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Old 10-08-2006, 06:19 AM   #1
Guilty Spark
 
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Why do some people hate Aikido?

Why do people hate Aikido?



I've wondered this since joining various Internet martial arts message forums. I think the biggest (only in fact) Aikido-related disappointment I've had is seeing how a considerable number of the MA community react to Aikido.



I can't figure out why.

I've come up with a few possible reasons;



1)Icons. Icons such as Sensei Steven Seagal can either motivate beginners or turn people against said MA. Personally I've enjoyed the interviews I've seen of him and videos, others apparently are so turned off by his character or bearing that it carries over into the martial art itself. They attack the martial art THOUGH these icons.



2)Newbies jumping in with both feet which I think is a biggie (guilty of it too). I think in Martial arts, like many other things (especially religion) when someone is exposed to it and it 'clicks' with them, they go a little crazy. Jumping in with both feet they try to expose themselves to as much of the martial art/religion/sport etc.. as possible. Live eat breathe it. This can of course get sickening especially for people surrounding said individual who have to put up with hearing them preach over and over about this new martial art/religion/sport etc. (I've sure I've annoyed a good number of friends and co-workers). Maybe this comes across as just a new fad or something causing people to immediately get a negative opinion about Aikido?



3)Need to justify it. Carrying over from my last point, I think many new Aikidoa rub people the wrong way because facing criticism they feel the need (with second and third hand information) to defend and champion aikido. Considering the antagonists have "experience" bashing aikido the newbies arguments are quickly put down. The new aikidoa then either 'goes on the attack' making enemies (or an ass of themselves) or sucks back a little and learns to pick and choose their battles.



4)Other members having to justify their own choose MA. I get the feeling that many people seem to need reassurance that their chosen martial art does indeed work. At that, they constantly compare their own marital art to other ones. How effective it is against any given situation, how it deals with knife attacks wrestling on the ground kicking multiple opponents etc.. Their afraid to say hey my martial art has a weakness. It's like their so worried about what everyone else is doing and how they stack up that they miss out on the simple enjoyment of leaning and having fun in their own martial art.



5)Spirituality/Mysticism stuff. Because of the day and age we live in, I think religion, spirituality and such are looked upon with a lot of skepticism and doubt.(With good cause IMHO) It's a big your with us or against us attitude in that if someone isn't devoutly religious/spiritual, then they are at the opposite end of the spectrum and immediately become suspicious around anything approaching a spiritual aspect. Their all about the pure fighting/physical aspect. I've found the Aikidoa often somewhere in the middle. (Which is where I surprisingly find myself). We need only look to a few threads here for examples if people against the whole idea of spirituality.
Maybe some aikido schools concentrate too much on the spiritual side and less so on the physical to the point where it makes the aikido taught there in look ineffective and fake?



6)Ignorance. Stemming from my second point (new students trying to explain things) people easily get the wrong idea about Aikido. A new member starts going off about not competing, not using strikes, the art of "peace" etc.. and someone else reads that and takes the faulty facts as gospel then turns around and passes it on. Listening to lower level belts talking about the spirit of aikido. They 9we) usually don't have the whole story so our arguments and facts are a little skewered.



7)The no-competition thing is a biggie I've found. I think a decent number of people practice martial arts with a view (as large or small as i may be) to proving something to themselves or something else. The non-competition thing, especially when explained by a new Aikido, really sets Aikido up to be bashed by other martial arts. Again people watching others rather than just enjoying what their doing.



8)LARPing or live action role playing. I guess this is a term used to describe to a martial art that isn't really effective but more for show? Aikido is an easy target for this I believe because of the Samurai back round, Aikido tradition, etiquette and even using the Hakama. I can't count how many people it seems have a huge beef with Aikido because of the Hakama. Again people so turned of by the spirituality (or in this case tradition) aspect of a martial art that something like wearing a Hakama is automatic grounds for ridicule. Practicing with a bokken or sword? No need to explain that.

On a note about "LARPing", I think everyone who watches a martial art movie or fight (say UFC) is guilty of wanting to 'be that guy' or be like that guy. Maybe even just picturing themselves in that situation. If this wasn't true then people wouldn't flock to a martial arts when it falls in the spotlight, a la Royce Gracie for just one example.



9)Time required to become proficient. I think that's a major turn off for many people, ergo becoming an argument that "Aikido doesn't work". People like instant or near instant results and by all accounts with Aikido won't provide that time of results.



I'll stop there. That's about the main points I can think of off the top of my head writing this. Does anyone have any additional ideas why Aikido takes such a popularity beating by many (other) martial arts? Or perhaps comment on points I may have completely wrong?

If you're hungry, keep moving.
If you're tired, keep moving.
If you value you're life, keep moving.

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Old 10-08-2006, 08:10 AM   #2
mickeygelum
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Re: Why do some people hate Aikido?

Quite an observation, Grant.....I have almost thirty years of Aikido, and thirty-four Karate training behind me, personally, I have summed it up in one line "No immediate tangible result"....if you kick, punch or strike an individual properly, you have an immediate effect on that individual that is seen, this does not actually require any training.....But to properly affect a balance break with an entering/turning motion and to feel the individuals reaction, requires so much practice......most people do not have the patience or self-discipline to do this.


Miku-san
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Old 10-08-2006, 08:19 AM   #3
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: Why do some people hate Aikido?

I don't think anyone on a fairly large number of forums I have visited hates aikido. Most think it is a waste of time, they make fun of Westerners blindly following non-Western traditions and not getting any visible martial ability, and they particularly make fun of the cultish aspect many followers display. And demos, of course, are a great source of pointed ridicule. OK, that's all fair and open, there's no hate involved, and I've met plenty of people who make fun of aikido but don't hate me when I meet them.
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Old 10-08-2006, 08:48 AM   #4
crbateman
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Re: Why do some people hate Aikido?

I think that "hate" may be too strong a word. I know that most of the people I've talked to who "dislike" Aikido simply don't take it seriously, or feel that it lacks the instant gratification or empowerment that a "harder" art can offer. Certainly, if one can practice Aikido diligently for a lifetime, and still feel he has much to learn, it's not an avocation that is going to appeal to the impatient.
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Old 10-08-2006, 09:35 AM   #5
Jorge Garcia
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Re: Why do some people hate Aikido?

Good job Grant,
I think you did an excellent summary of the dislike or "hate " that people have for Aikido. To me, the ignorance factor is the biggest one. That is called sometimes "unconscious incompetence". That means you don't know what you're talking about and you don't know that you don't know. Every human on earth makes private judgments immediately on things they know absolutely nothing about. The thing is that we are so limited in our knowledge but we judge things we have no right to judge. Aikido as an art has been so watered down (and that includes it's spirituality as well), that people are judging a version of a version rather than what it really is. I think it would be shocking for most people to learn that even some of the trusted sources that we judge Aikido by aren't good sources to judge by.
The bottom line is that we can have opinions but we shouldn't have such hard and fast ones, for or against, because as time goes by, we all come into new light and new information that sometimes can cancel out other things we thought we knew. O Sensei said," Do not concern yourself with the right and wrong of others. Do not be calculating or act unnaturally. Keep your mind set on the Art of Peace, and do not criticize other teachers or other traditions." and "Do not criticize other teachers or traditions. Aikido embraces all."
It's OK to evaluate things but to pass a hard and fast judgment is a mistake.

The last thing I would say as to why people hate Aikido is the very fact that Aikido is based on an opposite premise from that which attracts 99 percent of the people that are interested in martial arts. An art of peace and non confrontation, and art opposed to fighting, and art that subdues the ego, and art with no tournaments or competition - these premises aren't what drives people to martial arts. Really, honestly, most people are driven by the allure of becoming invincible, of having power over others and many out of fear and a desire for self protection not understanding there is no such thing. Nothing can give you that unless you are God Himself.

Whether Aikido is true or even possible, the fact remains that what it stands for is in opposition to what almost every person wants in a martial art. That's why they ignore it's teachings. I just finished reading the Spirit of Aikido for the umpteenth time. I came away with this thought. Kisshomaru Ueshiba is opposed to fighting and if you did get attacked,.Kisshomaru Ueshiba would also be opposed to to your wanting to win that fight!
If that summary is in fact true, ( please overlook the ultra simplification of the saying) then that statement would drive millions of inquirers away from Aikido. The techniques of Aikido were created and chosen to reflect an ethic and the training to forge the spirit. To believe that Aikido can be used for something else is a mistake. That's why people are trying to combine it's techniques with other arts in order to achieve their real goal rather than to understand that their idea runs counter to the reason, structure and purpose of the art. If Aikido can't do what they want it to do, maybe they don't know what it is. Of course, that takes us back to point one!

Last edited by Jorge Garcia : 10-08-2006 at 09:39 AM.

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 10-08-2006, 10:01 AM   #6
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Re: Why do some people hate Aikido?

They are all jealous.
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Old 10-08-2006, 10:20 AM   #7
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Re: Why do some people hate Aikido?

I think you have probably already given too much thought and consideration to the opinions of a bunch of people on internet fora. Try to keep in mind what this is and what we're all doing. It's mostly people you know little or nothing about spouting off their opinions and strutting their egos, many of whom are barely literate. It's sitting in a chair and looking at a monitor. It's entertainment. If you start spending too much time with it or taking it too seriously, internet boards - like television - will twist and upset you for no good reason.
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Old 10-08-2006, 01:43 PM   #8
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Re: Why do some people hate Aikido?

Good points all appreciated.

For me, aikido confuses and scares people as it blurs their normal boundaries and framework of operation. It goes against some core things the modern world teaches. I wrote an article on this...people seem to like it, but no one wants to publish it...
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Old 10-08-2006, 02:08 PM   #9
deepsoup
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Re: Why do some people hate Aikido?

Since you're talking about attitudes to aikido on internet forums (fora?), you might also consider that a lot of people posting and claiming (at least) to be aikidoka have a very annoying attitude. They can be, shall we say, a bit sanctimonious. It tends to get up the nose of people who practice other things.

Sean
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Old 10-08-2006, 02:53 PM   #10
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Re: Why do some people hate Aikido?

i also find some forum based comments can very easily be misunderstood as well, its very hard to Gage someones rec-action from something they type other than when spoken verbally.
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Old 10-08-2006, 03:11 PM   #11
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Re: Why do some people hate Aikido?

Quote:
Sean Orchard wrote:
Since you're talking about attitudes to aikido on internet forums (fora?), you might also consider that a lot of people posting and claiming (at least) to be aikidoka have a very annoying attitude. They can be, shall we say, a bit sanctimonious. It tends to get up the nose of people who practice other things.

Sean
x
For example, you sometimes get some aikidoka looking down on arts that compete, claiming that competition is about ego and Aikido is at a higher level and is not ego based. I've seen this attitude many times, both on line and in the dojo.

In actual fact it tends to work the other way - people in competitive arts have been tooled in competition so many times they generally have a good check on their ego, whereas non competitive arts like Aikido allow *some* practitioners to think they're the deadly and develop ego based around skill that's never been tested.

And I think if there's anything that gets up the nose of other martial artists it's that combination of a "my arts so deadly" attitude coupled with a lack of testing the art under full resistance (which I personally don't think is appropriate for Aikido).

Other than people annoyed by that, many others just don't beleive it's effective for employing in physical altercations so don't want to spend time on it.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 10-08-2006, 06:48 PM   #12
Robert Rumpf
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Re: Why do some people hate Aikido?

Quote:
Grant Wagar wrote:
Why do people hate Aikido?
Show me anything tangible (or intagible) that everyone loves..
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Old 10-08-2006, 08:46 PM   #13
sullivanw
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Re: Why do some people hate Aikido?

Quote:
Jorge Garcia wrote:

Really, honestly, most people are driven by the allure of becoming invincible, of having power over others and many out of fear and a desire for self protection not understanding there is no such thing. Nothing can give you that unless you are God Himself.
Brilliant, Jorge, and so hard to keep in mind from moment to moment. Thanks.

-Will
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Old 10-08-2006, 08:58 PM   #14
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Re: Why do some people hate Aikido?

Quote:
Jorge Garcia wrote:
The techniques of Aikido were created and chosen to reflect an ethic and the training to forge the spirit. To believe that Aikido can be used for something else is a mistake. That's why people are trying to combine it's techniques with other arts in order to achieve their real goal rather than to understand that their idea runs counter to the reason, structure and purpose of the art. If Aikido can't do what they want it to do, maybe they don't know what it is. Of course, that takes us back to point one!
I would add that is also why some people are trying to explain what Aikido is by using what they know of other arts and not bothering to learn what Aikido is about. Trying to change Aikido to fit them rather than change themselves to fit Aikido.
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Old 10-08-2006, 11:58 PM   #15
CNYMike
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Re: Why do some people hate Aikido?

Quote:
Grant Wagar wrote:
Why do people hate Aikido?



I've wondered this since joining various Internet martial arts message forums. I think the biggest (only in fact) Aikido-related disappointment I've had is seeing how a considerable number of the MA community react to Aikido.
One thing to consider is how much do these arguments happen in real life? Yeah if an Aikidoist has a buddy who does Karate or TKD or some other system, they may "discuss" it and/or spar a bit. But people who don't think Aikido is to their liking will vote with their feet and not do it. Same as true for anything.

And just because someone doesn't do Aikido doesn't mean they "hate" it. My Kali instructor isn't interested in formally jumping into Aikido at this time -- he has a lot of irons in the fire with the other things he teaches -- but he doesn't think ill of it at all. When I told him I wanted to do it again, he thought it was great -- and even badgered me into taking it! I've quipped that if he'd been free the first class I went to, he would have dragged me there by my ankles. He's never contradicted that statement. He's laughed at it, but never denied he'd do it.

Now, I admit I like a good rubarb probably more than I should, so yeah, I have mixed it up in a few threads here, too. But I also think it is good to step back and realize you will probably have more such discussions online than in real life, where the martial arts world seems to have broadened into a marketplace of ideas where people can go for the things they want and avoid the things they don't.
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Old 10-09-2006, 12:00 AM   #16
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Re: Why do some people hate Aikido?

Quote:
Robert Rumpf wrote:
Show me anything tangible (or intagible) that everyone loves..
Chocolate chip cookies. Who can possibly hate them?
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Old 10-09-2006, 01:56 AM   #17
xuzen
 
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Re: Why do some people hate Aikido?

Grant,

It is the internet discussion forum. People are free to chime in whatever they want. Some are true others are not. It is up to the reader to discern and discriminate the information presented.

Don't fret or lose too much sleep over it.

Boon.

SHOMEN-ATE (TM), the solution to 90% of aikido and life's problems.
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Old 10-09-2006, 04:35 AM   #18
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: Why do some people hate Aikido?

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
Chocolate chip cookies. Who can possibly hate them?
Chocolate chip cookies make me really really sick...

kvaak
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Old 10-09-2006, 05:50 AM   #19
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Re: Why do some people hate Aikido?

Hate was probably too strong a word. While some hate it others dislike it etc.. I think the point I was trying to make came across though.

Kevin, Xu. You're right to each their own. Believe me I'm not getting bent out of shape over people disliking Aikido. I've decided to learn Aikido with a view to eventually getting my black belt so that's what I'm going to do. I was just curious over some of the reasons people disliked it that's all. I always find it interesting to hear someone Else's point of view, especially when it differs drastically from my own. (Hey Neil )

Jorge, you brought up an excellent point, one that I was trying to word but failed heh.
Not everyone does martial arts for the same reason but I think a fair number of the people who do martial arts can be put into the category you mentioned.
Non confrontation, non fighting, non aggression probably isn't what most people think about when they join MA. They join to compete, defend themselves or kick ass. (I'm doing Aikido for the 2nd reason).
I find a lot of people in the military have difficulty giving credit to others. A lot of the times someone will seemingly feel the need to point out how weak someone else is, how strong they are, how hard their training was or how much better their unit/trade is. It seems (to me) like people are worried about not looking tough, competent or maybe someone not recognizing their skill. (Trying to find the right words here). I think that attitude happens in martial arts as well. Often people need to talk about how tough their style/school is because maybe they need to somehow reassure themselves?
I think you hit the nail on the head. A lot of the Aikido theory goes against the common flow of most martial arts maybe?

Sean, that was my second idea/point. Students new to Aikido going overboard and going on and on about it to the point of annoying everyone around them. I've easily found myself annoyed at some peoples aikido is the greatest thing in the world crusade.

Michael Fooks I agree. An aikido elitist attitude is probably just as bad if not worse than some of the attitudes I'm finding/have found towards Aikido. I think the high and mighty attitude does nothing other than turn people even further off/away from Aikido.

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Old 10-09-2006, 06:13 AM   #20
ian
 
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Re: Why do some people hate Aikido?

I think people criticise all self-defence systems and martial arts as 'unrealistic' - which to some extent is true. I would also say that many martial artists train in a way in which they are reducing rather than improving their self-defence capabilities. Psychology plays an enormous part in self-defence and thinking that sets of techniques helps is eronneous. I think most techniques are extremely effective if the practioner understands how they are applied practically, and that they don't have 'technique overload (i.e. have trained in just one or two until they are instinctive), and they have the psychological ability to apply these under stress.

Also, the 'testing' of martial arts is often considered one-on-one competition, which is completely artificial. Conversely aikido does not have a competitive aspect and generally frowns upon resistance or uncontrolled full-out attacks. Thus all training methods suffer. I think the struggle within martial arts is often to train in something safely which can be applied in reality.

Also, compared to other martial arts, Aikidoka are often physically unfit, suggesting that they don't really take the martial aspect seriously.

P.S. it struck me several years ago that there is some hypocracy within aikido in that often two incongruent positions are held, namely: 1. the techniques are too dangerous to apply in competition 2. aikido can be conducted without hurting the attacker.

I think the prime advantage of what aikido offers is gentle ways to diffuse simple attacks (grabs etc), a framework of fighting which integrates different techniques well, a method of developing instantaneous reaction to a sudden attack, good timing and distance training without severe impact.

Personally I think the violence of an attack is sometimes lost and the ability to strike (which is 80/90% of real aikido according to Ueshiba). Also, people can get technique overload (Ueshiba focused on ikkyo and irimi-nage pretty much).

Last edited by ian : 10-09-2006 at 06:19 AM.

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 10-09-2006, 08:40 AM   #21
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Re: Why do some people hate Aikido?

I'm reminded of the Jerry Seinfeld episode (if anybody watches it) where Jerry's mother says "how can anybody not like you?" to Jerry.
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Old 10-09-2006, 10:34 AM   #22
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Re: Why do some people hate Aikido?

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
Chocolate chip cookies. Who can possibly hate them?
People that can't have them?

People sometimes decide that something is "stupid" or "not worthwhile" simply because it's too difficult for them to do. Like the poster above stated about lack of instantaneous, tangible results...

"The only difference between Congress and drunken sailors is that drunken sailors spend their own money." -Tom Feeney, representative from Florida
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Old 10-09-2006, 02:13 PM   #23
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Re: Why do some people hate Aikido?

Hate assumes that people actually care enough about it to be emotional and take some action. I don't think that the average person really even gives two cents about aikido.
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Old 10-09-2006, 02:40 PM   #24
Brion Toss
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Re: Why do some people hate Aikido?

Aikido requires diligent, focused effort to get a grip on intellectually, let alone physically. It has sometimes been frustrating to realize that I may never get to a satisfactory point with either aspect, but by and large I'm enjoying the ride. The validity or invalidity of the art will be the same, regardless of opinions found on internet fori or elsewhere, so while I might have the urge to set others straight, it's not really a central issue for me, and would most often be wasted effort, in any event.
Who was it who said, "Do not seek to become like the masters; seek what they sought"? If enough of this do that, the truth of our actions will up the signal-to-noise ratio for those looking at Aikido from the outside.
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Old 10-09-2006, 03:08 PM   #25
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Re: Why do some people hate Aikido?

Quote:
Ian Dodkins wrote:
Thus all training methods suffer. I think the struggle within martial arts is often to train in something safely which can be applied in reality.
What are you training for? What is real? Is a kick or punch delivered with sudden deceleration at impact "real"? Is training for full speed strikes with padding or head gear "real" ? Is training for hand arts in a gun culture "real"? Is UFC, where disabling moves are still impermissible, "real"? Is anything other than full out gladiatorial edged weapon combat "real"? [Hint: even gladiatorial combat was not "real" despite its often deadly brutality.]

[The sarcasm is directed at those who often raise the points you dutifully report.]

All training is artificial. That is the point of training in any art that deals intentionally in situations involving a strong possibility of death or injury. The question is where does one compromise and what are the costs versus benefit for the trade-off in the progress of trainign in the art.

Aikido choses to sacrifice competitive or acquisitive aggression. But disposing of that aspect of aggression we actually increase the development of a more powerful, and too often overlooked type -- protective aggression.

By doing so we experience full range of motion and dynamics of body motion in places and trajectories that done competitively would inevitably injure or wound one or the other. We gain sensitivity to our partner's movements that might be blinded by our own blaze of fearful anticipation.
Quote:
Ian Dodkins wrote:
Also, compared to other martial arts, Aikidoka are often physically unfit, suggesting that they don't really take the martial aspect seriously.
How dare the pathetic weaklings protect themselves? We are not training the Praetorian Guard or the Immortals here.
Quote:
Ian Dodkins wrote:
P.S. it struck me several years ago that there is some hypocracy within aikido in that often two incongruent positions are held, namely: 1. the techniques are too dangerous to apply in competition 2. aikido can be conducted without hurting the attacker.
1. Correct. 2. A teacher once told me that the mistakes in aikido can be more dangerous than the techniques. Having taken a few ukemi for a number of insensitive non-hulkish beginners, I can attest that this is very much correct, (and my ukemi very much improved as a result, thank you). Every training partner, good, bad or indiffernt of talent -- is thus equally my teacher in their respective range of movements and responses that human beings "really" engage in.
Quote:
Ian Dodkins wrote:
I think the prime advantage of what aikido offers is gentle ways to diffuse simple attacks (grabs etc), a framework of fighting which integrates different techniques well, a method of developing instantaneous reaction to a sudden attack, good timing and distance training without severe impact.
Sounds pretty good to me. Do we need more? Thermonuclear weapons? Uzi's? Pointed sticks? (Wait -- we have those ... )

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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