was supposed to do. NO ONE has said anything about a "conflict of tradition" .... except you. Well, why should I listen to you? Why should anybody? You deny being on a crusade to change Aikido, but you want their attention all the same. What difference does it make if you never come back?

I do not know how I could have been any clearer than I have in spelling out my position; why do you seek to "understand" it? Am I really that incomprehensible? Or am I just saying something you don't want to hear? What you tell me matters less than what you tell yourself.
You might want to look into why you are so defensive. You seem to think I'm making statements about you. I am not on a crusade. I'm simply talking about ideas. I'm exploring them and asking questions. You talked about tradition being part of the training methods. I am now exploring how that tradition relates to these training methods. You did say tradition was part of the training method. We are talking about training methods. I am exploring how this relates. You see, I feel tradition can not be part of the training method because simply, you must throw out tradition some when you cross train. Notice how I didn't say tradition was bad or evil. I simply said it was not part of the training method.

To be fair you did not say tradition, you said respect. However, when we explored this 'respect' we found it was not the common sense of respect westerners have, but rather tied to a tradition that came with the art. This tradition includes more than just saying sensei, bowing, and following all instructors and wishes of your teacher. The tradition of aikido is that it is a way of life. You can't turn it on for a hour once or twice a week. To do so means you are simply not training in aikido. In fact, one of the main statements of aikidoka is that you are training all the time, 24/7. So now you have a tradition that has to contend with all other aspects of your training outside of aikido.

Yes, I don't train any longer in aikido. I post here because I find there are some intelligent people here with opposing viewpoints that will allow me to explore my ideas. This helps me refine my arguments and develop my own thoughts on how training should be. Its not even about aikido. I feel this method could help any martial art. I am talking about aikido simply because this is an aikido forum.

As for the understand comment. I do understand what you are saying. I use the word understand in reference to exploring your statement and seeing how it applies. You seem to think that simply because I ask a question that I am supporting the statement implied by the question. For example, I am asking you if cross-training interferes with tradition. You think I am saying it is bad to cross train. Except for I also cross train. I train in judo, bjj, and boxing.

When I train, I don't pretend to even think about the respect or tradition needed in these arts. I show up, shut up when needed, ask questions when needed, and take lots of notes. I don't stand respectfully when the teacher is talking because he has a 5th degree black belt around his waist. I stand there respectfully because he has proven to be a nice honest man, and if I don't pay attention, I'm wasting my money and I will never learn anything. If he didn't answer my questions, got upset with me for asking them, or got upset with me suggesting a new drill or training method, I would have no respect for him and I would leave. Instead they have been receptive and either shown me a better way, or listened and adopted some of my suggestions modified with their experience. That is a productive non-hostile learning environment. Being afraid you might offend the teacher by suggesting something is not.

If you read some of my comments in the previous posts, you would know that I believe the best way to learn is to ask questions, no matter how 'uncomfortable' they might be. I don't mean to offend you, but I also don't care if you get offended. It's not personal to me, its a matter of exploring the thought processes and training methods in the martial arts. If people started defending my position, I might even question them with questions from your position. Why? So I can learn something. Maybe gain a deeper understand of what drives people. I'm only asking questions. If I didn't think aikidoka had something worth gaining I would ignore them. Nobody is forced to reply to me and I'm not hurting anyone by asking questions.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 07-10-2006, 01:32 PM   #166
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Brawling with a friend

And you provide some interesting reading and usefull information, too.

Quote:
The tradition of aikido is that it is a way of life. You can't turn it on for a hour once or twice a week. To do so means you are simply not training in aikido. In fact, one of the main statements of aikidoka is that you are training all the time, 24/7. So now you have a tradition that has to contend with all other aspects of your training outside of aikido.
I think I'll bite on this one. I don't feel that it is a contradiction, because the tradition we are speaking of is not what is practiced outside of the dojo. In the Yoshinkan, it is a tradition to use the word Osu! when we greet each other. Yet often, outside of the dojo environment, we don't use that greeting, because it can be percieved as rude by outsiders. It is simply inappropriate outside of a given context. All traditions have a context...and if you take them outside of that context, you not only risk 'offending' the tradition, you also risk offending other people while making an @$$ of yourself. So I try mightily when in other arts, other dojo not to say 'osu!', because it can actually be inappropriate...whether in a MA setting or not.

There are many instances of this...bowing at a 45 degree angle to people at work who happen to appear asian could be taken as condescending or sarcastic. But it is tradition to bow in an aikido dojo. Should I then bow to coworkers because aikdo is a DO? I don't think that would make sense.

In my opinion, a lot of things that are tradition in the dojo are not meant to be literally taken outside of the dojo. The meaning behind these things, however, can be taken outside and applied in a valid way, without conflicting with the environment and context you are in.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 07-10-2006, 01:57 PM   #167
DonMagee
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Re: Brawling with a friend

Thats exactly the point I was trying to get at, only I didn't know how to say it. The spirit of the tradition can exist outside of the tradition. This is why I feel the train methods and tradition are not tied so deep they do not allow the training methods to adjust. Lets use this drill for an example: tori attempts to defend while uke attempts to do a single leg takedown.

We have a drill that can be played as a simple game, a step by step kata, or limited sparing based on skill level. We could use this to teach a key princple of aikido, moving off the line of the attacker, or we could use this to teach a key principle of wrestling, crossface/wizzer. The difference is in the spirit of the training, not the method.

Is it done in aikido now? I'm sure it is. Is it done in every school? I'm sure it's not. Can it teach you something a static kata can't? I think it can.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 07-10-2006, 02:38 PM   #168
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Brawling with a friend

I think you get the point about not allowing the tradition to restrict you outside of the context, but miss the point about the tradition being held in high regard **inside** the appropriate context.

For some, aikido is keiko...one of those japanese words you don't like. Keiko is to reflect deeply upon the past. If that is what aikido is to someone, they probably aren't going to include the shoot in their attacks, or the wizzer in their defences. Just my limited opinion. Though I'm pretty sure that aikido doesn't teach as high percentage a defense to a shoot as a sprawl and wizzer, the yoshinkan 45 degree pivot and controling the head seems to work fairly well in my experience. All of which is fairly moot from your point of view, if you don't have competition level wrestlers doing the 'shooting'..

There are schools (such as the shotokan branch of aikido) which are not bothered in the least by many of the methods you mention. Perhaps you should try to engage some of them in a conversation.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
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Old 07-10-2006, 02:49 PM   #169
DonMagee
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Re: Brawling with a friend

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
I think you get the point about not allowing the tradition to restrict you outside of the context, but miss the point about the tradition being held in high regard **inside** the appropriate context.

For some, aikido is keiko...one of those japanese words you don't like. Keiko is to reflect deeply upon the past. If that is what aikido is to someone, they probably aren't going to include the shoot in their attacks, or the wizzer in their defences. Just my limited opinion. Though I'm pretty sure that aikido doesn't teach as high percentage a defense to a shoot as a sprawl and wizzer, the yoshinkan 45 degree pivot and controling the head seems to work fairly well in my experience. All of which is fairly moot from your point of view, if you don't have competition level wrestlers doing the 'shooting'..

There are schools (such as the shotokan branch of aikido) which are not bothered in the least by many of the methods you mention. Perhaps you should try to engage some of them in a conversation.

Best,
Ron
I wish there was some shotokan aikido near me, I would go check it out. I love trying new things. I just wanted to clarify that I wasn't suggesting a sprawl or wizzer for the aikidoka. I was suggesting the aikidoka do as you mentioned, move off the line, and do something aiki like. The drill could be anything really, its just that the shoot came up first in my mind. Although I don't see why you couldn't train the old ways and train with a single leg takedown or some other 'modern' attack (as if people didn't do single leg takedowns well before there was aikido. I wonder when judo added the single and double leg takedowns...I'll have to research.). I guess its not a matter of will this improve the training, its a matter of do you want to improve your training or maintain the status quo (not that there is anything wrong with that as long as you are honest about it).

Maybe in time I'll find the status quo suits me just fine. Everyone has a path to travel.

P.S. Can you tell work is slow?

Last edited by DonMagee : 07-10-2006 at 02:52 PM.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 07-10-2006, 03:01 PM   #170
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Brawling with a friend

Quote:
Although I don't see why you couldn't train the old ways and train with a single leg takedown or some other 'modern' attack (as if people didn't do single leg takedowns well before there was aikido).
Well, I'm really leary of briefly going into the history of aikido and daito ryu...it's a fairly complex subject, and the whole "battle field art" topic turns me off. But I think there is a certain amount of truth to the idea that if you are training an art based on that idea, you won't be as worried about a shoot and ground and pound method of attack. It's not a high percentage attack against someone who is armed. And yeah, that would be clearer if aikidoka went around armed all the time (I know some that ususally do go around armed, but those exceptions probably prove the rule more than anything else). The point is that while people did that attack somewhere...it probably wasn't seen as logical in the environment that aikido developed in, just as kicking above the groin probably wasn't seen as logical. Or even kicking in general during the periods of armoured combat.

Why would that stop you from adding these attacks? Like you said, it's probably just a matter of interest and individual goals and weighing that against your teacher's disapproval.

Best,
Ron

Last edited by Ron Tisdale : 07-10-2006 at 03:13 PM. Reason: stupid typer

Ron Tisdale
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Old 07-10-2006, 03:16 PM   #171
DonMagee
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Re: Brawling with a friend

Do you think it could reach a point where some styles of aikido will lose the self defense aspects in exchange for the 'keiko' (I hope i'm using that in the right context)?

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 07-10-2006, 03:45 PM   #172
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Brawling with a friend

I think it depends on the context of self defense you are talking about. I tend to think of the aikido I train in as Budo with self defense applications. How far you can take the applications depends on the individual. Some individuals come in knowing how to fight, and the aikido informs that, and I've not known people like that to have any problems applying aikido to the self defense situations they encounter.

Others, well...less so depending on the individual. I think it really depends on the environment you want to apply self defense to. If it's a cage match, that has particular problems. On a high school playground...different issues again. In North Phila. on a saturday night in a club...different again.

I'm sure there will always be some git who takes a shine to poppin someone in the noggin. In which case, if you are good at aikido, it probably has some self defense aspects in that situation.

Best,
Ron (you pays your money, and you takes your chances...)

Ron Tisdale
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Old 07-10-2006, 05:23 PM   #173
Mark Freeman
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Re: Brawling with a friend

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
I'm sure there will always be some git who takes a shine to poppin someone in the noggin.


Ron, have you been spending time hanging around some of the dubious areas of London, just the sort of thing I might hear down the local 'boozer'
Quote:
In which case, if you are good at aikido, it probably has some self defense aspects in that situation.
Couldn't agree more, me old china

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 07-10-2006, 06:31 PM   #174
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Brawling with a friend

Quote:
Don Magee wrote:
Although I don't see why you couldn't train the old ways and train with a single leg takedown or some other 'modern' attack
I'm not entirely sure if I understand the nuances of a single leg take down, but at the dojo in America which i train in, the leg will sometimes get scooped up. This will happen if, for example, tori lets up enough during a kaiten nage (just before the final part of the throw). This might not be a good example though, as Kannagara Jinja is something of an anomaly, and there are a few people who used to wrestle a lot...so not sure how it fits into the grand scheme of things, but there ya go.
Take care,
Matt

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Old 07-11-2006, 01:28 AM   #175
CNYMike
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Re: Brawling with a friend

Quote:
Don Magee wrote:
You might want to look into why you are so defensive ....
I am not defensive, I am offended. One thing I have come to detest in the 12 years I have been surfing the 'net is when people presume to know what I am thinking. I will tell you what I am thinking; don't you presume to tell me!

Quote:
.... I am not on a crusade ....
Are you sure of that? I've learned that ego and pride can drive your actions even if you think they don't. Let's look at what you have said:

You wrote that when you left Aikido, you "had a duty" to tell your instructor why and tell him about the training methods you have found. That is a pretty strong statement. You didn't just chit-chat with him and causally say, "Yeah, I found a school I like better." You felt duty-bound to explain the I-method.

You've written that you mention it now because you hope Aikido instructors will look into it and, if they like it, adapt it. You say you are "not on a crusade to change AIkido," but what if Aikido teachers act on your statements and use the I-method? That's a change. For someone who isn't on a crusade to change Aikido, you seem to want to see something happen!

Lastly, there is the amount of time and effort you have put into this thread. Unless you are a blindingly fast typist, it's a LOT of time. How long does it take to do one post? You seem to have invested a lot it it.

So, are you sure that deep down, you really are not on a crusade? People can deceive themselves all the time. I've done it myself. Are you doing it to yourself when you say you are not on a crusade? Only you can answer that question.

Ron covered some of your other points so well that I almost hate to go over the same things.

Quote:
I'm simply talking about ideas. I'm exploring them and asking questions. You talked about tradition being part of the training methods. I am now exploring how that tradition relates to these training methods. You did say tradition was part of the training method. We are talking about training methods. I am exploring how this relates. You see, I feel tradition can not be part of the training method because simply, you must throw out tradition some when you cross train. Notice how I didn't say tradition was bad or evil. I simply said it was not part of the training method.
Well, unfortunately for you, in class tonight, Sensei made a comment in passing that drove home a simple fact: Aikido's philosphy is integrated into the art. It is not something you read or have a little lecture on before doing joint locks and throws. The flavor of the techniques and and the intent behind them is based on the art's philosophy. It is not preached at you; you absorb it by doing things in accordance with it. If you tweak a technique a little bit so it is designed to do damage to the other person, it may look almost the same as before, but it is no longer an Aikido technique. And that's without changing the training method!

So when you talk about the I-method, you have to recognize the basic fact that Aikido is more than just about techniques, and it is not just me saying that. Other sources focus on this. I think John Stevens' Secrets of Aikido covers this very well. You are going to disagree with this, I know, but you are disagreeing with a simple fact.

Quote:
.....The tradition of aikido is that it is a way of life. You can't turn it on for a hour once or twice a week. To do so means you are simply not training in aikido. In fact, one of the main statements of aikidoka is that you are training all the time, 24/7. So now you have a tradition that has to contend with all other aspects of your training outside of aikido.
You may want to investigate what that means before you throw it around; I think Ron covered that well. For myself, if I see myself as anything it is as a martial art. I currently train in several arts and they all matter to me. I do not value one over another.

Where you see "conflict" between the tradition, I see diverse perspectives. What is the fun in doing five different arts if they are all the same? You might as well just do one. I am doing things that have different emphasis, look at different areas, even do the same techniques slightly differently. When I told my Kali instructor I wanted to do Aikido again, he said I would be a "better martial artist." I believe he meant I would be better off for seeing different things, looking at different arts. The more you know about what's out there, the better off you are.

Remember, budo does not refer to one martial art; it refers to a bunch, including Aikido. So yes, I guess you could say budo is my way of life, and it encompasses all the arts I do.

Quote:
..... When I train, I don't pretend to even think about the respect or tradition needed in these arts. I show up, shut up when needed, ask questions when needed, and take lots of notes. I don't stand respectfully when the teacher is talking because he has a 5th degree black belt around his waist. I stand there respectfully because he has proven to be a nice honest man, and if I don't pay attention, I'm wasting my money and I will never learn anything. If he didn't answer my questions, got upset with me for asking them, or got upset with me suggesting a new drill or training method, I would have no respect for him and I would leave. Instead they have been receptive and either shown me a better way, or listened and adopted some of my suggestions modified with their experience. That is a productive non-hostile learning environment. Being afraid you might offend the teacher by suggesting something is not.
My Kali instructor told me about the Straight Blast Gym some time ago. I found their web site ( http://www.straightblastgym.com ) shortly thereafter and read their article on cults ( http://www.straightblastgym.com/freedom.htm ). They don't sound as if they care much about tradition, culture, history, respect, etc. If they influenced your thinking, good for you! But if you go to the Inosanto Academy, you will find that yes, they spar a lot, and I wouldn't be surprised if they are open to things like the I-method. (I have heard my Kali instructors talk about "isolating" but I am not sure if that is where it is from; I'll have to get back to you on that.) But they also care about the history, culture, and, you guessed it, resepect. Those things are important, even if the SBG doesn't care. You can say you can throw things out and not change anything, but can you, really? I've trained with people affiliated with the Inosanto Avademy for nine years and it is from then that I believe the answer is "no." Are they wrong and the SBG right? And why?

Quote:
If you read some of my comments in the previous posts, you would know that I believe the best way to learn is to ask questions, no matter how 'uncomfortable' they might be. I don't mean to offend you, but I also don't care if you get offended. It's not personal to me, its a matter of exploring the thought processes and training methods in the martial arts. If people started defending my position, I might even question them with questions from your position. Why? So I can learn something. Maybe gain a deeper understand of what drives people. I'm only asking questions. If I didn't think aikidoka had something worth gaining I would ignore them. Nobody is forced to reply to me and I'm not hurting anyone by asking questions.
I had an uncle like that. He was a royal pain in the @$$. Always wanted others' opinions but never voiced his own. My mom hated him. Just a thought.
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