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Old 08-02-2007, 03:41 PM   #1
Hercules
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Sparring in Aikido?

I have not heard of many dojos that involve heavy sparring... I live in NJ and the teacher here is supposedly very good and will teach a lot, but I think much of self defense is in the person practicing the art, and being able to put it into use.

That said, I am wondering what the comments are on this. I have been thinking about joining an Aikido dojo in NJ (http://www.aikidocenters.com/) but I don't think they have any sparring involved. Randori is a little structured, it seems nobody is actually "attacking" but really just bum rushing.

Muscle memory and quickness of movement under stress is something that develops ability in almost any sport or self defense. If I'm playing tennis, I need to react quickly and judge quickly where I want to hit the ball on a return. Why is it that no Aikido schools teach contact sparring?

Much obliged for any help.
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Old 08-02-2007, 03:54 PM   #2
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

You may want to try MMA.
Not sure how much "bum rushing" there is in that sport though.
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Old 08-02-2007, 04:22 PM   #3
Christopher Gee
 
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Sparring and stress training are not and should not just be the realm of the MMA athelete.

Even in the Koryu community there are conflicts about whether or not shiai, jiyu waza..etc are a suitable method of passing on knowledge. The inspired katas of our predissesors(sp) were generally the result of reflection on conflict. We need the conflict to reflect on, or our art becomes empty.

Stay true to your own training goals, thats the best advice I can give.

Osu
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Old 08-02-2007, 04:38 PM   #4
Timothy WK
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Shayaan Faruqi wrote: View Post
Why is it that no Aikido schools teach contact sparring?
This isn't entirely true. Tomiki-style practices different versions pf free-style sparring. I believe Yoseikan does too. I'm also sure that individual schools here-and-there also include sparring.

--Timothy Kleinert

Aikido & Wujifa qigongs
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Old 08-02-2007, 05:11 PM   #5
Aikibu
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Shayaan Faruqi wrote: View Post
I have not heard of many dojos that involve heavy sparring... I live in NJ and the teacher here is supposedly very good and will teach a lot, but I think much of self defense is in the person practicing the art, and being able to put it into use.

That said, I am wondering what the comments are on this. I have been thinking about joining an Aikido dojo in NJ (http://www.aikidocenters.com/) but I don't think they have any sparring involved. Randori is a little structured, it seems nobody is actually "attacking" but really just bum rushing.

Muscle memory and quickness of movement under stress is something that develops ability in almost any sport or self defense. If I'm playing tennis, I need to react quickly and judge quickly where I want to hit the ball on a return. Why is it that no Aikido schools teach contact sparring?

Much obliged for any help.
There is no need to "teach" contact sparring if you use Randori properly... If you look on some of the VID sites like You Tube you'll catch vids of proper Randori from the likes of O'Sensei, Shioda, Tomiki, Imazumi,Seagal, Matsuoka, Chiba, Nishio, Yamada Sensei's ect ect ect.

When we do Randori we don't use Gloves or Gear so caution and mindfullness prevail and if you focus on your breath and center with hard practice you can learn to "read and react" ala the "ODA Loop" properly under stress despite the lack of "ground and pound". LOL

You might also check a Systema School near you too.

William Hazen
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Old 08-02-2007, 07:19 PM   #6
Joseph Madden
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

I have been studying Yoshinkai aikido for the last 6 years and sparring is mostly done on a one to one basis after regular classes have finished. On occasion when a group of seniors is getting ready for a dan test, our sensei will allow us to have the dojo free for 2 to 3 hours on a weekend to prepare for the test. You often spend a lot of time on jiyu waza. However, I do agree with William in that caution should be exercised in that you will not be wearing protection of any kind (I've got the dislocated fingers and bruises to prove it).
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Old 08-02-2007, 10:09 PM   #7
Roman Kremianski
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

What kind of sparring are you looking for?

I see some recommending jiyu waza, which is not sparring, so I thought I'd ask.
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Old 08-02-2007, 11:18 PM   #8
ChrisHein
 
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGJCl6IS_xQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1s28eQuw9oI

Here are two videos of what we would can Randori at our school. There isn't any striking in this, are you looking for striking , or just live resistive training? We call Jiyu waza another thing, where there is an "uke" and he is pretty much going to go down, but come at you with spontaneous attacks.

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Old 08-03-2007, 12:51 AM   #9
nikau
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

look for a good sensei and learn aikido.

if your worried about sparring etc - cross-train.

find a boxer /muay thai and a judoka who regularly want to practice together.
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Old 08-03-2007, 04:35 AM   #10
philippe willaume
 
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Hello
So before anyone goes about the deadly, the street, training with resistance and all the other commonly tossed around buzz word.
Of course resistance training is important but one need to understand that there is a perequation to be made between risk and sparing.

I spar very regularly with longsword (IE weighted shinai with a cross guard) with only a fencing helmet. That is fine as a medieval cut only relies on tip velocity, so it does hurt but all in all, there is a very limited chance of injury if things go tits up. (I.e. some trip or jump into a blow).
When you join our fencing school, you spar the first day but for the 6 first months, you will only spar with instructor and senior students.

As it happens I believe that medieval wrestling and aikido is a beast of same nature and if I am happy to spar with a shinai, I am definitely not happy to spar using aikido/medieval wrestling.

The real danger with sparing is not when things go right, it is when they go wrong, I.e. the opponent trip, go the wrong way or do not see the technique coming.

I have been caught by surprise by a few choke when I am rolling around with my BJJ/MMA practicing nephew. No arm done other than earning, "here I got you old man "and him taking the Mickey at funny noise I make before I pass out.
At the end, BJJ is a relatively safe environment, especially since we started from and in guard.

Now if you want nikkio to be successful against a resisting opponent. let say against a strike or a gab to the upper body or if parries one of our high strike. (And we assume that we have broken is balance so that we have a window to apply the technique and that nikko is the technique that make sense here.)

In its simplest expression you need to be ultra direct:
We need to capitalise of the window of opportunity and we need to have control before he can strike or kick or grab our leg(s).
You need to control the wrist and attack the elbow at the same time. (IE striking the elbow down and moving you body to control the wrist).
Basically the idea is to keep the member isolated whilst we apply overwhelming force (in the Newtonian understanding of the term).
basically what we would do if we were rolling around...

It is all well and good in a controlled environment, like in chris video or in form work with resistance (i.e. we start with that grab or this strike (or combination) and uke tries to hit and then resist the technique and you break off if nothing has happen for 30 sec or something like that. (and then you can add changing the technique to take advantage of his resistance and so onů)

But I think it is a bit too risky in proper free sparing, you can do it once and while but only with selected people.
It a question of balance between the risk of injury and the seriousness of the said injury and the likely frequency at all proficiency level when sparing.

Last edited by philippe willaume : 08-03-2007 at 04:43 AM.

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Old 08-03-2007, 07:19 AM   #11
Dewey
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Shayaan Faruqi wrote: View Post
I have not heard of many dojos that involve heavy sparring... I live in NJ and the teacher here is supposedly very good and will teach a lot, but I think much of self defense is in the person practicing the art, and being able to put it into use.

That said, I am wondering what the comments are on this. I have been thinking about joining an Aikido dojo in NJ (http://www.aikidocenters.com/) but I don't think they have any sparring involved. Randori is a little structured, it seems nobody is actually "attacking" but really just bum rushing.

Muscle memory and quickness of movement under stress is something that develops ability in almost any sport or self defense. If I'm playing tennis, I need to react quickly and judge quickly where I want to hit the ball on a return. Why is it that no Aikido schools teach contact sparring?

Much obliged for any help.
In response:

Quote:
William Hazen wrote: View Post
There is no need to "teach" contact sparring if you use Randori properly... If you look on some of the VID sites like You Tube you'll catch vids of proper Randori from the likes of O'Sensei, Shioda, Tomiki, Imazumi,Seagal, Matsuoka, Chiba, Nishio, Yamada Sensei's ect ect ect.
Quote:
Philippe Willaume wrote: View Post
Hello
So before anyone goes about the deadly, the street, training with resistance and all the other commonly tossed around buzz word.
Of course resistance training is important but one need to understand that there is a perequation to be made between risk and sparing.........
But I think it is a bit too risky in proper free sparing, you can do it once and while but only with selected people.
It a question of balance between the risk of injury and the seriousness of the said injury and the likely frequency at all proficiency level when sparing.
In the same vein as the above-noted responders: sometimes it's just a matter of semantics in regards to the differences between sparring and randori (i.e. what the definition of "is" is sort of thing); but can also be how that particular dojo trains.

When I first began Aikido, I was gung-ho and wanted to go full throttle from the moment I stepped onto the mat. However, as I quickly found out, safety must always be paramount in the dojo. Contrary to the unjust stereotype that Aikido has been given by some folks, it can be very dangerous if you don't know how to properly take ukemi (breakfalls). You can easily break your neck or any of your limbs if you fall on them wrong. That's why when you're a noob, they start out slow...oftentimes too slow for some folks' taste. Those who leave aikido most often leave within the first six months...sometimes because they're not doing uber-deadly techniques or full resistance training or sparring/randori yet. There's a reason: safety.

Once you learn how to properly take ukemi (which can take anywhere from a few months to more than a year depending upon how much mat time you put in as well as inclination/motivation/dedication), then the pace can pick up as well as the intensity of the attacks. Sparring/randori as well as full-resistance training comes once you're able to do it safely.

Also, if you decide to investigate Aikido further (both in person at local dojos as well as on the internet), you will quickly discover that Aikido is not homogonous or monolithic: there are several different types/styles of Aikido. Some are very martially-oriented, while others are not at all, and many somewhere in between. The rub is: they're all equally "Aikido"!

Caveat emptor.
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Old 08-03-2007, 09:44 AM   #12
darin
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
William Hazen wrote: View Post
There is no need to "teach" contact sparring if you use Randori properly... If you look on some of the VID sites like You Tube you'll catch vids of proper Randori from the likes of O'Sensei, Shioda, Tomiki, Imazumi,Seagal, Matsuoka, Chiba, Nishio, Yamada Sensei's ect ect ect.

When we do Randori we don't use Gloves or Gear so caution and mindfullness prevail and if you focus on your breath and center with hard practice you can learn to "read and react" ala the "ODA Loop" properly under stress despite the lack of "ground and pound". LOL

You might also check a Systema School near you too.

William Hazen
I have to disagree with you here William. Most of those randori's you see on youtube are rigged. Granted those masters have excellent techniques but there is no way they would be able to defend against 5 to 10 trained men more than half their age if they were attacking for real. Put gloves on these attackers and ask them to go full out and those masters would get pounded. If they did win it wouldn't be by using standard randori aikido techniques.

Contact sparring is a valuable tool. We use it to help students get over their fear of being hit and also develop coordination and timing to hit someone else.

My teacher was a direct student of Minoru Mochizuki. He had trained in many styles of karate, aikido and weapons and worked as a bouncer and bodyguard. He also had experience in many street fights. His opinion was that aikido is only effective against one or two attackers, any more and you need to use karate.
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Old 08-03-2007, 10:38 AM   #13
Joseph Madden
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Contrary to what you've heard from the Russian (who, like every Russian in our dojo, thinks they know everything) jiyu waza is a form of sparring.If you want the kind of sparring that Roman insists is REAL sparring, go pick a fight with someone on the street. Also, why is someone studying MMA even doing on this web page. Teenagers, what are you gonna do?
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Old 08-03-2007, 11:05 AM   #14
Roman Kremianski
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Yeah, what do them silly cross trainin' Aikido kids know anyway. Shayaan, listen to the adults with teh true Aikido sparring. Who cares about what you actually want to get out of martial arts?

And Russian? Since when did I change nationalities?
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Old 08-03-2007, 11:25 AM   #15
DonMagee
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Christopher Gee wrote: View Post
Sparring and stress training are not and should not just be the realm of the MMA athelete.

Even in the Koryu community there are conflicts about whether or not shiai, jiyu waza..etc are a suitable method of passing on knowledge. The inspired katas of our predissesors(sp) were generally the result of reflection on conflict. We need the conflict to reflect on, or our art becomes empty.

Stay true to your own training goals, thats the best advice I can give.

Osu
Overcoming adversity is the greatest gift sparing can give you. I have simply found not substitute for a good butt kicking. There are things that can never be learned though kata. How to deal with natural movement. For example, how will someone react when you grab their wrist? They could do a unknown number of things, learning how to read what they are going to do, and how to transition to something that will work against their movement really can only be learned though varying levels of resistance drilling and sparing.

This is not to say aikido guys should just throw on the gloves and go 100% all out. That would not help anyone. However, taking yourself out of the comfort zone and into the 'danger zone' that resistant drills and sparring provide you can be nothing but good. It reinforced good things, and points out bad things. Look at the difference between these two exchanges.

Situation one)

Same side wrist grab, you step to the side and perform an ikkyo, then a takedown. After a few reps the instructor stops you and tells you you did not have kuzushi and your technique would of failed.

Situation two)

This time you are in a same side wrist grab, the instructor demonstrated a few ways to use this position, you are now told to take this person down. You go for the same technique from above only this time the person steps with you because he hand his balance, reverse the ikkyo stands up and breaks the grip.

Both of these taught the same lesson. That you needed to get kuzushi. The difference is that with the first example, you might do this for 10 seconds to 10 minutes before someone corrects you. With the second example, you get immediate feedback from your partner. You can now actively try to break his balance, or possibly change to another technique when he tries to escape. You have now learned that sometimes people do things you didn't expect and will quickly learn how to develop your movements to counter them.

Lets use another example, Koto geshi.

Lets say you are doing a kata off a punch. You grab do the technique and your partner informs you he could of punched you in the face because of the distance and body position you took. You now have a dilema, you can adjust your technique, or you could argue that he was no committal and you were not able to finish, and this is why he had the time to see the opening. Had he not stopped you to point out the flaw, he would not be able to hit you.

Now imagine you have a partner who is told you hit you with 50-75% power, maybe he even has mma gloves on. You could possibly be wearing headgear. He starts throwing blows of varying speeds. You move around and start to try to defend. Now when you go for the technique, you get punched right in the face. Obviously, you now know for a fact your technique has a flaw. Back to some simply kata training, then throw the gear back on and try it again. Maybe you simply work on a counter to that face punch for when you screw up that technique, then the next time you do this drill, he punches, you counter and he ends up on his butt.

Eventually though all the sparing you will realize and see some interesting things. First, you realize that you don't really think when you spar, yet after the sparing is done, you realize how much you actually did think. You reflect on the match and realize how much you worked the setups, reversals, etc. But at the time of the match, you felt like it all too fast, and you didn't even have time to think. Then you realize how much you have grown when a new person comes in. You spar with him and see he is slower then dirt, unable to do the simplest of techniques, and you have time to play and try really off the way advanced stuff. In the end you realize he was just like you were when you started. You laugh the first time he gets punched in the face and just stalls out, turns away and covers, or runs. Finally, you take great pride the first time you throw a punch and he does none of those things, but defends properly and puts you on your butt.

You start to take pride in yourself, and in the littlest of things. You stop thinking about what ifs, you stop thinking about fighting as violence. One of the greatest moments of my martial art career happened on Wednesday night. I was sparing with a senior student in my bjj club. He has about 4-5 years on me in training, plus a brown belt in judo from when he was a kid. He's dominating me totally like always, I'm working 100% just to keep myself from being submitted. I'm panicking, nervous to make any movements, gassing myself out trying to muscle. I feel like a brand new white belt going against my first blue belt. FINALLY, I realize this and stop, it seems like forever, but just for a second I breathe, I listen, and I see the openings he is leaving for me. I go for one and escape side control, I take the back and work a choke, he escapes, I sweep him, then another moment and I'm in north south working a kimura. But in that moment the reality catches me and I get excited, and that was all he needed to escape out and put me back in guard. A few seconds later I'm tapping. Then the round ends. I ask him "Have I gotten any better?" as it has been months from the last time we rolled. His answer made my whole entire night. He said "This was the first time I actually had to work to beat you. I actually had to escape and try."

It wasn't winning a major competition, it wasn't beating some huge biker in a bar. It was knowing that I gave 100% everything I had, discovered a slight moment of clarity while under great stress, and made a person who has always dominated me work to beat me, even if it was just for a couple of seconds. There has been nothing I have done in the martial arts from the time I was 12 till now at age 27 that has made me feel as spiritual as that moment. There were no doubts in my mind of what I had achieved. A few minutes later, I'm rolling white a white belt, and I watch him make the exact same discovery.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 08-03-2007, 11:48 AM   #16
Joseph Madden
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

You will never learn to fight properly in a dojo...EVER! You want to fight someone. Go pick a fight. That's how the masters did it. This idea of cross training is frankly horse@#$%. This idea that if you know karate you can take on more than 2 opponents is horse#$%^ too. If you're in a situation where you may have to take on more than two opponents my advice would be to leave. Otherwise you'll be dead or badly injured. I don't care how much training you've had.Ever seen one trained bouncer take on 5 men. He ended up dead.
My apologies to Roman. Could have sworn you said you had a Russian
background.

Last edited by Joseph Madden : 08-03-2007 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 08-03-2007, 11:59 AM   #17
Paul Sanderson-Cimino
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Joseph Madden wrote: View Post
You will never learn to fight properly in a dojo...EVER! You want to fight someone. Go pick a fight. That's how the masters did it.
"You'll never learn to fight properly in boot camp. Just go on out there. Here's your gun. You'll figure it out."
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Old 08-03-2007, 01:19 PM   #18
Aikibu
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Darin Hyde wrote: View Post
I have to disagree with you here William. Most of those randori's you see on youtube are rigged. Granted those masters have excellent techniques but there is no way they would be able to defend against 5 to 10 trained men more than half their age if they were attacking for real. Put gloves on these attackers and ask them to go full out and those masters would get pounded. If they did win it wouldn't be by using standard randori aikido techniques.

Contact sparring is a valuable tool. We use it to help students get over their fear of being hit and also develop coordination and timing to hit someone else.

My teacher was a direct student of Minoru Mochizuki. He had trained in many styles of karate, aikido and weapons and worked as a bouncer and bodyguard. He also had experience in many street fights. His opinion was that aikido is only effective against one or two attackers, any more and you need to use karate.
My teacher was an Uchi-Deshi of Shoji Nishio Shihan and I was priviledged to learn from Nishio Shihan directly over the last 20 years of his life So I would humbly Submit that our form of Aikido is by far one of the most Martial. I say this so that you understand why I said what I said.... Not to compare your excellent style with ours.

I DID NOT SAY watch the bad Aikido Randori Videos on You Tube Just the good ones. I assumed since you come across as an experianced Aikidoka you know the difference.

My Background in the Martial Arts spans 30 years and several arts.. Karate, Judo, Ju-Jitsu and MMA and I myself am looking for a good Systema Class to enhance my understanding of our Aikido which Shoji Nishio stated MUST measure itself against other arts in order to be Budo aka A Real Martial Art.

All of our Aikido is based on Striking (Atemi). Nuff Said.

I agree that it is a good idea to have some fundimental striking skills and we specifically teach students these basics ( Our Aikido has "Striking Kata and Randori") Beginners make allot of mistakes and they get hit. If I see a fear of being hit being exhibited then it's my job to specifically gear that students practice to understand and control that fear under duress. this may take time and is not an overnight process.

I respecfully disagree with your suggestion that Aikido doesn't work with mulitple attackers. If practiced properly it is possible to handle a few folks (aka More than two) having been in a few "street fights" it has served me well I don't proclaim myself to be anything other than a survivor and I give the Martial Awareness I learned through the years all the credit along with a large amount of good luck

If your Aikido is done with the rythem and flow of Atemi (Striking) then why do you have to digress to Karate??? I mean no disrepect by asking this question but I can't find where Mochizuki Shihan whom I hold in high regard actually said this.

My original suggestion to the young man still stands. Good Aikido EMPHASIZES Atemi so find a practice whose Sensei understands this.

Also find out what Atemi really means... It is has to do with much more than just socking someone in the face. HA HA HA HA

Now I will leave the rest of you to argue about "Street Fighting and other BS"

Yaaaaawn. Been There Done That.

William Hazen
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Old 08-03-2007, 01:22 PM   #19
DonMagee
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
William Hazen wrote: View Post

I DID NOT SAY watch the bad Aikido Randori Videos on You Tube Just the good ones. I assumed since you come across as an experianced Aikidoka you know the difference.

William Hazen
Can you link to some good randori videos on youtube?

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 08-03-2007, 01:22 PM   #20
Roman Kremianski
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Joseph, thanks for atleast being honest and revealing your lack of training.

Last edited by Roman Kremianski : 08-03-2007 at 01:32 PM.
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Old 08-03-2007, 01:23 PM   #21
Aikibu
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Paul Sanderson-Cimino wrote: View Post
"You'll never learn to fight properly in boot camp. Just go on out there. Here's your gun. You'll figure it out."
Good Post

This is the best general rebuttal I have ever seen on this subject.

Boot Camp does not teach you to fight like an expert But it is a baseline from where all good combat soldiers come from.

William Hazen
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Old 08-03-2007, 01:26 PM   #22
Aikibu
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Don Magee wrote: View Post
Can you link to some good randori videos on youtube?
Hi Don. If I had the time I would love to do that for you. Perhaps Jun could put up a critics corner here on AikiWeb that way we could catalog and rate those vidoes on You-Tube. I have seen a few mostly clips of Shioda and Aiki-Expo stuff.

William Hazen

I will try to get back to you.
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Old 08-03-2007, 01:32 PM   #23
akiy
 
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
William Hazen wrote: View Post
Perhaps Jun could put up a critics corner here on AikiWeb that way we could catalog and rate those vidoes on You-Tube.
Like the "Aikido Video Clips Links Category"?

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11980

-- Jun

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Old 08-03-2007, 01:49 PM   #24
Aikibu
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Jun Akiyama wrote: View Post
Like the "Aikido Video Clips Links Category"?

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11980

-- Jun
You have snatched the pebble from my hand.

LOL!

William Hazen

I am not slow... just thoughtful.
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Old 08-03-2007, 02:07 PM   #25
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Like Brian Dewey said before, sometimes it's just a matter of semantics ...

Why don't start to "construct truly productive spontaneous training environments" like the ones described in D. Valadez On the Interdependent Nature of Tactics and Strategies article.

And, as we can see from the video clips included with Valadez article, no one ended seriously injured in these truly productive spontaneous training environments

Aikido is more than wristlocks....

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