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Old 01-23-2003, 11:02 AM   #1
Dojo: Aikido Philippines
Location: Manila
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 70
Can you improve your skill without using weapons?

I've been thinking about this for some time now. I've seen a number of Aikikai shihans demonstrate and they rarely show any weapons technique or applications at all. And I've been on the receiving end of their waza and I can tell you that they can make it work.

So is it possible to develop good aikido skills without practicing with the jo or bokken?
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Old 01-23-2003, 11:04 AM   #2
Location: Boston
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 39
I'm not experienced enough to have a valid opinion about the actual question, but: Is it possible that these instructors have studied weapons (maybe even extensively) but haven't chosen to show them in the demonstrations you saw?

Remember: No matter where you go...There you are.
-Buckaroo Banzai
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Old 01-23-2003, 11:33 AM   #3
Dojo: Aikido Philippines
Location: Manila
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 70
Jim Ade (JimAde) wrote:
I'm not experienced enough to have a valid opinion about the actual question, but: Is it possible that these instructors have studied weapons (maybe even extensively) but haven't chosen to show them in the demonstrations you saw?
Yes, I did consider that possibility. I've been getting conflicting news on weapons training for Aikikai shihans and senseis. I've heard that they rarely teach weapons at the Aikikai and so the instructors have to study somewhere else for this. On the other hand, I've also heard that they do have special classes for instructors and uchideshi and they do a lot of weapons there.
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Old 01-23-2003, 04:05 PM   #4
Nick P.
Nick P.'s Avatar
Dojo: Sukagawa Aikido Club of Montreal
Location: Montreal
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 641

I am starting to understand/believe the theory that the more we advance in Aikido, the more it is all rooted in the fundamentals (stance, posture, connection, etc). That might be why many masters show just the basics at seminars.

I like to think that when senseis/shihans show me just the basics and little else, it is to help drive this point home...or they think I am too thick to understand anything more complex !

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Old 02-10-2003, 02:59 PM   #5
Gopher Boy
Dojo: Takemusu Aiki Sydney City Dojo
Location: Australia
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 36
Hi guys,

I have been out of this forum for quite a while so I thought I would check back and see what the buzz was.

I practice Iwama style Aikido, and one of the main differences from Aikikai is that it focuses much more heavily on weapons.

In Iwama ryu, proper sword and jo technique is considered essential to proper taijutsu.

And.....(finally getting to the point..) I find that it helps me.

I cannot say that it is necessary for everyone acheiving good technique, but I think that it helps.

Much of Aikido is said to come from sword techniques as O Sensei was a master of at least one (and I believe several) different sword schools. The more training I do with the sword, the more I can see it being paralleled in the empty-handed techniques. For me, I find that having the sword in my hand makes me think a lot more about the 'big picture' of where my body is and what it is doing, rather than just trying to 'get those damned hand/arm movements right!'. This is (IMHO,) becuase with a sword, your hands are more or less static so you can focus more on hip movement and kokyu extensions.

As to the reason this is not demonstrated, I would have to say that it is quite difficult, especially for a beginner to see some one perform a set of cuts / thrusts and then believe it is closely tied into aikido. Also, in demostrations, you are not likely to see much tai-no-henko. The end purpose (from a practical point of view) of aikido is for empty-handed techniques and their correct application. Not to be able to wield a sword or jo. That is why neither tai no henko or ken and jo techniques are seen in demonstrations - they are the exercises and 'drills' to help you achieve correct tai-jutsu.

I don't think I have actually added anything but a large rant to this discussion. Sorry for that!
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Old 02-10-2003, 04:31 PM   #6
Dojo: Kenshinkai Yoshinkan Aikido
Location: Portsmouth
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 450
So is it possible to develop good aikido skills without practicing with the jo or bokken?
Yes, but those skills would be so much more with Bokken and Jo practice!

Also, I think that Jo & Bokken are basics!

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Old 02-13-2003, 01:00 PM   #7
John Boswell
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Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland, Texas
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 597
Si and Phill are right. I admit that my time in Aikido is limited. However, I read everything I can get my hands on and I'm fortunate enough to have a Sensei well versed in weapons training.

Currently we have several people getting ready for Dan testing this spring and being AAA affiliated, we have Jo and Ken training to do. Working with the Jo this week, I have found Shomenuchi techniques are making a lot more sense to me. The foot work, hand positions, pivoting... all of it became much clearer after weapons work.

I can't imagine doing strict Aikido and NO weapons training. I wouldn't want to. Anyone with out some training in weapons should give it a try and see for themselves. Try it before you disregard it.

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Old 02-13-2003, 04:57 PM   #8
Dojo: Lunds Aikidoklubb
Location: Lund, Sweden
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 273
Alot of people seem to separate Aikido training and weapon training.

Aikido is weapon training andtaijutsu. You can't separate the two no more than you can separate one half of a coin from the coin and still have it be worth anything.

When you hold a bokken doing suburi or paired kata you're doing aikido. When you're not holding a bokken you are doing aikido.

Only if you train for generallity you are doing aikido. I honestly believe that O-sensei believed in the absoluteness in aikido. It doesn't matter what you or anyone else holds in his/her hands. It's aikido!

"Aikido wa budo de aru!" i.e. Aikido is (have to be) budo!

This doesn't mean that people who are not training with any weapon aren't doing aikido. It mean that if you are holding a weapon you are doing aikido! Not something to improve your aikido!

Jakob Blomquist
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