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Old 11-10-2010, 08:20 AM   #126
Ryan Seznee
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Yes, reality is not determined until the box is opened and the cat is observed.

The reality of being "that good" or not is not known until an opportunity to apply the idea ( open the box) is experienced, like being attacked for real.

Does a person have aiki or inner strength is not known until observed.

The cat in the last box opened has a 50% chance of being dead or alive when the lid is opened.

Maybe a better question is how do you train to be "that good"?

dps
I agree. Again, the only way to be sure is it put someone in a situation like that, but just like the cat's plight, death is a possible (and in some cases probable) outcome. This is why we don't do this sort of thing in modern society.

I think your question is more interesting than the question at this post, but others will disagree with me...
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:41 AM   #127
phitruong
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Re: Are We that Good?

in the old days when we still ran on top of tree top and fought on bamboo trees with army of folks who armed with sharp and pointy things , being good meant that you were still alive and kicking versus being dead and no longer be able to propagate your stuffs. sort of darwin law survival of the good, the bad and the ugly.

modern society, where we duel with lawyers, there isn't really a way to say that we are good or not; other than various gladiator avenues like UFC, K-1, and so on. most of folks will lose against a good team of lawyers. as you noticed, that the lawyer species have propagated wide and far.

sort answer: we sucked. lawyers are that good, because they can blend through space and time in multi-dimensions.
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:46 AM   #128
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Re: Are We that Good?

Being concerned with the question will distract from the quest. To be totally in the moment, seeing the situation exactly as it is will help me.
I train mindfully.
When I was attacked I responded at first with fear and anger. When I was grabbed by two hands on one arm...I returned to my center. My attacker was lowered gently to the ground. The altercation was over.
Mary
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Old 11-10-2010, 09:48 AM   #129
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Fine. Nothing wrong with strong, sincere attacks.

But that's not the same as attacking with intent to hospitalize.

And certainly not the same as the Araki Ryu mindset of serving tea with intent to kill.

Katherine
You claiming to know better than I do what's going through my head when I attack. Interesting.
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Old 11-10-2010, 10:13 AM   #130
Ellis Amdur
 
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Re: Are We that Good?

Since my Araki-ryu is being discussed, at least peripheral to the main discussion - -- George made an important point that slipped by people.
So, when I read about people talking about their attitude as they attack, that's well and good. But George was alluding to a specific curriculum that effects one psychologically, perhaps neurologically. This is different from IS, though not mutually exclusive. It is, essentially, berserker rage. People have an idea that this is a chaotic state, uncoordinated, but it is not. The best way think about it is tapping in to the "lizard brain" and by practicing the core skills/techniques, making them pseudo-instincts. In other words, the "instinctive" response when "berserk," is those techniques. You can't just assume a "bad attitude" and tap into this AND function using with precision and integrity.
Similarly, simply asserting that aikido is love and doing techniques as commonly taught will not impart internal strength skills. YOu not only have to practice a lot, you need a specific curriculum and a teacher who knows what he or she is talking about.
(for the poster who dismissed George's reference to me, saying that he was just talking about kata - no, not really. Kata is actually a only part of how we train - - -and I am not going to hijack the thread by going into that/I've written about that elsewhere)
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Ellis Amdur

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Old 11-10-2010, 10:35 AM   #131
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Re: Are We that Good?

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Alex Lawrence wrote: View Post
You claiming to know better than I do what's going through my head when I attack. Interesting.
*shrug* I know what you wrote.

Katherine
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Old 11-10-2010, 11:48 AM   #132
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
*shrug* I know what you wrote.

Katherine
I wrote I intend to hospitalise tori when I attack but that I don't always follow through with that intention.
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Old 11-10-2010, 12:43 PM   #133
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
Alex Lawrence wrote: View Post
I wrote I intend to hospitalise tori when I attack but that I don't always follow through with that intention.
Right.

But if you go in prepared to abort your attack, were you actually attacking with intent to hospitalize someone?

Which may sound like pointless semantic quibbling, but there's a big difference between someone who is really, sincerely trying to hurt you and someone who only pretends to be.

*shrug* I think we're talking past each other. I'm done here.

Katherine
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Old 11-10-2010, 12:49 PM   #134
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Since my Araki-ryu is being discussed, at least peripheral to the main discussion - -- George made an important point that slipped by people.
So, when I read about people talking about their attitude as they attack, that's well and good. But George was alluding to a specific curriculum that effects one psychologically, perhaps neurologically. This is different from IS, though not mutually exclusive. It is, essentially, berserker rage. People have an idea that this is a chaotic state, uncoordinated, but it is not. The best way think about it is tapping in to the "lizard brain" and by practicing the core skills/techniques, making them pseudo-instincts. In other words, the "instinctive" response when "berserk," is those techniques. You can't just assume a "bad attitude" and tap into this AND function using with precision and integrity.
Similarly, simply asserting that aikido is love and doing techniques as commonly taught will not impart internal strength skills. YOu not only have to practice a lot, you need a specific curriculum and a teacher who knows what he or she is talking about.
(for the poster who dismissed George's reference to me, saying that he was just talking about kata - no, not really. Kata is actually a only part of how we train - - -and I am not going to hijack the thread by going into that/I've written about that elsewhere)
Best
Ellis Amdur
You can use my name. I did say it after all.

And unless I totally misunderstand you you've pretty much made half my point.

Does if you're tapping into that lizard brain, programing that berzerk response because that's basically what your Sensei is teaching will the fact that you're doing Aikido kata change how you respond when attacked? We're not all training with the same mindset.
The other half of what I am saying is that not all Aikidoka are doing their kata the same way. Not all of us have the same definition of terms like "connection."

So to go around making blanket statements about the martial effectiveness of all "Aikidoka" is very bold.
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Old 11-10-2010, 12:50 PM   #135
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Right.

But if you go in prepared to abort your attack, were you actually attacking with intent to hospitalize someone?

Which may sound like pointless semantic quibbling, but there's a big difference between someone who is really, sincerely trying to hurt you and someone who only pretends to be.

*shrug* I think we're talking past each other. I'm done here.

Katherine
As there is in aforementioned Araki Ryu kata. Unless part of the training is to kill your partner?
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:25 PM   #136
Ellis Amdur
 
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Re: Are We that Good?

Well, this could easily devolve into some abstract quibbling.

Osawa sensei, senior, shihan-bucho of the Aikikai Honbu, late of the Aikikai and I had a conversation about this very subject, upon my resignation from Honbu dojo, and when I described what I was learning and doing, he told me, with no sense of confrontation, but simply conveying a fact, that what I was doing is "exactly what aikido is not."

I'm told that when several top teachers of Systema observed my myself and my student presenting Araki-ryu, they turned to their students and stated something like, "We are not trying to do that. That is what we have left behind."

Which leads back to the issue if Ueshiba was doing anything different from Daito-ryu, given that the techniques were, largely, the same. Ueshiba stated clearly that he was doing something different. Do we tell him that he didn't know what he was talking about?

Finally, "because that's basically what your Sensei is teaching," I haven't seen my teacher in over a decade and a half. I've been teaching this curriculum, passed down over 19 generations, for over 30 years.

I posted because there was this side discussion of a tradition which I am responsible for as shihan. Simply that accurate information about what I teach is out there. I am not doing so to debate in the abstract.

Apologies for the thread drift.

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Old 11-11-2010, 03:05 AM   #137
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Well, this could easily devolve into some abstract quibbling.

Osawa sensei, senior, shihan-bucho of the Aikikai Honbu, late of the Aikikai and I had a conversation about this very subject, upon my resignation from Honbu dojo, and when I described what I was learning and doing, he told me, with no sense of confrontation, but simply conveying a fact, that what I was doing is "exactly what aikido is not."

I'm told that when several top teachers of Systema observed my myself and my student presenting Araki-ryu, they turned to their students and stated something like, "We are not trying to do that. That is what we have left behind."

Which leads back to the issue if Ueshiba was doing anything different from Daito-ryu, given that the techniques were, largely, the same. Ueshiba stated clearly that he was doing something different. Do we tell him that he didn't know what he was talking about?

Finally, "because that's basically what your Sensei is teaching," I haven't seen my teacher in over a decade and a half. I've been teaching this curriculum, passed down over 19 generations, for over 30 years.

I posted because there was this side discussion of a tradition which I am responsible for as shihan. Simply that accurate information about what I teach is out there. I am not doing so to debate in the abstract.

Apologies for the thread drift.
Sorry Ellis...

George S. Ledyard
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Old 11-11-2010, 09:56 AM   #138
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Re: Are We that Good?

George - My comment wasn't directed at you. I posted to try to ensure clarity about my ryu, but my last post was in hopes of steering the thread back to it's subject, as I didn't want the side issue of Araki-ryu to take over a thread on aikido.
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Ellis Amdur

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Old 11-11-2010, 10:21 AM   #139
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
George - My comment wasn't directed at you. I posted to try to ensure clarity about my ryu, but my last post was in hopes of steering the thread back to it's subject, as I didn't want the side issue of Araki-ryu to take over a thread on aikido.
Best
Ellis Amdur
With all due respect, sir, we've got your number. You just don't want the thread on aikido to KNOW that the side issue of Araki-ryu is actually planning on throwing it down to the ground and inserting a one shaku knife between its fourth and fifth ribs at a 15 degree angle.
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Old 11-11-2010, 10:43 AM   #140
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Apologies for the thread drift.
Osu Sensei,
Having trained with you many times, I do not find you thoughts a drift (IMHO accuracy is never a drift) or your teaching incompatible with my Aikido.
We may never know if we are good enough in a situation if we never allow even the mental intent of being there.
Rei, Domo.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:01 PM   #141
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Re: Are We that Good?

To recap a bit in order to make sure I'm reading some things correctly:
So the Araki Ryu example was provided by Ledyard Sensei to show a divergence between Aikido and other, more destruction-oriented, approaches; the purpose being to illustrate how far removed from a berzerker mindset Aikido is. And thus, that in order to "play nice" one probably needs something extra (i.e. "internal" aiki...for lack of better phrasing) to level the playing field?
Alex was then saying that Araki Ryu curriculum exemplified the general idea of not-contesting where you're weaker (i.e. "Aikido 101") and suggesting that the adoption of a "berzerker" mindset (never mind the possible differences in applied meaning of the term) might be a part of Aikido insofaras some folks interpret Aikido differently and practice with it; the intention being to replicate the kind of intesity of purpose one is likely to encounter in a serious attack.
Am I tracking ok? Regardless, I'd just like to say thank you for the great series of posts for me to consider. I've found it very intersting (that's not a euphemism!)!
Take care!
Matt

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:46 PM   #142
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Re: Are We that Good?

my 0.02, to the OP;
Are we that good?
To answer that, doesn't it go like this?: First: You'd have to be better than everyone else.
Then not only that; but so much better than them, that you're still in your comfort zone; such that you don't even accidentally hurt the attacker. You have to be so safe and secure in your body, your posture, your position, your mindset; that you can -be- you perfectly. And not pushed out of that ...fudoshin. Immovable mind. (Am I using the term wrong?)
I think the only way to tap into this level: is to build and cultivate your power and skill. I think pursuing aiki is the only way to get there...but even still I think it is best to say it *may* allow for this eventuality. But talent, skill, ma education, testing and dedication will be the limiting factors.

Isnt' this the only answer?
O Sensei himself was the best at aikido ever; and apparently he was bested twice, or so I've read on these boards... so frankly; I see this as some sort of limiting case. Nobody is perfect on this plane of existence. Monkeys fall out of trees; and anything can happen on any given day.

Was Wang Shu Jin ever bested? What about Sagawa? I think I read he was undefeated. Takeda?
Could he do it without hurting the guy? Did they care? Is this consideration a core of what makes Aikido different? (as was said earlier above). I don't know and these are honest questions of mine.

I'm thinking the Short version is: Nobody is that good...but some people can come damn close.

just random thoughts aimed at you, Jon.
j
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:50 PM   #143
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Question Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
Josh Philipson wrote: View Post
O Sensei himself was the best at aikido ever (...)
Not wanting to sound heretic but is that really so? Also an honest question. And certainly not a personal attack.
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:54 PM   #144
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Re: Are We that Good?

Don't know. Isn't it axiomatic? No worries Alejandro.
again; thos're my honest questions too. ..so i appreciate them in kind..
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Old 11-11-2010, 03:09 PM   #145
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Re: Are We that Good?

Matt - to your summary, further points. If George hadn't discussed Araki-ryu specifically, I wouldn't have felt a need to participate. But responses to George were one the line of, "We do that too."
The additional point is similar to the interminable discussions on internal training. So many people in aikido say, "We do that." or "We know that - it's just a matter of practicing more hours than I do." However, internal training requires more than catchphrases - it requires a curriculum. And has been pointed out, many eminent teachers withhold essential knowledge from their students. Expertise in this field require not only a lot of hours of practice, the assumption of a certain attitude, but specific instruction on very complicated and/or subtle details. One of my teachers - just today - taught me something that I never would have dreamed of - or conceived of, without his instruction. A body mechanics technique, that would be incomprehensible to me had I not learned previous steps.
Similarly, asserting that one has violent intent, or that one is a tough guy, or at least one's teacher is a tough guy, does not establish that one has learned a very specific curriculum (not exclusive to Araki-ryu, by the way) which creates something specific, which George and then I struggled to describe.

Aikido is sometimes viewed as this grab-bag, in which "anything can be aikido." This is not the equivalent of "anything can be music." The kind of claim I'm objecting to is more like, "Anything can be Mozart."

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Ellis Amdur

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Old 11-11-2010, 04:59 PM   #146
kewms
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Aikido is sometimes viewed as this grab-bag, in which "anything can be aikido." This is not the equivalent of "anything can be music." The kind of claim I'm objecting to is more like, "Anything can be Mozart."
Or even, "anything can be Mozart's oboe concerto."

This happens in the sciences, too. An expert writes an article (or is interviewed by a reporter) for a non-expert audience, and in order to make the material accessible, necessarily simplifies it substantially. Often, to such an extent that the result seems trivial to non-experts.

That doesn't mean that this particular experiment (or piece of martial practice) isn't unique and important, just that words have (again) proven inadequate to the task of showing why.

Katherine
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Old 11-12-2010, 04:21 PM   #147
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
To recap a bit in order to make sure I'm reading some things correctly:
So the Araki Ryu example was provided by Ledyard Sensei to show a divergence between Aikido and other, more destruction-oriented, approaches; the purpose being to illustrate how far removed from a berzerker mindset Aikido is. And thus, that in order to "play nice" one probably needs something extra (i.e. "internal" aiki...for lack of better phrasing) to level the playing field?
Alex was then saying that Araki Ryu curriculum exemplified the general idea of not-contesting where you're weaker (i.e. "Aikido 101") and suggesting that the adoption of a "berzerker" mindset (never mind the possible differences in applied meaning of the term) might be a part of Aikido insofaras some folks interpret Aikido differently and practice with it; the intention being to replicate the kind of intesity of purpose one is likely to encounter in a serious attack.
Am I tracking ok? Regardless, I'd just like to say thank you for the great series of posts for me to consider. I've found it very intersting (that's not a euphemism!)!
Take care!
Matt
All martial arts basically use the same tactics and the mindset we were discussing is derived from those tactics because tactics are only successful if the opponent is unaware of them and therefore deception is required.

So if one wishes to separate Aikido from any kind of violent mindset it must first separate itself completely from a martial paradigm.

The fundamental reality of an Aikido technique is that uke is off balance and tori is on balance. Tori is in control. That Aikidoka use harmonisation, blending and redirection to produce this state changes nothing. Simply stating that the mindset is not the same as in other arts again changes nothing. Is being pinned to the mat in Judo different from being pinned in Aikido? Is the act of pinning really an example of conflict resolution? No. It is containment of the conflict, it is control of the aggressive party, it is not resolution.

Of course some Aikidoka like Jon maintain that Aikido is not about controling uke in which case uke is free to act which means that tori is not an agentic force; we can dispense with tori all together; they're superfluous in a training system were uke is determined to find the mat by any means. Their only function is to maintain an illusion of training so that uke doesn't feel daft doing what they are in reality doing: throwing themselves on the floor. The correctness of technique here is meaningless because the priority is to maintain connection and harmony no matter how artificial one has to be.

The other approach is tori based Aikido. Tori harmonises with the attacker to establish control and it is this control which allows the Aikidoka to be kind.
To do this requires a mindset that allows you to act boldly and "aggressively" to an attack and this mindset, from my experience is not an adrenalin rush. I play paintball I know what an adrenalin rush is and I know what I feel now when I play paintball these days: It's a cold blooded highly focused, highly controlled state and that is what I and others I've talked to experience when Aikido is used for real. This is the state I try to achieve in training and I'm not alone.
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Old 11-18-2010, 02:34 PM   #148
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Re: Are We that Good?

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Matt - to your summary, further points. If George hadn't discussed Araki-ryu specifically, I wouldn't have felt a need to participate. But responses to George were one the line of, "We do that too."
...
Aikido is sometimes viewed as this grab-bag, in which "anything can be aikido." This is not the equivalent of "anything can be music." The kind of claim I'm objecting to is more like, "Anything can be Mozart."

Best
Ellis Amdur
Ellis,
Good points. And thank you for your reply. I often get caught up focusing too much on part of what people are saying and missing a lot as a result. I'm sure it's frustrating to many people, particularly people who have taken serious efforts to know what they're talking about, so I'm very appreciative when I get feedback.
Thank you again, and take care!
Matt

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Old 11-30-2010, 10:22 AM   #149
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Re: Are We that Good?

Jon

there are many good replies here - George and Kevin are priceless and much more informed than me.

Let me state why I think the way i think: my martial background over 20 years ago was boxing. Hitting and being hit was daily bread. It was no fiction: they hit you everyday with the intention to break your nose, or make your ankles fail with chin blows.

I often wondered why in boxing this type of training is considered normal, and in other martial studies it is not till the point on a dojo you may never see how a real attacker would behave in decades - you might find that out the day you get attacked in the street and you will realize then that all your techinques fail - you will tray an iriminage only to discover that when you place your hand on the neck of your opponent, he does not bend in the least...

As far as aikido is concerned, I'm a nuisance. So I can tell you only after my boxing background: the first sign that you're fit for real combat is when you know how your opponent is going to strike you and when merely by looking into his eyes. It is a notion that can be calibrated to the millimeter and to the millisecond and that only the habit of fighting may generate. Also, it is something that one day you attain but that you may _lose_ if you quit training.

As for aikido, I think that what we see in most dojos is very far from what aikido can do. Aikido can be _devastating_. If you apply your strenght in the direction the force of your opponent goes and a technique upon that, the projection can be truly terrible and intercept all the intervening objects in the way - tables, glasses, plates, bystanders, chairs...

However, in a real situation you have to _earn_ your technique: it's not like in dojos where uke places his arm for you to operate; rather, you have to fight your way to your technique, and be ready to take the incoming punishment any time you fail and, when you fail, be ready to move on to another technique immediately and on and on till one succeeds.

Most aikidokas think that aikido is terrible - and as a matter of fact it can be: only, they don't know yet theirs isn't.

Train. Train. Train. Once you're trained a lot, your promptness to respond to an attacker is _instantly_ available. A guy may come up out of the blue and hit you and you are ready to fight back the same instant you see this unexpected arm flash.
And yet you can fail.

Train for being ready.
Train with real ukes that have no mercy.
When you start understanding how you're going to be attacked next, it's a good sign. Till then, avoid confrontations of any sort - as I do!
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Old 11-30-2010, 01:10 PM   #150
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Re: Are We that Good?

As this thread has progressed, I have been surprised by the lack of posts from those individuals who I was trying to engage to justify a mentality that is in my opinion unsustainable, if not unfeasible.

As I have trained over the years, I have noticed this "arm-chair quarterback" mentality created from a divergence in skill and principle. For whatever reason, we now have a sizable demographic of aikido people who hold principles and values which are not sustainable as evidenced by their skill. As a sports analogy, this is the arm-chair quarterback who pontificates upon the mistakes that Brett Farve made Sunday as if he could perform better... if he could throw the football... and was in better shape... and athletic... and played football in college...

Aikido is possessed of sustainable and real goals, principles and values. The answer to the rhetorical question, "Are we that good?" is no. But in asking the question I wanted to engage a discussion that required posts to critically evaluate the validity of their message.

Quote:
Of course some Aikidoka like Jon maintain that Aikido is not about controling uke in which case uke is free to act which means that tori is not an agentic force; we can dispense with tori all together; they're superfluous in a training system were uke is determined to find the mat by any means. Their only function is to maintain an illusion of training so that uke doesn't feel daft doing what they are in reality doing: throwing themselves on the floor. The correctness of technique here is meaningless because the priority is to maintain connection and harmony no matter how artificial one has to be.
I do maintain that aikido is more about uke resolving confrontation than nage doing something to uke. I may need to clarify a couple of points Alex mentions though. As soon as we talk about doing, we have dis-unification between uke and nage - they become two separate entities of which one does something to the other. Alex uses the catalyst term "agent" to describe this multi-entity relationship. Rather, I believe the "aiki" part of aikido is the connection established between uke and nage that unifies uke's center to nage's, thus transferring control of both entities to nage. Largely, this is evidenced in our "initial strike" oriented training - if I successfully connect and seize control of uke's center, the subsequent technique is to some extent mute. My instructor used to say as soon as you set your intent to attack me, you are [on the ground], the only question is how do you get there. I think there exists a doka of similar nature...

I believe that the aiki part of our training is to connect with our partner. Kuriowa Sensei wrote an article differentiating kihon from kihon waza and kata. The "kihon" to which I believe Kuriowa sensei was referring is the connection and entering at the onset of each engagement, the "kata" to which he referred is the mechanical movement of technique and the "kihon waza" to which he referred is the natural application of technique to uke after connecting with uke and seizing control of his center. I think we have lost the "kihon" in our training and focused largely on the execution of technique. If the technique (kata) is mechanically practical then we may still apply it, but we do not have the pre-requisite aiki. Some of the more experienced guys would probably take that a step further that argue that application would be jitsu and not do because nage is not unified with uke.

There still exists an importance to correctly perform kata, but in progressive training it would be assumed that nage is familiar with kata before attempting to create the natural movement of waza. In this sense one could argue that the [correct] form of kata would be of secondary importance if you were attempting to execute waza. I think this is where a lot of aikido people put the cart before the horse and try executing waza before they can correctly perform kata. Oh, and we've already cut out kihon before we even try to execute waza so there isn't even the connection between uke and nage. And we wonder why we can't punch our way out of a paper bag...

The article by Kuriowa Sensei is a couple decades old probably but I believe it makes a significant amount of sense (A Common Sense Look At Aikido). I guess you just have to feel it to know what I am talking about. Wait, no. If I said that I'd have to beat up myself. Dang. Seriously though, I think its a great article.

Last edited by jonreading : 11-30-2010 at 01:14 PM.
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