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Old 07-05-2005, 07:40 PM   #51
Tubig
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Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.

That is a very good point I never looked at it that point of view. A whole country side breaks out in battle with sickles and forks. I would definitely not wat to fight empty hand. And If I ever do (God forbid) Tachidori, jodori, and tantodori would really be handy. After one has acquired a weapon, one would really wish he knows how to use it.
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Old 07-05-2005, 07:43 PM   #52
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Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.

Rupert;

It's not just David V.. Michael S. has stated the amount of weapons he has done - enough that you can not call his opinion unbalanced. Frankly, considering the amount of weapons training I've done and am doing, I think my view is pretty balanced also.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-05-2005, 08:03 PM   #53
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Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote:
It is not necessary to know how to row a boat to fight with an oar, or cut grass with a sickle, but it could help And imagine hundreds of years when fighting erupted in the countryside - people would take up tools (weapons) they were 'familiar' with.


Hi Rupert,

Actually I would totally agree with what you say here above. I'm just focusing in more on the words, "not necessary" and "could help."



take care,
d

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Old 07-05-2005, 08:39 PM   #54
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Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.

Outside of the reasons I gave for why I consider weapons training to be unique from body art and thus conducive to body art, for those things like maai, power, and/or the "sword spirit," etc., two things remain:

1. Such things, as folks have said, stem from the added intensity that weapons bring to training. Folks offered that this intensity comes from the weapons themselves and/or from the likelihood that they are kata-based, etc. Regardless of the source of this intensity, it is not sound reasoning to say that weapons are the only way that we can bring intensity to our training. Toward this, we can see that many other activities that that make use of maai (or maai-like concepts), power, and "sword spirit," develop these things without a sword (e.g. boxing). We can also note: outside of weapons work, within the martial arts that do not make use of sword work, competition allows for the development of such things. Some of us may not want to make ourselves partial to competition, but regardless, this example still shows that our practice is quite open to other means of opening up toward intensity and thus toward developing keening versions of maai, power, and a "sword spirit," etc. Training within spontaneous environments is also another means of bringing intensity to our practice. Etc.

2. Some have mentioned that while it is possible to gain all of these things while not doing weapons, it is not very likely, etc. With this reasoning, it is implied that somehow one will keep their body art less intense while they make their weapons work intense. Personally, I just do not see it. As folks strike weakly with shomenuchi, requiring little skill at maai, little power, and no "sword spirit" of Nage, so too will these folks strike weakly with shomen-giri and again require little in terms of maai, power, and "sword spirit."

I am not so sure I would call my view "balanced." I think I am only "yes and no" according to certain things. I am a firm believer that to take body art to the level of relating to the unseen and the unfelt, paired weapons practice is THE way. I consider this a higher level of training/practice, and the place we should all (my students and myself) be heading toward. My thing, however, is that I do not believe that weapons practice is the only way to bring intensity to our training and/or the only way to develop those things that are born of intensity (e.g. proper maai, power, "sword spirit," etc.). I am for weapons (as THE way of making ourselves sensitive to the Ki of a given martial environment), and so in this way (of say "yes" to weapons) I am on the side of folks that say we should do weapons. However, I am on the side of those folks that say we do not need to do weapons to learn about maai, power, or a "sword spirit," etc.

Thanks,
dmv

Last edited by senshincenter : 07-05-2005 at 08:53 PM.

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Old 07-06-2005, 06:29 AM   #55
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Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.

Quote:
Michael Stuempel wrote:
It might also be worth noting that those adament about needing weapons as part of their training are those that trained with weapons and those that are adament that they are not are those who haven't had them as part of their training.

Which just goes to show...something

In my case I went from thinking they were necessary and the answer to all of the little mysteries to thinking that they were interesting but didn't duplicate the empty hand scenario well enough.
I used to be indecisive about this matter, but now I'm not so sure....

I think if someone does weapons to a reasonable point (for instance if they actually competed in fencing for a number of years), weapons begins to affect your techniques and strategies on a functional level. If you don't really use weapons, I think most of the talk is just theoretical.

On a body-training level, I think the various forms of suburi are indispensable. There is an old saying about "extreme hardness comes from extreme softness" that is very applicable in Aikido and probably the most telling method is from the bokken swinging. In that way, the weapons training could be considered "indispensible", if not in the techniques and strategy way.

My 2 cents.

Mike
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Old 07-06-2005, 11:26 AM   #56
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Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.

I am comfortable with weapons. I use them as training aids in class. I believe that aikiken and aikijo have value as a training tool. They clearly illustrate timing, distance, posture, etc. and I feel I would not be doing my job if I left that curriculum out of my teaching. The founder used weapons, and my lineage of instructors use weapons.

That said, I think we need to clarify a couple of things. I think that weapons work for combat and weapons work for training are two completely different things. I think that ken and jo are great, but they are not fighting styles. A good kendo wo/man would wipe the mat with most aikiken people. Same for jo. I am speaking only of the training aspect.

I think that you can learn the principles illustrated by weapons work without using weapons, but it takes a different shape that changes how your aikido looks. I believe that aikido people that know weapons have an advantage in their education because they know more than the student that does not know weapons work (all other things being equal). Does that make them a better martial artist? No. Could that make them a better martial artist? Yes.
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Old 07-06-2005, 02:08 PM   #57
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Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote:
A good kendo wo/man would wipe the mat with most aikiken people. .
With what kind of rules?
You can't compare sport with Budo.

Nagababa

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Old 07-06-2005, 02:26 PM   #58
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Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.

Kendo rules, aikidoka probably loses. No rules, aikidoka might still lose...but it really depends on the two invovled.

Ron (my guess anyway)

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Old 07-06-2005, 02:51 PM   #59
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Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.

Well, I would say it depends on the training. A person who just does forms - especially solo forms and/or forms where no contact is ever made - is going to lose against a person who trains within spontaneous training environments on a regular basis (e.g. a kendo person).

Perhaps that was Mr. Reading's point.

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Old 07-06-2005, 06:50 PM   #60
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Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote:
Maybe not but you can do Aikido without a sword.

Sorry, I didn't make my point. There are alot of ballet dancers (men, especailly) who don't dance in pointe shoes. Its still essentially ballet.

Jeanne

(Hey, where'd my avatar go!!!)
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Old 07-06-2005, 07:47 PM   #61
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Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.

Quote:
Jeanne Shepard wrote:
Sorry, I didn't make my point. There are alot of ballet dancers (men, especailly) who don't dance in pointe shoes. Its still essentially ballet.
Ah my bad.

Anyway - I think that weapon training can improve your Aikido but lack of weapon training does not result in bad Aikido. Weapons are a training method and not essential.

If you like the training and you feel the benefit - keep on going.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-06-2005, 07:47 PM   #62
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Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.

Weapons add a violent dynamic that is often missing in normal training. We get rapped knucles, the occasional bonk on the wrist, elbow or head, and no mention is made. The obvious task is to develop speed, power, and timing in the midst of good technique; there is an element of real danger if not careful. Obviously, the result of such training will carry over to one's Aikido - increased alertness, a more imperative awareness of space, the need to avoid, the desire to receive a more dynamic attack, etc. It is not easy to get that in Aikido without weapons, but if you can, then fair enough.

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Old 07-06-2005, 08:13 PM   #63
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Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.

I totally agree with you there Rupert. There is a sense that oneself would be killed, when doing partner practice. I guess this dramatically improves that primal instict of self preservation; 'I do not want to be killed' concept. Hence it delivers one that Zanshin of avoiding Uchi, Ai- Uch, 'cut or be cut', and 'tsuki or be stabbed'. Even though we mimick and practice that concept in taijutsu, I certainly can feel that lesson more when I am holding a boken or Jo especially in partner practice, when one mistake or miscalculation can land oneself a boken on the forehead. OUCH!
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Old 07-06-2005, 08:30 PM   #64
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Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.

Let's approach this line of reasoning from the opposite direction then:

Why does body art NOT (or tend not to have) have this violent dynamic (occasional bonks and raps that come and go with no mention; primal instincts of self-preservation; etc.)?

For me, I always try to have this stuff in my body art - just like in weapons. If it's not there, it's because I'm working with a beginner that is on their way toward such training. Otherwise, it's there, and I've never felt the need to say, "Man, this is so "lite" compared to weapons training." However, that is what a lot of folks seem to be saying here. If that is the case, aren't we saying more about how we train for body art than how we train with weapons?

dmv

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Old 07-06-2005, 08:33 PM   #65
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Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.

Seriously good point - I personally don't find that. Perhaps my weapons training is too sedate?

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-06-2005, 08:53 PM   #66
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Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
Let's approach this line of reasoning from the opposite direction then:

Why does body art NOT (or tend not to have) have this violent dynamic (occasional bonks and raps that come and go with no mention; primal instincts of self-preservation; etc.)?

For me, I always try to have this stuff in my body art - just like in weapons. If it's not there, it's because I'm working with a beginner that is on their way toward such training. Otherwise, it's there, and I've never felt the need to say, "Man, this is so "lite" compared to weapons training." However, that is what a lot of folks seem to be saying here. If that is the case, aren't we saying more about how we train for body art than how we train with weapons?

dmv
But maybe it's there because you do weapons training! I know you do - I've seen your videos

Of course, it should be there without the weapons - it is in Karate, for example. I think the extra focus on the gentle and the harmonious in Aikido can get in the way of the martial.

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Old 07-06-2005, 11:43 PM   #67
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Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.

It has been said (by someone - can't recall who), "hands like swords" - in relation to Karate. In my mind, it's probably a lot more than just "hands"...

Ignatius
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Old 07-07-2005, 07:40 AM   #68
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Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
Why does body art NOT (or tend not to have) have this violent dynamic (occasional bonks and raps that come and go with no mention; primal instincts of self-preservation; etc.)?
I think our imagination fails us here.
Few attacks during practice are deliverd full speed, full power, full intention. (And a lot of the time rightly so, but that's a different discussion.)

If someone swings a sword at your head it is easier to convince yourself that this is a serious situation. If someone grabs your wrist (the other side of the spectrum) and pushes, it is hard to get the same feeling, although a wrist grab doesn't need to be all that harmless. (Perhaps a better example: morote-dori can be used to go to yonkyo.)

So the problem might be that few ukes attack properly, often they lack the skill and the proper mind-set. You can observe this as well in uke's attack, as when tori/nage has begun doing a technique: many uke seem to think that all they need to do after attcking is fall over at the right time. While what they should be trying to do is moving in such a way as to try to gain advantage. Many techniques make little sense without uke trying to do so.

Gaining the skill should be quite easy, it can be thaught. Training the proper mind-set tends to be quite difficult, at least that's my experience.
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Old 07-07-2005, 07:49 AM   #69
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Talking Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.

Hi Jeanne, If you send me a check for $1000.00, your avatar will be returned unharmed. Otherwise...



Ron

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Old 07-07-2005, 11:03 AM   #70
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Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.

Regards to post 56-59:

David and Ron both touched on my point. Training is what you make of it as an individual. Form training is different than contact training is different than combat training. You can't compare them and you certainly can't judge them without considering the strengths and weaknesses of each as they relate to your strengths and weaknesses.

As an instructor, why would I deprive my students of training that could help learn aikido better? Shouldn't the student decided whether s/he wants to develop their weapons training or incorporate weapons into their aikido?

At a recent seminar, Saotome Shihan made the observation that maybe aikido is forgetting about their weaknesses and only developing their strengths. I think this may be the case for the practice of weapons in aikido.
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Old 07-07-2005, 11:08 AM   #71
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Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.

Quote:
Joep Schuurkes wrote:
I think our imagination fails us here.
Few attacks during practice are deliverd full speed, full power, full intention. (And a lot of the time rightly so, but that's a different discussion.)

If someone swings a sword at your head it is easier to convince yourself that this is a serious situation. If someone grabs your wrist (the other side of the spectrum) and pushes, it is hard to get the same feeling, although a wrist grab doesn't need to be all that harmless. (Perhaps a better example: morote-dori can be used to go to yonkyo.)

So the problem might be that few ukes attack properly, often they lack the skill and the proper mind-set. You can observe this as well in uke's attack, as when tori/nage has begun doing a technique: many uke seem to think that all they need to do after attcking is fall over at the right time. While what they should be trying to do is moving in such a way as to try to gain advantage. Many techniques make little sense without uke trying to do so.

Gaining the skill should be quite easy, it can be thaught. Training the proper mind-set tends to be quite difficult, at least that's my experience.
I think this is exactly what I am imagining. The underlying issue with this rationale (overall) does not seem to be (so much) that weapons are all "right" but rather that body art is all "wrong." This applies even if we think in potentials: It is not so much that weapons can or could improve our body art, but rather that our body art is most likely being practiced poorly or incorrectly.

The jump in logic here, for me, is that it assumes that folks that cannot practice with a martial intensity in their body art all of a sudden can practice with that intensity once there is a bokken in their hand. This, in my experience, has just not proven to be true or accurate. The truth is that as folks practice, THEY PRACTICE.

I do not want to suggest that there are not levels of practice and/or of intensity and/or that there is nothing to learn at the lower levels of practice and/or intensity. Moreover, I do not want to suggest that only higher levels of practice and/or intensity teach us something. Most certainly, I do not want to suggest that any one person's practice is innately inferior, innately lacking, and/or innately delusional (or the opposite of these things) simply because of the intensity level it is opting to operate under. What I am about to say falls under the commonly held position that different intensity levels teach us different things and that some of those things are better learned at specific degrees of intensity.

As an example of what I am referring to when I say "As folks practice, they practice," I would like to ask you all to take a look at three different applications of the form Sansho 1, part 1 (from Chiba's weapons curriculum). One can see this paired jo practice executed at different levels of intensity if one looks at Bruce Bookman's example at the Aiki Expo 2005, my own version on our web site (http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/v...ikijoone.html), and Frank McGouirk at the Aiki Expo 2002. I have chosen these examples because they may prove to be the most accessible.

As for the martial elements mentioned thus far (i.e. maai, power, "sword spirit," etc.), and as these things are connected to intensity, I would say that all three versions teach about maai. For me, all three versions teach about maai in the same way that body art does. Thus, in them, you see the same rights and wrongs as you do in body art: folks are in the right place, folks are too far away, and/or folks are not penetrating enough, etc. As for power, again, you see that it is just like in body art: Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we get it wrong. You will see folks that have the proper Directional Harmony, proper Body Fusion, and proper Back-up Mass, and you will see folks that do not. As for "sword spirit," and assuming that this means a kind of "energy charge" and/or a total investment of our being and/or the presence of some kind of conduit upon which we can focus our body/mind keenly, etc., it's there in our practice or it is not. Whether we hold a weapon or not, it makes no difference. The three versions offer different degrees of such a thing.

The variation on intensity as seen in these three examples, for me, suggests that it is not as folks are saying: If you put a weapon in your hand, your practice will be martially charged in a way that it cannot be through body art. What I imagine folks are trying to get at when they speak of "intensity" in their weapons practice is not so much an actual martial intensity but rather the presence of a kind of primal fear (one that probably goes way back in our history of evolution) of being struck with a piece of wood. Because of how some often practice in their body art, the cultured fear of being hit with flesh is often not as "intensifying" as it should be and/or as being bonked or rapped with a jo or bokken may be. I will grant that operating under a fear, whatever that fear may be, makes things a bit more emotionally charged. However, that charge is not the charge of martial intensity and thus that charge really has no capacity to instruct on matters of distance, timing, body positioning, etc. This is why the presence of such a fear does not innately produce improvement upon these areas -- as some are suggesting here. In addition, this is why we in the end see the same old percentages of correct form and incorrect form in our weapons practice. Moreover, what one should realize, such primal fears are very often addressed by our habitual ways of dealing with them. That means, for example, as we are subject to delusional and/or egocentric behavior in the face of such fears, so too will we habitually respond to the fear of being bonked or rapped in our weapons practice. In this way, we are even further from the catalyst of a true martial intensity. Thus, through our weapons, we may come to know even less about distance, timing, body positioning, etc.

Note: A great example of this last point is to note how far folks enter into their attack with shomen-giri when their nage is set to perform some sort of disarm or throw (unarmed). Without a martial intensity, folks will enter all the way to strike nage with their hands - not the sword! To be sure, this error in distance goes far to allow nage a nice disarm and/or throw, with little need to irimi (the hard part of such a technique!). One can see this error performed by folks of every rank -- folks that are not able to maintain a martial intensity that is there for all of us only because we have willed it to be (not because we hold a piece of wood).

Last edited by senshincenter : 07-07-2005 at 11:12 AM.

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Old 07-10-2005, 07:52 PM   #72
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Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.

After reading through this thread, it is becoming clear to me that how each individual learns, may dictate whether or not they find weapon practice useful.

We all learn in different ways, the classic example seen in this thread is when one person says that after years of weapon practice and then a change to mostly empty hand techniques, his techniques improved. Another person said that only after a change from pure empty hand to introduction to weapons did his aikido improve. So who is right? Both men. They trained in a way that allowed them to make the most sense of aikido in regards to their personal learning styles.

So I think the debate on whether weapons should be included in aikido training is not so black and white.
Perhaps if it works for you, so be it.
If you want to put weapons into the syllabus for historical context, fine.
If weapons seem pointless for your trainng, well that is fine too.
Do what you must to better your aikido - with or without weapons

Just a thought.

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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Old 07-10-2005, 08:54 PM   #73
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Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.

Quote:
Dean Suter wrote:
So I think the debate on whether weapons should be included in aikido training is not so black and white.
Perhaps if it works for you, so be it.
If you want to put weapons into the syllabus for historical context, fine.
If weapons seem pointless for your trainng, well that is fine too.
Do what you must to better your aikido - with or without weapons
Hmm...I am not so sure that being sensible is allowed in these religious debates

cheers,

--Michael

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Old 07-11-2005, 10:00 PM   #74
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Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.

Quote:
Hmm...I am not so sure that being sensible is allowed in these religious debates
My most humble apologies.

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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Old 07-13-2005, 07:44 AM   #75
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Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.

Quote:
Cromwell Salvatera wrote:

* To do good and complete aikido: does one need to know the weapons training part of it? *
IMHO,
It depends on whether your Aikido teacher thinks it is. Is it the DO of Aikido to fight with whatever comes into hand? Is it YOUR DO? Ask yourself. Thats the Real Question.

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