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Old 07-14-2003, 07:25 AM   #1
drDalek
 
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Testing your Aikido?

Aikido is first and formost martial. That is a set of techniques for use in battle. I believe that Aikido can not be an art without this martial element and if you practice only the art aspect you lost sight of the truth. (Or the aspect of the truth that Aikido exposes to you)

So how can I test whether my Aikido is actually effective? I dont believe that you need to have done it for 10 or 15 years before it becomes effective and I also dont believe that "oh you just know it works" attitude I have seen from some higher ranking members of the dojo and the forums.

Even the great Gozo Shioda once picked a fight with a street "gang" to prove this aspect to himself (according to Angry white pyjamas anyway). How many sensei are out there that are teaching it and have never used it "for real"?

Should I just follow Shioda's example and insult someone's mom in a biker bar?

Sure it does not actually gel with the philosophy of Aikido but there is time enough for philosophy after I am secure in my ability with Aikido. (or dying in a gutter outside said biker bar from massive head trauma)
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Old 07-14-2003, 07:35 AM   #2
Kensai
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"Aikido is first and formost martial."

Here's me thinking is was about Love, Respect, Harmony, Nature and the Universe.

Ever read anything by O Sensei?

"Minimum Effort, Maximum Effciency."
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Old 07-14-2003, 08:01 AM   #3
drDalek
 
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Quote:
Chris Gee (Kensai) wrote:
"Aikido is first and formost martial."

Here's me thinking is was about Love, Respect, Harmony, Nature and the Universe.

Ever read anything by O Sensei?
I respect your opinion but it is worthless to me because our training goals are obviously different.
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Old 07-14-2003, 08:07 AM   #4
jxa127
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Wynand,

Your question is fairly common in that, I think, most martial artists have wondered the same thing at one time or another.

I do not recommend picking a fight with someone to see if your training works. Risking serious injury (maybe even death) to yourself and/or your victim just for the sake of your ego is really stupid.

Instead, try some informal jiyuwaza (free technique, any attack) with a fellow student. Spar if you'd like. Train with someone who studies a different martial art.

Regards,

-Drew

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-Drew Ames
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Old 07-14-2003, 08:15 AM   #5
PhilJ
 
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About how many fights does one person need to encounter before s/he is satisfied aikido works? Do we all think that one is enough? How about five? Maybe five, with at least one where you're outnumbered 20-to-1. Sure, you can survive a biker fight, but how about a fight with some radical leftists with pistols? Then I'll be convinced.

Or, you could test it everyday on the people around you, at work, home, on the road, on the phone, in the toilet. Seems less dangerous (unless you just ate chili) and definitely more relevant to my life, since I only plan to fight about < 1% of my time on t his planet. If you plan on fighting all the time, I recommend that you just don't stop picking fights, keep going as long as you can.

It just depends what you want out of a martial art. To learn about the essence of a man, train with him for 10 minutes.

*Phil

Phillip Johnson
Enso Aikido Dojo, Burnsville, MN
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Old 07-14-2003, 08:17 AM   #6
opherdonchin
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Wynand,

my training goals are also different than yours, but I think you have an interesting question. I will venture an opinion, but I want to make it clear that it is not based on any actual fighting experience and may not, therefore, be worth much to you.

Basically, I think one needs to distinguish between being a 'fighter' and being a 'martial artist.' The way I'm using the words, a fighter is succesful when he (or she) wins fights; a martial artist is succesful when he (or she) manages to create a situation where fighting is not neccesary. Now, these aren't mutually exclusive skills. Many of the skills that would benefit a fighter would also benefit a martial artist, and vice versa.

There are some tensions between the two ideas, though. One cannot be a great fighter without fighting a lot of fights simply because you can't win fights without being in them. On the other hand, if you fight a lot then you clearly haven't mastered the art of creating situation where fighting is not necessary.

Another way of saying the same thing is that someone whose Karate is so good that no one dare attack them is clearly an excellent Karateka but we have absolutely no information on how good of a fighter they are. Somone whose Aikido is so good that no one feels any urge to attack them is in the same position. Their skill as a martial artist is beyond question; their skill as a fighter is simply an unknown.

With this distinction in mind, I would say that if you are interested in being a fighter, then you have to learn from fighters and you have to fight. Anything else is like studying violin in order to be good at baseball. It may help, but it's not the same thing.

No matter how much combat training troops have, they are not fighters until they have actually fought. Indeed, some of them may turn out to be lousy fighters no matter how much training they receive.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 07-14-2003, 08:33 AM   #7
drDalek
 
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Quote:
Phillip Johnson (PhilJ) wrote:
<snip>

Or, you could test it everyday on the people around you, at work, home, on the road, on the phone, in the toilet. Seems less dangerous (unless you just ate chili) and definitely more relevant to my life, since I only plan to fight about < 1% of my time on t his planet. If you plan on fighting all the time, I recommend that you just don't stop picking fights, keep going as long as you can.

<snip>
Just for fun I did a quick calculation on your 1% or less, assuming you live to be 80 you would have to fight for 292 24 hour days in total for it to occupy precisely 1% of your life.

You are a braver man than I.

But seriously, to answer your question, the last time I was in a fight where the party attacking me was actually hostile instead of playfighting was in highschool. If I can come out on top in just one such an altercation, I will be satisfied.

As for testing your Aikido in daily life, a few examples would be emmensely helpfull, (feel free to skip the toilet Aikido examples)
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Old 07-14-2003, 08:58 AM   #8
Greg Jennings
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Make friends with people in other arts and have friendly, but spirited, shiai with them.

If you really want a challenge, go find a really good high school wrestler that is hard up for money and tell him you'll give him (the equivalent of) $20 for every time he can submit you in five minutes.

Regards,

Greg Jennings
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Old 07-14-2003, 09:06 AM   #9
Carl Simard
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Don't forget that although aikido is a martial art, it's a "do", a way or a path in the spiritual or philosophical sense. It's not a "jutsu", or "combat technique".

When you train in a "do", you try to achieve some mental or spiritual state (an "attitude")through your physical training. The physical technique isn't the end of it, but just a way to get to this mental state...

Not sure if the comparison may rightly apply, but in the army, officers and front line soldiers don't get the same training. The goal of an officer isn't to be the best shooter in the regiment. And the goal of the elite shooter isn't to think of strategy or tactiques...

A parralel may also be drawn with the samurai of the old Japan. To be a samurai, you needed to be much more than just a good katana wielder. You also had to have some philosophical and spiritual virtues (the 7 valors...). And these virtues were even more important than the fighting technique because you just don't put a katana in the hands of a guy you don't trust or who can put you in trouble because its lack of judgement...

Hope this make the difference between the "do" and "jutsu" a bit clearer...

So, if your goal is combat effectiveness, your probably better to train in something where combat effectiveness is the first goal...
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Old 07-14-2003, 09:06 AM   #10
PhilJ
 
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Seriously, aikido principles apply to folks with colon or bowel complications. It actually has been discussed here long ago.

I'm flattered you spent time with my terrible estimate. As you acknowledge, it's irrelevant to your point, so let's stay on track.

One fight is not enough, ask people who do it for a living, like UFC folks, boxers, etc. Your question then seems to be, "Do I know enough to survive one altercation?" which I think is entirely valid.

You already know how to test this in a fight -- insult a biker's mom in a bar. Let us know how it goes.

As for non-physical situations, try finding analogies between your techniques and daily life. Like, getting off the line of attack and cutting once, or, turning tenkan, etc. A really great place to look is Terry Dobson's book, "Aikido in Everyday Life". It's examples are a bit 'ideal' (as the author admits), but it's an interesting read nonetheless.

*Phil

Phillip Johnson
Enso Aikido Dojo, Burnsville, MN
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Old 07-14-2003, 10:09 AM   #11
paw
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Quote:
Your question then seems to be, "Do I know enough to survive one altercation?" which I think is entirely valid.

You already know how to test this in a fight -- insult a biker's mom in a bar.
With all due respect, this is generally a poor method. People invariably choose to insult those they believe they can already beat .... so there's an issue about how challenging one's opponent will be.

FWIW, Greg's advice seems most sound to me
Quote:
Make friends with people in other arts and have friendly, but spirited, shiai with them.
Regards,

Paul
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Old 07-14-2003, 10:19 AM   #12
acot
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Aikido decides life and death in a single strike, so students must carefully follow the instructor's teaching and not compete to see who is the strongest.

Morihei Ueshiba
This probably doesn't answer the question, but it does go straight to the point of the matter, motive. What are you testing? Aikido or fighting. Aikido isn't something you train in to learn how to fight. Unless your job requires such a skill. Some call Aikido a martial art, Morihei Ueshiba called it the art of peace. It is with only a year of training under my belt that I can say that it is going to take a long time to master even some of the basics. To believe that it is worth my while to take all that time and effort for a moment in my life that may or may not happen is completely insane and paranoid.

In this last year Aikido has help me control my temper and keep my center when things in life aren't going as well. To me I guess the fight or test isn't against anyone but my own worst enemy. ME.

Peace

Ryan

Last edited by acot : 07-14-2003 at 10:25 AM.
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Old 07-14-2003, 10:23 AM   #13
Dave Miller
 
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Quote:
Wynand van Dyk (drDalek) wrote:
But seriously, to answer your question, the last time I was in a fight where the party attacking me was actually hostile instead of playfighting was in highschool. If I can come out on top in just one such an altercation, I will be satisfied.
As one who was often the object of bullies' agression in high school, I can appreciate your honesty and also how frustrating that can be. However, the longer I train in Aikido, the less important this question seems to be for me. I am finding that training in Aikido has given me something that the bullies can't take away, which is confidence and self-respect that transcends whether I "win or lose" the fight. The mere fact that a bully picks a fight makes him/her the loser, regardless of the apparent outcome.

That having been said, it would still be nice if one of those old bullies tried to pick a fight with me and I just happened to give them a nice hard kote gaeshi or hiji guruma.


DAVE

If you're working too hard, you're doing it wrong.
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Old 07-14-2003, 11:16 AM   #14
PhilJ
 
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Paul,



I do agree with you, I prefer testing my aikido in less dangerous situations, like in a meeting or while walking my dog. You have a good point there.

There is a degree of futility, though, in trying to convince someone to do something contrary to what s/he has already decided to do. Wynand's view are different from mine, so I can't empathize -- I just hope one fight is enough to help someone understand that the beauty of aikido is not solely in its use in a combatative situation.

*Phil

Phillip Johnson
Enso Aikido Dojo, Burnsville, MN
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Old 07-14-2003, 11:30 AM   #15
Michael Neal
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I test Aikido on my cat, does that count?
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Old 07-14-2003, 12:06 PM   #16
Kensai
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I also have a cat upon which I test a variation of Tenchinage as well as unbendable arm.

Just as an after thought, the only thing you'll achieve by threatening people in bars is DEATH or meals through a straw for the rest of your life. No doubt Kancho could do this, but I doubt your of that ability as you wouldnt be asking this question.

"Minimum Effort, Maximum Effciency."
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Old 07-14-2003, 12:33 PM   #17
kensparrow
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Wynand,

Just out of curiosity, what will you do if you fight and lose (assuming you're not dead or crippled)? Train harder and try again? Decide that Aikido is ineffective and switch arts? And what will you do if you win? Stop training because you know enough to kick somebody's ass?

You mentioned "Angry White Pyjamas". Do you remember the part about the "fight" outside the bar? They won that fight because Twigger's friend controlled HIMSELF, not the gang leader. That was the only example of REAL Aikido in the whole book.

It's no test of your abilities to psych yourself up, go out, pick a victim and beat him up. Untrained thugs do that everyday (and go to jail when they get caught).

You might also want to be careful who you try to beat up, he just might know Aikido...
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Old 07-14-2003, 01:08 PM   #18
jxa127
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Quote:
Chris Gee (Kensai) wrote:
I also have a cat upon which I test a variation of Tenchinage as well as unbendable arm.
I sometimes end up in two-cat randori. They're really good at grabbing and holding on to me.

Regards,

-Drew

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Old 07-14-2003, 01:42 PM   #19
deepsoup
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Quote:
Phillip Johnson wrote:
You already know how to test this in a fight -- insult a biker's mom in a bar. Let us know how it goes.
Quote:
paul watt (paw) wrote:
With all due respect, this is generally a poor method. People invariably choose to insult those they believe they can already beat .... so there's an issue about how challenging one's opponent will be.
The other reason its a poor method is of course that bikers are generally such warm, wonderful, peace-loving people that you'll find it terribly hard to pick a fight with one anyway! (So enough with the stereotypes already)

Sean

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Old 07-14-2003, 02:02 PM   #20
PhilJ
 
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LOL Drew. Two-dog randori is pretty scary too. Sometimes I get my foot stepped on (90lb dog x 2) or snorted on... icky.

*Phil

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Old 07-14-2003, 02:36 PM   #21
Goye
 
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Cool

I test Aikido on my little brother since I don´t have cats or dogs!

César Martínez
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Old 07-14-2003, 02:45 PM   #22
drDalek
 
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Quote:
Ken Sparrow (kensparrow) wrote:
Just out of curiosity, what will you do if you fight and lose (assuming you're not dead or crippled)? Train harder and try again? Decide that Aikido is ineffective and switch arts? And what will you do if you win? Stop training because you know enough to kick somebody's ass?
The answer in both situation would be to train harder and try again but the point is kind of moot. I would never pick a fight, I just dont have it in me, the entire question was hyperbole to spark discussion.

I dont think though that I am the only person who ever harbored these kinds of ideas, anyone who has come into contact with violence, either at school or work or in relationships and thus understand the dynamics of aggression and conflict must be able to relate to me.

The problem is how to get rid of these questions in the most honest, straight forward way without getting killed or permanently injured. From suggestions in this thread and my personal limited experience I would say that the answer is to piece together a mental picture from sparring sessions, jiyuwaza sessions and how you handle those daily stresses.
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Old 07-14-2003, 02:47 PM   #23
ewodaj
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Quote:
Ryan Bertram (acot) wrote:
This probably doesn't answer the question, but it does go straight to the point of the matter, motive. What are you testing? Aikido or fighting. Aikido isn't something you train in to learn how to fight. Unless your job requires such a skill. Some call Aikido a martial art, Morihei Ueshiba called it the art of peace. It is with only a year of training under my belt that I can say that it is going to take a long time to master even some of the basics. To believe that it is worth my while to take all that time and effort for a moment in my life that may or may not happen is completely insane and paranoid.

In this last year Aikido has help me control my temper and keep my center when things in life aren't going as well. To me I guess the fight or test isn't against anyone but my own worst enemy. ME.

Peace

Ryan
Aikido isn't something you train in to learn how to fight.

what has made you come to this conclusion? no offense, but this is nonsense right here...aikido is an effective form of self-defense...do you think they teach police officers aikido so that they can be spiritual when it comes to a criminal shooting at them or something like that? a large amount of people take up aikido to learn how to fight, so how can you deny that? remember, aikido is a martial art and its a fighting martial art...it does have different aspects to it, but it involves learning how to control situations and so on...aikido is using your opponents own force/movements against them...

AIKIDO is a wonderful martial art used to manipulate your attacker's body away from you while inflicting pain if necessary. Aikido teaches you mainly standing fighting techniques using wrist locks and strikes to the body with extreme force and accuracy. We recommend AIKIDO to anyone that wants to take a self defense class.


enough said...

Last edited by ewodaj : 07-14-2003 at 02:51 PM.
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Old 07-14-2003, 02:52 PM   #24
opherdonchin
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Quote:
do you think they teach police officers aikido so that they can be spiritual when it comes to a criminal shooting at them or something like that?
Does Aikido help with bullets?

I would say that people who take up Aikido to learn how to fight are a little misled, not so much because Aikido can't help them but because that's not a useful thing to learn (except in the limited context of competitions). Maybe a better goal, closer to what you are looking for, Louis, is taking up Aikido in order to learn how to survive fights. It may seem like a subtle shift, but I would claim that it's an important one.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 07-14-2003, 03:03 PM   #25
ewodaj
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I was giving an example, but it was a bad one at that... aikido will help you in dangerous situations like if you are surrounded by 2 men that want to hurt you or rob you for whatever the reason(s) may be or something of that nature...if someone was up close to you and had a gun pointed at you, there are ways you can subdue him and take the gun away from him...im sure aikido teaches people how to do that...maybe not necessarily in that way, but something to that nature...
Quote:
Opher Donchin (opherdonchin) wrote:
Does Aikido help with bullets?

I would say that people who take up Aikido to learn how to fight are a little misled, not so much because Aikido can't help them but because that's not a useful thing to learn (except in the limited context of competitions). Maybe a better goal, closer to what you are looking for, Louis, is taking up Aikido in order to learn how to survive fights. It may seem like a subtle shift, but I would claim that it's an important one.
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