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Old 05-24-2005, 12:07 PM   #26
Michael Neal
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Re: Aikido Works

Kevin, but Aikido already has randori. All I am advocating is more of it. Maybe 15 minutes at the end of each class, it can be as simple as one on one light randori where uke throws random strikes and Nage has to react with technique. the technique may be sloppy at times but the only way to make it better is more practice under these kind of conditions.

Is just my point of view, I am pretty sure that most Aikido instructors already have a way of teaching and will not change on my account. I suppose that I should seek out a Tomiki school if I am ever interested in taking up Aikido again, unfortunatley there are none around.

Last edited by Michael Neal : 05-24-2005 at 12:11 PM.
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Old 05-24-2005, 12:17 PM   #27
Michael Neal
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Re: Aikido Works

The thing is that these techniques I used on the Judo student were done after asking him to attack me with an overhead strike and a punch to the stomach, I knew what was coming, I doubt I would have had as much success if it were more like randori.

If I could pull them off in randori then I would be alot more confident in those skills. That is the point of randori, to build confidence in your techniques against non compliant people.
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Old 05-24-2005, 12:35 PM   #28
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Aikido Works

Michael,

Of course aikido has randori. Certainly I appreciate your view point. Keep in mind also that I a pro randori for my own training, but certainly appreciate now at this stage of my life why it seems to be limited somewhat in aikido.

If I were an instructor working with students I just spent an hour trying to "undo" years of "forcing" and "rigid stress" only to once again end class putting it back in.

I think in aikido you have to slowly build up to randori sort of like (i hate this term, but will use it anyway) "dancing" slowly until you have good posture/control, then you increase the pace until you can sustain that posture and control at faster and faster speeds.

I know in Aikido of Northern VA Jimmy encourages agressive and forceful technique when running a normal class. I can tell you that with the Yudansha I hold nothing back on them within the confines of the principle or technique that we are working on. I walk the line between taking it back from them and will if they are sloppy. Jimmy never had a problem with that as long as you had good technique and posture etc. He'd slow you down only if you were doing it wrong.

Just about every class, prior to starting that Min was around or some of the other Yudansha, we'd work on freestyle randori, I was never told to stop doing that. Same up at Takoma Park. You just had to be responsble and have the right context. It was never "grappling" though, nor should it degrade to the point of formless struggle.

Okay, back from my digression....

I think, however, that the average beginner, of which most of our classes composed say 70% of simply had no good martial basis for performing randori or freestyle aikido, therefore, we tended not to encourage it since it would be pointless and lost on them. (Maybe Jimmy or someone else will correct me if I made a wrong assumption!)
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Old 05-24-2005, 12:44 PM   #29
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Aikido Works

[quote=
If I could pull them off in randori then I would be alot more confident in those skills. That is the point of randori, to build confidence in your techniques against non compliant people.[/QUOTE]

I know exactly how you feel. I think most aikidoka probably feel this way. Aikido is definitly a tricky bird to figure out!

Bob Galeone used to tell me that you weren't going to do a technique on someone that did not want you to do it. This happens alot in irimi nage with beginners. After they have you break their balance they will start trying to circumvent the technique by bending forward at the waist. It is frustrating if you have experience because you know that they set themselves up for all kinds of other nasty stuff that you are not allowed to do within the parameters of iriminage such as strikes to back of the head, kicks and shoves etc.

So I think you have to narrowly define "non compliant" somewhat, which Michael, I think you certainly understand. (not meaning to patronize you in anyway).

Maybe I am wrong, but if you emphasized "non-compliance" or "reality" or combat based in the art you just went from "DO" which is really about teaching the "way" to "SU" which is effectiveness. Therefore, you would have Aikijutsu.

I agree, there is certainly validity in both the DO and the SU. How you strike a balance in AIkido I do not know. For myself, I have sought out two avenues, one involving traditional aikido study, the other hardcore MMA training with my Army units.
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Old 05-24-2005, 01:18 PM   #30
Michael Neal
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Re: Aikido Works

I agree, but the problem I had was a handful of people that went completely counter to that and constantly whined when you tried to apply things aggressively, and they were not all from the 70% beginner pool as you mentioned above. For example: There was an Ikkyu who could not take a breakfall from seionage and another similar rank who constantly corrected me to apply my technique in an unrealistic manner. However, as I remember these students did tranfer from other schools and I will not blame their training in any way on ANV.

I know Jim was often amused and took interest whenever someone did something like a Judo throw or was aggressive in application, he never discouraged it so long (as you said above) it was done with control and good form. He was completely open minded in my view. He would laugh when two students would start wrestling on the mat before or after class. I have never blamed my outlook on Aikido on Jim or ANV in general, I believe the class was polluted by too many people who wanted to be comfortable when they practiced a martial art and did not want to push their limits, again not the fault of the instruction, Jim was always trying to break that attitude.

When I started Judo I came the realization quick that many of these people would not last very long in a Judo class and that Judo in general filtered out this kind of attitude because of the constant randori. There were and still are many great people at ANV but I felt unchallenged alot when practicing with the people who were not serious about their training.

I was also annoyed at having to always be super careful because some were afraid to take a breakfall from a simple shoulder or hip throw. The way I would remedy that is making the abilty to take a relatively hard breakfall from koshinage a requiremnt for promtion to 4th kyu or above. There is no excuse in my view to be 4th kyu or above and to be afraid of breakfalls.

But I loved ANV despite of those things, but unfortunately I think I probably have pissed off too many people there with my internet ramblings and it would be sort of akward to show up there.

Last edited by Michael Neal : 05-24-2005 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 05-24-2005, 01:32 PM   #31
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido Works

Why would you want someone afraid to take such a throw to take one?

Did you let your partner know in advance what YOUR objectives were BEFORE throwing them in ways they weren't used to?

Why would you be throwing a person with a judo throw in an aikido class *in regular training*, outside of randori?

Judo has a 3 step practice, kuzushi, tsukuri, kake...why didn't you do the balance break and the fitting in without the throw to let people know about openings rather than throw people in ways they weren't compfortable with?

No offense, these are just some of the questions that came to mind when reading your last post. A lot of people wouldn't last very long in some judo classes...a lot of people wouldn't last very long in the shotokan dojo I trained in in Kenya...so what? That art isn't for them maybe...

Best,
Ron (not that I can't and don't sometimes feel your frustration)

Ron Tisdale
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Old 05-24-2005, 01:47 PM   #32
Michael Neal
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Re: Aikido Works

Quote:
Did you let your partner know in advance what YOUR objectives were BEFORE throwing them in ways they weren't used to?
It was mostly during freestlye practice before or after class but also invloved simple koshinage throws during Aikido pratice. One unfortunate incident I can remember was during in class koshinage practice, I threw a 4th kyu with koshinage (very carefully I might add) and they ended up breaking or spraining their wrist. I felt terrible but I did nothing wrong, they should have been able to take that fall.

Quote:
Why would you be throwing a person with a judo throw in an aikido class *in regular training*, outside of randori?
Most Judo throws as far as I can tell are in Aikido as well, they just aren't practiced as much. Seionage is included in the koshinage repetoire as far as I know. It should not matter anyway when practicing with an Ikkyu, they should be able to take the fall, period. I did not all of the sudden start throwing people unexpectedly with Judo throws, it was only when people wanted to get rough and mix it up a little, they would put me in a headlock (a non Aikido technique) and i would respond with say, tai otoshi for example.

Quote:
Judo has a 3 step practice, kuzushi, tsukuri, kake...why didn't you do the balance break and the fitting in without the throw to let people know about openings rather than throw people in ways they weren't compfortable with?
It wasn't just me doing Judo on them, I only did that with higher ranks, it was normal Aikido that was frustrating for the most part.
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Old 05-24-2005, 01:56 PM   #33
Michael Neal
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Re: Aikido Works

But I can understand some of the fear of breakfalls, those mats were hard as hell.
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Old 05-24-2005, 02:22 PM   #34
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Re: Aikido Works

Michael,

I don't think you'd have any problem at the dojo to be quite honest (although I am not around there these days!). I think most people like Jimmy can appreciate your candor and honesty. Certainly it speaks highly of you to want to push yourself and train hard. I think being critical is okay, you should be critical and question. Where you cross the line is being disrepectful, and I never have seen you be disrespectful. I believe there is a big difference from being critical and disagreeing with being disrespectful.

I don't think anyone who is serious about martial arts and training has not had your thoughts. I certainly have and share many of them.

Aikido certainly leaves room for the warm and fuzzy crowd and whiners. You know they are actually everywhere. I had them when I was in Basic training, OCS, Airborne School, and Ranger School. I have seen them in SF and Ranger Battalion....they are everywhere. Define it as mediocrity. Statistically life is a bell curve.

I know where you are coming from, and certainly I respect you wanting to train with people that want to train hard. There is nothing like hanging out with a bunch of guys that train till they puke and the weak not need apply.

That said, I have also found that it is important to seek out the "nuggets" that are out there too and sometimes they show up in the darnest places.

If ANV or AIkido in general is not for you...does not validate or invalidate it....simply means it doesn't meet your objectives...no need to appologize.

I'm going to make an assumption (sorry). I think one reason you come back here, as well as I do...is that you find that aikido people tend to be somewhat more intellectually or philosophically oriented as martial artist and the mental "sparring" or randori that you get is as important to development as a martial artist as the physical. To me, this is one of the greatest benefits of aikido...in developing your mind and connecting it to your body.

If that is ALL you get out of aikido, sans learning techniques, I would say it is a worthwile pursuit!
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Old 05-24-2005, 02:32 PM   #35
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido Works

Thanks for the response Michael. Yeah, sounds like you needed to find a home more suited to your needs. Hey, as a not active enough 43 year old wannabe, you'd probably be too much for me too!

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 05-24-2005, 06:50 PM   #36
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Re: Aikido Works

Quote:
Michael Neal wrote:
But I can understand some of the fear of breakfalls, those mats were hard as hell.
Well if its the place I remember they weren't even Judo mats. Not to sure I would want to do Judo or Shodokan randori on them.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-24-2005, 11:11 PM   #37
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Re: Aikido Works

Quote:
Mitch Kuntz wrote:
.... I don't need to do randori at this stage because if thats all I did I wouldn't be learning how to do proper technique...I'd just be reinforcing my old ways that rely on too much power .....
Yes, your goal would be to apply Aikido's principles to that situation, so you'd have to be on your way to having them internalized so as you paly with them and not the other things in your aresenal. Doing that without your sensei finding out and getting mad at you is your problem.

(Personally I have a soft spot in my heart for "traditional" Aikido because that's what I'm back into, but I'm mellow.)
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Old 05-24-2005, 11:14 PM   #38
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Re: Aikido Works

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
I think you do have to be very cautious not to reinforce bad habits in aikido. The dynamic is slightly different from judo or bjj, IMHO.
By sheer coincidence, my Aikido teacher has been mentioning the differing theoretical underpinnings of Aikido and Judo techniques. Some things may look similar, but they are not. So shifting from one structure to another when you don't have both down is probably a bad idea.
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Old 05-24-2005, 11:25 PM   #39
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Re: Aikido Works

Quote:
Michael Neal wrote:
Kevin, but Aikido already has randori. All I am advocating is more of it. Maybe 15 minutes at the end of each class .....
The first thought that popped into my head was the logisitics of finding the time in the dojo I go to. After half an hour warm up, we do techniques for the hour. And when there's a good crowd and sensei floats from group to group, we can end up doing the same thing for 25 minutes. Cramming in 15 minute of randori would be difficult to say the least.

I've seen upper ranking people do randori on pretests, but I don't know how long it takes to get up to that stage.
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Old 05-24-2005, 11:33 PM   #40
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Re: Aikido Works

I think its a fallacy that doing randori will lock your technique into muscling. The key is balance between randori (at different levels of resistance) and kata. In randori you don't always go full out (I'm going to make you eat mat big boy) but you experiment with degrees of softness and power, techniques which work well for you mixed in with techniques that just aren't there yet and the timing for both.

Randori isn't about win or loose its to figure out how to get techniques to work in a chaotic resistive setting not to mention that rush when you get it to work.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-24-2005, 11:56 PM   #41
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Re: Aikido Works

Quote:
Michael Neal wrote:
Most Judo throws as far as I can tell are in Aikido as well, they just aren't practiced as much. Seionage is included in the koshinage repetoire as far as I know ....
It may not be exactly the same, though, as the theoreitcal underpinnings of the techniques are slightly different. And I saw a higher ranking student have trouble getting the hang of the Koshi Nage breakfall, so it's not the easiest thing to learn. If Seionage is harder than koshi nage on top of that, then that would not be a pleasant experience for someone on the receiving end.

You have to take the abilities and safety of your partners into account. If they can handle it and consent to doing it, fine. Otherwise, I think you should pull back.
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Old 05-25-2005, 01:25 AM   #42
Bronson
 
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Re: Aikido Works

Quote:
Michael Neal wrote:
...you can do randori and focus on technique, you just have to put your ego aside.
Quote:
Michael Neal wrote:
the problem I had was a handful of people that went completely counter to that and constantly whined when you tried to apply things aggressively, and they were not all from the 70% beginner pool as you mentioned above. For example: There was an Ikkyu who could not take a breakfall from seionage and another similar rank who constantly corrected me to apply my technique in an unrealistic manner.
You can also do techniques on those who don't want to go full out...you just have to put your ego aside.

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 05-25-2005, 07:15 AM   #43
Michael Neal
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Re: Aikido Works

Quote:
Thanks for the response Michael. Yeah, sounds like you needed to find a home more suited to your needs. Hey, as a not active enough 43 year old wannabe, you'd probably be too much for me too
I don't know if I am too much for you, I just like to practice hard. If it is any indication to you of how I practice, even the lower belts in judo tend to gravitate away from me when it come time for randori or even throwing practice.

Quote:
The first thought that popped into my head was the logisitics of finding the time in the dojo I go to. After half an hour warm up, we do techniques for the hour. And when there's a good crowd and sensei floats from group to group, we can end up doing the same thing for 25 minutes. Cramming in 15 minute of randori would be difficult to say the least.

I've seen upper ranking people do randori on pretests, but I don't know how long it takes to get up to that stage.
Well my response to that is take some time from training techniques and do more randori.

Quote:
It may not be exactly the same, though, as the theoreitcal underpinnings of the techniques are slightly different. And I saw a higher ranking student have trouble getting the hang of the Koshi Nage breakfall, so it's not the easiest thing to learn. If Seionage is harder than koshi nage on top of that, then that would not be a pleasant experience for someone on the receiving end.

You have to take the abilities and safety of your partners into account. If they can handle it and consent to doing it, fine. Otherwise, I think you should pull back.
But that is exactly my problem, there shouldn't be any higher ranking students having problems with a koshinage breakfall, it is ridiculous.You should never get a higher rank without being able to take a fall. However, when I suprisingly learned that those students could not handle it i did not do it anymore, but that only confounded my frustration.

Quote:
You can also do techniques on those who don't want to go full out...you just have to put your ego aside.
But many of these same people had no problem going full out on me when it suited them. I did not go around smashing people unexpectedly with Judo throws, it was usually when a higer ranks wanted to play a little rough and I decided to oblige them.

At this point in time I only had a few months experience in Judo and I was just experimenting a little. there were plenty of people there that practiced hard as well and were quite competant at taking falls and putting up a scrap. I was not even close to being the person who practiced the hardest.


Quote:
I'm going to make an assumption (sorry). I think one reason you come back here, as well as I do...is that you find that aikido people tend to be somewhat more intellectually or philosophically oriented as martial artist and the mental "sparring" or randori that you get is as important to development as a martial artist as the physical. To me, this is one of the greatest benefits of aikido...in developing your mind and connecting it to your body.
I guess there is certainly some truth to that

Last edited by Michael Neal : 05-25-2005 at 07:23 AM.
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Old 05-25-2005, 07:45 AM   #44
Michael Neal
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Re: Aikido Works

Quote:
Thanks for the response Michael. Yeah, sounds like you needed to find a home more suited to your needs. Hey, as a not active enough 43 year old wannabe, you'd probably be too much for me too
Look I am no badass or anything, I train at a recreational Judo club and I probably just have average ability when compared to more competive clubs. There were plenty of people at ANV that had no problem with the way I practiced and trained harder and were more dedicated to training than me. I am just refering to a handful of people, there are actually a few of the same types in Judo that are getting on my nerves lately.

But one thing you will not find in judo is anyone beyond white belt who can't take a breakfall. it is an absolute requirememt and should be the same in Aikido.
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Old 05-25-2005, 03:40 PM   #45
CNYMike
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Re: Aikido Works

Quote:
Michael Neal wrote:
Well my response to that is take some time from training techniques and do more randori.
Point is if the time it takes to train techniques is a function of how long it takes sensei to help out everybody, then cutting that off to do randori ends up short-changing people.

Quote:
But that is exactly my problem, there shouldn't be any higher ranking students having problems with a koshinage breakfall .....
IIRC, the person in question may have been doing it for the very first time.

Quote:
it is ridiculous.You should never get a higher rank without being able to take a fall ....
Oh, really? Why? I don't know about ASU dojos like your old one (I peaked at the web site), but in the dojos I've been to, Koshi nage isn't the first technique new people learn. The Seidokan dojo I was in in the 1980s never got to things like it or aiki-otoshi, so I spent almost twenty years thinking Aikido didn't have those things! It's not listed at all in Best Aikido: The Fundamentals by O Sensei's son and grandson (although the Doshu' sequel does cover them). It appears to be something introduced at an "intermediate" level if you want to call it that. Judo, obviously, gets to hip throws sooner, and if they are harder than the Aikido version, then it makes sense that a senior Judo student would be better acquainted with those kind of falls than an Aikido student at the same level. This is because the two arts have different emphasis and different curricula. Neither is right or wrong, just different.

Oh, and BTW, I haven't seen hip throws in the grappling systems I've been introduced to as part of Kali. That doesn't mean they're not there, but I haven't seen them yet. And I've been doing Kali continuously for seven years.

Quote:
However, when I suprisingly learned that those students could not handle it i did not do it anymore ....
Good.
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Old 05-25-2005, 05:19 PM   #46
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Koshinage

I agree with Michael that koshinage is not necessarily a basic technique, wherever aikido is practiced.

Me, I have some "second thoughts" about it. It is pretty much a kokyunage with an obstacle (tori's hip), so why not skip the obstacle?

We still do some koshinage at my dojo, from time to time. Not much, but just so that the students get a bit familiar with it, since it is practiced in many other aikido dojos, seminars, and so on.

To get a really good ukemi for koshinage, it has to be practiced almost as much as is done in judo - and most aikido dojos would think that there is just not enough time for that, with everything else to learn in aikido.

A very prominent aikido shihan once told me that tobikoshi, hard fall, is for the young. When you get up in age, you should avoid doing it too much (or at all).

Stefan Stenudd
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Old 05-25-2005, 10:04 PM   #47
Bronson
 
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Re: Aikido Works

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
The Seidokan dojo I was in in the 1980s never got to things like it or aiki-otoshi
Kobayashi sensei removed koshinage (and other things) from the official Seidokan curriculum. As for breakfalls we practice them in my class but not at my Sensei's school. They just aren't needed for the majority of Seidokan techniques. I run my class through them because my students tend to travel to other places more and I want them to have at least a rudimentary ability with them.

I can understand Michael's frustration but I just can't agree with it. Different people train for different reasons and at different levels. That should be respected. When you find folks that want to train at the same intensity you do, ramp it up. When you are partnered with someone who doesn't want to go there bring it down and study the technique under slower, more controlled conditions. You can learn a lot doing both. In the end it's their training and if they are getting what they need/want from it who are we to say it's not good training.

Quote:
Michael Neal wrote:
But many of these same people had no problem going full out on me when it suited them.
That, I agree, would get on my nerves rather quickly. It'd be different if you asked to be thrown hard but if they just took it upon themselves to slam you but wouldn't let you train in kind when it was their turn to receive....not cool.

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 05-26-2005, 12:15 AM   #48
CNYMike
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Re: Aikido Works

Quote:
Bronson Diffin wrote:
Kobayashi sensei removed koshinage (and other things) from the official Seidokan curriculum ....
I was wondering if that was what had happened, but I didn't want to shoot my mouth off without knowing for sure.

As an aside, a couple of years after quitting Seidokan, I was taking karate in Bangor, ME and one night, my sensei had us do the setups for Judo throws. I remember lying across my partner's back, noticing that three feet can seem a long way to the ground, and I thought, I am so glad there was none of this stuff in Aikido. You go from being vertical to horizontal directly; none of this pick-him-up-and-dump-him garbage.

Fast forward to 2004, and I sat out for part of Aikido class because I thought my left shoulder had been tweaked during my attempts at forward ukemi. And that's when I saw koshi nage for the first time.

"Rude awakening" does not do justice to my feelings at that moment.

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Old 05-26-2005, 01:46 AM   #49
Bronson
 
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Dojo: Seiwa Dojo and Southside Dojo
Location: Battle Creek & Kalamazoo, MI
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Re: Aikido Works

Yeah, I consider myself lucky to have a sensei with a judo background. He'll show that stuff to those who want it but it doesn't normally make it into regular class.

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 05-26-2005, 08:35 AM   #50
Michael Neal
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Re: Aikido Works

Quote:
Oh, really? Why? I don't know about ASU dojos like your old one (I peaked at the web site), but in the dojos I've been to, Koshi nage isn't the first technique new people learn. The Seidokan dojo I was in in the 1980s never got to things like it or aiki-otoshi, so I spent almost twenty years thinking Aikido didn't have those things! It's not listed at all in Best Aikido: The Fundamentals by O Sensei's son and grandson (although the Doshu' sequel does cover them). It appears to be something introduced at an "intermediate" level if you want to call it that. Judo, obviously, gets to hip throws sooner, and if they are harder than the Aikido version, then it makes sense that a senior Judo student would be better acquainted with those kind of falls than an Aikido student at the same level. This is because the two arts have different emphasis and different curricula. Neither is right or wrong, just different.

Oh, and BTW, I haven't seen hip throws in the grappling systems I've been introduced to as part of Kali. That doesn't mean they're not there, but I haven't seen them yet. And I've been doing Kali continuously for seven years.
The basic hip throw is a fundemental basic technique in many martial arts, inluding Ju Jitsu, Judo, Brazilian jiu Jitsu, Karate, Aikido, TKD, etc. By telling me that koshinage is an advanced technique in Aikido does not give me any more confidence in Aikido, I mean Aikido generally prides itself in being an art that masters the art of ukemi. If they have not mastered the most basic form of ukemi, the breakfall, then I really don't know what to say.

Maybe this is just my opinion, and maybe I am a complete idiot who knows nothing about Aikido, maybe there are secrets that have been kept from me. But in my view there is no excuse for anyone above 4th kyu not to be able to do a breakfall from koshinage with confidence. it is a basic martial arts technique and an art from like Aikido that prides itself in having excellent and graceful ukemi should be ashamed of itself.
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