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Old 12-23-2003, 08:44 PM   #1
PeterR
 
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Memories and the Box

Way back in my testosterone fueled youth (over 20 years ago) I did an art known as Nippon Kempo. Sort of a full contact Japanese boxing where you could go to ground, throw, twist joints, etc. For safety you wore boxing gloves, a kendo-like Do, and a padded steel cage on your head. Yesterday I went to the Himeji Budo demonstration and by pure chance I ran into the teacher of my teacher. They were giving a demonstration and basically trolling for students for a beginners class.

My Aikido student and myself got dragged up onto the platform and were given a lesson. His PK jtraining is much more recent so he did better but it really is like ridding a bike. OK so they were gentle.

Long and the short of it I am seriously thinking of taking the beginners course they have planned. Seven sessions and I am sure a little bit more than the most basic will be tossed my way.

It is my opinion that once you get reasonably proficient in one art you should explore a bit. For Aikidoists it is important to understand basic punching and kicking and what its like to get hit and how difficult applying Aikido techniques can really be. Nippon Kempo, although it preceeded my Aikido, made my Aikido. Judo has its own lessons and the same can be said for many other arts. It is so easy to get dojo complacent - one needs to step outside the box. Once a week for a year should do the trick and not compromise your Aikido training.

Opinions?

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 12-23-2003, 10:31 PM   #2
Chris Raywood
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Dear Peter:

Martial Arts, whether Aikido or otherwise is very much like life. You've got to make the decisions that you think are right. If you feel the need to go, then by all means go! You may be pleasantly surprised by what you learn, and that learning may also be used in your own development in Aikido training.

What is the worst that can happen? I seriously doubt the experience can have any negative impact, and if you perceive it begins to you can go back to the way things were prior. Good luck!!

Regards,

Chris Raywood

PS Keep me informed as I am also curious about this type of training. Send me an e-mail when you get some time.
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Old 12-24-2003, 03:30 AM   #3
MaylandL
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Re: Memories and the Box

Quote:
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
...

Long and the short of it I am seriously thinking of taking the beginners course they have planned. Seven sessions and I am sure a little bit more than the most basic will be tossed my way.

... For Aikidoists it is important to understand basic punching and kicking and what its like to get hit and how difficult applying Aikido techniques can really be.

...

Opinions?
Hello Mr Rehse

Your considerations certainly have merit. My Sensei makes the point that his students need to understand the dynamics of punching and kicking in order to truly understand the application of techniques.

He also notes that its important know what its like to be hit to understand the impact on your mind and body.

IHMO, if you have the opportunity to take the classes its worthwhile to take them.

Happy training and let us know how you go.

Mayland
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Old 12-24-2003, 04:34 AM   #4
PeterR
 
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Just to be clear I did the art for almost three years - what we are talking about is a trip down memory lane. I know what its like to get hit and used to think I could kick and punch reasonably well.

All I can say is Thursday night is going to be a killer. First a race down a steep mountain road, then the Himeji Bypass in rush hour (one hour total), the Nippon Kempo class, followed by a return to my village (30 minutes) and Judo which basically consists of a little bit of uchikome and a lot of randori with people half my age.

I will die - but it will be glorious.

I doubt very much the beginners class will be enough to get me where I was those many years ago but a little reminder of skills past can't hurt. From the session I had at the Budokan I can already see how hip movement will be a problem.

Last edited by PeterR : 12-24-2003 at 04:37 AM.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 12-24-2003, 02:47 PM   #5
Arianah
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It's funny that this thread popped up yesterday, since just the day before I decided that it might be a good idea to learn some striking by taking the shotokan karate class that is offered in the college where I take aikido. However, I am concerned about a potentially negative impact it could have on my aikido (that is, possibly run counter to the fluidity and softness I want to acheive.) But I want to know how to strike (to understand uke's attacking role more, to understand atemi more), and I'd like to learn a more "aggressive" approach, to further my understanding of initiative. Plus, I think that some basic sparring could make me far more aware of my openings, etc. I have, though, only been doing aikido two years. Too early?

Advice from those who have gone before would be appreciated.

Sorry for "stealing" your thread, Peter.

Sarah, who does intend to ask her instructor his opinion, but would like the opinions of you kind folks as well...

Last edited by Arianah : 12-24-2003 at 02:50 PM.

Out of clutter, find simplicity.
From discord, find harmony.
In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity.
-Albert Einstein
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Old 12-24-2003, 03:14 PM   #6
Michael Young
 
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I'd say go for it Ms. Fowler. I don't think two years is too soon. Maybe if you were a brand new beginner I'd recommend waiting a bit, but I'm sure you have enough understanding of basic movement that you won't be confused (stance, footwork, etc.) What is the worse case scenario (besides you deciding to leave Aikido altogether to persue a striking art full time...but that's just my personal bias )? Yes, you could "stiffen up a bit" in your Aikido class, and maybe pick up a "bad" or more precisely a "contatradictory" habit. But so what? If you are intending to continue your study of Aikido for the rest of your life, you'll spend plenty of time working on those things either way. Besides, you will learn far more than you anticipate that will be of help to you in your Aikido practice, either immediately or eventually. I studied striking martial arts for many years before joining Aikido. Though there were many things I had to "unlearn" there are also things that I learned of value from those times that are applicable to what I do now. As long as you have a good instuctor and practice wholeheartedly, you can't fail to progress (regardless of the endeavor). Personally I will probably never practice a striking art again, although I am considering some traditional sword art at some point...both for fun and Aikido enhancement. But one never knows eh?



Good luck!

Mike
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Old 12-24-2003, 07:07 PM   #7
PeterR
 
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No problem Sarah;

I have a small question before I can answer too soon or not. How often do you practice Aikido?

Two years at twice a week really is not enough of a base to start exploring but then if that's all the Aikido available you really can not say you are devoted to the art training wise.

I used to be quite opinionated about the solid base requirement - I even went to say get your Shodan first - but I now think that one should explore a bit to not only enhance your present art but potentially find your chosen art. It might in the end not be Aikido. Looking back on my training histroy it was because of that approach that I did find Aikido.

My biggest problem with the Nippon Kenpo class is the distance and travel time for what really is a beginners course. Will it be worth it? I'm leaning towards yes.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 12-24-2003, 07:35 PM   #8
PeterR
 
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As far as Shotokan Karate goes I was told by an individual who had advanced dan ranks in both that after san dan the two arts converge. Shotokan becomes softer and Aikido harder. I don't think you should be too worried about conflict between the two training approaches and in any case at the beginning levels the arts are distinct enough that a reasonably intelligent person (IQ greater than turnip) should be able to keep them apart (aside from the occaisional slip).

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 12-24-2003, 08:11 PM   #9
Arianah
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Quote:
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
I have a small question before I can answer too soon or not. How often do you practice Aikido?
I'm usually at every class, which translates to six classes, three days a week. This wasn't always the case, however. It's only been for the past year or so that that many classes have been consistantly offered, as we are a young dojo. Before, it built up from two hours a week to three and a half and finally to six. Confusing enough for ya? No simple answers here.
Quote:
...but I now think that one should explore a bit to not only enhance your present art but potentially find your chosen art. It might in the end not be Aikido. Looking back on my training histroy it was because of that approach that I did find Aikido.
Ok. Let me throw this at you then. Do you feel it does a disservice to the "other art's" instructor if you go in there without the intention of sticking around for the long haul? Quite honestly, though I think karate is a really great art (from what I've seen), I don't really have enough interest in it to make it a life-long study. Am I doing a disservice to the art itself, just coming in and "stealing" what I want from it and leaving without ever delving it's depths? Am I just wasting an instructor's time? t's crossed my mind and I admittedly worry about that a little. I mean, obviously, many people join up and leave. Faces come in, faces go out. But most of those people have at least the intention of staying before interest fades away for them.
Quote:
My biggest problem with the Nippon Kenpo class is the distance and travel time for what really is a beginners course. Will it be worth it? I'm leaning towards yes.
I really hope it works out for you. The nice thing for me is that the class is offered ten minutes from me in the same building where I take aikido. But if I do decide to take it up, Wednesdays will be a killer. Following a full day of classes in school (eight straight hours), I would be rushing to an hour of karate, followed by two hours of aikido. Whew! I'm getting tired just thinking about it.

Sarah, who will have sugar plums dancing in her head when she falls asleep in a little while...

Happy merry, everyone!

Out of clutter, find simplicity.
From discord, find harmony.
In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity.
-Albert Einstein
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Old 12-24-2003, 09:15 PM   #10
PeterR
 
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Hi Sarah;

From your post my advice is to hold off for a little bit. I base this mainly on the the fact that you seem to have plenty of opprotunity for Aikido practice and worse there is a conflict between the Karate and Aikido (same night). You have plenty of time ahead.

No worries about the Shotokan instructor. Just be up-front and commit for at least a year. You will need at least that if classes are once a week. A serious martial arts student (which you demonstrate by what you are doing) is always welcome. It beats the raw beginners any time. If you do Aikido and Karate the same night, it is much more difficult to maintain the commitment however. Trust me I know all about heaping too much on my plate.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 12-24-2003, 09:54 PM   #11
Lone Swordsman
 
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Re: Memories and the Box

Quote:
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
For Aikidoists it is important to understand basic punching and kicking and what its like to get hit and how difficult applying Aikido techniques can really be. Nippon Kempo, although it preceeded my Aikido, made my Aikido. Judo has its own lessons and the same can be said for many other arts. It is so easy to get dojo complacent - one needs to step outside the box. Once a week for a year should do the trick and not compromise your Aikido training.

Opinions?
I'm told that in Yoseikan, elements of judo and karate are incorporated partly for this reason. Not that it's hard to figure out. I'm a white-belt, and already we've practiced taking full-force punches. Doing something with that, other than tai sabaki, is another matter...
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Old 12-24-2003, 10:51 PM   #12
MaryKaye
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If you are worried about being too "frivolous" you can always come clean with the head of the new school before starting. I had occasion to ask an aikido sensei "Would you mind having a student who will stay for only one month?" As it happens, she didn't mind. But you'd be giving an instructor who did mind a graceful chance to say "I really don't think that will be worthwhile."

A lot of people at my dojo crosstrain in karate, and one of the instructors is dan rank in both. She says that she decided to learn a bit of aikido in order to improve her karate, and then got hopelessly hooked. In general the crosstraining seems useful--the karate is higher energy and gives a good workout, and it improves striking and blocking skills.

My one concern is that three hours in one night is a lot. My sempai are always warning me that it's dangerous to practice to the point of exhaustion because you start making mistakes and may injure yourself. One of them learned this lesson the hard way with a torn shoulder. My more limited experience bears this out; I decided a few months ago that I shouldn't do (2 hour) classes more than 2 nights running, because I invariably seemed to hurt myself on the third night. If you do try it, pace yourself carefully and don't try difficult falls or rolls when you're really tired.

Mary Kaye
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Old 12-24-2003, 10:58 PM   #13
Paula Lydon
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~~Hi, Peter R.

As to your origional thread question, I came to Aikido from four years tae kwon do then 12 years jujitsu. I've now been training in Aikido for 7 years and find my background in many ways enhances my Aikido. I believe there are 'holes' in Aikido training where most practitioners balk at going, such as striking or kicking when appropriate, or grappling when it makes sense to me. I have a hard time with the ukemi for any throw where I'm dropped at someone's feet and they don't pin me; I want to spin into their legs and drop them rather than bother to bounce up again when they're just waiting for me.

There is much to be learned from open atemi about proper timing and distances, I feel. I also think it's important to get hit and know what that feels like both physically and emotionally, and to know that you can keep going. Most often in a fight fancy moves won't cut it; maybe a rake to the face, a quick drop of your weight through their center wherever you're connected and a solid pin. A mix of principle and application. Large and small, hard and soft.

I've trained with too many people who seem content within their skill level and dojo setting and I, personally, don't think it's a good idea to never explore. You can see the holes in them, the limits of their understanding about their art and themselves. Specifically in Aikido, how do you train to respond realistically to an attack that you and your partner don't know how to exicute?

I love Aikido for many reasons, not all MA training, but still keep my hand in with jujitsu and open atemi. Having embraced more I feel that I've been forced to examine more, grow more. I try to remember that I'm a martial artist and student of aiki, not necessarily a jujitsuka or Aikidoka, etc., although I do believe that one needs to choose a core art at some point from which to explore and upon which to build.

Have fun on your trek down memory lane!

Hi Sarah, I'd suggest that if you're set on expanding your training now then you decide on your core art and try to keep the ratio at 3 to 1 for classes. The striking arts are good in that you can also practice many things on your own at home which will improve general balance, body strength, reflexes, etc. I'd also suggest, if you're not already doing this, a good stretching program or yoga.

Let Spirit move you to what you came here to learn, and have a great time doing it!

~~Paula~~
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Old 12-25-2003, 11:42 PM   #14
Nafis Zahir
 
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Re: Memories and the Box

Quote:
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
It is my opinion that once you get reasonably proficient in one art you should explore a bit. For Aikidoists it is important to understand basic punching and kicking and what its like to get hit and how difficult applying Aikido techniques can really be.

Opinions?
I agree. You should explore. You should understand the prinicples behind punching and kicking. But it is NOT difficult to apply aikido techniques! Real attacks are wild and out of control and easy to manipulate. It gets easier if you understand punching and kicking, but to say it is hard to apply aikido techniques is off the mark. You can study the impacting arts all you want, but if you don't understand the basic application of aikido, it won't matter. Just wanted to clarify that one point. Enjoy the training.

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