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Old 03-22-2001, 10:10 AM   #1
jxa127
Dojo: Itten Dojo -- Mechanicsburg, PA
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Do symbol

Stanley Pranin writes of Saito Sensei's training in his article, "Morihei Ueshiba and Morihiro Saito," (available on his web site):
Quote:
The young Saito was given little encouragement initially and had to endure the intensive, often painful training silently. Saito Sensei recalls the early days when suwariwaza practice on the dojo's hardwood floor would continue endlessly leaving his knees bloodied and festering. To make matters worse, as a newcomer in the dojo he was on the receiving end of countless, vigorous techniques from the likes of sempai Koichi Tohei and Tadashi Abe.
There's something similar at the Aikido Association of America web site referring to Toyoda Sensei:
Quote:
It was at age 17 that Toyoda Shihan also began misogi training, a tradition at the dojo of Tohei Sensei. In particular, this was the training in breathing and Zen meditation given at the notorious Ichikukai Dojo in Tokyo. Ichikukai was founded by a student of the renowned Meiji-era swordsman, calligrapher and Zen master Yamaoka Tesshu; it still carries a reputation for extremely difficult training of a type rarely undertaken by modern persons. Toyoda Shihan recalls the pancake-size layers of skin that would come off his knees from kneeling so long on tatami during breathing training, and the scars many trainees would develop from senior students striking them repeatedly on the back to help them "get the air out"…even after blood had soaked through their clothes.
What do you folks think of those training methods in the context of contemporary Western culture? It seems that O Sensei and his closest students felt that extreme physical hardship was an essential component of training. Personally, I have struggled against my own physical (but really mental) shortcomings and learned a lot about getting past them -- but that was in the course of regular training and more intensive training at an Aikido camp. I certainly didn't have sempai throwing me especially hard or hitting me on the back.

Is our Aikido practice poorer for not having that kind of really tough training, or are we doing okay?

-Drew Ames
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Old 03-22-2001, 02:26 PM   #2
Guest5678
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tough training

Yea, well theres also the (Sholin, sp?) monks that drag around huge heavy rocks with a rope tied around their "crotch parts", but you won't catch me trying THAT crap either. I have no problems defending myself and my family so I do not feel the urge for radical self abuse. If I do get that urge, one evening with the in-laws pretty much takes care of that! HA!

Train hard, but safe!

Dan P. -Mongo
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Old 03-22-2001, 04:00 PM   #3
Steve Speicher
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That reminds me..... I need to hire a Zen master to walk around with me constantly, yelling "NO!" and hitting me on the back with a large stick.

Steve

P.S. It is Shaolin!
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Old 03-22-2001, 11:08 PM   #4
marga
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it is weird

i think in some ways we do soft aikido. but we don't want it hard, right? we aren't really preparing for intensive long-term anything. how tough do we have to be? i try to train hard, but there are certain things i will never sacrifice in order to be a better warrior.

what extreme measures have you endured/performed/done for the sake of your aikido practice?

marga napiel
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Old 03-23-2001, 12:21 AM   #5
crystalwizard
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Think people

I think someone's missed the point. Regardless of how O'Sensei started his training or what HE went through, the point is more how he trained his students after he developed Aikido. O'Sensei was also trained to deal out death but he developed aikido becaue he was sick of that. Did it ever occour that possibly he was also sick of teachers that used the excuse of training students as a reason to abuse them?

does the fact that any one else had to undergo abuses make it right or mean that aikido instructors have liscence in any country or culture to abuse their students?

doesn't THAT kind of training fly in the face of numerous quotes from O'Sensei that talk about love, respect and so on?


____________
Kelly Christiansen

A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world. Everyone you meet is your mirror
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Old 03-23-2001, 04:49 AM   #6
Matt Banks
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Kelly,

I agree with you to an extent, but what I think what you may forget is that the students of o'sensei, who trained in the ''hell dojo'' etc loved it. They were exilerated by the hard training, they recieved. Gozo Shioda loved it, and im sure many other of the greats did also. Personally I prefer really hard training. As I find it exilerating, as it pushes me (''striving for the ultimate'' ''the way of the warrior''). I dont like NOT trying to improve myself physically and mentally and spiritually. I personally feel that if each day I dont push myself harder in training then I have failed. The idea in the dojo's I train in, is that hard training makes you a stronger person mentally. Plus if I can get through this training, then the outside world is an easy thing for me to deal with.

Matt Banks

''Zanshin be aware hold fast your centre''
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Old 03-23-2001, 06:20 AM   #7
TheProdigy
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When you truly come to an understanding of positive thinking and optimism the "outside" is already a very easy place to live within, through any hardship you may encounter. By stripping yourself of pride, hate, and such, while grasping onto humbleness, love, etc. everyday things become effortless on your mind. You don't need physical abuse to develop a strong mentality; you need strong teachings and an open mind. I personally find the 4 principles of kokikai aikido to be of great value in leading a happy and healthy lifestyle. Abuse without such teachings (from what I've seen... nothing factual) leads to closed minds, and limited personal development.

So, in building stronger people, I believe it is essential to not abuse them. What good is it to hurt your body so much and so often? I understand if you do it here n there to test your mentality and physical abilities in such a situation. But to do it regularly and perhaps even daily is a huge disrespect to your own body, and will bring bad health at an early age (prior to 50... arthritis, etc...).

Happiness is a goal we all strive for from the beginning. Along the way, many lose sight of it, or give up hope of finding it. Abusive anything can only slow (if not stop) your progress in achieving it. With a positive and happy mindset, you can overcome any obstacles, and truly become the best you can be.

-Jase

Jason Hobbs
"As you walk and eat and travel, be where you are. Otherwise you will miss most of your life."
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Old 03-23-2001, 07:28 AM   #8
crystalwizard
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Quote:
Matt Banks wrote:
Kelly,

I agree with you to an extent, but what I think what you may forget is that the students of o'sensei, who trained in the ''hell dojo'' etc loved it. They were exilerated by the hard training, they recieved. Gozo Shioda loved it, and im sure many other of the greats did also. Personally I prefer really hard training. As I find it exilerating, as it pushes me (''striving for the ultimate'' ''the way of the warrior''). I dont like NOT trying to improve myself physically and mentally and spiritually. I personally feel that if each day I dont push myself harder in training then I have failed. The idea in the dojo's I train in, is that hard training makes you a stronger person mentally. Plus if I can get through this training, then the outside world is an easy thing for me to deal with.

Matt Banks
in other words, you'd watch bootcamp because survivor is for sissys? Ok, to each their own but I have to wonder if that's not sort of a cop out. I have nothing against training intensivly, pushing your self to the limit of ability as it were but I see absolutely no validity to the idea you need to be physicaly punished, even to the point of making you bleed, to encourage you to push yourself.
Lots of people enjoy that sort of physical abuse so i'm sure that some of the students probably did enjoy it. They also probably went home to their spouses and had them tie them up and whip them to enjoy lovemaking. But probably far more didn't enjoy it but said they did. Or even talked themself into believing that they did becaues 'that's how Sensei teaches and he CANT be wrong'.
Are you not capable of pushing yourself intensely without someone beating you up at the same time? Or is being beaten up what you actualy enjoy?

____________
Kelly Christiansen

A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world. Everyone you meet is your mirror
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Old 03-23-2001, 09:16 AM   #9
Dan Hover
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I think that at the heart of this issue comes down to a number of things. First we as Americans, really do not know hardship like the generations before us(WWII) have. We have the one of the most wasteful, instant gratification culture. Which really is magnified with recent generations. Today you will have a hard time, getting anyone to take that kind of abuse in almost anything. I have been through some physical Rigors of my own (US Army Ranger) and I can tell you firsthand. It is not really abusive physically, but more so mentally. Am I a masochist like some allude Matt to being? No. Japanese people at the time Osensei had the Jigoku dojo and immediately after WWII when Saito entered Iwama, were really toughened by what they had to endure merely to survive. This is in essence a Japanese characteristic. As developed through countless years of civil strife. Pre WWII historically Japan was gearing up for the War, and his students needed to be somewhat better prepared for the horrors that come with large scale conflict.
We as Americans in our current age are somewhat cushioned and sheltered from the hardships of survival. We watch it on the news and think that it doesn't apply to us. We have a disposable consumer culture that is a spiritual vacuum. There are the exceptions of course. But we live in a day and age where we can train in Aikido for many different reasons. And training like we are preparing for combat may not be one of them. But once again, in the days of Jigoku dojo and Iwama, you, the student needed to prove yourself to the teacher. Today in the West it is the exact opposite. The teacher had best make something of you or else, we take our money and leave.
Being Abusive as an instructor is a fine line that one should not cross. It is one thing to be hard and focused in your teaching or in your training. It is another thing entirely to be abusive. Have I ever been heavy handed with my students? Yes. Have they been deserving? Yes. Did they come back? The ones who saw that their ego was the ones making them act in such a manner, yes, they return a bit humbler and wiser for it. Those that don't return after being corrected. I don't care, those are not the students I want representing me. But I would not say that I was abusive, or even lead an abusive like class atmosphere.

I will finish this up with a quote from Rinjiro Shirata Shihan:
"I think young people had better train hard while they are young, especially those who intend to become instructors. Then they can become soft gradually. Being soft from the beginning is also worthwhile because if you cause young people to train hard some may give up Aikido. In this respect soft training has some merit...However, those who want to become instructors cannot reach that level unless they train hard."

Dan Hover

of course that's my opinion, I could be wrong
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Old 03-23-2001, 09:49 AM   #10
Steve Speicher
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Well, I'll address this from a third person perspective.

If the time ever comes where I need protection (war or escalating civil violence) I know for sure I'd rather have as a protector someone who had pushed themselves in their training, rather than someone who was always comfortable.

Also, to those that view happiness as a goal... why? Happiness is only valid in relation to sorrow. Comfort to discomfort. Desire to suffering. It doesn't take perverted masochism to take your training to more arduous levels. It takes spirit. And how can that constitute abuse on the sensei's part??? A student if free to leave at any time. If you don't like the training, then get up and leave the dojo! Problem solved. If you want the training, then stay. A swords strength is dependent upon its tempering, too cool and it won't take proper form, too hot and the metal will break.

I'm sure I mistated something in this post, and to be honest I am not 'hardcore' in my training... yet. But keep an open mind about rigorous training, it saddens me that people quickly classify anything uncomfortable as abuse and perverted masochism. Don't be so weak!

-----------------------------
Steve Speicher
May I ask what is meant by the strong, moving power (hao jan chih chi)? "It
is difficult to describe," Mencius replied. -- Mencius IIA2

403-256 BCE
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Old 03-23-2001, 09:52 AM   #11
REK
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I agree with you, Dan. I like the quote, and personally I believe it. Train hard. Let that mean what it needs to mean for you. If you think extremely rigorous (physically demanding) training is wrong, then don't do it. If you feel that rigorous training holds some benefit for you, try it. Why does it have to be more complicated than that?

(Dan, if I may, a friendly gig: Rangers lead the way...using maps drawn by NAVSPECWAR )

Rob

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Mors certa, hora incerta
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Old 03-23-2001, 10:10 AM   #12
crystalwizard
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Quote:
Steve Speicher wrote:
[B It doesn't take perverted masochism to take your training to more arduous levels. It takes spirit. And how can that constitute abuse on the sensei's part???
<snip>
But keep an open mind about rigorous training, it saddens me that people quickly classify anything uncomfortable as abuse and perverted masochism. Don't be so weak! [/b]
Allow me to quote from the post above:
Quote:

Toyoda Shihan recalls the pancake-size layers of skin that would come off his knees from kneeling so long on tatami during breathing
training, and the scars many trainees would develop from senior students striking them repeatedly on the back to help them "get the air out"…even after blood had soaked through their clothes
convince me that subjecting your students to somethling like that isn't
a: 'perverted masochisim'
b: doesn't 'constitute aubse on teh sensei's part'
c: shouldn't be classified as abuse insead of just uncomfortable.

Convince me that anything CLOSE to that is necessary in any way in any sort of physical training. That's hardly the same thing as practicing techniques with intensity of mind, doing rolls even though you're tired or anything else that actualy is pushing yourself..

____________
Kelly Christiansen

A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world. Everyone you meet is your mirror
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Old 03-23-2001, 10:38 AM   #13
BC
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Quote:
jxa127 wrote:
Stanley Pranin writes of Saito Sensei's training in his article, "Morihei Ueshiba and Morihiro Saito," (available on his web site):
Quote:
The young Saito was given little encouragement initially and had to endure the intensive, often painful training silently. Saito Sensei recalls the early days when suwariwaza practice on the dojo's hardwood floor would continue endlessly leaving his knees bloodied and festering.
Ihave had this happen at seminars when whole classes were conducted practicing suwari waza. its really not that big of a deal. A little temporary pain. That's all.

Quote:
It was at age 17 that Toyoda Shihan also began misogi training, a tradition at the dojo of Tohei Sensei. In particular, this was the training in breathing and Zen meditation given at the notorious Ichikukai Dojo in Tokyo. Ichikukai was founded by a student of the renowned Meiji-era swordsman, calligrapher and Zen master Yamaoka Tesshu; it still carries a reputation for extremely difficult training of a type rarely undertaken by modern persons. Toyoda Shihan recalls the pancake-size layers of skin that would come off his knees from kneeling so long on tatami during breathing training, and the scars many trainees would develop from senior students striking them repeatedly on the back to help them "get the air out"…even after blood had soaked through their clothes.
[/b][/quote]

I think a little clarification is in order for this quote. The Ichi-kukai Dojo is NOT an aikido dojo. It is a well-renowned dojo for learning the practice of misogi. Therefore, this has NOTHING to do with aikido, at least on a direct basis. Hope this helps, as I think people were losing their perspective a little here.

Robert Cronin
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Old 03-23-2001, 10:47 AM   #14
bones
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Quote:
convince me that subjecting your students to somethling like that isn't
a: 'perverted masochisim'
b: doesn't 'constitute aubse on teh sensei's part'
c: shouldn't be classified as abuse insead of just uncomfortable.

Convince me that anything CLOSE to that is necessary in any way in any sort of physical training.
Don't forget the students have entered into this training voluntarily, knew what they were getting into, and are free to leave at any time. Is Navy SEAL training perverted masochism? Are people that organize 'adventure races' perverted masochists? There is something spiritually cleansing about persevering hardship. It is said, to reach enlightenment, Bodhidharma sat in zazen for nine years until his legs were shriveled and useless. Not to mention a western religious tradition involving painful self-sacrifice. If you don't understand it, don't do it! Personally, I like to train harder than my body will actually withstand. After a while I had to concede training softer was better than not training at all because I'm injured. But I'm working my way up to it.

-efp
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Old 03-23-2001, 02:06 PM   #15
Nick
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I like to push myself. If, during a class we're doing an attack and it connects, even if it 'hurts', it shows me where my flaws are, whether it be I moved irimi instead of tenkan, didn't bring my hands up, etc. If I'm bleeding, I'll ask to be excused from the mat to wash it off as I see bleeding on the mat as bad reigi. If something snaps audibly or I can't walk (can't see much instance of that happening), I'll sit on the side until the end of class, then probably head to the ER. But if someone hits me in class doing a technique, and it doesn't hurt, who cares? I added up a little while ago that I spend five hours a week at my dojo training. If I take time to complain how much it hurts, all that is is time off of my training, and from a mathematics perspective, I'm losing money by complaining about the flaw in my technique. As for pushing myself... the only time I've really found myself beyond physical limits was my test... as per norm, you do basics, optionals, than randori until you literally drop. Watching the video, I timed that I had done ryo-kata tori randori for six minutes before I fell, and this is after 35 straight minutes of other waza. During class, I'm lucky to get a minute. It's made me come to realize that it's good to push yourself as often as you can. Too many people need a push, as they stuck sedentary in their ways. Pushing yourself doesn't mean needlessly hurting yourself, of course, but just exhausting all your energy, so that all you have left is form. If you don't have the strength to leap, you must find a more efficient way to get where you must be. For those who never push themselves, whether it be physical, mental, or spiritual, well... I wonder where they'll be in a few years.

Nick

---
Nick Porter
"Do not fall into the trap of the artisan who boasts twenty years of experience, when in fact he has had only one year of experience-- twenty times."
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Old 03-23-2001, 03:49 PM   #16
PeterR
 
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I agree that a situation can not be truely abusive if the student has the choice to leave or stay. However, there are people out there that are abusers by nature and others that are victim by nature and more often then not they find each other.

That said there is a whole gauntlet of what people are after in their training and what they are able to take. I do think it is the teachers job to find that out and adjust the training to that student within the boundries defined by that teacher.

For example in my particular dojo my best students are pushed as hard as I am willing to take myself yet others I am much more gentle with although these too are pushed. Personally speaking if my low limit is too high for some I don't want them.

At Shodokan Honbu there was also this striation. There were some that were put through an intensity of training that I could not take or would and others that trained at an intensity level far below mine.

If you view Aikido as a Budo, and Shodokan definately views itself as that, a toughening up of the body and spirit becomes an inherint part of the training. One should be allowed to be all you can be (hey we get US Army advertisements in Canada also).

Those that train at this level - if they ever had the victim mentallity - are long past it.


Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 03-23-2001, 06:08 PM   #17
Mark Cochran
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At the begining of all these responses to the question of harsh training one of us made a statement about training methods used by the shoalin and perhaps most hard forms of chinese wu shu. The training wasn't brutal for the sake of brutality but for conditioning. Fighting is inherently brutal and many martial arts were used primarely for close range combat. Many styles have used very hard training regiams to prepare their students to handle and survive the lethality of combat. As to whether we as students of Aikido should follow tradition and incorparte brutal training regimes into our dojos is the next question. Thankfully we live in a society that is not constantly on the verge of civil conflict like our feudal predecessors. However if we choose to incorporate some rigorous activities into our personal training regime it can only serve to better prepare us for the less than likly event that we sould face some form violent event in our life.

The meek shall inherit the earth. It is our duty to seek out and protect them.
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Old 04-01-2001, 12:23 PM   #18
skeet_master
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Certainly, as some have pointed out already, these examples are not really definitive examples of aikido training.

But I think a large part of this is also the relation between student and sensei.

It seems to me that a good sensei should be capable of assessing students and applying challenges and training approriately. Instead of matching an attack, the sensei is merely matching the students' commitment with the right level of training.

-Ethan
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Old 04-02-2001, 10:09 AM   #19
Chuck Clark
 
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In my experience, training that pushes us to the edge of our envelope has a valid and necessary place. However, so does slow training with strong intensity. Keeping the mind intent and focused while going slowly can be a real challenge!

I have also seen those who are so "proud" of their "tough training" that it actually becomes a weakness and a suki (opening) which can be used against them strategically.

As in all things, appropriate application of the opposites which make up reality are what give us the ability to learn budo.

Regards,

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
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Old 04-19-2001, 11:38 AM   #20
Chocolateuke
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I aggree that harsh training is very nessary to evovle in trainging. I also think that it does not mean beat the goodness out of students but... push the student beyond its compacity or at least on teh edge for a while. but I was wondering if even our teachers had harsher training then us. my sensi had 5 -6 hour classes each day ( he was just out of teh military adn had money so he could) and then 10 hour classes on weekends.does this mean that we as an americian cultuer grown weaker? keep in mind though taht my sensi had time. But my Tang Wei instructer in Utah had that type of stuff to 5 -6 hours a day and it was 6 days a week so what do you think?

Dallas Adolphsen
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Old 04-19-2001, 04:53 PM   #21
ian
 
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The ability to use your will to control your body is definately an important aspect of martial arts to me. There is also a certain pleasure to be obtained from extremely demanding excercise or pain (probably an addiction to endorphins). In a military set up it is easy to get students to break through this barrier and come out of the other end stronger for it. This obviously requires trust in your instructor to have your best interests at heart.

However, in our funny little capitalist democracy most people do things to build up their own ego, and therefore students are obviously wary of deferring in such a way to an instructor. Even if the instructor was not playing power games, the student would be likely to leave before his own ego was damaged. I think in some ways it reflects a different psyche between east and west (not saying that either is better).

Ian
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Old 04-19-2001, 06:45 PM   #22
Jim23
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It's my opinion that aikido training is generally not as "intensive" as with many other MAs. This is simply my observation. For many people, it's as if aikido is a social activity to be enjoyed after work or school and on weekends -- who needs more stress and another boss after work anyway?

There's nothing really wrong with that attitude, to a certain extent, as training should be an enjoyable experience -- if it were not, the dropout rate would put many dojos out of business. But, there's something that can be said for vigorous, demanding training. Training where the sensi and students really push themselves. It would definitely keep me coming back for more. And more. And more.

I started aikido mainly for the martial benefits, not _just_ the social aspect -- which is okay also. Am I alone here?

Jim23

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Old 04-19-2001, 10:59 PM   #23
George S. Ledyard
 
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Tough Training

I have met and trained with a number of very high level people who were trained very strictly. In a number of cases they felt that the training they had been put through was too hard and they have chosen not to duplicate that training with their own students. I have noted however that none of these teachers has turned out any students who are as good as they are or look as if they will get there.
Can there be a relationship?

O-Sensei was very strict and very hard. He would sit in his office and he could tell by the sound of the class whether they were training hard enough. He would come out and scold them if they were slacking. The Japanese perspective on what is abusive is somewhat different than ours. But even by our term of reference I would differentiate between what is merely severe and what is injurious.

When I first got my guitar when I was a kid I played until my fingers were bloody and then I kept on playing. It was painful but I wanted to play. It didn't hurt me to have done that as it didn't hurt Saito Sensei and his fellow students to train until their knees were bloody.

Most people do not have the slightest idea of what their true limits are. they give up well before they need to. Outward Bound training was started for just that reason by a merchant seaman that had seen many of his fellows drown after their ship had been torpedoed. Some gave up and died and some didn't give up and survived.

What is the point of your training? If you are doing Aikido as a social pastime or as a fun source of exercise then of course you find these things far too extreme. But the Founder of Aikido and the students whom you are discussing did this art as Budo. Budo is a matter of life and death. It is serious bsuiness and hard training is a part of that preparation.

I have done a two hour class with Ikeda sensei in which I didn't do a throw. His turn to throw, I fall down; my turn to throw, I fall down. I was never injured nor was I humiliated in any way but I was pushed past my limits and was embarrased that I didn't hold up better. Told me a lot about myself.

Saotome Sensei once said "Some of you were asking for HARD TRAINING so we'll do some really hard training." Whereupon he had everyone stand in Seigan no Kamae for 35 minutes. Never did anything on the mat that hurt that much. Once again, no injury or humiliation but you find out how easy it is to give in.


People make excuses for not training as hard as they might by saying that it is macho or doesn't represent peace and love. They have to belittle the training of the people who did train that way so that they can feel ok about the way in which they have trained. The fact is that many Aikido people are weak. They are physically weak and they are weak in spirit. Hard training is intended to develop the strong spirit that is required for real Budo. With that strong spirit one might choose to emulate the Freedom Riders who endured beatings without lifting a hand in defense or Gandhi's followers who did the same. People equate severity with violence and that is not necessarily true.

That said it should also be clear that hard traiing alone simply makes one tough. Mere toughness just means you are a thug. So it is important to have other elements in the training as well. But don't belittle hard training. Every one of the great Aikido teachers that we strive to emulate went through very severe training and we should consider that there may be so e relationship between that and the depth of the knowledge and skill that they developed.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 04-19-2001, 11:51 PM   #24
tedehara
 
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Question Aikido Survivor

People talk about the intensive training other martial arts have. Usually, with the exception of the instructor, most practioners are fairly young (i.e. under 35 years old). What happened to the older students? Like a professional athlete, by 35 years old, their martial arts career is ending. Age and injuries catch up with them.

We're all different. The limits for all of us are different. I would say that it's up to the person to decide what those limits are. It's not up to me to decide what the limits are for others.

Hard training has been used in the traditonal arts. It was also used in the Japanese Imperial Army. Did they win WWII? Nope.

Quote:
...suwariwaza practice on the dojo's hardwood floor would continue endlessly...
In the last films of O Sensei from AikiNews, you can see him being helped down steps by his students. That's because he had bad knees and had trouble getting up and down steps. That was the result of a lifetime of hard training in suwariwaza.

We can learn from other's mistakes as well as their sucesses.

Last edited by tedehara : 04-20-2001 at 12:00 AM.

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Old 04-20-2001, 07:52 AM   #25
Jim23
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George,

I enjoyed your post very much.

People who disagree with hard training will always find excuses to justify their opinion. I suppose the same can be said for the opposite -- but does that mean that both views are correct?

I'm sure that an analogy can be made with real commitment and focused study in most endeavours.

I've given my opinion before on what I've seen in some aikido classes (and other MAs), and I don't think I need anyone to try to offer excuses and "explain" why the students and teachers were the way they were.

In any class there will always -- well almost always -- be students of different ages and levels of fitness. Should that lower class standards? Of course not, although each person should receive training geared towards their needs and abilities.

Years ago (when I was younger than 35), when I trained in another martial art, there were days when our teacher (an 8th dan) would feel that some students were slacking off in class and he would get fairly demanding. I remember classes where we were made to do push ups and sit ups only for an entire class. Then there was the jumping! Jumping and running for three hours instead of the usual training. Occasionally we would even train outside on tennis courts -- barefooted.

We all survived and we all toughened up. And as a result our confidence level soared.

Abuse and hard training aren't necessarily the same thing.

Jim23

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