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Old 03-16-2003, 12:23 PM   #1
Michael Neal
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Having an open mind

This is a small section from a post on the Judo Information site that got me thinking a little bit about how we practice Aikido and our attitude towards innovation and other martial arts. I am not saying this applies to all, people from different dojos or differnet people within one dojo may have different attitudes about this, but it seems to me a prevalent attitude in the Aikido community.

Any thougths?

Quote:
I also prefer the attitude I have encountered in Judo to the attitude I found in Aikido. In Judo there is an open and creative atmosphere that allows for innovation. The Aikido attitude I encountered was extremely Aikido-centric. "Their way or the highway!" They exhibited such a disdain for Judo or any other martial art that I found it distasteful. While I may believe Judo to be the most effective martial art (for me and my particluar sensiblity) I also see that in some instances a good wristlock or even a roundhouse kick (who knows???) may be the most effective defense. No martial art covers absolutely every circumstance. At least I believe most Judoka would acknowledge this. And this I believe is the most healthy attitude.
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Old 03-16-2003, 02:15 PM   #2
shihonage
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Aikido requires some discipline in learning the basics.

Then you can get creative using the basics.

If you want to get creative "from the start", all you get is chaos and ineffectiveness.

The author of this article himself is not open minded toward Aikido, and he's projecting it onto others who are supposedly "not open minded toward Judo".

He's unwilling to learn a different art while adopting the (different) approach of the said art.

Last edited by shihonage : 03-16-2003 at 02:21 PM.
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Old 03-16-2003, 03:08 PM   #3
Michael Neal
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I don't think anyone was suggesting abandoning the basics, Judo has its basics to learn as well. Maybe the author is not open minded towards Aikido but he certainly correct that there many Aikidoka that are closed minded about other martial arts. Even if he is showing his own prejudices I think he made a good point.

I am not trying to suggest judo is better than Aikido or anything, in fact I prefer Aikido, but I thought that this was an interesting thing to consider when we set out to learn.
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Old 03-16-2003, 04:11 PM   #4
Paul Klembeck
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Micheal says:

Maybe the author is not open minded towards Aikido but he certainly correct that there many Aikidoka that are closed minded about other martial arts.

How many do you think? In my experience aikidoka are often closed minded versus other styles of aikido, but seldom against other martial arts. Is my experience typical?

Paul Klembeck
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Old 03-16-2003, 05:30 PM   #5
W^2
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Eek! Endemic to personality not Art...

To put this subject into perspective, it would be farer to say that there are people studying Martial Arts with such focus that they become narrow-minded, and most of these people were already that way to begin with. Let's face it, if our involvement in a Martial Art doesn't change us over time, then we have either never truly studied it or it isn't necessary (we've already achieved whatever that Art had to offer). Once again, there is a great difference between a Martial Artist and someone who takes a Martial Art.

In regards to Aikido specifically, if we fail to adopt a flexible Aiki posture (mind, body, and spirit), then we will be at a great disadvantage - in fact it is necessary to employ Aikido effectively in our lives.

Just some of my thoughts,

~Ward
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Old 03-16-2003, 07:12 PM   #6
Michael Neal
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I don't know, I was just ranting. Feel free to ignore me if you wish.
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Old 03-16-2003, 08:11 PM   #7
Kevin Wilbanks
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I haven't experienced enough Aikido places and people to generalize about attitudes toward other martial arts or Aikido styles, but there does seem to be a general uneasiness about innovation. I seem to have perceived something approaching a consensus that one isn't familiar enough with the art to do much of anything experimental or innovative until around 10 years of dilligent study have passed. It is basically a conservative, traditional-style Japanese martial art. I found that I started to enjoy Aikido more when I stopped trying to think of it as being about creativity to any extent. It seems more about surrendering creative, individualistic urges to the rules of the art and the laws of physics... more about conforming and adapting. I get my creativity elsewhere.
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Old 03-16-2003, 09:28 PM   #8
PeterR
 
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I do find that many Aikido practioners are too quick to dismiss Judo training methods and possibly this is in reaction to Aikido's primarily kata based approach.

I started training in Judo less than a year ago and in the beginning my mind was really locked into "teach me kata". They did very little of that, just bringing progressively tougher and bigger Judo boys from the surrounding area to beat the gaijin.

Not picking on Aleksey but some of his statements I've heard a number of times.
Quote:
Aleksey Sundeyev (shihonage) wrote:
Aikido requires some discipline in learning the basics.
This implies that somehow the Judo training regime does not. It takes incredible discipline to force yourself into a position where you and the mat will become one and if you are in the dominant position to control yourself so that both benefit from the randori. The concept that an Aikido player is more discipline than a Judo player or any other martial artist is a falicy.
Quote:
Then you can get creative using the basics.
That works pretty well a good percentage of the time but even so in most Aikido that creativity is never tested.
Quote:
If you want to get creative "from the start", all you get is chaos and ineffectiveness.
This is the line that got me going. There is nothing chaotic or ineffective about the Judo players I'm dealing with. Difficult to compare as most Aikido players don't test their effectiveness but push comes to shove I'll take a Judo player after a year of training over an Aikido player with same.
Quote:
The author of this article himself is not open minded toward Aikido, and he's projecting it onto others who are supposedly "not open minded toward Judo".
I'm an Aikido man exploring Judo. I'll stay primarily an Aikido person but see the strengths and weaknesses of both approaches.

Aleksey does have a point about the author. it comes across as an "our approach is better" peice but then again the Judo people I deal with are very friendly, relaxed and pleasent. Not a rampant ego amoung them.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 03-17-2003, 12:19 AM   #9
bob_stra
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Quote:
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
I'm an Aikido man exploring Judo. I'll stay primarily an Aikido person but see the strengths and weaknesses of both approaches.
Could you elaborate on the above point?

What in your experience are the strengths and weakness' of each approach?
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Old 03-17-2003, 03:02 AM   #10
dezire
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Everybody has his or hers own preferences in martial arts. For some it's aikido, for others karate, judo.... But when you find yourself in a real situation a lot of people forget their training and get lost in the adrenaline rush.

Yes, in aikido everybody teaches you to do the basics which, for the most time, don't seem to have any practical usage. But, from my expirience, and what my sensei tells us all the time, everybody has his or hers own style which will develop over time and they'll learn how to use it in different ways (it matters haow many attackers you have, what body types they have, and a million other things). Aikido is a martial art, but mostly the art of self-defence. So if it helps you in the street, while doing tenkan, pick up a rock and do atemi with it. I'm kidding now, but that's just an example of addapting to reality.

As far as being acceptive of other martial arts, you need to have respect for all of them. But (again from my expirience) aikido is one of the most addaptable and flexible martial arts.

Crnjakovic Zeljko, nikyu
AK "Yami Yaburu Hikari"
Subotica, Yugoslavia

http://www.geocities.com/clubhikari
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Old 03-17-2003, 08:36 AM   #11
Greg Jennings
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Quote:
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
<SNIP>

Not picking on Aleksey but some of his statements I've heard a number of times.

This implies that somehow the Judo training regime does not. <SNIP>
Hi Peter,

I didn't get that out of Aleksey's post.

What I took from it was "immediate total creativity" vs "learn basics then create from them" rather than any comparison to Judo.

Best Regards,

Greg Jennings
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Old 03-17-2003, 09:18 AM   #12
Michael Neal
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There definately is a snobby attitude towards competition in the Aikido community. I think this fits into what he was saying.
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Old 03-17-2003, 09:43 AM   #13
Cyrijl
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When i was looking into aikido, i found people very hostile towards other arts and not open to creativity or innovation at all. Not in the basics, not in the advanced. This was on;y one dojo, but i've heard similar feeling from people who have studied the art for years...doesn't mean it is by necessity bad, but it does happen.

The article writer states

//While I may believe Judo to be the most effective martial art (for me and my particluar sensiblity) I also see that in some instances a good wristlock or even a roundhouse kick (who knows???) //

I think the original writer is saying the regimented aspect of aikido is not for him. I don't think he is bashing aikido. Most people feel (or want to feel) as though their martial art is the best. Neither Judo nor Aikido do it for me, but that's life.

melior est canis vivus leone mortuo
Bog svsami!!!
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Old 03-17-2003, 02:05 PM   #14
Nick P.
 
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I'm curious;

Does this "open and creative atmosphere that allows for innovation" come from the Sensei down, or is it simply tolerated by the Sensei when her/his students start experimenting while in class?

We have our share of people who do one or more arts including Aikido, and there is usually a "hey, if you combine X-Aikido move with Y-Judo move when Z-attack happens..." every few months. But that is normally where it ends. Sensei will modify or adapt a particular move usually ONLY after visiting his Sensei and obtaining guidance on that point. Are other points strictly verbotten? No, they are neither encouraged nor ingnored.

Being open minded does not mean you accept or believe all other pursuits/attitudes/beliefs to be true; it DOES mean that you can consider them, even try them with 100% conviction (ALONGSIDE your existing ones), and THEN make a choice that suits you...and that can all change 3 years down the road.

I, for the moment, choose to seek out what would complement my training, rather than dismiss what I might not know anything about.

My 2 cents. Good poste Michael.

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Old 03-17-2003, 02:07 PM   #15
shihonage
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Peter,

Aikido and Judo have a bit of different approaches to training.

The author does not seem to have the tolerance to invest into Aikido's approach, and instead starts to bashing it in favor of Judo's approach.

Personally I think Judo is a great art.

My uncle used to be a Judo/Sambo instructor in former USSR, and he let me experience some of the techniques.
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Old 03-17-2003, 02:29 PM   #16
cindy perkins
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I started in Judo -- did it about 2 years in high school -- then picked up Aikido this year after a long break and a quick visit to karate (not my scene!). Judo's lots of fun. After working the basics of breakfalling (which can take quite a while, depending on instructor), you get to throw each other around almost immediately, getting competitive after only a few run-throughs to learn the technique. I spent twelve weeks sitting out with two broken collarbones, but I really enjoyed it between injuries.

I have not run into arrogance or superiority issues with either aikidoka or judoka. Chances are it's because I have a very low tolerance for arrogance, and between that and good luck have worked with very non-arrogant people. I think arrogance is more about individual personality than any art itself.

That said, I am well aware that any group will develop a group personality or culture. If arrogance or close-mindedness has arisen in a dojo, it will take a conscious and sustained effort to move to a humble joy. Obviously, I think the work would be worth it...
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Old 03-17-2003, 02:45 PM   #17
Michael Neal
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In our dojo I think there is alot of innovation since there are so many people there that practice or have practiced other martial arts. I think the majority have some other martial arts experience before Aikido.

In fact one class we practiced some takedowns, arm bars, and chokes. I would love to see more of that but I also don't think that the standard syllabus should be cast away.

I read alot from Aikidoka here on Aikiweb and on other forums that thumb their noses at other Martial Arts as being brutal, or too much competition, not as englightened as Aikido, etc.

I also detect alot of defensiveness (lack of confidence) and a tendancy to want to stay comfortable and not getting ones hands dirty.

I am not pointing fingers at anyone it is just a general impresssion I have gotten and I am sure some of you know what I am talking about.


Last edited by Michael Neal : 03-17-2003 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 03-17-2003, 03:38 PM   #18
Qatana
 
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maybe someday there will be dojos for "Improvisational Self-Defense Styles" or some such.maybe you will be the Sensei.

in Dance classes we do one technique, be that ballet, jazz or belly dance.while combining those styles may be appropriate in choreography/ performance, this is only done when the dancers have a basic understanding of all the techniques used.

my Sensei also studied tai chi ( also teaches), kempo, ba qua and i'm sure several other styles. but in his dojo, we do aikido.

why not start a free-style sparring group? maybe you can rent time in the dojo you study in...

Q
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"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 03-17-2003, 06:31 PM   #19
Michael Neal
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Quote:
why not start a free-style sparring group? maybe you can rent time in the dojo you study in...
No need for that, as I said we already do improvise in addition to learning the basics. For some things that we do not cover I take Judo to help diversify my skills.

I have no complaints at all about my dojo.

Your reaction to this illustrates my point, there is nothing wrong with expanding out from the standard Aikido syllabus.

There is also nothing wrong with sticking purely with Aikido if that is what you want.

But many Aikidoka need to drop their holier than thou attitude about Aikido. The attitude the Aikido is the highest form of the martial arts that never needs any refinement or crosstraining could be its undoing over time.
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Old 03-17-2003, 07:12 PM   #20
Qatana
 
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No, i'm saying that aikido should be done in the aikido dojo and improve in the improv dojo.i have no problem mixing modalities but i believe in respecting tradition.

Q
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"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 03-17-2003, 08:03 PM   #21
Michael Neal
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That is perfectly fine if tradition is the most important thing to you but there is nothing wrong with innovation in an Aikido dojo either. O'Sensei's life in itself and his art Aikido is a lesson in innovation.

I think tradition can be respected at the same as growing the art to deal with modern realities.

I am certainly in no position of experience in Aikido to be saying what the Aikido syllabus should or should not be, but I can recognize the undeniable fact that Aikido has some weakeneses and that there is room for innovation. it would simply be arrogant to claim otherwise.

If you find that tradition is very important to you that is great, I have nothing against that. I just wish there was less defensiveness out there in the Aikido community. Instead of internalizing insecurites and falling back to the comfort of tradition I just wish more would be tolerant.

I don't know, maybe I don't know much and I should keep my mouth shut. I just like to explore ideas like this because I like Aikido and the martial arts so much. I think maybe people with alot more experience than me could have wiser things to say.

Sometimes I feel that I am too new and inexperienced to have such opinions but at the same time I can not help make observations and think about these things in depth.

Last edited by Michael Neal : 03-17-2003 at 08:18 PM.
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Old 03-17-2003, 11:11 PM   #22
bob_stra
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Quote:
Jo Adell (Qatana) wrote:
No, i'm saying that aikido should be done in the aikido dojo and improve in the improv dojo.
That's like saying sex is only allowed in the bedroom and talking is only allowed in the kitchen ;-)

Out of respect for my taining partners, I try to keep the two seperate. In reality, when we do our contact reflex drills, aikido turns into judo and back again before I can even stop to chastize myself. (eg: Virtually every wild haymaker thrown at me turns into a ogoshi rather than an irimi nage. Old habits die hard)

I agree that during aikido practice, you should do aikido. But during randori, whatever happens is whatever happens.
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Old 03-18-2003, 12:41 AM   #23
PeterR
 
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Quote:
Bob Strahinjevich (bob_stra) wrote:
Out of respect for my taining partners, I try to keep the two seperate. In reality, when we do our contact reflex drills, aikido turns into judo and back again before I can even stop to chastize myself. (eg: Virtually every wild haymaker thrown at me turns into a ogoshi rather than an irimi nage. Old habits die hard)
Hi Bob;

Here I was trying to compose an answer to your question beyond what I had already said and it appears you are more qualified to answer it yourself. My Judo is limited and purely in the context of improving my Aikido. In relation to what you just wrote - Kenji Tomiki considered Judo and Aikido to be the same thing separated only by ma ai (that pun works in both English and Japanese). Once your chosen ma ai is conpromised switching from "Aikido" waza to "Judo" is fair game.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 03-18-2003, 06:28 AM   #24
bob_stra
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Quote:
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
Hi Bob;

Here I was trying to compose an answer to your question beyond what I had already said and it appears you are more qualified to answer it yourself.
Oh lord no, I've only just learnt to stop scratching my ass and bumping into things ;-)

Judo is my first love. Like all first loves, we only see the positive in retrospect ;-)
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