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Old 01-23-2008, 07:55 AM   #76
Chris Parkerson
Dojo: Academy of the Martial Arts
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

The principles of efficient movement are in all arts. There is little magig. Just physics, geometry and a smidgen of sports psysiology. Thus, Aiki principle or Tai Chi principle is in all arts at their pinnacle.

Aiki throwing can be experienced through a touch, a push or a punch. Destructon of vital organs and the breaking of bones with Aiki can be experienced the same way.

The rub is that this level goes way beyond what a police curriculum can provide. In fact it is very much a road less travelled among martial artists in general.

It often appears to me that what we are left with is a variety of stylized techniques and the common feeling that we have to play the strategy of, "if this happens, then I will do that."
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Old 01-23-2008, 08:19 AM   #77
dbotari
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post

This is one of the main problems with how we train. We are supposed to be discovering the principles of aiki by way of our training. Yet the structure of most classes is anything but aiki. The teacher demonstrates a technique, usually a specific variation of that technique. While the teacher might have been skilled enough for this technique to be executed according to aiki principles, the students are expected to reproduce that technique exactly as the teacher just did it.

Snip...

In a given Aikido technique there are many principles functioning simultaneously. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to discover them merely through endless repetitions of waza. When the class is doing waza, there should be the flexibility to allow variation of the technique to occur as the uke changes how he attacks. If the teacher wishes to teach a particular technique in a particular manner, he or she must instruct the ukes how to deliver the type of attack which naturally leads to that technique. Otherwise you have a mat full of people getting all sorts of different variations of an attack and trying to come up with exactly the same result. That is fundamentally not the way to develop aiki skills.

I think we put way too much attention on technique with no understanding of principle. It should be the opposite. We should focus on developing an understanding of principle and then and only then start layering in technical manifestations of those techniques. I think this approach could shorten the learning curve by decades, literally.
Ledyard Sensei,

I concur with your analysis above. The problem I run into as a student of aikido is in trying to identify the relevant principles used in any technique. I find it especially frustrating when the seniors I'm working with, or even sometimes the person instructing, either don't know or can't articulate the underlying principle being employed and therefore fall back to teaching a "technique" or a series of moves devoid of any real understanding.

What do you consider the basic principles underlying aikido? How would you teach them to new students while also trying to keep their interest in aikido fresh? How do you rehabilitate a more seasoned practitioner to look for the principle rather than focus on the wasa?

Thanks for you input,

Dan
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Old 01-23-2008, 09:11 AM   #78
senshincenter
 
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Quote:
Dan Botari wrote: View Post
How would you teach them to new students while also trying to keep their interest in aikido fresh? How do you rehabilitate a more seasoned practitioner to look for the principle rather than focus on the wasa?
I know George can speak for himself, and I'm looking forward to reading that, but I'm going to take a liberty here and speak on what we do...

For the beginner, in essence, we make boredom, or more precisely the reconciliation of boredom part of the training. As such, we have things set so that one learns to become very suspicious of a training that survives in terms of commitment only because it is in line with one's immediate or superficial desires (e.g. it's interesting, it's entertaining, it's fun, there's always something new to learn, etc.). We make it clear that Aikido involves a spiritual transformation of the person, and, as such, Aikido training therefore will require a reconciliation regarding a person's attachment to his/her desires - the one's that work to keep the objective/subjective world egocentrically oriented. For me, this is a much more fruitful approach when it comes to re-orienting training away from the more commercially viable model of scenario-based training than the usual (so-called "traditional") one of not concerning oneself with the beginner's interest levels.

For the more experienced practitioner, we use live training environments - as only principles survive there. We combine this with a very strong support system. How and why does this work? Well, the more experienced practitioner feels he/she already understands all there is to understand regarding the art, or, more accurately put, they are not at all ready to invalidate their understanding of the art as superficial (i.e. non-principle based). However, when you enter a live training environment, if your training is not principle-based, you gain a strong sense, regardless of how skilled one might be at self-delusion, that you don't know anything. One gains this sense because one feels that nothing one tried in the training environment worked. Of course this is not true, one does know something and many things of what they tried even worked, but that is the feeling. This feeling is necessary however for self-reflection to take place. Self-reflection is necessary for re-orienting one's training to take place. Of course, self-reflection takes place when an instructor shows one a cool little detail that is being left out, or when one does a simple drill that the person already feels they should be able to do but can't, etc., but this kind of stuff still makes one stay in line with "technique" training. So, there is no real re-orientation of their training, there is only a further refinement of it as it already is.

Now, when you use a practice like the introduction of live training environments, and you use that to re-orient their training, because you are looking to penetrate through the surface of the individual so that you can penetrate through the surface of the art, they will require a lot of mentoring (as understood by the ancient traditional/spiritual traditions).

d

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
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Old 01-23-2008, 09:24 AM   #79
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Quote:
Dan Botari wrote: View Post
Ledyard Sensei,

I concur with your analysis above. The problem I run into as a student of aikido is in trying to identify the relevant principles used in any technique. I find it especially frustrating when the seniors I'm working with, or even sometimes the person instructing, either don't know or can't articulate the underlying principle being employed and therefore fall back to teaching a "technique" or a series of moves devoid of any real understanding.

What do you consider the basic principles underlying aikido? How would you teach them to new students while also trying to keep their interest in aikido fresh? How do you rehabilitate a more seasoned practitioner to look for the principle rather than focus on the wasa?

Thanks for you input,

Dan
Here's an outline of the Principles of Aiki that I use teaching... It's floating around else where on the forum but I might as well post it again since there are always so many new members. In addition to these principles there are certain mechanical / body oriented elements that I simply can't explain in an article; they have to be felt. Also, if one really wishes to be good, there are solo conditioning exercise as cited by Dan H, Mike Sigman, and Rob John which are designed to give your body the correct structure to be able to relax properly and have real power when doing so.

Anyway here's the outline where it currently stands. I am still adding to it. It is not complete. For instance I mention the kototama but do not go into it. It's not something I've studied so I would have to have someone else write that part if I ever want to really fill this out properly. And (Shameless commercial plug) this is all on the DVD's I have out so if you want to actually see how I teach the principles I have three titles which I call the Principles of Aiki series which were filmed at a seminar I did in San Antonio each year over three years between 2005 and 2007.

The Principles of Aiki

I. Attention
A. Ki Musubi
II. Intention
A. Fudo Shin
B. Makoto
C. Shin Ken Shobu
III. Irimi
A. Mental Irimi -- Ki Musubi
B. Physical Irimi
i. Rotation
IV. Spiral Rotation
A. Axis of rotation
B. Pivot Points
C. Tai Atari
V. Ittai Ka
VI. Suberu
A. The "seam"
VII. The Ikkyo Curve
VIII. The Wave
A. Kototama
IX. Take Musu Aiki

What is Aiki?
Strictly from the standpoint of waza and not some larger "cosmic" consideration, the Mind must move before the body begins to move. Intention precedes action. Aiki is the use of the partner's various sensory inputs (touch, sight, sound, and the intuition) to create movement in his Mind. His Mind, in turn, moves his body. The direction the movement takes must work in accord with the basic physical geometry of the partner's body -- weak balance lines, locking direction of the joints etc. But the partner moves himself along these lines because his Mind is led long those same pathways. So in essence, you do not throw your partner, the partner throws himself. Said another way, "Aiki" is the method we use to direct the partner's attention.

Key Elements of Aiki

Attention and Intention

The "attention" is the word used to describe the direction or point of focus for your Mind (via the senses and the intuition). When you put your "attention" on something or someone you are directing the various sensory organs to prioritize information coming from that source. The Mind takes the information from the various sensory inputs and tries to create an organized picture for itself. Quite a bit about the use of Aiki in the martial interaction has to do with confusing the Mind by creating conflicting messages for the opponent's Mind via the different sensory inputs. Placement of ones "attention" is critical for directing ones energy properly.

"Intention" has two aspects "strength" and "quality":
First, "Intention" refers to the strength of the "attention". For instance, the act of Reading a book normally requires a relaxed placement of the "attention". However, if the material in the book is highly technical or is less interesting to the reader, he will have to put effort into keeping his "attention" on the material; this is "intention". In the martial interaction the "intention" required is very high. It is necessary to keep ones "attention" on the opponent's center and stay non-reactive to his kiai, feints, strike, grab, or sword cut. (This is fudo shin in Japanese; it means "immoveable Mind"). It requires strength of "intention" to deliver a committed strike and not be distracted by the opponent's attempts to defend or counter attack. In others words, this aspect of the "intention" is about what we would call the "will".
Second, "intention" is the action of the Mind that determines the "quality" of the interaction. In this aspect its function has to do with directing the movements of the body towards a desired outcome. What is the "intended" outcome of the interaction? If it's a training interaction the intended outcome is mutual growth, if it's a low level conflict with another person some sort of non-violent conflict resolution might be intended. But if the encounter is a real life and death martial encounter, then the intention will create actions which will probably result in the destruction of the opponent. In other words, this aspect of "intention" matches ones actions to the quality of the interaction.

The Japanese concept which regulates the interplay between "strength of intention" and "quality of intention" is "Makoto", or "sincerity". "Makoto" works to ensure that the energy of an interaction is honest, that it is completely consistent with the type of interaction that is talking place.
This aspect of Aikido training is very important to understand. Because training is about working with friends and acquaintances in a simulation of conflict, many people train with weak or no intention. When they strike, they take the energy out of the strike or strike at an unrealistic distance. When they take ukemi they are anticipatory or over reactive. Weak intention is a lack of sincerity. The cause is almost always fear. Fear keeps ones intention from being clear. One can be afraid for oneself or even afraid to hurt another, it doesn't matter. Unclear intention is insincere, lacking in the crucial quality of "Makoto". In the movie The Last Samurai this was nicely described when Tom Cruise's character was described as having "too many Minds".
What separates the training interaction from the true martial encounter is not a difference in the "strength of intention" but rather having a different "quality of intention". The Founder created techniques which allow the whole hearted practice of the art with strong, clear, "intention" without injury to the partner. Because of this change in the physical techniques of the art, we can train in the spirit of "shin ken shobu" or the "live blade encounter" in which each instant, ones life is on the line. Training with this attitude is training with "Makoto". If the character of the interaction were to be different, as in a true life and death encounter, the "quality of the intention" would change and the direction given the action of the body, i.e. the techniques would change accordingly and the result would most likely be the destruction of the opponent.

Ki Musubi
Ki musubi is the term which describes the joining of ones intention with that of his partner / opponent. Obviously an attacker must reach out with his intention to the defender. His mind must form the intention to attack before his body starts to move. In the martial interaction this intention must be very strong. It is essentially a flow of Yang energy proceeding outward from the attacker to the defender. Energy is a form of vibration. Ki Musubi involves reaching out with ones own attention and touching the opponent's center. This does not mean that you push back against his intention with your own but rather your intentions merge… his to your center and yours to his. A tuning fork will vibrate sympathetically if another vibrating fork is placed nearby. If one's Mind is relaxed and he extends his attention, he starts to feel the formation of the intention to attack rather than merely reacting to the visual cues that may be there as the attacker translates the intention to attack into movement with his body.
The ability to do this completely changes how one experiences temporal issues such as "timing" and "speed". In the paired interaction, ones Mind is already at the attacker's center before he initiates the attack. His body simply hasn't actualized what the Mind has already done. This is the key concept to be investigated. What do conventional concepts regarding timing and spacing (sen no sen, go no sen, sen sen no sen, etc.) mean when one starts to operate with the feeling of "already"? The reactive aspect of the interaction with the partner simply disappears and ones perception of time completely changes. Everything slows down and one feels as if there is plenty of time for whatever movement is required.
Ki musubi is essential in allowing the complete relaxation that can then result in the physical musubi at the time of physical contact. If one is in the reactive mode of trying to respond to external cues from the attacker, one is always just a bit behind, just a bit late. "irimi" or "entering" is almost impossible in this situation. The experience of being late, feeling as if there isn't enough time to complete the desired action creates tension in the Mind and Body which makes "aiki" impossible.

"Irimi" or Entering
Joining the Minds or joining the "intentions" is the aspect of "ki musubi" we just described. It is really essential to have ki musubi if one is to establish "physical musubi" at the instant of physical contact. The term which describes this concept is "ittai ka" or "single body". It refers to the establishment of a state in which it is impossible for the attacker to move separately from the defender. Yamaguchi Seigo Sensei maintained that no technique should take more effort than allowing the arms to drop their weight on top of the partner's structure. This is the essence of Ikkyo, the core technique of Aikido. Ikkyo is about running a spiral which disrupts the partner's alignment and allows you to rest your weight on his structure.
In order to accomplish this it is necessary to have several factors operating. Once again, we have to re-emphasize the need to complete relaxation. Physical tension prevents the establishment of "ittai ka" of which "Ikkyo" is the ultimate expression. On an emotional level this relaxation can only occur if one completely accepts the attack. If one tries to escape (due to fear) or to, in a sense, attack the attack (which also comes from fear) one cannot establish "ittai ka". The partner can then proceed to resist or counter the technique.
The placement of ones "attention" is vitally important here. Ones "attention" must be "inside the attack", not "outside the attack". Regardless of the type of attack, whether armed or unarmed, whether the attacker's weapon is his body, a 3 ˝ foot katana, or a 10 foot spear, one must place ones "attention" on the attacker's center, inside the reach of the weapon, inside the point of focus of the attack. The placement of ones "attention" in this manner is part of the "ki musubi" which we have described. Since the Mind precedes the movement of the Body, placing the "attention" inside the attack is essential to execute the primary factor in establishing the "physical musubi", namely "Irimi", or entering.
If one is to actualize the "Ikkyo" principle and establish "ittai ka" by physically resting ones weight on the partner's structure, one must absolutely be "inside" the attack. One cannot rest ones weight on the attacker if one is outside the attack (aside from the point that all of the attacker's power is on the outside of his attack). So at the very heart of establishing the physical connection or "musubi" of the interaction is the Principle of "Irimi".
Many Aikido practitioners believe that "irimi" means moving the body physically inside the opponent's ma-ai (this would be a way of describing moving the body inside the attack). But if the attacker's intention is strong, it is difficult if not impossible to accomplish this if one is reactive. What allows the "physical irimi" to take place is the "mental irimi" of placing ones "attention" inside the attacker's ma-ai on his center. There are various reasons why this is true that have to do with how the attacker's perception works but that is outside the scope of this discussion.
So what we now have is that "ki musubi" is required for effective "irimi". Now one might, as a practitioner, have the experience of being able to physically do an "irimi" without having an understanding of "ki musubi". I would maintain that this is the result of unskilled attacks rather than the utilization of the proper principles which govern "irimi".
So "ki musubi" precedes the physical irimi. Since that attacker has a strong "intention" to get to the defender's center, what prevents conflict when the defender performs his "irimi" to inside the attacker's ma-ai? The answer is another key component to aiki, "spiral rotation".
Many people when asked to describe Aikido would say that it as an art in which the defender "gets off the line of attack, leads the attacker's energy in an arc and then redirects it back into the attacker's balance point." I would say that this is an incorrect understanding of what is really going on in Aikido.
There is a picture in Mitsugi Saotome Sensei's book Aikido and the Harmony of Nature in which two opponent's face each other while on a log bridge over a chasm. I believe this much better describes the fundamental requirement of Aikido as a martial art, namely, that the defender must "own his own space". This is actually the essence of "irimi". In the picture mentioned above one can clearly see that any movement "off the line" by the defender would put him off the log and into the chasm. But we "know" that Aikido is about blending right? If the defender holds the line and owns his own space when the attacker enters with his attack, how can he avoid a clash? How can he "resolve the conflict" so to speak?

"Rotation" Resolves Conflict
The answer to the above question is "rotation" and "irimi". The Founder had a quite complex explanation of why the coming together of the defender and the attacker would naturally result in "spiral rotation". For a good exposition of why this is so, read William Gleason Sensei's book, The Spiritual Principles of Aikido.
"Rotation" inherently contains "irimi". If one has a spherical object and it is rotating on some axis (it doesn't matter what axis), at any particular instant in time half of the sphere is Yin and half is Yang. Half of that sphere is moving "axis towards you and half is moving away from you. So at the instant of physical contact between attacker and defender, if there is "rotation" on the part of the defender, the energy of the attack begins to be deflected away from the defender's center in the direction of the rotation. At the same time, half of the "rotation" is moving towards the attacker, this begins to create the "irimi".
However, "rotation" by itself doesn't resolve the conflict nor does it automatically result in "irimi". One more factor must be considered to understand how rotation removes the conflict and results in "irimi". The location of the "axis of rotation" is crucial to the act of "blending" with an attack.
Human beings are not symmetrical. One can, however, think of our bodies as roughly cylindrical (for practical purposes). So the above statements about rotation apply if we have rotation of the body. But we have two supports for our structure, the legs. What makes this important is that our legs are not on the line of attack. It is the shift of weight from one foot to the other which serves to move the "axis of rotation".
Most Aikido students of any experience at all realize that they should be using their hips to produce whatever power they wish to utilize (actually it is more complex than that but let's stick with that for the time being). They also realize that hip rotation is required for all entries whether omote or ura.
Where most Aikido students go wrong is that they do not understand that the "axis of rotation" in a technique is seldom ones center axis. Rotation on the center axis does not produce "irimi" and therefore will not result in a joining of the two energies of the attacker and defender. For example, try going a static exercise with a partner: stand with your legs evenly apart (not in hanmi) about shoulder width; your partner will do ryo kata dori (grabbing both shoulders). If one attempts to rotate the hips while having ones weight evenly placed on both feet, the result will be that one side of the body is attempting to pull the partner (the Yin side of the rotation) and the other side of the body is attempting to push the partner (the Yang side of the rotation).
I will make a statement here that the student of Aikido will have to verify for himself through his own training. THERE ARE NO PULLING OR PUSHING MOVEMENTS IN AIKIDO. All attempts at pulling or pushing result in conflict with the partner's strength and essentially empower him. This should be readily evident in this exercise if the partner doing the grabbing is at all centered. He should be able to easily defeat any attempts at rotation on the center axis. But if the defender shifts his weight to one foot or the other, that foot, leg, hip, shoulder structures becomes the "axis of rotation".
By making one side or the other the "axis of rotation" the defender has put one of the two points of contact (the shoulder grabs) on the axis. Now, without introducing any tension in the arms or shoulders at all, step back with the un-weighted foot until it is on the same side of the original "line of attack" (defined as the line which runs from the attacker's center to the defender's center). Now, the side of the body that carries the Yang energy (the side that rotates towards the partner) actually produces "irimi". In other words it can enter in around the attack to be "inside" the attack itself. With the "irimi" comes the possibility of the "draw" whereby the hip / shoulder that carries the Yin energy will draw the attacker into the movement thereby achieving the rotation of the hip and shoulder line which is the essence of the "Ikkyo curve".

"Suberu" or Sliding
So if there is no pulling or pushing in Aikido, what is happening when movement takes place? One might visualize it this way… Take the Yin / Yang symbol as representative, the line or curve where the White Yang and the Black Yin touch is always in balance. I call this the "seam". In Aikido all movement of the attacker must be along the "seam" or an imbalance results which instantly empowers the attacker. So, one can look at movement along the "seam" as a form of sliding the attacker along the "seam" rather than pulling or pushing. This is "suberu".
This is especially important to understand when investigating the locking techniques of Aikido. Many Aikido practitioners look at joint locks as a form of attack to one of the body's weak points. The attacker submits due to pain and to avoid injury. But this is a misunderstanding. It is quite possible to get strong enough to make it impossible to injure some of the joints. Many people have an extreme pain tolerance and techniques that depend on success do not work on them. Finally, even if one can succeed in injuring a joint or causing substantial pain, in a real martial confrontation a committed attacker may choose to sacrifice that joint in order to complete his attack with another weapon or part of his body. Joint locks must catch the whole body, not just attack a joint. So, one can look at proper joint locking as a method of sliding the attacker along the "seam". Pain and physical dysfunction may be a by product of the technique but it is not the basis on which the technique works.

The Ikkyo Curve
So the question now becomes, what is the "seam" in practical terms? Although much of what constitutes "aiki" has to do with what I would call the "energetics" of the interaction between the attacker and the defender, no technique can ignore the basic physics or geometry of the relationship. One of the reasons that "Ikkyo" represents the fundamental technique of Aikido is that embodies virtually all of the principles of the art.
In this case we have come to a discussion of the "ikkyo curve". Look at the line that runs between the partner's shoulders (two points always have a line in geometry). Now visualize a curve that would run through both of those points and would pass just behind the partner's head. That is the "ikkyo curve". Almost every technique in Aikido has to do with sliding the attacker's energy along that curve ("suberu"). One might use an extremity, as in the various wrist and arm locking techniques, or move the whole body itself along the curve as in various throwing techniques. But if one seriously investigates technique, one can usually find the "ikkyo curve".

Recapitulation
• As soon as the partner as an awareness of the partner forms one extends his "attention" out to his center to establish "ki musubi"; essentially, this is the "irimi" of the Mind. It places the "attention" inside the attack.
• As the defender meets the attack, and this requires a relaxed clarity or Makoto, he sets up the desired "axis of rotation" by moving appropriately according to the circumstance. At the instant of physical contact he is already rotating on this axis. This produces the physical "irimi" which simultaneously allows the sliding movement along the "seam" which is "suberu".
• The "rotation" must have an element of verticality to establish "ittai ka", or single body. The defender's weight must rest on the partner.
• Additionally, the direction of rotation will usually accomplish the "suberu" along the "Ikkyo curve". In this manner, the vertical alignment of the attacker is disturbed and the weight that rests on him makes it impossible for him to move separately from the defender, "ittai ka".
The Wave
The various parts of the body are responsible for creating movement on the different directions. Movement in the vertical dimension is created by the legs and by changes in the angle of extension in the arms. Movement in the horizontal dimension is created by relative movement of the feet and the movement of the hips. If you look at the movements that result from putting correct spiral movement of the vertical plane together with correct spiral movement of the horizontal plane you will see three dimensional spirals in the form of waves.
Saotome Sensei's Aikido and the Harmony of Nature offers copious examples of how the wave is one of the fundamental shapes in Nature. If one takes the "irimi" of proper rotation, combines it with the physical meeting of the two bodies (attacker and defender) which will result in "tai atari" or "full body contact" (tai atari is a physical expression of makoto), adds the element of "suberu" one can run the "ikkyo curve" which achieves "ittai ka".
Once this "physical musubi" is achieved one has achieved a unity between of the attacker and defender, or more correctly, one has allowed the essential unity to express itself. This becomes like the two sides of a scale in which any change on one side is instantly reflected by an equal change on the other side of the scale. So any movement or energy put out by the attacker is instantly reflected by the defender in his own body. This creates the path ways along which the energy of the movement will run. If the defender is relaxed in mind and body, he will be able to feel what is happening and allow the energy to manifest in the way that it naturally wants to as opposed to attempting to force the technique. This results in the ultimate expression of Aikido, "Take Musu Aiki" which means that the techniques of the martial interaction arise spontaneously from the state of aiki. In other words the techniques create themselves. Often the Founder would say that the techniques were not his but rather they were "given to him by the Kami". When understanding of this principle starts to develop, a sort of Aiki Koan is revealed.

If the defender is "blending" with the energy of the attacker, and the attacker is blending with the energy of the defender, who controls the interaction?

If one gets to the point in ones training in which this question starts to make some sense, then one is at the starting point for understanding how O-Sensei may have thought about what he did.

This is just a basic description of the aspects of Aiki that govern the successful performance of Aikido technique. The other ways that aiki expresses itself and the implications for the practitioner of training to understand these principles both in the Mind and in the Body is beyond the scope of this discussion. This exposition is meant to be of practical help in taking ones Aikido to another level. All good Aikido technique has these elements. Training is about developing an understanding of the various ways these elements can combine and the different qualities or aspects these elements can have. I believe that almost inevitably, this study leads one to want a deeper understanding of the Kototama which offers a description of these various aspects in the way that the Founder, himself understood them.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 01-23-2008, 12:17 PM   #80
dbotari
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Ledyard Sensei,

All I can say is WOW! That was a far more detailed and intricate response than I expected - Thank you very much for taking the time to outline and explain it all.

I will need to read your entry a couple of times to fully absorb all that you say. I also will be visiting your website to purchase your DVDs as well.

You are a great source of Aikido knowledge and experience. thank you for sharing it with a relative beginner like me.

Sincerely,
Dan.
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Old 01-23-2008, 01:36 PM   #81
senshincenter
 
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

For those that have not seen Don Angier's skill - might find this interesting:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvWiYcxTm2A

Truly, an incredible level of attainment.

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
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Old 01-23-2008, 04:26 PM   #82
Chris Parkerson
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Quote:
Actually, Angier Sensei was one of the people I credit with changing my perception of proper training. He would take a very simple movement, not a whole technique, but just the crucial element and do that slowly until you felt it in your body.
---Snip---
Anyway, it really struck me how he wouldn't go on to something more complex until you had the component piece correct.
I trained in this curriculum Ikkajo nd Te Kube Skuii for the first year. Nikajo and Osoto gari if you were lucky and consistent in attendance.

The curriculum is genius in that the initial principles taught were inherent in the chosen techniques. You could experience rudimentary success with these beginning techniques using just the "baseline on the building blocks" principles.

I had come to Clodig study sword. I did not pick up even a Bokken for the first two years. In fact, I did not receive a forward throw for the first 3 years. I did not study a technique that required me to throw forward for the first 3 years. In the first few weeks I wondered how a man who had studied other arts for 35 years could find this kind of patience. Then I began to see what I had missed for those long previous years in other arts.

With the completion of each list, you would review all former lists and revisit all techniques with the newly acquired principles. Overall he has about 80 specific principles.

This approach shook my world. What I thought was slow and turgid actually was ( in the course of 3 years) quite sophisticated. In the course of 7 years, it is phenomenal.

Surely this is a road for the patient. Certainly not for the confines of Law Enforcement. But it is what they really need.
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Old 01-23-2008, 11:03 PM   #83
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

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David Valadez wrote: View Post
For those that have not seen Don Angier's skill - might find this interesting:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvWiYcxTm2A

Truly, an incredible level of attainment.
Don't care what Don Angier call his art, that was very good display of aiki skills. I am familiar with a lot of his techniques, coz I recall that is also how we do the techniques (the empty hand part, especially the hugs from behind, grab my wrist stuff).

Boon.

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Old 01-23-2008, 11:21 PM   #84
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Sorry guys if I come in late, just to answer the OP question....

" Is aikido effective for police ?"

Absolutely! On-duty officer are licensed to carry deadly weapon (firearm) and they are legally allowed to use deadly force when circumstances dictate. So if they are face with deadly hostile target, they already have the tools to respond appropriately.

However, in Aikido's technical repertoire, it contain an extensive catalogue of restraint / compliance techniques for low level engagement. I believe in a police work, many a times, you want to control a suspect but do not want to damage him (to prevent accusation of police brutality) and aikido techniques present opportunity to do just that.

So, yeah, aikido is effective for police from that stand point.

Boon.

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Old 01-24-2008, 12:42 AM   #85
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Something we were talking about tonight - sort of relative here...

In law enforcement training, there is a lot of talk about the "lowest common denominator." The other, more common, understanding for this is "Idiot" or "Lazy-ass-guy-that-never-trains." I'm sorry, but for me, in the training I do, I'm not interested in addressing the lowest common denominator. I already know the lowest common denominator cannot do what we are doing. However, this is not because the moves we are doing are too difficult or too complex. This is because those folks do not train. Training, by definition is about making the unnatural natural and the complex simple. That's a given when it comes to anything worth training in or worth learning. I don't want to know or do moves that are natural or simple for the idiot. Thus, I do not ever think that law enforcement officers should dismiss a move because they cannot readily do it. Moreover, simply because a move is difficult for the "Lazy-ass-guy-that-never-trains," well, this doesn't mean that moves that are idiot-friendly are all of a sudden tactically viable. It just means he/she, and he/she alone, because he/she doesn't train, is going to get his/her ass handed too him/her when the crap hits the fan, regardless of whatever they do.

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Old 01-24-2008, 06:09 AM   #86
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

there are always a few serious officers in every department who go above and beyond the basic curriculum. Cudos to them. I bet it also shows in their ability to have some level of compassion and restraint.

From 1987 to 1991 i was used to teach at the police academy in San Diego County(Texas), the tri- county narcotics task force in S Texas, Nueves County Constables and National Park Service Rangers from Padre Island. The Rangers also sent me to teach their regional response team at FLETC in Artesia.

Of the many and various officers and agents I taught, about 3/4 put great effort into the seminar. I doubt less than 5% followed up with regular dojo training. Due to cencerns about injury, much of the training could not by as dynamic as I had wanted it to be.
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Old 01-24-2008, 08:28 AM   #87
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

kudos to you Chris for keeping it real and dynamic... some after reaching master level believe they have nothing more to learn.... but you have a great mind set

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Old 01-24-2008, 09:08 AM   #88
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

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Xu Wenfung wrote: View Post
Don't care what Don Angier call his art, that was very good display of aiki skills. I am familiar with a lot of his techniques, coz I recall that is also how we do the techniques (the empty hand part, especially the hugs from behind, grab my wrist stuff).

Boon.
Keep in mind that's some really old footage. He's changed some over the years.

I think the hardest thing for people coming at Don's stuff from an Aikido background is that in order to really start to approach what he's doing, they have to realize that it IS different from what they were taught, no matter how similar it looks. Being able to accept that and let go of what they think they know is very difficult. Too often you hear, "Yeah, we do that too..." No, no you don't. (I don't mean that as a dig at you Boon, just a general comment.)

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Old 01-24-2008, 10:06 AM   #89
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

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Keep in mind that's some really old footage. He's changed some over the years.

I think the hardest thing for people coming at Don's stuff from an Aikido background is that in order to really start to approach what he's doing, they have to realize that it IS different from what they were taught, no matter how similar it looks. Being able to accept that and let go of what they think they know is very difficult. Too often you hear, "Yeah, we do that too..." No, no you don't. (I don't mean that as a dig at you Boon, just a general comment.)
When we were at the first Aiki Expo I happened upon an old Aikido friend walking down the hallway. He said that he had just walked out of Angier Sensei's class because it was all BS and he couldn't take it any more.

I literally told him to get his a** back to the class, get up to the front row and not even think about leaving until he had personally put his hands on Don. Than if he still thought it was fake, well ok.

I met him in the hallway again two hours later and he thanked me profusely for saving him from making a fool of himself.

Yes, what Angier Sensei does is different from what Aikido people are doing. Absolutely. The question really is, should it be? In terms of outer form, size of movement etc there are reasons that Aikido is the way it is. But what the body is doing shouldn't really be different. When you look at a teacher like Yamaguchi Sensei and you see the level of relaxation he had at all times, the complete lack of forcing anything, I think you are seeing on an internal level the same thing you see with Angier Sensei (and Toby Threadgill, and Kuroda Sensei, and Howard Popkin, etc)

There is a line of teachers in Aikido who seem to have been interested in this. Saotome Sensei, Endo Sensei, Takeda Sensei are all from the Yamaguchi line and all have developed this relaxed, seemingly soft style.This is the only Aikido that I have seen that has much in common with what Don Angier does. The biggest difference is that Don's teaching methodology is superior.

As mentioned before, with the Yanagi Ryu, you start with exercises that are designed to imprint proper body mechanics. You can work for months on the smallest movement until you get it right. You don't go to the next step until you have completed the previous. It may take quite some time until you get to anything that even looks like a technique but when you do, your body knows exactly what it should be doing.

All Aikido people start by doing their techniques in a way that simply will not work. Then there is some expectation that after many many repetitions, it will change to something that will work. That is one of the popular definitions of insanity... doing the same thing over and over with the expectation that the result will at some point be different. To the extent that I started to figure any of this out, I had to stop doing what I had been doing and start doing things differently. The input I needed to do this came from the folks I trained with at the Expos, not my Aikido teachers. I redid my Aikido 100% after the first Expo and the process is continuing.

I can only wonder, how good could I have been if we had had a systematic teaching method which imprinted a proper understanding of aiki principle and body mechanics when I first started 32 years ago?

George S. Ledyard
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Old 01-24-2008, 12:39 PM   #90
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Sensei L.

Re your last sentence--You and me both. I brought 5 training partners to the classes in Fallbrook. All were yodansha with 20 to 40 years in the arts.. Some bore titles like Great Grand Master, Guro and Sifu. We all started with a long intro to Ikkajo beginning with what each joint is doing in our posture. We are all still there.
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Old 01-24-2008, 09:01 PM   #91
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

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Christian Moses wrote: View Post
Keep in mind that's some really old footage. He's changed some over the years.

I think the hardest thing for people coming at Don's stuff from an Aikido background is that in order to really start to approach what he's doing, they have to realize that it IS different from what they were taught, no matter how similar it looks. Being able to accept that and let go of what they think they know is very difficult. Too often you hear, "Yeah, we do that too..." No, no you don't. (I don't mean that as a dig at you Boon, just a general comment.)
Chris-M,

No problem, I do realize that aiki type of arts are feeling art. You have to be there, to feel it to know. It may look similar but may not be the same.

Boon

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Old 01-25-2008, 07:39 AM   #92
Daniel Blanco
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Yes, Aikido is very affective for Police and i speak from actual arrest background experience as an NYPD Anti Crime Officer, of 15 Yrs. Aikido when applied direct firm grips on locks focusing on basics will work, and you will depend on Aikido when you have no nightstick,just open hands,you will learn how to off balance and lock/throw correctly.Aikido has and still does help me escape with little or no injuries when in conflict with criminals.Credit goes to my Sensei for always focusing on proper basics,the fancy stuff is for show.
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Old 01-27-2008, 02:41 AM   #93
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

David

I couldn't agree more with you that we should train principles, and that techniques are not the art, but only a method with which to train ourselves. This is not only true for self defense in the real world, but also for everything else the martial arts offer us as well. I find it interesting that this thread has gone from discussing self defense to now talking about training principles. I think these two subjects are inseperable.

My experience has been that aikido is not the only martial art in which training methods don't duplicate reality. No martial art does. And that includes Judo and BJJ, which I have both trained in. In any martial art you have to take your training methods and play around with them to get the results you want for whatever reality you might have to deal with in your life. In your and my case it's law enforcement, so we take what we learn from our martial arts training and play around with it in contexts that we deal with in our jobs, and learn from training and experience what works for us and what doesn't.

Anyway, if we limit ourselves to training techniques along the lines of, "If my opponent does A, I will respond with B." we will probably not get too far. This is what I think of as falling into the trap of technique. The problem is, how do we learn martial arts without learning technique. The only teacher I have experienced who actually started people from the beginning with methods to produce principles of movement and connectivity without teaching martial arts techniques is Akuzawa Sensei of Aunkai, and everyone at the seminar had a background of other martial arts. When I was a relatively new martial arts student, I wanted to learn technique, I didn't understand anything else, and would have quit if I wasn't taught something I could understand at that time. So I think in general, for most people wanting to learn martial arts, we probably have to start them off for some time with technique. Hah, I couldn't imagine trying to teach any kind of internal stuff or principles to the cops I work with, they would think I am getting even crazier than they think me already. So for them, our DT training has to stay at, "if your opponent does A, respond with B."

But of course, after I did aikido (and other martial arts) for a long time, doing the techniques over and over again, I realized that I was not getting what my aikido teachers had, the ability to throw larger stronger people fairly effortlessly. So like some other people that post here, that sent me in the direction of trying to understand the internal principles of what they were doing. And going in that direction is improving my ability to successfully apply stuff in real life, though I am not in a position where I have to use stuff much anymore, being a supervisor and not very popular with my current administration. But I have come to the same opinion that you have, shiho nage or irimi nage is not what aikido is, rather it is a set of principles and a practice. I really like what you wrote about training, I think it's totally correct.

So for police work, for me, being able to put sankyo on a belligerent drunk and get him to comply without using any force that is going to injure him has been very useful in my job, but just the enjoyment of the practise and the challenge of trying to apply the principles in my daily interactions have been what is really beneficial to me in my job.
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Old 01-27-2008, 09:34 PM   #94
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

for several years I have been studying ways to shorten the learning curve from the traditional Asian methods that take a good 5-10 years to achieve continuity and technical flow. My focus lately, however, has not beenlaw enforcement.

Back in my law enforcement trainer days, I saw some successes in Police training with Jukido (Houston Police Department) and some Tomiki trainers that used flow patterns with 5-6 techniques as points of reference. The flow pattern looks allot like Tai Chi push hands practice from an escort position.

Is anyone experimenting with this kind of thing in law enforcement training curiculums currently?
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Old 01-29-2008, 01:08 PM   #95
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

David

For the past week I have found myself coming back again and again to your post in this thread about police officers who don't train. Having read many of your other posts on AikiWeb, I am surprised and disappointed by that one.

You call those officers "idiots" and "lazy-ass guys," apparently because they do not share your priorities. I understand your frustration, and I understand why instructors can fall into the trap of thinking that the subject they teach is all-important. But I hope you realize that that lazy-ass-guy-that-never-trains may spend every day off crawling around in his garage re-building an old Chevy, or working several off-duty jobs, or doing a myriad of things that a lazy person couldn't do.

The district attorney can't understand why that officer doesn't spend more time studying the criminal code, or studying grammar to improve his reports and statements. The immigration lawyer can't understand why that officer doesn't spend her free time learning to speak Spanish. The commander in internal affairs wishes that the officer spent more time studying the department's procedure manual. The commander at the pistol range doesn't understand why officers don't spend their off-duty time polishing their shooting skills. The commander of the fugitive unit thinks that officers should spend their spare time studying mug shots and wanted posters. At the same time, the officer is attending college to improve his or her opportunities for advancement.

Meanwhile, the police academy is a battleground for groups and individuals competing for time in the curriculum to convince recruits that this or that subject is more important than any other. A look at in-service courses reveals an incredible variety of subjects that are important for police officers to know.

If you look at stories about officers hailed as heroes, you'll find that they rushed into a burning building to save someone, or solved a horrendous crime through smart investigation, or helped a teenager improve his grades. You won't find many officers hailed for their arrest and control skills.

Sure, there are lazy cops, and, of course, arrest and control skills are vitally important. But I suspect that the officers who train regularly with you do so because they enjoy the training, not because they fear getting hurt in an altercation. In other words, your frustration is not with idiocy or laziness, it's with lack of motivation. Who must motivate officers to train? It's the chief of police, that's who. The same chief who, as a young patrol officer, might have agreed with you. The same chief who now, after spending all day listening to demands from the public and city council and the mayor and the union, has not heard any of them demand more time for defensive tactics training. Yes, the chief hears complaints of excessive force, but those complaints are not about lack of skill; every day arrests are made by unskilled officers, without excessive force.

Your frustration is borne by defensive tactics trainers everywhere, many of whom do not share your ability to train only the motivated. You should make your arguments to whomever will listen. Whenever there's a local issue about excessive force or an officer injured during an arrest, you should make a case for an increase in mandatory arrest and control training, showing how the excessive force or injury -- and the resultant lawsuit or sick time -- could have been avoided by a skilled officer. Do you feel frustrated now? Wait until you've gone hoarse trying to get anyone to listen to that! Of course, your current motivated students will agree with you, but you'll be amazed at how their perspective changes as they rise through the ranks.

I admire you for what you're doing for officers who want to train. But I wish you wouldn't vent your frustration with disparaging remarks about officers who are motivated to improve their lives and careers in other ways.

Dan

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Old 01-29-2008, 05:51 PM   #96
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Not a police officer, but a career infantry officer in the army.

I personally had no issue with David's post looking at it again. The bell curve applies throughout all of society. you have a low side, a high mid point, and a another low side. On either end you have one, people that need to reconsider why they chose this profession. They endanger themselves, there fellow soldiers, and those they are suppose to protect.

On the high end, you have the best of the best. Those are the soldiers that have accepted what they do as a way of life, and strive to be the best they can be at whatever they do, and seek to capture a well rounded career that prepares them to do their ultimate jobs.

I the middle, you have the majority. They will take some iniative. Usually enough to get the job done. You have to hold them accountable, and stay on top of them. Not bad guys, but certainly not the guys you want to put on your "A" team.

You have to train to the mid point, unfortunately because that is where 80% of your troops lay and you have to do that.

However, I don't understand why someone would choose this profession and NOT do the basic things to a high degree of excellence?

certainly I am not at my best on a daily basis, but I try when I can!

However, I am also not "up" in a combat unit either. Or a cop on the street. If I where back there, and when I was there....I focused all my attention on doing whatever I could to be the best that I could! It was hard for me to understand those that did not!

I am with David...either you bring your "A" game, or don't bother coming. I tried to instill this in my unit when I was a combat leader, and it was my responsibility.

If I was a choosing a surgeon, I want to get the best (I can afford).

If I am facing the death penality I want the best lawyer. I expect him to be effective at his job.

Some jobs we may not care so much as long as the job is done satisfactory.

However, when your life is on the line. I am sorry, there is no room to accept mediocrity.

That is great if you choose to work on a Chevy in your spare time. I too used to love cars and spent much time doing that. Musashi also talks about balance being important. It is key to have that as well...you can't be "Major Payne". It is not healthy.

I don't think David was passing judgement on anyone...simply making a statement about excellence, and the unaccepatbility of mediocrity in professions where you are responsible for people's lives.

Anyway, enough about that!

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Old 01-29-2008, 06:38 PM   #97
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Dave,

Written words are so limited and so easily taken out of context.
I do not judge those who do not train every day as much as I am challenging myself and others who desire to be better trainers.

Kevin states the objective reality. Most professionals are challenged with many requirements and too little time. Few except the pure enthusiasts will leave family in the evenings for the dojo on a regular basis.

What I suggest is that there are ways (some discovered and some yet undiscovered) that can shorten the learning curve and still improve technique and flow rather than just improving strength, speed and endurance.

For instance, at the ASLET 2002 convention, San Bernadino SO worked out a lecture on "seamless training", the idea of which integrated all elements of an encounter and taught to the gestalt.

They early-on evaluated their body of techniques, determined which ones were fine motor skill and which were gross motor skill. They determined which were similar in form and application in order to avoid clustered training. They determined which ones best interacted with their other tactical options to avoid fragmented training. They originally had from the 1990's evolved to 36 basic techniques. After the process, they had 7. The seven techniques could be used from standing (advantage or disadvantage) or ground (top or bottom).

They also included an "instinctive" strategy call the "in basket" theory. It's thesis is that, under pressure of stress, confusion, and hyper-stimulation, the brain will seek out the "first", not necessarily the "best", solution to the problem. They hoped to blend the "in- basket" to their ideal goal of an outcome by attaching emotional connection to the seven techniques.

These ideas are good ones, yet they still need proving through time. But each of us can continue to grow ideas and test them so that the average cop can have a home life and still produce excellent defensive skills when needed.
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Old 01-30-2008, 08:37 PM   #98
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Hi Dan,

I'm sorry it has taken me this long to reply to your post. Please forgive.

In the time that has passed, I've been thinking about what you have written. My first impulse was just to correct the misunderstanding - which I will do now...

I wasn't referring to a particular person (i.e. a guy who is fixing his house instead of training) when I was using the phrases, "idiot" or "lazy-ass-guys," etc. Or, if I was, I was not referring to those folks that do not train. These phrases were being critical of folks, especially folks in law enforcement, that want the short-cut, the quick-fix, etc., to becoming skilled at Arrest and Control and/or Defensive Tactics.

Again, I was referring to folks that train but that train under the delusion that less is more, easy is good, and quickly is better. My experience lends itself not just to the fact that there are cops that don't train, but, rather that the more dangerous aspect of this all is that cops that do train are ignorant to the fact that less is not more, that no real skill comes easy, and that anything that is obtained quickly is more than likely not worth having.

That said, and reading Kevin's post, the other thing I wanted to say is that I do believe what he (Kevin) was saying. For me, in this day, of post-Columbine active shooter policies, assault rifles, gang-warfare, bipolar disorder, and methamphetamine, the average cop can no longer afford to be an average cop. Too much is at stake to operate at the level of mediocrity, whether it is by choice or forced upon us because the house has to be repaired, the kids need to be picked up from school, and the spouse needs some quality time, etc. In my experience, we can always do more than we are doing. When you combine that with "we should be doing more than we are doing," a level of self-responsibility comes into play when we are less than the profession requires of us.

Either way, I'm sorry if I offended you.

d

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Old 01-31-2008, 01:29 AM   #99
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

Did I forget terrorism. That should have been in there too in that list I made.

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Old 01-31-2008, 11:21 AM   #100
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Re: Is Aikido effective for police?

David

Thank you for your response. I wasn’t personally offended by your earlier post. I think that the tone of that post seemed so different from your usual ones that I was startled by it.

I agree with you about officers who believe in the easy fix. The most blame is on police administrators, who buy that line and adopt such strategies for their departments. The administrators believe what they want to believe, and they provide their officers with an excuse to do the same.

The PR-24 side-handle baton was first marketed as a baton that could not be swung against a suspect’s head, and police administrators everywhere cried, “Sign me up!” They and Rodney King were shocked to learn the truth.

There are still defensive tactics systems that claim to teach effective techniques using only the officer’s natural instinctive movements. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Almost no training necessary. You’d be out of business!

You’re right, these are delusions.

And I agree with you and Kevin about the importance of high-level training, but the fact is that when lists are made of A+ police officers, arrest and control skills are not given much importance. This is true whether the lists are made by the public or by police administrators or by other officers.

Keep up the good work. You and Chris and George Ledyard and others (when I was an officer, I was a long-time student of Bob Koga) are trying to improve the world of arrest and control skills, and few endeavors can be more frustrating. I salute you all for that.

Dan
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What makes Aikido aikido (to you)? tarik General 71 10-02-2007 08:50 AM
MMA as catalyst for change in Aikido? Dewey General 150 04-20-2007 10:12 PM
For Ted Ehara - Boundary of your aikido? billybob General 123 12-18-2006 04:52 AM


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