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Old 05-07-2014, 01:09 PM   #26
kewms
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Re: Why bother keeping Aikido 'pure'?

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
I also happen to think the claim of life and death in training is to identify the need to use more intent and intensity in our training, not necessarily claim a physical ability to kill someone. The relative risk to your body does play a factor in intent and so I can appreciate physical factors that increase your body risk as a method of increasing your focus and intent. But we are not training with the intent to injure, we are training with the intent to control ourselves. Honestly, there is a small group of people who I can touch and instantly feel concern for my safety and know they have absolutely no intention of injuring me. Anyone who has worked with the business ends of large animals knows that feeling.
If you say, "we need more intensity in our training" then yes, I entirely agree. The issue is that when people start talking about "life or death intensity," they don't tend to spend much time considering what that actually means.

Among other things, life or death situations are very stressful, involving lots of tension and large surges of adrenaline. It is very difficult to learn anything -- much less fine motor skills like aikido -- if your body believes your life is at risk. So this idea that we should train with that level of intensity all of the time is pedagogically ridiculous.

Rather, I would say that dealing with intensity is a separate field of study. It needs to take place in parallel with waza, not instead of it.

Katherine
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Old 05-07-2014, 02:09 PM   #27
Janet Rosen
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Re: Why bother keeping Aikido 'pure'?

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Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
If you say, "we need more intensity in our training" then yes, I entirely agree. The issue is that when people start talking about "life or death intensity," they don't tend to spend much time considering what that actually means.

Among other things, life or death situations are very stressful, involving lots of tension and large surges of adrenaline. It is very difficult to learn anything -- much less fine motor skills like aikido -- if your body believes your life is at risk. So this idea that we should train with that level of intensity all of the time is pedagogically ridiculous.

Rather, I would say that dealing with intensity is a separate field of study. It needs to take place in parallel with waza, not instead of it.

Katherine
Agree.

I was probably 4th kyu when introduced to tantotori....a very likeable sempai did munetsuke, not at all in a "life or death" manner...but for this Brooklyn girl it called for an immediate response and I had never ever done a kotegaishe nearly as smoothly, quickly and efficiently as that one.

Didn't feel like fight or flight, just automatic.

And, in fact, it would be a while before it would be matched, because after that the buttons weren't being pushed the same way. However, it set my bar higher and gave me an in-the-body model for myself that I could work on learning from.

Janet Rosen
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Old 05-07-2014, 09:03 PM   #28
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Re: Why bother keeping Aikido 'pure'?

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Reuben Yap wrote: View Post
So in short, what are your thoughts on keeping Aikido pure or making sure that new techniques fit within the general 'look' of what we understand Aikido to be? I don't profess to be a greater master than O-Sensei or the other Aikido greats...but surely there is room for inclusion of more effective techniques that fit in the philosophy of Aikido?
So you firmly believe that O sensei developed merely just another type of jujutsu self defense full of ineffective random techniques and he devoted for it 70 years of his life? He, who learned from and observed the finest Japaneses martial artists of the time, but he was so stupid, that he didn't see the uselessness of his heritage? Already at his time guns supplanted completely bare hand fighting on the battlefield...
He nevertheless insisted to practice and even 'teach' this nonsense to others?

And your solution is to add some other random techniques from other combat sports and PUFFF magically aikido become efficient and full of sense?

I usually don't waste my time for such trivial topics, but your choice of words draw my attention - Aikido 'pure'. This became interesting....

In reality aikido is a purification practice using martial techniques as designed by O sensei. It is not a heap of locks and throws, martial techniques are doing merely body and mind conditioning, they are not a goal in itself. So if they are done in pure form(not talking here only about external shape of techniques), they may result in proper state of mind which can lead to transcendent human condition and develop a spiritual intuition. In turn this intuition can be used to answer the questions like From where are we coming? Who are You? Why are You living?

If you distort these techniques, all your practice is useless. So yes, pure Aikido.

Nagababa

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Old 05-08-2014, 05:08 AM   #29
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Re: Why bother keeping Aikido 'pure'?

First of all thanks for all the replies!

Also appreciate if the replies are kept non-derogatory...some seems to be leaning in that way.

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Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
I have gone through exactly the same thought process as you. For me, now, Aikido is The Way of Aiki. It is about developing aiki, not just learning a bunch of semi-useless kata style waza. The waza will not work if you put them to the test (beyond Aikido, like, try katate-dori Ikkyo on a Judoka trying to throw you and see how far you get). And yes, you could put aiki into anything, Jujutsu, Judo, whatever. But for me, the aim of Aikido is to develop this aiki whereas Judo has turned into a system of scoring points.

Now you may think your Aikido has improved due to your other training but I would say it can only improve if you aim at developing aiki. So if it really has gotten better, maybe your other training has given you a few aiki insights you are as yet unaware of. Or perhaps you have just found a better way of wrenching Ikkyo on someone ...

I say, keep your Aikido pure and use what is there to develop you aiki, then take that aiki and try to apply it in your Jujutsu. Don't make the mistake of bringing your Jujutsu into Aikido to try to improve your Aikido. You will just end up where you started - running around in circles to nowhere.

Just my 2c.
I agree that to understand Aikido, you need to practice Aikido and not a mumbo jumbo of things. I am not bringing jujitsu into Aikido to improve my Aikido but sometimes it's the more efficient technique (when it presents itself).

To quote an example, from a certain position a kaiten nage and also a guillotine presents itself. I pick the guillotine because it's an 'end' position similar to a pin and arguably safer too both in a self defense situation both for me and the attacker (since a choke offers more control and is non lethal while a fall is harder to predict).

To me the most difficult and technical part of Aikido are not the throws the pins etc etc...it is those initial moments when receiving the attack and breaking the balance, what follows after is just a matter of preference.

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Tony Mills wrote: View Post
I echo the previous two posters.

I rember a teacher when I was starting describing the progression of Aikido. First you think about techniques, then you do the techniques without thinking, finaly forget techniques. How's that relevant? I think the aim of aikido is to develop Aiki so you can apply it spontaneously without regard to technique, this mean unfortunately while we are learning through aikido techniques they often seem ineffective. The temptation is we can supliment with these percived effective techniques from other arts and still call it aikido. To me this can be a distraction from the higher goal of learning Aiki because we are not using those techniques towards developing Aiki but to fight better in the short term, and that becomes our goal
.
Don't get me wrong I don't think we shouldn't be martial, fight well, or train other arts. Just we need to know what we are aiming for and not get so side tracked that we head off on a different path. Of course we all have different goals
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Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
If you make your technique -- whatever technique you choose -- more effective by incorporating aiki, then it's still aikido.

If you don't know what "incorporating aiki" means, or if you're just adding techniques from other arts, then it isn't still aikido. But then, it may not have been aikido in the first place.

I think if your technique collapses under pressure, that's an issue with your training and may or may not have anything to do with the limitations of the art itself.

Katherine
Yes I believe early in development, I think trying to supplement and mix things up doesn't help things. When you do it too early on, you're just stunting your understanding and growth and going the 'easy path'. There are many techniques in which I do in Aikido now that I didn't have the technical skills 10 years ago and didn't get it. However I've been doing Aikido since I was like maybe 10 years old...and I can say that I am reasonably competent in the fundamentals of Aikido and have gone around training in different Aikido dojos to also expose myself to it. I wouldn't call myself a master but I would say I know when a technique is working and when it isn't.

My point is that rather than viewing 'pure' Aikido as the end solution to everything, what's wrong with increasing your repertoire with other techniques as long as it fits into the whole economy of movement and do no harm principles of Aikido?

I really disagree that we should only stick to training in the 'traditional attacks' like shomen, tsuki etc etc and that it would be better to have better methods/techniques while still following Aiki principles in dealing with modern attacks that involve combinations and strikes we don't see in traditional Aikido practice.

Case in point, I think tsuki kote-gaeshi is really not practical if someone is properly punching. It works if uke continues to hold his hand out, and i think it's more designed to be against something like a spear thrust as opposed to just a punch to the stomach (and that's with you anticipating it). And frankly, who attacks like that outside there?

Why is it wrong to learn and adapt techniques to deal with more common attacks like a jab/cross/hook/haymaker etc? Why aren't these incorporated into Aikido's standard repertoire?

As to collapsing under pressure, I think Aikido training does not prepare u for that. Even when you do get hit, it's going to be just one hit, it's hard to deal with a persistent attacker that's going to keep attacking you unless you can get him everytime he makes that first attack. I have NEVER seen anyone achieve this level. You need a different kind of training, some type of 'stress innoculation' which allows you to keep calm when under pressure. This I got it through sparring. I'll be very surprised to see a pure Aikidoka that has trained in nothing else deal with a determined attacker that's not going to just attack with one attack and has a genuine intention to land solid hits. How can you train for stress situations when you've never been put under stress?

I've been dealing with this by introducing more proactive randori by having an attacker come in with an attack but continue to attack in rapidly in combination if nage fails to perform a technique. Strikes of course have to be light (and open handed) but grips will be full force and with an intention to take down if possible. The Aikido then may be sloppy but it is hoped with time, more and more effective techniques can be pulled off (which still happens now and then).

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Ashley Hemsath wrote: View Post
Reuben, I am actually with you on most of those points, but I would look to training in terms of bad technique. In the beginning, the uke has to be compliant, because nage has never done the technique, and needs to understand how it is supposed to feel to start with, and move on from there. But as students progress, compliance needs to start going away. I'll never remember the first time my uke took an actual swing at me. I performed the technique, a bit sloppy, but I did it, and after I pinned him I was in shock. "Dude! You swung at me!" "Yep, and you did it right. Good job."

If you have anyone who has achieved any kind of rank without the occasional "real" attack, that is what needs to be remedied.

--Ashley
Totally agree. I also now incorporate a form of 'play resistance' which allows students to give a lot of resistance without bringing ego into play and keeping it playful. For example, i'll tell uke, ok go grab nage's hand and if you can establish a grip, grip as hard as you can and you can fight it, condition is that you have to hold on to the hand and do nothing else. I find that in that case nage can experiment against a fully committed grip and feel the switches and adaptation of an almost fully resisting uke but within controlled parameters. This I feel controls the gap between full on sparring and just being compliant.

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Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
"Compliant uke" has been a fairly consistent complaint for as long as people have been arguing about Aikido on the internet. It seems to come most often from people who like wrestling. In my experience, as long as the instructors foster neither a "you must never resist technique and must always take the fall" nor a "never take a fall unless the technique works" attitude, things just work themselves out.

Beginners get on the mat, people take a fall of them so they can get the feel for what the results of the technique are supposed to be. Then when its their turn to be uke, they take the fall to learn to take the fall.

When they get more advanced, you are basically always willing to take a fall, but if they aren't giving you anything to work with, you don't. When it's their turn, you dial it up a bit if they can take it.

Then when advanced people work together, sometimes you show each other that such and such a thing doesn't work on you. Sometimes you give each other time and space to innovate.

If you look at the antecedent systems of Aikido, uke may not be "compliant" but he is certainly cooperative in general practice. To the extent that uke will allow you to apply a painful join lock or choke. There is no other safe way to train moves that are meant to cause serious injury. In regular practice you can't just decide to break someone's neck - even if you teach counters, if uke doesn't know what's coming, accidents will happen. Aikido has softer techniques that allow for practice to involve spontaneity without lots of injury.
I always hear that oh in Aikido we never apply techniques full force because it may be lethal or cause serious injury. There is no move that is meant to cause serious injury cause if it is, it's not Aikido. I think that's really against what Aikido is about. The point is that Aikido should be an art that gives you the control and option to not do harm. Which is why I think incorporating other techniques that gives you that control should be in line with what Aikido is about.

Totally agree with you on advanced students being free to experiment and not afraid to look bad though. it takes a lot of experimentation to know what works.

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
For me, aiki do is a study of the application of aiki. The kata we find in aikido are derived from the early movements often demonstrated by O Sensei. The intention behind them was to create common vessels in which practitioners could express aiki. There is commonality to sister Japanese arts, especially those arts shared by some of the earlier students who lead the kata curriculum. The kata are a "paint by numbers," approach to helping reduce the stress of manufacturing a proper martial shape when also trying to express aiki. The curriculum of kata we have is kinda a "starter kit" of a larger set of martial movement that exists.

I think that it is difficult to express aiki. I think when you are referring to those who argue about limiting the formal kata of aikido, you are talking about an argument based on a limit of knowledge. To some extent, I can sympathize with this perspective because probably most of what we do is not expressing aiki, so the number of kata that we proclaim to comprehend does not change our inability to express aiki. The converse to that argument is that everything we do is aiki, and there is no limit of knowledge. To some extent, I can sympathize with this argument because that is the intended purpose of our training, to transcend the need for a model that solicits proper aiki movement.

Kata is a tool to help reduce the stress of remember what to do - it creates an outside shape that is reproducible and transferrable. There are some aikido people who will never really move beyond that phase of their training. For those who do, they invigorate their kata with aiki. For those who are good, they move with aiki without a need to put that movement into a outside shape.

This brings us back to shu ha ri training. Aiki is a basic body skill. You can use it for many things, but only if you learn aiki, not a shape that solicits aiki-like movement. The kata in aikido are designed to preserve the movement to express aiki, not fight. If you have built a body of knowledge that lets you expand your kata knowledge and still express aiki, great.
I guess you're saying that Aikido is a form of somatic training then?

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
While an overly compliant uke can certainly be a problem, I think people who say that it's unique to aikido aren't paying attention.

The first time you spar with a live partner in a karate dojo, does the senior student beat you bloody? No? Then I guess he's being "compliant," huh?

And as pointed out up thread, it's kind of hard to train lethal or crippling techniques any other way: you run out of partners really fast, and local law enforcement tends to get involved.

The question is how to ramp up the intensity and the "resistance" (not really the right word, but it'll do) so that students learn to handle progressively more realistic situations, while keeping the stress level low enough to allow learning. It's a hard problem, and I don't think aikido instructors are alone in struggling with it.

Katherine
Yup been working actively on devising on how to do this...

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Karl Arant wrote: View Post
Yeah, that's about what I'd pay for that too. So what is "aiki" exactly and how do you know if you, or anyone else is doing "it" correctly? Does your magic aiki meter go "ding" when you're in "the zone", or does a little indicator light appear? Do you have some sort of ESP which allows you to detect this invisible, non-corporeal force in others as well? Give me a break!!!
OP is absolutely correct. Aikido is either a MARTIAL art, or it is not. If it is, then it should behave as such. MARTIAL literally means "of the military" which means life and death, nothing more and nothing less and certainly not "spiritual practice". LOL!!!!! That means real training, real intent, real speed and real power.
Lest we forget that Osensei himself was a deeply militant man who knowingly and willingly trained and associated with known war criminals of a caliber that would make Goebbels blush. Oh yeah, the ol' Japanese military made the Nazis look like the Peace Corp. (Pearl Harbor anyone?) and Osensei was best friends with ALL the brass and proud of it too. How's that for "spiritual" awareness and enlightenment?
Training without true life or death/martial intent is nothing more than a waste of time, money and effort for all parties involved. To do otherwise is cruel farce which will leave a hapless aikidoka in for a rude awakening should they ever need to use their "spiritual" skills to protect themselves or a loved one. If there are people practicing Aikido simply as a "spiritual practice" (whatever that is), then those people should stop. Instead, they and their communities would all be better served by them volunteering at a soup kitchen, or homeless shelter in order to better fulfill their "spiritual" needs rather than rolling around on a mat in a manskirt using archaic Japanese terminology to describe said movements.
The saddest irony of all is that Aikido didn't become as popular and well respected in such a relatively short amount of time because its techniques and practitioners weren't martially effective. On the contrary, Osensei himself was an iconoclast who did away with many of the old conventions to bring forth a new approach to the MARTIAL arts and soundly handled challengers. His students also spread the word when they willingly took on any and all comers and won, thus allowing the art to speak for itself. Sadly, this aspect has been greatly diminished in favor of the "Lets all be morbidly obese senseis who can't even touch our toes (you know who you are) and/or hold hands and talk about our "spiritual feelings" and/or you can't handle a BJJ guy, so don't even bother " crowd. What a shame. Just goes to show you how precious the essence an art really is and how quickly it can disappear without proper nurturing. If Aikido is going to endure as a true and well-respected MARTIAL art it desperately needs to get off its "spiritual" high horse and get back to goodness with some HONEST demonstrations of talent and ability. Who knows, we might just like what we find.
Yes we really need those real masters now who are willing to put their reputation on the line. If we're talking about Aikido as just a spiritual movement or an exercise that promotes harmony fine. But if it's going to be called a martial art, then challengers are to be expected and Aikidoka often go proudly "O-Sensei defeated all who challenged him", "Gozo Shioda took on etc etc" and all these legendary stories to show how awesome Aikido is. But when we talk about challenges now it's all frowned upon and not in the spirit of Aiki. I have not seen a single demonstration which is convincing in showing a proper attempt to nullify an attacker (even untrained). If Aikido is all it's panned out to be we should be able to neutralize an attacker as hard as he is trying to defeat us all the while without having to injure him or resort to violence.

I worry that without these, we lose sight that Aikido is a martial art (or if it isn't then let's not pretend). If accepting challenges is not "Aiki" then why did O-Sensei engage in them? He was confident enough of his martial ability in showing them that it worked and that there was another path besides destruction and converted many of these challengers into his students. Why is this wrong today? Is it because we lack the confidence? Also note that O-Sensei was dealing with a very different breed of challengers and therefore his techniques may be catered towards the arts of the day. Why has there been no innovation to update these techniques to modern attacks? I wondered what techniques would O-Sensei have created if faced with a modern challenger.
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Old 05-08-2014, 05:20 AM   #30
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Re: Why bother keeping Aikido 'pure'?

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So you firmly believe that O sensei developed merely just another type of jujutsu self defense full of ineffective random techniques and he devoted for it 70 years of his life? He, who learned from and observed the finest Japaneses martial artists of the time, but he was so stupid, that he didn't see the uselessness of his heritage? Already at his time guns supplanted completely bare hand fighting on the battlefield...
He nevertheless insisted to practice and even 'teach' this nonsense to others?

And your solution is to add some other random techniques from other combat sports and PUFFF magically aikido become efficient and full of sense?

I usually don't waste my time for such trivial topics, but your choice of words draw my attention - Aikido 'pure'. This became interesting....

In reality aikido is a purification practice using martial techniques as designed by O sensei. It is not a heap of locks and throws, martial techniques are doing merely body and mind conditioning, they are not a goal in itself. So if they are done in pure form(not talking here only about external shape of techniques), they may result in proper state of mind which can lead to transcendent human condition and develop a spiritual intuition. In turn this intuition can be used to answer the questions like From where are we coming? Who are You? Why are You living?

If you distort these techniques, all your practice is useless. So yes, pure Aikido.
No I believe O-Sensei was just that good. He went through enough hard training, went through many different martial arts and gained his own understanding and mastery. Aikido was his creation. He showed us there was another path to martial arts without requiring destruction of your opponent. But this came from his various experiences and hard training. Now we are learning the 'end bit' of his teachings. It's kinda like learning how to do acrobatics before we even learn how to walk.

Without the hard training, without the martial elements he put himself through, i don't believe O-Sensei would have achieved the heights he had. I don't believe anyone who just practised in Aikido in a traditional environment JUST doing Aikido techniques can gain that sort of mastery without any form of sparring or training in a stress situation. if that is possible, then why hasn't there been a video on Youtube of it? I haven't seen ANYTHING convincing. Or is it because we are so high up that we don't want to share our knowledge to the world and we shouldn't put videos on Youtube etc etc. We have to show the world that Aikido works and yet remain compassionate and not surround ourselves in some isolated coccoon where we are undefeatable within our own small circle. That's the beginning of a McDojo. O-Sensei did the challenges, Shioda did the challenges as did many great Aikido masters of late why can't the masters of this generation do so?

O-Sensei was VERY good. So good that he was devising techniques that worked because of his ability which was honed. Even Shioda said that to do Aikido, we need to achieve exceptional speed. He also regularly tested out his techniques (and sometimes even in questionable scenarios). Our training does not provide that physical element as much anymore or the stress element, so how can we hope to achieve mastery by just the techniques?

You're assuming that O-Sensei has devised a system that can defeat all types of attackers. He was dealing with a different type of attacker and my point is that the world has evolved. Perhaps it's time for the Aikido masters of today to come up with new novel ways to deal with modern attacks and perhaps some of these ways have already been discovered from other martial arts while keeping in the spirit of Aiki. There will always be masters of a generation, and other martial arts are evolving (especially those with a sparring element), why can't Aikido evolve too?

Last edited by Reuben : 05-08-2014 at 05:25 AM.
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Old 05-08-2014, 08:06 AM   #31
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Re: Why bother keeping Aikido 'pure'?

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Reuben Yap wrote: View Post
First of all thanks for all the replies!

I guess you're saying that Aikido is a form of somatic training then?
...
I am not familiar enough with that term as it relates to conditioning. But, yes, I would say aikido is largely body conditioning. Even our kata is conditioning.

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Old 05-08-2014, 09:52 AM   #32
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Re: Why bother keeping Aikido 'pure'?

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There will always be masters of a generation, and other martial arts are evolving (especially those with a sparring element), why can't Aikido evolve too?[/b]
Evolve to become what? Something similar to MMA with sparrings, modern scientific training methods, supplements etc? Why? we have already MMA....

I'm not against difficult physical training; in fact I'm doing it every day. However it must be clear for you -- what is a final goal of these "‘improvements"?

Nagababa

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Old 05-08-2014, 10:02 AM   #33
Cliff Judge
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Re: Why bother keeping Aikido 'pure'?

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Reuben Yap wrote: View Post
I always hear that oh in Aikido we never apply techniques full force because it may be lethal or cause serious injury. There is no move that is meant to cause serious injury cause if it is, it's not Aikido. I think that's really against what Aikido is about. The point is that Aikido should be an art that gives you the control and option to not do harm. Which is why I think incorporating other techniques that gives you that control should be in line with what Aikido is about.
More specifically, I was saying that the reason why Aikido sticks to less dangerous techniques is so that you can train spontaneously. Formal kata is the only way to train techniques where, for example, you smash the back of your use's head directly into the ground, or break their backs over your knee, for example. Aikido is an alternative to that kind of training, and it seems to work better for most modern people. You get people moving right, and give the general sense of how the techniques work, and then, rather than drilling down to the physical details of perfect form, you say "if your technique doesn't seem to be working, switch into something that does." Can't do that if everybody is trying to work on breaking necks. Over time this should provide the ability to generally flow and change with moving stresses and such in life. That should include being able to evade and escape a dangerous situation, and perhaps take control of it. That may sound fluffy or new-agish to some but it is a very real and valuable thing for me, and it seems to be the primary thing that attracts new people to the art these days. People who want to fight or submit have plenty of Muay Thai and BJJ options.

I don't think working with different attacks or demonstrating more complex submissions is at all against the spirit of Aikido, actually. We already have pins and some strike combinations. I think the problem you are likely to have is that, unless your students all cross-train in the same sport combatives you do, they won't really be able to deliver the kinds of attacks you are looking for and you may wind up spending more time teaching them to fight than teaching them Aikido. Might not be a bad thing, or maybe you might want to hold a separate class where you require that people cross-train in a fighting system.

And since I didn't mention it above, I don't think that would introduce any "impurities" into your Aikido teaching by any means.
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Old 05-08-2014, 10:05 AM   #34
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Re: Why bother keeping Aikido 'pure'?

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Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
Evolve to become what? Something similar to MMA with sparrings, modern scientific training methods, supplements etc? Why? we have already MMA....

I'm not against difficult physical training; in fact I'm doing it every day. However it must be clear for you -- what is a final goal of these "‘improvements"?
I have to agree with this. My problem with OP's premise is that he seems to want to make aikido into something more like other martial arts. But we already have other martial arts; why not just train them?

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Old 05-08-2014, 10:42 AM   #35
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Re: Why bother keeping Aikido 'pure'?

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Yes I believe early in development, I think trying to supplement and mix things up doesn't help things. When you do it too early on, you're just stunting your understanding and growth and going the 'easy path'. There are many techniques in which I do in Aikido now that I didn't have the technical skills 10 years ago and didn't get it. However I've been doing Aikido since I was like maybe 10 years old...and I can say that I am reasonably competent in the fundamentals of Aikido and have gone around training in different Aikido dojos to also expose myself to it. I wouldn't call myself a master but I would say I know when a technique is working and when it isn't.

My point is that rather than viewing 'pure' Aikido as the end solution to everything, what's wrong with increasing your repertoire with other techniques as long as it fits into the whole economy of movement and do no harm principles of Aikido?

I really disagree that we should only stick to training in the 'traditional attacks' like shomen, tsuki etc etc and that it would be better to have better methods/techniques while still following Aiki principles in dealing with modern attacks that involve combinations and strikes we don't see in traditional Aikido practice.

Case in point, I think tsuki kote-gaeshi is really not practical if someone is properly punching. It works if uke continues to hold his hand out, and i think it's more designed to be against something like a spear thrust as opposed to just a punch to the stomach (and that's with you anticipating it). And frankly, who attacks like that outside there?

Why is it wrong to learn and adapt techniques to deal with more common attacks like a jab/cross/hook/haymaker etc? Why aren't these incorporated into Aikido's standard repertoire?

As to collapsing under pressure, I think Aikido training does not prepare u for that. Even when you do get hit, it's going to be just one hit, it's hard to deal with a persistent attacker that's going to keep attacking you unless you can get him everytime he makes that first attack. I have NEVER seen anyone achieve this level. You need a different kind of training, some type of 'stress innoculation' which allows you to keep calm when under pressure. This I got it through sparring. I'll be very surprised to see a pure Aikidoka that has trained in nothing else deal with a determined attacker that's not going to just attack with one attack and has a genuine intention to land solid hits. How can you train for stress situations when you've never been put under stress?

I've been dealing with this by introducing more proactive randori by having an attacker come in with an attack but continue to attack in rapidly in combination if nage fails to perform a technique. Strikes of course have to be light (and open handed) but grips will be full force and with an intention to take down if possible. The Aikido then may be sloppy but it is hoped with time, more and more effective techniques can be pulled off (which still happens now and then).
I'm not sure why you don't believe these things are "pure" aikido. I've certainly seen all of these kinds of training in fairly traditional aikido dojos.

Which is the rock on which all of these discussions founder: One person says "Aikido training should do X," and others come back and say "My dojo already does X. What's the problem?"

Point being that I think it's more productive to talk about what training methods are appropriate for which skills, rather than launching an attack on "aikido" as a whole.

Katherine
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Old 05-08-2014, 11:10 AM   #36
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Re: Why bother keeping Aikido 'pure'?

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Evolve to become what? Something similar to MMA with sparrings, modern scientific training methods, supplements etc? Why? we have already MMA....

I'm not against difficult physical training; in fact I'm doing it every day. However it must be clear for you -- what is a final goal of these "‘improvements"?
This topic came up in class last night.

A lot of the more subtle aspects of aikido just won't work on MMA people. Why? Because they've deliberately trained themselves to ignore it: be very strong, be able to take a lot of punishment, and just wade in and impose your will.

Which is fine, but let's not pretend it has anything more to do with "real" fighting than aikido dojo training does.

What happens if you give either person a knife? Heck, what happens if you simply introduce the possibility that either person *might* have a knife?

Suddenly taking punishment becomes much less important, and being attuned to your partner's most subtle movements becomes much more important. Suddenly this whole business of very dynamic, connected ukemi makes a lot more sense.

Which is not to say that aikidoka are good knife fighters, but rather to suggest that "beating MMA guys" is not necessarily the right goal, either for "self-defense" (whatever that means) or for studying the aspects of aikido that make the art unique.

Katherine
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Old 05-08-2014, 12:43 PM   #37
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Re: Why bother keeping Aikido 'pure'?

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Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Suddenly taking punishment becomes much less important
...or much less possible. "Wade in and take it" sounds impressive, but it's a bit like those bombastic people who say, "I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it!" When you stop for a minute and think of the implications, you can see why there's a conspicuous absence of those who have actually mounted such a defense, and why those that have aren't talking about it
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Old 05-08-2014, 01:01 PM   #38
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Re: Why bother keeping Aikido 'pure'?

Was sitting in on a class and heard someone say something to the effect of "you can take a few punches and still function". I was really quite tempted to offer to deliver just one punch to see how well that worked... Gettin' hit by someone who means harm and can deliver the goods is a profoundly awakening experience. That is, once you wake up...

Yeah, I have continued to function after missing something and getting tagged. And frankly it is a good experience to realize that you can take *some* abuse. But those who tend to say you just wade in I would imagine haven't just "waded in" for real. Ever. Especially if a weapon is involved.

Just rambling...

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Old 05-08-2014, 01:11 PM   #39
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Re: Why bother keeping Aikido 'pure'?

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Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
This topic came up in class last night.

A lot of the more subtle aspects of aikido just won't work on MMA people. Why? Because they've deliberately trained themselves to ignore it: be very strong, be able to take a lot of punishment, and just wade in and impose your will.
Another issue is how committed attacks are in sport fighting - they generally aren't. Fighters understand even better than we do about how you leave yourself vulnerable when you commit to an attack, so just about any combat sport is largely a game of how much can you hold back while getting the other fighter to commit a little more, giving you an opening.
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Old 05-08-2014, 03:25 PM   #40
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Re: Why bother keeping Aikido 'pure'?

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Was sitting in on a class and heard someone say something to the effect of "you can take a few punches and still function". I was really quite tempted to offer to deliver just one punch to see how well that worked... Gettin' hit by someone who means harm and can deliver the goods is a profoundly awakening experience. That is, once you wake up...
Indeed. Show of hands, anyone who's actually taken that dirt nap?

*raises hand*

It's a bit like that "Oh you can just catch the leg/grab the punch" line...
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Old 05-08-2014, 04:05 PM   #41
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Re: Why bother keeping Aikido 'pure'?

Although the OP said it was pointless, I think it is necessary to talk about what "pure" aikido is in order to answer the question: In order to be able to "keep" (or "not keep") something pure, it has to be pure in the first place. All this talk of adding stuff (especially compensatory stuff) or changing the goal might be meaningless if what you’re working on is already missing ingredients, watered down or contaminated.

Regards

Carl
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Old 05-08-2014, 05:58 PM   #42
James Sawers
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Re: Why bother keeping Aikido 'pure'?

There are currently quite a few different styles of aikido being practiced all over the world. Which one is the pure one?
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Old 05-08-2014, 07:21 PM   #43
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Re: Why bother keeping Aikido 'pure'?

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There are currently quite a few different styles of aikido being practiced all over the world. Which one is the pure one?
The one I'm doing, of course.
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Old 05-08-2014, 09:20 PM   #44
Reuben
 
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Re: Why bother keeping Aikido 'pure'?

Let me rephrase the question for clarity:

I never claimed there was a true 'pure' Aikido. Hence the inverted commas and also the reference to many people claiming to be more 'pure' than the other. Usually "pure" as commonly seen is such as it is the Aikido that O-Sensei taught, some see it as the official Aikikai syllabus ala Doshu style and some see it as the formalization of techniques that happened under Saito with his Iwama school being the best preservation of O-Sensei's art. List goes on and on with the main one being lineage. Let's not get into a discussion of what is pure, my point is that the point of 'purity' is subjective.

Hence given that there's so many different interpretations of Aikido, there is no point in talking what is 'pure' but as other posters have said, it is more about maintaining Aiki.

Maintaining Aiki or What is Aikido

Now I'm told that Aiki is something intangible and cannot be explained...though personally (and I may be wrong) Aiki is about

a) Not harming your opponent and loving them; and
b) Not using force but not just submitting to threats

If a technique can meet these requirements then I would say, why isn't it Aikido?

Being willing to put Aikido to the Test

I really like the quote for this:
"Only a warrior chooses pacifism; others are condemned to it."

This is what O-Sensei was. An amazing warrior but one who chose pacifism and had the skill to back up his beliefs (and he was willing to be tested on it to also spread his art). Aikido today arguably doesn't have that and if it does, I would be very happy to see an example (hence one of the reasons I bring this up).

There's all sorts of other McDojo schools that go,
"We don't test our techniques or else it will be lethal"
"We are above that"
"You don't have the right sensitivity"
and this is very common in Aikido circles as well, the first one especially which is total rubbish since the whole aim of Aikido is not to be brutal/lethal.

Evolution of Aikido

Don't get me wrong. I'm not proposing we tack on other martial art techniques to Aikido but why isn't there
a) A standard training method for dealing with modern attacks
b) A training mechanism for true free randori whereby an attacker will come at you with whatever attack he feels like rather than be limited by the standard Aikido attacks. Why isn't there more demos of this?

Now sure, some dojos may practice this but I don't see it much either in the dojos I go to (and I have been to many dojos in Malaysia, UK and Hombu) and if so, why isn't this more publicized. Why aren't there more discussions on this sort of practice? The way I see it being taught is instructor teaches, students do and perhaps a controlled randori session. I feel that without the above elements, there's a great danger that Aikido will become nothing more than just a elaborate dance or exercise.

Also why I mention other martial arts is that there are other techniques that come naturally from Aikido positions and I wonder why there isn't any discussion on incorporating these as alternatives which according to an individual, may be more efficient/effective?

Well some others would say, well why don't you cross train then? I do but many people don't have the opportunity to do so and I believe that every martial art system that claims to be applicable to self defence should be decently complete enough to deal with self defence situations. If not then don't claim to be self defence.

For e.g.:
I highly doubt our tanto-dori training reflects in anyway how a real knife attacks is like in this day and age. (I personally like http://centerlinegym.com/red-zone-knife-defense/)
Similarly the same goes with our standard strikes (yokomen, tsuki, shomen). Some would argue that learning these would prepare you for all manner of attacks but I beg to differ. They are far from how someone would attack in a real situation.

My biggest beef is that why isn't there any movement for the big guys in Aikido to agree on some techniques that would work against modern attacks? Lesser people like us are left to experiment and trawl Youtube and there's so much crap out there that it's not always easy to sift out.

Now I don't agree with all of this guy's techniques but I believe it's a great step in the right direction: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpRWDh_MSnLROlsO4E0oYOg

At least he's trying! Why can't some of the key influencers in Aikido try this out and put a video out for us to see and learn from?
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Old 05-08-2014, 09:31 PM   #45
Reuben
 
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Re: Why bother keeping Aikido 'pure'?

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Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Point being that I think it's more productive to talk about what training methods are appropriate for which skills, rather than launching an attack on "aikido" as a whole.

Katherine
Fair enough point!

I did at one point long ago try to ask about Aikido Against Hooks and instead of a simple discussion it turned into a very very long discussion which resulted in nothing that concrete but general ideas.

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1492

It was a interesting discussion but I can't help but be frustrated that such a simple question would take so long to answer.

Btw I've seen the expertvillage videos :/ don't think they work. I don't mind taking a video of me attempting them and getting smacked in the face...a lot.
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Old 05-08-2014, 09:36 PM   #46
Reuben
 
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Re: Why bother keeping Aikido 'pure'?

On a side note, this is what happens when you don't keep it real:

Nobuyuki Watanabe Shihan teaches at Hombu btw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPET7KCQmDk

See on the 8:30 mark. I'll be willing to go full on on whoever who claims to be able to do a no-touch throw (even if it's some 8th dan master).
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Old 05-08-2014, 11:05 PM   #47
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Re: Why bother keeping Aikido 'pure'?

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Reuben Yap wrote: View Post
Maintaining Aiki or What is Aikido

Now I'm told that Aiki is something intangible and cannot be explained...though personally (and I may be wrong) Aiki is about

a) Not harming your opponent and loving them; and
b) Not using force but not just submitting to threats
These are philosophical goals.

Aiki, as I understand it, and as pre-aikido arts used the term, describes a collection of specific physical phenomena. As such, it is value-neutral. For further discussion, see the "Internal Training in Aikido" forum.

Katherine
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Old 05-08-2014, 11:07 PM   #48
kewms
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Re: Why bother keeping Aikido 'pure'?

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Reuben Yap wrote: View Post
I did at one point long ago try to ask about Aikido Against Hooks and instead of a simple discussion it turned into a very very long discussion which resulted in nothing that concrete but general ideas.

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1492

It was a interesting discussion but I can't help but be frustrated that such a simple question would take so long to answer.
Any specific technical question is going to take a long time to answer, because the answer is always going to be some variation of "it depends" on exactly what uke does.

Katherine
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Old 05-09-2014, 01:21 AM   #49
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Re: Why bother keeping Aikido 'pure'?

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Reuben Yap wrote: View Post
Maintaining Aiki or What is Aikido

Now I'm told that Aiki is something intangible and cannot be explained...though personally (and I may be wrong) Aiki is about

a) Not harming your opponent and loving them; and
b) Not using force but not just submitting to threats

If a technique can meet these requirements then I would say, why isn't it Aikido?
Hmm. Not wanting to start a new thread but I think you could kill people with aiki and that you could also use aiki with maximum force - if you wanted to. Your idea of aiki seems more philosophical. I look at the practical.

For me, aiki has nothing to do with philosophy anymore than say shiho-nage is philosophical. Aiki is a skill - the skill we should be aiming to get. The skill to be able to manipulate your uke with minimum force to maximum effect. The skill to be able to use his own energy against him. Good wrestlers use it, Sumo use it etc. - but they don`t name it so if they are good at it they won`t quite know just what that `it` is or how to get more of it. We name it - aiki - and so we should be aiming to develop it ... should we not? Can`t see any philospohy in there. Except, if you attain it, don`t use it for bad purposes. Which means, the philosophy comes later - if / after you attain it. Certainly not before.

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Old 05-09-2014, 02:29 AM   #50
Reuben
 
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Re: Why bother keeping Aikido 'pure'?

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Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Any specific technical question is going to take a long time to answer, because the answer is always going to be some variation of "it depends" on exactly what uke does.

Katherine
Fair enough but there isn't THAT much variation to a standard loose hook (executed properly of course). As there is not that much variation to a standard yokomenuchi attack or shomen uchi attack.

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Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
Hmm. Not wanting to start a new thread but I think you could kill people with aiki and that you could also use aiki with maximum force - if you wanted to. Your idea of aiki seems more philosophical. I look at the practical.

For me, aiki has nothing to do with philosophy anymore than say shiho-nage is philosophical. Aiki is a skill - the skill we should be aiming to get. The skill to be able to manipulate your uke with minimum force to maximum effect. The skill to be able to use his own energy against him. Good wrestlers use it, Sumo use it etc. - but they don`t name it so if they are good at it they won`t quite know just what that `it` is or how to get more of it. We name it - aiki - and so we should be aiming to develop it ... should we not? Can`t see any philospohy in there. Except, if you attain it, don`t use it for bad purposes. Which means, the philosophy comes later - if / after you attain it. Certainly not before.
Ahh...well my thought of Aikido is what separates Aikido from martial arts is its non destructive philosophy rather than just its form. The form that we know is an expression of that intent and philosophy in the techniques as O-Sensei interpreted them. I guess here you're separating the concept of Aiki to a more general term that is applicable to other martial arts as well thought when i meant Aiki I meant it as it is expressed in Aikido.

Any sort of grappling ar then uses 'Aiki' and I don't think just because they lack that terminology it means they can't develop it. In fact I believe at all higher levels of training in grappling arts at least I know it with wrestling and jujitsu, we are taught that we to strive to use minimum effort to achieve maximum effect through a combination of leverage, timing, direction of uke's attention, going with the flow and using physics to help achieve this. In fact, I think many Aikidoka despite training in Aikido like to attribute all these elements to 'ki' which really doesn't help in understanding what it is.

A bit off topic so let's get back on track
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