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Old 02-18-2001, 08:49 PM   #1
Dan Hover
Dojo: Bond Street Dojo/Aikido of Greater Milwaukee
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After reading through a lot of posts and arguments raised on these pages about Aikido recently (thank you Jim23) I started thinking of the basic myth of Martial Arts in regards to application against kicks, street fights and Aikido vs. whatever, etc, etc, etc,... has it ever occurred to anyone that most martials arts are based on the premise that you are A) fighting another skilled fighter B) and coincedentally enough fights in your same style? Now before the advocates of "I cross train to be more adaptive to the situation..." et al. It still begs the question that even if you are a Karateka who cross trains in Aikido or versa vice you are still formally studying a distinct fighting strategy. This is a falsehood of preparation that we buy into. As unless you are in a Seagal movie very rarely if at all will you run into a trained street attacker. Street defense and application are not parts of a "do" system, and we tend to try to defend our choice by comparing Aikido to whatever, in whatever ridiculous context that we are discussing whether it be live blades on a test, vs. NHB, kick defenses, whatever. Are we so insecure of our choice of art that we need that reassurance? That we have practical self defense techniques? I find these kinds of arguments banal in their existence, and sort of demeaning to the concept of what a "DO" form is, and what it represents, that is a way to make the world a better place, through self-perfection, based on shugyo training in that art. Keeping that in mind, it bears little on the choice of that style as long as the tenets of the "DO" form are adhered to. Karate, Judo, Kyudo, Aikido are have different ways to take us to the same place, and by arguing over semantical issues we miss the big point of why we train to begin with, Aikido is no more practical than Karate which is no more practical than Judo, in a combative sense. Yet, all have the same way of dealing with combat. That is control and suppress the factors that lead to violence. This is what we should train in. This is why we should train. comparitive merits of style vs. style in a "real life" scenario should be saved for something less worthy like the pages of Black Belt magazine. So pick this apart, and quote the semantical sentences that can lead to a belittling tirade, and let me know what you think.

Dan Hover

of course that's my opinion, I could be wrong
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Old 02-19-2001, 03:02 AM   #2
DemonD
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I think you may have a good point on styles of training, but fighting in the street is a lot less about technique and more about confidence and ability to react to percieved threats. So If you take this point of view then all matial arts training has value.
After training for a long time some of the techinques will automatically flow into your street fighting style but this takes time and cannot be done in a few months training.
So If you are interested in martial arts, in time you will learn better fighting. If you want to learn self defence be prepared for little realistic improvement for a long time.
I have never studied aikido as a street fighting sytle but I realise the value of some of the techniques in a street fight. The thing that must be realised that the two are separate skills but they can compliment each other.
I believe that treating Aikido as another art for beating people to a pulp does not do it justice.

Dave Britten.
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Old 02-19-2001, 06:35 AM   #3
JJF
 
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Hi Dan!

Way to go. You pretty much speak my mind on this subject. No belittling tirade from this side . My primeary reason for practicing Aikido (or any MA for that matter) has never been selfdefence in a practial and direct way, but I strongly believe that many years of practice in any MA can potentially develop a mindset and a confidence that can keep one out of most types of trouble, and help one to get trough those that are unavoidable.

Sincerely

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 02-19-2001, 08:21 AM   #4
petra
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Good point Dan! I started training self-defense 8-9 years ago, because I was sick and tired of all the people who told me I could not go somewhere on my own because it's not safe for a woman, while if I were I man they would not have any objection. I am a young independent woman, I studied at a technical university (80-90 % male students) and I am accustumed to doing most things myself or on my own.
The self-defense training was mixed and often I was the only woman training. We trained all kinds of things, karate, judo, boxing, groundfights, grabling etc. and it made me feel confident enough to deal with a crazy rottweiler and even more crazy owner. Due to an accident I could not train for a year and after that a friend introduced me to aikido. I trained both self-defence and aikido for a while but to me aikido became more of a challenge.
The technical aspects are far more demanding, it is gracious and you do not use force (unlike self-defence) but trains your skills, unbalance your partner. I've been training aikido for 2,5 years now and I am hooked. I like the people I train with, there is no prejudice amongst them, contrary to some self-defense people I have known. I have learned alot and there is so much more to learn! But as for streetfighting? My teacher puts it like this, if you are attacked, don't do aikido, do whatever is necessary. I know I never want to end up fighting with him for real because I be toast, but then again how many people will actually encounter a streetfight?
There is so much more you can do before a fight start e.g. simply walk away, anybody who is serious about a MA should know that a fight is the last resort, not a beginning.
I train for the fun of it, not the street effectiveness. I like having dinner with my fellow students after a good days training. I like it that some techniques keep eluding me and then I suddenly see/feel it, while the next moment I am stumbeling along again untill I see it again and again untill it sticks with me! I like working to better myself and my fellow students not to 'put somebody through the ground'. If I ever find myself in a situation where I have to actually fight, I have already lost even if I should be the one to walk away in one piece.
Sorry for the long post, but there have been quite a few discussions on the street-effective subject lately. I agree with Dan, train because you like it not to defend yourself.






Petra

I haven't failed, I have found 10.000 ways that won't work.
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Old 02-19-2001, 11:03 AM   #5
Nick
Dojo: Aikido of Greater Atlanta
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To everyone who has posted thus far-- good job! I feel exactly the same...

Nick

---
Nick Porter
"Do not fall into the trap of the artisan who boasts twenty years of experience, when in fact he has had only one year of experience-- twenty times."
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Old 02-19-2001, 11:21 AM   #6
Jim23
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Dan,

Believe it or not, I agree with everything you've said, 100%.

I think you'd agree also that because there are so many personalities, opinions and experience levels of the people in this forum, the typical questions, comments and responses are inevitable. With every post, someone either agrees or disagrees, and on it goes.

And don't forget that there are new people joining the forum every day (and people joining aikido every day for every reason that you can think of).

I think that's just life.

Jim23

Remember, all generalizations are false
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Old 02-19-2001, 01:03 PM   #7
REK
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Dan:

Well said! Thank you for saying something that needed to be expressed. I was beginning to think that I was in the wrong art!

My feeling is that aikido can be a frightfully effective "street" or "defense" art. It came from some pretty brutal ancestors. But the beauty to me is the expansion of choices, views and opportunities. You can see aikido's application as purely gutter, ie, get off the line of attack, attack opponent's midline, kime, zanshin, etc. or you can see a way to not have to do any of that. I think that last part has gone unacknowledged (unappreciated) in recent threads. I stand by something someone once said: if you want to be a good fighter, fight a lot. If you survive you will become good. Doesn't matter what you do.

I would add: if you want to grow and evolve, follow a michi/do. It doesn't matter which. Aikido is the ultimate martial art to/for me. I couldn't care less if others agree or disagree, and I won't try to change their minds.

"Never try to teach a pig to sing. You just get muddy and the pig loves it"

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Old 02-19-2001, 01:55 PM   #8
chrisinbrasil
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Location: Sao Paulo, Brasil
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Talking

Hi Dan,
Gee, after so many pats on the back, I almost feel like the bad guy here but hey, somebodyīs got to be...

Quote:
Dan Hover wrote:
"As unless you are in a Seagal movie very rarely if at all will you run into a trained street attacker."

I canīt say I agree 100% here. True, most arenīt WELL-versed in fighting, but most street punks and thugs know lots of fighting skills!
exempli gratia: walk up smiling, punch you in the face, and take everything. Walk up to shake your hand and sucker punch you. et cetera. Besides these street wise bad elements, I know at least 1000 martial artists. Donīt you, and evybody else? Ever been to a seminar? Think none of them would ever get into a fight with you? ok,ok,...

"Are we so insecure of our choice of art that we need that reassurance? That we have practical self defense techniques? I find these kinds of arguments banal in their existence, and sort of demeaning to the concept of what a "DO" form is, and what it represents, that is a way to make the world a better place, through self-perfection, based on shugyo training in that art."

Honestly, I donīt cross-train because I feel like giving myself an ego boost or because I need more self-confidence, I cross-train because you can never know enough and itīs not demeaning to the concept of "DO" arts, at least not MY concept, maybe to YOURS.

"Karate, Judo, Kyudo, Aikido are have different ways to take us to the same place,"

YES!! YES!!!

"and by arguing over semantical issues we miss the big point of why we train to begin with,"

Why you train, you mean?

"Aikido is no more practical than Karate which is no more practical than Judo, in a combative sense. Yet, all have the same way of dealing with combat. That is control and suppress the factors that lead to violence. This is what we should train in. This is why we should train."

I wish I wrote that well!

"comparitive merits of style vs. style in a "real life" scenario should be saved for something less worthy like the pages of Black Belt magazine."

Arenīt we here to discuss things that interest us?

"So pick this apart, and quote the semantical sentences that can lead to a belittling tirade, and let me know what you think." [/b]
Humm, sorry. No belittling tirade though. I quite enjoy otherīs opinions.
That was my first pick-somebody-elseīs-post-apart post. I actually feel different now...

At your service,
Christopher Wilson
Hito no tachiba wo kanga eru.
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Old 02-19-2001, 02:02 PM   #9
sceptoor
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Great post Dan!! I agree!!

Personally, I believe Aikido can be (depending on the person) very effective on the "street", but I don't train for that reason. There will be people that begin training in Aikido or whatever other art/way for that very reason, but I believe that as they grow and learn, they eventually train mostly for the fun of it. Aikido is an amazing MA to me and the amazement never ceases, and/or never gets boring. That's (personally) why I train, not because my goal is to become the ultimate and highly feared "bad ass" like that which the streets of Tampa have never seen.

I do know one thing though, regardless of the MA one trains in, I can't imagine that the knowledge one gains from that training can't/won't help that individual in an unavoidable fight/attack. It HAS to be better than to have never trained in any MA at all. Personally, I've never been attacked on the street, but I'd like to be a little more prepared than I was, say, two years ago when I knew very little, if nothing at all, regarding MA's or how to defend myself. The more I learn, the more I realize how naive it is to NOT train in (insert MA here), as I was basically a victim just waiting to happen. I still may very well be, but my awareness is sharper now than back then, and as long as I continue training I'll be more prepared to deal with an attack if/when that ever happens. That's all one can do, and one shouldn't go through life worrying about the day some ultimate street fighting killer will attack, because if that happens, chances are they'll be a victim anyway. One can only prepare "so much". My Aikido training is more about having fun and learning about myself, rather than to become the most dangerous and feared man on Earth. I believe the most important thing is to just keep on training, having fun, and learn as much as you can. When I am ready, I'll probably decide to train in another MA, like Hapkido or that Kyusho stuff(very interesting BTW) that somebody posted a link to, but for now I think I'll stick with one MA, and I choose Aikido.

C. Martin

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Old 02-19-2001, 02:18 PM   #10
Jim23
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Boy, can you feel the love in this room. You can cut it with a knife.

Jim23

Remember, all generalizations are false
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Old 02-19-2001, 03:22 PM   #11
chrisinbrasil
Dojo: Lenwakan
Location: Sao Paulo, Brasil
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Cool

Hi,
In sceptoorīs signature there is a quote...
"A jack-of-all-trades is a master of NONE."
Bruce Lee said that and he was one himself.

Oooooohhh! Burn!! hehehe
Sorry, I flashed back to third grade there.
No offense intended, just poking you where it stings...

At your service,
Christopher Wilson
Hito no tachiba wo kanga eru.
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Old 02-19-2001, 03:34 PM   #12
Jim23
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Chris,

Don't get me in trouble here. The fact that my post is after Sceptoor's and before yours puts me in a very dangerous position.

Jim23

[Edited by Jim23 on February 19, 2001 at 03:37pm]

Remember, all generalizations are false
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Old 02-19-2001, 09:33 PM   #13
sceptoor
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Quote:
chrisinbrasil wrote:
Hi,
In sceptoorīs signature there is a quote...
"A jack-of-all-trades is a master of NONE."
Bruce Lee said that and he was one himself.

Oooooohhh! Burn!! hehehe
Sorry, I flashed back to third grade there.
No offense intended, just poking you where it stings...
None taken. I like the "Oooooh! Burn!!" part, CLASSIC.

I realize Bruce Lee was a Jack of all trades, but let's just say he was an exception. Wouldn't he at least be the master of Jeet Kune Do?? So was Morehei Ueshiba a "jack of all trades" as were/are some of his uchi-deshi/disciples. He was the master of Aikido though. So, I guess the exception to that rule is when the "jack of all trades" creates something new and complete through refinement of whatever many trades?? Anyways....

C. Martin

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Old 02-20-2001, 05:22 AM   #14
ian
 
ian's Avatar
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Cool

Ueshiba was also a jack of all trades, though he concentrated on what he thought was effective (though he still used very powerful strikes). Admittedly most of the poeple that attacked him were martial artists, but that doesn't mean aikido is not useful for street fights.

I do agree that training in a martial art doesn't necessarily make you better able to defend yourself - alot of it is about attitude and confidence.

However, the way that aikido techniques are designed is to cover 'attack types'. i.e. not many people strike you with a yokomen or shomen uchi, but they will attack you with a roundhouse punch or a overhead strike with a bottle. The attack types simulate all potential attack types (we often used to have a session where we would do more 'realistic' attacks, to show how they relate to the formal attacks).

Also, I think it makes it more difficult with less commited attacks. However these attacks tend to be weaker and of less consequence and don't stop you doing a technique.

However Dan, [in this new era on aikiweb of constructive responses] I think you do draw an important point to the foreground - training in a martial art will not make you into a superman.

Ian

P.S. aikido has helped me in very real situations; maybe I could of defended myself with another martial art or sport (e.g. boxing) or natural reactions; however I doubt if I would have had such a success with damage limitation.
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Old 02-20-2001, 08:34 AM   #15
Steve Speicher
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Ai symbol

On street-effectiveness I have to say I wish some had more confidence in aikido. While I don't believe self-defence should be the primary or only reason one trains in aikido, the art remains far from useless in combat.

I don't know if O Sensei's writings seem too etherical or esoteric to most, but I find great wisdom in them. Aikido proves there is no need for a fight. Technically, one never 'fights' when attacked if they use aikido properly. When you are already in harmony, the attacker's aggresive energy will only harm themselves. And, aside from respect, I'd be extremely hesitant to attack my sensei's unexpectedly out on the street, as I am not much of a masochist.

I'm not trying to say, go train in aikido for two weeks and you no longer need fear any attacker. But even after my very limited experience in aikido (so far), I feel I'm much more likely to stay relaxed and aware if attacked, then previously.

- Steve Speicher

P.S. Please don't misinterpret, I agree that the primary reason for training should be to better oneself and those around them, and that aikido teaches us how a fight is the last resort and to be avoided at all costs.

P.S.S. Who wants to be a master in anything? You stop learning when you master something because you've nothing left to learn. I hope to always stay with 'beginner's mind' in my endeavers (too lazy to spellcheck that one).
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Old 02-20-2001, 03:50 PM   #16
chrisinbrasil
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Cool

Hi all,
Letīs start with a quick response, hey, why not end with one too?...
1. Youīve gone and said exactly what I said... Ueshiba, Lee, and many more are Jacks of all trades. So what (or who) says I canīt or shouldnīt be or that itīs wrong, confusing, unhealthy, stupid, whatever? Thatīs a pretty good reason for being in my mind.

2. I donīt believe that Aikido isnīt street effective. I never and would never say that. I merely believe that Aikido + Kickboxing is better than just Aikido. Just as I might venture that Tae Kwon Do + Boxing is better than just Boxing, BJJ + Kyokishin O. better than just K. Oyama, et cetera.

3. "P.S." stands for Post Scriptum. Therefore Post Post Scriptum (P.P.S.)might exist, and maybe even P.P.P.S., but I strongly doubt "Post Scriptum Scriptum" (P.S.S.)!
That was the part where I playfully give Steve a hard time while helping people with their abbreviations.

At your service,
Christopher Wilson
Hito no tachiba wo kanga eru.
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Old 02-20-2001, 03:58 PM   #17
Magma
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If I understand the thrust of the original post, I think I'm in agreement. At least in part... let me explain.

I, too, have thought that MA's often prepare their students for only what that Art also teaches. That is, aikido prepares students for defense against grabs and basic strikes, not so much kicks. Tae Kwon Do, et al, prepares you to face a strong kicker, but not so much against grabs. Iaido and Kendo face a partner with another sword. But I say that in light of these "holes" in each art, it is up to the student to find Truth in what they are doing. What is the benefit? Why train if these are only applicable against another student of (insert MA here).

Two reasons I have found so far. One, what we do in any art does not stop with the technique. There is more going on there: in aikido, we aren't learning just to throw someone, we are learning to drop our center and take balance. Similarly, as someone touched on a bit earlier, the "punch" isn't necessarily a punch. It's a delivery mechanism. It could be a stab, a grab, a claw, or whatever. So we are training (in Aikido or TKD, or whatever) to face an energy pattern, of whatever form it may take.

And two, this piece of wisdom comes to me from my TKD instructor: "When we get into a fight on the street, are we going to punch like our basic punch?" That is, in a long front stance, opposite fist at the hip, stepping forward with the side that is punching. "No! So why do we train in the basics? So that when we do get into that fight on the street and WE bastardize our technique and the other guy bastardizes HIS technique, we'll be closer to 'right,' closer to a pure transferral of power."

So I guess I agree that a MA makes you face what that MA can potentially bring against you, but that doesn't mean that what you're learning cannot be applied outside of that MA. I may never front punch in a front stance, but that's taught me about hip power and power transferral. I may never attempt some of the kokyunages that we do in the dojo, but they're still teaching me about leading, getting off-line, and taking balance.

...Or I could just be talking.

Tim

Tim
It's a sad irony: In U's satori, he forgot every technique he ever knew; since then, generations of doka have spent their whole careers trying to remember.
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Old 02-20-2001, 05:22 PM   #18
Jim23
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Chrisinbrasil,

I'm tempted to ask, *cough* what have you been smoking?

Jim23

Remember, all generalizations are false
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Old 02-21-2001, 07:14 AM   #19
chrisinbrasil
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Quote:
Jim23 wrote:
Chrisinbrasil,

I'm tempted to ask, *cough* what have you been smoking?

Jim23
And why is that exactly Jim? Did you have difficulty in understanding a particular part of my post or are you just being (trying to be) funny?

At your service,
Christopher Wilson
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Old 02-21-2001, 07:21 AM   #20
REK
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Tim,

I liked that summary you just made. I trained with a godan in katori shinto ryu kenjutsu. He visited the shotokan dojo where I practiced and was convinced to participate in sparring. Now, conventional wisdom may have predicted the outcome of these friendly matches. Don't be fooled. Chiba (not the Aikido Chiba) was brilliant. In the words of some of the yudansha, he "laid waste" to many of them. And he did so without any lessons in karate. The response was a flocking of shotokan students to the kenjutsu dojo. An incorrect response, said Chiba Sensei. Chiba did not engage in "kumite" like a "swordsman". He just used his highly refined mastery of distance, timing, focus, positioning, weight distribution and balance. To him it was all still "kenjutsu". To the staggering neophyte, it was "the ultimate martial art". For me, the lesson was that it is not the art that is most street effective. It is the person and his/her grasp of the fundamentals. A spinning back hook kick might win the tournament, but often a subtle tenkan is all that is required to win the fight.

Rob

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Old 02-21-2001, 07:36 AM   #21
Jim23
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Quote:
[i]chrisinbrasil wrote:
... or are you just being (trying to be) funny? [/b]
Just trying to be funny. Guess I need more practice.

Jim23

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Old 02-21-2001, 07:52 AM   #22
Magma
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Thank you, Rob. That's a cool story about Chiba.

Jim, just curious. I have been posting here for nearly a year and I don't have half the number of posts that you have. (I've even seen threads where you've replied three times in a row, without anyone else's post interrupting). I'm just wondering how old you are and what you do with the rest of your day? Where do you train? Again, I'm just curious, this is not an attack in any way.

...Or I could just be talking.

Tim

Tim
It's a sad irony: In U's satori, he forgot every technique he ever knew; since then, generations of doka have spent their whole careers trying to remember.
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Old 02-21-2001, 08:46 AM   #23
Steve Speicher
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Talking

Ah yes, Post Post Scriptums, and PPPS, PPPPS, exist as far as you want to take it. I just got carried away with my Scriptums....... thanks for the correction.

Oh, and my reply was to the entire reply, I didn't mean to imply that there was anything wrong with cross-training. While it will be quite a while before I aggressively train in another MA, I've signed up for a Tai Chi Chuan class at my university in the spring, and enjoy talking/working with a TKD friend (black belt) and seeing what insights his training can bring to my understanding.

-----------------------------
Steve Speicher
May I ask what is meant by the strong, moving power (hao jan chih chi)? "It
is difficult to describe," Mencius replied. -- Mencius IIA2

403-256 BCE
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Old 02-21-2001, 10:31 AM   #24
Matt Banks
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Dan Hover you said ''in whatever ridiculous context that we are discussing whether it be live blades on a test''. Testing with a live blade is not ridiculous, in the years Ive praticed im surprised at how so many people in this forum dont train in this way. Go to japan and train and you will see live knife training alot. In every yoshinkan dojo you''l see this. Who are you to say that it is ridiulous seeing as it was probably occuring before you were born.


Matt Banks

''Zanshin be aware hold fast your centre''
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Old 02-21-2001, 11:42 AM   #25
Kenn
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That's (personally) why I train, not because my goal is to become the ultimate and highly feared "bad ass" like that which the streets of Tampa have never seen.

Tampa, eh, where in Tampa? I personally live near Tampa and train with Arakawa Sensei at Hyde Park Aikikai.

Just Curious,

Kenn

Kenn

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