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Old 07-06-2012, 04:59 PM   #1
Gorgeous George
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Can somebody who's never thrown a person, claim they can - and do - throw people?

Does it make sense - if you want to actually gain the ability to throw somebody - to start your martial arts training with aikido?
Regardless of whether your aikido is good enough, and you could actually throw somebody in a live situation (i.e., not one ever encountered in an aikido class; one where the other person knows what you want to do, and does all they can to nullify your attempts), can you ever claim that a throw you do in aikido class is genuinely effective?

Much is made of the lack of rules in aikido - but the supposed lack of rules is never truly felt: somebody will say "You had an opening there; your posture was bad; etc." - but it's entirely theoretical, and 'though the principles are sound ones, well worth adhering to, they are never informed by practice: a form of sparring/randori, where the rules are supposedly an unbearable restriction of aikido practice; is the rule that there is to be no randori, not a rule?

I remember, a few weeks after I started training BJJ (after three years of aikido): I was doing standing randori with a guy, and he was really using all his weight, and strength, to try and wrestle me to the ground; I then realised there was a way I could throw him, and I did: I threw a man, who was a live opponent, and I did it by using technique.
There is no doubt that the throw works, and that I can throw someone who is hell-bent on not being thrown.

So does it make sense for people who have no experience of such things, to think that solely by training co-operative aikido (leaving Tomiki aikido aside, for the sake of discussion), they can learn to throw people - with a reasonable degree of ability?

(I'm not interested in the face-saving anecdotes like 'I once irimi-nage'd a drunk.', and so on; if you cannot use your martial art ability against other martial artists, and people who know what you're doing, then it's not really legitimate.

Again: i'm not interested in 'Aikido works fine for me: I just want to relax/be spiritual/be aware of bad alleys not to walk down.'; i'm talking about aikido as a martial art: the martial element: what it fundamentally is).

If live training, where you are confronted - beyond any shadow of a doubt - with the limitations of your technique, is the most efficient element of a martial art's teaching pedagogy, shouldn't it be part of aikido?
If so, what form would the randori take?
I'm not a fan of Tomiki aikido randori - at all: I think something else would be needed.

Please: let's avoid descending into the all-too-frequent 'Well if you define X as Y, then Elvis is still alive, and living in Jamaica.' kind of discussion: it's boring.

And even if not deliberate, it disregards the implied, and actual, meaning of the question; you lack the ability to quieten your ego, and understand someone.
How's that aikido training working out for you?
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Old 07-06-2012, 06:08 PM   #2
chillzATL
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Re: Can somebody who's never thrown a person, claim they can - and do - throw people?

So many stipulations! With those in mind, I can only say "I don't know". I've used aikido techniques, as trained on the mat, in two street situations against people who were not drunk and wanted to hurt me. I had no prior training. I simply wanted to be able to protect myself if needed. That's all I asked for from the art and the way we train(ed) provided me with enough to accomplish that when needed, no more, no less. Beyond that, all I can say is "I don't know", but I am ok with that.

You don't need "live" training to be able to use aikido, but you need hard training with consequences. You need people that won't dive when you breathe on them, low success rates on techniques, people who will make you work to be successful, an environment that will push you further and further (randori, etc) the longer you keep coming and testing that actually tests your limits, not just your techniques...oh and some ki, you need that too. YMMV.
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Old 07-06-2012, 06:20 PM   #3
Gorgeous George
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Re: Can somebody who's never thrown a person, claim they can - and do - throw people?

Quote:
Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
So many stipulations! With those in mind, I can only say "I don't know". I've used aikido techniques, as trained on the mat, in two street situations against people who were not drunk and wanted to hurt me. I had no prior training. I simply wanted to be able to protect myself if needed. That's all I asked for from the art and the way we train(ed) provided me with enough to accomplish that when needed, no more, no less. Beyond that, all I can say is "I don't know", but I am ok with that.

You don't need "live" training to be able to use aikido, but you need hard training with consequences. You need people that won't dive when you breathe on them, low success rates on techniques, people who will make you work to be successful, an environment that will push you further and further (randori, etc) the longer you keep coming and testing that actually tests your limits, not just your techniques...oh and some ki, you need that too. YMMV.
Ha!
Well, i'm sick of these armchair martial artists: they really do ruin the discussions, and turn them into massive threads, where nothing is accomplished - besides a false sense of superiority, and legitimacy.

I know that you can use your kata training in some 'street' situations, and that - along with the mental health benefits - is a valuable part of a modern martial art.
But what i'm getting at, is that - ultimately - a martial art is - by definition - something that has merit when up against others with siimilar, or the same, training; and I think that 99% of aikidoka would be found wanting when up against someone with training in a style such as judo, boxing, or BJJ.

These styles might have a sportive/sparring aspect to their pedagogy, and be trained with rules - but that's irrelevant: they get results.
'You can't argue with results.', as the maxim goes.

We're always hearing how 'Aikido is not a set of techniques: it's a philosophy which underlies them.'; well if this is so, and the most significant barrier to randori is that the techniques are 'teh d4adly', then why not create new techniques that can be safely sparred?
The fact is, you can learn/improve much, much, faster, and with absolutely no doubt (e.g., 'Is this person letteing me do the technique/taking a fall for me?'), if you have some form of honest practice.

And you can refine technique, while not being competitive, through randori: I know - because I do it; I even competed (entered a competition), and relied on technique to try and prevail!
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Old 07-06-2012, 06:32 PM   #4
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Re: Can somebody who's never thrown a person, claim they can - and do - throw people?

No, you can't say you can throw someone unless you test yourself, and strive for honesty with that testing.

But what does that mean, do we need to change the way aikido classes go? You could do it outside of class. There's a lot you have to do outside of class-- tanren for instance. I consider tanren and testing to be the majority of my training, and they happen outside of class.

Folks at the Kobukan did sumo (sounds like informal, outside of class stuff). I think what you describe is right-on, but it can to some degree be done informally with BJJ friends, instead of actual enrollment in another art.

I'm happy with classes not including this, as long as I can do it on my own. What we do in class takes a lot of attention and study, and should make your randori better. So I'm inclined to say there is a time and place for everything-- emphasizing this kind of randori in classes is certainly one way to go. Or, maybe having a few open-mat sessions a week just for this would be best.
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Old 07-06-2012, 07:42 PM   #5
Gorgeous George
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Re: Can somebody who's never thrown a person, claim they can - and do - throw people?

Quote:
Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
No, you can't say you can throw someone unless you test yourself, and strive for honesty with that testing.

But what does that mean, do we need to change the way aikido classes go? You could do it outside of class. There's a lot you have to do outside of class-- tanren for instance. I consider tanren and testing to be the majority of my training, and they happen outside of class.

Folks at the Kobukan did sumo (sounds like informal, outside of class stuff). I think what you describe is right-on, but it can to some degree be done informally with BJJ friends, instead of actual enrollment in another art.

I'm happy with classes not including this, as long as I can do it on my own. What we do in class takes a lot of attention and study, and should make your randori better. So I'm inclined to say there is a time and place for everything-- emphasizing this kind of randori in classes is certainly one way to go. Or, maybe having a few open-mat sessions a week just for this would be best.
My point, I guess, is that you shouldn't have to do it outside of class...

That interview was excellent, thank you; he made some really good points - especially about training multiple martial arts, and how most aikidoka are easy to throw:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XW_J4IYf7SM

Like it or not, that's what would happen to most aikidoka, if they came up against any grappler who trains with aliveness.
And part of the deficiency in aikido, is the same kind of deficiency BJJ shows up in judo: it presupposes too much, because of the culture it grew up in.
So if you throw, or pin, someone, then that tends to be it: you've theoretically finished them; same with atemi: it's theoretically devestating/effective - but in reality, certainly outside of weapons-based conflicts, the person continues to be a threat.
I've sparred with olympic, and black belt, judoka, in BJJ, and they couldn't submit me; I was shocked - but they still have proven martial ability (besides 'I decided not to walk home at night in the bad part of town because my aikido sense told me it was bad ma-ai...').
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Old 07-06-2012, 07:58 PM   #6
Benjamin Green
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Re: Can somebody who's never thrown a person, claim they can - and do - throw people?

There are clever ways to escape from nearly everything - unless you want to be really brutal and just snap it through - and most of them you'd not think of on the spot. You probably wouldn't even work out what was going on on the spot, human reaction times aren't that good.

When I fight I don't think about techniques; strikes and throws and so on. They're just something they're sending at you on the end of a movement executed with the entire body. It's like asking whether the thing on the end of that arc is a fist or a palm or a grab or a foot or.... Who cares? It's following the same arc whatever it is.

I don't even think about techniques on my side of things - it's more like a beat, a rhythm. If they're throwing slow energy at you you can drop sharp beats - strikes - into it to mess it up. If they're throwing a sharp beat at you you can wrap it up and sweep it around. But I don't consciously think strike strike strike beat throw sweep or anything. It just so happens that different movements are suited to different tempos, distances, angles - and as reactions you've trained in they come out naturally in response to your sense of how things are. It's far more like a jam with session - weaving tunes around each other. Except here the aim's to trip the other person up.

Oh admittedly it's not quite that simple. You don't see everything - and when you're in close and up against someone's body it's not so much seeing as feeling where their weight is and how they're moving.

But I digress, my point is that just being able to stop a technique doesn't tell you a great deal that you're actually going to be able to use. And him being able to make it work against you trying to stop it doesn't tell him a great deal he can use. Fighting's not like that - it's not a chess game of move and counter-move. You only really interact in a fight along the very edges - much of it's automatic: become aware of something and react, and it either works or it doesn't very quickly.

Training extensively to polish techniques to work against counters is a waste of time. I know many people who are incredibly good at applying techniques; who, even if you really try to stop them doing it, once they're actually doing the thing it's very difficult to stop, however much you struggle. Their technique's sharp, it's violent, it's incredibly polished - it's everything one might want of a technique. And it tells you nothing about whether they could actually do it.

A vast part of the application of any martial art - and something you can only really get from experience with an opponent who's not just going along with you - is how to adapt to varying responses to attempts to apply different techniques, different degrees of technique failure. Not in terms of once, whether you've got the pickup and started to apply the technique, you can make it work, but in terms of whether you can start to apply the technique at all and once.

If you've the choice between training an understanding of distance, timing, tempo and so on; of getting experience with different ways of responding to people throwing attacks and responding to what you do in return for that - and it, has to be said, generally of just observing how people move when they're doing certain things so that you recognise it - ; and a choice of training your techniques to be incredibly polished and effective. Take the understanding. Understanding will let you make crappy techniques work reasonably well, but polished techniques will never let you make a lack of understanding work against anyone of even moderate experience.

So, if I look at someone's practice and I just see them sharpening techniques; not focusing on developing insight through training with people who throw different things, who move in different ways, who react differently.... While there's the possibility they train, or have trained, those things elsewhere .... If that's the extent of what they're doing, I don't think they're training something right there as aikido that's particularly effective in the sense you seem to mean.

Experience counts for a heck of a lot.

So does consciously drilling certain things in, and blending different movements into each other - there's a reason that students of kata-based arts used to be expected to go and make up their own and throw different parts of kata together. Just as experience is important, there are things you can do to hone particular aspects of your responses and develop new ways of moving that shouldn't be neglected. And I see fairly few people doing them too.... Just a thought.

Fortunately for those who just train techniques, most people really really suck at fighting. The standard you have to rise to, for self defence against your average drunk, is generally so low that almost anything will do. The anti-social people who put any sort of serious thought into this sort of stuff don't tend to think of it along the lines of fighting - they tend to think of it along the lines of getting what they want. And if you were aiming to use violence to get what you wanted the last thing you'd want to do would be to get into a fight where the other person was defending themselves. You set the situation up from the outset so that you've got so much of an upper hand it never becomes a fight.

So the part of the use of force spectrum where leet ninja skills are important in modern society tends to be kinda small for most people.

Last edited by Benjamin Green : 07-06-2012 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:09 PM   #7
Gorgeous George
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Re: Can somebody who's never thrown a person, claim they can - and do - throw people?

*Sigh*
Did you even read the thread?
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:20 PM   #8
Benjamin Green
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Re: Can somebody who's never thrown a person, claim they can - and do - throw people?

I think so - the thrust of your question seems to be along the lines of

Quote:
So does it make sense for people who have no experience of such things, to think that solely by training co-operative aikido (leaving Tomiki aikido aside, for the sake of discussion), they can learn to throw people - with a reasonable degree of ability?
To which my answer is, more or less, that there are a lot of important skills that just polishing techniques in cooperative aikido doesn't develop.
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:45 PM   #9
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Re: Can somebody who's never thrown a person, claim they can - and do - throw people?

Quote:
Graham Jenkins wrote: View Post
I know that you can use your kata training in some 'street' situations, and that - along with the mental health benefits - is a valuable part of a modern martial art.
But what i'm getting at, is that - ultimately - a martial art is - by definition - something that has merit when up against others with siimilar, or the same, training; and I think that 99% of aikidoka would be found wanting when up against someone with training in a style such as judo, boxing, or BJJ.
Sigh. We've been here before.

OP: Aikido doesn't work in a real situation.

Reply: Yes it does, here's an example or two.

OP: No, I didn't mean that kind of real situation. I mean where you and a student of a different art spar under a bunch of rules that aren't yours. That kind of real situation.

Yeah, if you want to play the other guy's game, go learn to play the other guy's game. Big surprise.
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:04 PM   #10
chillzATL
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Re: Can somebody who's never thrown a person, claim they can - and do - throw people?

Quote:
Graham Jenkins wrote: View Post
Ha!
Well, i'm sick of these armchair martial artists: they really do ruin the discussions, and turn them into massive threads, where nothing is accomplished - besides a false sense of superiority, and legitimacy.

I know that you can use your kata training in some 'street' situations, and that - along with the mental health benefits - is a valuable part of a modern martial art.
But what i'm getting at, is that - ultimately - a martial art is - by definition - something that has merit when up against others with siimilar, or the same, training; and I think that 99% of aikidoka would be found wanting when up against someone with training in a style such as judo, boxing, or BJJ.

These styles might have a sportive/sparring aspect to their pedagogy, and be trained with rules - but that's irrelevant: they get results.
'You can't argue with results.', as the maxim goes.

We're always hearing how 'Aikido is not a set of techniques: it's a philosophy which underlies them.'; well if this is so, and the most significant barrier to randori is that the techniques are 'teh d4adly', then why not create new techniques that can be safely sparred?
The fact is, you can learn/improve much, much, faster, and with absolutely no doubt (e.g., 'Is this person letteing me do the technique/taking a fall for me?'), if you have some form of honest practice.

And you can refine technique, while not being competitive, through randori: I know - because I do it; I even competed (entered a competition), and relied on technique to try and prevail!
well, I'm not going to drag your thread down with it, but I don't agree with your definition of martial arts. There are degrees to everything. Martial skill is martial skill. How far you go to test and verify that skill is up to you, but there's still a certain quality of practice that makes it martial arts regardless of the degree they go to test it against fighting arts of the day.

I don't disagree that sparring and such produces faster results, more verifiable results, but that's not what everyone is after. Society affords us that. Heck aikido as an art is almost a recognition of that reality. I don't know about the whole "philosophy that underlies the techniques" thing, but I think if you're looking at the techniques of aikido for some 1-to-1 relation to fighting you're missing the point. That's not what it's about, IMO and neither is the level of testing you're looking for, by design. What makes you think it was or was intended to be?

Last edited by chillzATL : 07-06-2012 at 09:09 PM.
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:27 PM   #11
Benjamin Green
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Re: Can somebody who's never thrown a person, claim they can - and do - throw people?

Was this:

Quote:
Graham Jenkins wrote: View Post
If live training, where you are confronted - beyond any shadow of a doubt - with the limitations of your technique, is the most efficient element of a martial art's teaching pedagogy, shouldn't it be part of aikido?
If so, what form would the randori take?
What you intended as the main thrust of your question? If so, it's really hard to pick out given the thread title and that it's just sort of tacked on the end there.

If you did just want a way to teach those sorts of skills though, boxing, kali, fencing, one stick (I can't actually find this one through google - I'm thinking around the 1900s, British naval swordsmanship sport - can't recall the name. Anyone know it?), and so on all use fairly similar systems for that which seem to work or have worked very well. There's no reason you can't steal the teaching tools off of them.

You'd teach people to throw some basic strikes really well, jabs, hooks, elbows, kicks, and to do some grappling. And then you'd create sets of paired drills, where one side would perform a very good attack and the other side would perform a very good deflection or block. You'd just do the thing to the deflection or the block, you wouldn't do any technique once you'd got it - and then it would be the other guy's turn. And you'd have them alternate those things at a high rate, introducing another attack and another defence every so often. And then you'd start mixing the different sets of drills together. Start varying how the person moved in with the attack or the defence. Just gradually increase the range of attacks and the range of entries you were using.

And then you'd teach the aikido techniques as applications that you could do from certain pick ups. "From here you can carry this forwards into such and such a technique." Perhaps even stick your techniques and associated stepping patterns into paired katas, I know some karate teachers who have joint lock katas that seem to work very well; especially since students can go away and look at how different moves and steps flow together more or less on their own. But what you'd - at least initially - spend the majority of your time on would be the pickups, the deflections, the more critical situational reflexes part of things.

From there you'd have a solid basis to feed the techniques into randori on the back of a well developed set of underlying skills.

The actual randori itself though, arguably, isn't the root of the problem here. If you just take people and throw them up against each other without the underlying skills to use their techniques they're just going to muddle through as best the situation allows them, it's going to be a mess whether you have it resistive or not. Karate people do that all the time with their sparring and it just turns their beautiful techniques into bad boxing.

Live training is not the most effective teaching tool. Certainly against a decent striker live training of a newbie would be completely pointless.

"What happened?"
"I don't know, I just stood there and tried to do a technique and then I was looking at the ceiling."


It's one of a range of teaching tools that together work to develop varying levels and aspects of skill.

There's a level of skill required before you can start using randori - resistive or otherwise - effectively. Both on the side of the attacker and on the side of the defender. You need to address how to teach that first of all, before speculating on what it's going to look like makes any sort of sense. Because without that there are so many different directions things can go in as people try to work things out for themselves and modify what they're doing to make it more effective for the opposition that the skills they have tends to put them up against.
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:28 PM   #12
Gorgeous George
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Re: Can somebody who's never thrown a person, claim they can - and do - throw people?

Quote:
Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
Sigh. We've been here before.

OP: Aikido doesn't work in a real situation.

Reply: Yes it does, here's an example or two.

OP: No, I didn't mean that kind of real situation. I mean where you and a student of a different art spar under a bunch of rules that aren't yours. That kind of real situation.

Yeah, if you want to play the other guy's game, go learn to play the other guy's game. Big surprise.
That's not what the thread is about, at all; I stated the assumption that aikido is a suitable budo/martial art for modern life.
Please read the thread before commenting, lest you clog it up with unnecessary verbosity.

Regards 'playing the other guy's game': I stated that the way aikido is taught/practiced, this mantra of 'don't play the other guy's game' is a laughable platitude, as against someone who trains with live partners, and who doesn't attack in the ways you are taught to defend against (committed attacks; slow attacks), you will quickly come unstuck.

I also mentioned that aikido is not meant to be techniques: the techniques taught are a means of practicing/realising it, so if you talk about not being able to make your art work under 'rules that aren't yours', then your art/methodology/ability is lacking.
Ueshiba took on all-comers - no matter their discipline, or 'rule-set', and as the saying goes: 'I have done aikido with munitions before.' (roughly).

99% of aikidoka would be defeated by an opponent who knew their martial art, and who knew another one of worth; that was my point: if it's unable to compare to other martial arts, then it needs fixing, or throwing away.

I freely acknowledged - as I said - that aikido has its uses, but my concern is its pedagogy.
We've probably all heard these anecdotes about wise old Japanese masters - Ueshiba included - who, when asked about how to do a technique, replied mystically, or refused to answer - save through demonstration. Well, Jigoro Kano himself complains about his teachers being like that, and states quite clearly that it is a grossly inefficient way to learn, and so he revolutionised Japanese budo.

My own personal experience tells me that he was right.
I only have one life, and so much time to live; I don't want to waste it figuring out mystical explanations: I want to learn; I want to be good.
Instead of being scared to fail, and refusing to acknowledge the deficiencies in aikido Vs other arts, I chose to pursue these other arts, and I have learned so much, in a short space of time.
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:32 PM   #13
Gorgeous George
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Re: Can somebody who's never thrown a person, claim they can - and do - throw people?

Quote:
Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
I think if you're looking at the techniques of aikido for some 1-to-1 relation to fighting you're missing the point. That's not what it's about, IMO and neither is the level of testing you're looking for, by design. What makes you think it was or was intended to be?
The fact that Ueshiba propagated aikido through taking on 1-to-1 challenges.

If he was the aikidoka par excellence, then that is the gold standard of aikido...so why is nobody (outside of the occasional Vietnamese dan grade) willing to do this?
What are they scared of?

Koichi Tohei once took on a load of judo dan grades at a public event...he took on a challenger at hombu (a south American wrestler)...
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:37 PM   #14
Gorgeous George
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Re: Can somebody who's never thrown a person, claim they can - and do - throw people?

Quote:
Benjamin Green wrote: View Post
Was this:

What you intended as the main thrust of your question? If so, it's really hard to pick out given the thread title and that it's just sort of tacked on the end there.

If you did just want a way to teach those sorts of skills though, boxing, kali, fencing, one stick (I can't actually find this one through google - I'm thinking around the 1900s, British naval swordsmanship sport - can't recall the name. Anyone know it?), and so on all use fairly similar systems for that which seem to work or have worked very well. There's no reason you can't steal the teaching tools off of them.

You'd teach people to throw some basic strikes really well, jabs, hooks, elbows, kicks, and to do some grappling. And then you'd create sets of paired drills, where one side would perform a very good attack and the other side would perform a very good deflection or block. You'd just do the thing to the deflection or the block, you wouldn't do any technique once you'd got it - and then it would be the other guy's turn. And you'd have them alternate those things at a high rate, introducing another attack and another defence every so often. And then you'd start mixing the different sets of drills together. Start varying how the person moved in with the attack or the defence. Just gradually increase the range of attacks and the range of entries you were using.

And then you'd teach the aikido techniques as applications that you could do from certain pick ups. "From here you can carry this forwards into such and such a technique." Perhaps even stick your techniques and associated stepping patterns into paired katas, I know some karate teachers who have joint lock katas that seem to work very well; especially since students can go away and look at how different moves and steps flow together more or less on their own. But what you'd - at least initially - spend the majority of your time on would be the pickups, the deflections, the more critical situational reflexes part of things.

From there you'd have a solid basis to feed the techniques into randori on the back of a well developed set of underlying skills.

The actual randori itself though, arguably, isn't the root of the problem here. If you just take people and throw them up against each other without the underlying skills to use their techniques they're just going to muddle through as best the situation allows them, it's going to be a mess whether you have it resistive or not. Karate people do that all the time with their sparring and it just turns their beautiful techniques into bad boxing.

Live training is not the most effective teaching tool. Certainly against a decent striker live training of a newbie would be completely pointless.

"What happened?"
"I don't know, I just stood there and tried to do a technique and then I was looking at the ceiling."


It's one of a range of teaching tools that together work to develop varying levels and aspects of skill.

There's a level of skill required before you can start using randori - resistive or otherwise - effectively. Both on the side of the attacker and on the side of the defender. You need to address how to teach that first of all, before speculating on what it's going to look like makes any sort of sense. Because without that there are so many different directions things can go in as people try to work things out for themselves and modify what they're doing to make it more effective for the opposition that the skills they have tends to put them up against.
I'm interested, basically, in a more efficient, effective, way of teaching/learning aikido.

Regards randori: you are mistaken.
I spar excellent people in judo, and BJJ: it isn't *Start -> Guy smashes me -> The End.*. Higher grades allow you to work, and if they do 'finish you', they do it safely.
Some people do treat sparring as a win/lose situation, yes - but a lot see it as a learning tool, and are always working to refine their techniques.
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Old 07-06-2012, 10:43 PM   #15
Benjamin Green
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Re: Can somebody who's never thrown a person, claim they can - and do - throw people?

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Graham Jenkins wrote: View Post
I'm interested, basically, in a more efficient, effective, way of teaching/learning aikido.

Regards randori: you are mistaken.
I spar excellent people in judo, and BJJ: it isn't *Start -> Guy smashes me -> The End.*. Higher grades allow you to work, and if they do 'finish you', they do it safely.
Some people do treat sparring as a win/lose situation, yes - but a lot see it as a learning tool, and are always working to refine their techniques.
My idea of effective is that - from no martial arts training at all - the guy can deal with decent punches after his first couple of hours. That six hours down the line he should be fairly confident he can take someone all the way to the ground.

I'm not saying that randori's not a good teaching tool, far from it. I'm not even saying that you can't learn just from doing randori - you can. But it will, IME, take a couple of months for you to really start getting competent out of it - almost certainly if you want to incorporate a decent set of striking centred skills, (which considering how often they get used you really should) - but you can do it that way if you've the time and the higher grades to serve as instructors (It becomes a much better approach the closer you can move your situation towards 1-1 teaching with higher grades.) I'm just saying you need a certain degree of skill in your organisation, on both sides of the thing, to use it effectively.

Especially with dealing with striking, the initial return on low-intensity sparring is not up to much. I'd almost go as far as to call it completely pointless considering just how much easier it is for people to learn to attack under those conditions than to defend. There are properties of timing, distancing, grounding and coordination that, if you don't know what you're looking for, it's not obvious you're missing at a low intensity. In my experience, it's a far better investment to spend an hour or so teaching people to throw some basic strikes, (which are useful just of themselves,) then to break for lunch and come back and start working some drills in and move onto randori towards the end of the day once you have some sort of a framework in place.

If randori works well for you though, by all means keep doing it. I'm just not sure it's really effective in the same way that having a curriculum designed to develop specific skills in a structured way is. I can't see how you could teach someone to deal with - say - a decent jab, let alone blending hooks and elbows and so on into that in few hours of randori. Not unless you stopped doing the randori and specifically showed them how to throw a decent jab, hook, elbow... and then specifically showed them a defence and drilled those up the intensity and then started moving back into the randori. I just don't see how you're going to get those skills there in any sort of efficient way unless you take a more structured approach and build them first.
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:04 AM   #16
GMaroda
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Re: Can somebody who's never thrown a person, claim they can - and do - throw people?

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Was this:

, one stick (I can't actually find this one through google - I'm thinking around the 1900s, British naval swordsmanship sport - can't recall the name. Anyone know it?), .
Single Stick. There are still folks who practice.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singlestick

Sorry for the aside.
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:18 AM   #17
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Can somebody who's never thrown a person, claim they can - and do - throw people?

As taught by most, and backed by my experiences, most of what is taught in Aikido are principles. I'd equate I to studying business in college. Lots of good foundational stuff. You learn about the fundamentals, theory, mechanics etc. But it ain't the same as actually running a business.

Some never go to school and do we'll. Others go to school and come out a do well, some do well and go back to school. Then there is the other side that says, damn if I'd have only know that before I wasted all this time.

No right answer, but get and understand your frustrations and logic. Personally, I am with you. I'd rather hook UK with a down and dirty been there done that kinda group and learn the no kidding, this is how it works guys.

That comes at a price too though I think. Lots of BJJers these days that have learned how to do well against other BJJers,and train onlyto fight in tournaments....they have huge gaps in their knowledge base. I here the red belts lament about this all the time.

But...yeah, overall I agree with your thoughts

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Old 07-07-2012, 03:13 AM   #18
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Re: Can somebody who's never thrown a person, claim they can - and do - throw people?

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99% of aikidoka would be defeated by an opponent who knew their martial art, and who knew another one of worth; that was my point: if it's unable to compare to other martial arts, then it needs fixing, or throwing away.
Made-up statistics and massive generalizations are just two of my favourite things.
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Old 07-07-2012, 11:06 AM   #19
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Re: Can somebody who's never thrown a person, claim they can - and do - throw people?

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99% of aikidoka would be defeated by an opponent who knew their martial art, and who knew another one of worth; that was my point
Isn't that the same for every martial art out there? Really, for any skill in ANYTHING out there?`
A boxer would be beat by another boxer who also knows judo. A Wing Chun practitioner would be beaten by another Wing Chun practitioner who also practised Hapkido. Big surprise, an Aikido practitioner would be beaten by another Aikido practitioner who also practised X.

It's pure logic that that goes for anything.
If two people have the same skill in something, but one of them has additional skill of relevance in something else, the one with two skills is more skillfull (that's a lot of "skill" in one sentence!).

Who's going to be the better accountant?
Person A: has 5 years experience in accounting
Person B: has 5 years of experience in accounting, and 3 years experience of economic law.

What you are asking/saying is the exact same scenario, and it goes for anything.
Which is why cross-training (when proficient enough) should always be encouraged!
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Old 07-07-2012, 06:11 PM   #20
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Re: Can somebody who's never thrown a person, claim they can - and do - throw people?

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The fact that Ueshiba propagated aikido through taking on 1-to-1 challenges.

If he was the aikidoka par excellence, then that is the gold standard of aikido...so why is nobody (outside of the occasional Vietnamese dan grade) willing to do this?
What are they scared of?

Koichi Tohei once took on a load of judo dan grades at a public event...he took on a challenger at hombu (a south American wrestler)...
we know of a handful of his challenges, many of which ended without him being attacked.

that's not what Ueshiba was teaching.

The art isn't about techniques.

some are scared

some don't care

some don't care about that

It's an art for everyone

Tohei got it, it's not about techniques.

I think there are more people who have played around and tested themselves against other arts than you know.

over time as the internal training takes over you'll find more of that in the public, but probably never to a degree that will satisfy you, could be wrong there. It certainly makes a lot more sense when you start figuring out what Ueshiba was doing and trying to pass on.
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Old 07-07-2012, 09:56 PM   #21
Gorgeous George
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Re: Can somebody who's never thrown a person, claim they can - and do - throw people?

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Philip Zeplin-Frederiksen wrote: View Post
Isn't that the same for every martial art out there? Really, for any skill in ANYTHING out there?`
A boxer would be beat by another boxer who also knows judo. A Wing Chun practitioner would be beaten by another Wing Chun practitioner who also practised Hapkido. Big surprise, an Aikido practitioner would be beaten by another Aikido practitioner who also practised X.

It's pure logic that that goes for anything.
If two people have the same skill in something, but one of them has additional skill of relevance in something else, the one with two skills is more skillfull (that's a lot of "skill" in one sentence!).

Who's going to be the better accountant?
Person A: has 5 years experience in accounting
Person B: has 5 years of experience in accounting, and 3 years experience of economic law.

What you are asking/saying is the exact same scenario, and it goes for anything.
Which is why cross-training (when proficient enough) should always be encouraged!
Good point; excuse my laxness.

To correct myself: I believe that 99% of aikidoka would be unable to defend themselves against an opponent who had a relatively small amount of training in another art, or perhaps even someone who was untrained, and just punched at them, or wrestled them to the ground.
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Old 07-08-2012, 04:09 PM   #22
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Re: Can somebody who's never thrown a person, claim they can - and do - throw people?

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That's not what the thread is about, at all; I stated the assumption that aikido is a suitable budo/martial art for modern life.
Dunno what to make of that. You actually started the thread with "Does it make sense - if you want to actually gain the ability to throw somebody - to start your martial arts training with aikido?"

To which the answer is, of course not. Aikido's not about throwing. You're only starting from there because of your assumptions about what Aikido is and what "reality" is -- which is why you went right from there to BJJ. When I mentioned rules I meant the rules that govern such competitions or sparring situations.

That said, I appreciate your frustration, but I think you're coming at it from the wrong direction. I think this:

Quote:
Benjamin Green wrote: View Post
Especially with dealing with striking, the initial return on low-intensity sparring is not up to much. I'd almost go as far as to call it completely pointless considering just how much easier it is for people to learn to attack under those conditions than to defend. There are properties of timing, distancing, grounding and coordination that, if you don't know what you're looking for, it's not obvious you're missing at a low intensity. In my experience, it's a far better investment to spend an hour or so teaching people to throw some basic strikes, (which are useful just of themselves,) then to break for lunch and come back and start working some drills in and move onto randori towards the end of the day once you have some sort of a framework in place.
makes a whole lot of sense in terms of training against a range of attacks, and mixed attacks, in a way that typical Aikido practice doesn't access. The issue is how to transfer the basic body movement and principles from Aikido practice into situations where the attacks are more sophisticated.

It would be fun to see if we could grow Aikido up into something like that.
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Old 07-09-2012, 09:32 AM   #23
Budd
 
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Re: Can somebody who's never thrown a person, claim they can - and do - throw people?

Hi Graham,

So, I find it at least a little bit amusing that you're starting this thread since a while back you were arguing against arts like Shodokan that have a more "live" randori/shiai component as being aikido. That being said, my larger argument would be similar in intent to what I would tell you then in that discussion. The world of martial arts and aikido in particular has room for everyone. What's most important, I think, is what you get out of training regarding your goals AND that the providers of said training are honest about what they're teaching (which you then would perpetuate as a living example). Unfortunately, I think "martial arts" are an area where there's lots of room for self-delusion, authority by agreement over accomplishment and empowerment-by-entitlement.

But that can be true of any discipline or pursuit, ultimately. It's a tricky problem that's hard enough for you to solve for yourself over the course of your lifetime, much less dictate or mandate for everyone else. Personally, it's very important to me that my stuff is effective in more freestyle paradigms and I've got some means to practice it within an aikido "shape" while also (less frequently these days as I'd like) visiting gyms to grapple or throwing on the gloves to bang. But my goals also include chasing the "internal power" bug, and more importantly raising my family and providing for them. These things aren't always in harmony, either, so it's a matter of prioritizing a bunch of things at once - as usual and making them harmonize the best way you can with what's available to you.

All that said, training aikido with the ki/kokyu skills that were evident in the founder, have a randori/shiai application for more rigorous explorations and live a philosophy of working towards acceptable harmony - sounds like a pretty kickass martial art (life practice, even) to me.
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Old 07-09-2012, 10:40 AM   #24
Gorgeous George
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Re: Can somebody who's never thrown a person, claim they can - and do - throw people?

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Budd Yuhasz wrote: View Post
Hi Graham,

So, I find it at least a little bit amusing that you're starting this thread since a while back you were arguing against arts like Shodokan that have a more "live" randori/shiai component as being aikido. That being said, my larger argument would be similar in intent to what I would tell you then in that discussion. The world of martial arts and aikido in particular has room for everyone. What's most important, I think, is what you get out of training regarding your goals AND that the providers of said training are honest about what they're teaching (which you then would perpetuate as a living example). Unfortunately, I think "martial arts" are an area where there's lots of room for self-delusion, authority by agreement over accomplishment and empowerment-by-entitlement.

But that can be true of any discipline or pursuit, ultimately. It's a tricky problem that's hard enough for you to solve for yourself over the course of your lifetime, much less dictate or mandate for everyone else. Personally, it's very important to me that my stuff is effective in more freestyle paradigms and I've got some means to practice it within an aikido "shape" while also (less frequently these days as I'd like) visiting gyms to grapple or throwing on the gloves to bang. But my goals also include chasing the "internal power" bug, and more importantly raising my family and providing for them. These things aren't always in harmony, either, so it's a matter of prioritizing a bunch of things at once - as usual and making them harmonize the best way you can with what's available to you.

All that said, training aikido with the ki/kokyu skills that were evident in the founder, have a randori/shiai application for more rigorous explorations and live a philosophy of working towards acceptable harmony - sounds like a pretty kickass martial art (life practice, even) to me.
Ha!
It was more than a while back - and it's the sign of a real intelligent/man to be willing to revise his opinion.
My problem with aikido training/sparring has always been that it doesn't constitute the most efficient/effective method, for me, and my goals; we spend so little time training, relatively, that I think high-intensity is needed in order to maximise your mat time.

I totally agree with what you said about goals: I - too - am interested by the 'internal power' element, from a purely intellectual/philosophical perspective, regardless of any practical applications (although they would be a plus), and I hope to train with Dan Harden when he's in the UK, to hopefully get a glimpse of it.
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Old 07-09-2012, 01:45 PM   #25
Budd
 
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Re: Can somebody who's never thrown a person, claim they can - and do - throw people?

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Ha!
It was more than a while back - and it's the sign of a real intelligent/man to be willing to revise his opinion.
My problem with aikido training/sparring has always been that it doesn't constitute the most efficient/effective method, for me, and my goals; we spend so little time training, relatively, that I think high-intensity is needed in order to maximise your mat time.

I totally agree with what you said about goals: I - too - am interested by the 'internal power' element, from a purely intellectual/philosophical perspective, regardless of any practical applications (although they would be a plus), and I hope to train with Dan Harden when he's in the UK, to hopefully get a glimpse of it.
Ha back atcha!!

That's one thing I've learned for sure, my perspective is gonna to continue to change as I learn more. The awesome thing is that there's increasingly any number of folks (some very near you I expect) that are chasing their progress in directions that are of interest to me. I think quite a few folks have looked at aikido and other arts such as judo, bjj and mma (Henry Ellis Sensei and his son, I believe, both generations would have an interesting perspective on those topics) either with regard to verifying martial integrity in their own practice or transitioning to martial sports.

Regarding internal strength, I look at it in the same light as the title of your thread -- there's many that think they're doing some or all of it. There's many that aren't sure they are doing it, aren't sure if they care and/or aren't sure what the whole mess is about. I made sure not to speak too much about it until I got firsthand experience. Even now after spending some years exploring the subject, I know better than to say too much definitively because each year, it seems like I've peeled back another layer of the subject as an onion .

As for folks that do speak definitively of their martial skills, but I suspect haven't really had a chance to test them, credibly, I usually live and let live unless they rub me the wrong way for some reason. As I used to tease you before, a lot of times you're addressing someone's belief system rather than anything concrete or objective, so you aren't going to change anyone's mind that doesn't want to change. Sometimes the best you can do is provide an example for someone genuinely seeking answers to engage in fruitful discussion and get options for additional exploration.

Good luck in your training.
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