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Old 04-14-2002, 01:24 PM   #1
Kat.C
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Does aikido train the mind?

I have tried to write this question about ten times now but can't seem to word it right It might be a little long but just bear with me please.
I experienced fear and shock when I was attacked and just panicked and put up a rather useless struggle. I did not have any martial arts training at the time but even if I had would it have done me any good? I wonder if even when I have achieved a high level of skill(if I ever do) would it really help if I ever needed those skills? Will aikido just train my body or would it train my mind too so that I would be able to work through the fear and avoid the panic? Or would I need to train my mind in another way?
Or would my body just react despite what my mind is doing? Does anyone know or have an idea?

Kat

I find the aquisition of knowledge to be relatively easy, it is the application that is so difficult.
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Old 04-14-2002, 02:06 PM   #2
guest1234
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Hi Kat,

Of course there are no sure things in life, and every person and dojo is different, but I think your mind gets training as well as your body.

I think training encourages an awareness and bearing that would (a) keep you out of dangerous situations, (b) make you seem a less good target, (c) help you remain calm if the worst thing happens.

This calmness thing was what I was looking for in Aikido (am looking for). I am the picture of calm in a medical emergency, or with airfield sirens going, but let a few disasters happen in my personal life and it was instant inner turmoil. I saw this on the mat in how I was if my partner was really aggresive in his attack. One yudansha at my last dojo would sneak up behind and suddenly grab me, or kiai as he grabbed, or put full strength into the grab the second he touched me...for about a year I'd be like a rabbit, jump and stiffen up.

Now, two years later, I am soooo much better at not getting stiff, no matter how much my partner yells or how hard or fast he grabs. I don't know that it doesn't startle me just as much, but I don't let that control my thoughts.
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Old 04-14-2002, 02:26 PM   #3
erikmenzel
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Dear Kat,

the answer probably isnt easy in this case.
When I was attacked in the Netherlands, my training automaticaly kicked in, even though I experienced a great amount of fear at that time. As for panic, well it was there but it never was able to reach the surface until afterwards. Whether this could be contributed to my training is of course hard to find out afterwards.

From other people I have heard all different kinds of experiences which tend to make me believe that there are as many different responses and reactions as there are people.
I heard of (from) beginners (having had only one or two lessons) that were able to bang their attecker into the wall using ikkyo and I heard from a yondan that he completely froze and paniced when attacked. (I even heard of someone doing a perfect kotegaeshi when attacked with a knife and giving the knife back to his confused, scared and desorientated attacker).

Maybe your training can just help you controling some of the normal reactions one can experience.
Another thing which can easily happen with your training is that you might be more aware of what is going to happen, being more honest towards your instincts and make you avoid trouble or make you leave before the shit hits the ven.

BTW, even though I was victorious when attacked (translation into Aikido language: I used some techniques to create enough time for me to run away, very very fast, so I suvived), I still needed some mental guidance afterwards (partly to come to grips with the responsability you have as an Aikidoka, could not stop thinking about "what if I had killed one of my attackers" and "Didnt I use to much violance").

I hope this answer can help you a bit.

As for your reaction when being attacked again: I hope and pray you will never have to find out.

Erik Jurrien Menzel
kokoro o makuru taisanmen ni hirake
Personal:www.kuipers-menzel.com
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Old 04-14-2002, 02:47 PM   #4
Kat.C
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Quote:
Originally posted by erikknoops
Dear Kat,



Another thing which can easily happen with your training is that you might be more aware of what is going to happen, being more honest towards your instincts and make you avoid trouble or make you leave before the shit hits the ven.

My instincts are so screwed up as to be entirely usless. You're right about training keeping you out of trouble. One of the things I learned in karate and perhaps the most valuable lesson sensei gave me was to avoid dangerous situations. Also during sparring I was continually reminded of my lack of fighting skills which encouraged me to be more careful.
Quote:
As for your reaction when being attacked again: I hope and pray you will never have to find out.
I hope not too. It is less likely to happen now as my attacks were brought on due to my stupidity in putting my self in unsafe situations. I have I believe grown wiser.
By the way Colleen that is my problem too, I continually tense up when I train and must force myself to relax.

Kat

I find the aquisition of knowledge to be relatively easy, it is the application that is so difficult.
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Old 04-14-2002, 03:24 PM   #5
Jim ashby
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Hi Kat

All we are doing in the physical training is conditioning reflexes. A couple of books which may help you "train the mind" are In the gravest extreme by Massad Ayoob and Feel the fear and do it anyway (don't know who this is by). Neither of these books are anything to do with Aikido. What they are to do with is using the adrenalin rush, getting used to it and getting on top of situations. Whether they change your perceptions or training does it is entirely up to you. I used to compete in national competitions and the adrenaline was my friend. Like I said it's up to you.
Have fun.

Vir Obesus Stola Saeptus
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Old 04-14-2002, 08:19 PM   #6
PeterR
 
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Re: Hi Kat

Quote:
Originally posted by Jim ashby
All we are doing in the physical training is conditioning reflexes.
Hi Jim;

Just a short quip but I believe in the dojo we are training the mind. The physical exercises are just the process with the conditioned reflexes a by-product.

As for Kat's dilemma it all depends on the dojo training environment. Really hard to answer her without knowing more.

Cheers

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 04-14-2002, 09:25 PM   #7
shihonage
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Re: Does aikido train the mind?

Quote:
Originally posted by Kat.C
I have tried to write this question about ten times now but can't seem to word it right It might be a little long but just bear with me please.
I experienced fear and shock when I was attacked and just panicked and put up a rather useless struggle. I did not have any martial arts training at the time but even if I had would it have done me any good? I wonder if even when I have achieved a high level of skill(if I ever do) would it really help if I ever needed those skills? Will aikido just train my body or would it train my mind too so that I would be able to work through the fear and avoid the panic? Or would I need to train my mind in another way?
Or would my body just react despite what my mind is doing? Does anyone know or have an idea?
Good question.

You need to recognize the andrenal dump for what it is, and have some techniques that are going to work when all you have left is a good ol' tunnel vision and gross motor skills.

Realistic self-defense schools replicate real-life scenarios for a good reason - to get you used to this chemical reaction which occurs as you decide whether to fight or flight ... to deal with it and still be able to fight.

Aikido does not teach that. How to stay calm and/or to deal with the ensuing chemical changes in your body, remains up to you.
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Old 04-14-2002, 10:10 PM   #8
Kat.C
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WHY is it that I always want to know the answers to questions that DON'T have answers?

Kat

I find the aquisition of knowledge to be relatively easy, it is the application that is so difficult.
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Old 04-14-2002, 10:53 PM   #9
MaylandL
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I can only speak from personal experience as training practices and philosophies are likely to vary across dojos.

The dojos that I train at do help you develop the right mental attidtude to perform a technique correctly. However, we dont train in a realistic self defence situation or train to deal with the emotional, biochemical and physiological changes that happens in a "self defence situation". From this perspective I agree with Aleksey's post.

However, I would also agree with the posts of others such as Jim. We are training to condition our reflexes.

I am of the belief that self defence is not necessarily an outcome of martial arts. I have read many newspaper reports and seen news reports of martial arts experts confronting intruders in their own driveways only to end up in hospital with serious injuries. On the flip side there are many other stories where the martial artist has avoided serious injury.

The poit is that martial arts training does not always condition the mind to deal with a self defence situation. It really depends on how training is conducted within the dojo that you train at.

I'm sure that there are self defence courses that will address that very issue that you are interested in.

Yours in aiki and happy training

Mayland
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Old 04-14-2002, 10:56 PM   #10
nikonl
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Thumbs down

Let me tell you the mother of all answers...: AIKIDO IS GOOD!!!
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Old 04-14-2002, 11:15 PM   #11
guest1234
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Yes, what Leslie said, most definately!!!
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Old 04-15-2002, 06:08 AM   #12
Bruce Baker
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Aikido ...train the mind?

On some levels of perception, Aikido must train the mind.

Just trying to capture the clarity of no thought while letting the lessons of class sink in for randori, while trying to remember these are my friends not a street fight where any thing goes, is in many ways training for mind and body as it is not?

Being blessed ( I don't really mean it ... cynic comment) with Meniere's I have had the random emergences of frightening paronoia, but somehow remained in control? Whether that was from being in the moment or making the moment more important than my fear, I don't know?

Your fears are something you have to confront, analyze, pick apart, and get a personal understanding of for your own well being. If than means getting professional help, then get that understanding from where ever it can come from?

Some confidence and awareness, I think, comes from learning Aikido as it does from other martial arts. But your personal confrontation with fear ... Some times just identifying the fear is the first step to using it. Only a fool is not afraid.

Aikido must train the mind, at least within the context of confidence, but I would guess it is how you use it to make your life better that makes the difference.

Not much help to your circumstance? Sorry.
I do believe if we persist, we will find the answers we need.

(Rolling Stones Quote: You can't always get what you want, you get what you need.)
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Old 04-15-2002, 06:19 AM   #13
guest1234
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Bruce,

I am becoming very frightened for you. Please, please, please see another doctor. Meniere's does not cause paranoia, although I am not surprised to hear you have been occasionally afflicted with it. It shows in your posts, to the point I was concerned how liable folks would be for ignoring what you say and how you say it. But to prove me wrong, do me this favor: take copies of them, and go see your doctor. Explain how we've been treating you. Please.
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Old 04-15-2002, 07:40 AM   #14
Kat.C
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Quote:
Originally posted by nikon
Let me tell you the mother of all answers...: AIKIDO IS GOOD!!!
Agreed.
I think I will just assume that after I have been practicing for some years, my lovely aiki aura will ensure that no one wishes to bother me failing that however, my lovely aiki reflexes will kick in enabling me to blend, and restore harmony

(Just in case my aiki aura and reflexes fail I will focus on ukemi,buy some pepper spray and perhaps I will take up running as well.)

On a more serious note thanks for your replies everyone, alot of good points and suggestions.
I know self-defense courses can be effective as they make it as real as possible, but that does not appeal to me at all,I do not wish to be scared on a regular basis! Most of them at the end of the course stage an attack on you, with you not knowing where or when. I would live in absolute dread of that
Self-defense isn't the main reason why I want to do aikido, but I will be training with that in mind as well. For now I will focus on training hard and having fun

I will also exercise some restraint and not post too many silly questions here

Kat

I find the aquisition of knowledge to be relatively easy, it is the application that is so difficult.
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Old 04-15-2002, 09:14 AM   #15
Chuck.Gordon
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Re: Does aikido train the mind?

Quote:
Originally posted by Kat.C
Will aikido just train my body or would it train my mind too so that I would be able to work through the fear and avoid the panic? Or would I need to train my mind in another way?
Or would my body just react despite what my mind is doing? Does anyone know or have an idea?
Depends on many factors. How vigorous is your training? How much time and attention is paid to the self-defense aspects (in most cases and for the most part, not really the stuff you learn in day-to-day classes)?

On the other hand, continued, dedicated, occasionally rigorous training in any physical discipline involving body contact and potential violence (yep, getting hit with a planet is pretty damn violent), will 'train your mind' to deal with such situations.

In my experience, nothing trains the mind to endure and deal with violent attack quite like violent attack. However, lest we wind up with a bunch of Pink Panther/Kato scenarios, I'd suggest looking into some good koryu weapons training after you get your aikido feet firmly on the ground.

Short of Boot Camp, there's nothing quite like the intensity working at the end of a stick or pointy thing to get you ready to defend against real violence.

Chuck

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Old 04-15-2002, 09:40 AM   #16
Kat.C
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Re: Re: Does aikido train the mind?

Quote:
Originally posted by LOEP


.

In my experience, nothing trains the mind to endure and deal with violent attack quite like violent attack. However, lest we wind up with a bunch of Pink Panther/Kato scenarios, I'd suggest looking into some good koryu weapons training after you get your aikido feet firmly on the ground.

Short of Boot Camp, there's nothing quite like the intensity working at the end of a stick or pointy thing to get you ready to defend against real violence.

Chuck
Hi Chuck, thanks for the great idea! I recall feeling a bit on edge whenever I trained with my bo in karate, well during kumite that is. I will have to see about that once I'm grounded in aikido. Umm, just one question, what is koryu (koryu weapons)?

Kat

I find the aquisition of knowledge to be relatively easy, it is the application that is so difficult.
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Old 04-15-2002, 10:40 AM   #17
Chuck.Gordon
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Re: Re: Re: Does aikido train the mind?

Quote:
Originally posted by Kat.C

once I'm grounded in aikido. Umm, just one question, what is koryu (koryu weapons)?
Koryu means (more or less) old style. KOryu arts are the older (generally) systems evolved from what the Japanese warrior actually did to survive. This is NOT to say that koryu is 'combat' art only. It has more to do with the era and background from which the system sprang than anything else.

Koryu budo, then, are the older systems, sometimes categorized as any budo developed and systematized before Meiji. There are exceptions and that is only a rule of thumb.

Examples include Takenouchi Ryu jujutsu (arguably one of the oldest extant jujutsu systems around, includes sword, long arms, dagger, etc), Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu (oft called kenjutsu, but in fact, encompasses weapons, unarmed and other aspects of combat), Kashima Shinryu (another sogo or comprehensive budo), Hoki Ryu (sword and, to some extent, jujutsu), etc. Some iai systems also are koryu (Muso Shinden Ryu, Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu, etc).

Shin budo or gendai budo are 'new' budo. Usually, but not always, gendai budo are arts organized or RE-organized to emphasize the 'do' rather than the 'jutsu' aspects of training. Note, however, that that is a slippery slope and the distinction between DO and JUTSU is very, very grey and not at all as clear as some folks would like it to be.

Gendai budo include Kodokan Judo, Ueshiba's aikido, modern kendo, ZenKen iaido and jodo, Shotokan karate, etc.

There's some strong evidence that some of the gendai budo were re-tailored specifically to de-emphasize the militaristic aspects that crept in during the Japanese buildup prior to World War II (Ueshiba's aikido amongst 'em).

That's not to say they were de-natured, but that the outward aspects were designed to make them more palatable to the masses rather than a few seriously twisted budo bums and koryu bunnies. Like me and Peter Boylan.

A lot of bandwidth has been occupied talking about the differences tween koryu and gendai, and largely it's a matter of attitude and sometimes application.

Best advice is to train hard in your chosen art (and aikido is a GREAT gateway drug to the koryu!) and then seek out good koryu teachers.

Chuck

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Old 04-15-2002, 11:09 AM   #18
Lyle Bogin
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To answer the original question, I believe aikido provides the opportunity for the practitioner to train their mind. It is a matter of self guidance.

As for myself, I took almost 2 years off from sparring to train in strength and aikido. Now that I have returned to it, eventhough I did not train for sparring specifically, I see vast improvenments in my ability to see my partner's openings, to remain calm under pressure or pain, and to see what is really going on and let my movement come naturally. My tools are much more useful, now that my mind has caught up to my body a bit. Also, I can honestly evaluate my flaws, since I am no longer concerned with winning but rather learning, experimenting, and having fun.

As for actual attacks off the mat, it has been a long time. I've had them and never been hurt, but I see no guarantees. If I think about it, it is on the mat (especially in my journies through kung fu and kickboxing) that I have received the most injuries and had the toughest fights. I am aware of the trap that one can fall into if they contantly struggle to aquire techniques that guarantee their safety on the street. There are many things that can help, but the danger of obsessing over the direct (rather than abstract) practical application of each technique or exercise you perform can lead you away from from what I consider to be the big picture of unity of mind, body, and spirit. Or it could save your life.
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Old 04-15-2002, 11:31 AM   #19
creinig
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Some thoughts from a beginner

I'm doing Aikido for not quite 6 months now (i.e. "bloody beginner" status , but perhaps some impressions of a novice might be helpful in your situation.

I'm more and more noticing that my Aikido training changes the way I "think about" a fight. I mean, I'm more aware of how I'd leave openings for an attacker if I'd do xy, how the distance to an attacker affects my chances etc. I also slowly learn how to move out of the way of an attack and how that's better than trying to land some kind of punch as quickly as possible.

Now closing in on your "training the mind" question: Hmm. Actually I think I'd be more unsure in a fight now than before starting with Aikido, because I now see how dumb and dangerous most of my "instinctive" reactions are
But I guess that will settle when I become more proficient in the art, when the "correct" reactions become kind of instinctive themselves.

As to doing anti-fright training, I think that Aikido *can* really help you with this *if* you place some emphasis in your training on it. That's very much in your own hands. One suggestion would be e.g. to get the basics down and when you're familiar enough with at least one technique to pick an uke you trust [1] and let him attack in a more fierce and/or sudden way. That'll let you have a push of adrenaline and a situation where you are attacked somehow realistically while you are (1) in a safe environment (mats on the floor etc and (2) completely in control (just say "stop" and it's over).

[1]: Ideally this would be anyone in your dojo, but life might not be that simple
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Old 04-15-2002, 11:42 AM   #20
Kat.C
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Does aikido train the mind?

Quote:
Originally posted by LOEP


Koryu means (more or less) old style. KOryu arts are the older (generally) systems evolved from what the Japanese warrior actually did to survive. This is NOT to say that koryu is 'combat' art only. It has more to do with the era and background from which the system sprang than anything else.

Koryu budo, then, are the older systems, sometimes categorized as any budo developed and systematized before Meiji. There are exceptions and that is only a rule of thumb.

Examples include Takenouchi Ryu jujutsu (arguably one of the oldest extant jujutsu systems around, includes sword, long arms, dagger, etc), Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu (oft called kenjutsu, but in fact, encompasses weapons, unarmed and other aspects of combat), Kashima Shinryu (another sogo or comprehensive budo), Hoki Ryu (sword and, to some extent, jujutsu), etc. Some iai systems also are koryu (Muso Shinden Ryu, Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu, etc).

Shin budo or gendai budo are 'new' budo. Usually, but not always, gendai budo are arts organized or RE-organized to emphasize the 'do' rather than the 'jutsu' aspects of training. Note, however, that that is a slippery slope and the distinction between DO and JUTSU is very, very grey and not at all as clear as some folks would like it to be.

Gendai budo include Kodokan Judo, Ueshiba's aikido, modern kendo, ZenKen iaido and jodo, Shotokan karate, etc.

There's some strong evidence that some of the gendai budo were re-tailored specifically to de-emphasize the militaristic aspects that crept in during the Japanese buildup prior to World War II (Ueshiba's aikido amongst 'em).

That's not to say they were de-natured, but that the outward aspects were designed to make them more palatable to the masses rather than a few seriously twisted budo bums and koryu bunnies. Like me and Peter Boylan.

A lot of bandwidth has been occupied talking about the differences tween koryu and gendai, and largely it's a matter of attitude and sometimes application.

Best advice is to train hard in your chosen art (and aikido is a GREAT gateway drug to the koryu!) and then seek out good koryu teachers.

Chuck
Thank you for taking the time to give me all that information. I think I followed most of that and I will look around on the web to check out specific styles. I will definitely follow your advice and train for a while in aikido before trying any of these. Actually I'm not even sure any are offered around here but I'll check sometime. You mentioned a distinction between 'do' and 'jutsu' I didn't even know there was one. I just thought that the names of some arts ended in 'do' and some in 'jutsu'. If you get a chance would you mind telling me the difference? Or maybe tell me where I could look it up?

Kat

I find the aquisition of knowledge to be relatively easy, it is the application that is so difficult.
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Old 04-15-2002, 12:06 PM   #21
Chuck.Gordon
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Does aikido train the mind?

Quote:
Originally posted by Kat.C

Thank you for taking the time to give me all that information ...


You're welcome! Budo history is a serious hobby of mine and I do tend to mouth off at any given opportunity.

What part of the world are you in ... maybe I can make some referrals.

You mentioned a distinction between 'do' and 'jutsu' I didn't even know there was one. I just thought that the names of some arts ended in 'do' and some in 'jutsu'. If you get a chance would you mind telling me the difference? Or maybe tell me where I could look it up?

Do/Michi = Path, Way (also used to denote some streets and lanes in Japan).

Jutsu = Art, science, technique.

Fact of the matter is that there's NOT much difference, and your observation is pretty much spot on. Some folks LIKE the idea that their DO art is vastly superior and oh-so enlightened, unlike those nasty jutsu arts. And some jutsu folks really, really want their arts to be 'combat-effective' and nothing at all like those namby-pamby DO arts ...

Both are ignoring the fact that DO terms were in use by guys doing sword and body stuff way before Meiji and JUTSU has been used to identify arts that are focussed more on the esoteric and spiritual than physical combatives ...

Sigh. What it boils down to is that the old guys in Japan used DO and JUTSU pretty interchangeably much of the time. Some instances, one or the other predominated, but mostly, they were (and are) considered by martial scholars and historians to be complementary facets rather than antagonistic opposites.

Lots of the alleged schism can be traced to the late D. Draeger and his excellent and groundbreaking books on budo. He tried hard to explain things to a western audience, and as a result couched some things in western terms. That's been taken as gospel by some and rather than do as _I_ think Draeger intended and explore more deeply, they are content to say THIS is DO, a morally superior art that has evolved from the barbaric JUTSU arts (or this JUTSU art is superior because it's 'authentic' and 'combat-tested' ...)

It's all pretty much semantic hog, er, whitewash.

I like the idea that what you do in the dojo is JUTSU (technical training, practice, etc) but what you take from the dojo into your life is DO ...

Chuck

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Old 04-15-2002, 12:11 PM   #22
Lyle Bogin
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"I like the idea that what you do in the dojo is JUTSU (technical training, practice, etc) but what you take from the dojo into your life is DO ..."

This is the best simple differentiation I have read so far.

Thank you !
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Old 04-15-2002, 12:19 PM   #23
Kat.C
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Re: Some thoughts from a beginner

Quote:
Originally posted by creinig
I'm doing Aikido for not quite 6 months now (i.e. "bloody beginner" status , but perhaps some impressions of a novice might be helpful in your situation.

Yes your post was very helpful indeed, thank you.
Quote:
As to doing anti-fright training, I think that Aikido *can* really help you with this *if* you place some emphasis in your training on it. That's very much in your own hands. One suggestion would be e.g. to get the basics down and when you're familiar enough with at least one technique to pick an uke you trust [1] and let him attack in a more fierce and/or sudden way. That'll let you have a push of adrenaline and a situation where you are attacked somehow realistically while you are (1) in a safe environment (mats on the floor etc and (2) completely in control (just say "stop" and it's over).
This is a good idea, I'll have to try it sometime in the future.
Quote:
[1]: Ideally this would be anyone in your dojo, but life might not be that simple
Maybe after a couple of years I should use someone I don't trust implicitly and make it even more realistic.

Kat

I find the aquisition of knowledge to be relatively easy, it is the application that is so difficult.
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Old 04-15-2002, 01:44 PM   #24
Don_Modesto
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Re: Does aikido train the mind?

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Originally posted by Kat.C
I experienced fear and shock when I was attacked and just panicked and put up a rather useless struggle. I did not have any martial arts training at the time but even if I had would it have done me any good?....Will aikido just train my body or would it train my mind too so that I would be able to work through the fear and avoid the panic?
I agree with Mr. Ashby about Massad Ayoob, excellent.

See also, http://www.rmcat.com/

This is Peyton Quinn's site. He is making a career of precisely this issue (at $800 for a weekend seminar). His books* are well worth reading. He has a very critical of martial arts with an insider's knowledge of several (he was a yudansh under the late Toyoda.) His writing style is rough and some may need to work through his "slob appeal" approach, but there are gems in the works.

*A BOUNCERS GUIDE: DEALING WITH THE SUCKER PUNCHER & AMBUSHER and REAL FIGHTING: Adrenal Stress Conditioning Through Scenario Based Training at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/se...655404-1844704

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
------------------------
http://www.theaikidodojo.com/
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Old 04-15-2002, 01:53 PM   #25
Jim ashby
Dojo: Phoenix Coventry
Location: Coventry, England
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 303
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thanks for the "Mr"

No need to be so formal, call me Jim. I don't take myself too seriously (hence the signoff). There are some useful books by a guy from my hometown, Geoff Thompson, he wrote "watch my back" etc. I have met hin several times, a thoroughly nice man.
Have fun.

Vir Obesus Stola Saeptus
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