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Old 07-08-2009, 07:11 PM   #126
Buck
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Re: How effective is aikido in self defense?

Quote:
Jason Rudolph wrote: View Post
Due to the nature of our training it would seem to especially apply to Aikidoka. I am sure that there are some amazing Aikidoka out there--great on Youtube, great at a demonstration-- who might not be quite so in tune once an adversary lands a punch, kick, elbow or two.
Isn't that true for all forms of recreational and sports fighting?
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Old 07-08-2009, 07:45 PM   #127
Anjisan
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Wink Re: How effective is aikido in self defense?

In my humble opinion..............no. In arts where there is regular striking one gets used to executing techniques under that type of duress. In Aikido we are always training to be in the "right" or "safe" position. Further, we are not being hit. We do not practice executing techniques in that context. When I did kick-boxing and BJJ that was an important element. By the time one tested (which is what one can safely use to approximate a "realistic" execution of one's bag of tools) you knew who could walk the walk while under fire so to speak because that is how you trained. If one is training in Aikido for self-defence, that is something one may want to address. In the real world that is an variable that while removed from the dojo will be front and center.
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Old 07-08-2009, 09:52 PM   #128
Buck
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Re: How effective is aikido in self defense?

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Jason Rudolph wrote: View Post
I In the real world that is an variable that while removed from the dojo will be front and center.
Yes,it is true for all fighting systems. You remove out of the gym, dojo, dojang, and stuff.

Just because you do a popular fighting system doesn't guarantee success. There is more to self-defense then using sport fighting strategies. It is a whole different dynamic with a world of variables. I know it is hard for some to realize that and not all fights are toe-to-toe. And experienced fighter will understand that and use what ever tool is right for the situation. And will not rely on one mentality. The real key to self-defense and Aikido is experience in conflicts. The real key to ring sport fighting is experience in the ring. The real key to combat (as in war) is a whole different thing. Prior to the advent of BJJ to the military there was judo and jujutsu, and karate all of which was proven effective for decades upon decades.

It boils down to experience. Those who fight for a living is one thing. Those who are recreationalists in both sport and recreational arts are another. And those who take self-defense serious is a another. I depend on Aikido, but more importantly I depend on strategy, cunning, intent, awareness and all that that is more than what is found in the ring or the dojo, over which "style" is better than other. Cuz' if I do that then I am not really paying attention to any other the what is trendy and popular, rather than what will keep me safe. That is my humble experience.

Last edited by Buck : 07-08-2009 at 09:54 PM.
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Old 07-09-2009, 08:38 AM   #129
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Re: How effective is aikido in self defense?

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Basia Halliop wrote: View Post
I'm not talking about striking at all, or even feeling 'confident' you could, or whatever... I'm talking about not getting into situations where striking is likely to even be in question in the first place, leaving the street/person/room/city/conversation/etc long before anything like an attack has happened to you or is likely to. The vast majority of the time (OK maybe it depends where you live and stuff) that seems like the first most important and most fundamental skill, at least to me. Most people (again, maybe that's a perception based on my own experience and people I know) have never in their lives been physically attacked by someone 'for real', let alone someone trying to kill them, and probably never will. If someone is honestly just trying to be safe, learning how to be one of those people seems obviously practical and logical.

There's nothing wrong with learning to physically fight, and there are lots of non-practical reasons to do martial arts, and maybe for the odd rare person it's even 'practical', it just seems several steps lower down the list of priorities if you're looking at purely practical safety-related things.
Hello
Just for the record the striking part was just there to re-enforce the obvious rational of the attack by acquaintances nothing more nothing less.

I understood that you were talking about awareness and pre-emptive evasion. My take is that even though it is important it is not by far the only most important part of SD. Really not one part is more important than the rest.
In fact this is my main grip with RBSD. There is a physical component to SD/personal safety and it is not trivial.

Basically relaying mainly on pre-emptive avoidance even with verbal de-escalation is exactly as practicing a combat sport and saying that it will be good enough.

Just as an example your belief in you ability to deliver does help you to cope with and even help you in choosing pre-emptive evasion and it has a definite effect on your non verbal communication which makes de-escalation much more effective.
There is time when the situation will change rapidly or getting away will make the situation worse for you.
But really, should need to use the physical components, you need to be able to use it effectively under duress and that is a time consuming process.

Phil

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Old 07-09-2009, 10:02 AM   #130
Patrick Crane
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Re: How effective is aikido in self defense?

How effective is A minor pentatonic in playing guitar?

Everyone learns it.
Some will always suck.
Some can get pretty good.
Some are awesome.
Some make you think you're hearing the voice of God.

For many, the study of a martial art is begun with a primary interest in self defense.

Then it becomes about improving your fitness level...to learn the techniques better.

Then when you know the techniques and are in pretty good shape it becomes about being able to do them perfectly.

When you're in great shape and can do the techniques perfectly, it becomes about expressing yourself as an artist.

When you can express yourself as an artist pretty well, it might then become about exploring some kind of spirituality.

I think Morehei Ueshiba was there. Most of us won't be, and shouldn't feel pressured to be. It will happen if it needs to.
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Old 07-09-2009, 10:52 AM   #131
Ketsan
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Re: How effective is aikido in self defense?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Alex wrote:

Sure I will agree with this up to a point. In reality I have probably avoided more fights through an understanding of "martial awareness"....even before I ever figured out I could not fight.

So yes, I agree, the martial mindset is important...up until the point that the first punch is thrown and it becomes physical.

"Take it beyond the physical realm." Not sure I'd say that, but I understand you allegory... to me, physical is physical you can reframe it however you like, but when knifes, sticks, fist, and guns are involved it is physical and i challenge ANYONE to try and take it beyond that.

At some point I think it is important to link the mind, body, and spirit as a complete unit. You can't dismiss the physical (body) simply because you reframe or envision yourself as transcendental.

We do this alot in arts like aikido and I think it is very, very wrong to allow folks to begin to believe this myth. Transcendence does not mean "well we can skip the physical and move right on to the spiritiual, since that is what we want to do anyway!"

I think it requires us to embrace and understand as much as posssible the limitations and applications of what we do or can do or cannot do.

"ou only get attacked when the opponent belives he can win, if you can place yourself so that he obviously can't win or with interpersonal skills convey that you are not someone to be messed with you can defend yourself without even throwing a punch."

Well, it is up to him to form his own opinion or belief. Can you influence that belief? maybe, maybe not. It is nice to think and believe that we can...the reality of it is that his view of the world is different than yours and he may not pick up on the clues that you are superbad.

I have dealt with guys that it was very obvious (to me) that they could not win...they didn't hold my belief structure so we got physical.

On Mushashi I can't comment on what he said or believed, or how good he was. Like the book though and lots of good stuff in it.

Average? well it is realitive. I consider myself way above average when you consider the public as a whole. Inside a dojo..maybe average. with a small subset of professionals and some MMA guys I have worked with...I am way below average.

The key to this is that I think I have a healthy outlook on where I stand in relation to various demographic groups these days. That was not always the case. If you'd have asked me 7 or 8 years ago, I say that I was much better than average considering all demographics...did I get worse as a MAer? No I have gotten much better. the difference is that I have more external experience and situations and have had my ass kicked enough to understand a little better how much I still have to learn!
Actually I said takes it beyond the realms of fighting.. I'm talking about what the seduction community calls "demonstrating higher value" I'm bastardising the term somewhat but it's the only term that fits what I'm thinking of, and situational awareness/ability to use the envoironment to your advantage/avoiding vunerable positioning.
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Old 07-09-2009, 01:15 PM   #132
Craig Allen Jr
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Re: How effective is aikido in self defense?

If you are contemplating pursuing a martial way, I would suggest deciding where you want the path to end up before choosing the route.

If you are looking for pure combat effectivness, I don't think Aikido is the best option for you. Combat is about efficiently disabling an opponent. Aikido takes highly efficient combat-oriented techniques and modifies them to intentionally *not* disable the opponent, at least not permanently. Therefore, the techniques are deliberately made less efficient. Aikido is not just "self" defense, it's about protecting the opponent from harm as well. Obviously this is much more difficult to accomplish.

O'Sensei mastered several forms of "combat" arts before developing Aikido. Aikido, as he understood it, was a higher level of mastery than achieving efficient killing ability. Having already learned how to destroy an opponent, he devoted himself to learning how to reconcile aggression without destruction. However, most Aikido practioners today try to go straight to the "reconciliation" level without first learning how to fight effectively. And that's fine for some purposes. Aikido certainly teaches posture, timing, balance, breathing, awareness, etc., but I don't think that a practitioner can expect to gain a deep understanding of the essence of the art without going through a developmental process that begins with forging effective, if less compassionate, technique. Consider iriminage for example: a battlefield variation would involve avoiding a grasp or thrust, entering from the side and gouging eyes or breaking the opponent's neck. A less lethal jiu jitsu variation might involve entering into a kubishime submission. Aikido usually entails throwing the opponent instead which, if the opponent knows how to land properly, causes no injury.

A lot of people wonder why aikido practitioners worries at all about wrist grabs. "Who would ever grab your wrist in a bar fight". Most law enforcment officers and military personnel never ask that question. Why? Because both train constantly for how to deal with people trying to gain control of their weapon, be it a firearm, baton, restraints, etc. There's an obvious "combat effective" solution, especially where firearms are involved, but that's often not the best option. If the officer can regain control of the weapon with nikkyo rather than deadly force, does that make the technique more or less effective?

One might also ask, if effective self defense is the end goal, why devote thousands of hours to practicing unarmed combat? By all means, get yourself some OC pepper spray or a concealed weapons permit and use the spare time to pursue other endeavors. I sometimes train with a retired Navy SEAL Master Chief who, as a 4th degree blackbelt in Aikido in addition to a career in the most combat-oriented job in the world, carriers pepper spray on a keychain. Why bother with Aikido then? For some of us, the opponent we fear most isn't "out there" it's "in here".

Cheers,
Craig
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Old 07-09-2009, 05:19 PM   #133
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Re: How effective is aikido in self defense?

Quote:
Alex Lawrence wrote: View Post
Actually I said takes it beyond the realms of fighting.. I'm talking about what the seduction community calls "demonstrating higher value" I'm bastardising the term somewhat but it's the only term that fits what I'm thinking of, and situational awareness/ability to use the envoironment to your advantage/avoiding vunerable positioning.
Alex...understand! Thanks for clarifying. I have no issues whatsoever with this!

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Old 07-10-2009, 01:13 PM   #134
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: How effective is aikido in self defense?

Phil Wrote:

Quote:
The real key to self-defense and Aikido is experience in conflicts. The real key to ring sport fighting is experience in the ring. The real key to combat (as in war) is a whole different thing. Prior to the advent of BJJ to the military there was judo and jujutsu, and karate all of which was proven effective for decades upon decades.
Agreed experience is important...in general, but what exactly is "experience in self defense and in Aikido"? What do you mean by that?

What I am getting at is this. You could be attacked and have to defend yourself, and yet, that experience did not lend to teaching you much in the way of martial skill. You may learn alot emotionally about what a fight/violence is about. You may learn that all your training was worthless in that situation. You may learn that luck played a big part in that particular situation.

But how is it important? What do you gain from the experience? How does it increase your skill or make you a subject matter expert in general?

"experience in Aikido". In what way? I have met guys with 3 years experience that I feel are very good and might do well in many ways, self defense and otherwise. I have met guys with 20 years experience that I don't feel really know a whole lot.

Then again, what is the criteria for measuring that experience? That is what is paramount.

"The real key to ring sport fighting is experience in the ring. The real key to combat (as in war) is a whole different thing. "

Is it really? how do you know that? Again, what is the criteria that you are using to make this judgement?

In the Army we have found that the ring actually provides us some very good lessons learned as long as you understand the implications/parameters of the impact of the rules. Again...it is all about "criteria" and "measures of effectiveness".

"Prior to the advent of BJJ to the military there was judo and jujutsu, and karate all of which was proven effective for decades upon decades."

Beating a dead horse here I know...not sure what you mean by this. Are you implying that the military used karate, jujutsu, and karate methods and it was proven effective through military use?

OR are you saying that the assumption made by many is that BJJ is effective because the military (Army specifically) uses BJJ methods of training as a base and that you don't agree with this assumption?

How to you define effective?

The fact is, that military and other professional organizations that use martial methodologies as a part of their job/profession spend a fair amount of time (or should) defining the endstate/objectives/necessity of their training. It is looked at against the "contemporary operating environment" and what is trained/used should meet the needs of those situtations that are presented.

What we have found in the military is that it needs to be a multi-disciplinary approach that considers the effectiveness of the application of tactics, but also is a good mesh with the cultural paradigms that exist. It must also fit within time constraints and budgets as well.

The point is....it is very complex to define what is "experience" what that really means. Appeal to authority asssumptions are not universal (one size does not fit all). We need to think very broadly and be open minded where we learn our lesssons. Parochialism, failure to adequately define endstates, generalization, and not thinking things out will get you killed in reality.

AND that is really the bottom line concerning training in self defense.

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Old 07-10-2009, 01:27 PM   #135
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Re: How effective is aikido in self defense?

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Craig Allen wrote: View Post
If you are looking for pure combat effectivness, I don't think Aikido is the best option for you. Combat is about efficiently disabling an opponent. Aikido takes highly efficient combat-oriented techniques and modifies them to intentionally *not* disable the opponent, at least not permanently. Therefore, the techniques are deliberately made less efficient. Aikido is not just "self" defense, it's about protecting the opponent from harm as well. Obviously this is much more difficult to accomplish.
I disagree. I don't see aikido as narrowly defined as you.

Quote:
Craig Allen wrote: View Post
O'Sensei mastered several forms of "combat" arts before developing Aikido.
I think you should really do some research on Aikido history. You're wrong. Check Aikiweb threads on the history of Ueshiba and Aikido. Ueshiba mastered one art - Daito ryu. When he opened his very first dojo and when he issued certificates as a teacher, it was all Daito ryu. Check Aikido Journal for history of Ueshiba and Aikido.

Mark
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Old 07-10-2009, 02:55 PM   #136
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Re: How effective is aikido in self defense?

I agree with Mark. "Aikido" is a pretty big group of people. Not all combat is about disabling an opponant, either. My sense of Aikidowaza is that ideally something disabling can be accomplished at any moment. Of course some techniques lend themselves to this more than others, but that's my general impression.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 07-11-2009, 06:17 AM   #137
Craig Allen Jr
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Re: How effective is aikido in self defense?

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
I disagree. I don't see aikido as narrowly defined as you.
Mark
Fair enough. Can we agree that the essence of Aikido is preserving the attacker and that, to do so, certain expedients must be set aside in spite of their effectiveness because they cause significant damage to the opponent?

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
I think you should really do some research on Aikido history. You're wrong. Check Aikiweb threads on the history of Ueshiba and Aikido. Ueshiba mastered one art - Daito ryu. When he opened his very first dojo and when he issued certificates as a teacher, it was all Daito ryu. Check Aikido Journal for history of Ueshiba and Aikido.

Mark
Ueshiba was an accomplished martial artist before he met Sokaku. I agree that Daito ryu had the largest influence on his development of Aikido, but it was not the only art he studied. A quote from O'Sensei taken from Mr. Pranin's archives as you mentioned:

"First I learned Tenjin Shin'yō-ryū Jujutsu from Tokusaburo Tozawa Sensei, then Kito-ryu, Yagyu-ryu, Aioi-ryu, Shinkage-ryu, all of those jujutsu forms. However, I thought there might be a true form of budo elsewhere. I tried Hozoin-ryu sojitsu and kendo. But all of these arts are concerned with one-to-one combat forms and they could not satisfy me. So I visited many parts of the country seeking the Way and training, but all in vain. ... I went to many places seeking the true budo. Then, when I was about 30 years old, I settled in Hokkaido. On one occasion, while staying at Hisada Inn in Engaru, Kitami Province, I met a certain Sokaku Takeda Sensei of the Aizu clan. He taught Daito-ryu jujutsu. During the 30 days in which I learned from him I felt something like an inspiration. Later, I invited this teacher to my home and together with 15 or 16 of my employees became a student seeking the essence of budo. "

Anyway, I guess I'm not sure what you are driving at with the "all Daito-ryu" argument. The point I was trying to make is that studying Aikido just to learn how to fight is not the right approach. There are several easier alternatives available. Furthermore, one must understand all of the options available in a combat situation before he/she can choose the option that protects the opponent from harm.

Cheers,
Craig
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Old 07-11-2009, 07:36 AM   #138
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Re: How effective is aikido in self defense?

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Fair enough. Can we agree that the essence of Aikido is preserving the attacker and that, to do so, certain expedients must be set aside in spite of their effectiveness because they cause significant damage to the opponent?
No, not even that.

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Old 07-11-2009, 11:33 AM   #139
Craig Allen Jr
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Re: How effective is aikido in self defense?

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No, not even that.
Ok, please explain.
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Old 07-11-2009, 12:11 PM   #140
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: How effective is aikido in self defense?

I will attempt to explain my perspective on Ludwig's comments.

Philosophically it is about balance or midpoint. Neither preserving or destroying. those are concepts on opposite ends of the spectrum and therefore, if you look at it strictly from the philsophical perspective, then leaning one way or the other is wrong. You want to "be" in the middle where their is not conflict at all.

However, in reality this is not possible probably since in a violent encounter there is on off balance and attempting to resolve it can be complex and you can't be literal in your application and return the situation to "nothing"...even if you physically resolve the conflict you will still have emotions, damage and pain that will last beyond this.

Also, if you go into the fight "constrained", that is constrained with the parameters that you can not use tools that might injure or hurt your opponent...chances are someone will get hurt. That is just plain wrong and stupid. It is also not correct to presume or dismiss intentions of attacks/responses...that is not within the context of aikido. We simply are there...at the midpoint. Possessing the ability, willing and able to deploy, but maybe if we are lucky making the choice to limit our response to an appropriate level of force.

It could be based on skill, timing, luck what not...but we don't assume or limit ourselves to options going into the situation based on some freaking philosophy that we have that we must always resolve fights without harm.

It becomes like a koan. "do no harm, stop harm"

I don't believe it is within the realm of aikido to presume anything at all.

I think this is a big part of the problem in much of the way I have seen many folks train. They want to be revisionist and remove or "set aside" things. Dismiss the violent aspects. to ignore them, reframe, and pretend that We are somehow more revolved, more refined, or above that.

Violence and anger exist. It is apart of the human element (unfortnuately). We need to embrace it, learn about it, figure out how to control and work with it to transcend it.

Therefore, if we dismiss certain aspects of the spectrum of martial training simply because we judge these things to be violent, less than ethical, or somehow "not aiki" we are not really learning what we need to learn and we are a danger to ourselves and others around us in reality.

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Old 07-11-2009, 01:09 PM   #141
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Re: How effective is aikido in self defense?

Quote:
Patrick Crane wrote: View Post
I think Morehei Ueshiba was there. Most of us won't be, and shouldn't feel pressured to be. It will happen if it needs to.
It won't happen unless you want it. Almost to the exclusion of everything else. If you don't have a burning desire for mastery, it will never happen. Leaving it up to "it will happen if it needs to" is simply guaranteeing it won't.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 07-11-2009, 01:42 PM   #142
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Re: How effective is aikido in self defense?

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
Yes,it is true for all fighting systems. You remove out of the gym, dojo, dojang, and stuff.

Just because you do a popular fighting system doesn't guarantee success. There is more to self-defense then using sport fighting strategies. It is a whole different dynamic with a world of variables. I know it is hard for some to realize that and not all fights are toe-to-toe. And experienced fighter will understand that and use what ever tool is right for the situation. And will not rely on one mentality. The real key to self-defense and Aikido is experience in conflicts. The real key to ring sport fighting is experience in the ring. The real key to combat (as in war) is a whole different thing. Prior to the advent of BJJ to the military there was judo and jujutsu, and karate all of which was proven effective for decades upon decades.

It boils down to experience. Those who fight for a living is one thing. Those who are recreationalists in both sport and recreational arts are another. And those who take self-defense serious is a another. I depend on Aikido, but more importantly I depend on strategy, cunning, intent, awareness and all that that is more than what is found in the ring or the dojo, over which "style" is better than other. Cuz' if I do that then I am not really paying attention to any other the what is trendy and popular, rather than what will keep me safe. That is my humble experience.
One of the things I see in these discussions is that the folks who really think Aikido is about something else than fighting, largely opt out. I wish they wouldn't because it would balance things out on the forums a bit more. I constantly meet people who never post but tell me they really like what I post.

Anyway, why is it that whenever we talk about the "real world", we seem to be talking about some form of street combat? Most people will never use an Aikido technique for self defense in their entire lives. I would maintain that, for most people, physical conflict is about as "unreal" as it gets.

I think what makes Aikido Aikido and not something else is that it was quite consciously designed as a practice that embodied ideals that would make ones life and even ones world better. O-Sensei talked about this all the time. Yet everyone wants to discuss fighting and self defense all the time.

What is "real world" conflict? It's your boss telling you that you've lost your job. It's your spouse telling you she wants a divorce. It's your teen getting in trouble with the law. It's your baby having a seizure and you think it may be dying. It's a co-worker who seems out to sabotage you at the workplace. "I'm sorry, you have cancer."

Every day we meet innumerable conflicts. Many people do not handle them well. In fact, many people go through life as the cause of conflict.

Are we striving for an art which focuses on defeating some, as yet unmet, enemy? Are we really training for that one moment in our lives when we are confronted with an actual attacker who intends to harm us physically? If we are law enforcement or military, I say yes, we are training for that. If we live somewhere extremely dangerous and violence is commonplace, perhaps we need to make this our focus. It's simply a matter of survival.

But Aikido isn't for that. Saotome Sensei always said that if your primary worry is physical safety, buy a gun. "Real" fighting is about weapons. It has been this way since the cave man. Unarmed fighting is about sport, for the most part.

Aikido training should be about attaining some sort of interior balance which allows us to be centered and non-reactive to the conflicts of daily life. Aikido should be about not contributing to the cycle of delusion which causes so much pain and suffering. It should be about leaving the world a better place than it was when you arrived.

Yes, the training has a martial paradigm. But it is meant to go far beyond limited notions of winning and losing. What are the implications of really trying to understand O-Sensei's statement that "there is no attacker?" You want hard training? Make that your goal. Fighting is easy by comparison. It is really the human default setting. Millions of people fight. Hundreds of thousands get competent. Thousands attain some high level of mastery. But only a handful attain the kind of level of understanding which goes beyond all that. O-Sensei was one. He founded our art. I think we need to remind ourselves why he did so. I do not think it had anything at all to do with fighting or self defense. Those skills might be a by product of proper training but one misses the essence of that is the focus.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 07-11-2009 at 01:45 PM.

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Old 07-11-2009, 03:02 PM   #143
Janet Rosen
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Re: How effective is aikido in self defense?

To George's above on learning to keep balance when life itself attacks you, I'd add: as we age the most likely source of *physical* attack is going to be the curbstone, the slick pavement or floor, the bunched up rug....being comfortable with going to the ground and having a full repertoire of falls and rolls in "muscle memory" is invaluable "real life aikido" too.

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Old 07-11-2009, 03:28 PM   #144
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Re: How effective is aikido in self defense?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
It becomes like a koan. "do no harm, stop harm"
That is your koan.

Mine is "There is no enemy for Ueshiba of Aikido."

The way I answer it is :
Aikido is not about self defence because there is no distinct self (we are essentially defined by the nature of our mutual connections in the world) and there is no defence, only the right action at the right moment.

The expression "in the street" makes me laugh because my chief method for avoiding trouble when I'm on the street is to watch left and right before crossing it. I guess it's the same for a majority of people in the world.

Morihei Ueshiba's Aikido definitely had a spiritual/philosophical/ethical component, but if we judge by his attitude towards the multiple ways his students chose, O Sensei was not a prescriptor of fixed rules. His idea was that everyone should get closer to his true nature, his role in the world and fulfill his mission. In clearer words it means working hard on oneself through experience and trials (which is the purpose of our budo training) and letting the process transform oneself into something more integrated internally and externally, the same way a child becomes an adult. One may tend to forget it but it's a difficult and traumatic evolution.

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Old 07-11-2009, 03:49 PM   #145
Craig Allen Jr
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Re: How effective is aikido in self defense?

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
I will attempt to explain my perspective on Ludwig's comments.

Philosophically it is about balance or midpoint. Neither preserving or destroying. those are concepts on opposite ends of the spectrum and therefore, if you look at it strictly from the philsophical perspective, then leaning one way or the other is wrong. You want to "be" in the middle where their is not conflict at all.

However, in reality this is not possible probably since in a violent encounter there is on off balance and attempting to resolve it can be complex and you can't be literal in your application and return the situation to "nothing"...even if you physically resolve the conflict you will still have emotions, damage and pain that will last beyond this.

Also, if you go into the fight "constrained", that is constrained with the parameters that you can not use tools that might injure or hurt your opponent...chances are someone will get hurt. That is just plain wrong and stupid. It is also not correct to presume or dismiss intentions of attacks/responses...that is not within the context of aikido. We simply are there...at the midpoint. Possessing the ability, willing and able to deploy, but maybe if we are lucky making the choice to limit our response to an appropriate level of force.

It could be based on skill, timing, luck what not...but we don't assume or limit ourselves to options going into the situation based on some freaking philosophy that we have that we must always resolve fights without harm.

It becomes like a koan. "do no harm, stop harm"

I don't believe it is within the realm of aikido to presume anything at all.

I think this is a big part of the problem in much of the way I have seen many folks train. They want to be revisionist and remove or "set aside" things. Dismiss the violent aspects. to ignore them, reframe, and pretend that We are somehow more revolved, more refined, or above that.

Violence and anger exist. It is apart of the human element (unfortnuately). We need to embrace it, learn about it, figure out how to control and work with it to transcend it.

Therefore, if we dismiss certain aspects of the spectrum of martial training simply because we judge these things to be violent, less than ethical, or somehow "not aiki" we are not really learning what we need to learn and we are a danger to ourselves and others around us in reality.
Thank you for your comments. I agree with much of what you say.

I think Ledyard Sensei said a lot of what I was getting at much more eloquently than I did. I love aikido and I've gained a lot from the art over the years. As a Coast Guard officer, my career has put me in several situations requiring use of force. In law enforcement, it's not about a "fair fight" and it's certainly not about squaring off with an aggressive subject unarmed. Therefore we train with impact weapons, less-lethal munitions, and spend a lot of time at the range getting proficient with firearms. However, when I practice iaido, it's not because I think I'm going to bring my sword with me on a boarding. What I hope to bring instead is intensity of focus, awareness, posture, timing, and ma'ai.

I choose aikido specifically because it emphasizes control of a subject while minimizing injury. That's not because I think violence doesn't exist, but rather because I know full well that it does exist and my job requires me to use only force reasonably necessary to compel compliance.

I appreciate the different perspectives on the subject- thanks for expoudning.
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Old 07-11-2009, 04:30 PM   #146
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Re: How effective is aikido in self defense?

Thanks Craig!

FWIW. I agree with Ledyard Sensei as well....as long as the rational doesn't become an excuse to ignore important elements of training, which I know he does not!

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Old 07-11-2009, 04:31 PM   #147
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Re: How effective is aikido in self defense?

Ludwig wrote:

Quote:
In clearer words it means working hard on oneself through experience and trials (which is the purpose of our budo training) and letting the process transform oneself into something more integrated internally and externally, the same way a child becomes an adult. One may tend to forget it but it's a difficult and traumatic evolution.
Agreed!

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Old 07-11-2009, 10:32 PM   #148
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Re: How effective is aikido in self defense?

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post

Anyway, why is it that whenever we talk about the "real world", we seem to be talking about some form of street combat? Most people will never use an Aikido technique for self defense in their entire lives. I would maintain that, for most people, physical conflict is about as "unreal" as it gets.

I think what makes Aikido Aikido and not something else is that it was quite consciously designed as a practice that embodied ideals that would make ones life and even ones world better. O-Sensei talked about this all the time. Yet everyone wants to discuss fighting and self defense all the time.
Security is a basic human need and a fundamental requirement for survival. Regardless of intellectually knowing the statistics of actually being in a physical conflict, most people have a basic need to be able to protect themselves from physical harm.

In O'Sensei's example, he first became proficient in martial arts and had the ability to protect himself thus satisfying the need for survival before he moved on to his religious/philosophical ideals.



David

Last edited by dps : 07-11-2009 at 10:35 PM.
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Old 07-12-2009, 05:16 AM   #149
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Re: How effective is aikido in self defense?

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Fair enough. Can we agree that the essence of Aikido is preserving the attacker and that, to do so, certain expedients must be set aside in spite of their effectiveness because they cause significant damage to the opponent?

Craig
Well, I am of a different opinion
Learning aikido to know how to fight is as valid as learning aikido for the spiritual side. In fact it is not mutually exclusive; I would even argue that you need one to get the other.

Of course the practice of aikido will affect or re-inforce your system of value, but really this is the case for most martial arts. For example redirecting and matching the intent of your opponent is the essence of fencing. Just as well you can use that in every day life.

Aikido offers several options between smashing his head in and just going away, for me this is really the particularity of the art. Any martial artist can tell if troubles are brewing and when it is time to leave, but if and when they miss the last bus, the only option left is full on head bashing.
Aikido offers you to choose between all those options so that should you wish it, you can protect your opponent or put him in all word of hurt, according to the situation.

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Old 07-12-2009, 07:24 AM   #150
Erick Mead
 
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Re: How effective is aikido in self defense?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
One of the things I see in these discussions is that the folks who really think Aikido is about something else than fighting, largely opt out. I wish they wouldn't because it would balance things out on the forums a bit more. ...
I think what makes Aikido Aikido and not something else is that it was quite consciously designed as a practice that embodied ideals that would make ones life and even ones world better. O-Sensei talked about this all the time. Yet everyone wants to discuss fighting and self defense all the time.

What is "real world" conflict? It's your boss telling you that you've lost your job. It's your spouse telling you she wants a divorce. It's your teen getting in trouble with the law. It's your baby having a seizure and you think it may be dying. It's a co-worker who seems out to sabotage you at the workplace. "I'm sorry, you have cancer."

Every day we meet innumerable conflicts. Many people do not handle them well. In fact, many people go through life as the cause of conflict.
I may be completely off-base, but I think most people's problems with these common real conflicts is exactly the same as their problems in physical training -- precisely -- they try to "handle" them -- they try to grab, grip, manipulate and keep "the conflict" at arms length to "deal" with it. "Handling" is the opposite of resolving. In short, they do not identify with the cause of the conflict -- its center -- and as such cannot transform it until they have become identified with it.

Most people see conflict as transactional -- give, take, bargain etc. Conflict is not a transaction, there is no give/take process-- and everyone who treats it this way ends up with the personal analogue of World War I trench warfare. In true conflict, there is an entry into it and a turn of events that resolves it -- real sudden-like.

Even in physical training they try to form neat categories and fixed roles (uke/nage) or neat progressions (win/lose) that good martial art (of any type) constantly subverts. That subversion is the point of the training, and, IMO, the reason why we start training with our fixed roles and stylized waza -- so as to have something more obviously subverted.

The other day we were working on randori. For most people we emphasize mobility in randori (so long as it is going after the attackers, rather than running away). One of our excellent players has extremely bad knees and is not as mobile as she would like to be (she teaches iai -- nidan MJER). So, we constantly work on ways to subvert the other guy's mobility. She cannot run around, so she has to change her approach and make the other guys run around her. In doing this, she was managing quite well, until one of our jujitsu-trained guys recovered from his initial kuzushi and got in a semi-clinch with her. She kept trying to get "out" of the clinch he was trying to gain -- I kept trying to tell her to go further in. After, we talked about how she was looking for "safe" and while safe "felt" like it should be "out" -- in taijutsu -- as with the sword -- the only possible "safe" is further in.

The way an army wins a battle is to "run to the sound of the guns." The way one resolves conflicts is by entering deeply into and identifying with their primary cause -- the center. Only from there can anything be changed. Aikido is intended, IMO, to build up this instinctive reaction to conflicts -- of all types.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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