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Old 09-17-2002, 11:41 AM   #1
rgfox5
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The cage and aikido

I have just finished watching the Universal Fighting tournament in Japan on DVD, where Royce Gracie lost to a guy named Sakamura, I think. It was interesting but I was ultimately dissapointed in what is billed as the roughest toughest competition in the world. Maybe it is, but each and every fight can be summarized like this:

Fighters box a little and (maybe) throw a few kicks.
One fighter shoots and there is
a) a takedown or
b) lots of holding on the ropes and then a takedown
One fighter is mounted on the other and pounds away

Usually the bottom fighter escapes and then there is a repeat of the steps.

Where is the finesse? Where is irimi? Are the fighters just too good to allow an irimi? I kept trying to imagine what Osensei would do in such a fight (yes I know he would never enter such a ring but I said "imagine"). My mates at the dojo feel that 99.9999% of aikidoka would get creamed in that ring, even if they trained very hard in physical conditioning. But why? Because aikido does not lend itself to ring fighting with rules, I'm told. But... why not? Shouldn't the same prinicples apply?

I am very curious as to your opinions on this.

Rich
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Old 09-17-2002, 01:07 PM   #2
paw
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where to start.....

Richard,

Background:

Gracie fought Sakuraba in this Pride event. In the Sakuraba/Gracie fight there were special rules that are not normally in place for Pride events.

In general, Pride has a number of mismatches and occasionally has fights that have special rules. It's best to view each Pride event as a completely different event.

As you live in the US, you would probably be better off watching the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) which has standardized rules, established wieght classes and specifically a "no holding on the fence" rule. Unfortunately, the later UFC have not been made available on video or DVD, so you either have to watch the event "live" on pay per view, or track down one of the "Best Damn Sports Show on TV" which showed full UFC fights on two of it's episodes.

---- added this when I realized I missed it
The ring (with ropes) vs the cage has advantages and disadvantages. In both cases, the confinded area forces a confrontation (you can't run away). With ropes, you have to worry about falling out of the ring (some events ban holding the ropes or assign penalties for holding the ropes). With a cage, while you can't fall out, a popular strategy is to wedge your opponent against the cage and pound away. Some fighters have preferences, but for most, it's not a big deal one way or the other.


Your questions:
Quote:
Where is the finesse? Where is irimi? Are the fighters just too good to allow an irimi?
How are you defining finesse and irimi. I've seen some of the Gracie/Sakuraba fight and would find it to be an excellent example of both finesse and irimi. <shrugs>
Quote:
My mates at the dojo feel that 99.9999% of aikidoka would get creamed in that ring, even if they trained very hard in physical conditioning. But why?
Your mates are correct. The "why" is simply the training method. No fighter in the world competes in the UFC, Pride, Extreme Challenge, etc... without cross training in other arts and without scouting their opponent. If one's skill set is only in grappling, you'll be beaten by a skilled striker who has learned to prevent takedowns and throws, for example.

Also the physical conditioning of competitors now is astounding: Olympic wrestlers (Henderson, Couture ....) and world champion bjj'ers (Minotaro, Sperry, Royler Gracie) are the rule these days, not the exception. Many of the top tier fighters train full time.
Quote:
Shouldn't the same prinicples apply?
I think so. I suspect most will disagree. <shrugs>

Regards,

Paul

Last edited by paw : 09-17-2002 at 01:17 PM.
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Old 09-17-2002, 08:09 PM   #3
Bruce Baker
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Let it go.

To correctly use Aikido against these fighters you would have to really hurt them, with illegal strikes, or break some bones, which is not very Aikido like.

If they ever learn pressure point fighting, there would be no market for this type of fighting. ]

"Oh look, he touched the other guy and he fainted? What kind of trick was that? I paid how much to see some guy put another guy to sleep?"

No. The barbaric fighting of blood, guts, and punching a guy into submission is what sells air time. Just let it go.
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Old 09-17-2002, 08:56 PM   #4
Brian
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Re: The cage and aikido

Quote:
Richard Fox (rgfox5) wrote:
Are the fighters just too good to allow an irimi?
It pretty much boils down to this. An irimi won't occur because the fighters aren't stupid enough to fully commit to an attack. Fully committing is just like passing a basketball - only the attacker is the ball, and whoever catches it is in full control of them. The average joe, lacking training, may not know this. These men fight for a living, and the fact is ingrained in them.
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Old 09-18-2002, 02:34 AM   #5
Chris Li
 
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Re: Re: The cage and aikido

Quote:
Brian Kerg (Brian) wrote:
It pretty much boils down to this. An irimi won't occur because the fighters aren't stupid enough to fully commit to an attack.
If you ask me (although nobody did ), you don't need a fully comitted attack in order to use irimi. IMO, the attacker and the defender don't even have to move much at all. But then, I suppose that part of that depends on your definition of "irimi"...

Best,

Chris

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Old 09-18-2002, 08:28 AM   #6
ian
 
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Many of these 'no rules' matches have rules, especially as regards attacks to the throat. Since many of the more lethal techniques involve the throat (strikes and neck brakes) and are easily performed from aikido techniques, it makes the more lethal potential of aikido obsolete. Also throws usually cause little damage since the floor is padded.

However I would agree that cross-training, full time commitment and a genetic predisposition is essential to get to the top in these matches.

Like all matches, in any martial art, you are usually aware of the other persons capabilities - and thus you fight to their disadvantage (and therefore committed attacks are rare). Top tip - don't tell potential assailants that you do aikido! I've never seen anything in a ring or match that is like a real situation.

Ian

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 09-18-2002, 10:45 AM   #7
fabion
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once i was watching ultimate fighting and a friend asked me the same - what would be the chances of an aikidoka in there. answer was, i dont think an aikidoka would participate because that's not what aikido is about.

anyway, i dont think someone who knows aikido only has good chances, but if he also pratice other(s) martial(s) art(s) i think aikido can be of great help. of course, proper training is essential in any case (cross training, sparring, etc.).
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Old 09-19-2002, 09:09 PM   #8
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Aikido is designed to handle specific kinds of attacks. What it doesn't do very well is deal with a patient cautious fighter. Usually an opponent with this approach while protecting themselves would be giving you lots of opportunity to exit the situation. Different story in a cage of course.

The other thing Aikido doesn't have alot of great answers for is someone who is trying as hard as they can to take you to the ground and is skilled at it. We shouldn't feel bad about this as it turns out most other arts weren't prepared for this either.

Once on the ground Aikido is hard to do. We relay on using our bodies to control uke, and you can't move properly on the ground so you're left trying to muscle a nikyo on someone with just arm strenth. Doesn't work.

The answer of course is to abandon traditional aikido techniques, and figure out how to use the underlying principals whilst on the ground. Principals like staying off the line, takeing uke's balance (base), using the combined force of your body targeted at the weakest part of ukes body etc. All these principals can be applied on the ground. And then you get something that most people describe as Brazillian Jujitsu.

For Bruce, I'm afraid you're making some incorrect assumptions. The early UFC's (and countless similar competitions before then) had few illegal strikes. Certainly there was nothing in the rules to prevent even harsh styles of Aikido being used. The simple fact is Aikido isn't great at this type of fighting, which shouldn't be surprising, it's not what it was designed for <shrug>.

As for pressure points, they are not outlawed in many events but they've not been seen. That indicates to me that they are hard to nail on a professional trained, restisting opponenet. Believe me, if someone entered the UFC and started dropping people with one touch knockouts, the ratings would go through the roof.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 09-19-2002, 09:32 PM   #9
DaveO
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From what I've seen of the UFC, (I liked watching it before they changed the rules), Aikido alone wouldn't last very well in the Octagon. Instead; it would work - and work very well - as a supplementary skill; a sudden change of style to pin or throw an opponent who may be unaware of the fact he's opening himself to a kote-oroshi when he overextends on a power punch, for instance.

Dave

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Old 09-20-2002, 07:31 PM   #10
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Aikido is a training methodology, it is not a sport. What techniques does aikido specifically "own". Answer: none. Aikido uses technique to teach various principles that are grounded in physics and kinesetics.

Therefore, all is aikido, and aikido is all. You use yourself and the sum of your experiences when you fight in the ring or for real.

In a real situation, as someone already pointed out, you do not get a fully committed attack like you do in the dojo, therefore things get much smaller, more tactical, and much more dicey.

Comparing what you learn in the dojo (aikido) is ludicrous to try and fundamental apply it to real life in the same context.

Reccomend if this is what you want to do, find some "sport" guys like BJJers and have a lot of fun!

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Old 09-21-2002, 02:30 AM   #11
Edward
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It has been said above and in other thread,but let me repeat it my way :

There are sparring arts and self-defence arts, aikido happens to be in the second category. Eventhough some arts try to accomodate both options, aikido is strictly self-defence and as such works beautifully. Conditions in the ring are not similar to real life situations, hence the incompatibility. Aikido, and even aikido predecessors such as daito-ryu, cannot and were never intended to be used in sparring, so I guess this kind of discussion is rather pointless. Needless to mention that in any form of confrontation, not only experience and technical prowess, but also physical condition and muscle power, play an important role.
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Old 09-21-2002, 04:43 AM   #12
mike lee
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efficient use of time

Walk softly and carry a big stick. (I prefer a bokken.) But for some reason, they won't let me in the cage with it.

Actually, I think that someday, some crazy aikido guy will go into the cage, but first he''ll have also cross-trained for eight hours a day for about a year. How many people have time and energy for that?

Generally speaking, I think aikido people have a different mind-set than high-strung, testosterone-driven, steroid taking face smashers -- but I could be wrong.

P.S. O'Sensei frowned on the concept of competition in aikido. (Years ago, someone got killed doing aikido, and that really upset him.) Maybe that's why you don't see "aikido competitors" in the cage. But I do see aikido-like techniques and movements being used in the cage and elsewhere. After all, aikido is basically natural -- the best athletes, the survivors, will probably start figuring out some aikido-like principles on their own or through their coaches and training partners,

Last edited by mike lee : 09-21-2002 at 04:51 AM.
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Old 09-21-2002, 11:50 AM   #13
paw
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Edward,
Quote:
There are sparring arts and self-defence arts, aikido happens to be in the second category. Eventhough some arts try to accomodate both options, aikido is strictly self-defence and as such works beautifully. Conditions in the ring are not similar to real life situations, hence the incompatibility
I agree that the ring is different from self-defense (whatever that means this week), but I disagree with your conclusion.

In the ring, I deal with one and only one opponent, and they will not be armed with any weapons. Further, I know in advance what day and time I will be fighting and can prepare accordingly. I will also know the relative size of my opponent, their experience and most likely their age. At highler levels of competition it is likely that I have scouted by opponent by watching their past performances and have further tailored my training to a strategy I believe with thwart my opponent.

To my way of thinking these are advantages that make the ring easier than self-defense.

In self-defense, I will not know when or where I will be attacked. I have no guarantees that my opponent will not be armed, or that I will only face one opponent. I will not know my opponent's strengths and weaknesses, because I could not scout them. I will have no idea as to their strategy, their size, their age, or their experience.

Since it seems to me that the ring is easier than self-defense, if one cannot perform in the ring, how can one expect to perform in a self-defense situation? Or to put it another way, if I cannot throw anyone koshi in training, can I expect to throw someone koshi out in "the real world"? Wasn't this one of the reason why Kano created judo?

Regards,

Paul
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Old 09-21-2002, 12:01 PM   #14
paw
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Mike,
Quote:
Generally speaking, I think aikido people have a different mind-set than high-strung, testosterone-driven, steroid taking face smashers -- but I could be wrong.
I think it's pretty clear what you think about MMA competitors and aikido's role in MMA competitions specifically and competition in general. That's fine. That's your point of view and I don't have a problem with it.

I do have a problem with your gross generalization and insulting remarks about people who do compete. I know professional fighters, I've sparred with professional fighters, and I've trained with professional fighters. I am honored to know them. The folks I know are more moral, compassionate and honorable than 99.9% of all aikidoka on the planet, and certainly not deserving of the petty insults you've written.
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Old 09-22-2002, 10:17 AM   #15
mike lee
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Cool doesn't add up

Quote:
I know professional fighters, I've sparred with professional fighters, and I've trained with professional fighters. I am honored to know them. The folks I know are more moral, compassionate and honorable than 99.9% of all aikidoka on the planet ...
If they're such great people compared to us, why are you practicing aikido?
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Old 09-22-2002, 10:52 AM   #16
mike lee
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what's wrong with this picture?

Quote:
I know professional fighters, I've sparred with professional fighters, and I've trained with professional fighters. I am honored to know them. The folks I know are more moral, compassionate and honorable than 99.9% of all aikidoka on the planet ...
If they're such great people compared to us, why are you practicing aikido? (Or are you just plaguing this site for the fun of it?)

I have no problem with competition in any form, and there are plenty of true martial arts that hold civilized competitions.

Aikido just happens to be an art, generally speaking, that does not hold competitions.

That thing that they hold in a cage fit for animals, with scantily-clad women walking around the ring and blood-thirsty fans screaming for a brawl -- well I just don't see the "art" in it. (But I suppose the promoters do. $$$)

MMA in this case is a misnomer. There's no art in UFC or any other similar event. In fact, it's MA abuse. These people are using all sorts of unarmed combat training, such as boxing and wrestling, in an effort to win a bundle of money. I've heard fighters admit this fact outright on TV.

And If they are lucky enough to win a championship, they can use their new-found fame to open a school, attract students, teach their form of brutality to others, and make more money. I don't see how this makes them fitting role models for the youth of America or any other place.

If people want to reduce themselves to participating and actually enjoying this garbage, that's their business. I just wish they would stop confusing the public by calling what they do "martial arts." There is no relation in UFC, morally or otherwise, to the fundamental priniciples and philosophies of modern Asian martial arts. They are simply bastardizing martial arts for profit.

I hope I've made my position on this issue clear.

Last edited by mike lee : 09-22-2002 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 09-22-2002, 11:50 AM   #17
Mel Barker
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Perfectly clear.
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Old 09-22-2002, 12:33 PM   #18
Kevin Wilbanks
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I think both sides are getting unnecessarily hyperbolic here.

I find it hard to believe that your average UFC fighter is an overall better human being than 999 out of 1000 Aikidoka, whatever criteria are used.

I also think that Mike's description of UFC is overly reductionist and simplistic. One could apply the same diatribe, almost word-for-word, just as well to most commercialized professional sports. One thing to note is that professional boxing is actually causes more lasting harm to the participants. Although it may appear more civilized and less bloody, the rules and hand protection make inflicting brain injury on the opponent the primary goal.

While there is some valid analysis in there, it's not the whole story. Many people participate in and watch NHB fights because they are truly interested in what works in one on one fights. If one is highly skilled at something, it is natural to want to excel and aspire to greater levels of competition and challenge, and maybe even find a way to make a living from it financially. I can't see too many world-class athletes of any type refusing to participate in high level competition because they find the commercial hype surrounding the television contract distasteful, or because they disagree with the sexism of using cheerleaders or round card girls.
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Old 09-22-2002, 05:48 PM   #19
Tadhg Bird
 
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Ki Symbol The Dojo vs. "Real Life"

I remember watching the first Ultimate Fighting Challenge on a bootleg videotape back in the early 90s. My first impression was the amazing similarity to one of my favorite vid games at the time, Street Fighter II. Folks with different fighting styles going at it.

I remember one guy got injured and could not continue so an alternate fought in his place. This guy was small, wearing a pristine karate gi, wearing a black belt.

That fight was the shortest I saw. The karate guy hurridly backed away, tried one ineffective kick and was quickly taken to the ground and forced to submit.

I surmised that this fellow was way over his head because he had only practiced within his own art, and when others weren't playing by the familiar rules he knew he did not know how to respond. He wasn't prepared for the "Real World".

What we practice in the dojo is an ideal version of Aikido. We are never in any real danger there. The attacks are [I}simulations[/i], not something intended to injure. They convey the same intent and energy of a "real" attack so that we can perform technique. Don't let me be misunderstood: what we learn in the dojo can be REAL SELF DEFENSE, it just won't be as pretty on the street as it is on the mat.

My Sensei tells us that we train in a certain way so that in a real situation we will respond correctly. Much emphasis on concept over form.

As to Aikido in the Octagon, I can only dream... a reincarnation of O Sensei or someone who can effectivly channel Aikido O Kami, in the ring never being touched, throwing and pinning the other fellow, finally the other fellow, though unhurt submits because he can find no way to defeat or be defeated.

-- Tadhg

"Words and letters can never adequately describe Aikido -- its meaning is revealed only to those who are enlightened through hard training." -- Ueshiba Morihei O Sensei
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Old 09-22-2002, 06:07 PM   #20
Tadhg Bird
 
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Michael Fooks said:
Quote:
Once on the ground Aikido is hard to do. We relay on using our bodies to control uke, and you can't move properly on the ground so you're left trying to muscle a nikyo on someone with just arm strenth. Doesn't work.
No it wouldn't work the way you describe, but believe it or don't it *is* possible to do "Horizontal Aikido" still using your body!

Then He said this too:
Quote:
The answer of course is to abandon traditional aikido techniques, and figure out how to use the underlying principals whilst on the ground. Principals like staying off the line, takeing uke's balance (base), using the combined force of your body targeted at the weakest part of ukes body etc. All these principals can be applied on the ground. And then you get something that most people describe as Brazillian Jujitsu
Bear Gamboa Sensei of Albuquerque, NM has developed Aikido ground techniques. Why is it still Aikido and not Brazillain Jujitsu? Because the techniques hold to the Aikido philosophy of non-violence, non-injury, and non-resistance! There are many throws, pins and holds that can be done on the ground and still be Aikido. My Sensei is continuing to innovate in this arena, and it has become part of the curriculim for New School Aikido.

The other night we were doing an intersting technique... a kokyu, using our legs. It was interesting to extend ki out my foot instead of my hands....

Smooth Roads,

-- Tadhg

"Words and letters can never adequately describe Aikido -- its meaning is revealed only to those who are enlightened through hard training." -- Ueshiba Morihei O Sensei
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Old 09-22-2002, 09:40 PM   #21
Kevin Leavitt
 
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I like aikido, but I also like to spar and compete, albeit, I do not do it much any more.

How does the fact that I am affiliated with an organization like ASU make me a better or worse person than the next guy?

It is not right or good to judge a person in most cases based on what they do. (Unless you belong to something like a Neo Nazi or hate related group).

Everyone is entitled to their opinions, however, being an Aikidoka, does not make you a better person than someone who is not an aikidoka and studies a competition style art, and vice versa.

If you believe this, then you are missing the whole purpose and principle of aikido.

Walk the path you walk, but do not judge another's path until you have taken the time to walk in their shoes.

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Old 09-22-2002, 10:53 PM   #22
Edward
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Quote:
paul watt (paw) wrote:
Edward,



I agree that the ring is different from self-defense (whatever that means this week), but I disagree with your conclusion.

In the ring, I deal with one and only one opponent, and they will not be armed with any weapons. Further, I know in advance what day and time I will be fighting and can prepare accordingly. I will also know the relative size of my opponent, their experience and most likely their age. At highler levels of competition it is likely that I have scouted by opponent by watching their past performances and have further tailored my training to a strategy I believe with thwart my opponent.

To my way of thinking these are advantages that make the ring easier than self-defense.

In self-defense, I will not know when or where I will be attacked. I have no guarantees that my opponent will not be armed, or that I will only face one opponent. I will not know my opponent's strengths and weaknesses, because I could not scout them. I will have no idea as to their strategy, their size, their age, or their experience.

Since it seems to me that the ring is easier than self-defense, if one cannot perform in the ring, how can one expect to perform in a self-defense situation? Or to put it another way, if I cannot throw anyone koshi in training, can I expect to throw someone koshi out in "the real world"? Wasn't this one of the reason why Kano created judo?

Regards,

Paul
This has been said innumerable times and I will repeat it again: Self-defence is exactly the opposite from ring situation. Everything you said about match preparations are all true. You know in advance that you will fight, whom, his style, his strong and weak points...etc. Self-defence is ususally against surprise attacks where the attacker doesn't know that you do MA, and thinks you must be an easy prey. He will attack with full committment... etc.
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Old 09-22-2002, 11:33 PM   #23
Aristeia
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"Bear Gamboa Sensei of Albuquerque, NM has developed Aikido ground techniques. Why is it still Aikido and not Brazillain Jujitsu? Because the techniques hold to the Aikido philosophy of non-violence, non-injury, and non-resistance! There are many throws, pins and holds that can be done on the ground and still be Aikido. "

I would be interested to see some of these techniques. BJJ is also about non resistance and can be non violent and non injurious - it's just a matter of when you stop cranking (just like any aikido pin). If this "horizontal" aikido is effective, I wouldn't be surprised if it looks similar to BJJ, or Judo Newaza...[i]

Last edited by Aristeia : 09-22-2002 at 11:40 PM.

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Old 09-23-2002, 04:06 AM   #24
mike lee
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call a spade a spade

Quote:
I also think that Mike's description of UFC is overly reductionist and simplistic. One could apply the same diatribe, almost word-for-word, just as well to most commercialized professional sports.
Commercialized professional sports do not imply that they are representative of martial ARTS, and any art for that matter.

I am not being simplistic, I'm being staight forward -- a quality that some people are unable to deal with.

There're major differences between what's going on in UFC and what's going on in dojo where the word is at the end of the name of the ART being practiced.

UFC gives the public a VERY bad impression of martial arts, which may in the end be bad for the image of all dojos. This is because the uninitiated tend to lump all Asian martial arts together.

Boxing is not an art or a , it's a sport. Even the general public knows enough not to link this crude form of barbarism with Asian martial arts.

I have nothing to say about what UFC or similar venues are doing, other than that they should not create any linkage with true martial arts. They should call what they are doing "unarmed, commercialized brutality." UCB -- that's what it is.

Last edited by mike lee : 09-23-2002 at 04:14 AM.
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Old 09-23-2002, 05:00 AM   #25
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Re: call a spade a spade

Quote:
Mike Lee (mike lee) wrote:
Commercialized professional sports do not imply that they are representative of martial ARTS, and any art for that matter.

I am not being simplistic, I'm being staight forward -- a quality that some people are unable to deal with.

There're major differences between what's going on in UFC and what's going on in dojo where the word is at the end of the name of the ART being practiced.

UFC gives the public a VERY bad impression of martial arts, which may in the end be bad for the image of all dojos. This is because the uninitiated tend to lump all Asian martial arts together.

Boxing is not an art or a , it's a sport. Even the general public knows enough not to link this crude form of barbarism with Asian martial arts.

I have nothing to say about what UFC or similar venues are doing, other than that they should not create any linkage with true martial arts. They should call what they are doing "unarmed, commercialized brutality." UCB -- that's what it is.
I guess it's all about how you're defining art, a thorny issue to be sure. Many people would not see the art in breaking a board, or in kumite. You're concerned that the UFC gives budo a bad name because there's not enough art. I'd argue the point. But others are concerned budo is being given a bad name where there's not enough martial. Guess it just depends on your perspective. I believe it's possible to have both, it's just a matter of how you mix them. Aikido has both, so does MMA.

I get annoyed when people, after hearing you do Aikido go into a diatribe about how violent and terrible martial artists are without knowing what they're talking about (and they've been doing that since well before the UFC). Same thing when people talk about the brutality of Mixed Martial Arts. There's a couple of brawlers, streetfighters that have been involved, but the vast majority are dedicated, hard working martial ARTists, who have spend more time and sweat on their art than most of us ever will.

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