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Old 03-20-2006, 12:37 PM   #276
Adam Alexander
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Re: ?? Exaggeration in Aikido ??

Quote:
James Kelly wrote:
I have to disagree. Books, papers and interviews, like this forum, are all well and good, but nothing beats training with someone directly. Seeing what they're doing, taking the ukemi and if they're open to it, asking direct questions. In fact, I'd say that direct training trumps all other forms of transmission. Terry used to say this a lot, ‘what's most important is that I touch you' (or something like that).
Disagree with what? That your interpretation of what someone else said is not a suitable source for my interpretation of what was said?

I agree with the rest of what you said, but I think it's out of context.
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Old 03-20-2006, 02:51 PM   #277
Aristeia
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Re: ?? Exaggeration in Aikido ??

so to clarify Jean. When you say you've never heard anyone of rank say "if you miss that entry then....", and someone else says they have seen many people of rank make exactly that point, on the mat, as they are teaching, that that doesn't count because you can't read it? What context do you think might change "if you miss that entry" morph into something more acceptable to you?

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 03-20-2006, 03:34 PM   #278
James Kelly
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Re: ?? Exaggeration in Aikido ??

Every time i try to make a point, Michael makes if for me...

Jean -- you made a statement: you've never heard a person of rank say such and such. All I'm saying is I have heard some very experienced aikidoka say those exact words. If you don't think my direct experience is a suitable to cite then what's there to talk about?
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Old 03-20-2006, 04:05 PM   #279
Adam Alexander
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Re: ?? Exaggeration in Aikido ??

Quote:
James Kelly wrote:
Every time i try to make a point, Michael makes if for me...

Jean -- you made a statement: you've never heard a person of rank say such and such. All I'm saying is I have heard some very experienced aikidoka say those exact words. If you don't think my direct experience is a suitable to cite then what's there to talk about?
As I've been saying, it's an issue of context. I would venture to guess that although those individuals explicity stated that, it was while using the term "technique" in a manner that's different than how I've been using in this thread.

We all use the work "technique" in a couple different ways. I had intended on going for the point that, for simplicity sake, those people used the word "technique" in a "dojo sense."

However, in an application sense, the way I've been using for this thread, "technique" has a different meaning.

I would expect that if the folks who've said "if you miss that" would also say that "if you miss that, it's bad Aikido (or, as I would say, not Aikido)." However, that's not a discussion to be had in the dojo (I wouldn't think).

Perhaps it's my misunderstanding, but I'm under the impression that you offered your experience as it relates to the conversation. Since the discussion was--to me--more an issue of the definition of an Aikido technique and the nuances of the words, I figure the nuances of what you were reporting was of importance to the discussion.

So, to say that I said "I've never heard..." is accurate. However, the point--due to the definition I use--is different, although the words are the same.

Beyond that, I imagine there's nothing to talk about.
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Old 03-20-2006, 05:10 PM   #280
Aristeia
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Re: ?? Exaggeration in Aikido ??

Or perhaps it's possible that everyone (including Shihan) are using "technique" in the same way except for you. And in fact that your perculiar definition only arose when your argument was getting into trouble.

I mean this like me saying that I've never heard a teacher say that taking balance is a good idea. And then when you right point out that good teachers say that all the time, clarifying that by "taking balance" I mean taking ones own balance, i.e. falling over, - and so that although they may say it's a good thing that's not really what they are saying according to my definition.

Sounds a little absurd no?

Last edited by Aristeia : 03-20-2006 at 05:13 PM.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 03-20-2006, 05:30 PM   #281
Michael Douglas
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Re: ?? Exaggeration in Aikido ??

Excuse me Jean, can you clarify this for me ;
"No one's saying that a person is infallible. Only that infallibility is a part of a pure Aikido technique."

Do you mean to say that 'part' of 'pure' Aikido techniques are
infallible ??

Or do you mean that when an Aikido technique is done 'purely'
then it is infallible ??

Or something else.

And is this a commonly-held view ??

(Edited for quotes)
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Old 03-20-2006, 05:48 PM   #282
Aristeia
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Re: ?? Exaggeration in Aikido ??

Jean has developed an odd definition of "technique". Whereas the rest of us view things like shiho nage and irimi nage as techniques, as best as I can make out Jean's definition is something along the lines of "Aikido technique is the successful execution of aiki strategy". Note that his definition may involve more than one technique (in the traditional sense) and that it has the concept of success inbuilt as part of the definition. In otherwords it is infallible in the sense that if it fails it doesn't meet the critereia to be considered a technique. Cute huh?

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 03-20-2006, 06:37 PM   #283
James Kelly
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Re: ?? Exaggeration in Aikido ??

Quote:
Jean de Rochefort wrote:
As I've been saying, it's an issue of context. I would venture to guess that although those individuals explicity stated that, it was while using the term "technique" in a manner that's different than how I've been using in this thread.

We all use the work "technique" in a couple different ways. I had intended on going for the point that, for simplicity sake, those people used the word "technique" in a "dojo sense."

However, in an application sense, the way I've been using for this thread, "technique" has a different meaning.

I would expect that if the folks who've said "if you miss that" would also say that "if you miss that, it's bad Aikido (or, as I would say, not Aikido)." However, that's not a discussion to be had in the dojo (I wouldn't think).
Jean

I'm not sure I follow your discussion about the nuances of the term technique (and I'm not sure it's relevant) but in the context I'm talking about, the word technique doesn't come up at all. It's more like, ‘Shomen-uchi comes, you irimi, you're not deep enough for irimi-nage so you move to kote-gaeshi' (or something). This isn't bad aikido and it's certainly not ‘not aikido'. It's actually the essence of the dynamic nature of aikido and I'm sure the people of rank I'm thinking of would agree. It's the back and forth, the give and take that is aikido.
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Old 03-20-2006, 06:53 PM   #284
Aristeia
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Re: ?? Exaggeration in Aikido ??

Quote:
James Kelly wrote:
Jean

This isn't bad aikido and it's certainly not ‘not aikido'. It's actually the essence of the dynamic nature of aikido and I'm sure the people of rank I'm thinking of would agree. It's the back and forth, the give and take that is aikido.
Which is I think, how pretty much everyone would have read my original statement of

"In fact I tell my guys that it's only when they screw up and have to start bouncing between techniques that they actually start doing aikido" which started all of this.

Except of course for Jean. In fact when I go back and look at his early responses to that statement, it is clear to me that he was not then arguing from the same definition of "technique" than he is now imo

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 03-22-2006, 11:46 AM   #285
Adam Alexander
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Re: ?? Exaggeration in Aikido ??

Quote:
Michael Douglas wrote:
Excuse me Jean, can you clarify this for me ;
"No one's saying that a person is infallible. Only that infallibility is a part of a pure Aikido technique."

Do you mean to say that 'part' of 'pure' Aikido techniques are
infallible ??

Or do you mean that when an Aikido technique is done 'purely'
then it is infallible ??

Or something else.

And is this a commonly-held view ??

(Edited for quotes)
If I understand what you're saying, then both are accurate.

On whether it's a commonly held view, I believe so. However, like so many other things in Aikido, it's rarely to never discussed...LOL. I imagine because it's a direct shot at the ego.
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Old 03-22-2006, 11:58 AM   #286
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Re: ?? Exaggeration in Aikido ??

Quote:
James Kelly wrote:
Jean

I'm not sure I follow your discussion about the nuances of the term technique (and I'm not sure it's relevant) but in the context I'm talking about, the word technique doesn't come up at all. It's more like, ‘Shomen-uchi comes, you irimi, you're not deep enough for irimi-nage so you move to kote-gaeshi' (or something). This isn't bad aikido and it's certainly not ‘not aikido'. It's actually the essence of the dynamic nature of aikido and I'm sure the people of rank I'm thinking of would agree. It's the back and forth, the give and take that is aikido.
I would say that sh'te's perspective in this situation is what would make this good/bad/not Aikido.

As this relates to the conversation, I'd say that if you grouped the parts of your description together and called it a "technique," I would agree with you.
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Old 03-22-2006, 01:16 PM   #287
James Kelly
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Re: ?? Exaggeration in Aikido ??

Jean,

A thought about infallible aikido: I wonder if what you're seeing as infallibility is really just a matter of degrees. If a 30+ year aikido veteran does technique on me it sure looks and feels inevitable, irresistible -- perhaps even infallible. Same if I train with someone with, say, less that 10 years under their belt. But if you ask that 30 year vet how their technique works on a 40+ year vet (or better yet, watch them train together) the same exact movements with the same conditioned reflexes are woefully fallible.

And when partners are closer in experience, even if one is clearly sempai, the training becomes about adapting to unforeseen situations: you try something, it doesn't work, maybe they try a reversal, but you still have your balance, so you try something else, now it's worked. Call that whole thing a single technique if you want but I suspect you'd be in the minority.

We can talk forever about some platonic notion of ‘pure' aikido technique, but it's kind of meaningless. A technique doesn't exist unless put into the world via physical action and that has to be done by us lowly, fallible humans. Are fallible humans capable of performing infallible acts? It's long been debated but I suspect not. I've seen even superstars make the occasional mistake.
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Old 03-22-2006, 01:25 PM   #288
Ron Tisdale
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Re: ?? Exaggeration in Aikido ??

Quote:
I've seen even superstars make the occasional mistake.
Yea, like taking time during an olympic final to grab your snowboard and show off!

Best,
Ron (what a way to lose the gold!)

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 03-22-2006, 01:27 PM   #289
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: ?? Exaggeration in Aikido ??

James I agree with your comments. It is really not about being falliable and infalliable. It is about knowledge and experiences. I am sure there are plenty of Shihans out there that I could pummel into the ground if they fought a "no rules" type fight and they chose to fight strictly (and stupidly) from an aikido paradigm. The fact that I pound them into the ground has nothing to do with the art or the artist being falliable/infalliable...but with their attitude and approach to the situation and how they respond to the situation from an ethical point of view.

Shihans and instructors have a vital role at communicating and imparting knowledge that they have learned from aikido. It is up to students to learn that knowledge if they deem it to be of some value to them. It is really that simple to me!

As a infantrymen, I don't really turn to my aikido instructors and ask them to teach me how to fight or defend myself...I really do believe I am better qualified than them to talk about or teach these subjects....but they do offer me value on a much deeper and meaningful level than the pure percieved "combat effectiveness" of aikido or of a M/A in general.

To me it is really pointless to discuss Falliability of an art based on techniques! how crazy is that!!! the falliability is that people come to the arts and believe they are learning stuff that is important, but really isn't all that important in the bigger scheme of things...and they miss the real points of why we need to study M/A and Aikido! that is where the falliability lay!
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Old 03-22-2006, 03:09 PM   #290
Adam Alexander
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Re: ?? Exaggeration in Aikido ??

Quote:
James Kelly wrote:
A thought about infallible aikido: I wonder if what you're seeing as infallibility is really just a matter of degrees. If a 30+ year aikido veteran does technique on me it sure looks and feels inevitable, irresistible -- perhaps even infallible. Same if I train with someone with, say, less that 10 years under their belt. But if you ask that 30 year vet how their technique works on a 40+ year vet (or better yet, watch them train together) the same exact movements with the same conditioned reflexes are woefully fallible.
I'm not really talking about practitioners. It's, I believe, physics.

Quote:
James Kelly wrote:
you try something, it doesn't work, maybe they try a reversal, but you still have your balance, so you try something else, now it's worked.
I do not believe this is consistent with your previous example. In the previous example, you said,"you're not deep enough for irimi-nage." I think that's quite different from saying "you try something, it doesn't work."

I believe any time that something "doesn't work" it's not Aikido. The circumstances dictate the technique, not a plan to react.

Quote:
James Kelly wrote:
We can talk forever about some platonic notion of ‘pure' aikido technique, but it's kind of meaningless..
Then why did you respond? It must have some sort of meaning.

I think it's extraordinarily valuable to one's understanding of Aikido.


Quote:
James Kelly wrote:
A technique doesn't exist unless put into the world via physical action and that has to be done by us lowly, fallible humans. Are fallible humans capable of performing infallible acts?
On a technique not existing, I totally agree. That's what I've been trying--albeit poorly--to say.

However, if I define walking, and I perform that task to meet the definition, then I have performed a "perfect" walk.

There is a definition for techniques. It is possible, I believe-- and I believe I've experienced-- perfect technique...perfect everytime, absolutely not. However, one technique doesn't have to be perfect in order that the next be perfect.
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Old 03-22-2006, 03:18 PM   #291
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Re: ?? Exaggeration in Aikido ??

Ok, look.
5 years ago I was walking out of a club with some friends when two bouncers came running out with a half uncousious guy. One bouncer threw him into the ground and proceed to beat the guy sensless.

The bouncer outweighed me by at least 50 pounds and was several inches taller than me. Big, no-neck bodybuilder type.

I pushed him off the guy and offered to call him a cab to get him out of there. The bouncer tried to grab me with one hand on the shoulder hand punch me in the face with the other. I did a big kokyunage and he sailed onto the hood of a parked car and fell on the pavement on the far side.

As I turned around expecting to get my ass kicked by the other bouncer, he only smiled and offered me a job.

You have to train with a martial intent if you want to use it as a martial art. Every day.

If you are looking for something else, that's fine, but don't try to use it as such.
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Old 03-22-2006, 03:55 PM   #292
Mark Freeman
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Re: ?? Exaggeration in Aikido ??

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
To me it is really pointless to discuss Falliability of an art based on techniques! how crazy is that!!! the falliability is that people come to the arts and believe they are learning stuff that is important, but really isn't all that important in the bigger scheme of things...and they miss the real points of why we need to study M/A and Aikido! that is where the falliability lay!
While I pretty much agree with your post Kevin, what are the real points of why we need to study M/A and Aikido?

regards,
Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 03-22-2006, 03:59 PM   #293
Mark Freeman
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Re: ?? Exaggeration in Aikido ??

Quote:
Jason Mitchell wrote:
Ok, look.
5 years ago I was walking out of a club with some friends when two bouncers came running out with a half uncousious guy. One bouncer threw him into the ground and proceed to beat the guy sensless.

The bouncer outweighed me by at least 50 pounds and was several inches taller than me. Big, no-neck bodybuilder type.

I pushed him off the guy and offered to call him a cab to get him out of there. The bouncer tried to grab me with one hand on the shoulder hand punch me in the face with the other. I did a big kokyunage and he sailed onto the hood of a parked car and fell on the pavement on the far side.

As I turned around expecting to get my ass kicked by the other bouncer, he only smiled and offered me a job.

You have to train with a martial intent if you want to use it as a martial art. Every day.

If you are looking for something else, that's fine, but don't try to use it as such.
1, well done for coming to the aid of the poor guy being beaten up by the bouncers. I would hope someone like you was around if I were ever in such a lousy position.

2, Did you take up the offer of a job.

regards,
Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 03-23-2006, 10:05 AM   #294
James Davis
 
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Re: ?? Exaggeration in Aikido ??

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Yea, like taking time during an olympic final to grab your snowboard and show off!

Best,
Ron (what a way to lose the gold!)
I saw that one, too. She sets a great example, no?

"The only difference between Congress and drunken sailors is that drunken sailors spend their own money." -Tom Feeney, representative from Florida
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Old 03-23-2006, 11:49 AM   #295
James Kelly
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Re: ?? Exaggeration in Aikido ??

Quote:
James Davis, Jr. wrote:
I saw that one, too. She sets a great example, no?
But here's the thing. The guy who won the gold in the snowboard cross also did a trick on the last jump, but he landed it and went on to win. No one was berating him for showing off. Motocross guys do it all the time, a little showboat for the audience. It's part of the sport. Even Jacobellis' coach didn't get on her case for styling, just for "styling too hard." So the big crime that she committed was not doing the trick, but falling.

Actually her crime was falling in front of Bob Costas who was looking for any excuse to make controversy. He called it the greatest sports gaffe of all time. Compared it to Lean Lett. She's just a 20 year old kid who was excited she was going to win gold who had a little too much adrenalin and wanted to please the crowd a little too hard... and she fell. To me, that's the nature of spectator sports.

James -- president of the leave poor Lindsey Jacobellis alone club.
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Old 03-23-2006, 12:24 PM   #296
James Kelly
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Re: ?? Exaggeration in Aikido ??

Quote:
Jean de Rochefort wrote:
I do not believe this is consistent with your previous example. In the previous example, you said,"you're not deep enough for irimi-nage." I think that's quite different from saying "you try something, it doesn't work."
They are different examples. The first is an example of something I've heard Shihan say, the second is an example of how I tend to train on a day to day basis.
Quote:
Jean de Rochefort wrote:
I believe any time that something "doesn't work" it's not Aikido. The circumstances dictate the technique, not a plan to react.
What if a technique half works. I try to throw someone in a roll, he looses his balance, falls down, but doesn't take the roll I was going for... is that not aikido? Maybe it's half aikido because it only half worked.
Quote:
Jean de Rochefort wrote:
Then why did you respond? It must have some sort of meaning.
I responded because I'm procrastinating. Any excuse a writer can use to keep from writing the thing he's supposed to be writing he will use (especially if the excuse is more writing. It looks and feels like he's working -- see, I'm putting words on the page -- but he knows in his heart he's not). So in the spirit of procrastination... I didn't say that this discussion has no meaning. I said that postulating the idea of a the perfect technique that can never be attained by humans has no meaning (I didn't realize at the time that you claim that these perfect techniques exist).
Quote:
Jean de Rochefort wrote:
On a technique not existing, I totally agree. That's what I've been trying--albeit poorly--to say.

However, if I define walking, and I perform that task to meet the definition, then I have performed a "perfect" walk.
But some walks are better than others (or is it more equal?). If I drag my feet and have bad posture and generally waste energy while walking, I'm still meeting the definition of walking (i.e. placing one foot in front of the other to achieve motion while at no time having both feet in the air), but is that a perfect walk? Hardly. I may arrive at my destination late, or more tired. I might even be injuring myself.
Quote:
Jean de Rochefort wrote:
There is a definition for techniques. It is possible, I believe-- and I believe I've experienced-- perfect technique...perfect everytime, absolutely not. However, one technique doesn't have to be perfect in order that the next be perfect.
Similarly, some techniques work better than others (take less effort, generate more power, neutralize uke's other options more thoroughly). So if techniques are on a sliding scale, there's always room at the top for one better than the last one. Saying a technique is ‘perfect' closes the scale, leaves no room for improvement.
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Old 03-25-2006, 11:30 AM   #297
Adam Alexander
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Re: ?? Exaggeration in Aikido ??

Quote:
James Kelly wrote:
They are different examples. The first is an example of something I've heard Shihan say, the second is an example of how I tend to train on a day to day basis.
With the significance I'm placing on the definition of the word "technique" and the confusion we've all experienced with seniors giving what appears to be vague advice which later turns out to be dead-on but we couldn't grasp it at the time because we didn't understand exactly what was being said, I'd give a lot of consideration to what they're saying and what they mean...This conversation is what that's all about.

Quote:
James Kelly wrote:
What if a technique half works. I try to throw someone in a roll, he looses his balance, falls down, but doesn't take the roll I was going for... is that not aikido? Maybe it's half aikido because it only half worked.
I don't like the use of "going" in this case.

But in any case, I'd say that it was an effective technique, but, ultimately, it wasn't Aikido. If he had tripped over something that came onto the stage, then maybe. But if uke lost his balance because of sh'te's actions, it's bad technique...Not Aikido.

Quote:
James Kelly wrote:
(I didn't realize at the time that you claim that these perfect techniques exist).
Is there a way to type these words that is consistent with the principals of typing? If a child gets on the computer and starts banging on the keys, do we call that typing? If you type very slowly, do you tell people you can or can't type-- Would a typing expert call it typing?

Quote:
James Kelly wrote:
But some walks are better than others (or is it more equal?).
You're assuming the definition of "walking."

Quote:
James Kelly wrote:
Similarly, some techniques work better than others.
Techniques are suited to the situation. However, I wouldn't say that one works better than another without attaching several caveats.

Quote:
James Kelly wrote:
Saying a technique is ‘perfect' closes the scale, leaves no room for improvement.
Nice point.

I'd say don't get too caught up in "perfect" right now.
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Old 03-25-2006, 12:23 PM   #298
ikkitosennomusha
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Re: ?? Exaggeration in Aikido ??

This is a hard topic to attack because it really could go either way. You take an experienced aikidoka weighing less than 200 llbs., I really don't see much hope for survival against a brut at 280 llbs. that is not dumb. The smaller guy better be well trained and on his toes to escape the situation. So, it can be done.

However, again, it could go either way depending on the circumstances and situation. My own personal story is that when I began aikido, I had just stopped bobuilding seriously. I had some martial experience in my past but began with a clear conscious and a clear mind. I had the temperment to be a rough-neck as well. I trained with black belts, brown belts, sensei, etc. The common truth that I kept to myself is that I could have taken them all down in a real situation. Was that my ego talking to me? No, one can tell. That was me. I have seen some big guys come in and fall. Even when I train with top notch sensei, knowing that aikido is aobut technique and not strength, I always knew I could overpower them and had to give in as to not show up the sensei. Plus, it would not be aiki of me to use brut force to muscle my way out of things. This is not aikido. So, I tried very hard not to use my strength to my advantage in a dojo situation to level the playing field and make the technique work as it was intended.
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Old 03-25-2006, 08:42 PM   #299
James Kelly
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Re: ?? Exaggeration in Aikido ??

Quote:
Jean de Rochefort wrote:
But if uke lost his balance because of sh'te's actions, it's bad technique...Not Aikido.
Did you mean to say this...?
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Old 03-26-2006, 03:03 PM   #300
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
Location: Stuttgart, Baden Wurttemberg
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 4,376
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Re: ?? Exaggeration in Aikido ??

To respond to Mark Freeman,

Good question. (we do we study MA/Aikido) I will try and answer it without backing myself into a corner, or answering the question with a questions!

I think the answer is this: "It depends". Vague at best right?

Well I think people do study martial arts for many different reasons. I think what is most important is that they really, really, really understand WHY they are studying MA, and have realistic expectations about what they will get out of the study.

I will try not to be philosophic, but it is difficult I think. In the end it is happiness. To placate/address real or percieved fear may be the other one...which when done leads to happiness. Okay..enough of the philosophical stuff!

Many get involved for Self Defense. They precieve that by studying MA they will gain some degree of proficiency in this area. I'd say this is probably a big reason. People want to feel strong or empowered. I also believe this is the most irrational reason to study MA or DO arts such as aikido. If you really believe you have a reason to address Self Defense, It is better to identify the risk or exposure, and spend your time finding the best ways to address this...it does not require any formalized study of eastern MA to do this.

Many get involved for Physical Fitness. Good reason to study, IMHO.

Job: some police officers, military and other folks will come to the arts to gain skills. Most of these guys will tell you the mental aspects you gain are as important as the physical techniques if not more so!

Many get involved for the holistic stuff. Uniting Mind, body, and spirit. I go back to the happiness thing.

Many simply love the feeling they get from doing it. Again happiness, but also holistic in nature too.

Some believe that it is a good way to socialize...gain you get wrapped up into the holisitc stuff.

List could go on...many, many reasons!

The point is IMHO, that we simply need to understand WHY we study the martial arts (it may be mixed and complicated). Once we understand it, the things we concentrate on and care about will make much more sense. We will also worry less about technique and simply "be in the moment" of the study, and care more about the journey than the endstate!

These are the thoughts that come to mind right now!
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