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Old 02-07-2007, 10:49 AM   #51
Cyrijl
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Re: This aint UFC!

So everytime you might get into a fight...you feel that you must kill the other person? You answer is typical of the people I found in the aikido dojo.

Yamada's claim that any test of aikido defeats the 'budo-ness' of it seems strange. Soldiers were professionals. They trained hard. Some died in training and some trained in fighting. To equate this budo with what goes on in modern aikido dojos is just some crazed sense of delusional grandeur.

Budo != sparring. This is corrent. But,
Aikido Dojo != Budo is also true.

It is yamada who tries to make this second claim. I would argue that traditional martial arts training was augmented or complemented with actual fighting experience and that the closest thing we can get to this today is combat sports. Noticed I said the closest.

If budo is indeed a matter of life and death, then I see no connection with aikido. For in matters of life or death, it would seem to me, that I would like knowledge that my technique would withstand an attack not a belief.

I think alot of people forget that these original students had seen real combat and were alot more familiar with martial reality than most of today's practitioners. If training to fight is not your slice of pie, then that is fine. But please refrain from then referring to life and death matters and budo. Seems like people want it both way.

If you look at my post, I was not equating sparring with budo. I was equating sparring with developing control. Perhaps it is this connection to budo which makes people feel as though in a confrontation the only way out is death. I am not sure.

Last edited by Cyrijl : 02-07-2007 at 10:55 AM.

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Old 02-07-2007, 11:08 AM   #52
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Re: This aint UFC!

An alternate viewpoint:
http://www.judoinfo.com/tomiki2.htm
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Old 02-07-2007, 11:17 AM   #53
Ian Starr
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Re: This aint UFC!

"Budo is not 'life or death'."

"The notion that budo is life or death is laughable."


Hi Joseph,

I was mainly objecting to the above statements and what I thought was you relating some sparring experiences to support those statements. I apologize if I misinterpreted you.

There are many other subjects/issues that you have brought up but I don't care to discuss them. Nothing against you, they are just played out around here is all.

Personally I found value in the article - particularly about how our lives are filled with competition on many levels and that, in Aikido, that is not our practice. Our practice is something different.

Good training to you,

Ian
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Old 02-07-2007, 11:18 AM   #54
Esaemann
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Re: This aint UFC!

Quote:
I am not sure I follow you on this one. Principles of aikido are principles defined or labeled by humans, the rules we put in the dojo are there to encourage or enhance the training of these principles, so I see them as mutually dependent and coordinated.

I am currently reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintainence. A passage in this book has peaked my interest in such definitions.

The author discusses and debates whether gravity actually exsisted before Newton defined it. It is hard to explain, you kinda have to read the book to get into the whole "zen of th๋ issue".

I suppose you could equate this to was the world round when everyone thought it was flat. I'd say it was flat to those who defined it that way.

Our perspective of aikido is much the same way. We limit it by our perception, definition, or experience of the art. So therefore the principles are defined by the human made rules and simply cannot be of a higher order outside of that experience.

O'sensei may have experienced it on a higher level that you or I, but we are limited by our own experiences.

This is not to say that the potential is not there to expand our understanding.

However, I think it to not be a trival thing to point out that we are prisoners of our own paradigms and experiences.

rules are rules to me, it is important to recognize them, recognize that all of them are self imposed....by humans and the limit of our experience.

The void imposes nothing to include principles, or order at a higher level. It simply just "IS".

Kevin, your post brought to mind what I read in the Tao of Meditation. Basically, it was explaining how a two dimensional object "sees" a three dimensional object. For instance, a piece of paper can only see a 2-D slice of a ball. There are an infinite number of 2-D slices that make up the 3-D ball. Took a couple readings to understand, but opens up a lot in the mind.

For us humans living in a 3-D world, we cannot see (if there is) a 4th dimension. Say time ... anything that lives in 4 dimensions wouldn't recognize the difference between past/present/future and could travel in time at will.

Of course, if something exists, "it" doesn't care if we know of it.
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Old 02-07-2007, 11:28 AM   #55
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Re: This aint UFC!

Creating a situation that by it's very nature REQUIRES a winner and a loser just doesn't suit me. I played high school football and wrestled, and fail to see the value in creating contests in which somebody must win and somebody must lose. I much prefer the aikido viewpoint. Some people however thrive on the "competitive" culture, and for them there is mma, boxing, WWF , etc. For those of us who don't care for the "competitive" culture there is aikido.
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Old 02-07-2007, 11:34 AM   #56
Cyrijl
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Re: This aint UFC!

Ricky,
That may be your interpretation of aikido. Just because you may not compete, does not mean there are not winners and losers in your dojo. Life requires winners and losers. I hate to break it to you, but we can't all be winners. Competition should aim to look beyond the individual match and recognize that competing in and of itself creates winners (did i just write that?). It is not in the nature of competition itself which forces the loser to feel inferior, it is ourselves and other which pressure us to compete. I lost both my just matches quite horribly. But it doesn't bother me.

If your focus is on getting approvals from others I can see how competition can be hurtful. In fact I question alot of the junior judo matches I see with parents screaming and throwing fits and the poor children crying. But that is not the competition, that is the people.

Competitions don't make people cry, people do. (a take on the whole gun thing)

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Old 02-07-2007, 12:29 PM   #57
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Re: This aint UFC!

There are things I like about the Yamada article. The doing away with multiple Dan grades is a great idea imo.
But he misses the point about competition. He argues against competition as being about glory and ego and "winning". He sees it as a symptom of a younger generation wanting to prove themselves individually and who are ego centric.

But he's missed the point as to why there is increasing call for competition in Aikido. It is not for any of those reasons he implies. It's to test and therefore improve the technique and the art. People just want to know what works and develop themselves in that environment. His article doesn't speak to that at all, which is a shame.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 02-07-2007, 12:40 PM   #58
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Re: This aint UFC!

To me, budo is the pursuit of a better life through [militaristic] structure. Aikido is budo, the pursuit of self-improvement through the structure of a martial art. The drive for self-improvement is a competitive one, and to me therefore budo is competitive against the self, "I want to be a better person today than I was yesterday."

Competition is healthy and natural, and a dominant component of Darwinism. We are competitive animals by nature. There's an old joke about two campers that stumble on a bear. The bear begins chasing the two campers and one camper says to the other, "I've read books that says humans can't outrun bears, we can't possibly outrun this bear." The other camper says, "I don't need to outrun the bear, I just need to outrun you."

Sometimes we get caught up in this attitude of non-confrontation, non-competition, "everybody is a winner." Sometimes we hide behind mantras, "if we fought I'd have to kill you," or, "Aikido is not about competition," or, "there are rules in other martial arts so we can't spare." Well, sometimes we need to get our ass kicked.

There are winners and losers, whether we choose to call them that or not will not change the fact some people are better than others. Whether you choose to test yourself as a fighter or not is your decision but do not veil that decision behind excuses, just say that you choose not to participate in competition.
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Old 02-07-2007, 12:41 PM   #59
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Re: This aint UFC!

Training your art and/or skills in a variety of settings against increasing (and intelligent) resistance does not necessarily have to be about sports and competition. I agree with others regarding the value of competition for its own sake, but I don't think that aikido is necessarily deficient without it (beyond the idea of competing with yourself and striving to be better than you were the day before).

However, this does not mean that honest testing against skilled attacks and counters ain't a good thing. Where I do take issue is the notion in aikido of one-upmanship based on someone's changing the "conventions" of practice enough to make it look like you've got the upper hand (hey, suddenly I'm throwing atemi where before we weren't using any! Oh, look, I've suddenly taken you down and now will lock/choke you out! I'll just grab your nuts, gouge your eyes, bite and/or squeeze your windpipe and suddenly your positional dominance will evaporate!).

Most of these things will work just fine against people that are clueless (and despite best efforts, some people are "clueless" even at high rank), but a lot of people that train with honest randori/resistance (notice I'm not saying "competition") have probably experienced these things already ( within their own paradigm or by getting out and "experimenting" with "skilled" and "experienced" folks from other schools/arts/sports ). The illusion of "invincibility" never lasts and its typically the insecure that go to extremes to maintain it.

What's nice about MMA type training (notice, I'm still not saying competition) is that the conventions allow you to go as close to "all out" as you can get and practice relatively safely in an unarmed setting. Where I take issues with it (and I think this can be true of many combat sports, at least from my experience) is when the emphasis is focusing/training what will "win" a given match and not on the bodyskills and ability to be loose/flexible/adaptable under pressure that will result in the desired outcome.

However, I'd still take the above over the aikido school that claims to be about peace, love and principles, yet never teaches its students to give a good, honest attack, doesn't develop the body skills that power the techniques and doesn't prepare the student for a skilled attacker that wants to do them harm.

EDIT: Others bring up good points regarding the inherent competition that's already there. I like to approach at it from the perspective of it being "honest" competition with the main goal towards self-improvement.

Last edited by Budd : 02-07-2007 at 12:46 PM.

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Old 02-07-2007, 12:57 PM   #60
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Re: This aint UFC!

Most of you know that I am in the U.S. Army and my profession is training soldiers for combat at one of the three major Army Training Centers.

I feel somewhat qualified to comment on what it takes to train and prepare people for martial conflict...that is life or death.

I will say that competition has a very crucial part in preparing soldiers and people to develop the attitude, fortitude, and skills to be successful in life or death situations. We use competitive models all the time to train soldiers.

I will also say that the essence of budo is very, very key to developing a warrior soldier.

However, I respectfully do not agree with Yamada sensei. I believe he is perpetuating a romantic myth and waxing philosophically about what budo is and what aikido is about.

I agree that you should practice aikido and train as if your very life depends on it. It is good to take a life or death mentality toward your practice...much good can come out of it. The nature of budo requires that you practice this way to benefit from the lessons of budo.

This however, should not be confused with developing true warrior skills. This is pretty much the very thing I was discussing earlier in another thread. That is, aikido instructors should not confuse students into believing that budo practice (aikido) actually prepares them to deal with life or death. I find this illusion that is created dangerous and irresponsible. (that is Budo IS about life or death).

Budo is an important off shoot that developed out of the benefits of warrior training, however it is NOT complete, while it should be practiced as if your life depended on it, it does not represent a complete system to prepare you for life or death necessarily.

Training for life or death, as most police officers and military members will atest to, is a very comprehensive process that requires multifaceted and diverse skill sets in order to develop yourself completely.

To say illude, that budo, is complete, or that compettive models cannot possibly measure up, is absurb. Please give many of us that do train in competitive arts some credit to understand the difference between reality and rules, and can apply the skills we learn in these models in life or death situations.

Also, you will find that in many competitive schools that the same benefits of budo can be had.

I am sorry, but I don't believe that Yamada sensei in the article speaks correctly for the whole of the martial arts community.

Also, what is up with the negative comments toward the future of aikido??? Was he having a bad day when he wrote this?
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Old 02-07-2007, 01:00 PM   #61
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Re: This aint UFC!

Jon Reading: Crossed post with you, Good comments!
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Old 02-07-2007, 01:02 PM   #62
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Re: This aint UFC!

My two cents:

I'm agreeing with the folks that suggest "I'd just operate outside of the rules to defeat the guy that has rules or that is used to rules" AIN'T going to cut it. Threatening injury and/or causing pain, of any kind, isn't going to make an unskilled person skilled and a skilled person unskilled. To the point: "I'd just" solutions are extremely low-percentage moves concerning victory or self-defense. If they work, they work not because they possess any real value, but only because the person they were being used on had even less value in terms of his/her skill. They are entirely dependent upon the ineptness of their victim. And that's not too smart, to develop a self-defense strategy based on only defeating folks that are more inept than you. Geesh, how would one even market that? I can see the yellow page ad: "Come gain confidence by learning how to beat up on stupid people! Free gi and bokken included in our New Year Introductory Offer!"

That said, however, I'm not entirely agreeing with Yamada's position either. I can see how or why one might say the phrase, "Budo is life and death," but to use that to explain how we shouldn't compete because we could end up in jail misses the point of not only competition but also of that phrase.

For me, the phrase, "Budo is Life and Death" has to be understood more deeply. Life and Death here are not perfectly equatable with having a pulse and not having a pulse. They have to be understood more ontologically to make sense. In other words, the phrase pertains more to the big questions of existence, more than it does to relatively smaller things such as, "How can I become the Heavy Weight Champion of the world?"

As an attempt to shed some light on how this might work, let me provide the following:

In the Modern world, it is posited that participation in sports leads to the virtue of confidence. There is a whole history regarding how and why we have come to understand and believe sports participation to accomplish this. When it was first posited, not everyone bought into it -- just like not everyone in sports today buys into it (with many more feeling this same doubt). Osensei was a person that did not buy into it.

Budo, from the position of Life and Death, understanding those terms at their deepest levels, posits that any confidence that can only come from the defeat of another is no confidence at all. Any confidence that can only be measured via the defeat of another is no confidence at all. Any confidence that requires to be measured before it is said to exist -- especially via the defeat of another -- is no confidence at all. This "confidence" is no confidence at all, not a real virtue, because it is entirely relative to its circumstances. Budo, by dealing with the big questions of existence and by seeking universals (i.e. things not of a relative existence), in my opinion, is looking for a confidence that it considers to be real and completely other to the one said to be gained in sports. How do you attain this confidence? By losing the relativity and dependency of one's self. Competition, at every level, is antithetical to this process. Hence, for me, Budo is antithetical to competition.

Now, please don't start talking about all the little forms of competition that are present in any dojo. Yes, they are there, but they are not supposed to be there, or rather they are means to an end, not the end themselves. Their presence, in light of their purification, is the opportunity to move beyond such things. So, yes, they are needed, in that sense, but the ultimate goal is to come to know one's self outside of these things, without these things, via the more profound and singular nature of Life and Death.


dmv

Last edited by senshincenter : 02-07-2007 at 01:06 PM.

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Old 02-07-2007, 01:09 PM   #63
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Re: This aint UFC!

Quote:
Joseph Connolly wrote:
Ricky,
That may be your interpretation of aikido. Just because you may not compete, does not mean there are not winners and losers in your dojo.
Aack! I have "losers" in my dojo. How do I identify them? Do they have dots on their foreheads? Are they the tall ones or the short ones? The rich ones or the poor ones? How will I ever know? Oh, I have an idea; I'll make up some stupid competitive game with arbitrary rules. Then we can label the winners and losers.
Or perhaps you would be willing to identify the winners and losers for me?
Nah, I think I'll just continue without those nasty winner/loser labels.
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Old 02-07-2007, 01:12 PM   #64
Ron Tisdale
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Re: This aint UFC!

Ricky, the people taking the opposite viewpoint from yours aren't doing what you suggest. Your way is fine...you don't have to put down others for choosing a different way.

Best,
Ron

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Old 02-07-2007, 01:14 PM   #65
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Re: This aint UFC!

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Ricky, the people taking the opposite viewpoint from yours aren't doing what you suggest. Your way is fine...you don't have to put down others for choosing a different way.

Best,
Ron
Yeah, what Ron said, this isn't a competition . . .

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Old 02-07-2007, 01:17 PM   #66
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Re: This aint UFC!

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote:
There are winners and losers, whether we choose to call them that or not will not change the fact some people are better than others.
Just plain "better" than others you say? By whose yardstick do you measure? Are they better at math? Singing? Dancing? Aikido? Kung Fu? Karate?


Quote:
Jon Reading wrote:
Whether you choose to test yourself as a fighter or not is your decision but do not veil that decision behind excuses, just say that you choose not to participate in competition.
No excuses here. I'm a lover, not a fighter!
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Old 02-07-2007, 01:25 PM   #67
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Re: This aint UFC!

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Ricky, the people taking the opposite viewpoint from yours aren't doing what you suggest.
Ron,
What am I "suggesting?"

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Your way is fine...you don't have to put down others for choosing a different way.

Best,
Ron
I don't recall putting anyone down but if that's how it was perceived; I apologise. But I am glad you feel my way is fine.
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Old 02-07-2007, 01:28 PM   #68
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Re: This aint UFC!

I think Jon mean's literally empty hand fighting skills, yes there are simply some people that are better at it than others. Sometimes luck or suprise does come into play, but overall you can measure those skills and determine who possesses more skill than others. It is fairly simple and not much hidden meaning.

What is the overall value of determining who is better? None really, other than for you to measure yourself, or determine what you need to work on to improve you.

Competition serves to encourage excellence and to break paradigms and comfort zones that can develop through, non-committal, compliant, and polite training.
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Old 02-07-2007, 02:01 PM   #69
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Re: This aint UFC!

Balance is maintained by opposition. Competition helps us to maintain our balance in many of ways by providing that opposition. I do not think you are a good competitor, only seeing winners and losers. When I look at competition I understand the dynamic balance.

Also, universal principles must apply universally (across all places and times) - this is the meaning of universal. I was hoping to point that out through sarcasm by leading you to logically negate your own statement, but I guess the point was not made.

That said, you have only two options: you can either believe the principles also apply in a "cage", or you can believe principles that are not universal. I feel strongly it's the first option.
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Old 02-07-2007, 02:23 PM   #70
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Re: This aint UFC!

I realize some of my posts were not too clear:

In the traditional send of budo. Yes, life and death are key.
In Yamada's equatin aikido with Budo....maybe not so much..

Ricky. Sorry there are just losers. Like hitler, manson, jim jones, a random rapist....eventually you work down to people who steal not out of necessity...people with bad attitued, then people eventually in your dojo.

Losing in a competition does not make you a 'loser' in life. Acting like a loser makes you one. I guarantee there is at least on in your dojo.

Aikido can be done against fully resisting opponents without competition.

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Old 02-07-2007, 02:30 PM   #71
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Re: This aint UFC!

Quote:
Joseph Connolly wrote:
Losing in a competition does not make you a 'loser' in life. Acting like a loser makes you one. I guarantee there is at least on in your dojo.
Ok I'll ask them, but if no one raises their hand I'm going to say your gaurantee isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

Quote:
Joseph Connolly wrote:
Aikido can be done against fully resisting opponents without competition.
Now we're getting somewhere.
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Old 02-07-2007, 02:35 PM   #72
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Re: This aint UFC!

Just because no one will admit to being a loser, doesn't mean no one is.


(aside). I just realized I have been here 4.5 yrs and only posted 94 times. So I do read more than I write

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Old 02-07-2007, 02:52 PM   #73
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Re: This aint UFC!

Valadez sensei,
Well said. If I'm ever near your dojo I will definitely stop by.
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Old 02-07-2007, 02:57 PM   #74
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Re: This aint UFC!

(aside) Joseph, as of this post, I have one year less and one post more than you!

(on subject)

Is it worth looking at the differences between competition, sports and training against non-compliance? Even though I'm guilty of doing so, I don't like to use the term "resistance", because I've seen too many instances of somebody being "resistant" and stupid at the same time.

Plus, I've also seen too many instances of somebody talking about how good/tough/competent they are because they train with or against "resistance" and then met them and thought, "Hmm, I think their resistance was futile".

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Old 02-07-2007, 08:05 PM   #75
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Re: This aint UFC!

Ricky, please call me Dave. :-) You are most welcome anytime at our dojo. Hope you can make it some time.

thanks,
dmv

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