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Old 01-09-2005, 12:30 AM   #1
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Poll: How important is the notion of "self defense" in your aikido training?

AikiWeb Poll for the week of January 9, 2005:

How important is the notion of "self defense" in your aikido training?
  • I don't do aikido
  • Critically important
  • Very important
  • Somewhat important
  • Not very important
  • Not at all important
Here are the current results.
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Old 01-09-2005, 11:04 AM   #2
SeiserL
 
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Re: Poll: How important is the notion of "self defense" in your aikido training?

IMHO, the direct technical application is very important in Tenshinkai Aikido, therefore (though usually not directly stated) the concept of self-defense is always present and critically important in maintaining the martial art aspect of training.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 01-09-2005, 11:18 PM   #3
xuzen
 
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Re: Poll: How important is the notion of "self defense" in your aikido training?

IMO, Aikido and all its aspect were created for the purpose of combat first and foremost. I wish to think that what I learn now is in its entire form; the original and undeviated aikido so that newer generation can, if they choose too, have something to learn that has not deviated from its original purpose. I believe strongly in preservation of the art so my vote goes to "very important".

Boon.

SHOMEN-ATE (TM), the solution to 90% of aikido and life's problems.
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Old 01-10-2005, 05:43 AM   #4
ian
 
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Re: Poll: How important is the notion of "self defense" in your aikido training?

I'd love to hear views from those who said it wasn't important. I think the self-defence aspect sets the structure and the goal to which the aiki concepts are honed. Without keeping self defence (or at least combat) in mind I think the aikido could 'degenerate' into a wide range of movement which involves blending, but which has no other use.
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Old 01-10-2005, 06:28 AM   #5
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: Poll: How important is the notion of "self defense" in your aikido training?

Quote:
Ian Dodkins wrote:
I'd love to hear views from those who said it wasn't important. I think the self-defence aspect sets the structure and the goal to which the aiki concepts are honed. Without keeping self defence (or at least combat) in mind I think the aikido could 'degenerate' into a wide range of movement which involves blending, but which has no other use.
I answered (IIRC) "not very important", meaning strictly in my own practice, because that's the reality I live in. Before I came across aikido I didn't feel that I needed to learn "self-defence", it wasn't the reason why I started and it's also not the reason why I continue training. So not very important in my own practice.

Now if you'd ask me do I want my aikido to be "effective" I'd answer yes and then we'd get into a lovely debate about what "effective" means. I mean something like - there's a connection between me and uke and what I do leads to the conclusion I want, that is, uke falls, and not to the conclusion uke wants- that I fall. And I'd like my training partners to react in a more or less "natural" way, not like a pre-programmed "uke". But training for some self-defence scenario isn't very interesting to me.

kvaak
Pauliina
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Old 01-10-2005, 08:11 AM   #6
Qatana
 
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Re: Poll: How important is the notion of "self defense" in your aikido training?

My aikido training has nothing to do with self-defense although there is always a possibility that it may be applied if such a situation comes up.
Unless you define "self defense" as learning how to avoid or prevent altercations that I probably instigated in the first place...

Q
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"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 01-10-2005, 10:46 AM   #7
tedehara
 
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Re: Poll: How important is the notion of "self defense" in your aikido training?

Quote:
Ian Dodkins wrote:
I'd love to hear views from those who said it wasn't important. I think the self-defence aspect sets the structure and the goal to which the aiki concepts are honed. Without keeping self defence (or at least combat) in mind I think the aikido could 'degenerate' into a wide range of movement which involves blending, but which has no other use.
Here is one opinion by Yamamoto Sensei

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
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Old 01-10-2005, 11:20 AM   #8
L. Camejo
 
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Re: Poll: How important is the notion of "self defense" in your aikido training?

"Very Important" was my vote as well.

Personally, I think the term "Self Defence" can be a loaded statement, since it can imply many things that are not common to all or experienced by many. Imho self defence has a lot to so with the environment you commonly find yourself in, which is different for many of us.

In my environment it is important to be capable in being personally responsible for your own safety from personal attack at some level, since in most cases there is no one to come save you in case the inevitable hits the fan. To me, Self Defence is merely part of safety education (to quote a JAA Shihan as well). Same way one learns to swim if one lives on a small island imo, or learns the correct way to cross the street.

To me, Aikido is Budo, which has many connotations, including "Martial Way" - which to me denotes a certain degree of combat effectiveness, or at least practice of combat principles while experiencing the "Way" in an effort towards self cultivation.

I understand those who do not practice Aikido for any reason related to self defence and this is fine by me. However, if there are no principles of combat being practiced, I would not call this sort of thing Budo either.

There is the philosophical aspect of having a pure heart and mind and not projecting a mindset of having to protect the self, since there is in fact no enemy and "the universe itself is our protector". Having at one time practiced that sort of thinking, I can say that it has its benefits, but to quote the signature of a fellow Aikiweb member: "Trust in Allah, but tie up your camel first." Even though you seek peace and harmony, there are times you are in the presence of those whose sense of peace and harmony is best served by your own destruction, at least in their mind.

I think Aikido is all about taking the path of peace but being fully capable of dealing with those who want War, and still having the skill to not injure them, since you are in fact walking a path of peace and not destruction of your fellow man.

Of course I can also be totally wrong and full of BS as well.

LC

Last edited by L. Camejo : 01-10-2005 at 11:24 AM.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 01-10-2005, 11:55 AM   #9
Beau
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Re: Poll: How important is the notion of "self defense" in your aikido training?

Hello all,

Well put Larry...I agree that aikido is about training for love and peace, but it is impossible to speak of such things from a place of weakness. IMHO, asking for peace when one is weak and defensless is nothing more than a plea for mercy. Demanding peace when you are at an advantage is compassion...

Beau
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Old 01-10-2005, 12:09 PM   #10
Janet Rosen
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Re: Poll: How important is the notion of "self defense" in your aikido training?

I am another person who answered "not very". The survey was, as I read it, about the responders' motives for training. I do look for, train with, martial intent, but that is different from saying self defense is what brings me to the art or keeps me in the art. So maybe the issue is semantics.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 01-10-2005, 02:22 PM   #11
Ed Stansfield
 
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Re: Poll: How important is the notion of "self defense" in your aikido training?

I knew I'd read this somewhere . . .

Quote:
Chida, like most of the top sensei, thought self defence a little ridiculous. They were interested in principles, abstract secrets of the human body that could only be studied and learnt through " pure" aikido training. Of course in any "self defence" type situation these same sensei would be lethal . . .
I think you can validly practice Aikido to study the principles involved without it leading to degeneration or dancing.

Now, if you'll excuse me, there's a mob outside my house, waving pitchforks and burning copies of "Angry White Pyjamas".

Best,

Ed

It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations.

Winston Churchill, 1930.
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Old 01-10-2005, 06:52 PM   #12
maikerus
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Re: Poll: How important is the notion of "self defense" in your aikido training?

My vote was for "not very important", but for the same reason as others who had the same vote of previously stated.

Self Defense is not what brings me back to class day after day. I train with intent and believe that my Aikido "works" and can be used in a self-defense situation, but *I* train for balance, focus, concentration and because Aikido is really, really cool. I like the people, too.

The self-defence part is there, but not very important to my training since other than avoiding dangerous parts of town I have never needed to worry about it.

Or maybe I just want to be like Chida Sensei and be interested in the principles, but lethal if push came to shove

Speaking of Chida Sensei...he was teaching a class in "self defence" one day and there was the big cop who was a sandan (maybe nidan?) in Judo and this other cop couldn't turn him over from his back to his stomach, so he could tie up the hands. He asked Chida Sensei what to do. Chida Sensei looked down at the cop on the mat, grabbed both his ears and twisted his head over. As you might expect the cop screamed and instantly flipped on to his stomach. That wasn't anything anyone had ever shown *me* previously in my Aikido training, but there were certainly Aikido principles involved...This might actually have been the year before or after AWP...not really sure now.

cheers,

--Michael

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 01-11-2005, 06:04 AM   #13
ian
 
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Re: Poll: How important is the notion of "self defense" in your aikido training?

Great points - I would also say that the 'self defence' aspect is NOT what keeps me training.

However I don't reallly learn "nondissension and avoiding conflicts" (Ted's quote) other than from a stratgeic and physical aspect within my aikido; and judging by some the intensity of some arguments on aikiweb I would say this is the case for most people (I don't even believe that conflict avoidance is necessarily a positive step).

Also, although aikido gives an insight into a wide sphere of understanding (in terms of harmony of nature etc), I think aikido needs more of a focus, and we focus on the physical self-defence/combat aspect.

I also believe the mindset should not be one of 'protection against the enemy' but rather that there is no real enemy. To me this is why aikido is conflcit resolution, but it is due to the process of physical self-defence training that the confidence to engage with an agressor without excessive (or even any) force is possible.

I remember talking to a student once about trying not to harm aggressors and they said 'yes, that's because we are [ethically] better than them', but I don't believe this is true, it is because we are just the same as them.
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Old 01-11-2005, 06:47 AM   #14
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Re: Poll: How important is the notion of "self defense" in your aikido training?

Quote:
Beau Biller wrote:
Hello all,

Well put Larry...I agree that aikido is about training for love and peace, but it is impossible to speak of such things from a place of weakness. IMHO, asking for peace when one is weak and defensless is nothing more than a plea for mercy. Demanding peace when you are at an advantage is compassion...

Beau
Hi Beau

I have always (and continue to) struggle with this notion of aikido being about love, or 'loving protection' to use a common phrase.

Even when I was a self-proclaimed aikifruitie, back when I started aikido, I couldn't see how any of the throws could be considered as a way to lovingly protect your attacker. We even learn very early on how to breakfall to stop us getting damaged from them.

I suppose I am learning to lovingly protect myself, but not my attacker. Self defence, conflict resolution, peace and harmony, yes, but love?

There was a recent thread discussing a video of a demo by Mustard Sensei. How much of the aikido in that was designed to love and protect the attacker?

Justin

Justin McCarthy
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Old 01-11-2005, 07:47 AM   #15
ian
 
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Re: Poll: How important is the notion of "self defense" in your aikido training?

I'd rather consider it to be about harmony than peace. Also, some aikidoka apply techniques in a very 'unblending' way and are effectively doing ju-jitsu. Personally I believe aikido must involves blending and must have responsiveness to uke. Therefore you are 'filling the gaps' in the attack, rather than 'doing a technique'. Thus a weak or impotent movement by uke does not really require a response. Many confrontations can be resolved just by removing a grab - hard throws require hard attacks (otherwise excessive force is being used).
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Old 01-11-2005, 07:54 AM   #16
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Re: Poll: How important is the notion of "self defense" in your aikido training?

I'd agree Ian. And harmony may mean dropping them on their head, offering them a drink, or anything in between.

Justin

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Old 01-11-2005, 10:28 PM   #17
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Re: Poll: How important is the notion of "self defense" in your aikido training?

I put - 'Critically Important' - as that is the way I see it.

It is a martial art first, and everything else next.

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Old 01-12-2005, 09:28 PM   #18
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Re: Poll: How important is the notion of "self defense" in your aikido training?

I heard an interesting quote on Stargate Atlantis the other night. They were doing some sort of stick fighting thing and the head military guy kept getting smacked by his partner over the course of their training.

She said something like: "If this was a real fight, you'd be..."

And he interrupted with: "If this was a real fight I would have shot you by now."

I thought it might be somehow appropriate to this thread. One of my students often says something similar...but keeps training.

--Michael

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 01-13-2005, 04:15 PM   #19
Mark Gibbons
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Re: Poll: How important is the notion of "self defense" in your aikido training?

For my training the self defense aspect is not very important. I'm big, past 40, and don't hang around in bars. For my daughter's training I hope the instructors emphasize the self defense (awareness especially) aspects they can.

-Mark
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Old 01-13-2005, 08:45 PM   #20
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Re: Poll: How important is the notion of "self defense" in your aikido training?

"Defense" in aikido is important misunderstanding of O sensei teaching. Have you ever seen O sensei defending himself? He did always irimi and atemi. How come one can ever think about word "defense"????...............strange question........

Nagababa

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