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Old 05-04-2004, 04:00 PM   #1
drDalek
 
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Too many aiki-fruities?

Does Aikido, more than any other martial art suffer from an overabundance of the fruitier elements?

Do you sometimes feel that you are unable to practice the way that would most benefit you because your intstructor either has to accomodate a large number of granola munching hippies or is one him/herself?

I sometimes wish there were more options for me to explore. Sure, I wont ever find the perfect dojo and the balance that I am looking for would be hard to achieve or maintain.

I dont want to have to listen to 30 minute sermons on Ki or mystical mumbo jumbo that the practitioner himself needs to discover or explore but I also dont want to go to a paramillitary screaming drill sergeant of an instructor with a crewcut and shellshock.

I got a few suggestions from someone who used to practice Aikido, attended some randori intensives with George Ledyard sensei and now practices Systema. The reason he switched is unknown but apparently he would not have switched if he could study under George Ledyard himself, these are his hints and tips.

Quote:
0) make sure that you don't use too much muscular strength (as little as possible).
1) pratice Atemi
2) learn how to strike so that you can deliver physical atemi.
3) pratice kicks and defence from them.
4) Make sure your partner's attack is real. In many Aikido dojos people have a habbit of strike the air next to the person instead of strikin the person. if this happens just ask your partner to give you honest attack. It does not have to be fast but it must be on target. Hopefully after a while people get used to the fact that you want them to strike you for real.
- if you technique fails or does not achieve everything you hoped it would(i.e. partner is unbalanced but not down on the ground), always switch to something else, improvise. Hopefully your teacher does not mind if you do this.
5) after class, practice defence from any attack
6) don't take for granted that certian move will work, test it!
If you don't see how can it work, ask your instructor. (Don't over do this though, if it tuns out that some technique does not work, instructor may not like it).
7) adapt techniques so that they work for you
don't resist too much during ukemi (it's better from martial stand point to follow and reverse the technique then resist - when you resist you open yourself up for atemi)
9) practice ukemi on hard surfaces
As it stands I can maybe request this kind of practice from about 3 other people who I see only now and then. We do have a lot of not very martially-minded beginners though but even so, many of the more experienced practitioners are unwilling to go beyond the scope of normal day to day practice even on relatively gentle exercises.

Any hints or tips for me on how I can push up the levels of my daily practice?
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Old 05-04-2004, 04:29 PM   #2
MitchMZ
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Re: Too many aiki-fruities?

I think you are learning the wrong art. In fact, the reason why I started Aikido was the great blend of martial effectiveness and spiritual elements. If I wanted strictly technique; I would still be taking Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Aikido is not an art for self defense oriented people; not because its not effective for that. But, because it is SO much more than that. Personally, I feel if you want to learn the "cool stuff" you SHOULD also have to put up with the "fruitier" elements. Honestly, I feel these are the most important to me. Maybe that makes me a fruit/hippie!?
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Old 05-04-2004, 04:52 PM   #3
Ian Williams
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Re: Too many aiki-fruities?

Hi Wynand, sounds like you'd fit right into our Jujitsu classes

From an outsider looking in, yes, I do think Aikido attracts the tree hugger types who are less interested in the martial aspects and more into the "psuedo religion - Aikido will be my path" types.

If I want my spiritual needs seen to, I'll go see a priest/rabbi/iman. But hey that's just me.
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Old 05-04-2004, 05:00 PM   #4
arachnoJill
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Re: Too many aiki-fruities?

I am very new to this, but at our dojo we seem to practice one the physiological elements more than the spiritual. Some of us are more interested in the spiritual side of it, but we tend to learn about and discuss it privately. When we are in class, we are learning the movements pretty much the whole time. For me, I find that I do best when I feel my energy work in a certain way, so I tend to focus on the Ki element more than others because that is the way that I understand it best. More technically minded individuals may prefer to look at the bio-mechanical side. Whatever works for you. I guess maybe you should try to do to as many seminars as you can. Maybe you will feel refreshed if you find one that is more your speed. Are you feeling thisi just from your dojo, or from your Aikido experiences in general?
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Old 05-04-2004, 05:15 PM   #5
shihonage
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Re: Too many aiki-fruities?

I agree with every point of the advice your friend gave you, and I try to follow most of it as well.

Oh and ...

There's no such thing as "training spiritual aspects".
When you train properly in the physical, you grow spiritually.

If you just train "spiritually", whatever that means, then you're merely deluding yourself and dilating the art.
If you're not giving honest attacks and you're not doing honest throws, then you're practicing a lie.

These "spiritual-only" people will one day end up as grumpy black belts who have a fake, strained smile on their face as they stop a beginner who gives them an attack "they're not used to" and, with a smirk, lecture the poor soul for half an hour - instead of adapting to the attack and showing that the art WORKS.

The latter would indeed be a proper show of spirit - that is, being ready and adaptive without becoming hostile and defensive.

Last edited by shihonage : 05-04-2004 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 05-04-2004, 05:31 PM   #6
stuartjvnorton
 
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Re: Too many aiki-fruities?

That's why I took up Yoshinkan Aikido.
I looked at a few places & they were all about readings & seated meditation with about 10 minutes of relaxed training thrown in there somewhere, or some unbendable arm stuff.
Then I found a Yoshinkan dojo where people were there for hard training & the rest is history.
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Old 05-04-2004, 05:56 PM   #7
p00kiethebear
 
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Re: Too many aiki-fruities?

If by "fruitier elements" you mean "total kick-assed-ness" then yes. There is way too much awesome stuff in aikido. I dunno if i can handle it.

I've seen a few ki aikido and "spiritual" people do some kickass stuff. Just because you can't learn to do their technique in an hour lesson doesn't mean it isn't a valid form of aikido, just different. You practice it for 20 years and it becomes a part of you, and you end up with 8th dans like kashiwaya sensei who merely have to caress your hand to make you crumble under their kotegaeshi.

If they're unwilling to go farther, then that's their choice. It's not necessarily a lie. It's just not their thing. They practice something differently, and (hopefully) not with the mind set that they can defend themselves. Let the hippies be hippies, if you don't like working with them, then don't, it shouldn't matter to you what they believe aikido is. If they're happy rolling when nage says "roll" then don't criticize that. Don't hammer on them because they want to get something out of aikido that you don't want to Quit bitching and find a dojou that teaches what you want to be taught.

No one is asking you to be there and put up with hippy crap. If you you don't like it, then what the hell are you doing in that dojou? If it's obviously not for you, find something else that better fits you. The point is, the sensei is teaching HIS or HER art that THEY want to teach. not the thing that YOU want to learn.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 05-04-2004, 06:00 PM   #8
Paul Sanderson-Cimino
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Re: Too many aiki-fruities?

I'd like to point out that the '10 Points' mentioned above could be practiced for reasons other than martial effectiveness. I've often heard those things phrased differently. For instance, in order to study proper harmony and correct form, it is necessary that uke give a clear and well-aimed strike. Otherwise, they have not given the energy they need to give for the technique to flow together. (As it's been said, "Both people are studying aikido.") As for the randori/jiyu-waza elements, for another example, they can be considered a form of training designed to help loosen people up and get used to adapting as nage. (Personally, I'm against viewing jiyu-waza as "real life combat simulation" or something of that nature; it may be a part of martial effectiveness, and more resemble "a real fight" than kata, but I still consider it a form of training, not fighting or sparring.)

Fortunately, I think it is very possible for both kinds of people to study together. At Carleton, we have some people who view aikido as a martial art, and others who tend to view it in other lights. They may do things differently, and surely it affects how they train, but in my experience both can and should provide the other with what they need. (Maybe this is too sappy and optimistic, but it seems like all these viewpoints advocate the same kind of technique; neither 'grr, break my partner' or 'twirl and prance' are considered desirable, no matter who you ask.)
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Old 05-04-2004, 06:59 PM   #9
shihonage
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Re: Too many aiki-fruities?

Quote:
p00kiethebear wrote:
If by "fruitier elements" you mean "total kick-assed-ness" then yes. There is way too much awesome stuff in aikido. I dunno if i can handle it.

I've seen a few ki aikido and "spiritual" people do some kickass stuff. Just because you can't learn to do their technique in an hour lesson doesn't mean it isn't a valid form of aikido, just different. You practice it for 20 years and it becomes a part of you, and you end up with 8th dans like kashiwaya sensei who merely have to caress your hand to make you crumble under their kotegaeshi.

If they're unwilling to go farther, then that's their choice. It's not necessarily a lie. It's just not their thing. They practice something differently, and (hopefully) not with the mind set that they can defend themselves. Let the hippies be hippies, if you don't like working with them, then don't, it shouldn't matter to you what they believe aikido is. If they're happy rolling when nage says "roll" then don't criticize that. Don't hammer on them because they want to get something out of aikido that you don't want to Quit bitching and find a dojou that teaches what you want to be taught.

No one is asking you to be there and put up with hippy crap. If you you don't like it, then what the hell are you doing in that dojou? If it's obviously not for you, find something else that better fits you. The point is, the sensei is teaching HIS or HER art that THEY want to teach. not the thing that YOU want to learn.

Nathan, you appear to be unable to distinguish between softness and ineffectiveness.
You put a mishmash of unrelated things into one mumble-jumble of a post, which lacks any semblance of continuity, sense, or point.

Arguing with you would be like trying to explain to a small child why he can't shoot an arrow into the sun. Children still live in their dreams.
Please feel free to tackle this subject again when you've actually gotten some minimal experience with the physical side of martial arts.

As for your last point, it's often not the instructor's fault.
It's the prevalance of students who get "upset" when one tries to give honest (not violent, just honest !) attacks and asks for the same in return.

Last edited by shihonage : 05-04-2004 at 07:04 PM.
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Old 05-04-2004, 07:59 PM   #10
Joe Jutsu
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Re: Too many aiki-fruities?

Quote:
p00kiethebear wrote:
You practice it for 20 years and it becomes a part of you, and you end up with 8th dans like kashiwaya sensei who merely have to caress your hand to make you crumble under their kotegaeshi.

Haha, that is so true. Kashiwaya sensei is an amazing martial artist, and an effective one!

And on a side note, most of the hippies that I know who study martial arts (and some might include me in that category) are very concerned with self defense applications of their art. But whatever, it's fun to slag off on groups of people, isn't it?


Joe
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Old 05-04-2004, 08:57 PM   #11
MitchMZ
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Re: Too many aiki-fruities?

For those of you who don't understand.... I have a little to a lot of experience in my fair share of martial arts including; Judo, BJJ and Hapkido, hell even a little sample of Boxing and Jeet Kune Do. None of those ever did much more for me than, "Oh cool, you could really use that effectively!"

Aikido has changed my life completely. I don't know how to describe it, but for once I'm finally happy. I don't think techniques have anything to do with that. You get what you put in. If you treat Aikido as self defense, you will be able to defend yourself well no doubt. If you treat it as a lifestyle, you will be able to do things you would have never thought possible before. I went from aspiring to be in UFC; to aspiring to achieve peace and calm in my life, as well as bring that to others.
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Old 05-04-2004, 09:17 PM   #12
Nick P.
 
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Grr! Re: Too many aiki-fruities?

Quote:
shihonage wrote:
Nathan, you appear to be unable to distinguish between softness and ineffectiveness.
You put a mishmash of unrelated things into one mumble-jumble of a post, which lacks any semblance of continuity, sense, or point.

Arguing with you would be like trying to explain to a small child why he can't shoot an arrow into the sun. Children still live in their dreams.
Please feel free to tackle this subject again when you've actually gotten some minimal experience with the physical side of martial arts.

As for your last point, it's often not the instructor's fault.
It's the prevalance of students who get "upset" when one tries to give honest (not violent, just honest !) attacks and asks for the same in return.
No, Aleksey, it's just you who can't seem to follow his points.
And no need to be so rude.
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Old 05-04-2004, 09:45 PM   #13
Tharis
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Re: Too many aiki-fruities?

Interesting forum. I tend to think that the whole martial/spiritual dichotomy is an illusion. You train in the physical, learn to give and receive more powerful technique, and your spirit develops. You meditate on the spiritual and/or work on "soft" or "slow" technique, and your physical aikido develops. There is no clearly demarcated line between the two, at least in my opinion.

The problems, possibly, come when people imagine that there is such a line.

The all-physical types would be the ones that end up breaking uke in the process of doing what they might call "real" self defense. Not exactly aiki.

On the other hand, the all spiritual types would forget that Aikido is a martial art and give lazy attacks or practice throws in a manner that makes absolutely no sense from a martial standpoint. That isn't really aiki either. It's called contact improv

I guess you just have to find a happy medium between the two.

Yours in ukemi,

Thomas
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Old 05-04-2004, 11:25 PM   #14
zachbiesanz
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Re: Too many aiki-fruities?

Quote:
6) don't take for granted that certain move will work, test it!
If you don't see how can it work, ask your instructor. (Don't over do this though, if it tuns out that some technique does not work, instructor may not like it).
I don't think I would advise this one too much. Most students learn pretty quickly not to say "I just don't see how this can be effective" and then find themselves crumpled into a heap by its effectiveness. Rather than pestering your sensei, just keep trying. It seems like it will take longer, but learning how to learn is incredibly valuable, and its something you can best gain through trial and error. Also, figuring something out for yourself is very rewarding, and well worth the frustration of not being told what you're doing wrong.

I think Nathan has a couple excellent points. One is that aikido really is overflowing with awesomeness. Just about everyday I learn something completely new and completely awesome from practice. Also, he is correct in that you cannot master a technique in an hour. That takes at least a week.

The last thing I want to touch on is the crazy notion that the only value in training in martial arts is fighting effectiveness. If you're not a bouncer in a rough neighborhood or interested in UFC as a career, chances are you're not gonna get in a lot of fights in your lifetime, but you will probably interact with a lot of people and even develop interpersonal relationships with them. The "spiritual" things that get mentioned are often simple cognitive revelations, like "hey, if someone wishes me ill, i shouldn't just stand there and take it" or "i should stop pussyfooting around my problems, but rather go straight in and deal with them."

I guess the bottom line is that you can't punch your problems away in real life the same way you can in video games.

Aikido is the art of hitting an assailant with the planet.
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Old 05-04-2004, 11:38 PM   #15
shihonage
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Re: Too many aiki-fruities?

Quote:
Nick P. wrote:
No, Aleksey, it's just you who can't seem to follow his points.
Do you really want to go through this ?

Quote:
I've seen a few ki aikido and "spiritual" people do some kickass stuff. Just because you can't learn to do their technique in an hour lesson doesn't mean it isn't a valid form of aikido, just different. You practice it for 20 years and it becomes a part of you, and you end up with 8th dans like kashiwaya sensei who merely have to caress your hand to make you crumble under their kotegaeshi.
Several things wrong with this paragraph.
1) Who do you define as "spiritual" people ? Those that practice the physical honestly ARE the ones who properly developed their "spiritual" side (O Sensei's teachings state that Aikido is a unity of physical and spiritual).
"Ki Aikido" does not necessarily make one an Aikido fruitcake either.
So, yes, the real "spiritual" people do indeed do some "kickass stuff", no argument from me.

2) About not being able to learn a technique in an hour. Is there an Aikido technique you CAN learn to do perfectly in an hour ?
And aren't there many techniques which ARE considered "20 year techniques" ?
In other words, a completely baseless comparison based on fictional assumptions.

3) Kashiwaya Sensei trained exclusively for a number of years under Tohei Sensei. I've seen videos of Tohei Sensei and his technique is anything but that of a typical Aiki-fruitcake.
Also, wasn't Tohei the direct student of O Sensei, who was challenged by the English camera crew and brought down a guy twice his size to the ground several times ?
Once again, a completely baseless reference, unuseable as an "Aiki fruitcake" example.

Moving on,

Quote:
If they're unwilling to go farther, then that's their choice. It's not necessarily a lie. It's just not their thing. They practice something differently, and (hopefully) not with the mind set that they can defend themselves.
1) Go farther than what ? Being able to be as effective as Kashiwaya Sensei ? Well there's not a whole lot farther you can go from there, hmm ? If he can drop someone by gently caressing their arm, sounds pretty effective to me ! Like outlined above, this is certainly not a typical skill level of an Aiki fruitcake !
He must've actually participated in some honest practice to achieve that !
And participate he did !

2) Why do you hope that they're not having a mindset of being able to defend themselves ? You know, our society isn't getting any less violent. Besides, there's a certain aura coming off someone who's actually somewhat confident of their ability. When such a person is "interviewed" by a drugged up street rat or a homeless, "hay man got a light ? how about a cellphone ? can I get a ride ?" , they can project that physical into their demeanor and the "interviewee" will most likely go away without ever starting a fight.
This is not baseless theory, this is common knowledge, and also something that I've witnessed several times.

Quote:
Let the hippies be hippies, if you don't like working with them, then don't, it shouldn't matter to you what they believe aikido is. If they're happy rolling when nage says "roll" then don't criticize that.
This is not the mat, this is an Internet discussion forum.
I can express my opinion here in written form because I have one and it isn't hurting anyone on the mat.

Quote:
Don't hammer on them because they want to get something out of aikido that you don't want to
And what is that ? Evolving the spiritual side ?
Why do you assume that those of us who study the physical aren't actually doing it for the spiritual ?

I "hammer" on them because they're not getting ANYTHING out of Aikido. What Aiki-fruities get is not spiritual evolvement, it is not physical self-defense, it does not help to preserve the art, and its not even valuable as a dancing skill
You know, I did try some Aikido moves on the dancing floor and, although it certainly turns heads when you kokyunage a girl into unsuspecting bystanders, I did find the long-term results to be rather undesireable.

Last edited by shihonage : 05-04-2004 at 11:51 PM.
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Old 05-04-2004, 11:54 PM   #16
Charles Hill
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Re: Too many aiki-fruities?

Quote:
drDalek wrote:
As it stands I can maybe request this kind of practice from about 3 other people who I see only now and then.
I think that you should focus on training with these people. Most people who train in combat oriented arts/sports seem to usually have only a few regular partners. If you supplement this training with regular training at an Aikido dojo, try going really slow and asking your partners to do the same. I find that most of my partners who don`t attack correctly are dealing with some kind of fear. When we slow the pace way down and they realize I`m not going to hurt them, most people will clean up their attacks and be more receptive to my requests tomove in a more realistic way.

Charles Hill
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Old 05-05-2004, 08:16 AM   #17
SeiserL
 
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Re: Too many aiki-fruities?

IMHO, don't worry about there being too many "aiki-fruities", worry about being one.

We tend to waste more training time complaining, even if its just under our breathe, that others don't do it the way we think they should, than paying attention to our own training.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 05-05-2004, 08:40 AM   #18
Qatana
 
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Re: Too many aiki-fruities?

"I "hammer" on them because they're not getting ANYTHING out of Aikido. What Aiki-fruities get is not spiritual evolvement, it is not physical self-defense, it does not help to preserve the art, and its not even valuable as a dancing skill"

And exactly how do you KNOW this, Aleksey?

Q
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Old 05-05-2004, 08:52 AM   #19
Matt Molloy
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Re: Too many aiki-fruities?

Aleksey Sundeyev wrote.

"You know, I did try some Aikido moves on the dancing floor and, although it certainly turns heads when you kokyunage a girl into unsuspecting bystanders, I did find the long-term results to be rather undesireable.[/quote]"

Let's face it. This is the real reason that post seminar discos are a bad idea.

Cheers,

Matt.
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Old 05-05-2004, 09:56 AM   #20
Fausto
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Re: Too many aiki-fruities?

Mmmmmm, if you are talking about people who throw uke without touching them or uke who do all by themselves...... you are totally right! even if, you do correctly the technique (with atemi) you can throw someone withot touching him because uke should throw himself to avoid a broken nose.

But unfortunantly, from my personal point of view, there some aiki folks that do aki-ballet.

As far as the spiritual issue, well it is a very important aspect of aikido, if you don't no nothing about it you are not doing aikido..... that's how I thing hehehe.
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Old 05-05-2004, 10:20 AM   #21
PeaceHeather
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Re: Too many aiki-fruities?

Quote:
shihonage wrote:
I "hammer" on them because they're not getting ANYTHING out of Aikido. What Aiki-fruities get is not spiritual evolvement, it is not physical self-defense, it does not help to preserve the art, and its not even valuable as a dancing skill
I must not understand... earlier in this thread, I got the idea that an "aiki-fruit", rather than being a refreshing snack for martial artists as I'd originally thought, was someone who only attended aikido lessons for what they perceived to be the spiritual and/or ki side of things.

Then someone else posted that suggestion, and you said no.

Are you, maybe, talking about people who only come to aikido thinking that they're learning deep things, but in fact only using the feel-good aspects to reinforce what they already believe?

I'm not trying to argue with you, I'm just trying to figure out what you mean. I can't agree or disagree with you otherwise.

Peace,
Heather
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Old 05-05-2004, 10:44 AM   #22
Nick P.
 
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Thumbs down Re: Too many aiki-fruities?

Quote:
SeiserL wrote:
IMHO, don't worry about there being too many "aiki-fruities", worry about being one.

We tend to waste more training time complaining, even if its just under our breathe, that others don't do it the way we think they should, than paying attention to our own training.
Well said.
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Old 05-05-2004, 11:14 AM   #23
Chad Sloman
 
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Re: Too many aiki-fruities?

I don't think I've met any of these "aiki-fruities" in my years of training. I can't imagine anybody practicing aikido intentionally to not give honest attacks. I really don't even understand what all of this spiritual talk is about. I always assumed that the sharpening of the spirit came from the physical fruits of labor. That could mean one of two things:

1) I've been incredibly lucky to have excellent instruction, excellent training partners, and attend excellent seminars

or

2) I've been surrounded by "aiki-fruities" this whole time and am one myself without even knowing it!

But I do believe that if somebody is not comfortable with the format, intensity, or instruction at a dojo, they should either cultivate some patience and get over it or go somewhere else. Aikido is not forced curriculum. Maybe even go and try some other martial arts. Aikido is not for everybody unfortunately, even though I think it should be. And not everybody is at a place in their life where they are ready to accept aikido. So maybe it's something that you can come back to later. If you want to fight, cross train in judo, BJJ, or full contact karate. That's what I do because it's fun.

A real man does not think of victory or defeat. He plunges recklessly towards an irrational death. By doing this, you will awaken from your dreams.
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Old 05-05-2004, 11:18 AM   #24
MitchMZ
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Re: Too many aiki-fruities?

I think too many people get the mindset that people who are taking Aikido for reasons other than self-defense take an unrealistic approach and don't use any power when attacking, etc. Thats is a generalization. I could be classified as an "Aiki-Fruitie" by many standards; yet when I'm uke I love to attack with conviction; and vice versa. Seeing as I come from a background where sparring and grappling were a part of every practice, both aspects are equally important. But, there has to be a reason why Aikijutsu eventually was considered by many to be more effective than Jujutsu in feudal Japan. Aikido, IMO, seems to be Aikijutsu, or it at its highest levels. I you like technique based stuff more take Jujutsu. Or, try a different Aikido dojo. We should all feel honored that we are even getting to train in these awesome arts. It is definitely easier to be critical than correct.
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Old 05-05-2004, 11:20 AM   #25
Bronson
 
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Re: Too many aiki-fruities?

Quote:
Chad Sloman wrote:
2) I've been surrounded by "aiki-fruities" this whole time and am one myself without even knowing it!
There's a freak on every bus. If you can't find him, it's you

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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