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Old 10-30-2009, 09:16 PM   #76
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Why do people think Aikido does not work?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
1. the common man has an idea about what fighting should look like, or what they want it to look like.
Quote:
Rob Watson wrote:
All our experience and skill is an impediment to progress because it 'colors' what we see next. One must always keep an open mind and constantly question what we think we know.
Good points. I enjoyed reading those posts, thank you!
A semi quick thought on "what works":
I've always been told it's a stupid idea to punch a guy in the forehead...broken hands and all.
10 years ago I stopped off to pick up some milk at the ampm by my house and saw a big-ish guy with a dazed look in his eye and a golf ball sized knot on his forehead standing in the doorway. I get home a block away and my childhood best friend comes up to me looking for a place lay low because he "just knocked some guy out." He punched the dude almost square in the forehead and had no discernable damage. Simply put, what works, works.
My buddy didn't take a real refined view on fighting...and I don't recommend that approach to anyone, but I think it points to a kind of bottom line of "fighting."

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Old 10-31-2009, 12:04 AM   #77
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Re: Why do people think Aikido does not work?

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Jason,

Your first paragraph...you make generalizations about people that do MMA, BJJ, MT, Wrestling etc....the same generalizations that you are arguing that others make of aikido. They are not necessarily true as most folks that I train with in these sports have a far more broader 'fight" perspective than what I have encountered in other TMA backgrounds such as Aikido. Generalizations just don't work.

Second paragraph. Machida is a very good fighter and employs some very good elements I am sure he has learned from his Karate training. I do the same. However, you are using the logic of association to validate a whole art based on one guy (Machida), poor logic. Machida is a good fighter because he has trained to be a good fighter, and alot of other factors too..but those things only apply to Machida. They don't validate the whole art. Poor logic.

You can draw the same exact parallel to BJJ in the UFC, actually more so, since you find more folks using that as a baseline than karate. However, you also threw out the UFC as a model of "real fighting" so why would you return to that again as a model in the second paragraph to imply the validity of Karate?

Third paragraph. Again, validating by association. O Sensei was probably a good martial artist from all the accounts we have and from our various experiences with his direct students. I believe that is assumed by most of us these days. However, as in the Machida example, he was good because he was good, not because Aikido was good. Why he "invented" aikido? well that is a big debate all the time. I believe he was trying to transcend somethings that were much different than fighting. It was probably implied that you had baseline abilities when you came to study with him, or life was very difficult for you until you obtained those skills.

His students did study other arts. I believe they probably came to aikido for the same reasons I am doing it today, not for the fact that it is complete (it is not), or a higher form of fighting (it is not), but it is/was a good methodology for refinement and mastery of a particular way of doing stuff.

I think it is poor logic to assume all these good judoka etc came to aikido because it was somehow superior in it's effectiveness. I bet that thought probably was never even debated as they understood what they were there to work on having the ability to fight already.

I am not so sure you can say that about the average aikidoka off the street today.

You talk about believing in it...

What is it that you believe in? What is the measures you have established to quantify the effectiveness?

Without establishing a sound, logical, and measurable system of evaluation we cannot really have an intelligent discussion about what good aikido will do for us...THEN we can have faith.

I have wasted way too much time in martial arts over the years using this very kind of logic which is essentially "blind faith".

Sorry to be so negative in my reply, but hopefully it is constructive too!

I had a guy sit down with me a few years ago and kinda lay it out this way for me and it was a big Duh! moment for me!
Kevin,

The generalizations about the three major MMA disciplines were perfectly valid. They weren't meant to demean those arts, so I'm not quite sure how you draw a comparison to the topic of discussion, the widespread notion that Aikido isn't effective. The TS mentioned that his MT friends felt Aikido wasn't any good. I simply gave very valid examples of how those styles, styles that are now viewed by so many (his friends likely) to be the most effective fighting styles around (which in turn lead to so many TMA's to being considered ineffective), aren't necessarily as dominant as they appear in the cage. It's a topic that can be discussed for near infinity, but I felt that what I said got the point across. No style is perfect and as mentioned, cross training is a requirement for being a complete fighter, if that's what you desire to be.

I did use Machida to validate Shotokan as a whole, though I certainly know that it doesn't apply to everyone who studies it and I felt most would clearly understand that. Not everyone who golfs is Tiger Woods, for a multitude of reasons. Machida, in my opinion, most certainly validates Shotokan (and most other striking styles) as valid MMA styles when trained properly (including cross training), with the right mindset and intention and obviously, the right person. He simply shows that karate, as an art, can be just as good a striking art as muay thai. Again, remember the context of my reply. His friends felt Aikido was no good. Before Machida, his friends likely felt the same way about karate. It was only an example to highlight how these popular generalizations aren't exactly true.

I never said those good judoka came to Aikido because it was superior. Their reasons for devoting themselves to it were their own, but they obviously felt that it was effective. Again, many of those early students were tough, fighting men. They trained in martial arts for a variety of reasons and one of them was that fighting was far more common than it is these days. It doesn't make sense that they would devote their life to another art unless they felt it worked.

As for believing, again, I thought my brief comment on it was fairly clear. If you want to know that what you are learning works, you have to test it. That doesn't mean you go out starting fights, but you can certainly cross train and work with people of other styles/backgrounds/size/etc and form, with experience, a fairly valid opinion that what you're learning will work for you. That was my measuring stick, along with having to actually use it a few times. There's no blind faith there, though if people are happy with blind faith (as many are), that's fine. Our society is such that you can avoid fights pretty easily and if what you're doing makes you happy, more power to you. Happiness is more important than fighting any day.

I'm just confused as to why you felt the need to dissect my comments the way you did. You obviously read something into my comments that wasn't there or simply overlooked the context in which they were given. Again, The TS's friends felt Aikido didn't work and he asked why people feel this way. I don't feel there was anything inappropriate or incorrect in my reply, given the context.

mathewjgano's reply to your initial comment was spot on. He understood EXACTLY what my overall point was and the context it was given in. It was simply that how you train and who you train with is far more important than what you train in.
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Old 10-31-2009, 11:08 AM   #78
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Re: Why do people think Aikido does not work?

Jason, no problem, sounds like I may have misunderstood a little. Sorry. It can be hard to communicate this way.

It is not so much the styles themselves that are anymore valid, but what they do within the context of their practice that is.

There is a reason that MT, BJJ, and Wrestling are held in high regard by those that fight for a living both in the ring and out of the ring and there is a reason why arts like Aikido are not.

The challenge is to look at WHY this is the case, and then evaluate what you are doing against those reasons.

I guess my real point is that your argument/logic does nothing really to constructively look at those reasons.

A big reason that MMA guys do so well is that for the most part, they think differently than most guys in martial arts. They are innovators and thinkers, they fully understand how to evaluate their training and adapt it.

I guarantee you that if someone that studied aikido demonstrated that the training methods worked for them, then they would adopt them. The problem is, you'd probably never know about it as they would keep it a secret as long as possible to give them a competitive advantage!

Okay, but even this discussion derails the argument/logic because, I agree the MMA model is not the end all be all of evaluating the legitimacy of training.

The only point is that MMA guys have a system of evaluation and measure and are willing to adapt training to meet their goals.

It is not always so clear in Aikido for some reason. If it was, we would not even be having this discussion!

I train in Aikido for some very specific reasons. I also train in BJJ, MT, Judo and a few other things as well for the things those systems offer. I have my own set of criteria and evaluation for determining what I need to do, so when I look at MT, for example, I look at how training like this can help me.

I don't look at it in the way you presented your case above as it does not help get me anywhere.

Hope that makes sense?

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Old 10-31-2009, 11:17 AM   #79
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Re: Why do people think Aikido does not work?

MMA also has a specific goal that is common to all MMA players. As Kevin noted, there are many different goals for aikido, depending on the aikidoka. Some people come to aikido already confident in their ability to beat most people up, and some come with little strength or exposure to any MA. Those two groups, at least, are going to have wildly different goals for their aikido. And, really, most of these discussions of aikido's effectiveness assume the MMA-type goal of the latter group. For a lot of us, that question is not a relevant or a valid one...

I am not an expert
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Old 10-31-2009, 12:05 PM   #80
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Re: Why do people think Aikido does not work?

Well I am one of those guys that came into Aikido looking for the ultimate fighting system (tm). So the logic is very near and dear to my heart as it was a big part of my reason for being in Aikido for so long. Needless to say, I was let down in the end.

Ironically, in the end, the reasons I am in Aikido today are much different, and I feel I am now ready to start studying it for real now.

No longer do I feel the need to have every technique be tactical, fast, hard, or strong.

I find myself wanting to slow way down, correct my responses, re-wire myself....a totally different approach than I had a few years ago.

Anyway, it took and takes looking at things a bit differently as "effectiveness" is a loaded questions depending on what part of it you are dealing with.

I think Jason is really saying the same thing really, so I am not in a big disagreement with him at all. Just the perspective/logic of his evaluation..that is all...but the more I look at what he is saying, the more I think we are really on the same page..so thought i'd bring that up.

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Old 10-31-2009, 02:14 PM   #81
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Re: Why do people think Aikido does not work?

Quote:
Kevin wrote:
It is not always so clear in Aikido for some reason. If it was, we would not even be having this discussion!
I suppose it's an assessment issue here then. Aikido seems to rely so heavily on the abilities of the senior instructors to determine whether or not their students are picking things up that it leaves something perhaps unaccounted for in the way of student self-assessment. Maybe this is where more competition-oriented methods start to have an advantage. I found it very enlightening to practice randori in Shodokan (not that Shodokan is necessarily "competitive"). It said nothing about how good my technique was in terms of overall potential, but it did provide a relative marker based on whoever I happened to be paired up with.
Comparing that form of assessment with my experiences at Kannagara Dojo there's only a subtle difference, as I see it anyway. The main difference was external in that Shodokan has a formal way of creating the setting. My experience at Kannagara Dojo included a similar kind of assessment opportunity primarily by way of open mat time. I also recall a number of times where, practicing a given technique, sempai uke challenged nage by not always being so easy. In my own case, as I became familiar with the basic form, sempai would kick it up a notch (BANG! ) so it became more and more difficult to perform the waza. Some sempai did this more than others, and there's a fine line to be walked in this kind of interaction, but I learned to be glad when people shut me down because it gave me a problem to solve...the theory being that I should be in complete control from the moment of first contact, and as such, should be able to move however I want to (e.g. should be able to MAKE the technique come about). This isn't absolute, in that uke's applied vectors often determine whether I pivot right or left, etc., but it seemed to work well as a rule of thumb.
Sensei Barrish has described Aikido as a kind of dialogue and I have to say I really like that idea. In order for any dialogue to reach new understandings, there has to be room for a bit of play between the operators. I offer a line based off my understanding so far; my partner responds by taking what I've given and building off it. If I sense a hole I address it and see what I get, and so on and so on. To me this is the basic nature of training.
The problem comes about when the operators have little or no sense of the language or when one side is always subserviant...a kind of yes-man uke if you will...because then the conversation never really progresses and neither do the people involved.
The last thought I'd like to share has to do with the Shinto taboo of affecting another person's destiny. Because of this idea, assuming it had much to do with O Sensei's Aikido methodology, I can see why he might have been reluctant at times to cause a huge shift in his students' approach. I know I've read several people who claim O Sensei wasn't concerned with whether or not his students got "it" and that doesn't seem entirely unreasonable to suggest based on this idea. My feeling is that people will generally take from a situation that which seems most applicable. As such it's not a bad thing when you get students who train just for fun or for friendship or even with a bit of a "half-assed" quality (e.g. my half-assed interaction has still proven quite useful to me personally). The trick to maintaining a highly effective system lies in the hands of those who are seriously concerned with making it a highly effective system.
Anyhoo...Lord I was born a ramblin' man.
Cheers all!

Last edited by mathewjgano : 10-31-2009 at 02:17 PM.

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Old 11-01-2009, 05:47 AM   #82
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Re: Why do people think Aikido does not work?

What's the first thing you should do: wrist control!
-but don't forget step 2!
^ ^
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Old 11-01-2009, 09:38 AM   #83
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Re: Why do people think Aikido does not work?

Matthew wrote:

Quote:
I suppose it's an assessment issue here then. Aikido seems to rely so heavily on the abilities of the senior instructors to determine whether or not their students are picking things up that it leaves something perhaps unaccounted for in the way of student self-assessment
In a perfect world, I think this is all that would be needed. However, what if the Senior students are not competent, lazy, or indifferent?

A waza or practice that has an "external" measurement of control/accountability can balance this out some what, but of course, that has it's own issues as well. Competitive/Semi Competitive models are good examples of this and can be seen in BJJ, Judo, Sambo to name three Gi based grappling systems that would work well together.

Outside of that, we end up putting alot of faith in people and as you know you get varying degrees of competence, which is why we then turn to lineage to try and ascertain a degree of competence or standards...and to be honest, I think we have a big problem in this area.

Another discussion, but alot of other organizations such in Yoga are working across styles to at least form a common core competency through a "professional" certification program.

Failure of the common man to really understand martial arts, what good martial arts should look like, the wide range of systems, measures etc....that are out there mean that we will never answer this question.

So we have a model based on trust and vague accountability/measurability and YMMV!

I have come to the conclusion to be successful as a "instructor", Sensei, or Shihan you simply need some notoriety, have had the inkling of transmission through direct experience with a founder of a system..or demonstrate one generation removed, a semi charismatic personality, the ability to work a room, a universal Schtick that you can replicate over and over, and the most important thing...at the end of the day...the students go home feeling good about themselves.

That is not to say that every Shihan or sensei out there is doing this, or is this a judgement of aikido...only that I have found that the public will accept this as a baseline code of standards.

This is something we need to be aware of I believe...because it is easy to validate someones abilities based solely on the headcount of folks they can attract If a 100 people go to a seminar, then they must be good.

This may or may not be true. In fact, they may indeed be an outstanding teacher, but are they able to teach you? Do they understand you and have the "PRESCRIBED" the right things that you need to work on?

Anyway....I am getting off on a tangent now. The point is, each individual needs to look critically at what they need as best they can and formulate their own models, methods and criteria in order to get out of things what they want.

Unfortunately, a rote beginner simply does not have the ability or background so they are left with simply training with who ever they can (insert here...afford, reach, fit into their schedule, like etc.).

..AND the world goes on!

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Old 11-01-2009, 09:49 AM   #84
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Re: Why do people think Aikido does not work?

Matthew wrote:

Quote:
Some sempai did this more than others, and there's a fine line to be walked in this kind of interaction, but I learned to be glad when people shut me down because it gave me a problem to solve..
Yup, I agree this is how I have learned. BJJ was a huge help in this area as you begin to learn spontaneous responses that are appropriate.

HOWEVER...

There is also a downside to this, as you know, once you start "Playing the Game", and you have to be aware that the game is going on. In BJJ this really starts to happen at the mid Blue Belt level, your partners start stalling, being less committed, develop "Game Strategies" etc. So then you develop tactics and strategies to time, bait etc.

All lots of fun for sure as it is physical chess and lots of great skills can be honed through this process. LOTS.

This process is fairly external though and you rely on those external factors to form your responses...it is easy to get very good and get caught up in this game.

To transcend this process, there is another type of practice that is necessary, one which I think alot of aikido dojos use that is interpersonal and based on a certain level of trust, feel, and cooperation.

I think that a mixture of the two types of models/methods to be a pretty good way to do things, although, it ain't for everyone for sure and there are other ways to go about doing it.

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Old 11-02-2009, 07:59 AM   #85
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Re: Why do people think Aikido does not work?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Matthew wrote:

Yup, I agree this is how I have learned. BJJ was a huge help in this area as you begin to learn spontaneous responses that are appropriate.

HOWEVER...

There is also a downside to this, as you know, once you start "Playing the Game", and you have to be aware that the game is going on. In BJJ this really starts to happen at the mid Blue Belt level, your partners start stalling, being less committed, develop "Game Strategies" etc. So then you develop tactics and strategies to time, bait etc.

All lots of fun for sure as it is physical chess and lots of great skills can be honed through this process. LOTS.

This process is fairly external though and you rely on those external factors to form your responses...it is easy to get very good and get caught up in this game.

To transcend this process, there is another type of practice that is necessary, one which I think alot of aikido dojos use that is interpersonal and based on a certain level of trust, feel, and cooperation.

I think that a mixture of the two types of models/methods to be a pretty good way to do things, although, it ain't for everyone for sure and there are other ways to go about doing it.
Nicely said! I can't say that I have a deep understanding of this point, but I do think I have an inkling and it's been a big reason I've been so "anti-"competition in the past. To my mind, competition is usually more about holding the other guy down than it is about doing our very best; it's sort of a short-term-oriented response.
Barrish Sensei once expressed to me his view that a person can get very good through competitive methods, but that in his view it will only get someone so far. My guess is that he views training as a process of discovery which should focus on the internal structure as the primary concern and that honest interaction (i.e. no feints or other games of trickery) requires cooperation. In other words, how can you discover subtleties of movement when the other guy is constantly trying to sabotage your ability to connect directly.
The more I type the less confident I feel in trying to capture the gist of it so I'll leave it at that for now.
Thanks once again for sharing your insights, Kevin. I always enjoy reading them.
Take care,
Matthew

Last edited by mathewjgano : 11-02-2009 at 08:02 AM.

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Old 11-02-2009, 09:14 AM   #86
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Re: Why do people think Aikido does not work?

All IMO ...

Question: "Why do people think Aikido does not work?"

I'll use examples of Shioda and Tomiki. Both used their aikido in venues outside of aikido. They were tested and challenged. Both were very capable men. I would be willing to wager that people who encountered them found something very unusual or unique.

Most Aikido practitioners aren't up to that level of skill. So, we have to take a step back and try to figure out why. I won't go into all the relevant posts that I've made. Guess there's too many by now.

Daito ryu has a base in jujutsu. Content is sometimes broken down by jujutsu, aiki jujutsu and aiki no jujutsu. Remember, Ueshiba's primary art was Daito ryu. Aikido is based upon jujutsu. The single, most prevalent aspect to Daito ryu and Aikido is "aiki". Without "aiki", you only have jujutsu. Without "aiki", the intricate techniques do not work very well.

Judo and BJJ trace their history to jujutsu. It's what they do. MMA also has a history of jujutsu, along with wrestling, boxing, etc. The people in these arts train jujutsu and apply it in a free-style manner. Some move into competition. However, for our purposes, I want to eliminate the competition or competitive events because Ueshiba did not look favorably upon them. So, we'll try to keep the playing field as even as we can. We'll look at Judo, BJJ, and MMA in their learning and training environments only.

Aikido has "20" year techniques which Shioda nor Tomiki ever needed. Why? I believe it is because without "aiki", one would need many years of perfecting the jujutsu to make some of the intricate techniques work. The training in that involves very specific timing, very specific body movements, a relaxing of the body so that the whole body can be used, connecting physically to uke so that one can "lead" uke into a hole, etc. All jujutsu based actions. (Not stating jujutsu is bad. Really good jujutsu can be an awesome thing.) But, the training curriculum in aikido isn't based upon jujutsu but aiki. The way of aiki, literally. And without aiki, that training takes on a completely different aspect. An aspect that involves trying to make techniques work outside of their original purpose. Can they work? Yes, but it involves a lot more training on jujutsu aspects, which is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

So, we look at comparing Aikido, which does have jujutsu in its history, and Judo, BJJ, and MMA. When comparing equal time periods of say 1, 3, 5 and 10 years -- for the most part, Aikido lags well behind the others. But, when looking at Shioda and Tomiki, at 5-10 years, we find that isn't the case. (Just for those who like to bring up the fact that Tomiki and others had prior martial arts backgrounds, please see my thread about How Long and in What Manner. Tomiki was a great judo player but got tossed like a child's rag doll when he met Ueshiba.)

IMO, today's Aikido is mostly jujutsu. And the training paradigm of Aikido is one of the worst jujutsu training paradigms out there. Aikido was never meant to be jujutsu centric, but aiki centric. So, when comparing Aikido people to Judo people to BJJ people, etc, it's going to be common that Aikido people don't do well. They are learning jujutsu in a system that wasn't supposed to train jujutsu, but aiki.

So, the answer to the initial question is because, for the most part, it's true. Aikido does not work in the jujutsu world on equal terms (sure someone with 20 years Aikido could best a 5 year BJJ student). To fix that, as Shioda, Tomiki, Shirata, etc all learned, one must train aiki, for all their previous knowledge and skills in jujutsu failed them when they met Ueshiba. Not the peace and love and harmony "aiki", but the real body skills of Takeda's Daito ryu aiki.
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Old 11-02-2009, 09:24 AM   #87
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Re: Why do people think Aikido does not work?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
I think that a mixture of the two types of models/methods to be a pretty good way to do things, although, it ain't for everyone for sure and there are other ways to go about doing it.
I think you'll like what BJJ instructor Chris Haueter says in the first 50 s. of this clip.

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Old 11-02-2009, 10:40 AM   #88
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Re: Why do people think Aikido does not work?

I heard of an apprentice noodle maker in japan who trained for years in making dough. Since you can purchase perfectly good noodles in a supermarket, I suppose such training is of no use. Try telling that to him, though! Then again, the process is the important part of the journey. To really learn something, to invest yourself in something, that is quite different from learning a wrist lock you can use in your next fight. It is a risk to be spending all this time on something with no tangible short term reward.

Some people are looking for short term rewards, in fact most people want short term rewards. But just because most people eat at fast food doesn't mean that you have to also. If you are patient enough to devote yourself to an art like Aikido, then you are not looking for short term rewards. But there is no shame in that.
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Old 11-02-2009, 11:37 AM   #89
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Re: Why do people think Aikido does not work?

Mark Murray wrote:

Quote:
IMO, today's Aikido is mostly jujutsu. And the training paradigm of Aikido is one of the worst jujutsu training paradigms out there. Aikido was never meant to be jujutsu centric, but aiki centric. So, when comparing Aikido people to Judo people to BJJ people, etc, it's going to be common that Aikido people don't do well. They are learning jujutsu in a system that wasn't supposed to train jujutsu, but aiki.
I agree for the most part. You can learn fundamentals of jiujitsu from a good school in about 5 years I think, maybe less if you are not worried about too high a level of refinement of skill.

I agree that aikido is a poor way and most inefficient to learn jiujistu too as it was not really designed to teach jiujitsu.

I think there are many ways to approach the subject, it depends on what you want out of your training.

For me, in hindsight, I think it would have been best to learn good, basic jiu jitsu ala "Kano Jiu Jitsu", acheive Dan ranking in that system in about 5 years, then move on to "Grad School" with a good bunch of folks that have fundamental skills that are doing Aiki.

That said, show me where that model might be found today?

The closest thing I have found to "Kano Jiu Jitsu" is the Jiu Jitsu taught by Helio Gracie, not sport BJJ, and you will not find that taught in too many places today at a high level.

In addition you have schools of Aikido with varying degrees of students with varying backgrounds, few of which I have found have good fundamental Jiu Jitsu Skills.

Even if they do, as is the case with myself, there are challenges that will arise in "unlearning" or "reframing" skills sets, game plans from habits, defaults, and instincts picked up in the process.

Which is better, well YMMV I suppose.

I can tell you that I feel that the time I spent in BJJ was invaluable to me in learning, and I don't think i'd be were I was today with out the training.

Conversely, my aikido training is just starting to pay off in my Jits game, so I am continuing to increase my quality time spent with that as well.

but overall, I agree with your assessment.

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Old 11-02-2009, 11:53 AM   #90
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Re: Why do people think Aikido does not work?

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Heather Randolph wrote: View Post
I heard of an apprentice noodle maker in japan who trained for years in making dough. Since you can purchase perfectly good noodles in a supermarket, I suppose such training is of no use. Try telling that to him, though! Then again, the process is the important part of the journey. To really learn something, to invest yourself in something, that is quite different from learning a wrist lock you can use in your next fight. It is a risk to be spending all this time on something with no tangible short term reward.

Some people are looking for short term rewards, in fact most people want short term rewards. But just because most people eat at fast food doesn't mean that you have to also. If you are patient enough to devote yourself to an art like Aikido, then you are not looking for short term rewards. But there is no shame in that.
Well I think a big part of the problem is that the average person has no idea what they are investing their time in when it comes to martial arts and it is not definitive when we start training. That and as a lot we like it that way I believe as it allows us to have a great deal of flexibility in attracting students and being accountable for our "product".

A guy that goes on an apprenticeship for making noodles probably would not do so unless he had a pretty good idea that the guy he was studying with was the best noodle maker he could find in his area, within his budget, time etc. i.e. he understands WHY he is studying with the Master Noodle Maker.

That Master Noodle Maker probably has won awards, has run a high quality restuarant, has a product that sells, taste good etc. We are able to define what "Quality Noodles" are.

So, that begs the question...what is quality Aikido?

It ain't for me to judge or define it...but think about it for a minute...do we really understand what that is and how you define it?

I have my own definition and I feel pretty comfortable on my journey right now to acheive my goals, albeit the path has been an interesting one, and one that I had to define for myself as I have learned along the way.

The biggest thing I have learned is constant self introspection, always willing to look at what others are doing, developing criteria and models to define success, and re-evaluation as I go.

I have felt "ripped off" at some points, but I have gotten over that once I started accepting responsibility for my own training and stopped living by the definitions of others. I am responsible for Me.

Sure it requires long hard work and some faith, patience etc.

However, this is a far cry from placing blind faith in one guy or one dojo...I think this is not healthy for anyone at all.

I think the best students constantly look, seek, challenge critically and ask the tough questions.

Again, I don't buy into the 20 year model for learning base line and fundamental skills. I think this can and should happen quickly.

I think 20 years comes as we look long term at refinement and progressive skill sets.

Unfortunately we have folks on a 20 year plan to learn basic, fundamental waza...skills that should be obtained in about 5 years.

20 years should be about learning pedagogy, methodology, learning to interact with students, breadth and depth of a system, and how to be a leader within your community of practice.

On top of that...skills should be progressive...say 5 years to learn good fundamental jiu jitsu. 5 years to begin to learn Internal Skills, 5 years to synthesize, and 5 years to refine...something like that.

But, lots of folks are fixated on the 20 year model for waza and get caught it a "do loop" of doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

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Old 11-03-2009, 01:53 PM   #91
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Re: Why do people think Aikido does not work?

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Well I think a big part of the problem is that the average person has no idea what they are investing their time in when it comes to martial arts and it is not definitive when we start training. That and as a lot we like it that way I believe as it allows us to have a great deal of flexibility in attracting students and being accountable for our "product".

A guy that goes on an apprenticeship for making noodles probably would not do so unless he had a pretty good idea that the guy he was studying with was the best noodle maker he could find in his area, within his budget, time etc. i.e. he understands WHY he is studying with the Master Noodle Maker.

That Master Noodle Maker probably has won awards, has run a high quality restuarant, has a product that sells, taste good etc. We are able to define what "Quality Noodles" are.

So, that begs the question...what is quality Aikido?

It ain't for me to judge or define it...but think about it for a minute...do we really understand what that is and how you define it?

I have my own definition and I feel pretty comfortable on my journey right now to acheive my goals, albeit the path has been an interesting one, and one that I had to define for myself as I have learned along the way.

The biggest thing I have learned is constant self introspection, always willing to look at what others are doing, developing criteria and models to define success, and re-evaluation as I go.

I have felt "ripped off" at some points, but I have gotten over that once I started accepting responsibility for my own training and stopped living by the definitions of others. I am responsible for Me.

Sure it requires long hard work and some faith, patience etc.

However, this is a far cry from placing blind faith in one guy or one dojo...I think this is not healthy for anyone at all.

I think the best students constantly look, seek, challenge critically and ask the tough questions.

Again, I don't buy into the 20 year model for learning base line and fundamental skills. I think this can and should happen quickly.

I think 20 years comes as we look long term at refinement and progressive skill sets.

Unfortunately we have folks on a 20 year plan to learn basic, fundamental waza...skills that should be obtained in about 5 years.

20 years should be about learning pedagogy, methodology, learning to interact with students, breadth and depth of a system, and how to be a leader within your community of practice.

On top of that...skills should be progressive...say 5 years to learn good fundamental jiu jitsu. 5 years to begin to learn Internal Skills, 5 years to synthesize, and 5 years to refine...something like that.

But, lots of folks are fixated on the 20 year model for waza and get caught it a "do loop" of doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
Malcom Gladwell and I would disagree LOL....In any discipline it's really simple mathematics... It's takes about 10 Thousand Hours to achieve Mastery in almost any craft..In most Aikido Practice you are awarded rank based on two criteria...1.Technical Knowledge and Application of Techniques 2. Number of Hours in the Dojo...I've known Aikidoka who've gone to Japan to hang out with Shoji Nishio Shihan when he was still alive, practiced 8 to 10 hours a day everyday for a few years in both Aikido and Iaido and come home as 3rd Dans or even 4th Dans in rare cases where Sensei felt they have reached that level...Our current Doshu Kenji Yoshida Sensei lived with Nishio Shihan for over 10 years and practiced Aikido and Iaido 10 to 12 hours a day everyday and has for over 30 years (Any other followers of Nishio Shihan and Yoshida Sensei please correct me if I am wrong )

My Roshi's teachings on Zen Master Dogen's "Instructions to the Cook" has been a great guide for me too...

Some folks are obsessed with achievement in their practice other's wish to achieve mastery... Both take time...However I believe you can experience "Mastery" at anytime and in anyplace as a 5th Kyu or 8th Dan right here right now. Though these Mastery "Experiences" may only be glimpsed or slightly felt in the beginning of ones practice (indeed you may be so inexperienced that you are completely unaware of them Which is one of many reasons you have a Sensei LOL) With Hard practice this Mastery seems easier to "achieve"

When I was younger I almost fell into the trap of Achievement mistaking it for Mastery...Now I realize that with every breath Mastery can be Achieved and I am no longer in such a hurry to "obtain" it... LOL!

I still remember well what a great honor it was to have Shoji Nishio Shihan award me my Shodan and what he said to me..."All a black belt means is that you have the potential to be a good student."

Aikido works on any level you want it too As long as you're willing to put in the work... My goal with it has always been to Master Myself...In an age of Automatic Weapons.. Predator UAV's..JDAM's and Glocks...It matters just a little how much I can kick ass with my bare hands or a sword... But if I can learn to resolve conflict without causing undue harm, and develop a "Sincere Heart" the way Shoji Nishio and O'Sensei expressed it. Then I will have "Achieved" "Mastery" Aikido is my "vehicle" for this "journey" and there are many others too.

Continue to practice hard my Dear Friend Kevin..I am blessed to be acquainted with someone who has such a passion for the Martial Arts and bettering themselves.

William Hazen

Last edited by Aikibu : 11-03-2009 at 02:03 PM.
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Old 11-03-2009, 02:11 PM   #92
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Re: Why do people think Aikido does not work?

Hey WIlliam,

well no issue of course.

the question I think boils down to functional, working knowledge or mastery.

I think that you can achieve functional knowledge at a fairly quick level if trained properly as you know from your time in the miltary.

Pedagogy of our martial practice needs to be structure in a way that allows for successvie and progressive levels of mastery.

I believe that it should be codified some how in this manner, and in many ways it is.....6th Kyu can perform some basic technical functions...5th..4th etc...

Overall, the process from technical master to synthesis probably is a 20 year process.

I think though that alot of folks are eihter selling themselves short of what they have "mastered" early on...or they spin their wheels doing stuff that really is not allowing them to progress through the various levels.

Simply doing something for 20 years with no check points or measures along the way does not mean you will master anything.\

I mean sure if you do 100 suburi cuts every day for 20 years, you will get good at suburi cuts..no doubt about it! But what good does it really do you? I think you could probably master that task in a couple of months actually...so then what? what do you do with this skill? Does your practice or pedagogy provide a progressive path to build upon this mastery...or are you simply doing suburi cuts 20 years later.

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Old 11-03-2009, 02:42 PM   #93
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Re: Why do people think Aikido does not work?

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Hey WIlliam,

well no issue of course.

the question I think boils down to functional, working knowledge or mastery.

I think that you can achieve functional knowledge at a fairly quick level if trained properly as you know from your time in the miltary.

Pedagogy of our martial practice needs to be structure in a way that allows for successvie and progressive levels of mastery.

I believe that it should be codified some how in this manner, and in many ways it is.....6th Kyu can perform some basic technical functions...5th..4th etc...

Overall, the process from technical master to synthesis probably is a 20 year process.

I think though that alot of folks are eihter selling themselves short of what they have "mastered" early on...or they spin their wheels doing stuff that really is not allowing them to progress through the various levels.

Simply doing something for 20 years with no check points or measures along the way does not mean you will master anything.\

I mean sure if you do 100 suburi cuts every day for 20 years, you will get good at suburi cuts..no doubt about it! But what good does it really do you? I think you could probably master that task in a couple of months actually...so then what? what do you do with this skill? Does your practice or pedagogy provide a progressive path to build upon this mastery...or are you simply doing suburi cuts 20 years later.
Well Kevin..I do cutting everyday and perhaps it means nothing other than I have been doing cutting everyday or perhaps it's means that It helps my Iremi, Atemi, Maai, and other aspects of my practice...At this point in my life it feels like the latter.

The challenge for me is not doing 100 cuts everyday...It's doing every cut perfectly and intuitively without thinking about it...LOL

For me Mastery would be to do that everyday all day under any set of circumstances

To see someone do a 100 "perfect" cuts everyday naturally and intuitively is pretty rare, and I don't know how long it will take me to actually experience it myself (one of these days before I die perhaps LOL)

William Hazen
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Old 11-03-2009, 03:09 PM   #94
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Re: Why do people think Aikido does not work?

My last post reminds me of two poignant vignettes...

1.The Movie "The Last Samurai" and Cruise's Major Algren being introduced to the concept of "no mind" during his practice dual with the local swordmaster.

2. Shoji Nishio Shihan's mastery of the Jo...Every seminar he did all of us were spell bound at how easily he wielded the Jo...His mastery of it was breath taking and one of the only times I have truly seen "no mind" embodied in a Martial Artist.

William Hazen
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Old 11-03-2009, 08:53 PM   #95
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Re: Why do people think Aikido does not work?

William,

I think we are having a hard time lashing up our conversation! lol! so sorry if I am misunderstanding!

I think it depends on your goal and endstates. That 100 cuts I agree is very important to do everyday. FWIW I am doing alot more of this stuff now a days than I did when I started as I am beginning to see the light and the importance of development and conditioning as I gain more and more experience.

There is much to be said for this kind of practice.

The hard part, of course, is the linkages back to application.

I think in the beginning we tell students to "wax on wax off" and don't really necessarily tell them why the need to do these things, even if we do tell them, they won't really do them or believe them as being important since alot of time things like suburi are really out of the norm for people and they can't imagine why they would do this boring silly practice that isn't really doing much for them.

That is great theat Shoji Nishio Shihan could also show you the linkage.

How well did most folks pick up on that? How many of them today can do what he can do? How good a job did he do in transmitting this to you and others?

No criticism intended...just asking the questions. Of course I cannot pass judgement on him or you or anyone else...as I have not ever been with you guys!

Kinda getting off the subject...but the point on mastery is what are you there to master?

Of course it could be different for everyone....and maybe your goal is to do 100 cuts daily simply because you like to and it makes you feel good.

However, I think there is more to it. Chess for example is fairly measureable. Some folks want to be a regional champion, world, local...or simply beat their husband or wife etc.

You have to master alot of things to play well. It requires you to really do alot of the same type of things you have to do in martial arts. Repetitive drills, kata, exercises...over and over..daily...developing habits and instincts.

but those drills are not the endstate are they? Playing chess is the endstate. Winning chess is the end state, or maybe simply playing well if not winning.

So what is the linkage of 100 suburi cuts daily back to mastery?

What is the tie in? what is the progression? the building blocks? the feedback process? how do you know they are helping you?

These questions may not be important if you simply see it as a form of exercise or meditation. That is, something you simply do for the joy or the feeling of doing it.

I think for most though that this is not the case when they study a martial art.

The want the strange stuff we do to lead to something the "works"...whatever "work" may mean.

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Old 11-05-2009, 09:53 AM   #96
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Re: Why do people think Aikido does not work?

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Why do people think Aikido does not work?
People have different conceptualisations of what a fight is which are usually defined by their culture. When they see something that doesn't conform to their ideas about what a fight is they have a choice. They either have to change their views or reject the challenge to their views. Most choose the latter.

MMA is deemed to work largely because that's how Americans and most of the western world chooses to fight. Aikido is the exact opposite of the west's culturally ingrained pattern of violence and so it is deemed to be ineffective.

The most amusing thing for me in Aikido so far is dealing with people who say, "But who runs at you with their hands out" and then finding out that when you run at them with your hands out they have no effective defence against it and end up on the floor. Why? Because in their mind their cultural programming tells them that you're going to stand slightly closer than arms length and trade blows with them and in fact IME the hardest part of Aikido is stopping yourself from doing just that and entering in like you've been taught to.
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Old 11-05-2009, 12:49 PM   #97
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Re: Why do people think Aikido does not work?

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Today a good friend of mine who has been training Muay Thai for about a year called me and flat out told me that Aikido according to his oppinion and that of others in his gym is not practical and that he was afraid that I was wasting my precious time .... Why do people think Aikido does not work?
Why don't you ask him?

But at the end of the day, AFAIK, every martial art -- karate, Aikido --Thai Boxing, MMA, Kun Fu -- is backed by someone who says it worked in real life when they needed it. So who's right?

My Kali instructor keeps saying, "Any technique that saves your bacon is the best technique in the universe." If you save your bacon with Yoshinkan, who careswhat your buddy thinks? And if you like doing it, that' all that matters. And the same applies to your buddy. Live and let live. In twenty years, you ad your buddy will either be teaching seminars in your respective arts, or you'll be drinkin beers and thinking it might be great to still be training.

I'll stop rambling now.

"I am not a big fat panda. I am the big fat panda." --Po, Kung Fu Panda
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Old 11-06-2009, 10:50 AM   #98
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Re: Why do people think Aikido does not work?

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LOL, just his comments about grabbing show he is not surprisingly completely clueless about correct aikido technique. This like going to a knee specialist for an opinion of cancer therapy. It's also a fairly stupid question to begin with.

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Old 11-06-2009, 10:54 AM   #99
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Re: Why do people think Aikido does not work?

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I think you'll like what BJJ instructor Chris Haueter says in the first 50 s. of this clip.
very nice comment.

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Old 09-05-2012, 12:29 PM   #100
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Re: Why do people think Aikido does not work?

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I would tell your friends that an entire planet can't be wrong. If it were so, then this art would not have spread to the four corners of the world. Besides, history tells us that the original students of O'Sensei were accomplished martial artists in other arts yet they to decided to study. I don't think they who had real world fighting knowledge and experience would have wasted their time learning this art from him.
good observation.

"The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools."
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