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Old 07-14-2003, 07:53 AM   #1
opherdonchin
Dojo: Baltimore Aikido
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How are aikidoka different?

Here is a snippet from another thread
Quote:
Justin McCarthy wrote:
In my experience, aikidoka do not display a greater sense of morality or spirituality on average than any other group of people.
Quote:
I wrote:
I can't say that I've found Aikidoka to be particularly "spiritual" or "moral." Perhaps slightly more "present," but I suspect I'd find that in Karateka as well. Maybe slightly more "gentle," although that was certainly true in my experience for oarsmen as well.
I guess I'm throwing it open to hear whether other people have noticed differences that make the aikidoka they now stand out.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 07-14-2003, 09:26 AM   #2
Veers
 
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I can't remember what book it was (Aikido & Bokata, I think) but there was a little introduction at the begenning that said something to the affect of: "Aikido was created by a human and will not make you anything more than that."

While I will say that manoy aikidoka (most, probably) will adhere to the react instead of initiate mind set, I don't think that aikido will produce 100% considerate, self-sacrificing, agreeable people.

I guess to answer what you guess you're asking...aikido hasn't altered my moral standings, but it has given me greater respect for the the body (mine and others) and its capabilities.

The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
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Old 07-14-2003, 10:39 AM   #3
C. Emerson
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I have always felt that the lessons of the martial arts parallel the lessons of life. Timing, flexibility, soft/hard, water, circular, patient, discipline, persiverence, cooperation, trust, to name a few.

These lessons can be learned anywhere. But I learned them on the mat. And for those reasons I feel that there is an enlightenment process that occurs. And I do feel that It takes time to change. I don't feel that 6 months in the dojo will change you forever.

I feel that as I continue training, the change also continues.

-Chad
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Old 07-14-2003, 12:53 PM   #4
deepsoup
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I dont think they are.

Quote:
Opher Donchin (opherdonchin) wrote:
I guess I'm throwing it open to hear whether other people have noticed differences that make the aikidoka they now stand out.
I haven't.

Some stand out, certainly, but some people are outstanding anyway.

Sean

x
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Old 07-14-2003, 08:07 PM   #5
DaveForis
Dojo: UW-L Aikido Club
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No. I've seen egotism, arrogance, competitiveness, anger, a desire to hurt, and many of the other Darker Thingies Of The Soul that we might like to believe we'll only find in a hardstyle in dojos, mine included. What it comes down to is that for the most part, Aikidoists are people too.

Behind every flaw in technique is a flaw in the mind or spirit
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Old 07-14-2003, 09:10 PM   #6
PeterR
 
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Are they more likely to think they are different?

Nah! That's not it either.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-14-2003, 10:52 PM   #7
opherdonchin
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That's actually really funny, Peter.

Effort to provoke different types of answers follows:

Sure, we can be splitters and we can be lumpers. Let's be splitters for a moment. That is, given any group of people, we can always notice that they are pretty much like any other group of people. That will usually be true. We can even pay attention to which aspects of the group are most closely shared with the rest of the population.

But, we can just as easily do the opposite, can't we. That is, we can choose to pay attention to the things that make this group different, overlooking for a moment any similarities. Surely there must be something there, however vague or subjective.

Last edited by opherdonchin : 07-14-2003 at 10:56 PM.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 07-14-2003, 11:15 PM   #8
YEME
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i think the way we look at this group may have something to do with the fact that they can inflict serious injury.

essentially i think you could pick a bunch of people from the street and have the same type of characters.

But you're not likey to allow a stranger to throw you around the room for an hour.

So perhaps we look at their ability through rose coloured glasses...and sometimes assign them saintly traits that they may not possess in every day life.
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Old 07-14-2003, 11:35 PM   #9
PeterR
 
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Seriously though like attracts like. Certain types of people get attracted to certain types of training and basically if you walk into a Sport TKD club for instance you will see a very different group of people as your average Aikido dojo.

Is one of the above groups more intelligent than the other, more moral, more full of themselves, more ...... than the other?

One demographic in the above example is clear and that is age. Sure we (the Aikidoists) have young ones and they the TKDoists (can I say that) have older but on average I think we, as a group, tend to be older. Contrary examples aside age does bring a certain mental maturity along with the physical.

Compare us to the general population the age thingy disappears but on the whole we are more active - just by the very idea that we go out and do something (could as well be TKD).

So yeah - a case can be made for a difference. You just have to be very careful what difference you pick and which group you compare yourself to.

Last edited by PeterR : 07-14-2003 at 11:46 PM.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-15-2003, 12:03 AM   #10
shihonage
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How do I put this gently... Aikidokas are usually more horizontally enlightened.
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Old 07-15-2003, 12:24 AM   #11
Jim ashby
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Aleksey, would that also be along the lines of "gravitationally challenged" or "cicumferentially enhanced" perhaps?

Have fun.

Vir Obesus Stola Saeptus
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Old 07-15-2003, 01:34 AM   #12
shihonage
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Circumferentially enhanced.

That's beautiful !

I'm going to remember this.
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Old 07-15-2003, 04:13 AM   #13
justinm
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So, if we are not producing people with greater 'sprituality', better morals, better self defence skills, happier, or better general health over other activities, what has aikido got to offer the world that is different or better than anything else?

Sometimes I see people write things like "if only everyone in the world practiced aikido". Why??

If you pick any one 'goal' of aikido it seems that you can find something that achieves that goal faster, other than "being very good at aikido"

Here is a scenario. You have got 100 new students joining a university, and have 5 minutes to 'sell' your aikido club along with the other 30 clubs there. What is the selling point for aikido, vs the running club, karate, meditation classes, art club etc.

Maybe this is why aikido clubs often struggle to grow very large? What are we offering that makes it a 'must have'?

just rambling out loud...

Justin

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Old 07-15-2003, 08:04 AM   #14
Charles Hill
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To answer the question, we have to know what an Aikidoka is. But is that so easy? You have to first define "Aikido," and there are going to be a lot of different opinions on that.

To me, it's like asking how are football players different? You might have one guy saying they are good kickers and another disagreeing and saying they are good at throwing and catching the ball. This argument will continue on until they realize one guy is from the U.K. and the other is from the U.S. This is what happens in half the threads here.

Charles
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Old 07-15-2003, 08:15 AM   #15
jxa127
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Justin,

The problem is that generalities simply don't work very well. (Pardon the generality.) ;-)

I do know that when I've been to seminars, I've really enjoyed working with the people who have been there. They have been supportive and friendly. Beyond that, comparisons don't work too well.

At one camp I attended, nearly half the people there were women. My dojo has always been mostly attended by men, so working with that many women was a new experience. I tried to draw some conclusions about any differences between men and women doing aikido, but ended up concluding that rank for rank, person by person, there was too much variation to draw a valid conclusion regarding women aikidoka in general.

The same could be said for the larger group of all people who study aikido.

You ask:
Quote:
So, if we are not producing people with greater 'spirituality', better morals, better self defense skills, happier, or better general health over other activities, what has aikido got to offer the world that is different or better than anything else?
That question is valid on an individual scale, but not a mass scale. I feel aikido is better for me than Tai Kwon Do, which I studied as a kid. I find a unique outlook on spirituality and ethics in aikido that I've found lacking elsewhere, etc. But that's just my experience. True, a number of other people feel the same way, but that doesn't mean that everyone who studies aikido feels that way.

One last point: I think internet discussions have a tendency to sink to the lowest common denominator. It is easier, and less offensive, to take a position that emphasizes the similarities among arts than to try and argue that one art has advantages over another art. This can lead to the impression that "all arts are basically the same." I believe that it is up to us as individuals to discern if there's truth to that statement.

Who cares what anyone else thinks, anyway?

Regards,

-Drew

----
-Drew Ames
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Old 07-15-2003, 08:31 AM   #16
opherdonchin
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Quote:
My dojo has always been mostly attended by men, so working with that many women was a new experience. I tried to draw some conclusions about any differences between men and women doing aikido
It's been my experience that, generally, a dojo is a more pleasant place to train when there are more women, although I believe you that on an individual basis it would be hard to point to differences.

One other thing that is true about Aikidoka relative to the general public (but not relative to other arts) is that they generally have had to recognize that some things can't be learned by thinking about them.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 07-15-2003, 08:41 AM   #17
Jim ashby
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This thread reminds me of a conversational hand grenade I threw in to a post-training-and-beer curry session. "what is it in us that makes us want to be martial artists, and what makes a martial artist"? That discussion is still going whenever "two or three are gathered together". I might even start it again as a thread, although my threads don't seem to last long!

Have fun.

PS. perhaps it's the post training curry and beer that makes me "circumferetially enhanced".

Vir Obesus Stola Saeptus
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Old 07-15-2003, 08:43 AM   #18
mike lee
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my take

Aikidoists are generally better at forward and backward rolls than most other martial artists, although they're often much worse at basic martial arts skills such as kicking, punching and blocking.

Aikidoists are also often better at escapes than other martial artists, although many aikidoists don't realize this because they never test their skills against a wrestler.

While martial artists in general tend to transfer some of what they learn in their art to their daily life, it seems that many aikidoists make much more of an effort in this regard.

I consider myself a martial artist first, and an aikidoist, second. As a result, I consider it to be more productive and beneficial to look at and emphasize the similarities between aikido and other martial arts, rather than the differences. This can lead to better harmony between the martial arts.

Last edited by mike lee : 07-15-2003 at 08:52 AM.
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Old 07-18-2003, 01:01 PM   #19
Chuck.Gordon
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Aikidoka different?

How are aikidoka different? ARE they different?

IMNSHO: Not really.

I count amongst my dearest friends several aikidoka (from no-kyu to godan and then some), and they're just folks; fickle, serious, weird, intent, funny, annoying, hopeful, depressed ...

My wife is a shodan in aikido as well. She's pretty dear to me, and I know her pretty well. She's a good person, thoroughly, but that's not because of her 10 years of aikido, it's because, well, she's a good person.

Aikido helped, it gave her some good tools. But so did her time in counseling for anorexia during her teens; so did her parents; so did her education ... etc.

I've known real saints (or as close as any of us humans can come to that ideal), who never set foot on a mat and probably couldn't have imagined taking any martial art.

I've known senior aikido (and other budo folks as well) to whom I wouldn't loan a dollar and to whom I would not leave my back unguarded.

Sadly, much of the high moral tone of aikido doesn't seem to have rubbed off on some of the higher-level folks. You'd think, if the art WAS as spiritually powerful as some would have us believe, that it would change those folks, too ...

Senior aikidoka are just people. Some are saints, most are normal, everyday folks (and that, I think, is a Good Thing), and, alas, some are assholes.

Bottom line is that they're people. It ain't the art, it's what you do with it.

Chuck

Last edited by Chuck.Gordon : 07-18-2003 at 01:04 PM.

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Old 07-18-2003, 01:45 PM   #20
Doug Mathieu
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Hi There

My opinion on the nature of Aikido students vs. anyone else is:

1. They have a stronger interest in resolving issues without big confrontations and blending.

2. The need to participate in a competitive activity is less.

3. A more cerebal approach to martial arts (perhaps this has to do with average ages?)

4. Greater interest in the moral and spiritual aspects of martial arts and consequently life.

5. More welcoming to strangers and newcomers

I form my opinions based on my own experiences and stories I am told by friends and other students.

There are examples of Aikido students which run counter to what I have said but overall I feel the above is true.

I think anyone who participates in a Martial Art of any kind have some different charateristics than people who don't. In addition because the biggest difference between Aikido and other martial arts is the moral approach to defense and since the Aikido Student has chosen Aikido over other arts then there must be some difference in that student.

Again there wil be examples of students who start Aikido for other reasons for example lack of another martial art available to them but I believe my opinion will be valid for the majority especially those who stay with Aikido for some time.

Regards
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Old 08-06-2003, 03:14 AM   #21
sanosuke
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I quote my sensei's saying based on what Minoru Mochizuki said:

"Too much karate will make you aggressive, too much judo will make you passive, too much aikido will make you arrogant."

Is this somewhat reflect the general personality of each martial artist?
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Old 08-06-2003, 07:47 AM   #22
justinm
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During my time in aikido, I got more arrogant and then less arrogant. I peaked around 3rd kyu, which is around the time I started to think about how much I didn't know, rather than how much I did.

Ah, those heady days of 3rd kyu, when I was unbeatable and destined for greatness.....

Justin

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Old 08-06-2003, 11:15 AM   #23
Ron Tisdale
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Reza,

I think you hit the nail on the head. I think by combining the arts he did, Mochizuki Sensei did a great thing. One of the problems I see in aikido is that it is **way** to easy to get away with crap that would get you pounded in karate dojo, and slammed in a judo dojo. But in too many aikido dojo, you can pontificate, throw a cooperating partner, and pontificate some more. Not enough reality check. And I've caught myself (and been caught by others) doing some pretty silly things on the mat, so please don't think that I'm leveling this at everyone else's dojo or style.

But that said, I still prefer the aikido...I wish I had done judo as a very young man, and had 20 years of aikido, instead of seven.

I think there was an article in JAMA about the education level of aikidoka being significantly higher that in most other martial arts. I'll see if I can find the article. I'm no statistician, so...

RT

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 08-06-2003, 07:56 PM   #24
sanosuke
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Quote:
During my time in aikido, I got more arrogant and then less arrogant. I peaked around 3rd kyu, which is around the time I started to think about how much I didn't know, rather than how much I did.
Unfortunately Justin, what I found is that the higher the rank the more arrogant they are, closed their mind to new ideas and advises. This makes me thinking about what I expect to become as a person in aikido? because I have decided to deepen my learning and knowledge about aikido but don't want ending up like those people.

To Ron, I found the same problem also, but what do you mean by the education level of aikidoka is significantly higher than most other martial arts?
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Old 08-06-2003, 10:26 PM   #25
David Yap
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Quote:
Reza Kauzar (sanosuke) wrote:
Unfortunately Justin, what I found is that the higher the rank the more arrogant they are, closed their mind to new ideas and advises. This makes me thinking about what I expect to become as a person in aikido? because I have decided to deepen my learning and knowledge about aikido but don't want ending up like those people.

To Ron, I found the same problem also, but what do you mean by the education level of aikidoka is significantly higher than most other martial arts?
Hi Reza,

Musashi had Takuan and others who helped to him to find himself. There is a "Takuan" in each of us - if only we bother to search within orselves.

Most of us martial artists tend to copy our teachers' techniques and we merely copying their physical skills/excellence - over time, this is easy. Copying the inner self - the spiritual self - is difficult. The "Takuan" in you has helped/will help you distinquish the +ve and -ve side of things/personalities that touch your life. Your role is to filter and retain the +ve. Learning is a lifelong process - you learn from your elders, your teachers, your peers, your juniors and even from your ownself. The aim is spiritual -humility, grace and tranquility - this is Budo. The Art does not make the person, the person makes the Art.

Touching on arrogrance - I can say that I have received more injuries from teachers in my years of aikido than in other martial arts.

Touching on Ron's statement - I gather that he meant more intellecture people do Aikido than any other martial arts. IMO, that's just general statement without substance.

Still searching ..

David

P.S Looking forward to meet up and train with you.
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