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Old 07-28-2002, 09:36 AM   #1
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AikiWeb Poll for the week of July 28, 2002:

Do you think about martial effectiveness when you are training in aikido?
  • I don't do aikido
  • Yes
  • No
Here are the current results.
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Old 07-28-2002, 02:19 PM   #2
Chuck Clark
 
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If the practical effectiveness of what you're doing is not part of the criteria that you use to evaluate your training, then you aren't doing budo. It is that simple.

Using the practice as physical, mental, and spiritual discipline is great but the practical effectiveness of what you're doing must be a large part of the practice of budo.

Noro-sensei in France started his own organization called "Ki no Michi" that is a system of exercise, movement therapy, spiritual developement, etc. I call it "pairs yoga" and it is great for what they intend to achieve. It is not budo.

The founder of aikido specifically meant for the art he started to be budo. I think each person practicing this art should look deeply into their own nature and decide what they want to do and then DO it. Don't mix the two or think you're doing one when you're really doing the other.

Chuck Clark
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Old 07-28-2002, 06:54 PM   #3
Kenn
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Chuck,

I must disagree, I think, on one thing. Yes, O'sensei intended Aikido to be budo. To be martial. However, would you consider it wrong for someone to attend an Aikido dojo, study and practice and train in Aikido without their intention being to learn the martial aspect of it?

I'd say nothing wrong with it. The way my Sensei puts it, if I interprut what he says correctly, is that the martial aspect you learn from Aikido, although effective, is secondary.

I'd agree. There are many martial arts that can be martially effective for someone in a much shorter period of time.

Now I'm not interested in starting the "Is Aikido maritally effective" debate for the umpfteenth time. My point is this:

If someone enjoys training in Aikido, and their intentions are not martial, so be it, nothing wrong with it, they can still get what they want out of it, spiritually, physically, mentally, etc.

Perhaps, as you say, Chuck, they are not practicing Budo.......so what, they are still training in Aikido...

Peace, Kenn

Kenn

Remember, the only way to be happy always, is to be happy always, without reason.
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Old 07-28-2002, 07:30 PM   #4
PeterR
 
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Quote:
C.E. Clark (Chuck Clark) wrote:
If the practical effectiveness of what you're doing is not part of the criteria that you use to evaluate your training, then you aren't doing budo. It is that simple.
Hi Chuck;

I was worried you had not posted of late - so much so that I was about to send a private message to see how you were feeling. Last week I was glad to see you were back.

Answer to the poll: all the time.

I am not interested in becoming the ultimate fighter - but when I do Budo I do budo.

I understand the role of exercises that at first glance may not seem that martial but they are just that exercises. It pains me when I see Aikido training where the exercises are the goal.

The dogma at Shodokan is that it is through the exercises that your Aikido improves but there is a very strong connection between those exercises and technique. I have seen some very interesting tangents and no - once Aikido is no longer Budo it is no longer Aikido.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-28-2002, 08:23 PM   #5
Kenn
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Quote:
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
and no - once Aikido is no longer Budo it is no longer Aikido.
Semantics peter, Semantics

Kenn

Remember, the only way to be happy always, is to be happy always, without reason.
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Old 07-28-2002, 10:45 PM   #6
Chris Li
 
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Quote:
Ken Koek (Kenn) wrote:
Semantics peter, Semantics
Perhaps, perhaps, but if you seperate "Aikido" and "Budo" what happens then? Could you do, for example, tea ceremony and call it "Aikido"? Now, I have nothing against tea ceremony, and certainly it is possible to practice it with goals similar to Aikido, but I think that most people would agree that the methodology is sufficiently different to exclude it from the label "Aikido".

I like long distance running, it's great for the stamina. Suppose that I were to go cycling or swimming and call it "long distance running". Would I be mistaken? After all the goal (of building stamina) might well be the same...

Best,

Chris

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Old 07-29-2002, 03:40 AM   #7
Jason Tonks
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It is a great shame that this question even needs to be asked. Having spoken to my Sensei who trained under Kenshiro Abbe Sensei, Nakazono Sensei and Tadashi Abbe in the 1950's, there was no question of martial effectiveness. These early pioneers of Aikido were hard training, spirited martial artists. Tadashi Abbe who introduced Aikido to France was known as one of the most fearsome teachers to emerge from the early Uchi Deshis of O Sensei. My point is that unfortunately over the years things become watered down and people don't want the hard training that the previous generations went through. True Budo develops the spirit, through hard constant training. If you aren't training with the correct martial spirit then you aren't doing Aikido, simple as that.
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Old 07-29-2002, 05:47 AM   #8
Kenn
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Quote:
Jason Tonks wrote:
If you aren't training with the correct martial spirit then you aren't doing Aikido, simple as that.
I'll say it again...semantics. If you don't want to call it budo, who gives a f*%k. If someone chooses to train in an Aikido dojo, without their interest being martial application, so be it. I think they are still practicing Aikido.

Break down the word....if you want to use semantics...Ai Ki Do...the way of harmony with universal energy. Nothing martial there at all. Now I'm sure you can rebutt me with quotes about budo, and O'sensei. But my point here is.......who cares. As others have said before me....

Train Train Train.

Peace, Kenn

Kenn

Remember, the only way to be happy always, is to be happy always, without reason.
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Old 07-29-2002, 06:06 AM   #9
Chris Li
 
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Quote:
Ken Koek (Kenn) wrote:
I'll say it again...semantics. If you don't want to call it budo, who gives a f*%k. If someone chooses to train in an Aikido dojo, without their interest being martial application, so be it. I think they are still practicing Aikido.
I suppose that would depend on what exactly you think that "Aikido" is...
Quote:
Ken Koek (Kenn) wrote:
Break down the word....if you want to use semantics...Ai Ki Do...the way of harmony with universal energy. Nothing martial there at all. Now I'm sure you can rebutt me with quotes about budo, and O'sensei. But my point here is.......who cares. As others have said before me....

Train Train Train.

Peace, Kenn
"Aiki" is one word, not two. For that matter, "Judo" or "Karate" don't really have anything martial if you break down the names into individual characters - FWIW, neither does "Tenshin Shoden Shinto Katori Ryu", which may be the oldest organized budo in Japan.

No quotes, I think that M. Ueshiba made his feelings about the importance of budo in the way he created quite clear on many occasions.

Best,

Chris

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Old 07-29-2002, 07:06 AM   #10
"Sara M"
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For me when I train, I can't help but just enjoy myself... the graceful movements, learning the technique and doing it correctly is all I bother to think about during the lessons... I think I trust my Sensei enough to leave the 'effective' bit up to him.

Maybe outside the dojo, I think about the different ways of applying the techniques and budo aspects... but never whether or not it will work... surely that side of things is instictive- with the budo side anyway... being selfish and not being selfish is pretty easy to define in behaviour... or am I wrong...? humility and respect are all things we understand? arent they? you may have all sorts of excuses in your head for the way you behaved but you still knew you 'did wrong' in the end... didn't you?

Infact the technical side should be quite easy to work out too... I mean aikido movements and locks, throws and whatever else are all pretty logically worked out aren't they... I mean... it all goes back to some scientists 3rd rule or some thing... every action has an reaction if you throw someone in a certain direction... they will go in that direction won't they? if someone trys to grab at you... could you move in a certain position to make them think 'somewhere' is a good place to grab, when actually that 'somewhere' is the exact place you learned to defend against in your lesson... isn't that why we have stances? so that we're not open to attack in vulnerable places? I dunno... oh god!... i don't want to think about this anymore... im just mumbling on... im not even sure if ive got the right point across...

Ive probably got the complete wrong end of the stick...

No... I don't think about the effectiveness of it... at least, I didn't used too...

Sara
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Old 07-29-2002, 08:13 AM   #11
L. Camejo
 
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Nice thread,

I always think about martial implications/applications. In fact, if the techniques/exercises don't work right when applied in a martial/resistant sense I'm usually missing a key principle inherent in the technique/exercise.

Aikido is budo - O-Sensei's Aikido was budo. Without martial application what you have is what Sokaku thought Aikido was - a dance where you fit yourself to the movement of your partner.

L.C.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 07-29-2002, 09:41 AM   #12
Carl Simard
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Quote:
Jason Tonks wrote:
It is a great shame that this question even needs to be asked. Having spoken to my Sensei who trained under Kenshiro Abbe Sensei, Nakazono Sensei and Tadashi Abbe in the 1950's, there was no question of martial effectiveness. These early pioneers of Aikido were hard training, spirited martial artists. Tadashi Abbe who introduced Aikido to France was known as one of the most fearsome teachers to emerge from the early Uchi Deshis of O Sensei. My point is that unfortunately over the years things become watered down and people don't want the hard training that the previous generations went through. True Budo develops the spirit, through hard constant training. If you aren't training with the correct martial spirit then you aren't doing Aikido, simple as that.
My sensei also trained something like 10 years under Tadashi Abbe and I must agree with you that it seemed to be somewhat different... So, our teacher always try to keep, in his class, the "martial spirit" that he had under Abbe. And this spirit must be there, no matter if you trained in a technique that is "effective" or only for "learning"... We always have to see the openings for possible atemi, even if we don't to it... We must never turn our back to our partner, always attack/defend as if it was the last time (and chance) in your life, etc... Even the warm up can be "martial" if done with the right spirit...

So, to answer the poll, I think that yes, our training is done with some martial spirit. Which do not mean that we pass our time asking ourselves if a specific technique is "martially effective" or not, since for us "martiallity" is more a set of mind and doing things in a particular spirit than doing a technique correctly... It's the intent and the spirit you put in your technique that make it martial, not the way you physically do the technique and if it's effective in the street or not...
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Old 07-29-2002, 09:47 AM   #13
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QUOTE:

'So, to answer the poll, I think that yes, our training is done with some martial spirit. '

:QUOTE

i thought the question was whether or not we think of the effectiveness of martial spirit... not if we apply it.
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Old 07-29-2002, 10:32 AM   #14
Jason Tonks
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Carl, you are right on the button there. I think personally it is a great shame that Aikido has been dilluted down so much. The "old school ways" of hard training, forging the mind body and spirit are on the decline but each to his own. Without proper spirit and intent you are playing a game. I'm not saying Aikido shouldn't be enjoyable, of course it should but the correct mentality should always be applied. Tadashi Abe I expect these days would look with a dim view on a lot of the ways Aikido has changed. My Sensei always talks with the utmost respect of Tadashi Abe and said he was a modern day Samurai on the mat. I've only ever seen pictures of this master but the spirit is there in the eyes as they say.

Jason T.
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Old 07-29-2002, 11:23 AM   #15
paw
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Carl and Jason,

What do you think is "missing" from most aikido practice to day that has dilluted the art?

Curious,

Paul
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Old 07-29-2002, 12:06 PM   #16
Carl Simard
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Quote:
paul watt (paw) wrote:
Carl and Jason,

What do you think is "missing" from most aikido practice to day that has dilluted the art?
I don't think there's something missing or "diluted" in modern aikido by itself, it's more a question on how it's teached in some dojos. Since I wasn't there in the pre-50 years, it's hard to make an exact comparison. However, from how I understand it, some teachers put too much emphasis on a well executed technique but forget about the intent... Why a specific technique is done, where are the advantage, where are the possible openings? And when you do the technique, do you do it for teh sake of it or do you do it as it was a matter of life and death ? When your partner has fallen, do you see it only as a innofensive, fallen, partner or as a nasty opponent ready to go back on his feet and attack you again ? Do you see the tatami as a mat for people no getting or as a representation of a battlefield ? Even if the technical quality is equal, the "spirit" is different... For example, in our dojo, our sensei will many time prefer a correct but not exceptionnal technique with "soul" in it than a perfect technique without "intent" or "spirit"... Some people love that, others not... As Jason said, in some dojos, the training is more like "I attack you, you attack me, we do it 4 time and change partner and there's absolutely no danger and I have nothing to fear" instead of "this guy is really dangerous, and will kill me if I don't do something and I will not have a second chance to take him down"... Even if the technique is applied the same way, it make all the difference in the "atmosphere" of the dojo...


Last edited by Carl Simard : 07-29-2002 at 12:20 PM.
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Old 07-29-2002, 04:01 PM   #17
Chris Li
 
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Quote:
Carl Simard wrote:
My sensei also trained something like 10 years under Tadashi Abbe and I must agree with you that it seemed to be somewhat different...
(Note: I originally posted this on the Aikido Journal site a year or two ago)

An interesting story about Tadashi Abe from "Aikido Ichiro" (it's just a quick translation from the Japanese, so it's a little rough):

Abe was walking to the dojo one day and he saw a little man in Japanese clothing in his early thirties. This man had very white skin and appeared to be somewhat feminine. Abe decides that this person is some kind of scum and tries to block his path in the road, but the man just walks around him. Abe gives up and goes into the dojo. He practices for about an hour when he notices a little man throwing a very large partner left and right. He looks more closely and realizes that the little man is the same person he tried to pick a fight with in the street. Abe asks his practice partner who the little man is and discovers that the feminine little man from the street is none other than K. Ueshiba himself. Abe hadn't been at the Kobukan very long, and although he had heard K. Ueshiba's name that was the first time that he had seen him in person. K. Ueshiba walks over and talks to him, and then Abe tries attacking him, but as soon as he's touched by K. Ueshiba he finds himself flying in the air. He gets up and K. Ueshiba throws him thirty or forty times. He'd been practicing ukemi, so this wasn't much of a problem, but then K. Ueshiba grabs his wrist and applies a technique that that turns his entire numb and makes him scream. K. Ueshiba cautions him about violent behavior in the future - Abe apologizes and asks about the technique, which turns out to have been yonkyo.

Best,

Chris

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Old 07-29-2002, 06:04 PM   #18
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Quote:
Larry Camejo (L. Camejo) wrote:
I always think about martial implications/applications. In fact, if the techniques/exercises don't work right when applied in a martial/resistant sense I'm usually missing a key principle inherent in the technique/exercise.
This is the key and what those who understand what Budo is usually mean. I did not have time to answer Ken's post as I left - seems I don't have to now but to add to the pot.

Martial effectiveness isn't about creating maximum pain, or eating babies or whatever. It's applying techniques with the application in mind. Proper technique requires a very precise combination of mental and physical action.

What's missing in many dojos? That precision - also referred to as sloppy technique. I see the same problem in many dojos/arts that claim to be martially effective (ie. their students scream in pain more) again without understanding what real effectiveness looks like.

Carl by the way has a very good teacher. Please give Serge my regards.

Last edited by PeterR : 07-29-2002 at 07:42 PM.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-29-2002, 06:16 PM   #19
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Quote:
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
Carl by the way has a very good teacher. Please give Serge my regards.
I'll be glad to transmit the message...
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Old 07-29-2002, 07:16 PM   #20
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Of Course

To me, doing aikido without an eye towards "martial effectiveness" would be pointless. It'd be like trying to do chado without actually getting the tea made, shodo without worrying about what you're writing, or basketball without trying to get the ball in the hoop.

To paraphrase and generalize a line I once read about kendo, when doing budo, there's no do without the bu.

Kentokuseisei
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Old 07-30-2002, 03:36 AM   #21
Jason Tonks
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Paul, as I was not there myself in the 1950's I can only go by what my Sensei has told me. The first teacher in Great Britain was Sensei Kenshiro Abbe at the hut. His way of teaching started with press ups on the backs of the wrists followed by hard practice. Because Aikido at that time was as yet to be established it needed to be seen to be as

an effective martial art otherwise people would not have been interested. The techniques were not as wide and flowing as is often seen today, they were short, sharp and effective. As an older man I think O'Sensei changed his Aikido to suit where he had got to in his life. However as a young man he trained very hard with the spirit of a young warrior. It's only my opinion of course but I think a lot of people are practicing the Aikido of O' Sensei as an old man while they are still young people. This isn't the way things work, you need to put in your dues first with hard training of the mind, body and the spirit. Just my beliefs.

All the best

Jason
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Old 07-30-2002, 08:28 AM   #22
Rolf Granlund
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I am very new to Aikido, I start training next week, but this thread intrigues me. I don't know if this is a good comparison but people train in Tai Chi without any thought or regards to the martial application and it would seem to me that they are still doing Tai Chi. Some benefit is still derived from their practice, albeit not necessarily a martial one.

I look forward to discussing Aikido with all of you and hope to be a productive member of this excellent site.

With Respect,
Rolf Granlund
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Old 07-30-2002, 08:52 AM   #23
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Quote:
Rolf Granlund wrote:
...people train in Tai Chi without any thought or regards to the martial application and it would seem to me that they are still doing Tai Chi. Some benefit is still derived from their practice, albeit not necessarily a martial one.
This is true,

but what they are actually doing is Tai Chi QIGONG, and not Tai Chi Chuan in its fullest sense. Tai Chi Qigong utilises the movements of Tai Chi Chuan to focus on healing the body, exercise and developing internal Qi. It LOOKS like Tai Chi Chuan, but the intent is very different. To a skilled eye the difference is obvious. (Not to say that I'm one of these skilled eyes mind you.)

I was actually corrected by my Qigong master once for making my movements "too martial" as he put it 2 different focuses entirely.

Similarly with Aikido. Some groups tend to focus mainly on Ki Development, and the movements LOOK like and sometimes are Aikido movements. But the intent is not so much martial as it is about blending with the ki of the other person and achieving a state of mutual harmony etc. Not much else. It can actually be called "Aikido Qigong" for lack of a better term.

That is not to say that these practices are not beneficial, far from it. But to call this Budo - Bu being the character for "war or martial" from my limited nihon go could be very misleading.

IMHO Aikido was designed to have an ideal balance of both.

My 2 cents

L.C.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 07-30-2002, 09:03 AM   #24
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Hi !

I suppose Tai Chi will work martially even if the practioner has no knowlegde of the martial application from training,if, the teaching has been martially correct and as such will manifest itself naturally when needed,like real aikido is tecniques coming naturally from the subconsiousnes fitting the the situation almost like playing music,

I have a few times had this kind of experience, so I know that when I do not think of technique beautiful natural tecniques comes out and give me an assurance that I actually am much more advanced than

when I train and very fast too !

I know of people who have trained Tai Chi who

have no idea of the application of the forms,

that leaves me a little sceptical,but maybe their forms will work anyhow,at least the teacher should know the application of the forms - mine did.

yours - Chr.B.
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Old 07-30-2002, 11:02 AM   #25
Sherman Byas
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I think we all can agree that people pratice for different reasons. Some of us (me included) want tor learn the beautiful.

The beautiful way uke yelps when you give him a good smack to the face right before you do ikkiyo. Or when you do a technique without being at safe distanse and uke gives you a good whop. That the beauty. Or, when you are dead dog tired and when you meditate at the end of class and you can feel the all the tiredness leaving you and you feel great. That's the beauty i want.
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