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Old 11-28-2006, 07:15 AM   #26
Peter Seth
Dojo: Zanshin. Sunderland University
Location: Sunderland
Join Date: Jun 2004
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England
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Re: Early Aikido vs Modern Aikido

Hi all.
Just look at your senior sensei - how do they interpret aikido. As you get older and more adept you usually get smoother, gentler, softer if you will. Most shihan I know do soft - but can always notch it up if required. Aikido is being developed in leaps and bounds and is (hopefully) moving away from the so called hard styles (generally) though hard is good sometimes - gentle represents control.
AI - harmony. Ki - energy. Do - way. you cant harmonise if you are fighting, thats called 'fighting'. Anyone can do that.
Pete
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Old 11-28-2006, 08:36 AM   #27
graham
 
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Dojo: Northampton Ki Aikido Club
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Re: Early Aikido vs Modern Aikido

Quote:
Dominic Prokop wrote:
Hi all,
I recently read and article in Blitz martial arts magazine by, as I recall, a 5th Dan student of Kenshiro Abbe Sensei, and is now an instructor. It was a very interesting article which brings up some very interesting points. His comparison was of Modern Aikido to past Aikido believing that many styles today are "too soft" and that the soft "Dancing" styles should merely be called arts rather than martial arts as they have no solid martial technique.
Ah, I'm guessing that was by Henry Ellis? This is a bit of a hobby-horse of his; not sure why.

Abbe Sensei's first Student in the UK now heads up the style of Aikido that I practice, that has also felt the influence of Koichi Tohei. I can imagie few people with a better grasp (or experience!) of the 'hard' early Aikido, yet he saw no problem in developing it with aspects of Tohei's Ki Aikido.

I was recently training with an instructor from another club (same association) and I can honestly say that her Aikido was both the softest and most powerful that I've ever experienced.
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Old 11-29-2006, 12:31 PM   #28
Kim Rivers
 
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Re: Early Aikido vs Modern Aikido

I've really enjoyed this thread. What I have liked the most is that nearly everyone has acknowledged that "hard or Soft" or rather early or modern aikido is dependent on not just the time and place (Japan in O'Sensei's time, as compared to wherever you are now), but to the individuals involved in training.

I am one of those that began to train in aikido when I was 30. There was really only one place to train locally so I absorbed the culture of that "style" Ten years later I am still there and as we have all gone along together, the style has become softer and softer. This is because many of us are getting older and although can take hard falls and intense applications of technique (we do explore this every once in awhile), just don't feel the need to have our middle-aged to later years bodies pounded upon. Our most Senior sensei's however despite appearing soft have little trouble putting the biggest persons to the mat, even if they reist. I like what one fellow says who has trained in many styles of Judo and Jujutsu and just loves aikido. "it's easy to mash a tick, but harder to pick it up and let it go."

Although we practice with the intent of keeping the body and mind open, relaxed, focused, and supple we also can be quite vigorous, often working up a good sweat. Soft does not mean slow.

Personbally I agree with many sentiments that frequent training will help any aikidoka progress. We encourage at least 2-3 classes a week. Many train 4-6 days a week.

I'm not training in aikido though to go out and look for a street fight. I certainly know there are other methods for that and do explore them for consideration in terms of self-defense (I teach self-defense as well). However with aikkido I can see how it can be used for self-defense, especially with someone who might not expect you to move as you might in applying an aikido technique.

I got to find this out early in my aikido when some goon at a local lake decided I might be a potential victim. He surprised me from behind, applied a chocking head-lock type of grab and was dragging me off into nearby bushes.I know I did not resist as he expected. I actaully went with his motion and this let me enter closer to him and created a space for me to slip out of his grab. I ended up behind him with his arm in my grip in a position that looked like the end of shihonage. I had a lot of fear fueled adrenaline going and this gave me the speed and power that I do not need or use on the mat in an aikido class.

I added a sharp kick to the knee as I pulled him backwards. It seemed he went down like a ton of bricks. I did not stick around though, but took off and called the cops. He was long gone though and I'm not sure if they ever got him, but I do know that both aikido and self-defense kept me from being hurt or worse.

Well that's my long ramble for now. thanks folks. -Kim
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Old 11-29-2006, 05:00 PM   #29
James Davis
 
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Re: Early Aikido vs Modern Aikido

Quote:
Kim Rivers wrote:
However with aikkido I can see how it can be used for self-defense, especially with someone who might not expect you to move as you might in applying an aikido technique.

I got to find this out early in my aikido when some goon at a local lake decided I might be a potential victim. He surprised me from behind, applied a chocking head-lock type of grab and was dragging me off into nearby bushes.I know I did not resist as he expected. I actaully went with his motion and this let me enter closer to him and created a space for me to slip out of his grab. I ended up behind him with his arm in my grip in a position that looked like the end of shihonage. I had a lot of fear fueled adrenaline going and this gave me the speed and power that I do not need or use on the mat in an aikido class.

I added a sharp kick to the knee as I pulled him backwards. It seemed he went down like a ton of bricks. I did not stick around though, but took off and called the cops. He was long gone though and I'm not sure if they ever got him, but I do know that both aikido and self-defense kept me from being hurt or worse.

Well that's my long ramble for now. thanks folks. -Kim

NICE!!!

I love hearing stories like this one!

"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 12-06-2006, 01:15 AM   #30
five04zog
Location: Alaska
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Re: Early Aikido vs Modern Aikido

I came from a Hapkido background and entered my Aikido training with that same mindset (Hard Aikido). I've been in law enforcement for years and originally felt I needed a hard style for the street. I was wrong. I now know that I need to be soft. I think becoming soft is a road we all need to take at our own speed. I'm a bit thick-headed so it took me longer then most.

At one time I always did my Aikido thinking how you train is how you fight. This is true with firearms but not necessarily true of Aikido. I leave the job at the job now and study Aikido to become a better person and Aikido stylist. The longer you study the softer you become and the smaller your circles become.

I guess what I'm saying is if you give 100% to your Aikido training it will work when you need it and soft will become hard when it needs to be. It has always worked for me and I've needed it more then a few times over the years. It never seems to look as good on the street as in the Dojo but I always seem to be in small spaces and have all that duty gear on. I hope I said it right. I'm just chiming in not saying anyone is wrong. Thanks…

Stay Safe
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Old 12-06-2006, 08:41 AM   #31
Michael Neal
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Re: Early Aikido vs Modern Aikido

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
In heroic times, aikido was elitist practice. Deshi of O sensei were all experienced fighters. It is not surprising that their Everyday practice was serious, vigorous and full of martial spirit.

Today, aikido is democratic activity. It means, beginners have no fighting experience, are physically underdeveloped, and have very weak spirit. You can't simply apply the same training method from early days. So the instructors allow slowing down and making a lot of compromises in order to help students to pass first difficult few years.

Unfortunately they never again rise up level of difficulty of training. In the end, only very few students will develop really sophisticated aikido.
I think this observation is very true about Aikido. I also have observed this in my Judo class recently, less people are interested in competition so there is less vigorous randori and as a result the level of fighting ability has degenerated alot.
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Old 12-06-2006, 09:31 AM   #32
L. Camejo
 
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Re: Early Aikido vs Modern Aikido

I think we need to first clarify what the initial article is talking about precisely. It appears that Abbe Sensei is referring to "Early" Aikido as being defined by effective technique. i.e. technique that works regardless of how compliant or uncompliant the subject of the technique (Uke or Attacker) is being.

Modern Aikido in this case would be defined as Aikido that would only work in the dojo with compliant Uke who have been programmed to respond in a certain manner to the slightest of movements, whether those movements truly affect their mind/body or not, hence the use of the word "dancing".

In this light if one's Aikido appears to be soft (slow, round, fluid movements etc.) but it has the required martial efficacy then such waza may not fall into the category of "Modern" aikido as per the article. As said before, "soft" Aikido can be Early Aikido if it is a martially effective Aikido. So although the thread has moved onto a hard vs soft argument, the initial article merely used soft to describe aspects of training, not the expression of technique per se. Aikido is expressed in a hard or soft manner depending on the nature of the environment and the conflict to be resolved. Although one's waza may become visibly softer as one develops it does not mean that the waza has lost any of its martial utility. I think this is what Abbe may be referring to. Soft from my impression of the article refers to Aikido that could not work in a serious martial or self defence context with resistant opponent.

Quote:
I had a lot of fear fueled adrenaline going and this gave me the speed and power that I do not need or use on the mat in an aikido class.
Kim's story above shows another dynamic that can be used to compare the "Early" methods and the "Modern" methods also, that of Adrenal Stress Responses. Her adrenal response allowed her to generate more power and speed than she would usually generate in class, which means that typical class training may not create a high enough threat level to generate the "fear-fueled adrenaline" response. This is important because Adrenal responses do not always have the effect that Kim experienced but can do quite the opposite, causing the Freeze response where one simply shuts down mentally and physically in a fear-gripped panic. Kim gives an example of positive adrenal response, the one I gave (Freezing) is an example of negative adrenal response, iow one that can hurt your chances of survival.

Early Aikido training as per the original Abbe article may have maintained a regular martial edge that would often bring one to a place where enough of a threat was perceived to activate an adrenal response (whether positive or negative). This would aid in training the individual to control these psycho-chemical reactions and utilize them for a positive outcome as seen in Kim's case. The absence if this sort of edge as may be seen in Modern training (as per the article's indication of such) would mean that dealing with adrenal stress may never be entered upon at all in trraining since the martial danger of the attacks themselves may be mitigated to allow for a more smooth, free flowing sort of practice where the student in fact never feels in danger or threatened by the attack of one's partner.

Just my 5 cents.

Last edited by L. Camejo : 12-06-2006 at 09:35 AM.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
http://www.tntaikido.org
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Old 12-06-2006, 12:34 PM   #33
jonreading
 
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Re: Early Aikido vs Modern Aikido

When I hear older aikidoka speak about training years ago, I consistently hear two themes. First, the old training methods would never work. Most students would not subject to the stress and intensity of old training methods. Second, the level of participation in old training exceeds the level of committment most students are willing to put forth.

Aikido is no longer a scarce commodity, you can throw a stone and hit an aikido dojo in some cities. For many students, aikido will never be more than a hobby or pseudo lifestyle. It is difficult to challenge hobbyists to greater levels of intensity that may result in injury. It's difficult to challenge hobbyists to attend class instead of watching their favorite TV show. Many of the older shihan perceive this change in lifestyle and culture. As my grandfather would have said, we have gone "soft," on aikido training.
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Old 12-07-2006, 02:47 AM   #34
philipsmith
Dojo: Ren Shin Kan
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Re: Early Aikido vs Modern Aikido

To my mind this is a nonsensical arguement. Some people do effective aikido, some don't and it was ever thus.
As for hard training the same applies. Generally people who like "hard" aikido are attracted to a "hard" dojo and vice versa.
I'm not sure there ever was a golden age of Aikido in terms of hard martial training (just look at the variations among some senior shihan) and this is particularly true outside of Japan.
Any elite activity is going to be physically demanding, and IMHO any martial art traing should be effective, but not everyone agrees with that point of view.
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