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Old 03-02-2007, 03:32 PM   #51
Robert Rumpf
Dojo: Academy of Zen and the Ways
Location: Kailua, HI
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 164
United_States
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Re: Getting very discouraged, need your help.

Quote:
Paul Nowicki wrote: View Post
Hey guys, I've been training Aikido at a small dojo for almost 5 years now. These feelings that I'm having have come and gone in the past but are getting a lot stronger this time around and I'm on the verge of quitting. I joined Aikido for mainly a self defense and fun aspect. I still enjoy classes and the people I train with but I'm getting the feeling of inadequacy when it comes to martial effectiveness coming back. I've been recently checking the videos and threads on Bullshido.com recently and it really isnt helping. Actually, on bullshido.com, March was officially declared Aikido Sucks month. Everywhere I go i see Aikido bashing and no documented evidence of Aikido's effectiveness in a martial content. Not even a decent live sparring video, never mind the real deal on the streets.
You're thinking of quitting Aikido completely due to an online discussion with anonymous complete strangers and a bunch of online videos and their criticism thereof?

Quote:
Paul Nowicki wrote: View Post
I'm getting old and I have the feeling maybe I'm just wasting my time training in something that will ultimately just get me hurt if I try to use it in the real world..
How often do you get into fights? Are you expecting this to become more or less frequent in the future?

Quote:
Paul Nowicki wrote: View Post
In class yesterday we have incorporated, random randori with more realistic attacks such as haymakers, punches, kicks etc. and I found myself really struggling even at half speed attacks. My techniques didn't seem to flow well at all. I often resorted to taking the uke down with a Judo type throw. I admit I probably had a bad day and we did not do this type of practice in the past really so maybe it will get better.
How much time do you spend outside of class working on your Aikido? Most of the training that I've gotten in spontaneous Aikido has been outside of class, and has been self-inflicted. It is odd how some techniques completely leave my repertoire at that point, while others change. Which techniques are most important for me to study in class?

Quote:
Paul Nowicki wrote: View Post
The sensei is a personal friend of mine as we became good friends over the years of training. Recently, I have been thinking of trying a martial sport such as kickboxing, judo or jujitsu and just quitting Aikido all together. I'm getting old though so I don't know if this is a good idea as well ( I turn 37 today).... Lets just say I'm confused.
It can't hurt to try these things, but why does that mean you have to quit Aikido? Time constraints? If so, well... people quit all the time - many of them come back. You're not going to go to martial arts hell for quitting Aikido, as far as I can tell.. If there is such a hell, you'll have lots of company.

Quote:
Paul Nowicki wrote: View Post
I see Matt Thornton's aliveness videos and write-ups and can't help but to agree with most of what he says. This is one of the reasons why I pushed this more random, more realistic attack training in our dojo and the sensei thankfully agreed that its probably a good idea.
So it sounds like you thinking about what you are doing and making progress based on generic criticism... Sounds good to me. The thing you need to think about here is why it took you didn't see these flaws yourself, and how you can provide better internal criticism in the future.

Quote:
Paul Nowicki wrote: View Post
Some people call Aikido a cult and think we all are delusional. I've read accounts of ex-aikidoka who quit the art of Aikido and say it was the best thing they did to improve their martial training.
I think people in general have itches in their personalities or lives that need to be scratched. Aikido (at a particular time and place) doesn't scratch the itches of some people, so they leave, either partially, or fully.

That's completely ok, in my opinion.

Unfortunately/fortunately, Aikido has this set of ideals it is famous for advocating in some under-determined way that may not/may have some relationship to techniques, actual practice, lifestyle, and practitioners, and these ideals look like a great back-scratcher.

Wouldn't it be cool to know the ultimate nonviolent form of self-defense (and therefore enjoy unbridled moral and physical superiority)?

Everyone wants to be Yoda.

Unfortunately/fortunately, all ideals break down in the harsh light of reality. After that, what else is there besides relentless relativism? If I can't be perfect, well.. I can be better than you, and I know I'm better, because I just beat you up. If that helps, then go for it.

Aikido gets pilloried for its resolute decision to be different, and for trying for ideals in technique, philosophy, history, etc. by people who want to protect others from becoming disillusioned as well, or who have different itches that need scratching (like surviving a real fight in a war).

However, the (potentially unrealized) ideals of Aikido are so strong that they apparently can keep non-practitioners coming back to Aikido for years (even verbally) because they still (deep down) want to believe and get to those ideals. That said, the people who leave Aikido don't check what they learn at the door when they leave the dojo, and so often seem to take this knowledge from Aikido for granted when they go elsewhere.

And yet Aikido is supposedly useless.

I'd be interested in how much these people fit into their new arts - or do they feel like they've lost that depth of training? Sometimes, a new toy is very shiny and appealing in the short term, but so dull and shallow in the long term. But again, you can probably practice Aikido on any other mat as well, if you chose to.

So many people are in love with Aikido's ideals, and then just so disappointed with the realities and it is Aikido's fault for not being perfect. In that way, maybe it is a religion.. If this were a cult, then people would be being banned for dissenting. Sometimes, it seems Aikiweb is nothing but dissent.

The best solution if you have other itches to scratch is probably to try cross-training, or more targeted Aikido training (like you are trying). However, like learning to roll, give yourself time to learn before you get discouraged.

Quote:
Paul Nowicki wrote: View Post
I hate to start a new thread talking about effectiveness, god knows I have read enough of them on here in the past. I'm just reaching out to my fellow Aikidoka to help me through this confusing hard time and hopefully I'll get through this without leaving Aikido practice for good.

Any advice, encouraging accounts or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
It sounds like what you're looking for is respect for your efforts and your capabilities from anonymous complete strangers. Respect is a rare commodity on the Internet. I suggest you play online less and more in real life (with or without Aikido).

In addition, it sounds like a lot of this agony is self-inflicted. In a hundred years, we will all most likely be dead. Try to enjoy your life and find meaning in it, and don't let people inflict misery on you by trying to assert their own superiority over you and reminding you of your own weakness.

If that isn't an Aikido ideal, I don't know what is. Let me know when you figure out how to implement it, because I'd like to learn..

Rob
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Old 03-02-2007, 03:33 PM   #52
Aristeia
Location: Auckland
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 971
New Zealand
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Re: Getting very discouraged, need your help.

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post

I learned aikido from the outside/In. That is we always enter from a kamae and then do technique. With BJJ we started from the inside, and now I have gotten comfortable in the inside, now I am moving back out again toward the Kamae.
this raises a really interesting point. One of the things my BJJ coach says is that good groundwork enables great standup.

Take the example of Aikido. Aikido works best when you enter fearlessly, with full authority and confidence. The only problem is because we don't test it against full resistance, when it comes to the crunch people often have the doubt we are disucssing (which isn't so present in sparring arts).

The result is they hold back and this dilutes their effectiveness.

But if I know that the worst that can happen is that we end up in a clinch or on the ground - and that I'm likely to be even more effective in those situations, it enables my aikido to become just ridiculously confident and therefore maximise it's chance of success...

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 03-02-2007, 03:55 PM   #53
Keith R Lee
Location: Alabama
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 219
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Re: Getting very discouraged, need your help.

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Bradley is a trip and a fun guy to work out with. I miss him, but don't tell him that. I am hoping to go kick his butt in May when I go down to Georgia to compete in NAGA.
Awesome! Quite a few guys from my gym are going. Hopefully we can get together while we're there.

Also, I'm with Mike and Don in regards to cross-training or trying something else. They only thing that is going to happen is...you're going to learn something. *Gasp* The horror! It's good to step out of your comfort zone and try new things. Risk is an element of learning, embrace it. Maybe you stay with Aikido, maybe you leave Aikido. It's a risk you take. Mostly you should just go wherever you enjoy yourself the most.

Keith Lee
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Old 03-02-2007, 04:29 PM   #54
Talon
 
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Dojo: Aikido Tenchi Dojo
Location: Edmonton
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 186
Canada
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Re: Getting very discouraged, need your help.

Quote:
Robert Rumpf wrote: View Post
You're thinking of quitting Aikido completely due to an online discussion with anonymous complete strangers and a bunch of online videos and their criticism thereof?
No, that combined with what I considered poor perfomance in class when thngs got more random and resistant.

Quote:
Robert Rumpf wrote: View Post
How often do you get into fights? Are you expecting this to become more or less frequent in the future?
Not often at all and no more in the future.

Quote:
Robert Rumpf wrote: View Post
How much time do you spend outside of class working on your Aikido? Most of the training that I've gotten in spontaneous Aikido has been outside of class, and has been self-inflicted. It is odd how some techniques completely leave my repertoire at that point, while others change. Which techniques are most important for me to study in class?
Outside of class, my friends and future wife will no longer play Aikido with me because they don't like the pain and/or feeling of fallin they get from wrist locks and techniques. I'm not sure how to effectively train without a partner so I read things and watch videos to broaden my Aikido experience.

Quote:
Robert Rumpf wrote: View Post
It can't hurt to try these things, but why does that mean you have to quit Aikido? Time constraints? If so, well... people quit all the time - many of them come back. You're not going to go to martial arts hell for quitting Aikido, as far as I can tell.. If there is such a hell, you'll have lots of company.
Yes, time constraints is the main reason. The future wife is not too crazy about me training more often than I allready do.

Quote:
Robert Rumpf wrote: View Post
So it sounds like you thinking about what you are doing and making progress based on generic criticism... Sounds good to me. The thing you need to think about here is why it took you didn't see these flaws yourself, and how you can provide better internal criticism in the future.
It took me a while to perform the techniques and then realize that our techniques work best when the uke stops and allows us to perform get into them. The techniques are not the problem, they work, but getting into them is another ball game when someone resists and mintains their balalnce. I must say that they do work even when resiting when we throw in atemes though. So I guess the answer is basically being open minded and considering the possible training deficiencies and that came after some time of training and research.

[quote=Robert Rumpf;170469]It sounds like what you're looking for is respect for your efforts and your capabilities from anonymous complete strangers. Respect is a rare commodity on the Internet. I suggest you play online less and more in real life (with or without Aikido)./QUOTE]

I to make things clear, I'm not looking for respect from complete strangers. First of all, being on these forums for years and reading people's posts and reasoning I don't necessarily consider them complete strangers. Second of all, who said I'm looking for respect, I was looking for feedback from people who train in the same art and perhaps went through these stages in ther training and can offer me advice. Thanks for the suggestion that I play online less. I was not playing online, I was simply doing some homework and reading people's oppinions on the subject.

I hope that clears some things up,

Paul

Last edited by Talon : 03-02-2007 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 03-02-2007, 07:34 PM   #55
Jorge Garcia
Dojo: Shudokan School of Aikido
Location: Houston
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 608
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Re: Getting very discouraged, need your help.

Quote:
Michael Fooks wrote: View Post
"sounds like your dojo doesn't train hard like ours".... I'd wager ther are people even in your dojo who have them Jorge.... I think we need a different strategy than "maybe you're training int he wrong place" as our first response......There's a party line? It seems to me there's several, on all sides...My take on this is that any normal person that lives a normal life doesn't really need self defence at all.... I thought it was about someone that specifically wanted self defence.....Generally if people want self defence I'd imagine they want it quickly rather than in 20 years.
I have to take these one at a time.
There are a lot of straw man arguments here. You set up a statement I never made and then you refute it. That's poor Mike.

"sounds like your dojo doesn't train hard like ours" I never said that. My reference was that if website made him doubt his dojo, his dojo must not practice that hard. He rethought that and explained it differently.

"I'd wager there are people even in your dojo who have them (doubts) Jorge"
You don't know that nor do you have proof of that. That is conjecture. But even if they do, that would be on a scale that would not be the same as elsewhere depending on the training and teaching we give. I try to give a realistic picture to my studnets of the danger and our solution to it. I never tell them that with Aikido, they are going to beat a knife fighter or grappler should they end up on the ground.

"My take on this is that any normal person that lives a normal life doesn't really need self defence at all." That could be true but in fact, the self defense is for that once or twice in a lifetime situation. That's why proclaiming that everyone needs certain things can't be true. I don't teach that everyone needs Aikido. I say that Aikido is enough for most people when it comes to self defence but self defence is not the main object of Aikido anyway. Aikido offers better things than self defence. An obsession with self defence can indicate other problems a person may have. An obsession to stay on an Aikido forum with the same theme also says a lot.

" I thought it was about someone that specifically wanted self defence"
I was responding to his self doubts. He himself has now expressed new insight into the original theme.

"There's a party line? It seems to me there's several, on all sides.."
Yeah, there's a party line. If you can't see it, maybe it's because you are in that party of regular posters that likes to take things to the exact same place. I respond to it once in a while but have always tried to speak to a variation of themes. This isn't a hobby horse for me. The horse does seem to ride by in circles a lot though and most of the time, you are one of the ones riding it. This subject has been discussed enough that when someone a does post with an idea like this, he could be directed to literally hundreds of posts on the theme. I think though that then, the party line wouldn't have as much fun in wallowing in a triumphalistic self identity. I know , I know, it feels good to be right, to know you have the answers but it's not good for the soul to swim in it.

"Generally if people want self defence I'd imagine they want it quickly rather than in 20 years."
I am not convinced that BJJ is that easy. It's only in comics and the ads in the back that quick solutions are offered for long term problems. I really haven't seen any art, good ot not that people can come out with lightening self defenses that will always work in the short term. I think all training is long term. The last time I saw that, it was when the Chinese guy was on the infomercial with Danny Boniduce claiming his system was simple and could be learned quickly. That's what they all say. One of my best friends has been doing BJJ for 5 years in South Texas. It hasn't been that easy for him and I don't think he represents the superiority I see referenced here all the time. I am making the point that everyone isn't the same and no art can make universal promises. Our Technical Director for Shudokan also does both BJJ and MAA in Japan. He is really good but I never hear him saying we all need that to help our Aikido or that we are deficient in some way because we don't do what he does. He trains regularly with our Shihan and he is allowed to do any counter or any thing he can. He tells me he can't counter our Shihan. In fact, it is our Shihan who is his counselor to improve his MMA. My friend is a humble martial artist with an open mind and I don't get the feeling from him that I get when "the group" goes to work together here on Aikiweb.

That's it Mike. I'm checking out. It's just my quarterly vent. It's back to the real world for me. I'll check in again with you guys in a few months. Some poster thinking he is consulting Aikido guys will post his question on this Aikido forum that will once again give everyone the chance to go one more round again soon.

I think you guys are great. I just can't buy your arguments but a lot of the things you say have a lot of validity. I also think Kevin has balanced off alot in the recent months and is the best of your lot in terms of givng Aikido some credit and not sounding so one sided about everything. Sorry about the misspelled words. I don't have the spell check on my Aikiweb version anymore.

Best wishes,
Jorge

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 03-02-2007, 08:10 PM   #56
DonMagee
Location: Indiana
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,311
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Re: Getting very discouraged, need your help.

Its not that bjj is easy or judo is easy. In fact they are very complex arts that require a lifetime of dedication to master. Its just that the fundamentals taught can be learned very very quickly. In fact I'd say you can build respectable skill vs an untrained combatant in 3-6 months depending on your physical attributes.

I know this for a fact, not conjecture or theory. Our club members enter mma events against what I would call untrained 'street fighters' every month, they do very well. Plus, every single bjj student I've talked to has this story, myself included that I am about to tell. I am not athletic, I'm a geek, with skinny arms, glasses, I was never good at sports as a teen, everyone I train with is much stronger and in better shape then I am. Bjj was a struggle from day one. I was horrible, 4 months later I still felt horrible, being tapped out constantly, always struggling to do even the slightest movement. I could drill fine, but I was always destroyed in sparing. I was beginning to think this art was not for me.

Then new students started to show up. Still bigger then me, still stronger then me, sometimes even wrestlers in high school. But all of them very much untrained in submission grappling. It was a night and day difference. I could control them like it was the easiest thing in the world. I could setup techniques, submit them basically whenever I felt the desire. Sure I had problems with the guys who outweighed me by 50+ pounds and the body builders gave me trouble at first, but fast forward 6 more months and not even 200+ pound guys in good shape can give me a run for my money. I'm relaxed and in control the entire time. But put me against someone with my level of experience, and its a constant struggle with my butt getting handed to me more often then not. This is because they have the same amount of technique as I do, but they also have a better body build. But agianst an average joe, 6 months bjj training will let you dominate them on the ground, judo training will give you the tools to throw them on their skulls, and a striking art like boxing will give you the skills to dominate with punches and kicks. 6 months of MMA fight training will prepare you better then any 1 of the 3 above.

I honestly do not believe the same is true with aikido. On my first day in aikido I did not feel so dominated by white belts with 6 months training as I did in my first day of bjj (which was with aikido training, tkd training, and a very small amount of judo training).

Sure, you can't learn a sure shot self defense method in a week, or maybe even a lifetime. But you can learn a solid fundamental that will give you a clear cut advantage against an average thug in 3-6 months of 3 days a week solid sport training. Of course if you don't keep training, like anything else, you are going to start to loose it.

The reason is simple. You are learning very simple full body movements that do not require a great deal of muscle, and you are practicing them every single day against a fully resisting opponent who is much more skilled then you, and can force you to do the right things and work you until you can't even breathe anymore. This is also combined with intense cardio and strength training workouts. The end result is a much better physical condition, plus a very real knowledge of your pain thresholds, combined with real experience on how a person reacts to your movements. This leads to a greater ability to control your adrenaline, and control over your breathing.

If you can develop these skills, you are way above any untrained person. Sure aikido can teach them to you, but its teaching is subjective depending on the club, so you may get it in a year, you may get it in 10 years. And there is not a real way to benchmark these skills and make sure you are indeed making progress. You simply must have faith in your instructor and hope when the chips are down, you have developed these abilities. I know that my aikido instructor would be a formidable challenge if we spared. So would his top black belt students. But I do not feel the same for the kyu ranks, even with years more training then I have and better physical attributes.

As for your director. I would say if he can never counter your shihan, its probably more old fashioned Japanese respect keeping him from doing so. I am not questioning your shihan's skill. I'm sure he is very good, but I have not met a single person alive that I could not counter at least once. Everyone has a bad day, nobody is perfect. However I do not think aikido needs to add mma stuff, unless your goal is fighting. I do not belive aikido's goal is fighting. I also do not think self defense is fighting. As I've said before, I think self defense is 90% awareness, 10% fighting in a few short months. A few months of a sport art will give you the fighting you need, but awareness can be learned anywhere from anything.

Again, this is not to say all you need is a few months bjj. Its to say that if all you ever worry about is untrained attackers, a few months of bjj or mma will give you the tools you need to dominate most of the time (Again, nobody is perfect.) I'd bet your friend in texas could hold his own easily against any untrained person trying to fight him on the ground. He only has trouble dealing with trained attackers near his skill level. There will always be somebody better, the awareness part comes from steering clear of them.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 03-02-2007, 10:38 PM   #57
Aristeia
Location: Auckland
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 971
New Zealand
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Re: Getting very discouraged, need your help.

Quote:
Jorge Garcia wrote: View Post
I have to take these one at a time.
There are a lot of straw man arguments here. You set up a statement I never made and then you refute it. That's poor Mike.
and it cuts both ways.
Quote:
"sounds like your dojo doesn't train hard like ours" I never said that. My reference was that if website made him doubt his dojo, his dojo must not practice that hard. He rethought that and explained it differently.
whic was exactly my point ne?
Quote:
"I'd wager there are people even in your dojo who have them (doubts) Jorge"
You don't know that nor do you have proof of that.
I never said I did. A wager pretty much implies conjecture - careful of those strawmen
Quote:
That is conjecture. But even if they do, that would be on a scale that would not be the same as elsewhere depending on the training and teaching we give.
do you have proof of that or is that conjecture?
Quote:
"My take on this is that any normal person that lives a normal life doesn't really need self defence at all." That could be true but in fact, the self defense is for that once or twice in a lifetime situation.
That being the case the person needs to decide how important preparing for that once or maybe never in a lifetime event is?
My take is that if it's that big a concern, you preapre for the worst case scenario and get the best self defence training you can find - which is not Aikido- Aikido is good for other things.
But my take is also that it's almost a little unbalanced to be training excessevely for something that is likely to never happen. There's much better reasons to train MA imo and that puts Aikido back up the list.

Quote:
That's why proclaiming that everyone needs certain things can't be true. I don't teach that everyone needs Aikido. I say that Aikido is enough for most people when it comes to self defence but self defence is not the main object of Aikido anyway. Aikido offers better things than self defence. An obsession with self defence can indicate other problems a person may have.
yeah - that's myu point
Quote:
An obsession to stay on an Aikido forum with the same theme also says a lot.
I'm confused as to whether this is a comment about me or you?
Quote:

"There's a party line? It seems to me there's several, on all sides.."
Yeah, there's a party line. If you can't see it, maybe it's because you are in that party of regular posters that likes to take things to the exact same place.
Again you miss my point. You may well say there's a party line from those on this forum that train in alive arts. But there's also a party line from those that don't. If you can't see it, maybe it's because....etc etc
Quote:
I respond to it once in a while but have always tried to speak to a variation of themes. This isn't a hobby horse for me. The horse does seem to ride by in circles a lot though and most of the time, you are one of the ones riding it. This subject has been discussed enough that when someone a does post with an idea like this, he could be directed to literally hundreds of posts on the theme. I think though that then, the party line wouldn't have as much fun in wallowing in a triumphalistic self identity. I know , I know, it feels good to be right, to know you have the answers but it's not good for the soul to swim in it.
or .....it's possible we're just responding to someones question, a question we can identify with because we've all been through it and so want to help - the same as everyone else that's responded to this thread.

Quote:
"Generally if people want self defence I'd imagine they want it quickly rather than in 20 years."
I am not convinced that BJJ is that easy.
Easy is probably not the word. It is ego crushing for sure. As Don says you get smashed and continue to get smashed until a newbie walks in the door. But also as Don says it does give you good control over newbies in a comparatively quick time.
But this isn't a thread about BJJ per se. I just use it in my examples because that's what I"ve got experience with.
Quote:
I really haven't seen any art, good ot not that people can come out with lightening self defenses that will always work in the short term. I think all training is long term. The last time I saw that, it was when the Chinese guy was on the infomercial with Danny Boniduce claiming his system was simple and could be learned quickly.
For my money this is a bit strawmannish as well. Just because you can't say an art will give you self defence in 3 easy lessons, doesn't mean to say you have to go with the 20 year solution. There's a middle ground....
Quote:
Our Technical Director for Shudokan also does both BJJ and MAA in Japan. He is really good but I never hear him saying we all need that to help our Aikido or that we are deficient in some way because we don't do what he does.
I don't hear anyone here saying that either. Certainly not me.
*achooo.....* - sorry bit of straw up my nose.

Quote:
He trains regularly with our Shihan and he is allowed to do any counter or any thing he can. He tells me he can't counter our Shihan. In fact, it is our Shihan who is his counselor to improve his MMA. My friend is a humble martial artist with an open mind and I don't get the feeling from him that I get when "the group" goes to work together here on Aikiweb.
"The group goes to work"?? So it's all right with a group with one opinion to post (yours) but the counter opinion becomes some sort of conspiracy? Interesting. I'd be intriqued to see what posts have led you to think that anyone from the "alive" trainers are not humble open minded martial artists...

Quote:
That's it Mike. I'm checking out. It's just my quarterly vent. It's back to the real world for me. I'll check in again with you guys in a few months. Some poster thinking he is consulting Aikido guys
We *are* aikido guys.
Quote:
will post his question on this Aikido forum that will once again give everyone the chance to go one more round again soon.

I think you guys are great. I just can't buy your arguments but a lot of the things you say have a lot of validity. I also think Kevin has balanced off alot in the recent months and is the best of your lot in terms of givng Aikido some credit and not sounding so one sided about everything.
Jorge, somehow I think you've got the wrong side of me. Maybe my posting style is more direct than Kevin, I don't know.
But go back and read this thread again and you'll see multiple times where I've suggested that the original poster *stick with* aikido. Where I've said aikido will make his cross training better.

Kevin and I agree about most things I find. One of our differences is though that I tend to think Aikido has more self defence application than I think Kevin does.

Sounds to me like you're reading into my posts what you expect to see rather than whats there.
[/quote]

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 03-03-2007, 12:21 AM   #58
CNYMike
Dojo: Finger Lakes Aikido
Location: Cortland, NY
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 976
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Re: Getting very discouraged, need your help.

Quote:
Paul Nowicki wrote: View Post
Hey guys, I've been training Aikido at a small dojo for almost 5 years now. These feelings that I'm having have come and gone in the past but are getting a lot stronger this time around and I'm on the verge of quitting. I joined Aikido for mainly a self defense and fun aspect. I still enjoy classes and the people I train with but I'm getting the feeling of inadequacy when it comes to martial effectiveness coming back. I've been recently checking the videos and threads on Bullshido.com recently and it really isnt helping. Actually, on bullshido.com, March was officially declared Aikido Sucks month. Everywhere I go i see Aikido bashing and no documented evidence of Aikido's effectiveness in a martial content. Not even a decent live sparring video, never mind the real deal on the streets.
And the testimonials you've seen here from time to time are what, chopped liver!?

Quote:
I'm getting old and I have the feeling maybe I'm just wasting my time training in something that will ultimately just get me hurt if I try to use it in the real world.. In class yesterday we have incorporated, random randori with more realistic attacks such as haymakers, punches, kicks etc. and I found myself really struggling even at half speed attacks. My techniques didn't seem to flow well at all. I often resorted to taking the uke down with a Judo type throw. I admit I probably had a bad day and we did not do this type of practice in the past really so maybe it will get better.

The sensei is a personal friend of mine as we became good friends over the years of training. Recently, I have been thinking of trying a martial sport such as kickboxing, judo or jujitsu and just quitting Aikido all together. I'm getting old though so I don't know if this is a good idea as well ( I turn 37 today).... Lets just say I'm confused.
37 is not old in matial arts terms. My first Kali instructor is 50-something but moves like someone a lot younger.
Quote:
....I hate to start a new thread talking about effectiveness, god knows I have read enough of them on here in the past. I'm just reaching out to my fellow Aikidoka to help me through this confusing hard time and hopefully I'll get through this without leaving Aikido practice for good.

Any advice, encouraging accounts or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
In the first place, if you like dong it and like the people you train with, leaving will leave feeling down.

Second, there is nothing wrong with crosstraining. If you want to look into doing kickboxing or something else while keeping in Aikido, no poblem.

Third, don't let the 'net get to you too much. Cetainly don't let it influence a major decision.

It's up to you, of course, but if it looks like you'd regret leaving, then crosstraining is a good option.
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Old 03-03-2007, 01:10 AM   #59
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Getting very discouraged, need your help.

Keith Lee wrote:

"Awesome! Quite a few guys from my gym are going. Hopefully we can get together while we're there."

Cool, that would be awesome! You will be able to find me, I will be the wearing the blue gi with the patches all over it.

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Old 03-03-2007, 01:15 AM   #60
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Getting very discouraged, need your help.

Jorge wrote:

Quote:
I really haven't seen any art, good ot not that people can come out with lightening self defenses that will always work in the short term. I think all training is long term
Self Defense? Absolutely! I train soldiers all the time in very, very basic things to get them prepared for self defense situations. Of course, you will only do what you instinctually learn at the no thought level (habits).

I have stories and lessons, and have witnessed people trained to be proficient fighters in a very short period of time. It does not take years to become good at self defense or real fighting if you may.

BJJ, yes it is an art with lots of complex moves. It has at it's core a very good system for developing a good fighting base. It takes many, many years to be considered good at the BJJ level of perspective.

BJJ does not equal self defense.

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Old 03-03-2007, 01:21 AM   #61
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Re: Getting very discouraged, need your help.

BJJ at it's intermediate stages is, like many other arts, self indulgent.

IOW you don't need to know a counter to the counter for omoplata for self defence. The self defence stuff is covered off reasonably early.

Hence the saying "blue belt to beat the world*, purple belt to beat blue belt"

*and by beat the world, read - self defence scenario.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 03-03-2007, 02:52 AM   #62
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Getting very discouraged, need your help.

To clarify my stance on self defense. If you are concerned with self defense, you really need to look hard at why you are concerned.

Certainly empty hand has a place in this....but

What are the risk factors you are trying to address? there are much better ways to mitigate self defense than empty hand.

I teach a 2 hour block of instruction to soldiers deploying to combat, in it I spend a great deal of time talking about maŠi. Space, timing, distance, range, weapons, conditions, situations.mentality, awareness.

The actual hands on training gives them a few things to help them if they do get into a hand to hand situation. Very simple things, no submissions are taught. Simple things..dominance, control. Mount, rear mount, guard, side control. That is it. You can do these thing...then I think given self defense, you are a leg up on most scenarios.

SO, back to aikido and WHY study it?

Well if self defense is your primary concern, you should be able to mitigate that concern quite quickly once you are looking at the risk factors and situations correctly.

So, now we are back to understanding the correct principles of dynamic movement...and BUDO as being good reasons to study any martial art. Things that ARE aikido.

I think I will start another thread possibly so as not to continue to hijack this one and to discuss some of this further.

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Old 03-03-2007, 03:20 AM   #63
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Getting very discouraged, need your help.

Jorge,

Just had a few minutes to go and look back over your post. A few comments.

I don't mean to make it sound as if I am prosetlytizing quiting or coming over to the darkside of BJJ. Not at all.

I would say if anything it would be the exact opposite. I personally have studied in aikido, outside of my karate, it is my base art, one that I will return to study full time when I return to the states this summer.

I have had the same experiences and doubts concerning aikido, and frankly I found a way to deal with them and it was NOT by continuing stay within the confines of my aikido community or current trainng paradigm.

So, I DO encourage abandonment and releasing from that paradigm.

throughout history we have this. Buddha, Jesus, Mohammad, and many other great people have preached this as a way to achieve greater introspection and understanding of self.

However, that must be a personal choice and there is no one size fits all in this area...I can only share my personal experiences. Here you have Don, Mike, and me all saying the same things.

Also, if you look at the very, very long, emotionally debated threat on baseline skills you will see much of this same them being injected in there. (not to put words in peoples mouths)...but look closely at that thread...there is some good gems in there to really think about.

Don, Mike and I are big proponents of aliveness, both physically and mentally. having experienced it mentally in aikido and my training for many years of studying budo, I did have many doubts about the effectiness and the validity of my aikido training.

What it boiled down to for me was a lack of physical aliveness.

Until we have adequately tested our skills and see how we measure up in an aliveness environment, we will always never be sure of where we stand physically with our training.

This is not important to many in aikido and in the study of Budo. That is okay.

Many use the physical skills of aikido as a way to better understand and discipline their mind and spirit and are primarily concerned or consider the body simply a vessel that needs to support the mind and spirit.

Hence, the concept of aliveness of mind/spirit..which aikido does a wonderful job of doing and primarily WHY I think you SHOULD study it.

I think in many ways it isolates out the physical aliveness so you CAN concentrate on furthering your mental/spiritual growth.

For many of us though, it is important to understand physical conflict a little better. (call us neanderthals???)

So I think what us so-called BJJ guys are saying is that we love aikido for what it is.

1.. We had issues and were lost and struggling with the same issue that the OP was struggling with.

2. We found a way to better understand that through the physical aliveness that BJJ offered.

3. It has helped us validate and understand why we feel it is important to study aikido.

4. Everyone has to find their own path to self mastery.

(Read George Leonard's book!!)

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Old 03-03-2007, 09:43 PM   #64
Michael Varin
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Re: Getting very discouraged, need your help.

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
Self Defense? Absolutely! I train soldiers all the time in very, very basic things to get them prepared for self defense situations.
Self defense for soldiers? Sounds like an oxymoron to me. Is this for going into combat or their personal lives? I'm sure you know better than I do that combat and self defense are not the same thing.

On a different note, the aliveness that Kevin, Don, and Mike are talking about is vitally important. If someone wants to train in a different art, that's great, I'd never stop them I've done it myself, however I think if we are genuinely interested in aikido, we need to bring that aliveness to aikido instead of leaving aikido to get it.

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 03-04-2007, 01:13 AM   #65
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Getting very discouraged, need your help.

Yes self defense. Soldiers and police officers are prone to the same things as anyone else.

The dangerous thing is when distance is closed and they lose control of the situation and they become a tangled mess of bodies.

personal and professional, we do not make the distinction. However, the skills we are most concern with is teaching them how to be effective in a combat environment.

We are not sitting in tanks and hmmvs all day. You have to get out and talk to people, deal with them, and interact. especially on search missions. If someone has something they don't want you to have or to see, welll it can get interesting quite quickly.

This is the big difference between today and 10 years ago, We have technology, but gone are the cold war days. We are back to combat on a interpersonal level in todays world!

So, we are seeing a resurgence in developing basic warrior skills and an emphasis on warrior ethos and values. Combatives or martial arts plays a big role in this process.

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Old 03-05-2007, 07:45 AM   #66
Robert Rumpf
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Re: Getting very discouraged, need your help.

Quote:
Paul Nowicki wrote: View Post
No, that combined with what I considered poor perfomance in class when thngs got more random and resistant.
Ok, makes sense.

Quote:
Paul Nowicki wrote: View Post
Outside of class, my friends and future wife will no longer play Aikido with me because they don't like the pain and/or feeling of fallin they get from wrist locks and techniques. I'm not sure how to effectively train without a partner so I read things and watch videos to broaden my Aikido experience.
So.. here's a suggestion. Convince someone in your dojo to show up to class ten minutes early or leave ten minutes late. Get them to work on stuff with you, and if you need to, offset that with less class time.

Quote:
Paul Nowicki wrote: View Post
Yes, time constraints is the main reason. The future wife is not too crazy about me training more often than I allready do.
This was true for me before I got married, seems less true after the fact... Perhaps it will be the same with you.

Quote:
Paul Nowicki wrote: View Post
It took me a while to perform the techniques and then realize that our techniques work best when the uke stops and allows us to perform get into them. The techniques are not the problem, they work, but getting into them is another ball game when someone resists and mintains their balalnce. I must say that they do work even when resiting when we throw in atemes though. So I guess the answer is basically being open minded and considering the possible training deficiencies and that came after some time of training and research.
I think that much of doing Aikido well for me is learning when to abandon a technique and move on to something else. That's kind of the opposite of typical kata-based practice in the dojos I have trained where you commit to trying to fix a broken technique.

Quote:
Paul Nowicki wrote: View Post
I to make things clear, I'm not looking for respect from complete strangers. First of all, being on these forums for years and reading people's posts and reasoning I don't necessarily consider them complete strangers. Second of all, who said I'm looking for respect, I was looking for feedback from people who train in the same art and perhaps went through these stages in ther training and can offer me advice.
Unless they have seen your technique, what do they really know? And even if they know, what can they really do to help, without spending lots of time with you?

Quote:
Paul Nowicki wrote: View Post
Thanks for the suggestion that I play online less. I was not playing online, I was simply doing some homework and reading people's oppinions on the subject.
Play was a bad choice of words on my part. Aikiweb seems to have some pretty solid discussion, and was not what I was referring to with the anonymous complete strangers. When I look over at Bullshido, I see the martial arts equivalent of "Barrens chat" (essentially, lots of nonsensical discussion).

From personal experience, don't be afraid to let your training drop a little bit during the process of getting married. You can pick it up again afterwards, and perhaps even expand it. Besides, some things are more important than training.

Rob
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Old 03-10-2007, 09:23 AM   #67
Takuan
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Re: Getting very discouraged, need your help.

To me, you are going through the typical birthday blues, where one can easlily question the paths he/she has taken in life. If you feel like leaving your dojo, leave; if you feel like staying stay. It's just that the reasons you posted seem so immature that I would like to suggest just keep on training aikido. Bullshido? Matt Thornton? Give us a break! Aikido Sucks Month? The sheer disrespect!

I'm from Rio de Janeiro, I have met Rickson Gracie, he has nothing but respect for Aikido practice, I overheard him say so. What are you seeking, getting in a fight with a bunch of imbeciles? Or becoming a better human being? Why don't you start with that question and take it from there? I wish you the very best and hope you come to a responsible decision. I'll be praying for you to overcome what to me sounds like a depression.
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Old 03-10-2007, 10:41 AM   #68
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Re: Getting very discouraged, need your help.

Paul,

Bullshido-ish bulletin boards are pretty much akin to internet toilets. I say that with complete unemotional seriousness, based on the evidence.

Selected videos are not "evidence". The vast majority of videos that are held up are people egging others on, playground fights, and sport. Such videos are more evidence of what fools consider real life evidence of self defense rather than martial efficacy.

For example, jump kicks in taekwondo get knocked around a lot on such boards. I've seen a video of such a jump kick used to knock a knife weilding assailant, who was holding the knife to a woman's neck, down during a bank robbery/hostage situation. This is self defense as applied in the real world, the only sphere which it really matters. Such boards will never, ever, post such a video, only endless sport situations.

Also, videos of martial arts improving health will never be posted, mainly because such a video would be boring as heck. But, isn't this a great example of martial art efficacy? I think taijiquan helping with balance in all but mainly older populations is great evidence. I'll stick to medical journals for evidence, rather that expecting to see a video on a troll pit.

I think it is fairly well established that any martial art will confer martial effectiveness if practiced diligently, that there is no best. It is not an extraordinary claim at all to believe that hands and feet are effective tools, and that they have been used in that manner throughout time, before videotape was invented, and pre-1993 UFC era.

My 2 cents,

Justin

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 03-10-2007, 12:24 PM   #69
Talon
 
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Re: Getting very discouraged, need your help.

Well, I did something yesterday. I went to check out another Aikido Dojo to see how they train. They have higher dan rated senseis and all. I'm glad I did. I now really appreciate my dojo and will definitelly want to stay. I think I get much better and more realistic training where I am now. I did not check out other styles ad I think I wont for now. I really think that most of it was caused as some of you mentioned the birthday blues and a dip or depression in my training.

I have put a video of me training in the video section here. Feel free to check it out and let me know what you think.

thanks again for all your comments.

Paul
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Old 03-10-2007, 04:54 PM   #70
DonMagee
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Re: Getting very discouraged, need your help.

Its good you have found an answer to your question and a level that you are comfortable with. I knew a guy who left aikido and bjj because it wasn't realistic. He could not find a medium he found acceptable. If your heart is truly at rest with aikido, then you are blessed.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 03-10-2007, 05:25 PM   #71
SamuraiJim
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Re: Getting very discouraged, need your help.

I'm not sure if this idea has been mentioned before in this thread but I think it is one that has enormous potential and would go along way to combating the doubts and negative feelings some Aikidoki have. Plus it has the benefit of promoting better understanding of different Martial Arts systems between the styles.

At our dojo our head Sensei invites other Sensei's/Instructors (and their students) from other styles to come along once a week and give a demonstration. We all then train together in this style before looking at Aikido techniques that would best combat what we have learned. It makes for a fantastic and educational training session and a lot of fun is generally had by all.

I don't think that the "ULTIMATE" Martial Art will ever be proven. In my opinion it's a case of different styles being more better suited to different people. Some people will naturally have a better understanding of grappling, while others will be more comfortable with kicking and striking and therefore use them more effectively.

Also I don't think there's any harm in trying a different style if your not happy. You can always return to Aikido when and if your ready and age really shouldn't be a concern. At 37 your still young.

Cheers
SamuraiJim
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Old 03-10-2007, 07:09 PM   #72
Bill Danosky
 
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Re: Getting very discouraged, need your help.

Hey, Paul. I haven't read the three pages of replies to your post, but I'd immediately suggest two things:

1. Don't make your beefs with your dojocho public.
If your Sensei is a personal friend of yours, address your concerns about the inadequadies of your training privately in the future.

2. Use Aikido, instead of relying solely on it in a martial context. Employ the appropriate techniques naturally, no matter where you learned it, and don't let your training sway your instincts when it comes to self defense.
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Old 03-11-2007, 12:30 AM   #73
godfreytaiwan
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Re: Getting very discouraged, need your help.

Hi Paul,

Don't feel discouraged. 37 is still young!!!
First training is like that for almost everyone, it often works in stages, with ups and downs, and there are times when you feel you don't learn anything...keep practicing and at some point you'll feel fine again.
Secondly, I'd say that aikido is very technical and requires many many years of training to become efficient. However for self-defense, some other arts (such as boxing) could give you a faster edge in bad situations. Nevertheless, aikido still can be extremely efficient against weapons (as it was originally designed for this purpose).
What I would recommend is that you keep training in aikido, and pick up another art (you may start with one that would improve your striking, then grappling). In another few months, you can decide what to do, either keep going or quit aikido altogether if you feel it's not suitable for you. No hurry...
If you want to see what I say about real fighting, check this article:http://www.budoasia.com/reality-fighting.htm

PS: just ignore those pre-pubescent bullshidoists!

All the best.
Godfrey
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Old 03-11-2007, 09:30 AM   #74
DonMagee
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Re: Getting very discouraged, need your help.

Quote:
Bill Danosky wrote: View Post
Hey, Paul. I haven't read the three pages of replies to your post, but I'd immediately suggest two things:

1. Don't make your beefs with your dojocho public.
If your Sensei is a personal friend of yours, address your concerns about the inadequadies of your training privately in the future.

2. Use Aikido, instead of relying solely on it in a martial context. Employ the appropriate techniques naturally, no matter where you learned it, and don't let your training sway your instincts when it comes to self defense.
I agree with point 2, but not point 1. You should never be afraid or embarrassed to talk about your training. Likewise your instructor should never be embarrassed or upset with you for seeking answers or talking about how you feel with others. Of course I would agree the first person you should talk to this about is your teacher. However there is nothing wrong with seeking outside opinion on your training. What if you were in a cult, questioned the leader, he told you to shutup, then what? Sometimes it takes a bunch of people from the outside looking in to put things into perspective.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 03-15-2007, 10:30 AM   #75
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Re: Getting very discouraged, need your help.

Quote:
Paul Nowicki wrote: View Post
When we do our techniques, we do them in a way that they are effective and often painful. I don't really have any doubts that when performed properly the technique will be effective and I actually encourage tori/sensei to do the techniques realistically on me so that I feel some pain or lock before I submit and get a good stretch.
Isn't the "ultimate in ethical self-defense" one "defends himself with such skill and control that the attacker" is not hurt? Isn't that the true Aikido?

Try to break a drunk or drugged person that no longer feels the pain. Are they gonna beat you with their broken arm, swing it around like a weapon?

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
I train in Tenshinkai Aikido at the Westminster Aikikai in Orange county California under Tenshinkai founder Sensei Dang Thong Phong.
A friend and I took a class as visitors at Westminster Aikikai. I had a chance to "feel" Sensei Phong's technique and he brought me down to the mat with absolutely no pain. My friend tried it on me, lots of pain (katate tori kote gaeshi) yet he couldn't take my balance.
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