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Old 01-29-2006, 10:29 PM   #126
CNYMike
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
Wow, I didn't even know this thread resurrected itself from the archival abyss.
What, you're surprised that threads can come back?

How long have you been hanging around here?

Quote:
Many things are difficult in the beginning. However if you are doing it repeatedly and seeing no improvement then you have to ask yourself why aren't you evolving - is it something within yourself, is it the teacher or teaching method, is it something else? I can see your point, but to me one who truly seeks to evolve in the way will attempt to find, even invent ways to address one's own evolution so that what may be perceived as "advanced" will not always be beyond them and will one day become the simple.
Well, some things have been improving lately; I'm not exactly where I was when I got back into Aikido last year. But getting back on track here, way back in your first post, you said, "many Aikidoka appear to be clueless about how to achieve simple" [ittalicization mine] "tasks like maintaining one's footing and vertical posture in the face of a shoot or tackle ..... " I took the word "simple" to mean "basic." After I posted my last message, I thought, Wait a minute, if this is so basic, why isn't it in the basics? It's not. Defending against a shoot isn't in the basics of Aikijutus either, at least not according to The Hidden Roots of Aikido. I just flipped through a book I have on Judo and nothing like that is mentioned either. I know that there are grappling systems that deal with this very early, but Judo, Aikijutsu, and Aikido aren't three of them. If it's in your shcool's basics, great! Your students get a leg-up on them. But none of the dojos I've been in do that, and none of the sources I've read claims it is.

One of things I've been paying attention to as a result of Kali and Serak is how arts are put together. What's presented as the "basics" represents, in part, a value judgment by what people who founded/propogate the system consider important while at the same time easy enough for beginners to handle. That Aikido doesn't start off teaching you how to remain stable in the face of a tackle tells me one of 2 things:

1. It is not easy to do.

2. It is relatively easy, but it is not something Aikijutusu's and Aikido's founding fathers felt beginners had to know right away.

If "1" is the truth, then how can we complain about how "Aikidoka can't do this simple thing" when it's NOT simple? That's a straw man.

Quote:
..... All this means to me is that there are different approaches to learning and teaching and people focus on what they choose to focus on. My overall point is though, whatever you choose to focus on - be able to think critically and objectively gauge your development.
You remind me of that bumper sticker that says "Question authority!" And I always have the same thought when I see it: "Says who?"

I don't know if it's possible to "think objectively," because everything is "subjective." If you decide that an Aikido Shodan must be able to remain rock stable if someone tries to tackle him, that's not "objective;" that's a standard you've set.

To be honest, I'm not quite sure what your post is about. You ruled out the issue of whether Aikido works in self defense situations in your first post, so the question is .... what? How long it takes people to learn principles? Time. Whether they can handle something that is supposedly simple but not covered in several systems, including Aikido? Whether Aikido works outside the dojo? If it works is self defense situations -- and there are testimonials to that in another thread -- then the answer is "Yes." Whether higher students experiment? I've seen people doing thigns that might count as that. But that's not enough?

The answer is "42." What's the question?
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Old 01-29-2006, 11:41 PM   #127
Edwin Neal
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

i'm gonna get into this on another thread, but unfortunately over time things that were considered basic in that most students that came to aikido already had some knowledge of judo and jujutsu have been lost ie no longer included in the aikido curriculum of most schools/styles and new students that come into aikido haven't had that experience... with the deemphasis on competition and functional practical skills and more emphasis on more philosophical/spiritual aspects... the art has in my opinion degenerated... simply put I believe Osensei intended for aikido to be a equally both spiritual and functional, practical art physically that in spite of the "mystifiers" was fairly easy to learn physically, but took longer to develop the deeper more subtle spiritual/philosophical aspects... defense against a shoot/double leg takedown easy try Kaiten Nage... control the head, hook the arm, turn tenkan... some wrestlers i know call it a "pancake" simple defense against a simple attack... why isn't it taught in all dojo... EGO, misunderstanding/misrepresentation/misinterpretation of what aikido is ... its as simple as that... so for the serious aikidoka you have to experiment, cross train, or get lucky and find a teacher that will teach these things... or be pulled to the over mystical side and forget about functional skill for some higher deeper more sublime mastery or shooting ki from your fingers into death rays and such... it is sad but that is how things have degenerated... even the great roman empire decayed with time...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-30-2006, 06:04 AM   #128
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

Quote:
the art has in my opinion degenerated... simply put I believe Osensei intended for aikido to be a equally both spiritual and functional, practical art physically that in spite of the "mystifiers" was fairly easy to learn physically, but took longer to develop the deeper more subtle spiritual/philosophical aspects...
Yes!
I posted a blog about this central idea on Aikido Journal, Take the Budo out of Aikido and you have ballet, take the spiritual out you have modified ju-jutsu, take the kokyu out you have strength competition, take the Rei out you have sport. Aikido only becomes Aikido when the enigma of apparent opposites is resolved in the practitioner.

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Old 01-30-2006, 07:52 AM   #129
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

Good posts from Alec and Edwin imo.

Michael: Quick, stable, powerful, centred movement is a core principle of all Aikido - this is all that is necessary to deal with a shoot. Edwin gave one technical option. So I guess that knocks out your theory that it isn't taught in Aikido. If you need more clarification, google the words shizentai or mu gamae and see what you come up with. This is a central part of the core of Aikido's movement methodology, without this you have no structural foundation and everything else, no matter how pretty or "apparently" effective will fail. If you don't know how to stand properly, how can you know how to move properly?

What I am hearing from Michael is the same concept I alluded to earlier about the passive student. One must aim to see the principle behind the technique. it is often seen with students who can't handle a round punch even after having dealt with innumerable yokemen uchi attacks. They allow the change to take their centre instead of finding a way to adapt to the not so new pattern of movement.

In the end my post is about truly getting the most out of your training by deeply searching into the principles and not just sitting there, copying the sensei in "monkey see monkey do" manner and hoping that skill and understanding will come through osmosis or conduction.

As I also indicated in one of my earlier posts, this approach may not be for everyone as there are those who have no desire to actually evolve in their training but merely do it for exercise or some other value. There is nothing wrong with this, but it is important not to be delusional as to one's abilities at the same time. Again, this has nothing to do with self defence applicability, but honesty in one's understanding of Aikido and what one wants to achieve as a goal or final goal in that training.

Gambatte.
LC

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Old 01-30-2006, 12:07 PM   #130
Edwin Neal
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

good post larry i'm getting into the SD thing in another thread, but a lot of what we are saying here is applicable... does it necessarily take "many years" to be able to use aikido for SD... i think too many people over mystify aikido... the basic physical movements can be learned in a relatively short time, but deeper understanding and "gracefulness" come with more pratice... it is IMHO unfortunate for the art that so many have apparently missed the points that Alec and I seem to share from his post... aikido is equally both physical and spiritual... lose one and you lose both...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-30-2006, 02:35 PM   #131
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

Well said Edwin.

My point entirely. It is a balance. Too often we get caught up in the parts and miss the whole - like the blind men and the elephant.

LC

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Old 01-30-2006, 02:56 PM   #132
Edwin Neal
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

yep i like that story too, but to respond to the idea of the monkey see monkey do type student i have no problem with people who want to "do" aikido for fun or anything else... i just think it is a little dishonest and egotistical to say things like we don't do this or that in aikido, or it take soo long to learn/become functional as SD... i'm getting ready to read that thread on chokes which i'm sure at least some one will say is NOT aikido... Osensei said to take from other traditions and make them new and part of aikido... i believe this, ultimately all arts and techniques are "aikido"... he said he did not invent aikido but found it from his studies... shouldn't we do the same?

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-31-2006, 12:19 AM   #133
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
Good posts from Alec and Edwin imo.

Michael: Quick, stable, powerful, centred movement is a core principle of all Aikido - this is all that is necessary to deal with a shoot. Edwin gave one technical option. So I guess that knocks out your theory that it isn't taught in Aikido ....
Kaiten nage would have been my choice, too, although someone in another thread said it didn't work. In any event, none of the three dojos I have trained in, including the one I am in now, regualrly do it as a defense against a shoot. None of the books I have on Aikido, including both Best Aikido books, show it as a defense against a Shoot. And none of the seminars I've been to even mentioned the Shoot. If you're going to claim "it's taught in Aikido," you're going to have to explain why it's hard to find!

Quote:
..... What I am hearing from Michael is the same concept I alluded to earlier about the passive student .....
What you are hearing from me specifically is the result of having a steady diet of hormat for the past 2+ years. Hormat is the Indonesian word for "respect." One of its implications within the context of learning Pentjak Silat Serak is that you learn the system exactly as it is taught to you and teach it exactly as your learn it. The reason for this is that it is not just something some guy knows but Maha Guru Victor de Thouars's sacred family heirloom, and absorbing and retransmitting is how it is kept alive. Failing to do so would be to break hormat, and anyone who does that is out of Serak. And when you're out, you're out. No, no one comes to your house and slits your throat, but you are out of the organization and you can't get back in.

Pembantu Guru Andrew Astle, who I'm learning Serak from, takes hormat very seriously, and he applies it to all the arts he teaches, namely Serak, LaCoste Inosanto Kali, and Jun Fan/JKD. It's not that he doesn't beleive in experimentation; that's what sparring's for, and why the his Kali students (including me) have been in what I call the ongoing run-up to sparring. We are not sparring yet but being taught how to. Yet that step only comes after you have abosrbed the basic grammar and principles of whatever art you are doing, and for those purposes, the student should make it his or her business to learn from the instructor. It is one things to ask questions. But if you question everything he tries to teach you, at some point, Guro Andy would be sorely tempted to kick you out. He'd kick me out if I were a horse's @$$, and I've known him for 8.5 years!

So hormat has provided the lense through which I look at Aikido as I've returned to it after 16 years "away." Right now I am in the business of learning and absorbing. "Experimenting" comes later. And even then, if you're told not to train in certain ways, you don't do it. That would break hormat.

What you call "passive" I call knowing your place. I'd be lying if I said I didn't screw up now and then. But I don't call it "passive."

Quote:
One must aim to see the principle behind the technique .....
I agree with you; that's Guro Andy's thesis, too. His Kali instructor, Guro Kevin Seaman, is also big on "concept and principles."

Getting at them through regular Aikido practice may be another story, but you have to remember that you are not just learning techniques but learning something you are supposed to pass down eventually. So while veering from "traditional" methodologies may have some beneftis, are you losing something else? Are you failing in your role as an Aikido student if you decide, "Yeah, I'll listen to that guy in the skirt, but I ain't gonna train his way and damn if I'm going to teach his way"? I would say you are.

Quote:
it is often seen with students who can't handle a round punch even after having dealt with innumerable yokemen uchi attacks. They allow the change to take their centre instead of finding a way to adapt to the not so new pattern of movement.
The only similarity between a hook and yokomenuchi is that they're on an arc; there the similarity ends. Even if you allow for a wide hook on some kind of downward arc, it's not going to be the same as yokomen because the elbow will be pointed up instead of down, and even then will (or should) snap back to a gurad position right after impact instead of following through.

There are enough differences between hooks and yokomens that I would be surpised if you could take a yokomenuchi defense and use it as is without any modificatiohns. Try amazed. The stance is different, there are differences in the mechanics, and the strategy and use is different. I wouldn't be surprised if someone who had never seen a hook before had trouble with it if someone sprang it on him.
Quote:
In the end my post is about truly getting the most out of your training by deeply searching into the principles and not just sitting there, copying the sensei in "monkey see monkey do" manner and hoping that skill and understanding will come through osmosis or conduction.
I don't think anyone does hope it comes through osmosis. I certainly don't. But if I never did anything my sensei told me to do, would I gain anyting out of it? I don't see how. I'm there to learn from him, not just regurgitate what I already know. If I sprang kicks and punches on people who weren't expecting them, and back talked on everything, what would I get other than a chance to practice ukemi as I get sent flying out the door? And major trouble from Pembantu Guru Andy once he found out what had happened? And there would be trouble?

I agree with "getting at the principles." What I disagree with -- if not totally reject -- is this idea that doing what your sensei tells you to do won't help you get there. Presumably, he is where you want to be, so he is only trying to point the way and give you the tools to get there. If you "think critically" about things you really don't understand, are you helping yourself or shooting yourself in the foot? I think the latter. It's not that there isn't a place for it. But that would come after you get the tools you need to understnad what you're doing, not before.
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Old 01-31-2006, 12:47 AM   #134
Edwin Neal
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

I understand that idea of hormat and some in aikido see the same thing, but...

Even though our path is completely different from the warrior arts of the past, it is not necessary to abandon totally the old ways. Absorb venerable traditions into this new art by clothing them with fresh garments, and build on the classic styles to create better forms. Osensei

All the 'oldtimers' had practice in judo,jj,karate,kendo, etc... Aikido IS made up of other arts... so i see no problem...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-31-2006, 03:21 AM   #135
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

Hello Michael,
I read your last post with interest and agree with much of what you say. I think that respecting what your teacher shows means trying to copy it exactly for along time. Without going into the concept of shu, ha ,ri, which have been covered in other threads, there does come a time when a person begins their own study of what they have absorbed in an almost passive, imitiative manner, and begins to make it their own. I would not use the word experimentation, I would say study or research. I have also never seen a Shihan teach techniques against a "shoot" and I believe there are a number of reasons for this, IMHO. Somebody out there may "shoot" me down for this but so be it.
Aikido evolved from battlefield techniques against men wearing armour and carrying katana and wakizashi, baring your back, even momentarily, as in shoot fighting, is an invitation to death, this is not a competition. If you are wearing armour and the ground is muddy with rain and blood you will do everything you can to remain on your feet, taking your opponent down with you would be a last resort, not a strategy. However, being able to retain your balance against ANY kind of attack would be expected from a well trained warrior, not as a result of rehearsing specifics, but as a result of a centred, stable posture. So I dont think a "traditional" Shihan would depart from the standing posture in basic instruction, except in formalised suwari and hanmi handachi practice. Rolling around on the ground and wrestling is very undignified and beneath the dignity of most Shihans, and that's another reason it wont be taught. Furthermore in many dojos in the West the emphasis upon learning more and more techniques often precludes the study of basics until people are no longer at the mudansha level, and then they begin to develop some real respect and appreciation for the practise they found so boring in the beginning, such as strong kamae, ashi sabaki and tai sabaki, the foundations of dealing with any attack.
However, IMO, at a certain stage, depending upon years of regular practise, condition, personal goals and inclination, it can and must be possible for those who wish to take their study further, to examine Aikido in relation to non standard attacks, not in order to learn to fight against other martial artists, or to prove that Aikido is "the deadliest fighting system ever", or other kinds of nonsense. No, out of a deep respect for preserving the integrity of a great Budo, not to change it or adulterate it, but to fully cognize the teachings embodied in the fundamental practise. I only have stories to go on, and some old black and white photos and movies, but most of the now peaceful, dignified Shihans we see gliding across the mat were fighters in thier youth, testing each other and their art to the limit. Most of them cross trained, either secretly or not, some of them got in street fights (read Aikido Shugyo by Shioda Sensei!) by accident or not?
I am too old now to want (or be able) to fight as I did in my 20's, but I see how difficult it is for many people whose only exposure to the truth of Aikido is in an Aikido dojo. For those of us who are both students and teachers the need to continue to learn in order to preserve is very real.
with respect, Alec

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Old 01-31-2006, 04:25 AM   #136
Edwin Neal
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

Alec... your example of battle field techniques while interesting and certainly true on some levels... suffers from some faulty assumptions... even IF a samurai trained to keep his balance against any attack... it is clearly impossible to do so... and even though you would not give your back to an armed opponent... your opponent may not be armed, so a shoot and takedown would be appropriate strategy... even as a last resort taking your opponent down with you would be a possibility that no warrior would overlook and thus not have an appropriate strategy for dealing with...
If by 'traditional' shihan you mean not willing to commit to the art in a sincere way and teach the truth in a truly dignified manner, rather than adopting some egotistical posturing that only does his students a possibly lethal disservice, then i believe we can live without that particular tradition...since aikido was composed from elements of various arts in infinitely rich and creative variations, there is no way to change or adulterate aikido other than by being insincere in your practice or teaching of the art... as i said Osensei and other old timers had extensive background in judo,jj,karate, kendo... that is still relavent today... unfortunately most new timer's have only done aikido with none of the other skills that these old timer's and ancient warriors had, plus a taboo about seeking for or even needing this knowledge, and IMHO this has led to a drift in the art as a result of loss of context... people fight pretty much the same as they ever have and probably ever will... this drift gives rise to the MYTH of ineffectiveness, which becomes the 'truth' and becomes more ingrained, and bolstered by 'tradition' and reluctance to ask questions (not the same as Challenging!), and over mystification, and this leads to a degeneration and stagnation of what i believe Osensei wished to be a LIVE, GROWING, DYNAMIC martial art...
just my take on it...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-31-2006, 04:38 AM   #137
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

Michael, try as defense against hooks depending on its roundness or shortness, yokomenuchi ude osae or ikkyo or even that yoshinkan shomenuchi ikkyo where NAGE initiates the attack with the shomenuchi... it is a sometimes better to think of attacking ukes attack rather than passively recieving it

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Old 01-31-2006, 04:52 AM   #138
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

hello edwin,
perhaps my post was not clear. i am not saying a warrior would overlook the takedown as a last resort but that it would not be a natural opening strategy as in BJJ type sports. I know that many people say it is often used in street fights, but that is not my (limited) experience. Fights end up on the ground afetr messy struggling and tripping over. I've played a bit with "shoot" takedowns, admittedly not against high level players and a knee to the chin at the right moment is usually all it takes. Anyway thats another thread!
Yes, maybe there is a degree of "posturing" amongst some of the higher level teachers, but I think most simply see Aikido as "win with the first moment and theres no need to fight" attitude and train and teach accordingly. Not being at that level I can't really argue with their philosophy.
As for the rest of what you have said that was exactly my point. It is hard to really appreciate Aikido if your total experience of Budo is within the "modern" Aikido dojo.
Alec

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Old 01-31-2006, 05:01 AM   #139
Edwin Neal
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

true enough... but the win with the first moment is also a little impractical...
One should be prepared to 99% of an enemies attack and stare death right in the face in order to illuminate the Path. Osensei

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Old 01-31-2006, 05:02 AM   #140
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

true enough... but the win with the first moment philosophy is also a little impractical...

One should be prepared to receive 99% of an enemies attack and stare death right in the face in order to illuminate the Path. Osensei

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-31-2006, 05:04 AM   #141
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

hmmm how did i do that must have split the space time continuum or sumthin...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-31-2006, 02:23 PM   #142
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
All the 'oldtimers' had practice in judo,jj,karate,kendo, etc... Aikido IS made up of other arts... so i see no problem...
Except that when they taught Aikido, they taught Aikido. They didn't mix things up and say it was Aikido.

My sensei also does kenjutsu, and he does refer to it in class because ALL of Aikido's movements come from swordsmanship, but he doesn't shmush the two together and call it "Aikido." And if, hypothetically) I had to lead a practice tomorrow (which is unlikely because I don't hold rank, so it will probably be a long time before I'm in this position, but even so), I'd do it straight, not pile in Kali and Tai chi and some Aikido.

You don't agree with that, fine. But that's the way I do it.

Last edited by CNYMike : 01-31-2006 at 02:33 PM.
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Old 01-31-2006, 02:27 PM   #143
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
... it is a sometimes better to think of attacking ukes attack rather than passively recieving it
That's the idea behind Aikido anyway; morote dori (two hands grabbing one wrist) is based on that notion. In fact, "uke" doesn't mean "attacker" but the one who "receives" Nage's technique.

Doesn't change the fact that as far as I'm concerned, there are plenty of differences between a hook and yokomenuchi. You could apply Aikido's principles against it, but I doubt the result would look like a classic Aikido technique.

But that's just me; YMMV.
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Old 01-31-2006, 02:33 PM   #144
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

in a sense ALL martial arts are aikido... i think of aikido as a Meta martial art... if takemusu aiki means that the techniques of aikido are infinite, then doesn't that mean all techniques of all arts... indeed in my experience the more you study other arts the more you see this... aikido is nothing new and its techniques come from many other arts... Osensei even said to absorb other arts and use them to further our own waza... see his quote in post #134

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Old 01-31-2006, 02:38 PM   #145
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
in a sense ALL martial arts are aikido... i think of aikido as a Meta martial art... if takemusu aiki means that the techniques of aikido are infinite, then doesn't that mean all techniques of all arts... indeed in my experience the more you study other arts the more you see this... aikido is nothing new and its techniques come from many other arts... Osensei even said to absorb other arts and use them to further our own waza... see his quote in post #134
I'll agree with the idea that at a certain level, all martial arts are very similar if not the same. That's why Guro Dan Inosanto is famous for saying "motion is universal."

But he's part of Guro Andy;s lineage, and Guro Andy is adamant about keeping the curricula unchaged. "If I don't see Guro Dan do it," he says, "I won't do it."

It's one thing if you are creating your own art or your own style. You can do whatever you want. But when it comes to propogating someone else's art, I think you have an obligation to pass on what you've learned without messing with it. If you think it's ok to pile several arts together and call it "Aikido," go right ahead. But I never would.
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Old 01-31-2006, 02:50 PM   #146
Edwin Neal
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

i agree with your thoughts and the guro's, but i also think that things must change or stagnate... the more things change the more things stay the same... it is also not necessary to lose tradition during this process of growth... here's an example that i just thought of... we all do the basic aikido attacks; shomenuchi yokomenuchi etc... but we must also learn and practice other strikes and atemi... you don't lose one when you gain the other...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-31-2006, 08:41 PM   #147
L. Camejo
 
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
Kaiten nage would have been my choice, too, although someone in another thread said it didn't work. In any event, none of the three dojos I have trained in, including the one I am in now, regualrly do it as a defense against a shoot. None of the books I have on Aikido, including both Best Aikido books, show it as a defense against a Shoot. And none of the seminars I've been to even mentioned the Shoot. If you're going to claim "it's taught in Aikido," you're going to have to explain why it's hard to find!
Kaiten nage is only one example of powerful, centred movement which is taught in the major schools of Aikido that I have experienced - Aikikai, Yoshinkai, Ki no Kenkyukai and Shodokan. Applying this basic principle to a shoot is..... simple imo. I have done it and many of my kyu grade students are able to do it. Again, if we go back to the beginning of this thread we see the problem of the student seeing only the form and missing the principle which leads to the spontaneity of thought and action that defines Aikido.

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
So hormat has provided the lense through which I look at Aikido as I've returned to it after 16 years "away." Right now I am in the business of learning and absorbing. "Experimenting" comes later. And even then, if you're told not to train in certain ways, you don't do it. That would break hormat.

What you call "passive" I call knowing your place. I'd be lying if I said I didn't screw up now and then. But I don't call it "passive."
In the above post you outline the lens that is allowing you to read things into my words that are not there, hence the misinterpretation my posts. Nowhere did I ever say that one should lose respect and humility for one's teacher or teachers. Without respect for your teachers in MA training you have nothing imo, but this does not mean that you merely swallow something as is without trying to learn the deeper meaning behind why something is the way it is. If you have a lens then it is difficult to see and think clearly about the topic since Aikido by nature requires the clarity of Mushin Mugamae which requires at least temporary removal of all lenses and prejudgement. What I speak of has nothing to do with unsanctioned experimenting, it is in fact shu ha ri as mentioned by another.

Also, the hormat you refer to is often cited by students of Koryu I have met (using the Japanese nomenclature of course). Again this is where deeper study is required imo, if you will allow me to use the Japanese naming to refer to the Pentjak Silat Serak you are doing, as it appears to me that you are confusing a traditional, ancient or family school (like Ono Ha Itto Ryu or Kito Ryu) with modern Budo (Aikido, Judo, Kendo). Serak is a family system where the training and tradition is designed to operate primarily as a preservation and transmission method for the family art, this is vastly different from a constantly adapting, changing, modern Budo. One is a preset, living archive, the other is constantly being rewritten while maintaining a link to the traditional methods. The mindsets of the students studying both types of arts are often different and should be, since the student of the first one is trained in being a living repository to transmit a system exactly as handed down, while the other allows room for development and application of principles taken from the traditional systems but given a progressive, modern focus. The Kali Silat system that I have practiced is one that is not as deeply concerned with preserving a particular family heritage, although this element is there, but its primary focus is one of self defence and application.

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
you have to remember that you are not just learning techniques but learning something you are supposed to pass down eventually. So while veering from "traditional" methodologies may have some beneftis, are you losing something else? Are you failing in your role as an Aikido student if you decide, "Yeah, I'll listen to that guy in the skirt, but I ain't gonna train his way and damn if I'm going to teach his way"? I would say you are.
You would. This is where the maturity of the student as he becomes teacher is revealed. There is nothing wrong with learning from your teacher and being able to understand in a mature manner his areas of excellence and his areas of lack. In my opinion if you can identify the areas of lack of your teacher and decide to replicate this to your students without thinking because "my teacher did it this way" then you are failing as a teacher. You should at this point have an understanding of the principles such that you know where your teacher's way began to split from the way of the system he was teaching. If you can't do this then you don't have enough understanding of the core principles to be teaching imo.

Again, the teacher is not the system in modern Budo, he is a means whereby the principles and concepts of the system are passed on. Ueshiba M. invited his students to "stand on his shoulders" to find the way. To me, this is the way, to others it may not be so. One does not need to abandon the system or the teacher to do this, but one does need to attempt to understand the system for oneself instead of constantly and perpetually depending on another's description of the system.

Btw we don't wear skirts either.

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
There are enough differences between hooks and yokomens that I would be surpised if you could take a yokomenuchi defense and use it as is without any modificatiohns. Try amazed. The stance is different, there are differences in the mechanics, and the strategy and use is different. I wouldn't be surprised if someone who had never seen a hook before had trouble with it if someone sprang it on him.
Again we return to the fixation with form instead of the understanding and application of principle. Btw there is only one stance in Aikido - mugamae. As outlined earlier in the thread (I seem to be repeating this) the fixation on form by nature precludes spontaneity.And you wonder why you will get caught off guard by a round punch that does not conform to your predefined format? I have seen many Aikido folks suffer from this particular afflication - every time the reason is that the fixation with form and preset structures locks the mind and body into a place where the most efficient and effective response is lost in a mental quagmire of "which stance should I be in to respond to this?". At least when they come to our dojo they realise that if things are approached differently a student with 6 months training or so is able to deal with these things spontaneously from mugamae and at least be able to evade the "surprise, targetted, stanceless round punch" without too much issue and mental gridlock.

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
I agree with "getting at the principles." What I disagree with -- if not totally reject -- is this idea that doing what your sensei tells you to do won't help you get there.
Whoever said that? All I said that was that your Sensei is not the last word if you are learning a system of concepts and methods - iow don't mistake the messenger for the message.

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
Presumably, he is where you want to be, so he is only trying to point the way and give you the tools to get there.
As a beginner he may be where you want to be, but one should not settle for this when one attains a deeper, wider understanding of the principles.

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
If you "think critically" about things you really don't understand, are you helping yourself or shooting yourself in the foot? I think the latter. It's not that there isn't a place for it. But that would come after you get the tools you need to understnad what you're doing, not before.
I would think the above would be obvious. How can you think critically about something you don't understand? You need to understand first. Your Sensei is one source (a major one) from which understanding is gained. But he is by no means the only source and if he is one runs the risk of becoming stunted in development at some point imho. This applies to Aikido of course and not arts where the Sensei is the system and whatever he decides to be the standard is the standard.

Gambatte.

To others: Apologies for the long posts. I am trying.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 01-31-2006, 09:11 PM   #148
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

Regarding the other posts.

Alec I think you really understand the point I made regarding dealing with shoots and mastering one's own stability. What you gave above exemplified the point i was trying to make. In Aikido really knowing how to stand and move is extremely important and a deep practice in itself.

Edwin: From my experience at least, the "win with the first moment philosophy" works like a charm and is extremely practical, sometimes one's only choice. A major concept of Aikido strategy is Sen or initiative. Sen no Sen or taking the initiative (pre-emptive strike at the first sign of a willingness to attack by the other person) has the effect of stopping the attack (and the will to attack) dead in its tracks. This of course requires that the one using Sen no Sen have the mental clarity to perceive the subtlest of openings and capitalize on it (again Mushin Mugamae). A lot of Aiki operates before the physical engagement is even made.

Michael: Based on your later posts, if you only practice what your teacher has shown you and he has forgotten part of the repertoire because of a lack of systematic training methods (hypothetical case of course) and as a result you are never shown certain things, then is that area of the system lost forever?

Also, what if another student who trains with you today has experienced a technique from your instructor that for some reason you have never seen, does this give you the right when you both become teachers one day to say that what he is teaching is incorrect? Simply because you never saw it being done by your teacher?

This is why I say that the teacher is part of the training method (in the case of Aikido) and not the other way around. If you simply follow what your teacher does and don't attempt to go closer to the source of the system you still run the risk of losing parts of it if it is never revealed to you by your teacher for any reason. It seems to me that you are taking concepts from Silat tradition and applying them to Aikido incorrectly. Aikido is not Koryu.

Gambatte.
LC

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Old 01-31-2006, 09:25 PM   #149
Edwin Neal
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

Larry, i agree with you... i just meant in my post that you must ALSO be prepared IF you don't win in your pre emptive strike... atemi oftens finishes the confrontation with no need to continue in to a "technique"... we also practice 'natural' stance we say shizentai instead of mugamae, but it sounds like the same concept... you should be able to do any technique regardless of how your feet are... you just do it... no stances...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-31-2006, 10:50 PM   #150
L. Camejo
 
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

Exactly Edwin. I agree totally. Sen no Sen is good, but it does not belay having an effective failover mechanism. Aiki is about matching and blending after all. One should be able to move seamlessly and spontaneously into the next movement should the initial movement be thwarted.

Good post.
LC

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