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Old 02-11-2005, 04:30 PM   #26
Aiki LV
Dojo: VEGAS VALLEY AIKIDO
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Re: Competition in Aikido

Quote:
I can't honestly say that I am comfortable with some of the views expressed here. But there you go...live and let live I say
Why should people's opinions that aren't the same as yours make you uncomfortable?
I think you might be taking the opinions expressed a little too personally and reading more into it than there is.

Quote:
Aiki LV may feel that my practice is self-centred and selfish, that is up to her. She may decide that because I train differently..it is no longer Aikido but just a sport, that again is up to her.
Just for the record I never once said that what you were doing wasn't aikido. In fact I aknowledged that it was. The language in my post specifically states
Quote:
For me I don't believe competition in aikido is a positive thing.
I guess what I'm trying to say is opinions are just that OPINIONS.
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Old 02-11-2005, 04:41 PM   #27
Chris Birke
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Re: Competition in Aikido

"I guess what I'm trying to say is opinions are just that OPINIONS. "

This is a nice sentiment, but it doesn't really reflect reality. Everyone is entitled to speak their own opinion for that is freedom of speech. Not everyones opinion is correct. My opinion may be that 2 plus 2 equals 5, and in that I'd be wrong.

Sorry, but I get annoyed with "lets agree to disagree" as a means of ending discussion.

In other news, best to not address arguments by their creator - instead simply address the argument itself.

As to competition - it's addictive. That's a quality I'm not sure anyone has pointed out.
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Old 02-11-2005, 05:47 PM   #28
L. Camejo
 
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Re: Competition in Aikido

Quote:
Wynand van Dyk wrote:
Not having competitions is almost a point of pride in some Aikido institutions, what nonsense, how better to curb the growth of an ego than with a good butt-kicking now and then. The flipside to this argument is that Aikido is not competitive - sure, so just take part in the competitions without being competitive, its easy, you cancel the pyro guys who want to install fireworks around the mat for your "entry", you put a sensible pair of pants and shirt on, you give the audience their money back and tell them to go home and you go on and test yourself in honesty and humility against another Aikidoka.
Not a bad idea Wynand, except that the concept of "testing" is taken by many to mean "fighting", "getting an ego trip" or (God forbid) "being aggressive" - things that I hear are very "un-aiki" (whatever that means). As such they prefer the safety of the (often delusional) "assumption" that they are effective at what they do and don't need to test it. To these folks I really hope for their own sakes that they are correct in what they believe. It's part of why they are also met with shock and then severe pain and humiliation when they venture into other practicality-based styles with this attitude. In my world, better to honestly test something to the point of failure so that it can be made better each time. In competition this applies to one's inner fortitude, strength of will, ability to overcome weakness, perseverance, as well as physical challenges. Wasn't it Ueshiba M. who said something about constantly forging the warrior spirit through serious training? It would be nice if we had some of his quotes from earlier on during the hell dojo days and when he had just left Takeda S.

Quote:
Wynand van Dyk wrote:
In Aikido, because of the lack of competition in most schools, there is no official "pecking-order" based off of skill, often this manifests as a competition for who can brown-nose sensei the most, who stays the latest and practices the "hardest" etc... The lack of clearly defined skill levels between ranks often comes up in the much maligned passive-aggressive behaviour of Aikidoka. There is no need for this kind of behaviour in a truly "non competitive art"
Yeah I've experienced this sort of passive-aggressive behaviour too and tend to laugh internally every time. I feel sorry for those sorts, well maybe just a little anyway. Being competitive is part of the nature of many human beings (more than most will ever admit) and wherever there are human beings there is always some sort of a hierarchy being developed, even if subtly hinted at and not solid enough to pin down. If it does not appear in the technical/skill level area it shows up in the brown nosing, the one who gives the most time, most money, buys the most beer etc. To be honest though Wynand, if Aikido hierarchies were to be defined by skill level in "effective technique" then many current instructors in many styles will be knocked to places in the ladder that their ego may be unable to handle. So as they say - "Let's not go there".

Quote:
Wynand van Dyk wrote:
People often bring up that old chestnut of osensei whereby he declares competition absolutely verboten and taboo. I am utterly and completely convinced that osensei's notion of competition has nothing to do with "sparring" or "randori" and everything todo with the behaviours described in the previous paragraph.
To quote Tomiki K. "Those who understand, understand perfectly." If this sort of objective testing of your abilities is what you truly seek then I'd say make your way quickly to a Shodokan dojo. If you are not getting this experience in your current dojo an idea may be to take up someone with some very good ukemi skills who you trust and the 2 of you agree to go at it with some limitations at first and then opening up a bit as you learn more about each other's abilities. Some good guides to the method can be found in "Aikido: Tradition and the Competitive Edge" and "Aikido and Randori".

Hope this helps. Happy training.
LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
http://www.tntaikido.org
http://www.mushinkan.ca
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Old 02-11-2005, 07:21 PM   #29
Alvin H. Nagasawa
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Re: Competition in Aikido

IMPO, Competition in Aikido is between your Sempai & Kohai's. There is always a test of ability and ego in any form of MA. The younger and stronger individuals are always testing there abilitys. If they wish to they should do it after there normal class. But one has to weight the libality for there action. If anyone who has gotten hurt or injured. One will suffer the result of there actions while they are in the dojo. This is the reason why Aikido is a non-competetive martial art form. And is practiced or permitted in most dojo's. I'm sure that the founder must have taken this into consideration when lableing it so.
If one wants to compete with the ultamate individual challange yourself. Train your self to be a better person. Learn compassion, Know how to control your emotion. You are the biggest challange to overcome. Start from this point first, before you go and challange anyone else.

Lone Wolf of San Jose
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Old 02-11-2005, 11:52 PM   #30
maikerus
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Re: Competition in Aikido

Who has been thrown fantastically and gotten up and said "show me how to do that" with a huge grin on their face? I have, many a time.

If I was the one being asked and I knew that I was going to face this person who was asking in competition at some point in the future...I'm not sure I could bring myself to show them something that they could use to defeat me.

There you go. My ego to protect my chances in a competition. So much for letting my cup floweth over and give all I know to you, free of charge because 'tis a wonderful thing we are studying here.

Just a thought...perhaps even a sobering thought...and probably more a reflection on my lack of character than anything else <sigh>

--Michael

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 02-13-2005, 06:30 PM   #31
Zato Ichi
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Re: Competition in Aikido

As an avowed ShodoThug, I find it really funny that a lot of my fellow thugs get so bent out of shape when someone attacks competition... as Larry quoteed above:
Quote:
Tomiki Kenji wrote:
Those who understand, understand perfectly.
Also, think the entire competition thing has been blown out of proportion by the more ignorant: I suspect that a lot of people hear the word competition and get an image of huge, muscle bound jocks with huge egos and tiny brains just itching to get a good, hard clothesline... er... aigamaeate off on the nearest uke.

Okay, in my case that's true, but most shodothugs are more civilized.

Randori geiko is not a major part of training at honbu (bear in mind, this is honbu... other dojo may vary). Hell, it's fairly uncommon when we do kakari geiko or hikitake geiko. There is only one randori class a week, and even then, randori geiko is very rare (and then restricted to the upper grades, usually starting around nikkyu).

But, I suppose, to those adamantly against competition, my point is moo.

Like a cow's opinion. It just doesn't matter.

It's moo.

(Yes, I've been watching Friends reruns, okay? )
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Old 02-13-2005, 06:35 PM   #32
PeterR
 
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Re: Competition in Aikido

Quote:
R. Haruo Hori wrote:
It's moo.
So who's going to get the pun.

Finger ok yet. We had the new Honbu member Joe down for the week-end. You are next - yes?

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 02-13-2005, 10:29 PM   #33
xuzen
 
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Re: Competition in Aikido

To compete or not to compete, that is the eternal question eh?

Dear fellow practitioners,

The above question will never be fully answered simply because there are just so many of us with varied opinions and reason for doing aikido.

Having said that... you wanna compete? Do Yoseikan or Shodokan.

You wanna do it as a health giving stress reliever? Do Ki Aikido.

You want some practical stuff that even some elite cops are learning as part of their curriculum? Do Yoshinkan. But then if you only know what sort of hellish training they go through to be effective...the price to pay in order to be effective. Even these guys don't compete, and they are sure hell of tough guys and probably they know it too without competing; furthermore their chosen profession may demand such skills.

Having said that...pls bear with me for my opinion.

I come from Yoshinkan background and competition is never part of our syllabus. Let me put it this way... For example in Medical school, students learn the skills of medicine to do a job/vocation. They learn how to perform surgery, how to diagnose a illness or what prescription to give out for a illness. I doubt there is ever any medical competition that says:
"Look here kiddo, we are judging your capability by having you compete with all your classmates on how fast you can stitch this dummy corpse".

You simply learn how to do a specific job (technique), then proceed to be graded by your professor (sensei). Competition may denote play and games which if taken as it is, it is fine, but to equate competition as a measure of effectiveness may be myopic.

I learn a technique, understand its fundamental then its purpose (riai). Then I repeat this learning process again until I am good enough to do it without using my conscious mind. How do I know if I am good and effective? When I grin with delight after throwing and immobilize someone 50 percent heavier, someone 50 percent taller than me in jiyu waza.

Boon.

SHOMEN-ATE (TM), the solution to 90% of aikido and life's problems.
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Old 02-13-2005, 10:58 PM   #34
PeterR
 
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Re: Competition in Aikido

Boon;

Medical practitioners test their technique all the time - screw up and you'll know soon enough.

Competition is not a measure of effectiveness but it is a measure of several aspects of effectiveness. Far closer than none at all. I would not read so much into the riot police course - as I understand it it is an option that a few choose to do. The effectiveness of Aikido in their line of work would not actually come from the Aikido training per se but by being put in situations where it could be used - again testing under pressure. They don't dump a rookie too deeply into the brown stuff. At the moment he stopped but my teacher used to teach the Osaka police and I understand they still train Shodokan derived Aikido techniques. I say the same thing in this case. Curiously you can not buy the Shodokan tantos in Budo shops as it is considered reserved for police training but I digress.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 02-13-2005, 11:34 PM   #35
maikerus
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Re: Competition in Aikido

I had a conversation about competition in Judo the other day with an Olympic Judo coach and one of the things that he said that was very interesting is that Judo had to evolve because of competition. It turns out that techniques were brought in from other forms of martial arts that could be used in Judo competition, so not only did Judo competitors need to learn these "newly introduced techniques" but also defenses against them had to be created.

It was an interesting conversation.

cheers,

--Michael

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 02-14-2005, 04:13 AM   #36
deepsoup
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Re: Competition in Aikido

Quote:
Xu Wenfung wrote:
Having said that... you wanna compete? Do Yoseikan or Shodokan.
You wanna do it as a health giving stress reliever? Do Ki Aikido.
Unless you wanna compete in a Taigi competition.
(Or relieve your stress with some nice vigorous tanto randori.)


Sean
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Old 02-14-2005, 04:21 AM   #37
Amir Krause
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Re: Competition in Aikido

Quote:
Michael Stuempel wrote:
I had a conversation about competition in Judo the other day with an Olympic Judo coach and one of the things that he said that was very interesting is that Judo had to evolve because of competition. It turns out that techniques were brought in from other forms of martial arts that could be used in Judo competition, so not only did Judo competitors need to learn these "newly introduced techniques" but also defenses against them had to be created.

It was an interesting conversation.

cheers,

--Michael
I have often heard of the opposite thing - many techniques were removed since they proved too dangerous for competition. Most of these techniques are not being trained at all by most Judo practitioners, since the competition takes the focus of this M.A.

A competition can be used as another teaching method that enhances the study of the M.A. and gives the students another opportunity to learn. Yet, such a measure will always be inferior to learning with several Uke who are better then you and correspond their responses to Tori in a manner that forces you to improve. It is the lack of such Uke at mid-high levels that can be replaced by competition, and then, one must be wary of the competition becoming the focus of the M.A. and hiding everything else.


Amir
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Old 02-14-2005, 04:28 AM   #38
happysod
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Re: Competition in Aikido

Quote:
Or relieve your stress with some nice vigorous tanto randori
now now, while there's no competition per ce, I object to the idea that we're not vigorous in our practice. Ki aikido <> tai chi speed practice, we just take a slightly different approach, lets not degenerate into style bashing please.
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Old 02-14-2005, 07:51 AM   #39
rob_liberti
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Re: Competition in Aikido

Quote:
Michael Stuempel wrote:
Who has been thrown fantastically and gotten up and said "show me how to do that" with a huge grin on their face? I have, many a time.

If I was the one being asked and I knew that I was going to face this person who was asking in competition at some point in the future...I'm not sure I could bring myself to show them something that they could use to defeat me.

There you go. My ego to protect my chances in a competition.
That was a really great point. This speaks to the extreme idea of the over-all feeling has to be cooperation towards a goal or goals.

The idea of things getting taken out to make the competition more safe is another con of too much competition.

The idea of competition being addictive is new to me. I didn't know that. (I do not yet believe that to be true. Can you convince me?)

I do see a great value in constantly testing yourself and raising the level or practice (the warriror's spirit, etc.). I think the question I have is something like: Are your internal reasons consistent with the philosophy of the art you are practicing? If I do something because I want to win, is that really budo or just sport? However, if I get involved in some budo-like sport with the overall goal of improving my budo, is that a much better goal?

I agree, that there are many people out there who just should never have accepted the high ranks they have given their inability to perform basic techniques on the average uke 3 or 4 ranks lower than them. That is terrible. Promoting based on loyalty instead of merit simply builds large but poor aikido organizations with the bar set a bit low - in my opinion.

Rob
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Old 02-14-2005, 09:31 AM   #40
Yann Golanski
 
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Re: Competition in Aikido

It is good to see that a simple word such as "competition" is taken so much out of context. It is even better to see that people who claim to practice an art focusing on harmony refuse to listen to the arguments of others. It is so nice to see Aikido applied to this conversation...

If I may humbly suggest a few things that you may find useful:
1. Read papers and books by Kano-sensei and Tomiki-sensei as to why they added an element of competition to thier art.
2. Read the reasons for randori training in Shodokan Aikido and in Ki Aikido -- there maybe other styles/branches/flavours that use competition, those are the two I know of.
3. Train at a Shodokan dojo and see for yourself what randori and embu look like.

Once you have done at least two of the three above, I feel you will be in a much better possition to criticise Aikido competition. Of course, if you already know the one true way, then I am just a heretic and you can flame me as much as you want.

"Those who understand, understand perfectly" -- Tomiki shihan.

The people who understand, understand prefectly.
yann@york-aikido.org York Shodokan Aikido
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Old 02-14-2005, 09:36 AM   #41
darin
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Re: Competition in Aikido

Quote:
Xu Wenfung wrote:

Having said that... you wanna compete? Do Yoseikan or Shodokan.

You wanna do it as a health giving stress reliever? Do Ki Aikido.

You want some practical stuff that even some elite cops are learning as part of their curriculum? Do Yoshinkan. But then if you only know what sort of hellish training they go through to be effective...the price to pay in order to be effective. Even these guys don't compete, and they are sure hell of tough guys and probably they know it too without competing; furthermore their chosen profession may demand such skills. .
I wonder how good that Tokyo Riot course is. Yoshinkan has some nice techniques but would you want to learn from Japanese cops? Have you ever been to Japan? Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.

I think Yoshinkan and Aikikai can have competitions for kata or best demonstration like in Shorinji Kempo.
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Old 02-14-2005, 09:40 AM   #42
darin
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Re: Competition in Aikido

Quote:
Michael Stuempel wrote:
I had a conversation about competition in Judo the other day with an Olympic Judo coach and one of the things that he said that was very interesting is that Judo had to evolve because of competition. It turns out that techniques were brought in from other forms of martial arts that could be used in Judo competition, so not only did Judo competitors need to learn these "newly introduced techniques" but also defenses against them had to be created.

It was an interesting conversation.

cheers,

--Michael
Yeah and judo guys have been winning K-1/Pride matches in Japan. I watched the judo gold medalist Yoshida defeat some BJJ guys pretty easily.
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Old 02-14-2005, 09:47 AM   #43
akiy
 
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Re: Competition in Aikido

By the way, Wynand, now that there have been a few dozen replies to your question, what are your thoughts now? Do you have any responses to what people have written so far?

-- Jun

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Old 02-14-2005, 10:31 AM   #44
paw
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Re: Competition in Aikido

Quote:
Darin Hyde wrote:
Yeah and judo guys have been winning K-1/Pride matches in Japan. I watched the judo gold medalist Yoshida defeat some BJJ guys pretty easily.
What fight were you watching? Yoshida has a very, very contriversial win against Royce Gracie. Royce beat Yoshida bloody in the rematch. I don't believe Yoshida has fought any other bjj'er, unless you count Vanderlei Silva who also beat Yoshida.


Regards,

Paul
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Old 02-14-2005, 10:34 AM   #45
rob_liberti
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Re: Competition in Aikido

Yann,

I assume you've done all three of your suggestions. Would you be willing to share your knowledge by explaining the context of competition and adding your opinions of the pros and cons of competition/cooperation? I don't know who you were refering to but I for one don't have time to go do everything to form all of my opinions from frist hand knowledge - SO I JOINED A FORUM - so that other people with different ideas and experiences can share knowledge with me.

I assume you know and apparently you know _perfectly_ so hopefully it should be too much work to explain it a little better...

Rob

Last edited by rob_liberti : 02-14-2005 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 02-14-2005, 10:41 AM   #46
Roy Dean
 
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Re: Competition in Aikido

Darin,

Are you sure about Yoshida defeating some BJJ guys pretty easily? His record is still relatively short, with wins over Don Frye, Masaaki Satake, Kiyoshi Tamura, and Mark Hunt. He's lost to Vanderlei Silva, and most recently to Olympic Wrestling Gold Medalist Rulon Gardner in the last Pride. The only BJJ stylist he fought was Royce Gracie, twice: once winning by controversial referee stoppage, the second time to an official draw, although most that viewed the fight agree that Royce dominated, even if he didn't get the tap.

In the last K-1, one of the Judo stylists won by a beautiful armbar, so beautiful, in fact, that I think it may have been a work (thrown fight). Worked fights DO HAPPEN, especially in Japan. Viewers beware.


Sincerely,

Roy Dean
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Old 02-14-2005, 11:45 AM   #47
jonreading
 
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Re: Competition in Aikido

My take on competition is:

Competition is a game with rules. It is a great way to physically test your skills and technical knowledge of fighting. The rules ensure fairness and safety. I love competition: I played baseball, football and golf, and I love greco-roman wrestling (sans spandex of course). I enjoy boxing and judo matches where you can see the technical aspects of the sport. But I believe that real aikido does not have a place in competition. Does that mean Aikido can't have competition? No. But it does mean that what you train on the mat cannot appear in competition without risking serious injury. Which leaves us with versions of Aikido that can be applied in competition. Here's why:

1. Rules establish victory definitively within a competition; you cannot define victory in competition subjectively because there will always be defiance from one of the parties. I was watching a UFC match highlights DVD and watched a competition where an arm-bar was applied and locked, but the competitor refused to yield. The arm was subsequently broken just below the elbow (great footage, by the way) and the ref called the match. The losing competitor actually protested the match and wanted to continue fighting - he even denied that his arm was broken.

2. Competition relies on parties to compete against each other. Most everyone will concede that Aikido happens when two forces cooperate to realize the fullfillment of technique; when cooperation is coerced, you still do aikido, but the results are not as pretty. Competition is not cooperation, so the result is brutal technique that invites injury. My instructor used to say, "it doesn't matter what you do, my fist will go here; the question is do you want to do aikido or not?"

Competition is a great way to learn technical apsects of Aikido and to understand what a fight is. There are some aikido systems out there that apply competition, and they have rules to govern them. I do not think there's anything wrong with those systems, as long as they understand competition is simulated combat. There are some systems that do not have competition. There is nothing wrong with that either, as long as they understand that mat training is not combat.

In Aikido, I believe you compete with yourself spiritually to understand dominance and prowess. You learn to recognize superior skill and give it proper consideration without defiance, and you rely on others to do the same. I think that is why many senior aikido people don't think twice about a challenge to their skill; if you aren't good enough to know they are superior, proving it to you isn't to resolve your problem. We learn Aikido by observation, and hopefully you will learn to recognize superiority by observation as well.

To be sure, their are some frauds that exist because it is difficult to prove their inability without competition, but there are also frauds that exist because they have inflated their image with competition. Either way, as long as you know they are frauds, and take steps to protect yourself and your students from those frauds, does it matter where their fraud lies?
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Old 02-14-2005, 04:21 PM   #48
Bronson
 
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Re: Competition in Aikido

Quick question for the Shodokan folks. In the Shodokan system can you rise in rank strictly from winning in shiai?

This is something I've wondered about while watching the judo people practice. I'm pretty sure some of them rose in rank strictly due to their performance in shiai. They move up the ladder without having to learn/demonstrate the other aspects of the art, like kata, and their training often focuses on what will work at tournaments.

I think I remember you (the Shodokan folks) saying that in your system these other aspects are still required for advancement, but I wasn't sure...hence the question.

I guess what I'm getting at in my meandering sort of way is that if there is no advancement in status to be gained through shiai the chances of limiting the art to only those aspects that affect shiai would seem to be reduced.

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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Old 02-14-2005, 04:54 PM   #49
mj
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Re: Competition in Aikido

http://homepage2.nifty.com/shodokan/en/shinsa.html
Here is the basic syllabus

As you can see, randori forms only appear in at the 1st, 2nd and 3rd dan stages. Even though training in them starts at the low kyu grades (as a method of teaching).

A short explanation of the 3 forms of randori:

kakari - no resistance, uke goes over for just about anything
hikitate - not much resistance but uke will only go down if the technique is reasonably effective
randori - bring it on, uke will feint, deceive, move as fast as possible, avoid, string lots of attacks and so on, and can counter (can be tanto or hand attacks)

however, silly as it seems to mention it..even in the relatively stress free kakari-geiko...uke will attack with pace and power.

I have only a few years experience in Shotokan....others more mature than me will be able to more directly answer your question.

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Old 02-14-2005, 04:56 PM   #50
mj
Location: livingston, scotland
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 715
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Re: Competition in Aikido

oops

I did not address your shiai question.

No...shiai is not a part of the grading syllabus afaik.

Part of the communication breakdown that appears to be happening in parts of this thread is probably to do with the difference between randori and shiai.

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