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Old 06-19-2005, 12:00 PM   #1
senshincenter
 
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That it works, don't make it good.

A reason why practicality can't only be defined by what worked:

http://www.bullshido.net/modules.php...inkinfo&id=118

David M. Valadez
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Old 06-19-2005, 12:22 PM   #2
Chris Birke
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Re: That it works, don't make it good.

Well, as a fan of the emperical method, lets test that more and see if your hypothesis is correct. This could simply be a sampling error.
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Old 06-19-2005, 01:18 PM   #3
senshincenter
 
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Re: That it works, don't make it good.

I am reminded of a line from "Barfly" - something about "dumb luck counting too." J

Well I would not count it as an empirical error - it worked because it worked. However, the mistake comes when we take what worked beyond the parameters in which it worked, coming to ignore those parameters (especially when they are extremely limited), and then universalizing that which worked as that which works.

If you suspend this notion (i.e. that which worked works), even if just temporarily, and you then go beyond to investigate the whys and hows that supported such a working, you are going to realize real quick that having something that "worked" is just the beginning of one's investigation into what works (what is good/what is practical).

In this example, you see a technique that worked. Why? How? If one is truly interested in seeing what works, one is going to ask these questions -- moving beyond the fact that it worked. You are going to note that the underlying effectiveness which is present is heavily dependent upon the following: having 30-50 pounds on your opponent; being in fight and not being attacked; having your opponent swing wildly; having your opponent close his eyes and/or turn his gaze away; having your opponent being unskilled at closing the gap; having your opponent be unskilled at tying you up; having your opponent limit himself to hand ballistic weapons only; etc. If you do this, you know you got a great technique for fighting smaller folks of extremely low skill who are not all that interested in really taking you out. If you do not do this type of analysis, attempting to satisfy all that can and should be learned with this single phenomena, you will have a tendency to walk away saying, "Kung Fu kicks ass!" The downside to this is, if Kung Fu truly kicks ass, you will never be the one to know it because you will never come to know the how and why that is necessary for supporting such a statement.

Last edited by senshincenter : 06-19-2005 at 01:21 PM.

David M. Valadez
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Old 06-19-2005, 01:39 PM   #4
MitchMZ
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Re: That it works, don't make it good.

Personally, I think the Kung Fu guy had more than one opportunity to back down and walk away. Plus, he revealed his knowledge WAY too early in the confrontation. It really urks me to see rejects like this fighting over something that probably wasn't that significant in the first place. To me, this is not a proper use of martial arts...they are not meant for fighting some random street punk when you could have easily chosen another way. Now if the other guy would have taken a swing at him right away...I think the situation would have been totally different. Nice punch by the guy in the red shirt, though. From my experiences, most so called "bad@##es" on the street just use the element of suprise, weapons, and numbers to take down an opponent. He is lucky he didn't have a weapon pulled on him when he went into the stance.

Last edited by MitchMZ : 06-19-2005 at 01:43 PM.
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Old 06-19-2005, 02:50 PM   #5
Adam Alexander
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Re: That it works, don't make it good.

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
A reason why practicality can't only be defined by what worked:
Are you saying that just because he threw a hay-maker that worked doesn't justify the poor movement to evade the opponents advance, the flurry of "blocks", or the fact that his advance looked like he was trying to walk up stairs?

I think those are the folks that give MAs a bad name.

BTW: I think his leaning away from the attackers strikes demonstrates why one should train with kata. If he had muscle memory, I'm certain KF/GF has something in its reportoire to counter a strike

And what's up with the goofy stance from the get?
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Old 06-19-2005, 04:43 PM   #6
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Re: That it works, don't make it good.

Quote:
BTW: I think his leaning away from the attackers strikes demonstrates why one should train with kata. If he had muscle memory, I'm certain KF/GF has something in its reportoire to counter a strike
Even if he practiced a movement to defend against the way his opponent was attacking a thousand times in the air without a partner, he still probably wouldn't have used that technique to block. Muscle memory works when you react to something; it can't be trained in kata/forms because there is nothing to react to.

I agree senshincenter.
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Old 06-19-2005, 04:45 PM   #7
AikiSean!
 
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Re: That it works, don't make it good.

I have only been training for a little over a year now so I could be seeing things that are'nt there, however just watching that video I see a few things that does make me wonder if red shirt does take an art just maybe A.) got sloppy or B.) not very long. At the beginning he seems to be calm and collected, hands something to the female next to him. Somewhere toward the middle he does check his rear and attempt to be aware of his surroundings. What do you guys think?
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Old 06-19-2005, 05:54 PM   #8
Ketsan
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Re: That it works, don't make it good.

My thoughts: The fact that he took a stance so early and the way that he took it told you everything you need to know about him, big ego, little experience. I don't think either of them wanted to fight, there wasn't that cold intent you get when someone seriously wants to do harm. It was a posturing match that got out of hand, if there weren't all those people watching it wouldn't have gone so far but as it was, neither of them had the self confidence or common sence to walk away. Niether of them felt they could back down because of the social pressure.
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Old 06-19-2005, 06:29 PM   #9
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Re: That it works, don't make it good.

To me, black shirt's tying of his shoelaces might have been an attempt to diffuse the situation. Also interesting was the way people stepped back, not really out of fear, but more to give them room to fight, as though they wanted them to - just like I remember from school days. Still, you could read it either way.

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Old 06-19-2005, 08:31 PM   #10
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Re: That it works, don't make it good.

Little Black Shirt kid looks like a wimp. His punches were flailing all over.. full of action, but little power. I would have walk right in with my guard up and give the ol' one-two on the gut. When he is down, and winded, I'll prob'bly help him up, offer him a Gatorade (he doesn't seem old enough to be able to drink) and shake his hand, hopefully we will be friends by then.

As for Kung FU guy, yes he telegraphed his intention too early. And his outstreched arm.... ooooh it is just sooooo waiting to be shiho-nage'd or hiji-ate'd.

But hey, what do I know, I am only an arm-chair expert.

Boon.

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Old 06-20-2005, 06:01 AM   #11
Nick Simpson
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Re: That it works, don't make it good.

Not really bothered about what was right or wrong. It definately looked like neither of them were truly intent on fighting, it prolly could have been walked away from. The guy in the red looked like a prat...

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 06-20-2005, 07:52 AM   #12
rob_liberti
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Re: That it works, don't make it good.

Quote:
the mistake comes when we take what worked beyond the parameters in which it worked, coming to ignore those parameters (especially when they are extremely limited), and then universalizing that which worked as that which works
David, your analysis is right on. I want to take this a different direction though... This is the problem I have with people who compete TOO much in their aikido training. The problem is that forcefullness AND sensitivity need to be developed (so that that you can slowly learn how to remain effective with less and less forcefullness). Granted, people who compete TOO little - well of course they have no idea if what they are doing works at all. However, just because something works, doesn't mean it is best, or cannot be improved upon. You need to back off on the competition enough to learn how to be even less forceful and remain effective. My opinion is that if someone with a good deal of time invested into dedicating their training to that idea (more effective, less forcefulness - because the benefits of having more martial sensitivity has been developed under stressful drama) gets into a fight, we would see a very different thing happen. I think people keep missing this point so their misapplicaiton of reductionist thinking convinces them that they are training in the "best" and "most realistic" way and that anything else is well ... bullshido...

Rob
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Old 06-20-2005, 08:25 AM   #13
Lyle Bogin
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Re: That it works, don't make it good.

Ah, the 'ol longarm. Very.......effective. Kung fu has a big culture of fighting to gain validity.
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Old 06-20-2005, 09:02 AM   #14
Ketsan
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Re: That it works, don't make it good.

I think the basic question we're seeking to answer here isn't so much what works but more "Could you do it again under different circumstances?"

I don't think many people confuse luck with effective technique. Certainly in the various dojo I've been in a lucky shot has always been labeled a lucky shot. So when we say "this works" or "this doesn't work" what we are really saying is "This can be relied upon" or "this cannot be relied upon". I don't think anyone would claim that a jammy shot makes one a great martial artist. That said winning by a jammy shot doesn't make you any less of a martial artist.

So in referance to the original statement I'd say, just because it worked in this instance doesn't mean it's reliable .
In the wider debate which I suppose is the ever lasting question "Does Aikido work" what needs to be proven is not that Aikido techniques can work in a one off situation but that Aikido techniques can be relied upon. That cannot be proven by debate.
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Old 06-20-2005, 09:14 AM   #15
senshincenter
 
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Re: That it works, don't make it good.

Changing the word "works" for "relied upon" is fine. However, the issue I was trying to raise was over whether "real world" success stories alone can be relied upon in determining what should be relied upon (i.e. works). That I think is very much debatable. My position is "No - a lot of dumb stuff 'works' just fine." Rather, we should seek an EQUAL capacity to reflect upon what we are doing through theory, practice, and application (i.e. not giving priority to any one single element).

David M. Valadez
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Old 06-20-2005, 09:19 AM   #16
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Re: That it works, don't make it good.

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
If you suspend this notion (i.e. that which worked works), even if just temporarily, and you then go beyond to investigate the whys and hows that supported such a working, you are going to realize real quick that having something that "worked" is just the beginning of one's investigation into what works (what is good/what is practical).

In this example, you see a technique that worked. Why? How? If one is truly interested in seeing what works, one is going to ask these questions -- moving beyond the fact that it worked.
Hey David,

Funny video. I think you have hit upon a great point here.

Often when things work for folks they don't try to understand the whys and hows of what happened to fully learn and evolve from the experience, but go off beating their chest assuming that because something worked once that it will always work.

For the true Budoka, this sort of blind acceptance of what "worked" is simply unacceptable. It is imperative imho to analyze, deconstruct, reverse-engineer, pressure test etc. the factors, theories, and concepts that underly the application of an effective technique in a particular scenario so one understands fully why something works (or worked) and is thereby fully capable of repeating the result given the same or similar conditions. This method also assists the Budoka in developing what "worked" to a higher level where it "works" on a regular basis in a variety of situations because of a thorough understanding of the underlying factors involved in having it work.

This concept returns somewhat to something we spoke of in another thread with form training and randori training. An actual SD situation can be seen as a very high or challenging form of randori where one may learn certain lessons that (assuming one survives) can be addressed later by returning to one's study of form and the theories of Aiki tactics and applications to find better ways to deal with the particular situation in future.

This is the approach used by folks in competitive Aikido as well, one does not assume that the technique that works at one instant will work on the same person again 5 mins later. The Aikidoka who uses competition as a learning and development tool does not stop evolving one's approach to combat because a technique worked once on a particular person in a particular scenario, since these folks know too well that what works once does not work all the time, as one's partner will tend not to give the same openings and fall for the same technique repeatedly, not to mention use your own responses against you.

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
You need to back off on the competition enough to learn how to be even less forceful and remain effective.
Seeing the above I need to ask - How much experience do you have in using/training in Aikido competitively Rob? And at what level?

The reason why I ask is because those who seriously compete in Aikido actually realise that being "forceful" does not mean a technique will work in competition (in fact quite the opposite). The use of the technical paradigm is much more involved than that simple, low level of upper body muscle driven application. As in other combat sport (e.g. Judo), the tense or forceful individual in competitive Aikido is easily dealt with since they often cannot feel subtle, soft changes that takes one's balance and exploits the use of force, so this approach to training does not improve one's competitive Aikido at all imo. As a result, most seek to apply the waza in a relaxed manner as this is most times more effective and successful against a skilled opponent who is well trained to use your force very effectively to his own ends.

Where did you get the idea that competitive practice=forceful practice or application of waza? One can be powerful without being "forceful" and sensitive without collapsing. Imho true power is found in relaxation and is a central aspect in Aikido kata, randori, competition and self defence applications.

One uses the force given to them . 3+7=10 and 9+1=10. It depends on the situation.

Just a few thoughts.
LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 06-20-2005, 09:42 AM   #17
happysod
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Re: That it works, don't make it good.

Quote:
Rather, we should seek an EQUAL capacity to reflect upon what we are doing through theory, practice, and application (i.e. not giving priority to any one single element).
While I think I understand the point you're getting at in that a limited range of "real world" experiences shouldn't get in the way of analyzing what you're doing, I'd have to disagree with your assessment that the three elements you mentioned should be given equal weight.

For example, theory is wonderful, but should be able to be tested relatively easily with practice in a standard dojo, so I'd lump those two into a single process of experimentation. Both of these I'd happily disregard (even if it goes against my own or accepted theory) if there's a consistent body of work which shows, in an applied setting, something that consistently works, even if it's theoretically "dumb".

As for the clip, yes it looked awful and the fight may have been avoidable (but remember youthful hormones and possible history between the two), but the guy walked away without injury, not really much damage was done to his opponent and, more importantly to my mind, the strange kung-fu walk did prevent it turning into a group attack. I wouldn't rain on the lads parade too much personally.
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Old 06-20-2005, 09:48 AM   #18
rob_liberti
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Re: That it works, don't make it good.

Quote:
Where did you get the idea that competitive practice=forceful practice or application of waza?
Hi Larry, sorry about this misunderstanding, but it is really not my fault that people inaccurately describe what you do as "competitive aikido" - I'm already convinced based upon prior discussions that while your approach uses competition it is *over-all cooperative* and I have no problem with that. I agree that what you have previously decribed as your practice doesn't fit my statements, but that's really because I think we both agree that what you do is mis-labeled/ or at least impercisely labled - not because my statements are wrong.

I see people training in what they like to believe is *cooperative practice* where they use too much forecefullness in an attempt to be "effective" - all of the time. The fact is that they are missing a main point of aikido development - to be able to do more with less. I totally agree that at some point you should get a sense of does this actually work - or more like - how reliable is this. I'd say the only disagreements we might have would be when in someone's training it might be best to introduce this "testing" of effectiveness - and we might agree there as well.

Rob
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Old 06-20-2005, 10:09 AM   #19
Mike Sigman
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Re: That it works, don't make it good.

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote:
To me, black shirt's tying of his shoelaces might have been an attempt to diffuse the situation. Also interesting was the way people stepped back, not really out of fear, but more to give them room to fight, as though they wanted them to - just like I remember from school days. Still, you could read it either way.
I suspect black-shirt was simply making a gesture to give the impression that he wasn't nervous.... but of course he was. I don't think you can make many telling observations from watching a squabble between 2 fairly obvious amateurs, one of them mimicking 'kung fu" and one of them mimicking Sugar Ray Robinson.

At best you see what we've all known since kindergarten... a big guy can usually beat up a small guy. You'd think we could now all watch a big guy and realize that a lot of the "effectiveness" of his techniques is quite often the effect of mass and inertia and strength.

Mike
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Old 06-20-2005, 11:55 AM   #20
Ketsan
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Re: That it works, don't make it good.

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
Changing the word "works" for "relied upon" is fine. However, the issue I was trying to raise was over whether "real world" success stories alone can be relied upon in determining what should be relied upon (i.e. works). That I think is very much debatable. My position is "No - a lot of dumb stuff 'works' just fine." Rather, we should seek an EQUAL capacity to reflect upon what we are doing through theory, practice, and application (i.e. not giving priority to any one single element).
Agree totally.
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Old 06-20-2005, 12:22 PM   #21
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Re: That it works, don't make it good.

Quote:
Ian Hurst wrote:
...Both of these I'd happily disregard (even if it goes against my own or accepted theory) if there's a consistent body of work which shows, in an applied setting, something that consistently works, even if it's theoretically "dumb".

I would agree with your underlying position, however I would probably word this differently. Such that: If I saw something that worked consistently in an applied setting but that contradicted a particular theory or group of theories, and/or was pressed theoretically into be noted as "inferior," I would not so much be looking at a need to adopt a "dumb move." Rather, I would be looking at a need to refine my theories - make them more sophisticated so that they could not only account for the particular move (i.e. providing the whys and hows underlying its effectiveness) in question but also lead to other moves of a similar nature that were at first hidden from (theoretical) sight.

dmv
p.s. Great summary post Larry - you are right on target with what I am trying to say.

David M. Valadez
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Old 06-20-2005, 12:42 PM   #22
Adam Alexander
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Re: That it works, don't make it good.

Quote:
Phillip Kirkan wrote:
Even if he practiced a movement to defend against the way his opponent was attacking a thousand times in the air without a partner, he still probably wouldn't have used that technique to block. Muscle memory works when you react to something; it can't be trained in kata/forms because there is nothing to react to.

I agree senshincenter.
Who says kata is a solo exercise? I know Shioda, in "Dynamic Aikido," refers to our partner training as kata.

Last edited by Adam Alexander : 06-20-2005 at 12:48 PM.
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Old 06-20-2005, 12:51 PM   #23
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Re: That it works, don't make it good.

Quote:
Jean de Rochefort wrote:
Who says kata is a solo exercise? I know Shioda, in "Dynamic Aikido," refers to our partner training as kata.
The article "Kata Training in Aikido" contains information regarding this subject:

http://www.aikiweb.com/training/skoss2.html

-- Jun

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Old 06-20-2005, 01:00 PM   #24
Adam Alexander
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Re: That it works, don't make it good.

Damn fine article. Makes me want to go to the dojo right now
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Old 06-20-2005, 01:21 PM   #25
Mike Sigman
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Re: That it works, don't make it good.

Quote:
Jun Akiyama wrote:
The article "Kata Training in Aikido" contains information regarding this subject:

http://www.aikiweb.com/training/skoss2.html
What's interesting is this by statement by the author of the article:
"Morihei Ueshiba apparently did not approve of the kata training method, believing that "static" prearrangement of techniques interfered with the direct, spontaneous transmission of techniques from the gods."

In other words, leaving out the bit about "from the gods", Ueshiba did not believe in using kata. He also did not believe in using randorii, IIRC. The question becomes who is right in their recommendations, Ueshiba or Diane Skoss? Ueshiba or Tomiki? Lots of questions.

Mike
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