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Old 11-28-2004, 08:10 AM   #1
Bill Danosky
 
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Does Aikido make you smarter?

I'm always hearing Aikido being described with words like "cerebral" and "intellectual" and most people immediately see how philosophy, physics and (sorry, but) theology are integral to Aikido. But how did it get that way?

I practiced Japanese, Okinawan, Chinese and Korean martial arts for twenty years and found it hadn't really prepared me for my recent conversion to Aikido.

Some meditation on this caused me to realize a major difference between what I'm used to and this style is the constantly changing perspective- First, I'm looking at uke from this direction, now this one, now this one. Keeping track of your mental process through all that, as all aikidokas know, takes some getting used to.

Now, the notion I'm advancing is this: Aquiring a new skill like that causes development of different parts of the brain and before long, you wind up thinking about physics, philosophy and theology. You know- "O-Sensei stuff".

I find it striking how intellectual the discussions are on this forum. What's more, even though there are so many different views on subjects, they're generally well presented and intelligently defended.

Personally, when I'm asked why I changed to Aikido, I tend to say things like, "I felt it's where my MA evolution was taking me." So there's a continual reference to mental and spiritual development and progressive idealism (nonviolence, etc.) that leads me to ask this question: Does Aikido make you smarter?
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Old 11-28-2004, 08:25 AM   #2
Jordan Steele
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Re: Does Aikido make you smarter?

I don't think it makes you smarter but I definitely think it makes you sharper. In terms of raw intelligence, I'm not sure Aikido can make you smarter than you already were but it can ehance your potential in areas such as problem solving, logic, concentration (focus), co-ordination, balance...general motor skills. Aikdo makes what you already do more crisp and sharp although those things may appear to be new.
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Old 11-28-2004, 08:57 AM   #3
Jeanne Shepard
 
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Re: Does Aikido make you smarter?

I think anything that requires learning keeps your brain working. That sort of thing is dupposed to prevent Alzheimer's and other dementias.
Ballroom dancing is supposed to be good for that too.

Jeanne
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Old 11-28-2004, 09:10 AM   #4
Noel
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Re: Does Aikido make you smarter?

It's been said before by others more well-spoken then I.

"Karate makes you aggressive,
Judo makes you unimaginative,
Aikido makes you arrogant."
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Old 11-28-2004, 09:24 AM   #5
Bill Danosky
 
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Re: Does Aikido make you smarter?

Quote:
Jeanne Shepard wrote:
I think anything that requires learning keeps your brain working. That sort of thing is dupposed to prevent Alzheimer's and other dementias.
Ballroom dancing is supposed to be good for that too.

Jeanne
I'll bet it is- Ballroom dancing has a relational physics-thing that's similar to shite/uke. There seems to be something in that "swing" that activates some part of your brain when you feel it.

How many aikidokas can remember the instant that they were practicing say, randori, and suddenly "got it"?

Who out there can explain that?
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Old 11-28-2004, 09:31 AM   #6
Bill Danosky
 
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Re: Does Aikido make you smarter?

Quote:
Noel Kurth wrote:
It's been said before by others more well-spoken then I.

"Karate makes you aggressive,
Judo makes you unimaginative,
Aikido makes you arrogant."

Noel,
I promise to practice double humility out in the rest of the world. But as long as it's just us...

Last edited by Bill Danosky : 11-28-2004 at 09:33 AM. Reason: put in my first ever smiley face!
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Old 11-28-2004, 09:36 AM   #7
aikidoc
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Re: Does Aikido make you smarter?

If you are truly studying, it probably makes you somwhat smarter in that you are constantly looking for and seeking answers to aikido's puzzles.
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Old 11-28-2004, 10:16 AM   #8
bob_stra
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Re: Does Aikido make you smarter?

Quote:
Bill Danosky wrote:
Does Aikido make you smarter?
I believe so, yes.

Bad math / pseudo logic alert 101

Intelligence = sum total of cognitive skills (and use thereof)

http://tinyurl.com/5xusn

Gardner theory of cognitive skill types =

(A)Linguistic (B)Logical-Mathematical (C) Kinesthetic (D)Spatial (E) Musical (F) Interpersonal (G)Intrapersonal

http://members.aol.com/adon/intell.htm

Let each type = 1

1+1+1+1+1+1+1=7

Aikido(IMHO) =
+1 to C
+1 D
+1 G

Thus: Aikido may help improve "intelligence"

Related Reading:

Body and Mature Behaviour
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...books&n=507846


Potent Self
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...books&n=507846

Case of Nora
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...books&n=507846

The mind and the brain
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...834303-7971328

...plus many others that I simply haven't read yet.

As for hard research, jump on pubmed or the psych equivalent (which I've visted, but can't recall the URL of)

Last edited by bob_stra : 11-28-2004 at 10:20 AM.
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Old 11-28-2004, 12:08 PM   #9
Bill Danosky
 
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Re: Does Aikido make you smarter?

Quote:
Bob Strahinjevich wrote:
Gardner theory of cognitive skill types =

(A)Linguistic (B)Logical-Mathematical (C) Kinesthetic (D)Spatial (E) Musical (F) Interpersonal (G)Intrapersonal

Let each type = 1

1+1+1+1+1+1+1=7

Aikido(IMHO) =
+1 to C
+1 D
+1 G

Thus: Aikido may help improve "intelligence"
Could timing =+E and could dojo structure or shite/uke relation =+ F?
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Old 11-28-2004, 12:28 PM   #10
SeiserL
 
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Re: Does Aikido make you smarter?

IMHO, use it or lose it. I don't know if it makes you smarter or if it just utilizes how smart you already are but seldom exercise in this manner.

BTW, smart by what definition, according to who, and how would you measure it?

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 11-28-2004, 01:54 PM   #11
Noel
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Re: Does Aikido make you smarter?

Quote:
Bill Danosky wrote:
Noel,
I promise to practice double humility out in the rest of the world. But as long as it's just us...

Sorry Bill, I just find that the more I practice, the more I become a smart-alec. Wouldn't be so bad if I were only getting my own feet stuck in my mouth.
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Old 11-28-2004, 02:53 PM   #12
Chuck.Gordon
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Re: Does Aikido make you smarter?

Quote:
Noel Kurth wrote:
"Karate makes you aggressive,
Judo makes you unimaginative,
Aikido makes you arrogant."
Oooh! I LIKE that.

Chuck

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Old 11-28-2004, 02:54 PM   #13
Chuck.Gordon
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Re: Does Aikido make you smarter?

Quote:
Bill Danosky wrote:
Does Aikido make you smarter?
Nope.

Chuck

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Old 11-28-2004, 05:01 PM   #14
Noel
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Re: Does Aikido make you smarter?

Quote:
Chuck Gordon wrote:
Oooh! I LIKE that.

Chuck
Not my words, Chuck. I wish I could remember the author. Unfortunately, kids seem to cause this brain-softening process...

-Noel
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Old 11-28-2004, 05:52 PM   #15
Lan Powers
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Re: Does Aikido make you smarter?

Quote:
Bill Danosky wrote:
How many aikidokas can remember the instant that they were practicing say, randori, and suddenly "got it"?

Just the other night. (for a very brief, shiney moment, well, actually, just a few seconds)
Felt pretty great though.
Lan

Play nice, practice hard, but remember, this is a MARTIAL art!
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Old 11-28-2004, 08:46 PM   #16
bob_stra
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Re: Does Aikido make you smarter?

Quote:
Bill Danosky wrote:
Could timing =+E and could dojo structure or shite/uke relation =+ F?
That's just my point: It 'could' but it doesn't make it automatically so.

Like anything - Aikido is a vehicle. A vehicle needs to be 'tuned' to get the best performance. Plus, how you use it depends on where you get (off road driving, Indy 500 etc).

Though IMHO, aikido is of benefit in the catagories I wrote +1 to (as would be many other things, properly 'driven').

Yeah - done torturing car metaphors now :lol:

Last edited by bob_stra : 11-28-2004 at 08:50 PM.
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Old 11-28-2004, 08:52 PM   #17
Bill Danosky
 
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Re: Does Aikido make you smarter?

Quote:
Bob Strahinjevich wrote:

Gardner theory of cognitive skill types =

(A)Linguistic (B)Logical-Mathematical (C) Kinesthetic (D)Spatial (E) Musical (F) Interpersonal (G)Intrapersonal

http://members.aol.com/adon/intell.htm

Let each type = 1

1+1+1+1+1+1+1=7

Aikido(IMHO) =
+1 to C
+1 D
+1 G

Thus: Aikido may help improve "intelligence"
Thanks, Bob, for helping me articulate what I was thinking. I believe specifically, I was wrestling with "spatial orientation" and "kinesthetic" sense and how they might increase intelligence.

Maybe "inspire perceptive thought" or something like that would be safer to say than "make you smarter". But it wouldn't get as many people talking and I really am interested to see what opinions some of the big minds out there have.

Now, please stop me if I've obviously misunderstood, but Aikido seems loaded with opportunities for a linguistic workout just by learning all the Japanese terminologies. +1A?

I'm no mathematician, but there seems to be a lot of geometry in the applications, especially the footwork and stances. Logical principals- of leverage and other aspects of physics are evidenced in the various nage. +1B?

Kinesthetics and Spatial are stipulated to. Definitely +1C and +1D.

I'm also not a musician, but the zen saying goes, "It's the space between the bars that holds the tiger. The space between the notes that makes the music." Extending that metaphor, one could say (with some fear of contradiction) that timing is a musical exercise.

Also, in O-Sensei's book The Essence of Aikido, he explains in the very first mandala "Ame no Takemusu Aiki Waza" that Aikido's basis is about the arrangement of the Kotodama- the seed sounds of the universe in a "U-U-U-YU-MU" pattern. This is considered by some to be pretty far out stuff, and considered by some to be essential to "getting it". At least for some, that's +1E (Musical). Are there any Ki Society brothers or sisters who can weigh in on this?

I'd say the Interpersonal is definitely emphasized since dojo tradition establishes a fully nuanced, societal hierarchy. So does this forum! The relationship between shite (nage) and uke is also an obvious hedge to this point. +1F.

Intrapersonal is everyone's journey. In the final analysis, I believe it's the only measurement that really counts. I could get into a whopper of a discussion about Shinto/Buddhist meditational progression, but I'll save that for another thread...

In looking at the discussion being had here -and all over Aikiweb- I'm satisfied that something funny is going on here. Either Aikido makes you smarter, or people being smarter makes Aikido. But I still don't know if it's the chicken or the egg.

So, am I right on, or far out?

Last edited by Bill Danosky : 11-28-2004 at 09:04 PM.
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Old 11-28-2004, 09:46 PM   #18
Choku Tsuki
 
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Re: Does Aikido make you smarter?

It makes me feel smarter.
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Old 11-28-2004, 10:17 PM   #19
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Thumbs down Re: Does Aikido make you smarter?

Quote:
Bob Strahinjevich wrote:

Gardner theory of cognitive skill types =

(A)Linguistic (B)Logical-Mathematical (C) Kinesthetic (D)Spatial (E) Musical (F) Interpersonal (G)Intrapersonal
Actually Howard Gardner has since added an eighth additional cognitive skill to his Theory of Multiple Intelligences... (H)Existential, which may or may not apply to this thread!

Big fan of Gardner I am!
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Old 11-29-2004, 04:54 AM   #20
markwalsh
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Re: Does Aikido make you smarter?

Opinions:

Does aikido make you smarter in the common sense understanding of smartness? No.
Does aikido help with skills relating to kinesthetic/spatial abilities that can be included in wider definitions? Probably.
Does it keep you thinking and slow some of the degeneration of aging? It should do.
Does aikido help you to, "learn how to learn", enhancing your ability to pick up other things? It can do, but depends on how you're taught and how you learn naturally.
Can blows to the head and hard ukemi when dehydrated lead to a loss of intelligence? Er...wot, I don't get it.... pass the aspirin.

Personally I think aikido attracts thoughtful people due to its nature. In most cases...

Mark
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Old 11-29-2004, 06:51 AM   #21
Mark Balogh
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Re: Does Aikido make you smarter?

There is quite a bit of potential variety in Aikido which makes the thinking varied and you have to think in milliseconds to do what is appropriate at the time.

Due to this IMO it makes you think quicker. It also challenges you and give you excellent learning, focus and awareness skills through long term practise.
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Old 11-29-2004, 01:23 PM   #22
Bradence
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Re: Does Aikido make you smarter?

I would have to agree with Lynn Seiser and Mark Walsh, Aikido attracts thoughtful people. I would also say that there is a component of intellignece in personality, at least as far as these message boards are concerned. Whenever people give their opinions there are a number of reactions. On most message boards the desire to attack and try to make someone look foolish is much more prevalent than it is here. I would say that the spiritual/philosophical side of Aikido influences people to moderate those impulses. I'm not sure if you could call it intelligence, I think it certainly makes people seem more intelligent. I'm much more likely to take criticism from someone who is very careful and diplomatic about it than someone who reacts with disdain because I "don't get it." I'm certainly more likely to see the former as more intelligent than the latter even though raw intelligence may not be a factor there.

Brad(ence)
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Old 11-29-2004, 02:35 PM   #23
Amassus
 
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Re: Does Aikido make you smarter?

Aikido has given the ability to be patient with myself. This in turn allows me to handle problems in my life easier from problem solving in the work place through to day to day activities. I am now a much more able person which could be mistaken for 'smarter'. I'm certainly no more intelligent than what I was before starting aikido training.

I also agree with comments above concerning the art drawing in thoughtful people. I work in the science field and I know of at least four others in the club that come from science backgrounds and yet another who teaches physics. I would place all of us in the 'thoughtful' basket.

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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Old 11-29-2004, 04:49 PM   #24
Natasha Ritchie
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Re: Does Aikido make you smarter?

I would say that aikido doesn't make you smarter, it just attracts the more intelligent members of the species - those who are slightly above the idea that the answer to violence is to hurt someone. Coming from Belfast you see too many of the type who think the answer to every conflict is violence, whether it is necessary or not. So far, in my somewhat limited experience, I would definitely say that the people who do aikido already have the intelligence to act with more thought and consideration or they would be off somewhere learning how to break someones neck using their bare hands.
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Old 11-29-2004, 05:12 PM   #25
Bronson
 
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Re: Does Aikido make you smarter?

Hmmm,
  • We spend money to have pain inflicted on us.
  • We then say thank you and ask to have it done on the other side.
  • We willingly subject ourselves to hours of physical, mental, and spiritual training that is often painful and almost always frustrating.
  • We think it's "neat" when we are choked unconcious or nearly so.
  • We think flipping end over end and hitting the floor with the velocity of a small comet also warrants the "neat" designation.
  • We (at least I) sit around poking ourselves to see if we can still find those pressure points we learned.
  • Deep down inside we get some sick pleasure from mat burns.

I think we're all idiots

Bronson

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