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Old 08-08-2007, 12:55 PM   #101
CNYMike
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
I think Don specifically said that there might be someone out there who can do it.

The problem is...is that someone YOU??? Or ME??? Or someone that I directly train with, and can learn from, and then it becomes ME...
Neither. Sorry I said it.
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Old 08-08-2007, 01:02 PM   #102
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Hey, I say this as much to myself as anyone else.

I don't compete, I don't do ANY regular full resistance training. I am subject to this the same as anyone else. I just try to keep it real by saying it up front, and understanding the possible weaknesses up front.

I already know what I consider the the strengths...it pays dividends to know the weaknesses of my chosen method. At least then I have a chance to plug some of the gaps with special, if only occational, training.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 08-08-2007, 03:15 PM   #103
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Don Magee,

Definitely is one of the most realistic Aikidoist on Aikiweb. Cheers to your since of irony and integrity. The realistic application of self defense is often over shadow by spiritual zealousness in the Aikido world. I agree whole heartily with Don's statement about the guy who's trying to kill you, a broken finger, or anything of the sort is not going to stop a maniac.

Real world application of marital arts has to be closely examined and implemented without reservation.
Self defense is more to the individual who seeks protection through real application, rather than the purist mindset of retaining ancient traditions, no matter what the loss. Cheers again to the real world application of self defense.
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Old 08-08-2007, 03:28 PM   #104
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote: View Post
Stop the heart? Maybe not. Knock the wind out of you? There was a fight repalied on spike where one fighter, an Asian guy with blonde hair, kncoked the wind out of his opponent with a body shot to the solar plexus; it just happened to look like a reverse puch, either because he once did karate or coincidence. But that kind 0of thrust to that target looks like it does something after all.

2
Yea, but I was not arguing the effectiveness of a body shot. I was arguing the death touch of a punch to the chest. I've seen karate guys claim their reverse punch to the chest will kill you. It should be obvious that getting hit hard anywhere hurts, and getting hit hard in the chest can knock the wind out of you.

Ron,

My point with the eye gouge might be the same point you just made. What I was trying to say is that a eye gouge done properly and not defended will gouge out an eye. I mean If I can stick my fingers in your eyes, I'm going to do damage. Same if I jab a pencil in there. However, the act of getting there is the hard part. 90% of the people that advocate eye gouging almost never advocate training to get in a position where you can actually eye gouge. Instead they try to eye gouge while under the mount, or other silly positions. In your example, you were obviously in a better position then your attacker. But you can't deny that if you were mounted and the guy sitting on you jabbed his thumbs in your eyes and dug his nails in, that you would not risk being blind for life.

So we do not need to test eye gouges, but rather train getting in a good position to actually use them. That was really my point. You can't safely train an eye gouge, but you can safely train things that make it obvious you could eye gouge (like punches to the head).

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 08-08-2007, 03:36 PM   #105
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Salim Shaw wrote: View Post
Don Magee,

Definitely is one of the most realistic Aikidoist on Aikiweb. Cheers to your since of irony and integrity. The realistic application of self defense is often over shadow by spiritual zealousness in the Aikido world. I agree whole heartily with Don's statement about the guy who's trying to kill you, a broken finger, or anything of the sort is not going to stop a maniac.

Real world application of marital arts has to be closely examined and implemented without reservation.
Self defense is more to the individual who seeks protection through real application, rather than the purist mindset of retaining ancient traditions, no matter what the loss. Cheers again to the real world application of self defense.
Thanks, but I can't really claim to be an aikidoka. I'm more of a dabbler in aikido, a site seer if you will. I also don't actually train for self defense. I'm not very interested in it. 95% of my time I train for sport. But I recognize that to be a good teacher, I need to spend time understanding the importance of self defense, and the concepts. I'm getting ready to test for my brown belt in judo soon, and I'm slowly working my way to a purple belt in bjj. But I have never tested for rank in aikido, despite continuing training. I love the concepts of aikido and the 'coolness factor', but I do not train it seriously enough to identify myself with it without insulting those who train in it full time. My instructor I think agrees with me. He welcomes me to his class anytime I want (usually 2-4 times a month), but he has never asked me to test.

I am however a student of fighting. I like to research and study all I can in hopes that when I'm ready to open my own school some day, I can be prepared to address my students needs. Be it kata, randori, self defense, or sport. A good example of this is that I love bjj competition and judo competition. I like watching MMA and even sparing now and then in MMA, but I do not like competing in MMA. Yet for the sake of any future students, I will be in that ring as much as I can bear it. I do not want to have any doubts. I want to know I have done what it takes to be the best I can be. Even if that means stepping on a few toes now and again to work out my issues.

It also doesn't help to get paired up with those newbie white belts with hidden black belts who think it's fun to break the rules to make a point. I look at that is the best self defense training, reacting to the unknown.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 08-08-2007, 03:38 PM   #106
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

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The "tradition" part goes back to what I was saying before about passing down the art. I think a lot of people who write off "tradition" never have it explained to them as to why it's there. Rejecting tradition just because it's traditional can be just as bad as following it without knowing what's going on.
Riai. Very important. I think many people have no idea why things are the way they are and so accept or reject them without any critical understanding.

Quote:
Martial arts are the last holdout of oral tradtions in our high tech culture, and that's why I think you have to be careful about changes. Even when, as you note, O Sensei is dead and Ueshiba Aikido 1.0 is gone, there should be some core ideas and principles that should be true Aikido, and if those are rejected, it's not Aikido anymore.
So what core ideas and principles define "true Aikido"?

And do any of these explicitly include or exclude 'sparring' (I prefer the term randori although that is also often misunderstood as different systems have different forms of randori).

A lot of the oral traditions I've heard related are just plain not consistent with the research, interviews, and published works concerning the history of aikido and Ueshiba and even some of that published work is inconsistent. How do we choose?

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 08-08-2007, 06:02 PM   #107
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
So what core ideas and principles define "true Aikido"?

And do any of these explicitly include or exclude 'sparring' (I prefer the term randori although that is also often misunderstood as different systems have different forms of randori).

A lot of the oral traditions I've heard related are just plain not consistent with the research, interviews, and published works concerning the history of aikido and Ueshiba and even some of that published work is inconsistent. How do we choose?

Regards,
Hello Tarik,
Hope you're doing well. I'm catching up on some thread reading and found some good questions.

I think most people would say that "aiki" is the core idea and principle of aikido. However, I think that most people would have different definitions of "aiki". Which one is right? I'll get back to this question ...

One thing I've noticed is that the Japanese can blur the truth about something and believe that what they're doing is right. And some of the published work contradicts itself. Some interviews mesh with others while some don't. How do we choose?

I think each of us does research and homework applicable to just how involved he/she wants to get in a martial art. Plus there is a search for a school/system/teacher that conforms to one's ideals and thoughts on a martial art. As we do more, or sometimes less, research and thinking and living the martial art, we sometimes find other paths/schools/teachers to follow.

So, what is the definition of "aiki"? It's the one you have found to fit with your ideals/thoughts of aikido. That doesn't mean you've found a teacher, but that you've put some sort of definition to the word. As you progress in training, that definition may change a little or a lot. Is it the "right" definition? No, probably not. how many times have each of us looked back on our earlier thoughts on aikido, principles, etc and thought, "crap, I didn't have a clue back then." But, we still strive to find the "right" definition and hope that the one we currently have is at least close.

How do we choose? We delve as deeply as we can into history and research and we look for a good teacher. We train and absorb everything possible and like a puzzle, we start to put things together for ourselves. And if we're lucky enough to find a great teacher, the time it takes to "choose" is a lot less. Of course, it goes without saying that dedication, hard work, and sometimes obsessive compulsiveness helps.

Ueshiba Morihei searched for quite a while before meeting Takeda. And it still took a while of hard training to begin to see the shape of aikido to come. In one of the Aikido Journal's Ueshiba is quoted as yelling at his students because they were being too soft. He said how could they practice soft when it took him twenty years of hard training before he could be soft. Sagawa innovated his training for at least twenty years. We "choose" by looking to the giants and their legacy, by finding great teachers, and by putting in the time doing the hard training.

How many days and nights did Ueshiba Kisshomaru struggle with his decision to change his father's aikido so that it could have mass appeal? How many days and nights did Tohei struggle with splitting away? How did Tomiki choose to keep the name, aikido, when he was asked to change it? How many days and nights did Ueshiba Morihei struggle over his breaking relationship with Takeda? How did they choose? I'd say with great difficulty and with great determination.

In the end, it all boils down to each of us defining and choosing *and* then being comfortable enough in that choice that it doesn't matter what anyone else chooses.

IMO anyway,
Mark
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Old 08-08-2007, 09:31 PM   #108
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

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Don Magee wrote: View Post
..... You can't safely train an eye gouge, but you can safely train things that make it obvious you could eye gouge (like punches to the head).
Actually, you probably could train for eye gouges as long as you and your partner wear safety goggles.
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Old 08-08-2007, 09:40 PM   #109
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
So what core ideas and principles define "true Aikido"?
My point -- as always -- is that even with a lot about Aikido not carved in stone, and with every teacher doing it differently, there's a boundry between Aikido and "not Aikido." Where that is, I don't know, but it's there.

Somewhere.
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Old 08-08-2007, 11:34 PM   #110
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote: View Post
My point -- as always -- is that even with a lot about Aikido not carved in stone, and with every teacher doing it differently, there's a boundry between Aikido and "not Aikido." Where that is, I don't know, but it's there.

Somewhere.
Michael, I hope you don't mind my using your response as a springboard...I'm more musing than responding to you directly here...
I think that "Aikido" is more a convention of categorizing legacy than some fixed thing...I would say most proper nouns probably are. It's like asking what the boundary between Matt and non-Matt is: it depends on the moment because to some degree it changes from time to time. I am most definately not the same person I was 10 years ago but you could call me Matt at both times and have it be true or not true depending on which point in time you're using as the baseline.
Physically it's an art in which people refine their body's ability to move with coordinated power and efficiency in a meaningful way. It's that intangible meaning (the ideals which underly everything) which gets slippery because each of us trains for different reasons, even if only slightly so. Tohei's ideals were likely slightly different than Osensei's and so on and so on and while each of them trained in "Aikido," the manifestation of those ideals varied somewhat, again, even if only slightly so.
That said, there is sparring in Aikido but it looks different from place to place and manifests itself differently from less cooperative environments. Every time someone perform kaeshiwaza without my expecting it, we're sparring a little. Same with when they try, but fail to do so. I think many people see the large amount of cooperative exchange and miss the subtle bits where we learn how to deal with someone who tries to be uncooperative. Some people start out by acting uncooperatively and then cooperate by comparing notes. In any group learning environment there is cooperation though.
I dunno...as usual I started out thinking I had something concrete to offer but after reading my post I'm left with one thought: it's not very important; let's train and interact and pay attention to what's going on as best as we can muster. Maybe that's all Aikido has ever been...apart from the best darn martial art in the world...no, the UNIVERSE!...well...my own anyway
Cheers all!
Matt

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Old 08-09-2007, 11:28 AM   #111
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Good points Don, understood.

Thanks,
Ron

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Old 08-09-2007, 06:58 PM   #112
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
..as usual I started out thinking I had something concrete to offer but after reading my post I'm left with one thought: it's not very important; let's train and interact and pay attention to what's going on as best as we can muster. Maybe that's all Aikido has ever been...apart from the best darn martial art in the world...no, the UNIVERSE!...well...my own anyway
Cheers all!
Matt
I can live with that.
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Old 08-09-2007, 10:52 PM   #113
Roman Kremianski
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Actually, you probably could train for eye gouges as long as you and your partner wear safety goggles.
Kinda misunderstood Don's post. Don did not advocate just training eye gouges, but getting to positions from which you can gouge. Yes, if I'm in the mount or I got your back with my hooks in and you're totally pinned, I don't need to actually perform the action of feebly scratching at my partners safety glasses.

(Ignoring the fact that most people cannot even reach their opponents face while mounted, less risk simply getting arm barred)
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Old 08-10-2007, 01:28 AM   #114
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote: View Post
My point -- as always -- is that even with a lot about Aikido not carved in stone, and with every teacher doing it differently, there's a boundry between Aikido and "not Aikido." Where that is, I don't know, but it's there.

Somewhere.
I understand.. and my point is that if it's worth pointing out that there's a boundary (and I agree that it is), then it's worth discussing what that boundary might be, perhaps even incumbent to do so. To some small extent that is being addressed, but to a larger extent, I think, it is being avoided.

Your earlier posts implied some possible answers without stating them outright, I think in part just because this came up on a thread about sparring. So forgive me if I ask you (and others)..is sparring something that crosses the boundary (for you)?

For me, I would have to say that, within the strictures of randori (a form of sparring) as practiced by the Jiyushinkai, for instance, it does not cross that boundary, and in fact, significantly increases my ability to seek out and develop in myself the aiki aspects of the art that I would still call aikido.

However, there are more combative sparring practices I've seen (mostly online) that seem, to me, to attempt to develop effectiveness in technique using exactly the opposite of what I would consider an ability to utilize aiki and render something that, to my current eyes, is more like jujitsu (without the aiki aspect) and I would not call them aikido.

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 08-10-2007, 01:52 AM   #115
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Hello Mark,

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Hello Tarik,
Hope you're doing well. I'm catching up on some thread reading and found some good questions.
Very well on my side. I hope you're doing the same. Just finished a clinic with Clark Sensei last weekend, so I'm feeling kinda juicy.

Quote:
I think each of us does research and homework applicable to just how involved he/she wants to get in a martial art. Plus there is a search for a school/system/teacher that conforms to one's ideals and thoughts on a martial art. As we do more, or sometimes less, research and thinking and living the martial art, we sometimes find other paths/schools/teachers to follow.
I agree. I am also very amused by these comments at the moment. Have you been reading something else I wrote (somewhere else)?

Quote:
So, what is the definition of "aiki"? It's the one you have found to fit with your ideals/thoughts of aikido. That doesn't mean you've found a teacher, but that you've put some sort of definition to the word.
So is "aiki" purely a personal definition? Or is there a real standard that it can be measured against, in some fashion. More a rhetorical question, to me, because I have a certain opinion already.

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
As you progress in training, that definition may change a little or a lot. Is it the "right" definition? No, probably not. how many times have each of us looked back on our earlier thoughts on aikido, principles, etc and thought, "crap, I didn't have a clue back then." But, we still strive to find the "right" definition and hope that the one we currently have is at least close.
I think a better way to describe it than "right" or "wrong" might be in degrees of understanding and completeness. Many things I currently believe now do not overrule things I didn't know before so much as they deepen my perceived understanding and expand my awareness of just how much I was missing before.

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
How do we choose? ..... We "choose" by looking to the giants and their legacy, by finding great teachers, and by putting in the time doing the hard training.
I didn't want to snip any of it, but it's above to be read again. The elements of our study.

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
In the end, it all boils down to each of us defining and choosing *and* then being comfortable enough in that choice that it doesn't matter what anyone else chooses.

IMO anyway,
Can any of us offer more? It's a good and rational opinion. Sounds familiar somehow.

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 08-10-2007, 06:53 AM   #116
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
Hello Mark,

Very well on my side. I hope you're doing the same. Just finished a clinic with Clark Sensei last weekend, so I'm feeling kinda juicy.
Yes, doing well, thanks. Sounds like you had a good time at the clinic. I'm working hard to make the end-of-sept seminar in Portland so I can say Hi to everyone. Haven't seen some in a long time.

Quote:
Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
I agree. I am also very amused by these comments at the moment. Have you been reading something else I wrote (somewhere else)?
I was out most of last weekend and the beginning part of the week, so I was catching up on reading threads. Went through the main ones but skipped a lot of the others. Um, long story short, no, haven't really read many of your recent posts lately.

Quote:
Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
So is "aiki" purely a personal definition? Or is there a real standard that it can be measured against, in some fashion. More a rhetorical question, to me, because I have a certain opinion already.
Well, by technicality, yeah, it's a purely personal definition. But, yes, I think there is a standard it can be measured against.

Quote:
Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
I think a better way to describe it than "right" or "wrong" might be in degrees of understanding and completeness. Many things I currently believe now do not overrule things I didn't know before so much as they deepen my perceived understanding and expand my awareness of just how much I was missing before.
I agree with that. Although, there are times when I've been completely wrong about some understanding I thought I had.

Quote:
Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
Can any of us offer more? It's a good and rational opinion. Sounds familiar somehow.

Regards,
lol, maybe one of these days we'll actually meet. Being on opposite coasts is a tough hurdle, though.

Take care,
Mark
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Old 08-10-2007, 09:17 AM   #117
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Personally, I don't find the discussion of 'if something is Aikido' or even 'if it's what Ueshiba did' very useful, because to me it seems a bit backwards. Am I attached to the _word_ Aikido or something like that, pretty word though it may be, and then interested in actual things because they can be justifiably called that word?

It makes more sense to me the other way around -- find the kind of training you prefer or respect most or that suits you or whatever, and then, if you really want and are interested in words or history, you can worry about what a nice name to describe it is.
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Old 08-10-2007, 09:38 AM   #118
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

I see lots of folks that have opinions on what aikido is - to them. Some even feel the need to tell you what yours should be (based on their own experiences, or an appeal to O-Sensei or at times an appeal to their own 'Oh, Sensei').

I've found it to be more a matter of asking questions as I train (of myself and others). Is my aikido martially effective? I try out my stuff & train rough & tumble with people at my dojo and in other martial arts/places (smiling and hugging makes the bruises easier to deal with). Has nothing to do with "rules" or "winning" or "competition" and everything to do with "research". If you're not researching and asking questions, then it's harder to recognize answers (which often formulate more questions ) when we get them.

Does my aikido address non-violent conflict resolution? That's something I periodically review when I weigh my own performances in conflict situations (fortunately, life has led me away from regularly experiencing non-training physical conflict situations, for which I'm grateful). How do I react to being challenged? Is my maintenance of harmony dependent on running from conflict? Can I enter into conflict and maintain myself?

Where do spirituality and religion fit into the mix? How fundamentalist am I in either approach? Are they in harmony? Should they be? Do I need to "convert" others to my way of thinking in order to be honest in my approach? Or do I need to encourage others to follow their own "noble" path? Can there be more than one?

My own honest take regarding "sparring" is that it's a training tool that gets propped up as a "wooden dummy" and manipulated to suit the aims of someone's agenda. I personally believe that people that are serious about their training are going to address it in a manner that's congruent with the aims of their training (whether it's avoiding or embracing).

My own bottom line somewhere (sorry, Madam, my dogma is showing - hooray for belief systems, we all got 'em) in there is that you need an honest means of "pressure testing" in order to build the physical capabilities to deal with real aggression and conflict. I also believe that you need to be taught basic solo and paired/partner/multiple exercises/drills/techniques that allow you to to build and refine the framework from which your eventual evolution to "no technique, instant response" will arise.

Sparring, judiciously and appropriately introduced by a good teacher, can be just one of those steps towards that specific goal.
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Old 08-10-2007, 10:00 AM   #119
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

Quote:
Basia Halliop wrote: View Post
Personally, I don't find the discussion of 'if something is Aikido' or even 'if it's what Ueshiba did' very useful, because to me it seems a bit backwards. Am I attached to the _word_ Aikido or something like that, pretty word though it may be, and then interested in actual things because they can be justifiably called that word?
What are those things?

While this is perhaps a separate thread (http://aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13042), I find it interesting that you don't find a discussion of 'what is aikido' very useful.

How can we know what a thing is without defining it?

FWIW, I do tend to agree that either justifying or denying a practice for reasons such as you describe without additional explication is a bit useless as it really demonstrates that the person so engaged does not have an authoritative opinion of their own (yet) that they can offer, and isn't that what we train to eventually develop?

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
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MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 08-10-2007, 10:23 AM   #120
tarik
 
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

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Budd Yuhasz wrote: View Post
I see lots of folks that have opinions on what aikido is - to them.
I hope everyone does.

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Budd Yuhasz wrote: View Post
Some even feel the need to tell you what yours should be (based on their own experiences, or an appeal to O-Sensei or at times an appeal to their own 'Oh, Sensei').
Well, I think challenging ideas one doesn't agree with is natural and healthy if done with the right attitude. But while I can be an ass and tell when people that I think they're wrong, I do try to avoid explicitly telling others what to actually believe. I prefer to at least try and discuss things in a fashion that makes all involved (them and me) seriously think about the issues, sometimes accepting uncomfortable facts that don't fit a current world view and allowing that world view to be adjusted.

I do confess a personal bias against automatic appeals to authority, not because I don't respect authority figures, but because to me, they tend to be used as ways to demonstrate someone else is wrong by fiat rather than by digging through and addressing the material itself. IOW, I feel that authority should be used as a starting point, but then questioned constantly, unless one presumes that the authority is somehow infallible. Personally, I see no sources available that are infallible and the further in time and experience we are from a source, exponentially the more fallible.

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I've found it to be more a matter of asking questions as I train (of myself and others). Is my aikido martially effective? I try out my stuff & train rough & tumble with people at my dojo and in other martial arts/places (smiling and hugging makes the bruises easier to deal with). Has nothing to do with "rules" or "winning" or "competition" and everything to do with "research". If you're not researching and asking questions, then it's harder to recognize answers (which often formulate more questions ) when we get them.
If you ask me, this IS the training. Without it, what are we doing?

Any rules in place should be entirely about safety, any competition, entirely about striving TOGETHER to improve rather than a combative, zero sum competition, and all winning mutual and because you are both learning rather than beating down the other person. Last weekend I was thrown a lot by my teacher, and I was a big winner as a result.

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Where do spirituality and religion fit into the mix? How fundamentalist am I in either approach? Are they in harmony? Should they be? Do I need to "convert" others to my way of thinking in order to be honest in my approach? Or do I need to encourage others to follow their own "noble" path? Can there be more than one?
Since I have no direct personal experience of God, I even place all my religious training, Quranic and Biblical, on the same playing field. Since it came to me through fallible human beings, I respect and question in the same way, realizing, of course, that there are those who consider my questioning disrespectful. Let's stick to aikido here though.

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My own honest take regarding "sparring" is that it's a training tool that gets propped up as a "wooden dummy" and manipulated to suit the aims of someone's agenda. I personally believe that people that are serious about their training are going to address it in a manner that's congruent with the aims of their training (whether it's avoiding or embracing).

My own bottom line somewhere (sorry, Madam, my dogma is showing - hooray for belief systems, we all got 'em) in there is that you need an honest means of "pressure testing" in order to build the physical capabilities to deal with real aggression and conflict. I also believe that you need to be taught basic solo and paired/partner/multiple exercises/drills/techniques that allow you to to build and refine the framework from which your eventual evolution to "no technique, instant response" will arise.

Sparring, judiciously and appropriately introduced by a good teacher, can be just one of those steps towards that specific goal.
Excellent discussion. Thanks.

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 08-10-2007, 10:28 AM   #121
tarik
 
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Yes, doing well, thanks. Sounds like you had a good time at the clinic. I'm working hard to make the end-of-sept seminar in Portland so I can say Hi to everyone. Haven't seen some in a long time.
Sadly, I doubt I'll make that. But you never know.

Quote:
Well, by technicality, yeah, it's a purely personal definition. But, yes, I think there is a standard it can be measured against.
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I agree with that. Although, there are times when I've been completely wrong about some understanding I thought I had.
I agree with that also. Creepy, isn't it?

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lol, maybe one of these days we'll actually meet. Being on opposite coasts is a tough hurdle, though.
It is, but knowing a lot of the same people and having similar perceptions and interests makes it more likely than not that we'll eventually meet.

Take care,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 08-10-2007, 05:19 PM   #122
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

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Michael Gallagher wrote: View Post
Mostly because that diverges from the founder's vision of Aikido. He didn't like the idea of a scenario where one person can "win" and another can "lose." Since sparring can lead to contests with winners and losers, no sparring.

You have to remember a martial art is not just a collection of techniques but a snapshot of whatever its founder was thinking. It doesn't matter which art you're doing; that's true of all of them. You're always getting the techniques and the founder's thinking, because if you become a teacher in that art, that's what you have to communicate.
I think the question is actually far deeper than that. The debate on "internal" strength questions and solo versus partnered practice is relevant here (and it seems, in general, that those who tend to emphasize the one -- tend also to go in for more of the sparring or competitive training).

To the extent that their points about the role of fascia and altering the body's biomechanical responses have merit (and clearly they have some merit), the training regimen of sparring may be ALL WRONG for that purpose. For a related reason, solo training in the wrong frame of mind may also be less effective than partnered training for most people. The reason is straightforwardly stated, if a bit lengthy in the follow-on exposition.

O Sensei stated it plainly, if we would listen: "True budo is love."

We are learning, apparently that the fascia tissues of the body sheathing muscles, joints, bones, organs etc. respond like ordinary muscle to use by growth, and increase their capability to contract, (only relatively recently discovered) like smooth muscle does. But increasing their physical response capability through repetitive loading is only one factor, and you first have to find the key that allows you to load them in a contracted state to prompt stress mediated growth.

Since fascia appears to act like smooth muscle it is not voluntarily controlled, but hormonally mediated via the sympathetic nervous system, chiefly the thalamus and pituitary. The "fight or flight" response is similarly a sympathetic nervous system function, but not the only one, nor as you may see, perhaps even the most important one for our purpose.

Regardless, this means that the emotive and cognitive qualities of training are at least as important to body functions involving these systems as the physicality of it. As I see the commnets in many of these discussion, increasing stress levels of training at the level of performance is at least part of what they are seeking in sparring or more competitive training. So the nature of these concepts is, well understood as having practical training impact, I think. I will suggest it is perhaps not the best however, and at a fundamental level in the cosdideration of Aikido as an art.

Peruse some of the relevant information here at your leisure: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/pmc...le-sample3.pdf
http://www.fasciaresearch.de/PerimysiumHypoth.pdf
http://www.fasciaresearch.de/wcb2006.pdf

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Chris Hein wrote: View Post
I know what you mean about the winning. I'm pretty lucky in that most of my students try as hard as they can, but don't seem to be too attached to "winning". The problem with not trying to "win" is that you don't go as hard, and resist will all your ability, if you're not trying to win.

The problem with trying to win is, your ego gets attached to the "win" and not the training. You will do things like pervert the rules of the practice to win. Or you may become angry, and disconnected due to your desire to win.
In this aspect it is more than just ego-drive attachment to winning or avoiding loss that must be avoided. Studies show that the fascia DO NOT respond to the epinephrine/adrenal hormones of fight or flight. There are well-attested martial traditions relying on inducing these hormonal pathways, forms of "battle rage" attested around the world (Amok, Germanic berserkers, the Irish "warp-spasm" of Cuchullain) Their main advantage seems to be metabolic -- increasing the ability to maintain energy outputs at levels far higher and far longer than is normally possible. They do not, however, seem to have supernormal effects on the structural power of the body.

The hormone that does have this function is called oxytocin -- which is, as it happens -- the hormone of LOVE. Oxytocin does contract fascial myofibroblasts on relatively short period feedback cycles. It also is the only pituitary hormone that forms positive feedback loops with tissues that are mediated by its operation. It can thus can have dramatic effects on body structure and mechnical function when it is called into action.

When oxytocin commences the initial uterine (smooth muscle myometrium) contractions of childbirth, the contractions stimulate the hypothalamus through the nervous system. That in turn prompts the pituitary to secret more oxytocin. That results in further contraction, more oxytocin, etc. etc.

The studies suggest that very much the same action is indeed possible for myofascial tissues and structures. Thus, the occasionally documented, but seemingly fantastical feats of a diminutive mother lifting things like cars or other immensely large objects to free their children, may have a sound bio-mechanical basis in this understanding of the body's mechnical operaiton .

Locking her body into a lifting point of the object trapping her children, and mediated solely by a desperate and blazing desire of love and protection, the mother's body responds -- how? By releasing oxytocin, contracting the fascia in a manner like that of smooth muscle.

The same positive feed back loop stretches the immensely tough cervix ( far tougher that muscles sheathes of the body) from zero to ten centimeters in a matter of minutes or hours. As long as she maintains the pure devotion of her heart -- her body answers.
Viewed this way, her mechanical structure may functionally become something more akin to a cyclically pumped hydraulic jack, than the levered-limb action of normal loading operation.

Now, my somewhat informed speculation aside, if the fascial strengthening through hormonally mediated functions are operating (in some fashion) in what O Sensei intended aikido to be (and as the interanl arts advocates think that he did), sparring of any type is the last thing one would want to do.

Why? Because it is the desire to "win" (aggression) or to avoid "losing" (survival fear) are bside the point, since the adrenal combat regime has no effect on the fascia, and may negate other effects of the oxytocin combat regime. In competing, we are not actively trying to protect our opponent in a grim and potentially violent interaction - we are trying, even if playfully, to best him. Game playing may use some similar oxytocin bonding pathways -- but if we verge into the adrenal pathways in doing it, the benefit (at least as to the fascial considerations) is lost. It is that combination of very real possibillity of danger and the simultaneous desire to protect our partner from that danger in a selfless way that creates the environment for the suggested intensifying mechanism of "Love as Budo" Competition or sparring would that aspect make almost impossible to achieve.

Solo work may allow us to become more conscious of the body's ordinary non-voluntary uses of its fascia to alter its function as mechanism. But I am aware of no basis to suggest that the same or any similar environment can be created in solo practice focussed solely on the physical body that can create the suggested training benefit of partnered non-competitive practice, if the fascial traingi is intedend to be mediated by the sincerity of an immediately loving heart while training in a rigorous, and possibly dangerous manner.

Conversely, O Sensei's combination of his physical solo practices, chinkon kishin, for example, with his simultaneous deep contemplation and religious devotion to the expanding Love of the Divine, would likely make those same fascial contraction functions operate. It would have a similar training benefit. In Catholic tradition I might suggest that he was wrestling with angels, where he would say he was performing keiko with the kami.

Regardless, without the depth of sincerity, however, it would not happen. There is no faking true love.

It also suggests that there may well be something very unique about what Aikido strives to achieve in a combative setting that does indeed set it far apart from other arts. That thing may have teeth that are belied by the language and sincere attitude of of love that makes it possible.

Anybody who thinks that true love cannot be dangerous can try being mean to a woman's children and see how "non-fruity" her loving-protection and its hormone pathway can instantly become when provoked inadvisedly. If you do this -- forget that I ever suggested it because I do not want to hunted down. Ferocity and tenacity is not the sole province of the destructive or competitive emotions.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 08-10-2007 at 05:21 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 08-10-2007, 08:55 PM   #123
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

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Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
.... Your earlier posts implied some possible answers without stating them outright, I think in part just because this came up on a thread about sparring. So forgive me if I ask you (and others)..is sparring something that crosses the boundary (for you)?
In formal training, yes, if the organization I'm a part of says so. If it doesn't it doesn't. If it's not a part of Aikido, it's not. If I end up teaching Aikido someday, I won't deviate too much from what I've been taught.

Now, as far as whether I can take things in Aikido and see if they work out in sparring elsewhere, no that doesn't cross a line, but that would be to help me figure out where Aikido's techniques and ideas fit in in the larger context of empty hand techniques. I'd thought that I would see if I did anything in sparring that might be influenced by Aikido training, but that is easier said than done. After 22 years of martial arts, includiong 10 years of Kali which includes a lot of locks and throws, it would be almost impossible to say for certain whether any attempt at a lock that pops out is from Aikido or anywhere else. But I imagine that the longer I do Aikido, over time, I'll figure stuff out. I see a lot of the training as repetitive drilling meant to ingraine something, but what is that something? I don't know yet. Maybe, eventually, I'll figure it out.

Or maybe not.

Does that answer your question?
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Old 08-11-2007, 11:52 AM   #124
tarik
 
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

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Michael Gallagher wrote: View Post
In formal training, yes, if the organization I'm a part of says so. If it doesn't it doesn't. If it's not a part of Aikido, it's not. If I end up teaching Aikido someday, I won't deviate too much from what I've been taught.
That makes sense, certainly and sounds right, but if it's entirely what an organization does, then is that separate from what aikido is itself, or just separate than how you must/should operate to fit into your organization?

FWIW, I know of several aikido organizations that have some formal form of sparring and belong to one.

My personal sense of aikido is that it embodies a set of principles and that techniques are merely ways to express the principles and not the 'thing' itself. Training methods such as repeating specific known techniques (kata), freestyle techniques (jiyuwaza), sparring (randori in some dojo), etc. are merely the pedagogy of how to learn the principles.

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I'd thought that I would see if I did anything in sparring that might be influenced by Aikido training, but that is easier said than done.
I think that we get good at what we practice. If we don't practice a thing for a specific result, we don't get good at it. I also agree with your earlier statements about ego being a problem.

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I see a lot of the training as repetitive drilling meant to ingraine something, but what is that something? I don't know yet. Maybe, eventually, I'll figure it out.
I agree. My personal experience is that a lot of repetitive practice without knowing what that something is that I'm trying to ingrain will not do it well, but it's the most common way to approach it.

I'm becoming more and more of the opinion that the ideal way to learn this is to be able to articulate it and how to reproduce it and to learn from a teacher who can articulate it.

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Does that answer your question?
Surely. Thanks.

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 08-11-2007, 12:11 PM   #125
L. Camejo
 
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Re: Sparring in Aikido?

I was wondering, for those who engage in "sparring or competitive practices" in any aspect of your training, is it always accompanied by a desire to win or fear of losing?

Have you ever practiced in the above manner without having these feelings? If so, what other feelings may enter when sparring or practicing in a competitive manner?

Imho desire and fear are things I control and can choose or not choose to bring into any practice I partake in,

Just some ramblings in trying to get something out of the thread.

In Gassho.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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