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Old 07-28-2008, 10:37 AM   #1
Stephen Kotev
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Lyoto Machida and Aiki*

I was watching the Lyoto Machida vs. Tito Ortiz rebroadcast on Saturday night and I was amazed by the ability of Machida to avoid strikes and immediately attack openings in Ortiz. Many of Machida's movements were very Aiki* to me (* I mean this in the evasion, blending, avoiding sense not in the integrated internal skill sense) Machida was just never there and Ortiz could never really hit him. Machida had wonderful zanshin -- he maintained his focus and his connection to Ortiz and was thus always very aware of the potential for attack and was able to counter strike or evade.

O-Sensei died before I was born and there is no recorded images, to my knowledge, of him responding to ‘challenges' so I am unsure what he would look like outside of a demonstration format.

I wonder if Ueshiba Morihei would look at all like Lyoto Machida?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_0SiiUpyXQ (this is not the best example but the UFC pulled all the clips of the Machida -- Ortiz fight.)

Caveat: The purpose of this post is further the discussion of modern day examples of Aiki* it is not intended to rehash old conversations about MMA vs. Aikido, or Aikido is not about fighting. O-Sensei was challenged to defend himself and was held in high regard for his martial skill.

Regards,
Stephen Kotev
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Old 07-28-2008, 11:16 AM   #2
salim
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Re: Lyoto Machida and Aiki*

Awesome display of Aiki. In a street self defense situation, Aikido would be applied similar to those elusive techniques to avoid being hit. Then either counter punch and then go for a choke or arm bar of sorts. Ultimately convincing the defender to leave you alone or completely surrender with some sort of lock.
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Old 07-28-2008, 11:59 AM   #3
jss
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Re: Lyoto Machida and Aiki*

Indeed, Lyoto Machida has got quite some skill.

But although these MMA fights are probably as close to a honest and safe challenge match as one can get, I can't help but wonder how far it still is removed from a challenge such as Ueshiba would have fought:
1) no gloves (more of an issue with actual boxing gloves, though)
2) no ring (more zanshin needed to say the least)
3) anything goes
4) no referee to stop the fight
5) real chance of debilitating injury
to name just a few.

OTOH, I can also imagine that there were two kinds of challenge matches in the old days: the somewhat friendly/polite ones and the really brutal violent ones, with the latter being a lot less common and the former being not *that* dangerous. Is there any research on this?

Last edited by jss : 07-28-2008 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 07-28-2008, 01:25 PM   #4
Stephen Kotev
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Re: Lyoto Machida and Aiki*

Quote:
Joep Schuurkes wrote: View Post
Indeed, Lyoto Machida has got quite some skill.

But although these MMA fights are probably as close to a honest and safe challenge match as one can get, I can't help but wonder how far it still is removed from a challenge such as Ueshiba would have fought:
1) no gloves (more of an issue with actual boxing gloves, though)
2) no ring (more zanshin needed to say the least)
3) anything goes
4) no referee to stop the fight
5) real chance of debilitating injury
to name just a few.

OTOH, I can also imagine that there were two kinds of challenge matches in the old days: the somewhat friendly/polite ones and the really brutal violent ones, with the latter being a lot less common and the former being not *that* dangerous. Is there any research on this?
Joep,

Thanks for your reply. I guess I should have added another caveat; I did not want to steer the conversation to a deadly vs. sport/rules arguement - I am more interested in exploring current examples of Aiki*. I think that if Machida were in similar circumstances he would move and evade similarly. Yes, rules change tactics but that is a topic for another thread.

I really don't know much about what the 'challenges' were that O-Sensei encountered but they had to be severe enough to garner the respect he carries to this day.

Regards,
Stephen
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Old 07-28-2008, 01:50 PM   #5
Michael Hackett
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Re: Lyoto Machida and Aiki*

Remember that Machida is a highly skilled BJJ practitioner and through his jujitsu training is very, very familiar with aiki principles. I've heard a number of those guys who have trained in both aikido and BJJ say that BJJ is "aikido on the ground". That was the first time I've seen Machida in the ring (OK, octogon) and I was most impressed with his maai. Superb athlete!

Michael
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Old 07-28-2008, 02:25 PM   #6
jss
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Re: Lyoto Machida and Aiki*

Quote:
Stephen Kotev wrote: View Post
I guess I should have added another caveat; I did not want to steer the conversation to a deadly vs. sport/rules arguement - I am more interested in exploring current examples of Aiki*.
Well, I brought it up to discuss the viability of such an Aiki* approach in different sets of circumstances. Because there is a difference between facing an unknown challenger and facing someone whose fights you have seen and analyzed under a pre-defined set of rules: Aiki* is a lot easier when you know (to a reasonable degree) what to expect.
Problem is I don't have any actual fighting experience (sport or street fight, for that matter), so besides asking the question, I have very little of value to add. And besides that, it is your thread, so if you want to discuss the application of Aiki* and leave the choice for/against this tactic out of the discussion, that's fine by me.
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Old 07-28-2008, 02:40 PM   #7
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Re: Lyoto Machida and Aiki*

Quote:
Michael Hackett wrote: View Post
Remember that Machida is a highly skilled BJJ practitioner and through his jujitsu training is very, very familiar with aiki principles.
Hello Michel,

I dont think that he is considered highly skilled in BJJ. Ok, he is a black belt, but so is Wanderlei Silva. Nogueira (Minotauro) is skilled in BJJ...

He is a highly skilled karateka. He represents Shotokan Karate. His father and brothers are also well known karatekas in Brazil.

Regards,
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Old 07-28-2008, 02:49 PM   #8
Stephen Kotev
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Re: Lyoto Machida and Aiki*

Quote:
Joep Schuurkes wrote: View Post
Well, I brought it up to discuss the viability of such an Aiki* approach in different sets of circumstances. Because there is a difference between facing an unknown challenger and facing someone whose fights you have seen and analyzed under a pre-defined set of rules: Aiki* is a lot easier when you know (to a reasonable degree) what to expect.
Problem is I don't have any actual fighting experience (sport or street fight, for that matter), so besides asking the question, I have very little of value to add. And besides that, it is your thread, so if you want to discuss the application of Aiki* and leave the choice for/against this tactic out of the discussion, that's fine by me.
Joep,

I follow you better now. True, knowing your opponent ahead of time makes a huge difference just as knowing that you will be fighting someone would be a huge benefit. The reason I mention Machida is that his 'style' of fighting is very unique. He does not stand and trade shots he constantly evades and blends. I think that this is a constant that would be relevant regardless (hopefully just as Aiki* is). So that is what I felt was worth discussing. If you look at his other fights he fights this way all of the time. Most folks just can't hit him and he can and does strike back. He put Ortiz down with a beautiful knee to the liver.

Machida is also one of the few MMA fighters to still train in 'traditional' MA. His father trains him in Shotokan Karate. He attributes his elusive style to his Karate training http://www.ufc.com/index.cfm?fa=news...=11776&pid=519 so this makes him a very interesting fighter to follow. I feel his behavior and outlook is very much influenced by budo.

Best,
Stephen
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Old 07-28-2008, 02:54 PM   #9
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Re: Lyoto Machida and Aiki*

Not just Shotokan, but apparently a family tradition of Shotokan. he is listed as a black belt in Machida Karate.

I remember an interview (I think in the prefight ads for that event) where he says his father told him he is samurai and that he has no choice but to fight.

He is a great example on how karate can be properly trained (and combined with ground work/takedown defenses) to work in MMA.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 07-28-2008, 02:58 PM   #10
Stephen Kotev
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Re: Lyoto Machida and Aiki*

Quote:
Don Magee wrote: View Post
Not just Shotokan, but apparently a family tradition of Shotokan. he is listed as a black belt in Machida Karate.

I remember an interview (I think in the prefight ads for that event) where he says his father told him he is samurai and that he has no choice but to fight.

He is a great example on how karate can be properly trained (and combined with ground work/takedown defenses) to work in MMA.
Hey Don,

Not to side track the thread but I thought this was an interesting quote from Machida:

"The main adjustment for me was adapting competition karate to fighting karate," he said. "There is a big difference. In competition you control the move, you don't use knees, and I competed for a long time. When I first got into MMA it was difficult at first because I wanted to control each move unconsciously."

Best,
Stephen
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Old 07-28-2008, 03:06 PM   #11
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Re: Lyoto Machida and Aiki*

Quote:
Stephen Kotev wrote: View Post
Hey Don,

Not to side track the thread but I thought this was an interesting quote from Machida:

"The main adjustment for me was adapting competition karate to fighting karate," he said. "There is a big difference. In competition you control the move, you don't use knees, and I competed for a long time. When I first got into MMA it was difficult at first because I wanted to control each move unconsciously."
That is interesting. He apparently adjusted quite well though.
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Old 07-28-2008, 03:14 PM   #12
Michael Hackett
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Re: Lyoto Machida and Aiki*

Bruno,

I guess we have a different point of reference. From my view, a black belt in BJJ is highly skilled and I guess they are a dime a dozen in Brazil. I've only rolled with one BJJ black belt, a new one at that, and I was really impressed with his skill, control, finesse, and lightness. Heck, blue belts submit me at will too.

Machida sure packed a whallop, didn't he?

Michael
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Old 07-28-2008, 03:50 PM   #13
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Lyoto Machida and Aiki*

Quote:
Don Magee wrote: View Post
I remember an interview (I think in the prefight ads for that event) where he says his father told him he is samurai and that he has no choice but to fight.
.
Which might be a difference between the Budoka and a Samurai. Thoughts?

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 07-28-2008 at 03:56 PM.

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Old 07-28-2008, 03:59 PM   #14
lifeafter2am
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Re: Lyoto Machida and Aiki*

I was seriously impressed with that knee shot to the liver, Tito just collapsed! (How I loathe Tito ... lol)

He is definitely a skilled fighter, but if you noticed there were more than a few times when the crowd was getting a little antsy, and starting to boo. Even though I was impressed with his style, the question is, is his style what the UFC wants because he doesn't brawl all out like the people are used to. I sure hope to see him fight again though.

"The mind is everything. What you think you become." - Siddhattha Gotama Buddha
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Old 07-28-2008, 04:53 PM   #15
Aikibu
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Re: Lyoto Machida and Aiki*

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
Which might be a difference between the Budoka and a Samurai. Thoughts?
In short...

Samurai=Loyalty to a Master

Budoka=Loyalty to Budo

William Hazen
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Old 07-28-2008, 07:20 PM   #16
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Lyoto Machida and Aiki*

Quote:
William Hazen wrote: View Post
In short...

Samurai=Loyalty to a Master

Budoka=Loyalty to Budo

William Hazen
Thanks William,
Those are similar to my thoughts. I framed the difference for myself as:

A Samurai serves man first.
A Budoka serves nature first.

I appreciate your definitions and they are good food for thought.

Best

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 07-29-2008, 06:40 AM   #17
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Re: Lyoto Machida and Aiki*

Michael,

I understand your point of view, and I think you are right. I was comparing his ground fighting with BJ Penn, Minotauro, Murilo Bustamante...
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Old 07-29-2008, 08:24 AM   #18
Stephen Kotev
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Re: Lyoto Machida and Aiki*

I guess we got off topic... and relocated.

My intent was to discuss modern examples of Aiki* and correlate them to O-Sensei and his challenges. Typically, in 'effectiveness' arguments folks say Aikido is effective but we have little video record of Aikido 'in action' that is not a demo or dojo home videos. Normally, we understand that we may not pull off a 'text book' technique but we would apply the principles of Aikido to our current circumstances. I thought Machida was an excellent example of Aiki* in action. And if I wanted to be controversial, I may even say that Machida and Ueshiba Morihei Sensei would have moved similarly....

Regards,
Stephen
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Old 07-29-2008, 08:33 AM   #19
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Lyoto Machida and Aiki*

Hey Stephen,
I liked that fight, and his style as well. As to anything else, I guess it's just a guess...

I do think that was a text book example of the appropriate control of ma ai, and a great example of an unfettered mind as well. I especially noticed that even though the crowd started booing, Machida did NOT seem to change his tactics...he just kept on winning

It must have been VERY frustrating for Tito...I can't imagine someone with his physical prowess facing someone who fights like shifting smoke...always in your eyes, yet you can't hit him, can't take him down. I'd love to see some training vids from Machida.

As to Aiki...well, the way I tend to look at that term now days, I don't know that it applies. One thing to note, from what I understand of Ueshiba's "tests", a lot of them seemed to have been based on pushing and pulling, not so much striking or evasions. Although there is at least one story of him facing a sword / kendo adept...I'm sure evasions came in handy there. I think a description of that event is on aikido journal.

Best,
Ron

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Old 07-29-2008, 10:58 AM   #20
Stephen Kotev
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Re: Lyoto Machida and Aiki*

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Hey Stephen,
I liked that fight, and his style as well. As to anything else, I guess it's just a guess...

I do think that was a text book example of the appropriate control of ma ai, and a great example of an unfettered mind as well. I especially noticed that even though the crowd started booing, Machida did NOT seem to change his tactics...he just kept on winning

It must have been VERY frustrating for Tito...I can't imagine someone with his physical prowess facing someone who fights like shifting smoke...always in your eyes, yet you can't hit him, can't take him down. I'd love to see some training vids from Machida.

As to Aiki...well, the way I tend to look at that term now days, I don't know that it applies. One thing to note, from what I understand of Ueshiba's "tests", a lot of them seemed to have been based on pushing and pulling, not so much striking or evasions. Although there is at least one story of him facing a sword / kendo adept...I'm sure evasions came in handy there. I think a description of that event is on aikido journal.

Best,
Ron
Hey Ron,

For all my years of training I have never heard any specific details about O-sensei's 'challenges' - the descriptions normally leave a lot to the imagination. It would be great to get some specific accounts of what actually happened. If you are correct and a majority of the 'tests' were about pushing and pulling then we could attribute his success to his internal skills.

I am more interested in the accounts that describe his responses to accomplished challengers.

I really think that Machida has a lot to offer. His use of ma ai, zanshin, feints ( as atemi) and a whole host of other skills are wonderful illustrations of Aiki* in an alive and resistive setting.

Best,
Stephen
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Old 07-29-2008, 02:57 PM   #21
Lyle Bogin
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Re: Lyoto Machida and Aiki*

Boring fight, mostly. But nice timing. Would say say he great "kokyu" more than "aiki".
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:13 PM   #22
Stephen Kotev
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Re: Lyoto Machida and Aiki*

Quote:
Lyle Bogin wrote: View Post
Boring fight, mostly. But nice timing. Would say say he great "kokyu" more than "aiki".
Care to elaborate?
I have defined "Aiki*" in this thread as: evasion, blending, avoiding. If I use the aikiweb wiki definition (http://www.aikiweb.com/wiki/Kokyu) I don't follow you.
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:20 PM   #23
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Re: Lyoto Machida and Aiki*

Quote:
Lyle Bogin wrote: View Post
Boring fight, mostly. But nice timing. Would say say he great "kokyu" more than "aiki".
A good fight should be boring, until it is finished. At least in the japaneese mindset of fighting. One strike, one kill. So 90% of the time is waiting for that right moment to kill.

Basically that is what he was doing.

- Don
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:27 PM   #24
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Lyoto Machida and Aiki*

My views of aiki and kokyu are pretty much the same now. Maybe some differences...it's still fuzzier than I would like.

I personally would no longer define aiki as you have in this thread. but that's just me...

Best,
Ron

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Old 07-29-2008, 09:01 PM   #25
willy_lee
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Re: Lyoto Machida and Aiki*

I'm very pleased to have discovered this guy through this thread, I like his style a lot.

I've been looking at highlight reels of him on youtube -- there was one where he had what looked to me like a clear sayu nage/gyaku gamaeate -- looks like it just "was there" and he took it.
Pretty cool to see!

=wl

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