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Old 02-23-2001, 12:28 PM   #1
BC
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OK. Someone raised this in another thread, and I think it deserves its own.

"So, do you believe that aikido teaches you to fight?"

"Did you start practicing aikido to learn how to fight?"

"Do you think aikido helps you to fight?"

What do you say to someone when they ask you these questions?

I remember a while ago at the dojo a new student asked one of our instructors after class what one should do if you were fighting someone who practiced <insert another martial art here> and they did <insert attack here>. It was interesting because everyone who had been practicing aikido for a while just basically turned away, rolling their eyes and smirking, while all the newbies turned and waited for the answer. The instructor just looked right at the student and responded "is that why you started aikido, to learn how to fight?" I think that student lasted another month or so, and moved on to the next martial art de jour.

Robert Cronin
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Old 02-23-2001, 12:54 PM   #2
ronin_10562
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define fighting

What is the definition fighting?

Walt

Walter Kopitov
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Old 02-23-2001, 01:05 PM   #3
chrisinbrasil
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Wink

The definition of fighting is exactly the one that will allow everyone to chastize you for saying it, then excommunicate you from Aikido society for being a fighter... hehehe
I´m sure it doesn´t mean "defending yourself", that would be a dead end street. Fighting makes for much more interesting controversy!
Hi Robert...

At your service,
Christopher Wilson
Hito no tachiba wo kanga eru.
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Old 02-23-2001, 01:10 PM   #4
DiNalt
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Re: define fighting

Quote:
ronin_10562 wrote:
What is the definition fighting?

Walt
I took Aikido for equally self-improvement and the ability to stand up for myself if, say, I'm sitting in a restaurant with my significant other, and her ex-boyfriend comes up and decides to take a swing at me.

I'm of the opinion that there are many arrogant people walking around who haven't been hit in the face once in their life, and sometimes, you just may end up being the person who has to do it before they stomp all over you.

I also think that there are many mislead martial art practitioners who haven't been beaten before, and don't have a realistic view of what's actually going to happen.

The rage, andrenaline, fear, speed, loss of motor skills are nothing but words to people who never have been assaulted.
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Old 02-23-2001, 01:12 PM   #5
mj
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Aiki teaches aiki. The only thing that teaches fighting is to get in a fight. (Voluntary or not ) People that get in lots of fights get better at fighting, there is a huge amount of psychology and 'role-playing' involved in real fighting.
I practice aikido so that I don't have to/want to/need to fight.
If someone asks me I say 'Aikido is an art of peace' (Honest)
Also, I get asked this all the time

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Old 02-23-2001, 03:02 PM   #6
Jim23
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I'd have to answer yes to all questions if I were Steven Seagal.

I once drove past a 'fight in progress' on the sidewalk. One guy picked up a metal pipe and swung it like a baseball bat, connecting with the other person's head! The guy (who should've been killed) didn't miss a beat and kept on fighting.

If fighting/defence is the only reason for training, then buy a gun instead.

It's funny, the founders of many martial arts started training because they were frail or sickly as a child and wanted to learn how to defend themselves.

Gim23

[Edited by Jim23 on February 23, 2001 at 02:23pm]

Remember, all generalizations are false
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Old 02-23-2001, 03:20 PM   #7
BC
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Re: define fighting

Quote:
ronin_10562 wrote:
What is the definition fighting?

Walt
OK. I made the mistake of assuming everyone was in agreement on the meaning. For purposes of this thread, let's use the first definition according to the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary:

fighting: to contend in battle or physical combat; especially : to strive to overcome a person by blows or weapons.

Robert Cronin
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Old 02-23-2001, 07:51 PM   #8
Chris P.
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Quote:
BC wrote:
I remember a while ago at the dojo a new student asked one of our instructors after class what one should do if you were fighting someone who practiced <insert another martial art here> and they did <insert attack here>. It was interesting because everyone who had been practicing aikido for a while just basically turned away, rolling their eyes and smirking, while all the newbies turned and waited for the answer. The instructor just looked right at the student and responded "is that why you started aikido, to learn how to fight?" I think that student lasted another month or so, and moved on to the next martial art de jour.
If your teacher mocks you and fellow students laugh at you when you ask an honest question, I think that's a great reason to move on "to the next martial art de jour"; teacher sucks, students suck, it's a waste of your time and money. I'm sure they'll keep on twirling around just fine without you.
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Old 02-23-2001, 08:59 PM   #9
Chris Li
 
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Quote:
Jim23 wrote:
I'd have to answer yes to all questions if I were Steven Seagal.

I once drove past a 'fight in progress' on the sidewalk. One guy picked up a metal pipe and swung it like a baseball bat, connecting with the other person's head! The guy (who should've been killed) didn't miss a beat and kept on fighting.

If fighting/defence is the only reason for training, then buy a gun instead.
Hmm, where I live you _can't_ buy a gun (or carry one either). Any knives over a couple of inches long can get you into trouble also, so that's not really an option :-). In any case even in most places where you can buy and carry guns I think that it would be quite unusual for the average person to carry one around all the time.

Self-defense isn't the only reason that I train, but it's one of them, even in the age of guns.

Best,

Chris
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Old 02-24-2001, 09:26 AM   #10
Jim23
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[quote]Chris Li wrote:
Quote:
Hmm, where I live you _can't_ buy a gun
Just trying to make a point Chris.

Gim23

Remember, all generalizations are false
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Old 02-24-2001, 10:20 AM   #11
Axiom
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Guns

Just a side note- I've heard that someone who is 20 feet away can reach a police officer before they've drawn their gun...granted, a police officer has their gun in a closed holster, but thats probably MORE accessable than the places most people keep a gun. And they're trained to draw quickly.

Just thought that might be an interesting addition to the talk about using guns as a method of defense.


Alex Magidow,
Who is going in aikido withdrawl because the dojo is too far away.

_________
An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind
-- Gandhi
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Old 02-24-2001, 10:31 AM   #12
Jim23
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Just to clear up a point, I don't support the use of guns. I was just trying to make a point.

Gim23

Remember, all generalizations are false
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Old 02-24-2001, 02:23 PM   #13
Erik
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Quote:
BC wrote:
I remember a while ago at the dojo a new student asked one of our instructors after class what one should do if you were fighting someone who practiced <insert another martial art here> and they did <insert attack here>. It was interesting because everyone who had been practicing aikido for a while just basically turned away, rolling their eyes and smirking, while all the newbies turned and waited for the answer. The instructor just looked right at the student and responded "is that why you started aikido, to learn how to fight?" I think that student lasted another month or so, and moved on to the next martial art de jour.
My problem with this is the apparent (it may have been the correct answer) lack of depth in the response. You'll blow students out the door with that type of answer, I've watched it. Sure it's a dumb question in the context it's presented because it's an artificial situation wanting an artificial response. Maybe, if you did things right the "they did" would never happen. Plus, I think we can all agree that every martial art has weaknesses and strengths. However, maybe what the student was asking is "does this stuff work?" People want to know that they are not wasting their time. It's not the same question as fighting and has many different answers and that question won't ever go away.

Quote:
So, do you believe that aikido teaches you to fight?
Yes and no! Aikido practice, IMO, is not about fighting but about something else. The something else is different for everyone but largely I think it means "making myself a better human being." My practice is definitely not about fighting and I'd bet it isn't for most people. However, were I in a situation requiring me to fight, I would give a much better accounting than I would have pre-aikido. I find this to be a fairly consistent thing in most Aikidoka who have done this stuff for a significant amount of time (say 10 years with a big standard deviation). Also, the connecting, sensitive, touchy feeling stuff we do, is very condusive to good fighting skill.

Quote:
Did you start practicing aikido to learn how to fight?
Again, yes and no. I got into a fight which triggered my decision to finally start a martial art. I choose Aikido not because of the fighting but because of the ukemi I saw (I wanted to fly) and I was inspired by George Leonard's book "The Ultimate Athlete". No, I don't want to fight, but I do want to have an effective art. For what it's worth, my thinking on this has evolved a bit in recent months.

Quote:
Do you think aikido helps you to fight?
See above.

Quote:
What do you say to someone when they ask you these questions?
I try and change the context of the question to what I think they are asking which is "does this stuff work and how does it work?" It will be very difficult to win over the 22 year old with dreams of the UFC dancing in his head. This will be almost impossible if you happen to have a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy right up the street because that is where he should go in that context.

Ultimately, I certainly don't believe we are about fighting but blowing someone off because we think they are asking about fighting doesn't do us any favors either. Oftentimes, these are the folks that can benefit the most from what we do.

[Edited by Erik on February 24, 2001 at 01:45pm]
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Old 02-26-2001, 10:39 AM   #14
BC
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Quote:
BC wrote:
I remember a while ago at the dojo a new student asked one of our instructors after class what one should do if you were fighting someone who practiced <insert another martial art here> and they did <insert attack here>. It was interesting because everyone who had been practicing aikido for a while just basically turned away, rolling their eyes and smirking, while all the newbies turned and waited for the answer. The instructor just looked right at the student and responded "is that why you started aikido, to learn how to fight?" I think that student lasted another month or so, and moved on to the next martial art de jour.
I realize in hindsight that I might have given the impression that this instructor was being condescending or flippant to this student. In fact, he was not. After asking that question, he proceeded to spend a significant amount of his time with this student discussing possible techniques in response to this attack and explaining why he asked the question in the first place. I initially didn't give full details of this in order to just seek comments on how people respond to questions like this. My bad. So please save the flames.

Robert Cronin
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Old 02-26-2001, 11:26 AM   #15
Sam
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When I first started Aikido, it was to learn to defend myself. When I was a few years into training I started to worry about how effective it was, especially in the face of common opinion that kicking is best (and after being forced to watch my housmates UFC video collection). I found it particularly disheartening that all my friends could resist my techniques easily. I realized that I didn't train just to defend myself and so forgot all about it.
Then I had an experience that changed my mind. I had trained in a lot of martial arts before, but I found that only aikido seems to work when you are responding on pure instinct. I was very upset by the whole thing for a few days afterward even though I 'won' - but looking back I had been given no choice.
One thing I learned was that everything comes down to basics and now I try to improve those as best I can.
Of course I still worry about defending myself, but I worry because I have a little ability rather than worry because I feel I have none.
When there are discussions on what to do when somebody attacks you in such-and-such a way we all get deeply involved because we love the theoretical problem solving that the question provides, but you often notice the people who have been training the longest often have a quiet smile to themselves becuase they know they have no idea what they would really do but that they would definitely do something.
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Old 02-26-2001, 12:00 PM   #16
REK
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Quote:
Jim23 wrote:
Just to clear up a point, I don't support the use of guns. I was just trying to make a point.

Gim23
Why not? Why all the whining by so many people who want to know about "combat effectiveness"? I think your answer to use a gun is an elegant (if indelicate) one. I guarantee the following: If you shoot me, my crisp, sharp shihonage is useless. Despite 19 years of martial arts practice, I still can not block a strike traveling at 984 feet per second. If you want always be able to win, kill, destroy, stop (insert verb of your choice), any technique, shoot 'em. I know that there is no martial art out there that can face a firearm and "beat the bullet". So why bother?

I bother because there are always two aspects: martial and art. In and yo. I'm a hell of shot. I've got the martial. I am trying to learn the art part. Wanna be a badass-killer of men? try out for the SEALs. Wanna learn the stuff that requires more in the journey than the destination? Try the "art".

Thank you for allowing my catharsis. Back to work.

Rob


________________________
Mors certa, hora incerta
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Old 02-26-2001, 02:30 PM   #17
Steve Speicher
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beating the bullet

According to some sources, when Morihei Ueshiba (and his group) were ambushed in Mongolia during a religious mission the attackers had guns. Ueshiba escaped that conflict mostly unharmed and had purportedly been able to 'dodge bullets'. He had described it as seeing flashes of blue were the bullets would be travelling in the next instant and had dodged accordingly.

Now I wasn't there to witness, and I have no evidence to offer as to the truth of that whole episode. But, I personally believe that I am on a path (aikido) that at some future point in my development (maybe not in this lifetime) will allow me to go so far as to even dodge bullets if necessary. Of course, I don't intend to test this out (that's for anyone with a gun who wants to offer to test my training )

-----------------------------
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 02-26-2001, 02:43 PM   #18
Guest5678
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All this fighting crap

The questions and responses:

"So, do you believe that aikido teaches you to fight?"

No, it may teach you to avoid or possibly survive one though.

"Did you start practicing aikido to learn how to fight?"

No, two older brothers, many years as a bouncer and many sessions in a boxing ring taught me that. I was looking for something more.

"Do you think aikido helps you to fight?"

No. It's not in the blue-prints.


"What do you say to someone when they ask you these questions?"

Just what I said here, then I usually smile and ask when they think they'll actually get a real life.......

Listen, you cannot actually prepare for a fight because you cannot control or predict ANY aspect of it (other than you're probably going to get hit). If you were a prizefighter you could study your opponent's weak points and train to take advantage of them. You don't have that option in a spontaneous situation. This is why we train so long in the basics and the principles. Learn those well and you'll stop wondering about all the fighting crap. Get over it already!

If you REALLY want to know, next time you're out with you're buddies, go bitch-slap the gorilla sitting at the front door of the local night club. I'm sure he can help you find your answer......jeeez!

Regards,

Dan P. - Mongo

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Old 02-26-2001, 05:11 PM   #19
Chris Li
 
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[quote]Jim23 wrote:
Quote:
Chris Li wrote:
Quote:
Hmm, where I live you _can't_ buy a gun
Just trying to make a point Chris.

Gim23
Oh, I know that. The thing is, it's a very common response to this kind of question, but when you think about it in depth it really doesn't make sense for most people (my point), which makes it witty but meaningless in practical terms.

Best,

Chris
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Old 02-26-2001, 11:51 PM   #20
darin
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Quote:
BC wrote:
OK. Someone raised this in another thread, and I think it deserves its own.

"So, do you believe that aikido teaches you to fight?"

"Did you start practicing aikido to learn how to fight?"

"Do you think aikido helps you to fight?"

What do you say to someone when they ask you these questions?

Aikido is all about fighting. We train to attain perfection in our movements. These movements are designed for one thing. That is defeating an opponent.

Everyone is talking about love. Tell me, what are you tested on at gradings? Your personality? Should we forget about techniques and just all hold hands and sing folk songs.

Most important thing is to train hard. Concentrate on learning the techniques. We shouldn't have to go to aikido to become better people. Its not what it is meant for.







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Old 02-27-2001, 01:35 AM   #21
JJF
 
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Quote:
darin wrote:
Aikido is all about fighting. We train to attain perfection in our movements. These movements are designed for one thing. That is defeating an opponent.
[/b]
I don't think so - I believe they are designed for resolving situations that could potentionally be lethal for one or both parts involved. If possible without any harm, or else with as little harm as possible.
Quote:
Everyone is talking about love. Tell me, what are you tested on at gradings? Your personality? Should we forget about techniques and just all hold hands and sing folk songs.
[/b]
Actually you should be tested on personality. I would really doubt that someone with a high technical level but the attitude of a bully could get very far within Aikido. If those who hands out the grades doesn't take the personality of the person being testet into account, then I believe they make a great mistake. A Shodan in Aikido is not just an indication of a specific amount of techniqes learned, but just as much - and perhaps even more - an indication of a personal level that this person has reached. I have seen persons being held back from a shodan-grading by a collective of Senseis simply because they had personal issuses that made it impossible to take on the responsibility of an Aikido-shodan and to show the human growth as such.
Quote:
Most important thing is to train hard. Concentrate on learning the techniques. We shouldn't have to go to aikido to become better people. Its not what it is meant for.
[/b]
You're joking - right ? Otherwise I just have to say that i think it is the other way around. Anyway - don't take it from me. Take a look at the articles under the different sections of this web-site. Some of them are written by Aikidoists with many years of practice and a lot of insight, and I think that most of those articles will back up my view upon Aikido.

Just one example though - from a translation of O-Senseis' teachings in the 'General' section: Aikido is not an art to fight with enemies and defeat them. It is a way to lead all human beings to live in harmony with each other as though everyone were one family

It might be that this quote is not in compliance with you view upon Aikido - in that case we just disagree since you have a different opinion of which you are entitled, but I think it should at least make you stop making statements about what Aikido was designed for or not, when they are so clearly in contrast to the teachings of the man who actually did the 'designing' part.

Just my reaction to your post. You threw the bait and I jumped at it.

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 02-27-2001, 04:21 AM   #22
Sam
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I can see why an argument is going to develop here. The reason is that different people train for different reasons and also there is a real difference in philosophy between different styles.
I didn't start aikido to become a better person and yet I believe I am now - if you train properly in the right company you cannot help it.
If you do aikido just to fight, you will only limit yourself - aikido is much more than just that. But you should feel that you could use it if you needed to.

Aikido is like having a big muscular girlfriend. She takes all your time, and makes you give up all your weekends and tires you out, but if anything ever happens, she'll always look after you
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Old 02-27-2001, 05:25 AM   #23
andrew
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Sam, I am officially disturbed by your metaphor.

Of course, my girlfriend _did_ put my beard out when I was on fire...
andrew
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Old 02-27-2001, 07:02 AM   #24
Sam
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Sorry to disturb you.
A friend of mine came up with that one and I just had to share............
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Old 02-27-2001, 10:29 AM   #25
Aikidoka2000
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Does Aikido teach you how to fight?

If I engage in a fight,
I pit my myself against that of an obstacle.
We compete, so there must be a victor and one who is defeated.
So I ask, wherein does victory lay?
And where lives the defeated?
Conflict is a natural state of the universe.
we cannot avoid this fact, as long as we breathe.
To fight conflict is to go against the grain of nature.
One will surely fracture one obstacle into many if they fight.
I choose to humbly accept such obstacles,
receive their potency,
become one with them,
and pass through them.
Only then does that obstacle truly dissipate.
As I face the next,
It does not end.
Such is one of the many facets of existence.
-Tomu

-When two blades cross points,
There's no need to withdraw.
The master swordsman
Is like the lotus blooming in the fire.
Such a person has inside of them
A heaven soaring spirit.
- Tozan Ryokan
4th verse on the 5 ranks
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