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Old 09-04-2009, 08:39 PM   #51
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Quote:
Wayne Miller wrote: View Post
I guess I'll go ahead and throw my opinions into the ring.

In my experience, Aikido isn't something you would want to take into a UFC ring. Or any ring, for that matter. The basic, underlying precept is to resolve a conflict as peacefully as possible, with a minimum amount of damage to both parties. The way *most* devoted aikidoka would deal with a fight situation would be to walk away from it, if possible. Peaceful resolution of conflict, with no injury to either party. The exact opposite of the idea behind UFC, boxing, and similiar competitions.

The principles of Aikido are universal, and can be applied under any circumstances. Most of the applications, however, fall beyond the scope of competetive fighting such as boxing or UFC- primarily because the traditional way of winning said competitions is by doing enough damage that your opponent cannot continue to fight. Applying Aikido into such situations is a bit like putting a square peg into a round hole. Yes, you can try to force it in, and might even work sometimes, but it was designed with a different purpose in mind- dealing with an attacker without harming them, if possible.
No disrespect intended toward you. I realize that this is some what of a universal assumption or premise made by many.

So, my beef is not with you personally but with the whole concept or better yet judgements that are being made.

Based on this model, then what you would view as successful is violent force being met and resolved with something less violent that attempts to resolve it in a "peaceful manner".

I think if this were indeed true and demonstrable, then we would see it, AND to be honest we have an obligation and are COMPELLED to show it. COMPELLED!!!

What are you/we holding back. If we can indeed resolve violence and conflct in a very skillful manner, and our art is on the physical level of a martial art is more ethical or more skillful and can actually resolve conflict without harm (however you define that) then it is selfish and irresponsible for the folks that have that skill to withhold it from the UFC.

Think about it, here we have the opportunity to demonstrate a peaceful resolution that does not result in Harm in a situation where someone is doing just that! In front of thousands of people! Think about how that would change the world! "Engaged Aikido!"

But no, it is a fantasy, it is a hippocrtical judgement that somehow what we do is ethically and morally superior or on a different plane all together.

Please show me those enlightened individuals with that skill. How dare they be so selfish!

Now the whole walking away thing. I agree that is a good option if it is a choice. Most certainly. I would and have done just that on many occasions. Absolutely!

There are also situations in which that choice does not exist through no fault of the person involved. So, what do you do then.

I realize you say "if possible" and "most" so I understand that you realize that this is not always achievable.

However, what concerns me is the assumptions and judgements that are passed against what happens in a ring as being "NOT" minimal force, or not "Aiki" in their application. As somehow those are less ethcial choices from what an AIkidoka might choose.

Again, I go back, someone please skillfully demonstrate that they can indeed make this choice...it would not be against the UFC rules to control a fight in the Aiki manner and "resolve" the fight.

The issue I have is that this logic, while Ideal, has never been achieved or demonstrated by anyone. As far as I know it is NOT Possible. It places a huge unattainable and unreasonable burden on us and sets all that practice under a very delusional set of ethics that are not realisitc, pragmatic, and not a solution at all to the physical resolution of violence.

So, IMO, we need to let this notion go. Realize that we need to practice a realistic practice and deal with things as best we can. We are human beings and that sometimes it is okay to rip someones head off in a particular set of circumstances.

I think it is more authentic to reach an understanding of when we might need to do this and then train as hard as we can to understand those circumstances, emotions, and whatnot, so when the time comes, we might at least have expanded our choice set so we CAN indeed be as ethical and as skillful as we can in that situation.

FWIW, I am a Aikidoka that occasionally enters such venues (missed a fight yesterday because of an injury). I will tell you that yes it is a game and a competition where I am trying to submit or overwhelm, or knock out an opponent in order to win.

I will also tell you that I use minimum force necessary in order to do that. I have been in the ring with people that are less skilled than I and I hold back and do not cause anymore injury than necessary to control the fight. I have been in the ring with other fighters that are more skilled than I and they have done the same. Believe it or not, most of the time there is a fair amount of sportsmanship involved in those fights.

I respect anyone's choice to not do these things as they are not for everyone. However, on the street in a fight, when your wife is getting raped, who do you think has more choices to use miinimal force, some undertrained philosophical Aikidoka that has theorectically practiced their art to "peacefully resolve conflict" or someone who has worked hard and developing the ability to meet and deal with violence?

Not passing judgement on you, as I have no idea of your background or skills and maybe you can indeed demonstrate this in a very skillful manner. I think it is just not fair for us to pass judgement and make such statements unless we can indeed show that this is possible it is simply not being honest IMO with ourselves and others.

I will tell you though as an Aikidoka when I do the stuff that I do in the ring or on the street I do it as an aikidoka and carry it with me everywhere and use it. If I can indeed end a fight with minimal force and economy I do so always.

However, the outcome if I have to use atemi, kicks, punches, arm bars or chokes does not mean I have failed in my application and that I have to follow some fundamental set of "ethical" techniques in order for it to be within the spirit of aikido.

Once we figure that out, we may actually begin to reduce much of the burdens of inefficiency that we have placed on ourselves in our practice of aikido and get down to real learning.

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Old 09-04-2009, 10:18 PM   #52
rdavid445
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Quote:
Wayne Miller wrote: View Post
I guess I'll go ahead and throw my opinions into the ring.

In my experience, Aikido isn't something you would want to take into a UFC ring. Or any ring, for that matter. The basic, underlying precept is to resolve a conflict as peacefully as possible, with a minimum amount of damage to both parties. The way *most* devoted aikidoka would deal with a fight situation would be to walk away from it, if possible. Peaceful resolution of conflict, with no injury to either party. The exact opposite of the idea behind UFC, boxing, and similiar competitions.

The principles of Aikido are universal, and can be applied under any circumstances. Most of the applications, however, fall beyond the scope of competetive fighting such as boxing or UFC- primarily because the traditional way of winning said competitions is by doing enough damage that your opponent cannot continue to fight. Applying Aikido into such situations is a bit like putting a square peg into a round hole. Yes, you can try to force it in, and might even work sometimes, but it was designed with a different purpose in mind- dealing with an attacker without harming them, if possible.
I bet you that, if you trained the way UFC fighters did, you could at least have a shot in there. I believe Mr. Amdur wrote recently in an article that, in terms of combative skills, (paraphrasing) "Aikido would give you everything you need, as long you gave it everything you had."

If you trained 6-8 hours a day, against opponents who fought in ways you didn't (who possibly knew what the weaknesses of the way you fought were), plus weight training, cardio training, and intensive study of your opponents films and fights, then I think you could really give it a go. Yeah, you'd have to kick and punch, but I think there would be enough there to possibly be successful.

Last edited by rdavid445 : 09-04-2009 at 10:28 PM.
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Old 09-05-2009, 02:00 AM   #53
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

I think the idea of classical aikido being rococo as a technical system has a lot of merit. However, let me say this: have you ever seen rococo architecture? How about rococo painting? (Rococo meaning, in this case, in the style of 18th century French art and design) How about the art of the Italian Renaissance, which could be said to be ornate and complex?

Absolutely gorgeous. Transcendental, even.

Let's use art as the metaphor. Bear with me, as it may be a little reductive of the subject at hand.

I could break out the crayolas, grab some printer paper, draw a stick figure with the words "MY WIFE" written above it, complete with an arrow pointing towards the stick figure and hearts all around. This would take me all of a minute and thirty seconds, at most, and would perfectly convey the message that I love my wife, and wanted to draw her picture. I could squeeze the dogs and the house in there, too. It doesn't take long to teach a child to draw this sort of picture. Maybe a year or so after they start kindergarten, they can produce something similar. Simple, direct, done in two shakes of a lamb's tail.

Or, if I were capable, I could buy top grade materials, and stretch a beautiful, white canvas for myself. I could pick up expensive oil paints and the finest horsehair brushes. I could spend months, maybe years, perfectly rendering the light as it hits my wife's skin, the color of the satin sheet she's laying on as it is hit by rays of sun and hidden by shadow. There would be hundreds of colors just in her hair. Everything would be perfectly modeled, not a thing out of place. This isn't easy to do. In order to do her beauty justice, I've had to study with a master for 15 years, working tirelessly everyday to replicate his techniques, and make them my own. It's been my life's work to reach this point. And through the subtlety of my work, you can fully feel how much I love my wife, how every corner of her body thrills me, how I couldn't be more in love.

Now, it seems to me (and I'm only one man), that suggesting that aikido is rococo as a technical corpus implicitly compares it to other arts, which can be a little unfair. Is every art capable of giving every one of it's practitioners with what they need, no matter what that may be? In my estimation, they don't all do the same things for everyone. Some people are concerned largely with technical veracity, i.e. can I use it to fight someone in a given situation, etc. Were I asked, would I suggest aikido based on that criteria alone? Probably not. I would tell that person to find a decent Krav Maga teacher (while I have to real experience with it, I understand Krav Maga to be a system that emphasizes a low number of simple, proven techniques and a ferocious mind set). I would say, however, that if they would be willing to give aikido a try, they may find a system that may take quite a bit longer to learn, but the results could open up a whole new world to them, while teaching them self defense (albeit at a slower pace). Maybe they would have to study for 10 years before they had developed to the point where they could use aikido in a combative situation. But what else will they have gained?

I don't mean to dismiss simpler, combatively oriented systems such as Krav Maga, MCMAP, etc. They most certainly were created to serve a purpose, and they seem to do so quite efficiently. Within a small amount of time, a person can be equipped with tools that will allow them to survive in many combative situations.

In my opinion, the ornate nature of aikido is one of it's strengths. It's our own version of 手解き te-hodoki, "untying the hands", a principle in koryu bujutsu that Ellis and others have written about, where new students in jujutsu schools were first taught grab-escapes, and other simple techniques, so that if they left after a short time, they wouldn't have any of the school's true techniques to spread amongst non-members. You've got to stick with aikido, at least for a while, to get anything out of it.

Sure, you could accomplish what took a rococo painter four years of constant work to accomplish in a few minutes. But, were you to compare the two pieces of work, which would stand the test of time? Which would be looked at in 250 years and thought to be a masterpiece?

Last edited by rdavid445 : 09-05-2009 at 02:07 AM.
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Old 09-05-2009, 02:01 AM   #54
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Whoops, double post.
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Old 09-05-2009, 02:32 AM   #55
rdavid445
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Let me clarify two things:

At the end of the longest paragraph, by "But what will he have gained?", I mean technically. I'm, of course, also implying that the individual would gain many other things (physical health, coordination, social interaction, etc.), but I also want to put forth the idea that, in addition to those very fine things, after a comparatively longer period of training, perhaps the practice of more ornate techniques will yield a person capable of defending themselves with graceful, efficient, and effective self defense, that won't maim or kill an attacker, at least not without the individual's intention to do so.

Second:

This wasn't a "Shame on you, Mr. Amdur, for saying rococo" post. It was a "rococo can be indicative of something good and worthwhile" post. I'm sure Mr. Amdur has considered that, so please don't interpret my post as trying to teach something to a group of people who most certainly have much, much more experience and insight than I do.

I just wanted to put forth how I see things.
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Old 09-05-2009, 03:27 AM   #56
rdavid445
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

On second reading, my first example seems overly trite, and a bit unkind to what it's describing. Allow me to substitute:

Rather than a crayola drawing, let's say that, after 2 years of art school drawing classes, I decided to draw my wife. It can't be said that I don't have skill, and my charcoal pencils capture her figure in light and shadow very competently. There's no wasted space, no needless frills or ornamentation. The pure simplicity of the image is it's greatest strength.

Please excuse the post-a-thon. I guess there's just a bee in my bonnet.
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Old 09-05-2009, 04:46 AM   #57
eyrie
 
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Folks, when I suggested that this thread be split, my intention was for people to discuss what their perceived inefficiencies - if any - were with the "Aikido Training Method" (ATM), what are the particular characteristics and distinguishing features of the ATM - apart from being rococo - and compared to other MA (combative, sportive or otherwise), why it is inefficient, should anything be done about it, if so what, and if not, why? I was hoping to hear how others who may have come to the same conclusions, approached the conundrum, and if and how they surmounted it.

It is not about whether Aikido can or cannot kick ass in the UFC, or why it wouldn't be something you'd want to, on supposed high moral grounds of "peaceful conflict resolution", or whether Ellis misunderstood the ATM, or even his personal interests in Chinese MA. Personally, I'm not interested in the former, and the latter is IMO totally off-topic, irrelevant and downright rude.

IF YOU WANT TO DISCUSS THOSE THINGS, START YOUR OWN THREAD! Please... and thank you for your cooperation.

Last edited by eyrie : 09-05-2009 at 04:51 AM.

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Old 09-05-2009, 04:57 AM   #58
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Yet are there not people that draw stick figures out there that view themselves as somehow more than that? They draw stick figures over and over again hoping that one day they will be a great artist...it will just take a long time. They draw them because the teacher or group they belong too shows them some really cool "finished" products of what they have been doing for 20 years that to the average person looks like art.

None of the "Masters" have their art displayed in any well known galleries or have been able to demostrate that they are even able to get a show at the local fine arts gallery.

The big excuse they might use is that "most common people really don't know what they are looking at, this is different, this is evolved".

So you keep doing the same things over and over, starting to believe that you are doing something that is special and that is important, that it is different.

Those "other" art class people using the big crayons are simply learning to color the whole page effectively, they are not producing art.

That is what you use to make yourself at least feel better about what it is that you are doing in your class. "Yea they may learn to color quickly with those big crayons, but I will be a better artist in 20 years!"

Yet you draw stick figures, over and over. Everyday. You are convinced that eventually you will progress beyond stick figures if you just draw enough of them. Every day, you do the same things...expecting a different result....your carrot it tied to some idealogicial vision that no one you even remotely know or have associated with can demonstrate....

Your group begins to self affirm and you bind together, insulate yourselves...you never put your works out there in the local art shows, cause you know it wouldn't win any art awards, but you still believe it is because you practice is asynchronous and it takes 20 years to learn..and besides....it ain't about the competition anyway!

This is co-dependency at it's finest!

It has failure written all over it with this mindset and logic...and unfortunately, alot of folks have bought into this notion!

It is fine to practice prinicples. It is fine to master the technicalities of the color wheel. To understand which brush might work best to paint a particular line or stroke. We need folks like that out there in the world.

However, don't pretend that what you are doing is "Art" or more evolved than the guy that did not take the time to understand the details. The guy that just got up one day picked up a brush and started painting and synthesized the colors, brush strokes and started entering art shows after 5 years.

It really does not make you any more evolved special or different. You are the guy that studies the details, and yes, you can reach a deep understanding of some things, and yes, there will be those that follow the Aikido approach that will reach a synthesis at 20 years, their are always a couple..

However, it is not guaranteed that you will. Most won't cause they can't get past the "I am special by transferrence and association".

It is a fricking inefficient way of doing things if you want to synthesize and understand.

And don't assume that the guy that "Just does it" without the classical understanding such as a MMA guy can never have what you have. The chance are he will, he can show you how, and he has just a good of a chance of reaching the same endstate that you do in reality in 20 years!

I am betting out of 1000 Aikido students and 1000 MMA students that at the 20 year mark that you will have the exact same ratio of folks still studying and that each approach will have at ONE guy, ONE...that will have reached a higher understanding of what life is all about through their martial practices.

They might have different attributes to their practice and abilities, but they will reach the exact same understanding of peace and harmony.

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Old 09-05-2009, 08:38 AM   #59
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Quote:
eyrie wrote:
... what are the particular characteristics and distinguishing features of the ATM - apart from being rococo - and compared to other MA (combative, sportive or otherwise), why it is inefficient, should anything be done about it, if so what, and if not, why? I was hoping to hear how others who may have come to the same conclusions, approached the conundrum, and if and how they surmounted it.
Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
You are the guy that studies the details, and yes, you can reach a deep understanding of some things, and yes, there will be those that follow the Aikido approach that will reach a synthesis at 20 years, their are always a couple..

However, it is not guaranteed that you will. Most won't cause they can't get past the "I am special by transferrence and association".

It is a fricking inefficient way of doing things if you want to synthesize and understand.
There is the rub. Efficiency involves trade-offs because not all parameters can be optimized simultaneously. There are fundamental choices involved.

You design a car -- it can be efficient in fuel economy, or peak power output, or low-end torque power. But not all three at once. A rally car would lose a formula one race; a formula one racer wouldn't likely make it to the end of the first stage on a rally course, and neither one would be remotely useful ( much less competitive) in truly off-road competition.

The first thing to address in terms of efficiency is "What are you trying to optimize?"

Why don't you all set out your own list of priorities in order of importance so you know what your set of trade-offs may represent?

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 09-05-2009, 09:15 AM   #60
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Good points Erick. Reminds me of the old adage "you can't have all three, cheap, fast, and good." any two are okay, but not all three.

One thing I have been thinking deeply about lately revolving around OODA is that essentially you cannot have O, O, D, and A all at the same time either. you can have O and O, and D and A...but not all together.

I equate this to MA...not sure if I have it entirely correct as of course this is a generalization. ...

However, I think we tend to stay in the Observe and Orient phase of training in Aikido...Clinically speaking.

That is we Observe our external inputs very carefully and Study our reactions very carefully and we loop OO..OO...OO.

This kind of practice definitely allows us to increase our Skill and understanding of what we are observing...but it does not really do much in the way teaching us to rapidily Decide and Act.

Other arts such as Krav Maga and BJJ really spend more on the Decide and Act side of OODA. the consistently loop on DA, DA, DA. I think another term for this might be "Aliveness".

Minimizing the OO phases provides for a lower level of choices to be made as the DA crowd manages from a position of efficiency and "What works". However, it works and the re-tool and adapt and consistently innovate once they process experiences.

I personally think this is why you don't see Aikidoka per se in the UFC more so than any Philosophical, Ethical, or Moral standard, paradigm, or framework.

The UFC is not the place for "OO' ers. It is the place for "DAers".

I think ideally, a well rounded martial practice attempts to balance this equation out some what. It looks holistically at the OODA loop.

Recognizing that in application, that indeed you can't have it all, but must ultimately "Decide and Act" eventually and that in that phase what you choose may not be optimal, but what is important is that you recognize that Deciding and Acting is what is what you need to be doing at that time. (No Mind, Mushin etc.)

However, in practice and our training that we need to expand our ability to Observe and Orient...this creates choices and possibilities for us that we may possibly be able to draw from in the future when we do have to Decide and Act.

My personal opinion on inefficiency in AIkido is that we tend to not recognize the OODA loop thing much and we get stuck in OO, OO, OO land. We cease to be able to really make mistakes, bring in new data and experiences and innovate and grow...we simply are coloring within the lines with the same crayons and same page over and over and over.

You know...just this morning I was teaching Spider Guard to a few aikidoka and realized that they were not getting the connection with grabbing the sleeves and connecting with the hips. I had a huge ephiphany when I realized that the body connection and movement was Techninage in the Spider Guard! Openning the spine...expanding the suit, breathing and connecting...taking the slack out while you move your feet around Uke's body controlling his core.

I bring that up, because I was working in the DA side of the house and it expanding my OO side of the house simply because I was doing something different outside of the normal context purely based on what Uke was bring to the table!

It is the principles of Aikido....it is Ground Fighting Skills, and it synthesizes the two AND is used in the UFC all the time. it is also "evolved" somewhat high skill and can be used to provide options other than simply bludegoning a guy "Mongo" style.

It did not look like much, did not look like AIkido(tm), and had nothing directly to do with Peace, Harmony, or Philosophy...it simply was what it was...a spider guard...or two guys grappling on the ground!

Anyway...I think I am all over the place on this now. Sorry!

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Old 09-05-2009, 09:41 AM   #61
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote: View Post
Folks, when I suggested that this thread be split, my intention was for people to discuss what their perceived inefficiencies - if any - were with the "Aikido Training Method" (ATM), what are the particular characteristics and distinguishing features of the ATM - apart from being rococo - and compared to other MA (combative, sportive or otherwise), why it is inefficient, should anything be done about it, if so what, and if not, why? I was hoping to hear how others who may have come to the same conclusions, approached the conundrum, and if and how they surmounted it.

It is not about whether Aikido can or cannot kick ass in the UFC, or why it wouldn't be something you'd want to, on supposed high moral grounds of "peaceful conflict resolution", or whether Ellis misunderstood the ATM, or even his personal interests in Chinese MA. Personally, I'm not interested in the former, and the latter is IMO totally off-topic, irrelevant and downright rude.

IF YOU WANT TO DISCUSS THOSE THINGS, START YOUR OWN THREAD! Please... and thank you for your cooperation.
LOL...I just caught your post above. I hope I am not guilty of that entirely, because I agree..this is my objective as well.

I think (hope) what I am relaying when I talk about the UFC type stuff is that it represents one side of the equation and provides a model in which to talk against.

To be a little more precise maybe than my last two post....

The UFC brought about a great deal of innovation in MA training. The rules and objectives forced upon the MA world a quantifiable goal. This drives innovation and new knowledge into the MA world as people focus on how to best train to meet those goals. Thus we have the whole MMA movement which strives to cut out all the chafe and focus on those basic skills that provide the edge necessary to win in the UFC.

By it's nature the MMA culture MUST be efficient. And I personally believe there are alot of good lessons to be learned from how they train and constantly innovate. The measure of success for them is very quantifiable and the essentially have feedback loops that process very quickly which allow them to adapt and expand there knowledge base and turn experience at a very quick rate.

Studying MMA and BJJ for the past 5 years or so, I really have been fascinated by this way of learning and reached the same conclusion about 2 years ago concerning Aikido that yes, it was a very extremely inefficient methodology for training. Very inefficient.

I have been working on my thoughts and trying to figure out how I might fix it if I could. There are a few things that need to be considered however that present a challenge.

One, it is NOT the UFC, nor do most folks that come to the practice of AIkido desire to be a cage fighter. So it is hard to quantifiy and objectively define Measures of Success, when we are not really sure what they may be if it is not winning in a competition.

Two, Aikido culturally is connected to a philosophy and a "way" or "path". Again, how to you define Measures of Success?

Three, what is it in the methodology that does work and is good, or unique that we bring to the MA community that we need to keep doing that makes Aikido special.

Four, if you make changes to the system, are they good ones, that is Additive or do they take away from it?

My latest thoughts are centered around the concept of OODA as outlined above. OODA is an objective process that is not tied to dogma (other then it's own, of course), and in somewhat clinical and neutral as a model to martial arts.

OODA I think, so far provides the framework upon which we can assess and identify success. Success as defined by the process, not by how well we do in the ring...or how well we are tied to the dogma of philosophy or ethics. Again...I think it is fairly objective and clincial.

My basic observations are that any good martial or budo practice needs to balance against OODA. There are training things that concentrate on the Observe category. Things on the Orient..which is where we spend most of our time in Aikido...learning new concepts, skills, and techniques, and things that concentrate on the Decision and Act.

Of course, Aikido has all the elements as does any martial practice...but I don't believe we fully grasp the importance of this cycle, nor do we really understand how to balance it.

Randori is a DA activity for example. How many schools really understand this and how it links back to OO? When doing randori, how do you provide the controls, assessment, and feedback process in order to cultivate a student grasping the lessons to be learn back into the OO phase.

My Randori experiences have mainly served to confuse the hell out of me with very little learning taking place.

When I went to BJJ for instance, we practice Randori all the time. Intrinsicially, it is tied directly back into the OO phase and reinforced constantly in training.

I personally believe THIS is a big part of the breakdown in the Aikido method process. We don't get it and we stay stuck in OO.

That does not mean we need to turn what we do into BJJ...it certainly is not the objective of the study of aikido. However, I think we should really look hard at the OODA process and figure out how we can re-balance it.

One thing, for example, that I have been wanting to do for the past two years is attend one of Ledyard Sensei's workshops with Shinai. From what I am told, this training provides this kind of feedback and the people that I have heard that have gone experience this OODA linkage greatly.

So, I think maybe that this serves as a good example of how maybe we can change our training to be more efficient.

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Old 09-05-2009, 10:18 AM   #62
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Some more thoughts on OODA as it relates.

My above examples are all based on MMA or a BJJ model dealing with Randori.

However, I submit, that there are other areas where I think this applies.

Defining your endstates and Measure of Effectiveness, Measures of Success.

Lets talk about Internal Strength, for instance. Lots of individual solo time. How does OODA apply to this?

Well alot of talk has gone on hear about "how do I know if it is working, how do know if it is right?"

Ki Test, Jo test, push test etc...provide the feedback necessary for us to learn. in Jo test for example. You Observe the person on the other end of the stick pushing on the stick, you Orient on it, and Decide what Action you will take. Based on that Action, you adjust again and so on.

Done in a controlled manner, the instructor or guide limits and factors out other variables except those things you want to test.

You have definitely limited the DA by making Uke/Nage work within the confines of the test. By limiting those things it allows the Nage to Observe and Orient and expand his knowledge base.

OO heavy for sure, but the point is the tester knows what he is doing in order to provide the correct feedback, it is a control.

Pointing out gaps and weaknesses, the student can then return back to his solo training to address those issues identified.

Then in a complete Jiyu Randori phase, the parameters can be set and the student can then learn to apply these things, although recoginizing that he is heavy on the DA side, so therefore, he cannot rely on processes OO, but his body is learning and adapting through both a OO learning mechanism that is being reinforced through a DA one.

I think a good program is integrated and done in a very deliberate and intelligent manner, with controls, feedback, and endstates that are placed strategically throughout the methodology.

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Old 09-05-2009, 10:43 AM   #63
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post

Ki Test, Jo test, push test etc...provide the feedback necessary for us to learn. in Jo test for example. You Observe the person on the other end of the stick pushing on the stick, you Orient on it, and Decide what Action you will take. Based on that Action, you adjust again and so on.

[snip]
Then in a complete Jiyu Randori phase, the parameters can be set and the student can then learn to apply these things, although recoginizing that he is heavy on the DA side, so therefore, he cannot rely on processes OO, but his body is learning and adapting through both a OO learning mechanism that is being reinforced through a DA one.

I think a good program is integrated and done in a very deliberate and intelligent manner, with controls, feedback, and endstates that are placed strategically throughout the methodology.
Kevin,
Reading your post reminds me of the isolation sparring that a lot of gyms do. For example , in a grappling situation:
One person applies a pin (say side control) and the other person tries their best to get out.

In a striking situation:
One person throws any kick (with free movement by both) and the other person checks.

Weapons:
Both people have sticks and the Lameco handguards. One person delivers a one (with free movement) the other person must use a back hand to target the striker.

Internal arts situation:
Pushout, go, receiving joint locks etc. Rather than challenging a particular technique, the exercise challenges a particular range of motion/ability to absorb force.

Best,
Tim
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Old 09-05-2009, 11:22 AM   #64
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Ellis IMO, is the expert in looking at Aikido as he does. He had contact and experiences most of us will never have. He formulated his opinion based on his experiences and his goals. It was a knee-jerk reaction base on inexperience with Aikido, or limited exposure or in correct exposure. We can say the same thing for George, and Peter and a few others. George views are different then Ellis, but I consider him in expert in other ways, same for Peter and the few others. Ellis is an expert in his area and view on Aikido shaped by his experiences which he has said basically he isn't happy with Aikido and it did meet his expectation which he has publicized. What makes Ellis unique in his perspective is he has achieved complete knowledge in a Koryu/kobudo an old Japanese battle field art, training in Aikido and now has great interest in Chinese martial arts looking at that to obtain his expectations.

I said that as background, a platform to help understand what I am about to discuss. Those individuals looking for something that wasn't fulfilled in their Aikido training have that right to do so. Like Ellis it wasn't a matter of looking at Aikido failings because in a MMA sports match. According to Ellis, an expert, Aikido didn't offer or live up to the fighting expectations he had. And George has said, something similar in regard to the lack correct principle in Aikido technique. Here we have two experts discontent with aspects of Aikido they where taught. On the other hand, we have individuals who are many that have had unique experiences and are experts that continued with Aikido not seeing any major faults in Aikido that would have them discontented and searching for a better art.

This comes down to the old saying of "one man's treasure is another man's trash." If someone is discontent with Aikido and see failing and want to move on fine. But, not everyone may feel the same. For me, as I said in my first posts here, I see Aikido as theory, as Physics, String and Fractals. Meaning not a means for street fighting. If I wanted that, as I said before, I wouldn't waste my time learning martial arts beyond a few classes of the basics, and would get my experience on the street, and not in tournament fights. If I really wanted to go to the hilt. I would always carry the Glock 17 and the KP9094, and something extra, the Guardian Back-Up with me at all time, not to mention a good lawyer on retainer. Yes, just because I am a Aikidoka doesn't mean owning a couple of guns and a knife as plan "B" is as sin. I love Aikido, but I realize no martial art can stop a bullet. I would hate to be in a situation of being fire upon or drawn on and not having equalization. But it doesn't mean, having weapons, is my first option. It is my last, when all others are exhausted, and no other choice given. I am not a net ninja or a gun shop commando (terms relating to those on gun forums).

If you are not finding what you want in Aikido, fine, but not everyone looks at it the same. Because we each have our own personal experiences, goals, reasons, and expectations for why we train in Aikido. What fails in one person, may be fulfilling in another. Not all of us want to fight, or get into a fight, and there is ways to avoid a fight. Isn't that the highest idea of any good martial arts, really true for the Chinese arts. Like Eric said, there are trade-offs, that too is true for a fight. Trade-offs in a fight is really over-looked, or ignored in favor of bravado and trash talk so commonly associated in the realm of fighting imo. That is to say the negitives of fighting are not seriously discussed.

Each to his own, and best to all.

Last edited by Buck : 09-05-2009 at 11:28 AM.
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Old 09-05-2009, 11:44 AM   #65
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

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Good points Erick. Reminds me of the old adage "you can't have all three, cheap, fast, and good." any two are okay, but not all three.
I love that one. I have to tell my seventeen year old that about three times a week

"Good, fast or cheap. Choose two."

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One thing I have been thinking deeply about lately revolving around OODA is that essentially you cannot have O, O, D, and A all at the same time either. you can have O and O, and D and A...but not all together.

I equate this to MA...not sure if I have it entirely correct as of course this is a generalization. ...

However, I think we tend to stay in the Observe and Orient phase of training in Aikido...Clinically speaking.

I think ideally, a well rounded martial practice attempts to balance this equation out some what. It looks holistically at the OODA loop.
I actually think you are right in your assumption -- but wrong in your conclusion. I have made the point before about Col. Boyd's marvelous flowchart, but it bears frequent repeating -- precisely because OODA is VERY important.
[spoiler][/spoiler]

The explicit OODA loop is linear. But look at the top. There are two boxes called "implicit guidance and control" They are independent subloops -- Orient-Observe-Orient and Orient-Action-Observe.

The dominant process of this often ignored part of Boyd's original conception is Orient. Explicit or conscious decision is skipped entirely -- and this makes its efficiency in strategic terms far less dependent on linear tempo. Because in every iteration it can take either the action or observation path, depending, this is a non-linear part of the OODA concept. One could conceive of a Lorenz attractor illustrating the operation of these sub loops. [spoiler][/spoiler]

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
This kind of practice definitely allows us to increase our Skill and understanding of what we are observing...but it does not really do much in the way teaching us to rapidily Decide and Act.
Minimizing the OO phases provides for a lower level of choices to be made as the DA crowd manages from a position of efficiency and "What works".
The UFC is not the place for "OO' ers. It is the place for "DAers".
.. and if someone ignores the explicit D part -- he is already inside that loop -- or as O Sensei said, quite appropriately in this context -- "I am already behind him."

But what does that really mean? I'll tell you. If the two subloops represent an attractor (like the Lorenz, or, as I suggest, the structural dynamics of aiki resemble something like the Julia, or Mandebrot sets) it has a VERY well defined meaning. Any progression along the attractor is, in energy terms, "downhill." Any progression occurring off the attractor or trying to regain it is all "uphill." This is the reason why the Orient function does and should dominate, and defines the difference in what Aikido and MMA are oriented in regard to.

MMA has an a explicit linear goal -- achieve the defined criteria of a win. Aiki has no such criteria -- it is oriented to its own attractor, which has no "win" defined on it - which is not a moral observation but a purely physical one -- and the would-be spiritualists/moralists make far too much of that fact, IMO, (cart before horse) though it is highly congenial to a perspective of that type - (if the horse is pulling the wagon).

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
My personal opinion on inefficiency in AIkido is that we tend to not recognize the OODA loop thing much and we get stuck in OO, OO, OO land. We cease to be able to really make mistakes, bring in new data and experiences and innovate and grow...we simply are coloring within the lines with the same crayons and same page over and over and over.
I tend to agree with this, but as Inigo Montoya once said: "I do not think it means what you think it means." I have an image of a very particular crayon scrawl in mind: [spoiler][/spoiler]

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Recognizing that in application, that indeed you can't have it all, but must ultimately "Decide and Act" eventually and that in that phase what you choose may not be optimal, but what is important is that you recognize that Deciding and Acting is what is what you need to be doing at that time. (No Mind, Mushin etc.)
It is the conclusion that one must "Decide" that I challenge. If one does not yet sense the correct shape of the dynamic he is not operating on the attractor. If you do, and you no longer have to think or decode what comes next because it just sort of occurs, like sliding down hill -- you are on the attractor. I routinely have to correct students who decide to try to short circuit the nature of movement to hurry up "the technique" only find it cannot be done, or that now they are wrestling. That is one example.

Aikido trains "divine technique" in O Sensei's conception -- which, if I am right, and in these terms may be nothing other than O Sensei's way of trying to describing this very difficult to envision sense of an attractor in a phase space that makes certain lines of action virtually effortless.

I do know it when I feel it and regularly find myself operating on that part of the map -- but making it explicit in objective terms is not trivial -- and he did not have anything close to these tools. There are few who are looking at it explicitly these terms. I submit, however, there are many who seem to be doing so implicitly, using other terms to found their own Orientation to these implicit guidance loops.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 09-05-2009, 11:45 AM   #66
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

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Kevin,
Reading your post reminds me of the isolation sparring that a lot of gyms do. For example , in a grappling situation:
One person applies a pin (say side control) and the other person tries their best to get out.

In a striking situation:
One person throws any kick (with free movement by both) and the other person checks.

Weapons:
Both people have sticks and the Lameco handguards. One person delivers a one (with free movement) the other person must use a back hand to target the striker.

Internal arts situation:
Pushout, go, receiving joint locks etc. Rather than challenging a particular technique, the exercise challenges a particular range of motion/ability to absorb force.

Best,
Tim
Thanks....good examples Tim.

Kata and Drills certainly are important too and I don't want to discount that. I moved away from them actually with great disdain from my Karate days where I felt they were over emphasized, or at least I didn't understand them very well. Aikido was liberating for me cause it was so spontaneous and free. Same with BJJ.

However, I am seeing a need for kihon training these days. Sanchin Kata I think is a good one for instance. Of course, I am also spending a great deal of time doing flow drills and attack chains in BJJ these days as well.

In addition, in AIkido we do the same of course. In fact, we do a great deal of this, but my issue is I believe we need to maybe back off and train some very, very basic things much more deeper and basic, then maybe move to a more "free" play that is controlled.

One of the things I constantly see students doing in AIkido is continuing to process the OO part while doing Jiyu. We need to instill in them the basics then get the message across that it is okay to move and be free and make mistakes.

I think though that it is hard cause we kinda through folks into Jiyu that is not so well controlled and focused. Aikido is PhD level stuff, heck I really suck at it, yet I can do well at Jiu Jitsu!

Foundations is where the efficiencies are to be gained. Doing the solo work, developing the martial body, building good basic habits like sanchin kata and some of the old school Okinawa Ryu's do. Learning to punch, kick, and simply move properly. All before we do the first wrist grab or iriminage.

It is hard to describe. I don't think it is WHAT we are doing so much as to HOW we are putting it together, the linkages, and the emphasis.

But what do I know really? I am a mere amateur in this process...so these are just my own impressions and thoughts.

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Old 09-05-2009, 01:37 PM   #67
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

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Folks, when I suggested that this thread be split, my intention was for people to discuss what their perceived inefficiencies - if any - were with the "Aikido Training Method" (ATM), what are the particular characteristics and distinguishing features of the ATM - apart from being rococo - and compared to other MA (combative, sportive or otherwise), why it is inefficient, should anything be done about it, if so what, and if not, why?
The biggest inefficiency in the ATM is (imo) the lack of teaching. The main focus in an aikido class is getting better at the technique that was shown, not the principles behind the techniques. To make matters worse, your uke may be less skilled than you (no skilled feedback here) or disagree with what/how you're training (so no specific feedback). Secondly the teacher will not give feedback on every technique you practice in a class. Then, assuming the teacher chose a principle to focus on during class, thus selecting techniques that demonstrated this specific principle, it will take you about three techniques to figure out what the principle is and let's hope you've got the correct one in mind. And as someone has said in a different thread: the most important things is to learn what stuff you don't know. Refining certain elements on your own is hard, but discovering certain elements you didn't know even existed, is virtually impossible.
So aikido class seems to be mostly about the inefficient learning of a number of techniques for the sake of the techniques themselves.

If I contrast this with how I learned to play the classical guitar. I practice at home. What I practiced I play during an individual class. And for each piece I play, I get specific feedback what I have to focus on for next class. Now that's teaching.

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Old 09-05-2009, 05:59 PM   #68
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

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Joep Schuurkes wrote: View Post
The biggest inefficiency in the ATM is (imo) the lack of teaching. The main focus in an aikido class is getting better at the technique that was shown, not the principles behind the techniques.

(lots of good stuff)

If I contrast this with how I learned to play the classical guitar. I practice at home. What I practiced I play during an individual class. And for each piece I play, I get specific feedback what I have to focus on for next class. Now that's teaching.
I agree with you Joep, a technique based system of learning only works if the training is almost totally a one on one transmission at the end of the arms of someone that "has it." If this isn't possible, (and most modern practices are not) then the system must be heavily loaded with principle based learning under very close supervision by seniors and someone that really "has it" as often as possible. Of course the debate will always hinge around "Who has what you want" ... and, do most beginners even know what they should want? Once we know what we want, then we must constantly be looking for "it" and be willing to do what it takes to get "it"... or spend our time doing something else.

Best regards,

Chuck Clark
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Old 09-05-2009, 06:24 PM   #69
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Erick,

We crossed post earlier so I missed it. Sorry.

Erick wrote:
Quote:
It is the conclusion that one must "Decide" that I challenge. If one does not yet sense the correct shape of the dynamic he is not operating on the attractor. If you do, and you no longer have to think or decode what comes next because it just sort of occurs, like sliding down hill -- you are on the attractor. I routinely have to correct students who decide to try to short circuit the nature of movement to hurry up "the technique" only find it cannot be done, or that now they are wrestling. That is one example.
I appreciate your thoughts and feedback. I am going to have to think hard about this one for sure.

As I said, I don't have any of the answer on alot of this stuff and frankly I am working through it, so it is good to get different perspectives like the one you provided.

I am going to think about this for a while and hopefully get back to you.

I understand what you are saying about short circuting natural movement. Though it might help if we were to have the conversatioin in the same room so we could physically discuss it.

As a model I think there is one perspective when looking at this as a methodology for mastery.

Tactically though, I do believe that if you are ahead of the loop, it doesn't necessarily matter if you do the right thing or the most appropriate thing, simply that you act in some matter that does what you want to do.

However, that is really not the point of our training, nor the point of using this as a framework for study.

Tactically though, I might offer this advice that I noted this morning to an student that was having trouble doing Nikkyo. What he would do is move correctly then focus back on the hand/arm and stop his feet, which resulted in me re-establishing the ground path and stopping his technique. What I told him is if all else fails simply keep moving your feet or start moving your feet again once you stop.

This was a big part of what my one of my teachers used to preach. "Move your EFFING FEET!".

In that regard, it is ACT and not in appropriate if you are doing ANY technigue at all. Same with BJJ on the ground. If all else fails keep shrimping!

So you are not really doing anything but continuing to keep the movement dynamic and preventing fixation in the loop.

what seems like what happens is we do DECIDE ACT STOP ACT...DECIDE STOP, ACT STOP. DECIDE. At every STOP is a chance for uke to gain momentum or close the gap in the loop.

Anyway...lots to think about!

PS, I wish I were able to follow part of your illustrations etc, it looks very interesting, but frankly I do not have the background to even begin to understand the concepts that you are trying to relay, however, I do find it fascinating.

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Old 09-05-2009, 07:20 PM   #70
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

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Joep Schuurkes wrote: View Post
The biggest inefficiency in the ATM is (imo) the lack of teaching. The main focus in an aikido class is getting better at the technique that was shown, not the principles behind the techniques. ... So aikido class seems to be mostly about the inefficient learning of a number of techniques for the sake of the techniques themselves.
Not the way I was taught -- or teach.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 09-05-2009, 07:44 PM   #71
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Yeah but how to you get better at the prinicples? I mean principles are principles...how can you be better or worse at them.

Being able to communicate or demonstrate them...yes.

However, anything that is used to demonstrate them are external manisfestations of the principles...which are techniques.

So in order to demonstrate you understand or to communicate principles you have to develop scenarios, situations, and techniques in which to do this.

The problem is when you focus on a particular for the sake of learning the technique. I think a technique focused approach is very limited since you can learn techiques, but not really undertand the principles underneath.

Even understanding the prinicples is not enough, IMO, you must be able to show synthesis and a range of application of those principles in a variety of ways.

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Old 09-05-2009, 08:22 PM   #72
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

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...

Internal arts situation:
Pushout, go, receiving joint locks etc. Rather than challenging a particular technique, the exercise challenges a particular range of motion/ability to absorb force.
...
May I ask, what's 'go'?
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Old 09-05-2009, 10:30 PM   #73
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

I'm not sure if I'm going off tangent here, but I've been thinking about this and I think it should be relevant.

Bruce Lee used to lift weights anytime he can. He's like a machine, doing several things at once just so that he can achieve more and more than the time allotted to him would allow.

By all accounts he's a very strong man, but you do not see a physique like Arnold. His training regime, methods, etc all make him strong for his martial arts power requirements. He used to point out that a lot of muscular guys do not have the strength that he has at his disposal. And if you think about it, he's probably right. Because he's talking about application not theoretical. Theoretically, the bigger muscles are stronger. But application wise, very few techniques uses only 1 muscle group. They are used in combination, thus Bruce Lee's training methods, trains those muscles in unison/unity. He also trains muscles no one's heard off. Particularly because he knows those muscles corresponds to a technique that not many people do.

Then there is also those fast and slow muscle fibers and the different way they are trained and the differences in how they are used. There's also fascia training. Also flexibility because we know whiplike motion makes for the best velocity. Power and speed in combination.

So why are we talking about muscles here? Actually we're not. I'm really talking about the training. Here we have a guy who's training every hour of the day and not just one particular part of the body but as many parts as he can at the same time. He's training his legs flexibility, his arm muscles and his brain at the same time. He does this every day. His Will pushes him beyond normal limits and his mind transcends the regular schmoes 'do it this way' regime.

Same thing you see with the UFC guys everyone loves to talk about. Yadda yadda... they are training every single day to compete once every 3 months. They peak. They have a good diet, they have good physical recuperation and training, they have focused fighting coaches and techniques. And then on the other side we have you guys. Training anywhere between 2-3 times a week for a couple of hours or maybe 4-5 for the above average aikidoka. And we don't forget the teachers who do it every day but seldom work as uke's anymore. They also seldom go all out against fully combative ukes and the reason is simple, no one here is paying for a walking punching bag. Injuries will come and we've got a life beyond wearing white pjs and black skirts.

Face it. Aikido training methods today is geared for the part time martial artists. You may hate the word weekend warriors but there it is. Yet you will like to compare yourself against SWAT and Green Berets... its not very realistic.

Its not just Aikido. Name me any martial art that gives you the kind of performance comparable to UFC for just 3-4 sessions a week. Wing Chun and other CMA? BJJ? Krav? JKD? Seriously has there been someone as good in JKD as Bruce ever was?

After all that is said though. There are good schools who understand that Aikido is still a path. A long path that begins with kihon and ends up with a lot of self questioning. Once you've reached takemusu aiki it would probably come together. Of course you have to know what it is before admitting you are there. Otherwise you'll just be kidding yourself.

Now lets go back to power. There's a lot to be said about a guy who can muscle up a 400 pounds bench press. Or even a 200 pounds bench press. Throw in the UFC guys and they could probably do the 2nd one easily enough. Throw in a guy you know who is good in aiki and most likely he won't be able to do it. But now you can ask them to push each other and it is likely the aiki guy will not move for the UFC guy but the reverse will happen.

The concept has never changed. Aiki training is about handling external energy and making it your own. Its not about stealing it but taking it when its freely given. Now... if that has always been what Aikido is all about, how the heck are you ever going to achieve it if all you go about every day is how can I bring my opponent down, how can I joint lock his elbows out, how can I stop him, how can I defeat him, how can I throw him like really powerful like, yadda yadda. It'll be like Bruce Lee trying to make JKD but training like a power lifter.

Mmm and before someone says yeah that's fine, its all nice and dandy at the dojo when sensei picks me up like a rag doll and its cool cause I never felt any force. But hey how about 'In a RealLife Situation' herein referred to as "IRS", can sensei actually do this stuff in IRS? Everyone groans cause no one likes to hear about the IRS. Its bad enough we have to deal with it every year, but at the dojo and the forum too? I mean come on give me a break. I believe we all know how to deal with IRS. You Prepare the best you can in the time given to you and when they come a knocking, you Accept the fact that you can't run away and you Deal with it.

Well, that's my genius thought for the day. :P

Last edited by Abasan : 09-05-2009 at 10:32 PM.

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Old 09-06-2009, 12:05 AM   #74
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Yeah but how to you get better at the prinicples? I mean principles are principles...how can you be better or worse at them.

Being able to communicate or demonstrate them...yes.

However, anything that is used to demonstrate them are external manifestations of the principles...which are techniques.
I see techniques as slices out of a continuum, like a single cross-section out of one branch of a very large scale ,long sequenced, multi-branched and (largely) complete/whole scheme of action. NOT a decision tree, that is too simplistic and linear. So I see two basic complementary approaches to learning and applying principles, One -- understanding structure in dynamic -- waza are opportunities to study that, Whether we use them for that purpose is another matter. And two -- understanding perception. You could call one "Orient" and the other "Observe."

I am not certain that it is beneficial to hurry the "Act" because until the first two are understood to a certain degree "Act" tends to devolve to a linear aim at a defined endpoint -- which is completely counterproductive. Seems to me those framing an approach in various "internal skills" methods are saying something similar in their attention to solo structural work. Focus on a hypothetical endpoint and a projected path to it uses faculties better used in perceiving the actual structural dynamic and responding to it more intuitively and sensitively along the paths that simply present themselves. That is the "Act" I seek.

Of course doing waza a hundred times may simply be trying to "get to the pin" faster on the hundredth time -- which is missing the point, entirely. The same waza a hundred times and branch points within it begin to flow out of the natural variations -- if you are fully engaged with that concrete reality -- instead of the hope of an endstate in one's head.

I am going to take a stab at explaining the use of the idea of an attractor, in a more commonplace military analogy. It is like reconnoitering the ground of engagement. If I have already been down a path and seen its the branch trails (like a Hash run) I know or at least have a fair idea where those trails lead. The enemy though he has the initiative and could outpace me within a hundred yards if I am pursued, has lost those advantages, and is wholly unaware of it. The hares already know the route and the marks and there is no way the fastest runner can overtake them. They don't need a higher tempo.

We tend to see action as contingent and variable. But you can envision a figure like the Julia set or other attractor as a fixed and invariant thing in space. ( in fact they call it a "phase space") You travel along it, view it from different angles, and at different (infinite, actually) scales but it is one whole thing and never actually changes. Its parts all look somewhat similar, and have very typical varieties of differing forms (though all are absolutely unique) and they change in certain typical types of pattern as you go along it.

What you see as contingent change in the engagement was a slight offset at a scale, or a signpost in the patterns of changing form that you did not see as you went along, until it became clear later that is where you ended up. Understanding this, the engagement then is a part of fixed attractor in a phase space.

If you know how it is shaped, and how its shape typically changes form and scale you learn how to see smaller and smaller scale differences, and the signposts of patterns. You can navigate on new ground quite safely with some very rough rules of thumb (like "downhill lies water", for example) These are the "principles."

You get to know when you enter a path that the oncoming enemy does not yet even know he has yet entered. You will follow the path you see -- while he follows what he is projecting as the path ( his ultimate or simply immediate endpoint), since he only sees large scale. By the time the actual divergence is large enough for him to notice you have already acted, and he is stuck.

There was no decision -- there was no increase loop tempo -- there was advantage in orienting and in observing and then acting in tune with that orientation at the point where you sense his action has become incapable of continuing without becoming discontinuous and vulnerable. The "Act" occurs because you already had slightly begun a "flank" (Juuji - perpendicular contact, to feel and keep your connection oriented to him).

When his threshold then reaches a point where it actually breaks down your action is already seamlessly breaking out -- taking over initiative as his evaporates. The "scouts" instantly turn into a full bore flanking counterattack. "Act" happens just by properly orienting your sensing (observing) connections and then always being slightly "entering there" and then you can arbitrarily add to the action -- if and when the door opens up..

If -- of course -- I am right that Aiki follows an attractor. But that's how it feels to me. I hope you can see there are rich possibilities for thinking about and looking for attractors in a wide variety of practical military matters. If one does exist in a given type of engagement, it could be immensely valuable, if you can find ways to "see" its shape and describe its "principles."

Last edited by Erick Mead : 09-06-2009 at 12:15 AM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 09-06-2009, 06:37 AM   #75
eyrie
 
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

A general comment about the whole teaching/not teaching issue. To me, that is not generally what I would consider an efficiency issue.

Perhaps it would be useful if we could all agree what the ATM is firstly? To me, and this is only my general experience, the ATM (within the limits of a "classroom" scenario), generally follows similar lines of most MAs:
1. "warm up" exercises - which most are expected to do prior to the "lesson" proper. These may, or may not include, specific solo or paired exercises or drills, e.g. tai-no-henka, ikkyo undo, kokyu-ho, vestigial remnants of chinkon-kishin exercises, such as funekogi, furitama, ibuki etc.
2. "waza" - conducted within the "lesson" itself, which entails playing both roles of tori and uke
3. randori/jiyu waza - either one-on-one or many-to-one

In most cases, it is no different to how a jujitsu or karate class might be conducted, for example. So, what is different with the ATM and why is it inefficient? Compare it to a BJJ or even MMA class, that I once sat down to observe. I don't think it's any different. The format appears to be the same - warm up, techniques, free sparring/grappling. The issue I think, is not so much the method, than the recipe missing some key ingredient. If any here are at all familiar with culinary pursuits, sometimes you know when the recipe needs a little something (tabasco, splash of brandy...) to give it that extra oomph, and while you can vary the method to some degree in most things, certain recipes, especially cakes and pastries, require specific quantities and key ingredients, and strict adherence to methods. Is Aikido a cake or a stir fry? A stir fry you can put whatever you want in it - meat, seafood, (or tofu if you're vegetarian), and an assortment of vegetables, and legitimately call it a stir fry. If Aikido is a cake, what sort of cake is it? Different cakes have specific methods... while others are based on a basic butter cake recipe using the same method, with different variations.

Why is it necessary to make a choice between cheap, fast and good? I primarily do the cooking at home. It's MY form of relaxation. I can make cheap, fast, nutritious, AND BLOODY good tasting meals. Ask anyone. Why not the same with Aikido? It could be cheap if lessons were free or low cost. It could be fast if knowledge could be transmitted clearly, and in such a way as to enable rapid development of skill. It could be good if the student walks away knowing that they've learnt something concrete that can be applied immediately... to *some* arbitrary level of competency and/or proficiency, and not after 20-30 years of shelling out $10000s, for the outer shell of a corpus of knowledge to which the keys to unlock it have been deliberately withheld. One certainly doesn't have to shell out $1000s just to learn how to relax - not that it's really "taught" anyway... much less, learning how to generate and extend power in a relaxed manner.

The problem, as I see it is not how it is taught, or in many cases, not taught. In the majority of cases, and as Ellis writes, in Ueshiba's case as well, particularly in his earlier years, when he was still largely experimenting, auditing other sources, and formulating his own personal practice, many so called teachers don't really teach, in as much as they are experimenting themselves. In fact, some even make a point to say that they do not teach. As westerners, we tend to expect the teacher to, well, teach, and instructors to, well, instruct. Perhaps because society and education system have trained us that way, with text books, PowerPoint handouts, course notes, and information brochures.

The whole idea of "not teaching" because it is up to the student to steal it, is actually, IMO, by far the most expedient method of teaching. It saves having to explain a lot of stuff in words, if the student could simply intuit what the teacher means. Ellis has already written extensively on the raison d'etre for this in AI3P and HIPS, so I won't belabour the point regarding that, other than to say, it's the same reason one's business would run a lot more smoothly, with far less external intervention, when employees can pre-empt the boss' requirements, as would a household, when husband, wife and children are in-sync. Come dinner time, meals get put on the table a lot quicker, if everyone intuitively knew what was happening, instead of me having to shout the orders - lay the table, utensils, etc. etc. dammit child, you know the drill.

But I'm certain too there were times when I missed quite a few things, due to a momentarily lapse of attention and concentration, OR because I just didn't know IF I was missing something important, like some nuance or movement. And as is the custom, once that moment is gone, it's gone. Too bad if you missed it.

When I switched over to the dark side a few years ago, my jujitsu sensei made it quite explicit that I was expected to steal what I could. FWIW, I left after 6 months of training twice a week, having gleaned the core of what he was openly willing to show - all 223 basic techniques within the curriculum and more. By the end of which, I was already able to extrapolate a number of additional techniques that he had never shown, by just having gleaned the fundamental principles of the art. Of course, he kept a few secrets to himself, and which he quite candidly admitted to... but that was rightly his sole perogative, since I wasn't a formal student, but merely a guest from a related art and accorded the formality and respect as such. Even though, some of the students there made it a point to "test my skill" in the beginning. Not that I was any better or stronger than some, but that it was enough that I was able to hold my own and in some cases, was able to come out on top.

The real question is, what was he holding back, and why was it such a secret? What did I miss? Sometimes, it's just nice to be told what it is.

Aikido and the ATM, however, is quite a different animal. Although the technical curriculum is significantly pared down (as Ellis describes, HIPS p173), it shares several common techniques with jujitsu - certainly in the jujitsu I learnt. It is, however, applied quite differently. Again, Ellis has written quite extensively on this in AI3P and HIPS. The key is really how it is different and why it's different. To paraphrase Ellis in geeky terms, it's like having the public key to an encrypted text - without the private key, you have Buckley's of decrypting it! However, the martial/combative principles contained within Aikido are universal - i.e. they are applicable to *any* pursuit (martial or otherwise). This has been corroborated by many high level practitioners I've trained with, including one of my Aikido seniors. The problem is, is Aikido a martial pursuit dressed in spiritual robes, or a spiritual pursuit clothed in the martial attire? Or both? Again, Ellis talks about this at length.

Ellis' whole point about the inefficiency of the ATM is within the context of a martial art and technical corpus. To those that are of the firm opinion that Aikido is solely a spiritual pursuit with limited utility in a combative arena, I would ask this: If you cannot hold your own in a different venue, with different rules, then what purpose does clothing the practice in martial attire serve? Why not simply discard the keiko gi, the hakama (in jujitsu, the hakama is sometimes worn, in some places both for regular training and ceremonial rituals), and the ranks, and just pursue the spiritual practice?

If it is a martial pursuit, with spiritual overtones, can you still hold your own in a different venue, with different rules? If not why not? What is missing and why? Does it need fixing and how would you fix it?

For a short time I studied KU with Sensei Patrick McCarthy. Like every noob that turned up that first nite, I showed up in a white belt as well. Only Patrick knew I had yudansha ranking in Aikido. But it was quite interesting to watch the dojo brutes rough up the noobs and scare them off one by one. So, after about 3 weeks, of the 8 noobs that started with me, I was the only one left. Imagine the consternation when I, a lowly white belt, with just 3 weeks of training, and vastly outweighed by a good 60kg, was able to hold my own against a highly ranked practitioner, in a free-sparring/grappling session - ultimately submitting him in a leg hold, as he very quickly gassed himself out, trying to out-grapple me. Then there was the occasion when I accidentally got myself in an ankle lock by another student - a 2nd dan - who nearly ripped my foot off... not only was that totally unnecessary, and showed poor control on his part, but it clearly highlighted a shortcoming on my part.

So, if you cannot at least hold your own, what good is Aikido as a martial art then? One would be hard pressed to offer Ueshiba as founder and role model for the art, a man who took on all-comers and proved his martial skill and ability time and time again, if few can match, much less emulate his prowess and abilities.

I happen to like the ATM and as a spiritual-cum-martial pursuit - in preference to everything else I've done. Personally, I don't care if the ATM is inefficient or not - the satisfaction of simply training is sufficient for me. But that's me. Through my interaction and discussions with people like Rob John and Mike Sigman, I can now see where the ATM might perhaps be deficient and lacking, but inefficient? Maybe not. Maybe it's simply missing a key ingredient or certain methods aren't entirely correct or worse yet, incomplete. Sometimes it happens, especially with untested recipes scribbled on random bits of paper. Was that 2 x 1/2 cups (why not say 1 cup then?) or 2 AND 1/2 cups? You sure that says 1tbsp and not 1tsp? Mix ALL the ingredients together? But won't that just go lumpy?

If someone were to approach me because they knew I "do" Aikido, (and I have done this before) I wouldn't simply teach them what I know of Aikido (which in actuality, may not be very much at all). Their needs and desires may not necessarily be the same as my own personal pursuits and practices. It may be that I might teach them something else entirely appropriate for what they need to know now and are able to easily replicate within a short space of time. For starters I might not teach them basic ukemi. Perhaps I might simply teach them how to stand, how to root, how to shift weight, or how to change their body angle through a slight shift and turn of the feet instead of irimi/tenkan. And instead of the obligatory ikkyo and progression through a vast repertoire of wrist and finger locks, I might teach them how to strike vulnerable areas with or without a makeshift weapon. In that sense, yes, the ATM is inefficient for their particular needs.

But obviously, I wouldn't call it Aikido... why would I? Yet, by the same token, the principles contained therein are universal and not specifically unique to Aikido.

Last edited by eyrie : 09-06-2009 at 06:52 AM.

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