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Old 08-26-2015, 12:49 PM   #1
carpeviam
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Crisis of Faith

I've been training a few years and am coming up on my first kyu test, though a date hasn't been scheduled yet. Though my teachers say I'm doing fine, I'm starting to feel more and more like there's nothing in my aikido, like I don't have anything to bring to the table. Like, I could never achieve making something work outside of a dojo environment with a cooperative uke, that my successes are just due to the charity of my partners not stopping me, that the skills I've worked on building aren't skills at all, just illusions coming from the fact that my partner intends things to work rather than intending things not to work. Of course, it's self-reinforcing: the more I doubt, the less things work, and the more I conclude I should be doubting.

I've heard that a lot of people go through a similar crisis at some point in their training. If you've had an experience like that, please share. What was it like? Was there anything that helped get you out of it? Or make it work for you? Do you have any advice you can give?

Thanks!
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Old 08-26-2015, 12:58 PM   #2
Cliff Judge
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Quote:
Julia Campbell wrote: View Post
I've been training a few years and am coming up on my first kyu test, though a date hasn't been scheduled yet. Though my teachers say I'm doing fine, I'm starting to feel more and more like there's nothing in my aikido, like I don't have anything to bring to the table. Like, I could never achieve making something work outside of a dojo environment with a cooperative uke, that my successes are just due to the charity of my partners not stopping me, that the skills I've worked on building aren't skills at all, just illusions coming from the fact that my partner intends things to work rather than intending things not to work. Of course, it's self-reinforcing: the more I doubt, the less things work, and the more I conclude I should be doubting.

I've heard that a lot of people go through a similar crisis at some point in their training. If you've had an experience like that, please share. What was it like? Was there anything that helped get you out of it? Or make it work for you? Do you have any advice you can give?

Thanks!
First kyu test? You sound ready for shodan!

If you still feel this way in twenty years, you are doing the right thing.
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Old 08-26-2015, 01:18 PM   #3
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Hi Julia:

I can relate. I have gone though a few times where training seems pointless and hard.

This is my experience: I have stayed anyway and I am grateful that I did. My teacher told me when I felt that way that I was plateauing and that plateauing was a good thing because it meant that I was getting ready to go to a new level of training. He meant that my training would get more meaningful and that I would get stronger.

I have stayed and training diligently for 29 years now and find that he was right.

Best wishes in your training.

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Old 08-26-2015, 01:34 PM   #4
kewms
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Imposter syndrome: the more you know, the more you know how much is still out there.

Happens to everyone, in every field. I'd be more concerned if, at first kyu, you thought you'd already mastered the art.

I've found that working with beginners helps give perspective, as you probably do know a lot more than they do. Be careful, though, as beginners offer their own challenges because they haven't yet learned how they're "supposed" to respond.

Beyond that, trust your teachers. Keep training.

Good luck on your test,

Katherine
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Old 08-26-2015, 01:37 PM   #5
lbb
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Julia, have you told your sensei about this? Seems like he/she would have the most useful perspective on it.

At a wild guess, what you're experiencing is a symptom of what I call "touching more of the elephant". The blind man touches the elephant's tusk, says "the elephant is like a spear!", and in the way of human beings, makes up a lot of stories about the elephant's spear-like nature, puts a lot of mental energy into it, becomes very invested in the idea of the elephant as like-a-spear. Then one day the elephant happens to touch more of the elephant. Omigod, the elephant is NOT like a spear! But I don't know what it is, all I know is that it's NOT A SPEAR! Oh no, the foundations of my world are crumbling, etc.

Our understanding is never perfect, and the more we become invested in our narratives at any point in our development, the harder it is to come to new understandings (because they contradict our narrative, they're not spear-like, ya know?), and the more jarring it is when new knowledge is basically forced upon us. It doesn't fit with the old story we told ourselves. The cure is to let go of the story line. See things as they are. Allow yourself to say "don't know", and not just as an exercise in ostentatious false modesty -- allow yourself to say it sincerely. don't-know has acres and acres of room for knowledge to come in; is-spear-like has none.

Every time I see a new aikido student who claims to understand or to get it, with reference to any of the deeper, mushier aikido concepts, I think, "yeah, that elephant sure is like a spear, isn't it?" Until it isn't. Or until they refuse to touch parts of the elephant that don't conform to the spear-like narrative. it's a choice.

You'll always be touching new parts of the elephant, and they'll always be contradicting your current story line. Drop the story line. The first time is unsettling and scary. After a while, it becomes natural, never exactly pleasant, but doable.
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Old 08-26-2015, 01:37 PM   #6
oisin bourke
 
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Quote:
Julia Campbell wrote: View Post
I've been training a few years and am coming up on my first kyu test, though a date hasn't been scheduled yet. Though my teachers say I'm doing fine, I'm starting to feel more and more like there's nothing in my aikido, like I don't have anything to bring to the table. Like, I could never achieve making something work outside of a dojo environment with a cooperative uke, that my successes are just due to the charity of my partners not stopping me, that the skills I've worked on building aren't skills at all, just illusions coming from the fact that my partner intends things to work rather than intending things not to work. Of course, it's self-reinforcing: the more I doubt, the less things work, and the more I conclude I should be doubting.

I've heard that a lot of people go through a similar crisis at some point in their training. If you've had an experience like that, please share. What was it like? Was there anything that helped get you out of it? Or make it work for you? Do you have any advice you can give?

Thanks!
My advice is look at your seniors and teachers. Can they move you effortlessly? Even without your cooperation? Can they move others effortlessly? Even without their overt cooperation? If the answer is "yes", then there's value in what they are training and teaching, if the answer is "no", then you need to look at your training IMO.
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Old 08-26-2015, 02:19 PM   #7
Janet Rosen
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Katherine and Mary M. pretty much nail it.
I'm subject to Imposter Syndrome in pretty much everything I'm actually competent at. I just hide it better than most.
Your doubts are real and as such are valid. Reality checking can include observing how sempai and instructors handle more challenging student ukes, checking how you are with juniors...and as part of test prep your sempai SHOULD be challenging you just enough for you to grow. Not by rooting and locking you out, but by pointing out holes in your technique.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 08-26-2015, 06:31 PM   #8
Sojourner
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Re: Crisis of Faith

The observation I would make is that of course you can not be 'compliant' as a partner in Aikido and prevent someone from doing the technique, Yet the reason for having a compliant partner is so that your partner does not get injured. Over the years there have been serious injuries in Aikido training - broken arms, dislocated shoulders and so forth. If you make Aikido a battle of force then this is an outcome that can easilly occur and not neccessaraly to the weakest person in the contest.
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Old 08-26-2015, 06:35 PM   #9
rugwithlegs
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Re: Crisis of Faith

I agree with most of the comments here. Being more aware of holes in your technique is actually a sign of progress, and the anxiety is the impetus to search and find corrections. This attitude can give you a new level of mini-enlightenment if you push through to the other side. Don't focus on everything wrong - I usually pick one thing prior to my testing (or at whatever random interval takes my fancy) and work on that for a few months or so. Something properly explored, dissected and understood can cascade all throughout everything you do.

I had a 6'8" student who wanted to learn koshinage. Of course, it required a great deal of charity on the part of his Uke as he had bad knees and his hips were very high. One teacher was willing to test him with no koshinage at a low rank on the grounds he was very unlikely to ever do the technique for real. Another teacher was asking him to do the technique dropping to his knees. To do it for real, he was never going to imitate someone like me who was nearly a full foot shorter. He wasn't going to imitate Aikiotoshi or Shihonage the way I did it to him either. Techniques like Iriminage required a little less leading movement for very tall people, but shorter people tend to do less direct and more circular variations IME.

Respect your body type. This might mean letting go of what you have come to accept as correct technique. As people find what works for them, different techniques and different variations become easier to do than others. Testing can create a "one-size fits all" mentality. I actively discourage the five footers at my dojo from doing *exactly* what I am doing. Just guessing, but most women I have trained with have been significantly shorter and had less strength to rely on than some of their fellow students - maybe that is you? Find someone on YouTube who resembles your dimensions or has your self perceived weaknesses and see what you can learn from what they had to learn.

You seemed to indicate you feel overpowered? Play with your timing, keep your Ma ai, don't let people get a solid firm grab on you. Explore Atemi - again, I'm guessing, but if you are shorter don't direct every Atemi to the face, take was is easy to reach. Kawahara Sensei often showed some friends to do Sankyo or Nikyo just grabbing the pinky and ring fingers, find out about weak points. Hanmi Handachi is all about learning to deal with people who have a longer reach, longer stride, and are taller. Some dojo are more strict about how kata should look, some are all about finding your own way so ask your teacher.

Training, preparing for tests, testing - it's all about learning. Enjoy the process.

If you are worried about how you would handle an untrained Uke, go find a beginner. These are the people you really should be comparing yourself to, or to your Kohei. Don't compare yourself to senior Dan people. If you are worried about the dreaded real world, some day you might have to find out and hopefully it will be a good experience. But, I hope you are spared the experience.
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Old 08-26-2015, 08:21 PM   #10
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: Crisis of Faith

The plateau is where we spend most of out time. Only those that can accept that will progress. Life just ain't always so easy.

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Old 08-28-2015, 07:30 AM   #11
jurasketu
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
You'll always be touching new parts of the elephant, and they'll always be contradicting your current story line. Drop the story line. The first time is unsettling and scary. After a while, it becomes natural, never exactly pleasant, but doable.
I definitely liked and agree with your comment.

PS But I always hate when I slip in the darned Elephant Poo.

All paths lead to death. I strongly recommend taking one of the scenic routes.
AWA - Nidan - Started Aikido training in 2008
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Old 08-28-2015, 11:08 AM   #12
lbb
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Quote:
Robin Johnson wrote: View Post
PS But I always hate when I slip in the darned Elephant Poo.
So perhaps we should just refer to all the unpleasant, uncomfortable feelings you get when reality contradicts what you've "known" in the past as Elephant Poo?
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Old 08-28-2015, 11:37 AM   #13
G Sinclair
 
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Quote:
Julia Campbell wrote: View Post
I've been training a few years and am coming up on my first kyu test, though a date hasn't been scheduled yet. Though my teachers say I'm doing fine, I'm starting to feel more and more like there's nothing in my aikido, like I don't have anything to bring to the table. Like, I could never achieve making something work outside of a dojo environment with a cooperative uke, that my successes are just due to the charity of my partners not stopping me, that the skills I've worked on building aren't skills at all, just illusions coming from the fact that my partner intends things to work rather than intending things not to work. Of course, it's self-reinforcing: the more I doubt, the less things work, and the more I conclude I should be doubting.

I've heard that a lot of people go through a similar crisis at some point in their training. If you've had an experience like that, please share. What was it like? Was there anything that helped get you out of it? Or make it work for you? Do you have any advice you can give?

Thanks!
I had those same concerns. And they haunted me.

For me, I could not just accept the philosophical answers "you will always feel that way" or "just keep training, you will get it". I came from a vicious striking art which embedded into me a painful sense of what would work for me and what would get me killed.

Here was the thing about Aikido: I found myself thinking a lot "I can almost see how this could work... But not how we are doing it"

For me, a change of Aikido style put this question to rest.

Good luck on your test!

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Old 08-28-2015, 02:27 PM   #14
rugwithlegs
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Re: Crisis of Faith

I really like what Greg's dojo's site shows.

Another dojo isn't always the answer - I know several people with multiple black belts and experience in several associations, a constant cycle of disillusionment and burning bridges and then regret or second thoughts.

As Julia noted, doubt makes her technique less likely to succeed.

1. Test yourself and get the honest answer to the situation. "I can't do anything right!" is likely not true. There really should be some deficit though; no one is perfect yet. Make a plan. I had to test many things out.
2. It is not the plan of a real life attacker to make me feel more confident. My teachers can't help me with this type of crisis in the context of regular classes. It was hard for me to accept this and gut wrenching to learn it.

I ended up deciding this is what O Sensei meant by "The spirit is the true shield." No spirit, or a spirit that can be broken easily, no amount of training will save me. I needed to learn a little about inner strength and inner quiet and solidity which helped me in many other places in life. I needed to be pushed harder.

Last edited by rugwithlegs : 08-28-2015 at 02:30 PM. Reason: Toning down.
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Old 08-28-2015, 03:24 PM   #15
kewms
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Quote:
John Hillson wrote: View Post
I ended up deciding this is what O Sensei meant by "The spirit is the true shield." No spirit, or a spirit that can be broken easily, no amount of training will save me. I needed to learn a little about inner strength and inner quiet and solidity which helped me in many other places in life. I needed to be pushed harder.
Quoted for truth.

Katherine
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Old 08-28-2015, 09:11 PM   #16
Janet Rosen
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Quoted for truth.

Katherine
Yep.

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 08-31-2015, 05:23 PM   #17
jdm4life
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Re: Crisis of Faith



Quote:
Julia Campbell wrote: View Post
I've been training a few years and am coming up on my first kyu test, though a date hasn't been scheduled yet. Though my teachers say I'm doing fine, I'm starting to feel more and more like there's nothing in my aikido, like I don't have anything to bring to the table. Like, I could never achieve making something work outside of a dojo environment with a cooperative uke, that my successes are just due to the charity of my partners not stopping me, that the skills I've worked on building aren't skills at all, just illusions coming from the fact that my partner intends things to work rather than intending things not to work. Of course, it's self-reinforcing: the more I doubt, the less things work, and the more I conclude I should be doubting.

I've heard that a lot of people go through a similar crisis at some point in their training. If you've had an experience like that, please share. What was it like? Was there anything that helped get you out of it? Or make it work for you? Do you have any advice you can give?

Thanks!
I saw this and it only strengthened the doubts........i watched part 1 and part 2.

AIKIDO THE WAY THAT DOESNT WORK PART 1
www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4sB7KLx_bs

Ive gone through phases where I question why am I practicing aikido? What use is it besides fitness and something to do? Is it luring me into a false sense of security.....some of them questions I struggled with...............but the last one is easy.....yes it does give a false sense of security and I don't think anything I have learned would make ANY difference if I was attacked in the street.

The more I think about it the more a lot if the techniques actually annoy me...wrist grabs for instance......I could be wrong but I don't think anybody these days walk around drawing swords on people so its irrelevant. Yes its a method to learn but I just cant seem to get past the fact that, every time my wrist is grabbed......I think.....arh here we go again, this it pointless. I think that something that fiddly to apply wont be of any use in a threatening situation.

The more I practice the more I see aikido as the japanese version of tai chi.........and oh tai chi is a martial art if you speed it up.....the important word there is "if".

Oh if somebody was to grab my wrist, I would do this.............really?

What it somebody tries to knock your head off repeatedly?

If your a 6th dan then perhaps you may be able to use something learned to help the situation....if your 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd kyu then what? Learn how to run fast maybe.

Its far too technical to be of any practical use other than fitness.

I saw them aikido the way that doesnt work videos and they got my back up at first.....and then I had to actually admit that the guy echoed a lot of things I had concluded myself and Ive only practiced a few years on and off. There are many videos on youtube with people having a pop at aikido, perhaps its an easy target because watching it, its difficult to understand, but for that reason it sets off an alarm bell............I know its not a fighting art, I have no interest in fighting but I dont think it should be labelled a self defense system either, its very misleading.

I think it is a huge elephant in the room...one that many just refuse to address....even teachers wont let themselves question it......why not? There must be a lot of higher ranked people out the with this niggling feeling deep down that....as the videos say....it doesnt work.

I love it and at the same time hate it...why do I bother? Why do I go and get constantly frustrated at my progress, or lack if week after week? I could still walk out the dojo and get jumped in the car park which would only strengthen my frustration.

I still come back to this fact that many people who have done it for longer still struggle to do even basic techniques some of the time...the fact only highlights a big problem. If it doesnt work when you need it then you are in trouble. What value does a basic technique that takes years to be proficient in truly have?

Many times I think....ok...uke went to the ground.....they are playing their role....I okay mine...theres no threat or hint of danger.....so how can that possibly create anything remotely like self defense? We are just acting.......like characters in a musical, dancing around. I want them to be ore fierce and make it hard for me and stop parping around with soft grabs and attacks that wouldn't knock the top off a rice pudding. I also dont want to get injured. ? So......whats the solution?

Ive actually made some good progress lately too......which Im glad about.......I doubted if Id ever get anywhere and still do.........Im riddled with contradictions.

I will add I am yet to grade. I had all of last year off and many of the students have kw jumoed 3 or 4 or mkre grades ahead of me......whixh is fine, they still seem to struggle with the same basics I do so ehat difference does a belt make??? Good question. If I was 4th ir 3rd kyu, Id feel silly like people would expect Id be of a certain standard. In reality I prefer to stay ungraded which to some, may sound like a strange attitude.

Last edited by jdm4life : 08-31-2015 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 08-31-2015, 05:30 PM   #18
kewms
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Re: Crisis of Faith

"Real" aikido doesn't look much like basic technique. It's going to be smaller, faster, have more emphasis on atemi.

OTOH, a "real" attacker isn't going to stand there like a tree while you try to make your technique work, either. He'll be attempting to proceed with his attack, and therefore supplying energy to the situation. What you do with that energy, well... that's what you should be trying to learn.

Katherine
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Old 08-31-2015, 05:41 PM   #19
jdm4life
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Re: Crisis of Faith

I understand a lot about what aikido is about.......the philosophy, the harnessing energy, redirecting, circular movements etc etc etc..............and from my comments in the post above you could say that I don't know the first thing about aikido.......but many aspects stand out to me and many questions merely present themselves.....IF I asked some of them to my sensei I think he would be annoyed, perhaps he wouldn't but I wont be finding out....which presents another question, why should I need to tip toe around the issues? Dont have a pop at aikido! I practice and have for some time and have a lot of unanswered questions.

It is maybe this that draws me back. I chose aikido in favour of other things I had practiced for many reasons. I am very keen on eastern philosophy so it seemed like an obvious choice.

Last edited by jdm4life : 08-31-2015 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 08-31-2015, 07:20 PM   #20
lbb
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Re: Crisis of Faith

It's ok to not like things...
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Old 09-01-2015, 01:58 AM   #21
earnest aikidoka
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Re: Crisis of Faith

You're going to first kyu. Congratulations. You can now start training

Seriously though, you are going to have these crisis more often now as you go up from kyu to dans. This is natural. After all, the only way to know if your technique works, is to fight. Go on the street and pick fights in bars, challenge anyone who is willing to fight, and basically get bloodied up. That was how the old guard did it, back in the day. Go out, pick fights, laugh at the injuries, rinse and repeat. That's kinda what I did. Except it was with friends and other fighters.

I don't suppose you would do that.

In any case, now is the time to change the way you train. Before, your focus was on rote learning. Doing the techniques called by the sensei, as many times as you could, before the next move. Now, instead of completing the technique, focus on doing the technique.

Don't rush through whatever technique you are doing, for the sake of it. Instead, take the time to identify the elements that make the technique. How it works, why it works, what it works. And from there, experimenting with your partner, until something clicks.

For example;

Say you are asked to do katate dori ikkyo omote. Normally you would just, do the movement, again and again, until sensei said hajime.

Now however, focus on things like, 'stepping off the line of attack', having uke put varying levels of strength and rigidity on the hold, take note of where you are tensing up or relaxing when you move, your posture when you step in or move, ma ai to your uke etc...

Basically, focus on actually pulling off the technique against a non-complying uke, instead of simply doing the technique.

Don't try to be 'hard' or 'fast'. These techniques are not meant for the street, they are training tools meant to impart lessons to your body and to train your physical movements so as not to rely on pure physical strength. Instead, try to distill the principles that the technique is trying to teach, it is the principles after all, that is most important.

For me, all aikido techniques are teaching one of three main points. Structure, leading and atemi. So in my own training, I am looking at what each technique is trying to train or teach, and therefore study accordingly. Of course, this is my own method and you may have your own.

In summary. As a first kyu, your training is your responsibility, you have mastered the basics, the sensei has taught you all that he could teach. It is up to you to make all that work for yourself. Study other aikidoka, sensei and student like. Read, ask questions, test yourself against others. That is the only way to work past your crisis in an efficient and effective manner and to dispel the doubts that you have. Doubts are dangerous, it is doubt that would kill you in the moments when it counts.

It is better to be sure of one's weakness, than to be indecisive regarding one's strength.
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Old 09-01-2015, 02:11 AM   #22
earnest aikidoka
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Quote:
Stephen Irving wrote: View Post


I saw this and it only strengthened the doubts........i watched part 1 and part 2.

AIKIDO THE WAY THAT DOESNT WORK PART 1
www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4sB7KLx_bs

Ive gone through phases where I question why am I practicing aikido? What use is it besides fitness and something to do? Is it luring me into a false sense of security.....some of them questions I struggled with...............but the last one is easy.....yes it does give a false sense of security and I don't think anything I have learned would make ANY difference if I was attacked in the street.

The more I think about it the more a lot if the techniques actually annoy me...wrist grabs for instance......I could be wrong but I don't think anybody these days walk around drawing swords on people so its irrelevant. Yes its a method to learn but I just cant seem to get past the fact that, every time my wrist is grabbed......I think.....arh here we go again, this it pointless. I think that something that fiddly to apply wont be of any use in a threatening situation.

The more I practice the more I see aikido as the japanese version of tai chi.........and oh tai chi is a martial art if you speed it up.....the important word there is "if".

Oh if somebody was to grab my wrist, I would do this.............really?

What it somebody tries to knock your head off repeatedly?

If your a 6th dan then perhaps you may be able to use something learned to help the situation....if your 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd kyu then what? Learn how to run fast maybe.

Its far too technical to be of any practical use other than fitness.

I saw them aikido the way that doesnt work videos and they got my back up at first.....and then I had to actually admit that the guy echoed a lot of things I had concluded myself and Ive only practiced a few years on and off. There are many videos on youtube with people having a pop at aikido, perhaps its an easy target because watching it, its difficult to understand, but for that reason it sets off an alarm bell............I know its not a fighting art, I have no interest in fighting but I dont think it should be labelled a self defense system either, its very misleading.

I think it is a huge elephant in the room...one that many just refuse to address....even teachers wont let themselves question it......why not? There must be a lot of higher ranked people out the with this niggling feeling deep down that....as the videos say....it doesnt work.

I love it and at the same time hate it...why do I bother? Why do I go and get constantly frustrated at my progress, or lack if week after week? I could still walk out the dojo and get jumped in the car park which would only strengthen my frustration.

I still come back to this fact that many people who have done it for longer still struggle to do even basic techniques some of the time...the fact only highlights a big problem. If it doesnt work when you need it then you are in trouble. What value does a basic technique that takes years to be proficient in truly have?

Many times I think....ok...uke went to the ground.....they are playing their role....I okay mine...theres no threat or hint of danger.....so how can that possibly create anything remotely like self defense? We are just acting.......like characters in a musical, dancing around. I want them to be ore fierce and make it hard for me and stop parping around with soft grabs and attacks that wouldn't knock the top off a rice pudding. I also dont want to get injured. ? So......whats the solution?

Ive actually made some good progress lately too......which Im glad about.......I doubted if Id ever get anywhere and still do.........Im riddled with contradictions.

I will add I am yet to grade. I had all of last year off and many of the students have kw jumoed 3 or 4 or mkre grades ahead of me......whixh is fine, they still seem to struggle with the same basics I do so ehat difference does a belt make??? Good question. If I was 4th ir 3rd kyu, Id feel silly like people would expect Id be of a certain standard. In reality I prefer to stay ungraded which to some, may sound like a strange attitude.
First things first. That sensei in the video is flawed in his ideas.

He claims that aikido does not work, or at least the way that aikido is being taught does not work.

The thing is, he is teaching the same things to his students. The same movements and techniques. just sped up and with a gun perhaps for the 'ooo' factor.

It does not matter how hard or fast he does the technique, the technique is still fundamentally flawed. All he is doing is reinforcing the mistakes and covering it with size and strength.

Furthermore, 16 years of aikido training. O'sensei had about 90 plus, and he was still a beginner.

Secondly. Aikido techniques are meant to teach principles. They are not combatives.

Combatives are things like punches and kicks.

Aikido techniques are kata. You don't use kata to fight, you use kata to learn.

The issue becomes, what do katas teach?

They teach you how to move your body and condition your physical responses, in the method espoused by the martial art. While the katas have some applications, they do not teach you how to fight. The only way to learn that? Fight.

In any case I would recommend Aikido videos by Stanley Pranin and Johnathan Hay. The sensei in the video you shared is not a good aikido instructor, and honestly, one of those people who do just as much harm to aikido's martiality, as those who do not acknowledge the practical aspects of Aikid.
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Old 09-01-2015, 07:24 AM   #23
Amir Krause
Dojo: Shirokan Dojo / Tel Aviv Israel
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Re: Crisis of Faith

If you look in these forums, you will find the question of does "aikido work" and having faith in own Aikido ability has been discussed lots of times, for thousands of pages.

It seems the short answer set goes like:
1) to Stephen Irving: Your Aikido might not work, others are able to use Aikido for actual fighting.
2) to Stephen Irving: Almost all Aikido techniques are not unique to aikido, rather same techniques exist in many other Ju-Jutsu styles (and , with slightly larger variation - almost all martial arts) . Those styles are mostly reputed to be "fighting styles", hence you shouldn't doubt the technique, they are as good as punches and kicks (those too have limitations).
3) to Stephen Irving and Julia Campbell: You may question the specific technical variations you are being taught (I have seen places were the sting was taken out of some leverage techniques to "make them safe" or worse, through lack of understanding) .
3) to Stephen Irving and Julia Campbell: You can also question the learning process, are you given enough challenges to your level in your dojo: Uke behavior (another issue thoroughly discussed here over so many posts and threads), the situations (I practice Aikido Vs strikes and punchs most of the time for the last 20+ years), the existence and nature of "free play drills" (Randori / sparring etc.).

And last, personally I keep the belief my knowledge of Aikido is inadequate for a fight, andlower than the level expected of a person two ranks below me, and inadequate. It's very simple, every time I get close to a some expectation, I immediately raise the bar.e.g. "OK, so can face a punch to the face, but how about it starting from half a step distance instead of full step?", or "Can face a mid speed free play attacker, how about one who knows what he is doing - has a level similar to own or higher in other M.A. and knows some Aikido too?"
I have kept this mind set for a long time, until I had to lower my practice attendance so now I keep a safe distance from my expectation bar. ;-)

Amir
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Old 09-01-2015, 08:29 AM   #24
G Sinclair
 
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Dojo: Bushikan Aikido
Location: New England
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 28
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Quote:
Hansel Wong wrote: View Post
First things first. That sensei in the video is flawed in his ideas.

He claims that aikido does not work, or at least the way that aikido is being taught does not work.

The thing is, he is teaching the same things to his students. The same movements and techniques. just sped up and with a gun perhaps for the 'ooo' factor.

It does not matter how hard or fast he does the technique, the technique is still fundamentally flawed. All he is doing is reinforcing the mistakes and covering it with size and strength.

Furthermore, 16 years of aikido training. O'sensei had about 90 plus, and he was still a beginner.

Secondly. Aikido techniques are meant to teach principles. They are not combatives.

Combatives are things like punches and kicks.

Aikido techniques are kata. You don't use kata to fight, you use kata to learn.

The issue becomes, what do katas teach?

They teach you how to move your body and condition your physical responses, in the method espoused by the martial art. While the katas have some applications, they do not teach you how to fight. The only way to learn that? Fight.

In any case I would recommend Aikido videos by Stanley Pranin and Johnathan Hay. The sensei in the video you shared is not a good aikido instructor, and honestly, one of those people who do just as much harm to aikido's martiality, as those who do not acknowledge the practical aspects of Aikid.
This is the crux of the problem. Right here. These statements are made although it is clear they have not been on the mat with Lenny Sly, any competent Tenshin Aikido instructor, or if they have, they misunderstood the teachings.

However, they are stating loudly and clearly everything that he is doing is wrong.

Now, don't misunderstand me. I am not attacking anyone. But there was a time when the wisest minds on the planet were convinced the earth was flat. It was not until someone got out there and set sail that a new way of thinking was achieved.

Try it out. For real, give it an honest run. Then return and read what you have written. I'm confident your opinion will differ.

There are forms of Aikido that are more functional than others. Even if it seems unimaginable.

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Old 09-01-2015, 10:17 AM   #25
ken king
Location: St. Louis, MO
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 52
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Re: Crisis of Faith

Quote:
Greg Sinclair wrote: View Post
This is the crux of the problem. Right here. These statements are made although it is clear they have not been on the mat with Lenny Sly, any competent Tenshin Aikido instructor, or if they have, they misunderstood the teachings.

However, they are stating loudly and clearly everything that he is doing is wrong.

Now, don't misunderstand me. I am not attacking anyone. But there was a time when the wisest minds on the planet were convinced the earth was flat. It was not until someone got out there and set sail that a new way of thinking was achieved.

Try it out. For real, give it an honest run. Then return and read what you have written. I'm confident your opinion will differ.

There are forms of Aikido that are more functional than others. Even if it seems unimaginable.
I trained with a tenshin guy for a year or so, when I first moved to st Louis. It's different in some ways like thier deflections and randori, but I wouldn't say that thier yudansha are any better than the aikikai guys I currently train with. However, there was ALOT of "this is the only aikido that works" talk just like in Sly's video.

Last edited by ken king : 09-01-2015 at 10:18 AM. Reason: Typos
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