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Old 10-04-2009, 10:11 PM   #1
Kabura
Dojo: Okinawa Aikikai
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Has something changed in Aikido? (Lack of Weapons Training)

Has something changed in Aikido? Has the Bokken been removed?

I have recently started back in Aikido, I have been away from it for about 10 years. I started Aikido in Okinawa, then move back to Texas where I went to classes there for 4 months, if which time my job took me to Thailand where studied at Thai Aikikai http://www.thaiaikikai.com/eng/home.html Renbukan Dojo, Fukakusa Sensei ( 7 dan ).

When I was in Thailand we would use the Bokken almost ever class for 10 ~ 15 minutes. All Kyu's and Dan's would do this.

Now that I have started again in Okinawa Aikikai, I carried my weapons bag with me to class, everyone was looking at me and they asked if I was looking for Kendo or Iaido class. I said no I was looking for Aikido. In talking with several members of the dojo, There are shodan, nidan and sandan members that have never held a bokken in their hands.

I didn't get to talk with Yamaguchi sensei about weapons use in his dojo.

Aikido with out the bokken feels hollow to me. When I showed some of the members how shomen uchi and shihonage movements come from the bokken you could see the spark in the eyes in the ahhhhhhhhh moment.

I'm new to this dojo and I don't want step in and make waves and get drummed out.

I'm just wondering is this something that is happening in other dojos around world?
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Old 10-05-2009, 12:16 PM   #2
Shadowfax
 
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Re: Has something changed in Aikido?

We use bokken, jo tanto and shini often in my classes. Maybe not every class but at least once a week. Its not a world wide thing or even an organization thing. (my dojo is Aikiki too) I think its just the particular dojo you are at. Maybe you should ask your sensei about his view on the use of weapons in his classes.
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Old 10-05-2009, 12:37 PM   #3
Janet Rosen
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Re: Has something changed in Aikido?

It is very much a matter of the individual dojo-cho's preference and priorities, not reflective of any kind of large trend.

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 10-05-2009, 12:41 PM   #4
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: Has something changed in Aikido?

In the same organization the preference on weapons use varies. It really just depends on the instructor.

Lyle Laizure
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Deru kugi wa uta reru
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Old 10-05-2009, 01:11 PM   #5
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Has something changed in Aikido?

You won't see much bokken or jo work from Yamaguchi sensei at Okinawa Aikikai in Okinawa, although I believe Michael Veltri sensei teaches weapons at his Okinawa Aikikai DC dojo. Do not be dismayed however; there is much to learn from Yamaguchi sensei without weapon work.
Some folks think that if you want to learn how to use the katana or jo correctly, you should probably learn those things from a good koryu instructor, not from a gendai budo instructor. I happen to agree with that school of thought. People that are really good with weapons will tell you that most aikidoka's weapon work is mediocre at best. If weapon's work is your thing, look around there in Okinawa. Hang out at the Okinawa City Budokan and the Naha City Budokan and see what's available.

Last edited by gdandscompserv : 10-05-2009 at 01:20 PM.
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Old 10-05-2009, 03:34 PM   #6
ninjaqutie
 
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Re: Has something changed in Aikido?

We have two classes a week dedicated to weapons in my dojo. We do use weapons in our "normal" classes as well. Saturday we actually did defenses against the tanto.

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
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Old 10-05-2009, 07:04 PM   #7
Adam Huss
 
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Re: Has something changed in Aikido?

We've actually invorporated Yagyu Shinkage Ryu and Shindo Muso Ryu Jodo into are aikido training. There are many weapons sets per tests, including buki renzoku/renshu waza (sotai dosa), kumitachi, kumijo, kumitanto, kumitanto jo, kumitachi jo, etc, etc. We place a heavy importance on weapons work and take it seriously. And, yes, most aikido weapons work is mediocre at best....usually incorporating two jo kata and two bokken kata. Speaking of, I now have a question I want to post a new thread on.

Tony, that's too bad about the lack of weapons training. It really is an integral part of training and helps immensely with ma'ai and increasing martial focus and spirit. One reason we say we like to train with weapons (why we train with weapons in aikido is a common question asked during koto shitsumon part of tests) is because we can train in a full out dynamic manner...something not done often in toshuwaza due to potential for injury (usually reserved for advanced classes).

Ichi Go, Ichi Ei!
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Old 10-06-2009, 06:20 AM   #8
Karo
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Re: Has something changed in Aikido?

Quote:
Ricky Wood wrote: View Post
although I believe Michael Veltri sensei teaches weapons at his Okinawa Aikikai DC dojo.
Yep, just last night we managed to create great chaos and mayhem with the use of jo and tanto

Karo
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Old 10-06-2009, 06:57 AM   #9
sorokod
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Re: Has something changed in Aikido?

If you look at the Aikikai official grading requirements( http://www.aikikai.or.jp/eng/gradingsystem.htm ) you will notice that the only ken related item is Tachidori from 3rd dan. While different Aikikai affiliated dojos are free do have their own grading system, this surely sets the tone.

To contrast, here is a grading syllabus from an Iwama style: http://traditionalaikido.eu/doc/grading_syllabus.pdf

Last edited by sorokod : 10-06-2009 at 07:04 AM.

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Old 10-06-2009, 11:17 AM   #10
Kevin Karr
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Re: Has something changed in Aikido?

This is another one of the unfortunate dichotomies (trichotomy?) of Aikido: some do lots of weapons work, some do a little, and some do none at all. From my experience, I have been taught that weapons, and the sword in particular, are inseparable from the art and one's ability in empty hand technique is directly related to their understanding of the use of the sword (and jo). So, the idea of doing Aikido without training with the bokken, at least, seems nonsensical.

For what it is worth, my advice to the OP is to continue on your own with your suburi practice. I think you will notice an appreciable difference between you and your classmates who never touch weapons.
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Old 10-06-2009, 01:34 PM   #11
Allen Beebe
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Re: Has something changed in Aikido?

Changes in Aikido that I have noticed:

1. I used to almost always be the youngest in the dojo/seminar.
2. I used to think that I could and would "master" Aikido.
3. I used to think that after after I accomplished "______" I would be fulfilled.
4. I used to think that after accomplishing "_______" and mastering Aikido I would be a) more attractive, b) more popular, c) greatly respected, d) full of power and wisdom, e) essentially new and improved, and f) that would bring me lasting happiness.
5. I used to think that if I just learned "_____" I would be unconditionally martially viable as if that would make me invulnerable.
6. I used to think that "rank" represented something tangible that I could comprehend.
7. I used to think that articles of clothing might represented something beyond articles of clothing.
8. I used to think that if I had better "stuff," I was better somehow.
9. I used to think that another human being could and would save me from my human failings and frustrations.
10. I used to think that I could "push myself beyond my limits" before I found that all I really needed to do was learn that I was more limited by my beliefs than by reality and truly learning my limits is quite liberating.

There are more changes for my Aikido but I've reached the "limits" of my time.

Cheers!
Allen

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 10-06-2009, 02:01 PM   #12
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Has something changed in Aikido?

Nice Allen, very nice. thanks.

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Old 10-06-2009, 02:17 PM   #13
dps
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Re: Has something changed in Aikido?

Quote:
Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
10. I used to think that I could "push myself beyond my limits" before I found that all I really needed to do was learn that I was more limited by my beliefs than by reality and truly learning my limits is quite liberating.
That makes me .
David
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Old 10-06-2009, 02:28 PM   #14
Mark Freeman
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Re: Has something changed in Aikido?

Quote:
Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
Changes in Aikido that I have noticed:

1. I used to almost always be the youngest in the dojo/seminar.
2. I used to think that I could and would "master" Aikido.
3. I used to think that after after I accomplished "______" I would be fulfilled.
4. I used to think that after accomplishing "_______" and mastering Aikido I would be a) more attractive, b) more popular, c) greatly respected, d) full of power and wisdom, e) essentially new and improved, and f) that would bring me lasting happiness.
5. I used to think that if I just learned "_____" I would be unconditionally martially viable as if that would make me invulnerable.
6. I used to think that "rank" represented something tangible that I could comprehend.
7. I used to think that articles of clothing might represented something beyond articles of clothing.
8. I used to think that if I had better "stuff," I was better somehow.
9. I used to think that another human being could and would save me from my human failings and frustrations.
10. I used to think that I could "push myself beyond my limits" before I found that all I really needed to do was learn that I was more limited by my beliefs than by reality and truly learning my limits is quite liberating.

There are more changes for my Aikido but I've reached the "limits" of my time.

Cheers!
Allen
Hi Allen,

Excellent post, thanks, permission to plagarise and use it outside of this forum?

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 10-06-2009, 02:38 PM   #15
Allen Beebe
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Re: Has something changed in Aikido?

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
Hi Allen,

Excellent post, thanks, permission to plagarise and use it outside of this forum?

regards,

Mark
Mark,

Sure, use away! I just had a minute at lunch and decided to toss a post, nothing special. I'm glad it "resonated" with some.

Take care,
Allen

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 10-06-2009, 04:47 PM   #16
Howard Popkin
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Re: Has something changed in Aikido? (Lack of Weapons Training)

Al,

Shakespeare couldn't have said it better

Howie
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Old 10-06-2009, 04:55 PM   #17
thisisnotreal
 
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Re: Has something changed in Aikido? (Lack of Weapons Training)

Mr. Beebe - It was great. Thank you.
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Old 10-06-2009, 06:38 PM   #18
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Has something changed in Aikido?

Quote:
Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
Mark,

Sure, use away! I just had a minute at lunch and decided to toss a post, nothing special. I'm glad it "resonated" with some.

Take care,
Allen
^Somebody that's got IT!
Nicely put Sir.
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Old 10-06-2009, 06:56 PM   #19
Allen Beebe
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Re: Has something changed in Aikido? (Lack of Weapons Training)

Thanks guys.

I'm starting to get a little embarrassed though . . . seriously! I'm certain I just happened put some words to what a lot of Aikiweb readers have experienced.

Crawling back into my hole,
Allen

"Somebody that's got [sh]IT!"
{Thanks for that slow pitch Ricky! )

Shakespeare indeed . . . sheesh . . . you're giving me the Willies Howie! (Harr-Harr! I crack myself up.)

Last edited by Allen Beebe : 10-06-2009 at 07:00 PM.

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 10-07-2009, 12:17 AM   #20
Nafis Zahir
 
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Re: Has something changed in Aikido? (Lack of Weapons Training)

What has changed, IMHO, is Aikido has become watered down. Sure, you can practice Aikido without weapons, but when you study weapons and how they relate to body movements, you get a much better understanding of the art and the pratical application of a technique. The body movements and taiso of those who do weapons is more advanced than those who do not use weapons. Saying Aikido doesn't need weapons is the same as saying Aikido has no real need for Atemi, which is somethin else that has mostly disappeared from modern day Aikido.

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Old 10-07-2009, 07:29 PM   #21
aikidocapecod
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Re: Has something changed in Aikido? (Lack of Weapons Training)

I am a long time student of Gleason Sensei Shobu Aikido of Boston. He often works with bokken and jo. In fact this Saturday there is a weapons seminar. I have learned so much about how to move through weapons work. Part of dan testing in the ASU schools, under the direction of Saotome Sensei requires bokken, jo and tanto work.

So from my point of view, the bokken is still a very important part of Aikido training.

Thanks....Larry
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Old 10-08-2009, 06:56 AM   #22
sunrod
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Re: Has something changed in Aikido?

Quote:
Ricky Wood wrote: View Post
...
Some folks think that if you want to learn how to use the katana or jo correctly, you should probably learn those things from a good koryu instructor, not from a gendai budo instructor. I happen to agree with that school of thought. People that are really good with weapons will tell you that most aikidoka's weapon work is mediocre at best.
Surely the aim of weapons in aikido isn't to become a 'weapons master', aiki weapons augment empty hand training.

One of the main benefits of weapons training is, IMHO, that you have an ever willing partner to train with whenever it suits you (i.e. even when the dojo's closed). I love the fact that I can practice aikido everyday by spending 10-20 minutes in the garden going through my suburi.

J.
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Old 10-08-2009, 07:23 AM   #23
lbb
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Re: Has something changed in Aikido?

Quote:
Jason Rodwell wrote: View Post
Surely the aim of weapons in aikido isn't to become a 'weapons master', aiki weapons augment empty hand training.
Well, they do, but there's something about that phrasing that I don't like. Weapons aren't some kind of training tool that were invented to help your aikido training; they predate aikido by centuries, and aikido comes from weapons work. In studying aikido, weapons work is generally an adjunct, but I think it's important for the aikido student to understand that they're dipping a toe into a great big ocean...and that even if all you're doing is dipping in a toe, you still need to treat the ocean with respect. Toward that end, I don't think you really ought to do aikido weapons practice with a constant mindset of "...and how can this help my empty hand practice?" That leads to a failure to understand and respect the weapon for what it is.
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Old 10-08-2009, 11:55 AM   #24
sunrod
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Re: Has something changed in Aikido?

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Weapons aren't some kind of training tool that were invented to help your aikido training; they predate aikido by centuries, and aikido comes from weapons work.
True enough weapons weren't invented for aikido training but the fact that aikido comes from weapons makes them an ideal training tool, no?

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I think it's important for the aikido student to understand that they're dipping a toe into a great big ocean...and that even if all you're doing is dipping in a toe, you still need to treat the ocean with respect
I regularly use my fellow aikidoka as a training tool (& gladly offer myself up in the same way) but that doesn't mean we treat each other with disrespect.

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Toward that end, I don't think you really ought to do aikido weapons practice with a constant mindset of "...and how can this help my empty hand practice?"
I've heard that Saito Sensei used to say 'when training with weapons think of taijutsu & when training taijutsu think of weapons'.

What I take from this is that it's the same, whether holding a bokken, a jo or a person. We train our bodies & our spirit in all these forms of practice.

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
That leads to a failure to understand and respect the weapon for what it is.
Ultimately, what it is is a piece of wood. It's only our perspective that makes it a weapon, a training tool...or a walking stick. (Sorry, being a little flippant to make a point ).

Thanks for making me think
J.
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Old 10-08-2009, 04:28 PM   #25
Dan Rubin
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Re: Has something changed in Aikido? (Lack of Weapons Training)

Quote:
Tony Farkas wrote: View Post
Has something changed in Aikido? Has the Bokken been removed?... Aikido with out the bokken feels hollow to me.
You might be interested in reading "A Revisionist View of Aikido History," by Stanley Pranin, at http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=24. He expresses the same concerns that you do.
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