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Old 06-06-2002, 07:49 PM   #1
Gopher Boy
Dojo: Takemusu Aiki Sydney City Dojo
Location: Australia
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 36
Experimental Aikido

Morning All (Well, this side of the world at least!)

While reading one of the other threads, I was thinking about the way people train. It seems that lots of dojos train only in the technique and all the partners are fairly willing. Probably an immensely sweeping (and wrong) statement but I had to start somewhere.

At our dojo, in my beginners' class, we often experiment with the techniques including atemi. We don't actually learn or practice them but still when we pair off we are all fairly playfull so try to catch each other off guard now and again - both as uke and nage.

Does anyone else think that this is a good idea?

We have come up with many situations and questions that our teacher has had to think about to find a solution to, and so have we.


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Old 06-09-2002, 11:19 AM   #2
Dojo: Minh Sensei
Location: Allentown, PA
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 107

Mr. Green,

I'm sorry, are you saying that as a beginner you dont participate in practicing the techniques, but your teacher has you strike at each other? I may be a bit confused by your post (I feel others may have been as well).

It is good to continually test Aikidoka to keep their budo (one translation: fight readiness) honest. So finding ways to make the nage work are good. However, I believe that the techniques teach you the "feel" of martail arts. As a beginner, I can't stress engough how important it is to concentrate on proper execution (whithout muscling through!) of techniques to prepare you for more advanced concepts.

Thanks and good luck!
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Old 06-09-2002, 12:15 PM   #3
Brian H
Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 102
experimental aikido

My way of experimenting in the dojo is kind of amusing. I the course of regular class I try and picture a "real world" stituation and let that guide my technique. As a policeman, I carry alot of equiptment and a popular consideration for my training is "how can I do this and still constantly protect and have access to my weapons and equiptment?" Keeping this in mind forces me to constantly access my posture, timing and ma'ai. Often I imagine I have my hands occupied (holding weapon/radio etc)when under attack and figure out how that effects techinque (I have found that it largely does not effect technique at all - aikido is cool)

example 1: imagine yourself in a situation where you have a gun in a proper two hand grip, when someone grabs both of your wrists with two hands. Execute Ryoute Dori Shiho Nage. The resulting "pin" is amusing.

example 2: image yourself in a crowded bar. You work your way through the crowd when someone ceases your wrist in apparent attept to steal your beer. Can you deal with TheEvilBadMan (beer theives have lost the right to be called Uke) 1) without spilling your beer OR 2) go about your business of drinking your chosen beverage WHILE dealing with TEBM. (OK, I watch way to much TV and was looking for some way to liven up extended irimi and kokyu nage practise)

To me this is a way for me to get beyond "how do I do this technique" into the realm of "why would I do this technique"
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Old 06-17-2002, 05:45 PM   #4
Dojo: trad
Location: UK
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 69
I remember reading somewhere in a self defense book/column about pratising for knife attacks by wearing an old white t-shirt and having somebody attack with a dry marker pen, the cuts being indicated by the pen marks. I haven't tried it yet but believe that it is something worth experimenting with.
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Old 06-17-2002, 09:04 PM   #5
SeiserL's Avatar
Location: Florida Gulf coast
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 3,902
I must admit, I am in favor of experimenting with Aikido, trying to apply it to different real world situations. I also think that this type of practice should be saved for after you have gain some proficiency in the mechanical techniques, then the application of the principles, then the free form type of experimentation suggested.

And yes, as a knife fighter (Lucaylucay Kali JKD), I have trained with markers/chalk to test my ability to clear the weapon's blade. When we train in Aikido, many of use with blade experience keep others aware.

Until again,


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 06-18-2002, 05:17 AM   #6
Tim Griffiths
Dojo: Nes Ziona Aikikai
Location: Suzhou, China
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 188
Re: Experimental Aikido

Originally posted by Gopher Boy

While reading one of the other threads, I was thinking about the way people train. It seems that lots of dojos train only in the technique and all the partners are fairly willing. Probably an immensely sweeping (and wrong) statement but I had to start somewhere.
Lots of dojos? Probably. Lots of good dojos? Sometimes.

At our dojo, in my beginners' class, we often experiment with the techniques including atemi. We don't actually learn or practice them but still when we pair off we are all fairly playfull so try to catch each other off guard now and again - both as uke and nage.

Does anyone else think that this is a good idea?

Not particularly, for a beginners' class. Beginners should really be concentrating on where their feet go, and keeping a relaxed good posture, rather than on stopping someone grabbing their balls (or anything else). It takes a long time and a lot of practice before you can really prevent uke from messing up your technique. There's also a safety aspect - a beginner doesn't know not to try, for example, to turn under a shihonage (result: Breakfall which he can't do yet) or grab your groin during a nikkyo (result: Extra-strength nikkyo).

The main danger, though, is that you won't actually learn the technique. Any aikido technique, when understood and executed properly, has no openings or escape points. Modifying the technique to fix a problem with the basic version just means they basic version wasn't done correctly, not that it needs modification (before I hear protests, note the use of the "understood" above).

Of course, this needs to be balanced with beginners' very legitimate questions about "what happens if I try to punch?" etc, as they'll certainly find that they can stop their (also newbie) partner from executing a technique properly.

I would say, go to the main class, and look to see if the yudansha are testing each other, or if one of them is pointing out your opening etc when you practice with them. If so, then your dojo has good "awareness culture", and you should concentration on getting the technique good (which will eventually close those holes anyway). As you progress, people will test you more. If on the other hand the senior students have holes in their techniques big enough to walk through, then you may need to look somewhere else to fill out that part of your training.

We have come up with many situations and questions that our teacher has had to think about to find a solution to, and so have we.
Cheers, Phill
I started training in a ki style dojo, which was very good at relaxation and ki, but not so hot on technique. For my own pratice, and later from students' questions, I had to develope a whole range of 'tricks' to stop reversals, atemis and blocks from uke. When circumstance made me move to an traditional dojo, I was amazed to find that all this tricks weren't needed, if the technique was right in the first place.


If one makes a distinction between the dojo and the battlefield, or being in your bedroom or in public, then when the time comes there will be no opportunity to make amends. (Hagakure)
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Old 06-18-2002, 12:43 PM   #7
Bruce Baker
Dojo: LBI Aikikai/LBI ,NJ
Location: Barnegaat, NJ
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 893
Randori, or open attacks

I agree that we should adopt more training with different attacks, tricks, and open randori practice to countering techniques from other styles, but not before basic safety concerns are observed, and the student has a pretty firm grasp upon how Aikido works in actuality compared to static practice.

We all love the moving attacker who already has commenced motion that can be accentuated or augmented to induce imbalance.

This is the heart of Randori practice, flowing through your attackers, or using them to your advantage to keep yourself out of harms way.

First rule, get the hell out of dangers path, or make danger go somewhere else.

Experimental Aikido is not always something that class gets into, but I have had one teacher who was not afraid to let us practice with a number of blunt weapons as we learned techniques ... it was great fun to be able to neutralize tire irons, baseball bats, knives, sticks, and almost anything that would be an extension of your hand for a weapon.

Fifty percent of entering and getting the hell out of the way was learned before I started Aikido, but with unbalancing, and Aikido's attitude of spherical movements, it augmented everything I had learned, or practiced in my previous MA's.

Tricks? Party games? Childrens practice?


There are many lessons to be learned from simple games, sometimes they are the things that will one day save your life if you see them for what they are.

(I hate that little blub at the end of someone's post that says,"People who speak generally are usually liars." I say, those who can speak generally, have more to say. It is the reader whose small mind that cannot grasp that there is more to be learned ... and ... words can not teach them this knowledge.)
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Old 06-20-2002, 03:12 AM   #8
Jermaine Alley
Dojo: Aikido Of Richmond
Location: Richmond, VA
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 63
Real World Applications./?

I agree with Brian H.
Also adding to what he was stating about being a policeman...we (police as well as martial artists) have to train to keep the number 1 interest of all in mind.."going home alive".
I like the idea of learning techniques slow and in control while they are new to me. But after a point when i think that I understand the dynamics of it, I like to kick up the speed just a bit while adding in Atemi's (with only a few hardcore students) at the beginning middle and end of the technique. I am keeping in mind that the force inflicted can't go too far above the level of the attacker, but we in "cop talk" call "atemi".."distractionary blows", and any number are necessary to quell an attacker.
Train well..
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Old 06-20-2002, 07:29 PM   #9
Paula Lydon
Dojo: Aikido Shugenkai
Location: Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 427
Having come to Aikido from 10 years of Jujitsu and other arts I was at first put off by what seemed a lack of range of options, but as I'd come primarily because I felt my movement/center development was less than I wanted, I remained to work on those fundalmentals. Now that I've been with Aikido for five years I see, on the one hand, that a plithera of techniques are not needed if you can stay out of harms way AND catch partner's center; on the other hand, we so often fail at this, and as I am practical I prefer to keep all of my options in good working order. I've trained with so many people who move beautifully but never take my center and are continually open.
I don't think I'd call it experimental Aikido, but I--subtly with most partners --work with all of the things I've learned over the years, allowing techs, movement, atemi to occure naturally in the moment while also persuing Aikido fundamentals. I have, over the years, developed friendships with like minded folks and we explore the fullness of any given moment more openly with each other (but not in dojo Sensei's class as that would be rude). If we are going to practice more overtly we wait until after class. Even one of my secondary teachers has been joining in, seeming to like to discover where he's lost uke's center or where he's open.
For me this brings a completeness to the circle, a boundlessness, and constantly challenges and refines me. But, I must agree that a beginner has so many basics to set into place that they should be more structured in the beginning (2 years at least), as they also lack the control to be safe for themselves or their partner.
This is my first post and I'm very excited to have found my way to this web site! I've been reading so many thoughts by fellow martial artist and enjoying the spectrum of views. Thanks for sharing!

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