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Old 01-19-2005, 07:58 PM   #26
wendyrowe
Dojo: Aikidog Aikikai
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Re: Taking the high road

Quote:
Casey Martinson wrote:
... i'm looking for "yes, we practice aikido defense against takedown/throwing attempts." anybody out there who can say yes?
Yes, we practice aikido defense against takedown/throwing attempts. That's why I was able to give you example techniques in my first post here:
Quote:
Wendy Rowe wrote:
Pretty much any technique can be used, whichever best counters your opponent's move. The simplest thing is just moving out of the way before he can grab you -- say, tsugiashi and irimi or irimi tenkan to keep you out of the way and put you in a position to do irimi nage or whatever other technique you want. You need to practice counters so you can flow into a new technique when he blocks out the ones you're trying; and you need to practice counters to grabs so you'll be able to turn his moves against him. You have to watch out for single- and double-leg takedown attempts, too; and there are surely some judoka out there who'll try to grab you around the waist and suplex you, so maintaining ma ai to keep from being grabbed securely is a great idea if you can manage it...One on one randori attacking with a wide variety of techniques is a good way to practice this sort of thing.
and that's what we do. Not always, since we don't always want to practice techniques against takedown attempts and since sometimes we spend the class on groundwork.

I don't quite understand what you're driving at -- is it that you think Aikido should be able to protect you from going down so you're looking for a list of techniques to use? Or are you checking to see whether anyone uses aikido techniques against BJJ because you think it won't work?
Quote:
Casey Martinson wrote:
not that you can't use aikido principles in ground fighting, but certainly it seems much more difficult in that your movement is much more limited and your opponents movements are much smaller.
Your movements are only much more limited if you have a narrow view of what's "allowed" in Aikido. All the same techniques you can do standing work on the ground, and you can do all sorts of variations applying the same Aikido principles. It doesn't feel limited/limiting when I do it. My guess is that after you've trained longer it won't feel limited to you, either.

Also, if I'm working from the ground, I'm more likely to be doing "small circle Aikido" than "big circle Aikido" -- that way, my movements will be smaller and faster, but still quite effective. There are still times when big movements might be useful (say, if I happen into the perfect setup for iriminage from suwari); but if I'm going against a grappler, I have to be very conscious of where I'm letting my arms hang out so he doesn't grab one and armbar me.
Quote:
Casey Martinson wrote:
I've long though that the serious martial artist wouldn't have to be concerned about such training, because most people who start fights are not skilled fighters. But perhaps the UFC effect is changing that equation. Any thoughts?
The police I train with are interested in groundwork because they are finding that more suspects know BJJ thanks to its growing popularity.
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Old 01-19-2005, 09:21 PM   #27
Casey Martinson
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Re: Taking the high road

wendy, thanks for another valuable post, and i apologize for not acknowledging your "yes" answer earlier; surely that's what it was. And thanks for your additional comments re: small circle/big circle, aikido from the ground, etc. I'll keep those things in mind as I continue training.

"I don't quite understand what you're driving at -- is it that you think Aikido should be able to protect you from going down so you're looking for a list of techniques to use? Or are you checking to see whether anyone uses aikido techniques against BJJ because you think it won't work?"

The former, but I wasn't looking for a list of techniques. I was just trying to take an unscientific survey of readers: do you train against grappling techniques or not? I think, in theory, aikido should be able to protect against a take down. I'm not saying I expect aikido to save you from going down ever. But I'm saying it should give you a chance, and the more you train for it, the better your chance.

"The police I train with are interested in groundwork because they are finding that more suspects know BJJ thanks to its growing popularity."

that seems to confirm what I was suggesting. i'm sure that on balance most everybody training in BJJ dojos is a serious student, not a hot-head or a would-be criminal. but that doesn't address the non-serious student who enrolls for a month or two before dropping out, perhaps learning just enough to pose a threat without learning the appropriate humility and responsibility that goes with. and according to somebody on another thread, BJJ is being used as a platform for unarmed combat training in our own military. if that's true, there is one more avenue for a lot of people to become at least somewhat skilled in grappling without regard to moral character. and i'm not impuning the character of soldiers, only saying that soldiers or former soldiers don't seem less likely to become violent than the average citizen. and even if a person is well behaved in the dojo, that's no guaruntee they'll keep their cool in an argument or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
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Old 01-20-2005, 02:10 AM   #28
happysod
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Re: Taking the high road

Quote:
non-serious student who enrolls for a month or two before dropping out, perhaps learning just enough to pose a threat without learning the appropriate humility and responsibility that goes with
I think you're over-exaggerating the "threat" of bjj - sorry, but if any martial art created that level of competency within but a month or so of normal training I would say a new paradigm has been achieved. BJJ is essentially judo with a different emphasis and some extra bits not normally now found within judo, if you change your sentence to refer to say judo, would you be as willing to be worried about the said non-serious student?
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Old 01-20-2005, 05:33 AM   #29
wendyrowe
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Re: Taking the high road

Quote:
Ian Hurst wrote:
... if you change your sentence to refer to say judo, would you be as willing to be worried about the said non-serious student?
My guess is that since BJJ is getting to be popular thanks to UFC exposure, it's more likely that people will have friends who know it so they'll pick it up from them. It's not that so many people are breaking down the doors of BJJ dojos to train for a month or two, just that there are more opportunities for BJJ techniques to spread along with the usual wrestling/sparring/whatever that HS boys always do (come on, admit it! I've got a brother so I know). Judo's not as "sexy" since it hasn't crossed over from the martial arts world to the general public. Granted, the UFC/MMA audience isn't all that big, but I'll bet it's lots bigger than the traditional martial arts audience.

As for the earlier comments about Ueshiba not handing down techniques against grappling: I'll bet you anything that if someone bowled Ueshiba over, Ueshiba knew how to handle himself on the ground. People have been wrestling since there were people; an excellent martialist like Ueshiba who had crosstrained extensively before founding Aikido surely wouldn't have neglected learning to protect himself however possible.
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Old 01-20-2005, 06:23 AM   #30
paw
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Re: Taking the high road

Quote:
Casey Martinson wrote:
so although i respect your opinions, what i'm seeing is this:

Me: How can aikido be used to prevent a take-down/throw?

You guys: You'll probably get taken to the ground, so better be prepared to deal with it.

If you get thrown down, try to get up.

It's unrealistic to think you can be totally effective at avoiding the throw/grapple.

Casey,

You've misunderstood my point.

If you are concerned with self-defense, it behooves you to presume that you will end up on the ground. Therefore, it would be advantageous to learn how to get back to your feet.

How much time you devote to learning to get back to your feet is up to you, and depends how quickly you learn. But as the dog brothers have discovered, if you're in enough physical confrontations, grappling and groundwork happen.



Wendy,

Quote:
Granted, the UFC/MMA audience isn't all that big, but I'll bet it's lots bigger than the traditional martial arts audience.
I don't think the mma audience is bigger than the tma audience. Judo is the second or third or popular sport worldwide, I think...certainly in the top ten.


Regards,

Paul
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Old 01-20-2005, 07:59 AM   #31
Dazzler
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Re: Taking the high road

Ok...I'll stick my neck out a bit today just to see who come to call.

For me this whole discussion goes back to the definition of aikido.

Is it the martial way of aiki?

Is it a martial art in exactly the same way at other tma?

Is it using the Tao , ying & yang , positive and negative to achieve ki through the body?

Once you have a definition of what you are trying to do you then you can determine your methodology for achieving this.

For instance if you view aikido as a fighting system then you should be training for all potential areas of fighting.

If you see it more for exploring ki then training for that is sufficient.

Whats so interesting about aikido is that it isn't straightforward, and there are so many levels of practice.

I think its down to the various groups to clarify what they are doing and why and not make claims that are unfounded.

Tell you what...heres my stab at this for National aikido Federation (UK).

We use aikido to develop irimi and atemi. Enter and strike. Our emphasis is more on irimi since our atemi practice is pretty limited in core classes.

While attempting to achieve this we use aikido techniques to develop the martial bases of aikido...position, timing, distance, relationship, blending, posture, correct breathing and so on.

This is the physical side.

Spiritually hopefully we work towards a greater understanding of humanity and its problems in working together as uke / tori and continually swapping roles to view life from someone elses side.

I'll leave the spirituality stuff there since this is mainly based around the practical.

While I feel our practice is martial and is effective for self defence I dont really see it as being anywhere near as effective as say boxing, grappling or a mixture of the 2.

We are what we are and we enjoy it.

For the most this is enough for our members. Where there is more interest in a specific area...boxing , grappling, nunchakas...whatever...then we go and train with a specialist.

Doesn't make our aiki bad hopefully.

Looking at boxing/striking arts,....its highly effective. For me the most instantly useful form. But only when allayed with a brain. Punching everything that disagrees with you ...no matter how good you are will earn you glass in the face or something like that eventually.

While no one can dispute the prowess of strikers..how many do you see over 30 ..over 40? That are cutting it in a matched environment...maybe George Foreman. Not a lot considering how may boxing clubs there are in the world.

Not so many. They have a limited shelf life unlike aikido which can be practiced to some level at any age.

Look at grappling. Many fights end up here and some skills have been proven time and time again to be invaluable when the fights end up here.

But dont confuse sport with real life. For 'street' this surely has to be last resort...who wants to blend with the dog shit, broken glass etc while some guys mate kick the life out of you for arm barring their life long buddy.

So grappling has to be a last resort outside of the controlled ring environment. You may be the best choker in the business but every time you get close you risk you face being bitten off. Hardly a good reward when the guy taps out!

As Paul points out ...you need to get back on your feet.

I guess where I'm going with this is that everyone is different, everyone has different lifestyles and lives in different environments.

Those that strike should be respected for the field they have chosen. They shouldn't think they are superior but nothing wrong with a little pride.

Likewise the grapplers...to grapple competitively is really hard, but don't think its the be all and end all because the Gracies made such a name for BJJ in UFC.

Even those that are into MMA...without doubt the most effective in its sphere. ....Or octagon. Once outside the ring you arent invincible.

Sure....most of whats practiced in MMA will blow away general aikido techniques.

But what happend if you pick up a blade...or a machete? do you want to grapple with that?

I've not even mentioned the phillipino arts...

I guess the point of my little rant is that its horses for courses.

Nothing is perfect but theres good and bad in all and you don't have to train to fight because you practice a martial art.

Its ok not to fight sometimes!! And it generally leads to a smoother ride for all..

D
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Old 01-20-2005, 08:15 AM   #32
rob_liberti
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Re: Taking the high road

Paul, I don't mean to put words in your mouth, but I kind of get the feeling that your stance on this is that there are no shortcuts (and I don't entirely agree with that).

Casey, I think I am on the same page with you. I'm looking to short cut the learning curve a bit by piggybacking off of someone else's experiences with this. I don't want to have to be the inventor of drills against common takedown set-ups. I'd like it very much if someone else who has thought about it for a while and worked through many issues with skilled attackers could come up with some principles they could explain to me and show me some of the drills the've come up with to lay a better foundation for working on this. I think Wendy Rowe's dojo is the most promising towards that end. I would like to have said "Come see me, and I'll help you out" but I'm not ready. I need to make time to work out with people who are very good at setting up their takedowns, and are good at switching from one to another. I don't have that much time right now - but slowly but surely I'll work through my own aiki answers to more sophisticated attacks (like combinations and takedowns).

For now, the only principle I can offer is that you have to be really good at maintaining your distance. And I think, for that level of attack, unless your movement is absolutely perfect all of the time I'd say you might need to re-think/review your ideas about atemi (that's just my opinion).

Rob
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Old 01-20-2005, 09:16 AM   #33
paw
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Re: Taking the high road

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
I'm looking to short cut the learning curve a bit by piggybacking off of someone else's experiences with this. I don't want to have to be the inventor of drills against common takedown set-ups.
I think then, that Mits Yamashita is the guy you want to see. Some of his students post on this board from time to time.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 01-20-2005, 11:43 AM   #34
Casey Martinson
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Re: Taking the high road

Paul, just want to say thanks for your continued input. Even though I feel we may be a little bit at odds over some points, your questions/comments have certainly helped focus the discussion for me.
I totally agree that being able to get up from a throw/takedown is important, but let's simplify this for the sake of argument. If I have x amount of time to train, and my training is going to be primarily in aikido, to me it makes more sense to train in avoiding the throw than in getting up. If you can't avoid throws, what difference does it make how many times you can get up? Once you get up again, your opponent will try again to throw you--and probably succeed if most of your training has been to just get up. Obviously, there is a need for getting up and for avoiding the throw. But I think the latter is slightly more important. I could be wrong.

And I think Wendy's comments on the growth in popularity of MMA/BJJ are probably right. Yes, right now, the audience for UFC is not that big. But like I said, there's a reality show focusing on the UFC that's airing right now (Spike TV, the men's network). Maybe nothing will come of it. But I'm willing to bet that this show alone will create a huge boost in the UFC audience. A few years ago, only guys with an interest in carpentry watched home improvement shows. Then along came Trading Spaces on TLC, and now we have probably half a dozen spin off "decorating shows." Same thing with blind date shows, and makeover shows. Of course, if I may generalize for a moment, those programs mostly target a female demographic. But I see no reason why a UFC show can't really put MMA on the map with the young male demographic. Up till now I believe, UFC has been mainly showing to a small pay-per-view audience of guys. This show is the first time I know of that MMA has been brought to a bigger audience. It could just be the spark that ignites a fire of interest.

Also, as wendy pointed out, there is bound to be some spreading of grappling knowledge outside the context of dojos. And there will be guys who train for a month or two. And there is the army training avenue I mentioned. I'm not suggesting that limited training will make somebody a formidable grappler, but I do think limited training, or even just watching UFC, will make an aggressor more likely to go for a takedown or throw. Think of a bar fight that's about to break out. Till recently, the aggressive drunk guy would probably attack you with a strike first. The usual aikido training seems to cover that situation pretty well. But as pop culture brings UFC/MMA to a wider audience, the aggressive drunk guy may increasingly go for a takedown first. Even if he is doing it badly or just imitating what he's seen on tv, the focus of his attack will be different. A little preparation could mean the difference between being caught by a clumsy takedown and deftly countering.

Finally, with regard to O'Sensei, I'm sure he probably did know how to defend himself on the ground. But from the accounts I've read, getting him on the ground would be an amazing feat for just about anybody. Certainly, I've read accounts of expert wrestlers and grapplers challenging O'Sensei's senior aikido students and being soundly defeated. That kind of skill may be beyond what most of us are capable of now, but I think it is something to aspire to.

Casey
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Old 01-20-2005, 12:43 PM   #35
paw
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Re: Taking the high road

Quote:
Casey Martinson wrote:
If you can't avoid throws, what difference does it make how many times you can get up? Once you get up again, your opponent will try again to throw you--and probably succeed if most of your training has been to just get up.
Of course, it's up to you, but I've found groundwork much easier to learn than throwing or throw prevention.


Quote:
Casey Martinson wrote:
And I think Wendy's comments on the growth in popularity of MMA/BJJ are probably right. Yes, right now, the audience for UFC is not that big. But like I said, there's a reality show focusing on the UFC that's airing right now (Spike TV, the men's network).
The show did a 1.4 rating share. That's not particularly big audience. As a mma fan, I certainly hopes the sport grows, but I have my doubts. Time will tell....


Quote:
Casey Martinson wrote:
But as pop culture brings UFC/MMA to a wider audience, the aggressive drunk guy may increasingly go for a takedown first. Even if he is doing it badly or just imitating what he's seen on tv, the focus of his attack will be different. A little preparation could mean the difference between being caught by a clumsy takedown and deftly countering.
Depends on where you live and all. For example, if you lived in my neck of the woods, folkstyle wrestling is pretty popular, so any takedown attempt is likely to be a double leg or single leg. The common prevention would be to sprawl. Someone can learn to sprawl in ten minutes, but that won't stop someone who's a high-school wrestler from taking you down. Their skill at takedowns would far exceed your ability to counter. For example, I've personally seen an average high school wrestlers easily take down a bigger, stronger nidan at will.

I guess the question is, what attack do you want to prevent, and how skilled is the attacker? And of course, how much time do you want to spent developing that level of skill?

I'd take the time to track down Mits Yamashita and ask his advice. He's a skilled aikido instructor and bjj'er.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 01-20-2005, 01:13 PM   #36
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Taking the high road

I study both Aikido and BJJ. It is not a simple answer IMHO to define "aikido" against "BJJ". Aikido, IMHO, tend to be a prinicple based art to teach universal principles of mechanics, balance, energy etc. So being universal in nature I would say that it works. That said, it is easy to fall prey to the paradigm/context in which you are working.

I work with a proficient BJJ who is a MMA champion competitor in Europe. If I play his "game" I usually lose and find it frustrating to try and use anything that resembles what i practice in the dojo. When we grapple we try for submission and dominance...one on one.

If we practice from a multiple opponent and weapons "unknown" senario or life or death senario things change dramatically. Instead of meeting him with a clinch I will back off and try and resolve conflict by not engaging and "buying time" by moving to the door to escape or keeping distance. This can be accomplished by irimi tenkan etc. I find if I can force him to go off balance by reaching etc, then I can use "aikido" if you must label tactics.

That said, he will not usually do that as am experience martial artist (reach off balance) and our matches become a game of posturing for about 10 to 15 minutes where we avoid each other waiting for someone to make a mistake. Also, we threaten with severe atemi and kicks etc. So it really changes the dynamic.

It is all well and good to practice ground fighting skills and there is much merit in it. But I seriously get concerned about developing a paradigm that supports defaulting to clinch, guard, mount, submit.

I do find that maintaining good posture and moving your hips and feet to be 100% transferrable.

I have only been doing BJJ for a short time, but find that I can hold my own with my traditional karate/aikido background against most BJJers at the blue belt level. So I would say that Aikido is effective and applicable as a principle based art. Where I am weak is getting the submission holds since I am not versed in them. Principles are same, mechanics/tactics different.
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Old 01-20-2005, 01:35 PM   #37
Casey Martinson
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Re: Taking the high road

I hadn't heard the rating info on that show; interesting. I believe it's only had a couple episodes; it may get bigger. did you just look that up or have you been following the show?

"For example, I've personally seen an average high school wrestlers easily take down a bigger, stronger nidan at will."

to me, that still seems an indication of the problem that standard aikido practice doesn't focus on preventing those takedowns. i don't see why the proper training couldn't remedy that deficiency. i don't know much about wrestling/grappling arts--i'm sure you'll correct me if i'm wrong--but it seems that whether you're striking or making an attempt to grapple/takedown, you still have to extend yourelf forward; still have to reach for your opponent. if a wrestler is reaching for the aikidoka, what--aside from inexperience with the mode of attack--prevents the aikidoka from seizing the movement and applying aikido just as if the attack had been a striking one? what i think i'm getting from you is that you think a high school wrestler's takedown technique is damn near indefensible unless one is trained in wrestling and ready to apply wrestling tactics. am i reading you correctly?

casey
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Old 01-21-2005, 07:18 AM   #38
paw
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Re: Taking the high road

Quote:
Casey Martinson wrote:
did you just look that up or have you been following the show?
It was reported on another forum. So it might need a grain of salt.


Quote:
Casey Martinson wrote:
what i think i'm getting from you is that you think a high school wrestler's takedown technique is damn near indefensible unless one is trained in wrestling and ready to apply wrestling tactics. am i reading you correctly?
No. I was trying to make a comment about relative skill levels, and I'll try and be more clear. An aikidoist might know the defense to a wrestling takedown, but the wrestler will still get the takedown because the wrestler is better at setting up, shooting and finishing the takedown.

Some of this might be due to the wrestler training takedown longer (as measure in mat time) than the aikidoist trains defenses. It might be due to experience, as the wrestler may have more experience outside of training (competition, meets, etc...) than the aikidoist.

I would imagine a good part is likely to be that the aikidoist may not have anyone as skilled as the wrestler in takedowns to train with. While I don't think an aikidoist has to wrestle or has to adopt wrestling techniques to successfully defend against wrestling attacks, I strongly suspect that an aikidoist needs training partners that are capable of very good attacks.


Regards,

Paul
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Old 01-21-2005, 09:15 AM   #39
Casey Martinson
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Re: Taking the high road

Paul, thanks for clarifying. I belive then, that we are coming into greater agreement as we come to the bottom of it.

1) aikido is perfectly capable of defending against grappling/wrestling takedowns
2) the reason an advanced aikidoka might fail in his or her defense is a lack of experience with the form of attack
3) proper training could fix that

and aside from wendy, it seems that nobody posting to this thread so far has done much aikido training to counter takedown attempts. not to say that folks haven't crosstrained in grappling to fill the gap, but that is a slightly different training, right?
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Old 01-21-2005, 09:47 AM   #40
rob_liberti
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Re: Taking the high road

Well, I wouldn't say 'I haven't done much training to counter takedown attempts.' I just feel that I have a lot longer way to go before I feel I can offer any practicle advice beyond the obvious. I tried to shoot a really great aikido sempai while I was visiting him in Japan last September. The problem was that I'm just not good enough at setting up the shoot to really steal what I want from him. I plan to visit Wendy's dojo someday soon and see what I can learn from that experience. This kind of networking is the main reason why I like the aikiweb. Thankyou Jun.

Rob
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Old 01-21-2005, 10:33 AM   #41
Dazzler
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Re: Taking the high road

Quote:
Casey Martinson wrote:
Paul, thanks for clarifying. I belive then, that we are coming into greater agreement as we come to the bottom of it.

1) aikido is perfectly capable of defending against grappling/wrestling takedowns
2) the reason an advanced aikidoka might fail in his or her defense is a lack of experience with the form of attack
3) proper training could fix that

and aside from wendy, it seems that nobody posting to this thread so far has done much aikido training to counter takedown attempts. not to say that folks haven't crosstrained in grappling to fill the gap, but that is a slightly different training, right?
apart from saying specific training instead of proper I'd agree entirely.

D
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Old 01-21-2005, 11:31 AM   #42
paw
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Re: Taking the high road

Quote:
Casey Martinson wrote:
aside from wendy, it seems that nobody posting to this thread so far has done much aikido training to counter takedown attempts.
I thought I mentioned Mits Yamashita. He would be the guy to talk to about this, as he's an aikido shihan and skilled bjj'er.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 01-21-2005, 11:46 AM   #43
SeiserL
 
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Re: Taking the high road

I must admit to the humor and the irony that on a thread called "Taking the higher road" we have mostly discussed take-downs, grappling, and ground work. LOL

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 01-21-2005, 12:39 PM   #44
Aristeia
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Re: Taking the high road

Quote:
Casey Martinson wrote:
Paul, thanks for clarifying. I belive then, that we are coming into greater agreement as we come to the bottom of it.

1) aikido is perfectly capable of defending against grappling/wrestling takedowns
2) the reason an advanced aikidoka might fail in his or her defense is a lack of experience with the form of attack
3) proper training could fix that

and aside from wendy, it seems that nobody posting to this thread so far has done much aikido training to counter takedown attempts. not to say that folks haven't crosstrained in grappling to fill the gap, but that is a slightly different training, right?
Well cross training is the start. If you try training aikido responses to a shot without cross training then you'll likely be dealing with a poor shot and the results of your experiment will be skewed.
And those that have cross trained quickly see that a grapplers defence of a shot is close to the only thing that makes sense and so won't spend alot of time bothering with anything else.
Why is it important that we have a specifically and uniquely Aikido response to an attack like this? Why re invent the wheel? I mean if you like we can look at it in broad terms. what's the Aiki response to an attack? Get your own body off the line of the attack and take control of uke's body and posture right? Sounds like a sprawl to me in many regards. The sprawl is far and away the highest % defence against a shot. Why bother with anything else that will be much lower % just to say that this response is "ours". Or perhaps I've missed what your purpose is?

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 01-21-2005, 12:50 PM   #45
Robert Cheshire
 
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Re: Taking the high road

Yoseikan of Minoru and Hiroo Mochizuki fame trains for defense against take downs. In fact, one of our two person kata's has uke going for a double leg take down and nage avoiding and throwing.

We also incorproate several types of randori that addressed this issue. From reversals to what you do if they take you down and they are still standing or even if they go to the ground with you.

These type of paired exercises (especially with different body types) help you to develop your own body awareness as well as that of the attacker. That plays a large role in how you protect against a take down. Another thing that we train to do is be able to do all of our throws and/or strikes from any angle or position.

I don't really know FL geography that well, but, we have two schools there (I don't know if one would be close for you to visit). One is at Stetson University in De Land which has the United States Technical Director for Yoseikan as the head instructor. The other is in Pensacola and is taught by one of our nidan's that spent a few years training in Japan and studied with Minoru Mochizuki while there.

Wendy - as a side note, you mentioned big and small circles. Hiroo Mochizuki tells of when he and Saito (I think that's the spelling of who I'm thinking of) were students of O Sensei he would give them private lessons and state that the big circles were the basics to get an understanding of the movements and techniques, but, the true technique (and power) came from the small circles. That is - use the same hip and body movements, but, compact it into a tighter (small) circle.

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Old 01-21-2005, 03:59 PM   #46
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Taking the high road

In a "perfect world" with "Perfect Technique" takedowns don't work if you maintain a balanced posture and move the way most of us are taught in aikido. The guy or gal will grab you legs, but will fail to take you down because he/she cannot get a "fulcrum" point.

The problem arises with a skilled grappler because, from my experiences, you either "bend" or "react" push/pull and start playing his game. It really is difficult to not do this, at least for me.

In my aikido training, we tend to focus on isolating techniques and performing movements within a very defined set of conditions to ensure that principles and good habits are being reinforced. Most MMA or BJJ guys train with many more variables and will move very quickly. This training methodoogy is very effective sense it focuses on "no nonsense" tactics that will work on, say 70 to 80% of the population, which is fine if you want to be effective.

When that "70%" solution is thrown at a somewhat typical "aikidoka" with all the other parameters and variables that we are not conditioned to, it creates confusion, which is opportunity and it becomes hard for us to deal with. Circles get smaller, and things get much tighter. It is hard to move and work the sphere of the aiki dynamic that we so love.

Doesn't mean that aikido does not work. The challenge is to figure out how reopen and create the space that you need to move your center and find the opportunity to control the way we are use to.

It is not easy that is for sure! I find that most BJJer or MMA guys do train to be "combat or fight effective". Most aikido dojos tend to focus on ultimately perfecting center balance or acheiving 100% effectiveness in the mastery of principles of dynamic movement. That alone is a big gap in paradigms that tend to make them seem somewhat at odds with each other. i think it boils down to a internal/external thing. Nothing wrong with either one, in my opinion it is good to train in both ways to acheive mastery.
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Old 01-21-2005, 07:42 PM   #47
Casey Martinson
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Re: Taking the high road

Paul: "I thought I mentioned Mits Yamashita. He would be the guy to talk to about this, as he's an aikido shihan and skilled bjj'er."

Yes, I saw your original mention. But he has not posted to this particular threat. Will still consider that good advice however.

Lynn: "I must admit to the humor and the irony that on a thread called "Taking the higher road" we have mostly discussed take-downs, grappling, and ground work. LOL"

That has definitely been in my mind as well. Perhaps the "high road" could be seen as a metaphor for the road of staying on one's feet. Interesting that it worked out that way though; not at all what I intended in writing that title.

Michael: "Well cross training is the start. If you try training aikido responses to a shot without cross training then you'll likely be dealing with a poor shot and the results of your experiment will be skewed."

Good point. Or if you want to save time you could find a skilled grappler to train with. Perhaps you don't need to be skilled in takedowns yourself to develop skill in defending against them, as long as you hone that skill against somebody who does know their takedowns.

Michael: "Why is it important that we have a specifically and uniquely Aikido response to an attack like this?"

From what I have seen, the sprawl involves sort of shooting your legs behind you while you secure a hold on your opponent's shoulders or head or gi or whatever? Is that correct? If it is, then it seems like your center of gravity is way out over your supporting limbs (your legs). Is it not fundamental to aikido to stay centered and grounded? That has been my impression so far. If my line of reasoning isn't totally half baked then, once you're in the sprawl, would it not be difficult to regain a grounded posture? You may escape the takedown, but then you have entered into a grappling contenst where the odds are not in your favor. One thing that seems very practical about the aikido immobilizations I've seen and practiced is that they leave you (standing or kneeling) in a good position to escape or defend against other attackers. Submission holds that win grappling fights seem to often leave you entangled with the opponent? In a real life scenario, once you've got your opponent in an arm bar with your legs across his neck, then what? Break his arm? That doesn't seem quite aiki. And defending against a second attack from that kind of position would seem pretty challenging also.

Robert, thanks for the tip.

Kevin, your thoughts seem logical to me. No doubt, MMA/BJJ training has got to be geared toward combat effectiveness--at least against one unarmed opponent. I think the overall effectiveness potential of aikido is probably greater than that of MMA/BJJ. In principle, aikido should be undefeatable because it does not "fight"; it calls on the power of the universe to restore natural order. In practice, that is obviously an idealistic path that may take decades to realize. MMA/BJJ has a much quicker learning curve, so for the first couple decades, it may offer a more realistic path of self defense. Ultimately however, I can't imagine a UFC champ continuing to refine his art of combat as old age begins to take its toll. If the stories of O'Sensei are even half true, I'll wager he could hold his own against the best UFC has to offer, even at the age of 80. That's pretty incredible. Will the MMA champs be able to defend their titles at 80? Probably not.
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Old 01-22-2005, 01:28 AM   #48
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Taking the high road

Casey: Agree with most of your thoughts, but caution you against trying to fit everything into neat boxes and generalizations.

I would not say that Aikido has a greater effective potential over MMA/BJJ. I think "potential" and "effectiveness" are realitive terms that depend on the person, path, and perspective. It really is about what works for you. I do think though that Aikido is geared a little better at teaching basic principles that give you a good base for mastery of principle of dynamic movement. That does not mean you will be a good fighter, just understand prinicples.

I think you could equate it to a PhD that has taught an MBA program for his whole life without ever really being in business. He certainly will understand economic theories, and business models, but may not really be able to be a successful businessman. Doesn't mean he is not successful or has not acheived mastery...just that outside of his academic realm he is not effective.

On the other hand you can have a non high school graduate that makes millions and has mastered a business tand is very effective an successful. He may not be able to demonstrate theory or economic models, but he does know how to make money.

Both are masters and successes within their own realms.

Be careful about using the term "Aikido Principles" (I do it too!). The principles are universal in nature, aikido is a methodology that allows you to learn them. AIkido does not have the market on any prinicples. They exist in all arts of dynamic of movement, be it AIkido, MMA/BJJ, yoga, pilates etc.

Would agree that the path to mastery in aikido is a long one...how long depends on your goals and endstate. When you say "quicker learning curve" I think that depends on your goal and endstate. If your endstate is to grapple and submit one person..then yes, BJJ is probably a better methodology than aikido, does not mean you cannot achieve the same endstate by studying BJJ. Vice, if your endstate is perfect balance, blending, harmony etc...then AIkido may be quicker...it really depends on your personal goals.

I think the problem is not that there is anything wrong or good/bad about a training methodology...just that most people are confused about who they are and what they want out of their studies. I know I go back and forth between goals all the time which is why I study both aikido and BJJ. THis confusion causes internal conflict within me and is why I go back and forth all the time between BJJ and Aikido. I think this is where inner reflection, meditation etc come in to play to help you keep your mind in tune with your goals and focuses.

I would also be careful about generalizing too much about the fact that you would do well the first couple of decades studying BJJ being good, but not ultimately able to refine his art as old age begins. People evolve and change. Helio Grace is still a BJJ guy in his 80's I am sure he still trains and his perspective and goals have evolved over the years. There are many paths to mastery as well as many endstates.

Everyone seems to have this vision of what the ultimate martial artist in his 80s who has achieved "oneness" with the universe and is virtually enlightened and a demi god that can catch bullets. We all have this imaginary vision, but no one I have ever met or talked to can really define it in a quantifiable way or say "that is what it looks like". Sure, we have role models and they are different for everyone. I would love to look and move like Helio Gracie when I am in my 80's or any number of Shihan I have met over the years. You know, they all really look the same and preach the same message regardless of what they have studied. So I don't think it matters. How you define success is a internal matter between you and your mind.

Another thought. Think of the thousands of people that don't look like O'Sensei or the active Shihan in his 80s. Out of the thousands....only one or two achieve that level. It is a rare thing. I guess my point is there is no sure fire way to train to guarantee that you will be the "ultimate 80 year old warrior". No art has the corner on the market. It would be nice to say that if you went to 5 classes a week and did everything that sensei told you to do that you would be like him in 40 years...it simple fact is it is not that easy and what worked for him may not work for you! We are all wired differently.

I wouldn't wager that O'Sensei could "hold his own". personally I have no way of knowing if he could or couldn't. My guess would be the opposite that he would lose since he would be constrained to play by their rules. They train in a way that exploits those rules. Would not mean that O'Sensei wasa "failure", just not good a BJJ or MMA fighting. (Return to the PhD/no H.S grad analogy.) Vice, a UFC fighter would probably not do well in O'Sensei's environment.

On another note. Aikido as you probably know it today is not something you want to be doing in your 80's. How many 80 year olds do you see doing aikido anyway???? Most Shihan in there 60's if you pay attention to them are not taking ukemi and getting tossed around much are they? Why is that? Aikido is very hard on your body. I go back to my point about evolving. Yes, Aikido has room for you to evolve and in principle if you acheive mastery you do not really need to take ukemi anymore since in a perfect senario you could redirect and resolve any attack with little effort, but that is theory and principle. MMA and BJJ allow for this too.

What I like about MMA philosophy is that "anything goes" there is no definitions defining the context of what MMA is. It is what you want it to be and it will be different for every person. Most MMA guys that stay with this over 40 or 50 years you will find will evolve from ballistic hardcore ground fighitng to soft internal stuff and it is all MMA. Again, you are correct, most MMA/BJJ guys today will not be doing it in there 80's anyway. Also, true for Aikidoka though!

What you will find with an MMA guy is that they have a very good BS barometer. They are very open minded to aikido I have found, but they take away from it what works for them in the context of their personal goals. If you go in and show them some things and you cannot demonstrate how it will help them, they will dismiss it. It is no relection on how effective/ineffective aikido is, just didn't work for them.

Yea a MMA champ won't be able to defend his title in his 80s. O'Sensei probably could not have defended a title for a competition in his 80's either. You know a butterfly starts out as a caterpiller. They are the same animal, but as they evolve they lose and develop things that they could not do in the other state. Doesn't mean they are not the same animal, just that they evolved. I think this applies to Martial artist as well.

I think the "chip on the shoulder" that many Aikidoist have with MMA/BJJ guys is that you have seen an explosion in last 10 years of people taking up MMA/BJJ. Lots of young guys and wannabes come in study for a while and leave. It tends to annoy our egos as martial artist for some reason. Who are these brash dudes who dare to come in, kick ass for a while, lose interest and move on. Many talk a lot of trash, don't understand (or care to) our so-called "refinement" and almost look at distain with all the ritualistic "pseudo" japanese "respect". We tend to look at them as barbarians. It is a different culture than what we are used to so we tend to look down on it etc.

You know, the japanese did the same thing to the west many years ago. You must be careful!

You see the same thing happening in yoga. "Purist" yoga people adopt the same attitude to the healthclub "McStudios" that pop up and "certify" instructors overnight!

Good topic and good discussion. I would think hard as you are doing about this stuff and be very careful to not to generalize too much it will get you into trouble trying to put labels on things!!! Just keep it in perspective and train!
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Old 01-22-2005, 10:46 AM   #49
Casey Martinson
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Re: Taking the high road

Kevin, appreciate your thoughtful comments.
I still think O'Sensei could evade and throw a UFC champ with Jedi-like powers : ) but that's just my opinion. We'll never know.
I agree it is not ideal to make generalizations, but it is probably unavoidable in these discussions, espcially for me, as a beginner to aikido and a virtual alien to UFC style competition. In a way, language itself is a generalization. As they say, "the map is not the territory." I think as long as we keep that in mind when we're reading the map, these discussions still serve their purpose. And hopefully all our conceptual ponderings will integrate somehow with the experiential reality we face in the dojo to give us greater understanding of both map and territory.
I think I've looked at this particular map long enough. Thanks everybody for the discussion. And now to the training.
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Old 01-23-2005, 04:53 PM   #50
JasonFDeLucia
 
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Re: Taking the high road

Quote:
Casey Martinson wrote:
Hello all,
I've been reading this forum for a few weeks now, and I'll make my introduction here. After waiting many years, I've been training in Aikido for going on three weeks. I absolutely love it.

One thing I really appreciate about this forum is the level of respect and intelligence demonstrated in the posts. A few days ago, I was reading a thread regarding counter techniques to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. This sparked my interest in learning more about BJJ as well. I studied a little bit of grappling as a karate student in high school, back when the UFC was brand new. I know it can be a tremendously valuable skill for self defense, although hopefully, aikido will allow me to avoid the need for such skills.

Anyway, long story short, I went to jiu-jitsu.net for more info, and found the forum pages to be very disappointing. The posts are full of ego, crude language, and aggressive attitudes.

My impression was that UFC has had the effect of swelling BJJ schools with immature guys (very few "chicks") who want to be able to beat the crap out of all comers. Do any readers here have recent experience training in BJJ? Am I wrong? I'd like to someday look into learning BJJ but if I have to put up with the "ultimate fighter complex", forget it.

Also, has anyone spent much time developing aikido against grappling attacks? I've long though that the serious martial artist wouldn't have to be concerned about such training, because most people who start fights are not skilled fighters. But perhaps the UFC effect is changing that equation. Any thoughts?

Once again, kudos to all the members of aikiweb for taking the high road. I look forward to your posts.

Casey Martinson
what many bjj stylists have not understood is that aikido is the most recent evolution and highest evolution of jujitsu from that era .the reason you don't see it in nhb is because the average person good eneough to use it is in his mid forties and up.it takes that long to assimilate ,unless you have an unusual amount of time on your hands with full technical support ,8 to ten hours a day for five solid years would bring you to the threshold ,but over time methods of assimilation have improved also.once people guarded the secrets more closely but now many see that revealing the secrets is the only way to set a good example and give people something to shoot for .rather than the six month training camps that teach someone how to drag a match to a drawn conclusion with lots of steroids and bad attitude so they feel tough and cool.all jujitsu is the same until it becomes an aiki jujitsu ,kinda like all atom bombs are the same till they become a hydrogen bomb.
to the end that concerns you effective basic remedies to double leg take downs and the like start with the sprawl as a bread and butter move ,and after some time you should e able to enter passed most cases .of the five pillar theory in akido you may adress a double leg takedown with any of the five pillars .should you be flattened out on the mat remember that traditional judo -jujitsu should be included as a takemusu eneough to take you back to the traditional form if you haven't allready ended it
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