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Old 11-23-2005, 12:18 PM   #1
Devon Natario
 
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Is there more?

I understand that Aikido is more traditional than eclectic, but where do Aikido instructors draw the line?

In your form of Aikido are techniques added from other arts? Do you add techniques for todays ground fighting spectacle? Do you teach how to defend from a single and double leg takedown (other than Kaiten Nage)? Do you show how to defend out of the arm bar? Do you show how to get out of the guillotine?

The topic in general about self defense got me to wonder how many instructors actually show self-defense techniques. Or maybe not even justly called "self-defense", but maybe more survival techniques.

As instructors is it not our job to show people how to survive, defend, and protect? Of course we have a duty to keep tradition alive and to keep the art intact, but at what cost? How many techniques and theories were lost along the path before we learned what we call Aikido?

I will always believe that we call it "martial" for a reason. We owe it to our students to make sure we teach them how to survive. Maybe it is my military background, maybe it is just me, but would you feel bad if one of your students was gravely injured because you did not teach them how to get out of a guillotine?

I know, none us knows every single technique and how to defend or get out of it, but something as common as a guillotine or single leg takedown should be discussed shouldnt it? Or is it our students job to seek out what he or she wants to learn?

I guess its an age old dilemma.

Is there anyone else that feels like me? Or am I a loner out here in Left Field trying to accomplish something I will never achieve with my students?

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Old 11-23-2005, 06:22 PM   #2
Amassus
 
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Re: Is there more?

I guess I'm a puritan.
I like my aikido squeaky clean

If I want karate, I do karate lessons, if I want BJJ I train in BJJ.

Simple as that.

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Old 11-23-2005, 07:29 PM   #3
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Is there more?

Quote:
Devon Natario wrote:
I understand that Aikido is more traditional than eclectic, but where do Aikido instructors draw the line?

In your form of Aikido are techniques added from other arts? Do you add techniques for todays ground fighting spectacle? Do you teach how to defend from a single and double leg takedown (other than Kaiten Nage)? Do you show how to defend out of the arm bar? Do you show how to get out of the guillotine?

The topic in general about self defense got me to wonder how many instructors actually show self-defense techniques. Or maybe not even justly called "self-defense", but maybe more survival techniques.

As instructors is it not our job to show people how to survive, defend, and protect? Of course we have a duty to keep tradition alive and to keep the art intact, but at what cost? How many techniques and theories were lost along the path before we learned what we call Aikido?

I will always believe that we call it "martial" for a reason. We owe it to our students to make sure we teach them how to survive. Maybe it is my military background, maybe it is just me, but would you feel bad if one of your students was gravely injured because you did not teach them how to get out of a guillotine?

I know, none us knows every single technique and how to defend or get out of it, but something as common as a guillotine or single leg takedown should be discussed shouldnt it? Or is it our students job to seek out what he or she wants to learn?

I guess its an age old dilemma.

Is there anyone else that feels like me? Or am I a loner out here in Left Field trying to accomplish something I will never achieve with my students?
There are plenty of us who teach ourstudents techniques like that. But that is just technical information. Spending much time on techniques designed for certain situations won't make your Aikido better. Aikido is designed to develop an understanding of aiki. Once you get to the point at which you have some basic understanding of the principles of aiki, you can add as many techniques as you want to the repertiore and you'll be able to do them with aiki. Alot of folks confuse knwledge of loats of different techniques with skill. The Kihon waza have the goods, adding extra focus like ground fighting etc. is very educational and gives a good context in which to view what we do in Aikido but it doesn't make your ability to understand aiki which is the focus point of Aikido training.

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Old 11-23-2005, 09:23 PM   #4
Rocky Izumi
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Re: Is there more?

If you stay in Aikido long enough and learn from enough different Shihan for long enough, you will see that there is a lot of techniques in Aikido that is never seen in seminars. We call them Ura-waza (or behind the woodshed techniques) which are not shown in regular classes. I've even learned a couple while walking some Shihan home from Hombu, right there on the street and practicing them in my head (through my drunken stupor) while waiting for that last train out of Shinjiku. I've been woken up on that concrete bench in that little koen behind Hombu when I missed that last train out of Shinjiku by a Shihan holding me down and saying "Now what do you do?" There are groundwork applications in Aikido. But there is so much to teach and so much to learn at seminars, much more basic and much more important things that the Shihan will leave you to discover these things yourself through your understanding of the basic principles of Aikido. This is, for me, what makes Aikido very different from most other martial arts. You are taught, not techniques, but the principles of Aikido (which apply to all martial arts anyways). From studying and practicing those principles best exemplified by the Kihon waza, you are then left to discover the ways of applying those principles in more complex and more different situations. It is your specific understanding and your specific practice of those basic principles in different applications which makes your Aikido unique and all your own. Thus, by the time you are Sandan, you should have started to develop your own style of Aikido. By the time you are Godan, you should have your own unique style of Aikido.

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Old 11-23-2005, 11:09 PM   #5
Devon Natario
 
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Re: Is there more?

George: This makes sense to me. Thank you for the reply. I can see how Aiki is the focus, and why it is the focus. It is the center of Aikido afterall.

Rock: I was unaware of the self defense applications. I haven't studied Aikido with many instructors. I have had the chance to study under two for a long period, and I have been to a few seminars. The focus did always focus on Aiki and developing a deep rooted center. I wish I had the opportunity to study with more instructors in Aikido. maybe in the future I will have this opportunity and my ignorance will be no more.

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Old 11-24-2005, 02:29 AM   #6
Nick Simpson
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Re: Is there more?

My instructors have all trained in karate previously, one also in muay thai and boxing, so we tend to incorporate some strikes and movement from them.

We have a couple of judoka, so we tend to do a little more judo style koshi and sometimes groundwork in free practise.

I add a little Iaido into the mix.

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 11-24-2005, 02:33 AM   #7
Steve Mullen
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Re: Is there more?

In our dojo (and i would assume many others) we have a mix of backgrounds, i.e. karateka, judoka. vale tudo etc. all of these guys were relatively high grades when they left (nidan and above kind of level) so when we haven't got a grading coming around sensei sometimes 'opens the floor' to them and lets us 'play' with techniques they show us. a think a little cross training can be good in an aikido class, but only as a one off, and the focus is always on the aiki.

"No matter your pretence, you are what you are and nothing more." - Kenshiro Abbe Shihan
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Old 11-24-2005, 02:37 AM   #8
xuzen
 
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Re: Is there more?

Quote:
Nick Simpson wrote:
My instructors have all trained in karate previously, one also in muay thai and boxing, so we tend to incorporate some strikes and movement from them.

We have a couple of judoka, so we tend to do a little more judo style koshi and sometimes groundwork in free practise.

I add a little Iaido into the mix.
Mixing Iaido with anything is bad, Nick. Body parts everywhere, very messy. CSI will have a hard time I am sure.

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Old 11-25-2005, 05:53 AM   #9
Nick Simpson
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Re: Is there more?

Lol, I think that was the reason my instructor 'accidentally' left my shinken in his car boot...

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 11-25-2005, 06:55 AM   #10
Mat Hill
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Re: Is there more?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Spending much time on techniques designed for certain situations won't make your Aikido better. Aikido is designed to develop an understanding of aiki. Once you get to the point at which you have some basic understanding of the principles of aiki, you can add as many techniques as you want to the repertiore and you'll be able to do them with aiki. Alot of folks confuse knwledge of loats of different techniques with skill.
What you are talking about as 'skill' I would call 'principles', and essentially I agree with what you're saying. But the problem is aikido is taught as a technical art. There are very few teachers I've met who have taught principles as such from day one and have any kind of developmental curricula for doing so, or even any kind of principle-based answer with an active example for any of the students' queries. So when you say:
Quote:
GL wrote:
The Kihon waza have the goods, adding extra focus like ground fighting etc. is very educational and gives a good context in which to view what we do in Aikido but it doesn't make your ability to understand aiki which is the focus point of Aikido training.
with respect I think you are forgetting that many people aren't taught the kihon waza from the start.

For example; one of the basic principles of the physical side of aiki is leverage. Now, as a beginner, someone demonstrates an ikkyou on you to osae and says: 'OK see if you can get out of that,' and you wriggle about like a gaffed fish, and you're very impressed. Then later, at a higher grade the same thing happens, in fact all the way through the grades.

But in fact, your teacher has not shown you at any point that there is a reason for saying, 'See if you can out of that,' and that reason is to show the basics of leverage. If you concentrate on finding your centre of balance, relaxing the muscles you're not going to use, using the nearest free joints etc there is no reason why most nebies should not be able to really tax the higher grades by being able to nearly escape... And consequently receive another lesson in leverage as the osae is applied again to keep you down!

But herein the belief system kicks in so many people stay put because they want to believe in the tech and they haven't been taught a realistic and aiki-applied way to counter, they are just countering with force against perceived force. Now as beginners force is OK, but then this belief system is rarely challenged as they progress. And the point of fact is that ground techs and forces and the way to apply your aiki principles on the ground is very very different to standing, so if you're not taught the kihon of osae, and its kaeshi waza from the start and at every stage along the way, your kihon are lacking! When you're pinned to the floor, your centre is not your tanden, and if you're always taught to keep centred on the tanden, you will not be able to get out of that figure-four; if you are always taught to keep weight underside you will not be able to get out of that armbar... etc.

Sometimes, rolling with a JJer, or 'sparring' a thai boxer etc will certainly give you the focus on your kihon if that's what you want.
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Old 11-25-2005, 09:38 AM   #11
tedehara
 
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Re: Is there more?

Quote:
Mat Hill wrote:
What you are talking about as 'skill' I would call 'principles', and essentially I agree with what you're saying. But the problem is aikido is taught as a technical art. There are very few teachers I've met who have taught principles as such from day one and have any kind of developmental curricula for doing so, or even any kind of principle-based answer with an active example for any of the students' queries. So when you say:with respect I think you are forgetting that many people aren't taught the kihon waza from the start.
That is exactly what the Ki Society does. It teaches through principles using examples from day one.
Quote:
Mat Hill wrote:
For example; one of the basic principles of the physical side of aiki is leverage. Now, as a beginner, someone demonstrates an ikkyou on you to osae and says: 'OK see if you can get out of that,' and you wriggle about like a gaffed fish, and you're very impressed. Then later, at a higher grade the same thing happens, in fact all the way through the grades.
To my mind, leverage has more to do with Judo and Ju-jitsu. In Aikido, it is more about timing, ma-ai, taking up slack and the connection between nage/uke. That's aiki.

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Old 11-25-2005, 04:35 PM   #12
Mat Hill
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Re: Is there more?

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote:
That is exactly what the Ki Society does. It teaches through principles using examples from day one.
I've been to Ki Society schools too. IME, I would say that method of teaching is in the minority.

Quote:
TE wrote:
To my mind, leverage has more to do with Judo and Ju-jitsu. In Aikido, it is more about timing, ma-ai, taking up slack and the connection between nage/uke. That's aiki.
Quote:
MH wrote:
For example; one of the basic principles of the physical side of aiki is leverage.
Thank you for highlighting one of the basic differences between Ki Society and say, Yoshinkan. However, leverage is one factor. By all means, feel free to provide an example using maai etc.

Last edited by Mat Hill : 11-25-2005 at 04:38 PM.
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Old 11-26-2005, 01:39 AM   #13
tedehara
 
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Re: Is there more?

Quote:
Mat Hill wrote:
I've been to Ki Society schools too. IME, I would say that method of teaching is in the minority.
If all you've seen are aikido classes then yes, it could seem like there is little discussion of general principles. Yet in ki development classes, there is usually a general principle laid out as the theme for the class.

Although most people have heard of the four basic principles, there is also the 15 - 5 Principles (15 X 5 = 60 various principles). This is not counting things like the 5 Vows, 21 Ki Sayings or 10 Precepts of Spiritual Training. If the Ki Society doesn't talk about general principles, then why do they have all these lists?

Quote:
Matt Hill wrote:
Thank you for highlighting one of the basic differences between Ki Society and say, Yoshinkan. However, leverage is one factor. By all means, feel free to provide an example using maai etc.
On a nage/uke level, aiki is usually described as blending with one's uke, leading the attacker's intent, redirecting the uke's will. This is done in every aikido technique. Perhaps it can be seen more simply in zempo-nages (forward or same direction throws) but aiki occurs in every technique.

Two people come together in conflict. It is this "coming together" that the process of aiki can occur. This is where all the factors like ma-ai (space or distance), kokyu (breath or timing), taking up slack (establishing the connection between nage-uke) come into being.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
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Old 11-26-2005, 04:25 AM   #14
Mat Hill
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Re: Is there more?

Thank you for your answer.
Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote:
If all you've seen are aikido classes then yes, it could seem like there is little discussion of general principles. Yet in ki development classes, there is usually a general principle laid out as the theme for the class.
I've been in ki development classes too, both in Ki Society schools and classes with a heavy emphasis on ki development in my sensei's school in the UK and aikikai schools in Tokyo.

In relation to this thread, I'm not talking about principles with an example of how the principle works in isolation; eg, unbendable arm, but how it works in relation to a live resisting uke to help you understand how and when to flow and blend as a nage. If that is what you are talking about too we're on the same page.

But the fact remains that the ki development classes I have attended dealt with principles unrelated to the physical side of aiki.

Without willing to get too far from the subject at hand and get into ki development, there are more physical aspects of aiki as a martial art.

Quote:
Although most people have heard of the four basic principles, there is also the 15 - 5 Principles (15 X 5 = 60 various principles). This is not counting things like the 5 Vows, 21 Ki Sayings or 10 Precepts of Spiritual Training. If the Ki Society doesn't talk about general principles, then why do they have all these lists?
Thank you again, I wasn't actually aware there were so many! And in know way was I implying that the Ki Society doesn't talk about general principles, but again I was relating to the general principles that can be gained by practising kihon and vice versa in relation to overcoming an attacker (ie learning from another martial art's experience).

Now, I know that aiki aims to harmonize, but I believe this is taken too literally, and too much at face value. I believe aiki is knowing when and how to harmonize. If somebody wants to take my head off, I do not want to completely harmonize with him, because that would mean acquiescing to his will, and I'd like to keep my head thank you very much!

I want to use the universal ki, the universal energy at my disposal to persuade him that there other ways to resolve the problem and dissipate his desire to harm me; to introduce him to the immovable object/immovable force. If that takes his @*+"# head off, that's his problem: it's just my job to harmonize with the universe! OK so I'm being flippant, but I hope you can see where I'm going with this.

At first maai is a mental construct (psychological space, leading etc), but when someone is intent on running over you like a steamroller, if you are not in control of your space it will develop into a very physical construct and you will lose physically! That is where the knowledge of the kihon and its direct reltionship with physical resistance and opposition is important.

How many exercises do you do to find and work from your centre when you are in a bad position, eg, squished under someone heavier than you who's trying to whack a figure four/arm-bar on you? I'll give you clue... it's not the tanden!
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Old 11-26-2005, 10:52 AM   #15
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Re: Is there more?

Quote:
Matt Hill wrote:
I want to use the universal ki, the universal energy at my disposal to persuade him that there other ways to resolve the problem and dissipate his desire to harm me; to introduce him to the immovable object/immovable force. If that takes his @*+"# head off, that's his problem: it's just my job to harmonize with the universe! OK so I'm being flippant, but I hope you can see where I'm going with this.
If you want to use Universal Ki, the classic response is to put yourself in harmony with the Universe. If he attacks, then he is attacking the Universe.

So what is this mystical mumbo jumbo all about? The following is my personal understanding or lack of it.

It's generally recognized that you don't put yourself in harmony with the Universe like putting on or taking off a hat. It's a 24x7 state of being. This is an understanding that putting yourself in harmony is developing mind-body coordination/unification/integration. To do that, you've done spiritual exercises like meditation, breathing exercises, scripture readings, besides practicing physical exercises and technique.

So now you're always relaxed enough to respond appropriately even during the high stress period of a confrontation. However you've been practicing Aikido so much that it has entered your psyche completely, both conscious and subconscious. Aikido practice really works in that grey area between the conscious ego and the subconscious, where the connection to the Universe is believed to reside. You can see that when a infant learns to walk. Movement is a product of both conscious and subconscious learning.

So if you're attacked, it's like attacking a force of nature than another person. I recall a Japanese saying: "Attacking a master swordsman is committing suicide". The person who is attacked is so good, their actions arise directly from the subconscious/Universe. To attack such a person is like jumping off a cliff.

To achieve that level of practice and understanding is a major achievement. Not everybody gets there, but people are better for trying.

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Old 11-26-2005, 11:26 AM   #16
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Is there more?

Quote:
Mat Hill wrote:
Now, I know that aiki aims to harmonize, but I believe this is taken too literally, and too much at face value. I believe aiki is knowing when and how to harmonize. If somebody wants to take my head off, I do not want to completely harmonize with him, because that would mean acquiescing to his will, and I'd like to keep my head thank you very much!
This is a completly simplistic interpretation of aiki. Aiki is value nuetral. It is the way you move the opponent's mind in order to effect him physically. It has nothing to do with "harmonizing" in the sense of giving way. I can use aiki to to step in and strike you down with one blow. I can use it so that the instant we touch I have your center. This summer I watched Ushiro Sensei use aiki to totally dominate his would be attacker to the point at which he was unable to attack at all. Aiki is not about giving way, it is about joining your attention to the attacker's so that you can control him. This was why O-Sensei was adament about not showing technique to people he didn't think were essentially good people. Aiki can be used in quite a harmful way if that is ones intention.

Quote:
How many exercises do you do to find and work from your centre when you are in a bad position, eg, squished under someone heavier than you who's trying to whack a figure four/arm-bar on you? I'll give you clue... it's not the tanden!
Actually this is also completely not true. The fact that the majority of the mixed martial arts guys are hunks who can bench press ridiculous weights and take more punishment than any man should be able to distracts people from what is really there when you look at someone really skilled. In Aikido most people don't do much grappling. This started with O-Sensei when he stated that we have suwari waza for the situation of going to the ground. This makes perfect sense if you remember that Aikido's antecedents were battle field arts. The last thing you want to be doing in the midst of a multiple attacker situation is applying some sit out arm bar on one of the attackers. One of his buddies is going to kill you for sure. Anyway, that's the rationale for why we don't do ground fighting much in Aikido.

That does not in any way mean that these principles suddenly stop operating on the ground. We simply don't focus on them. If you want to see ground fighting done with aiki, get a look at Vladimir Vasiliyev from the systema. The man is magic on the ground. His level of relaxation and his total control over the movement of body parts which most folks aren't aware of being moveable is just astounding. He can "breathe" you off him. The principles of aiki are Universal principles, they apply everywhere. But that doesn't mean that our practice focuses on this aspect of application. The Systema guys use exactly the same principles and they do work alot on ground fighting.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 11-26-2005 at 11:29 AM.

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Old 11-26-2005, 07:18 PM   #17
Mat Hill
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Re: Is there more?

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote:
If you want to use Universal Ki, ...Not everybody gets there, but people are better for trying.
We are completely in agreement about this, but with respect I don't see the relevance to the thread subject.
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Old 11-26-2005, 07:52 PM   #18
Mat Hill
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Re: Is there more?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
This is a completly simplistic interpretation of aiki. Aiki is value nuetral. It is the way you move the opponent's mind in order to effect him physically. It has nothing to do with "harmonizing" in the sense of giving way. I can use aiki to to step in and strike you down with one blow. I can use it so that the instant we touch I have your center.
Obviously apart from the first sentence (which is incidentally what I was accusing aiki-fruities of!) I am in complete agreement with this too. I was saying it doesn't mean to give way! I was saying it was value neutral! And again, I didn't want to be too drawn off into the more metaphysical side when we were talking about the teaching of physical principles as a response to overloading our learning of techniques. The post you are quoting is largely in response to Ted Ehara.
Quote:
Actually this is also completely not true. The fact that the majority of the mixed martial arts guys are hunks who can bench press ridiculous weights
Not true in my dojo or experience...
Quote:
and take more punishment than any man
True... which may be an important point when dealing with a martial art!
Quote:
should be able to distracts people from what is really there when you look at someone really skilled.
1) I'm not easily distracted. In fact I don't really pay that much attention to who I'm fighting until I have that connection to the centre; ie I like to go in with an empty cup.

2) Are you saying that the MMA people are not 'really skilled'? My MMA teacher could teach most aiki people I've met a lot about softness and centre to centre connection. It really is, as the old BJJ expression goes, 'Like being mugged by a straightjacket!'.

3) You seem to be wanting to put me in an MMA box; to concentrate on the differences. I'm all about finding common points and getting out of boxes! I was and am TMA first and foremost. Namely aiki, then wing chun. But as you said with the Systema guys, there is a lot of crossover with a lot of arts which was kind of the point with this thread, no!? And I agree completely with you about Systema, but the important point is they train completely differently to most aikidoists! Their way of learning to blend with a punch from the start is to receive and give some very very hard punches; to learn the mechanics of punching and how being punch affects your own body mechanics and equilibrium... and yet it's perfect aiki!
Quote:
In Aikido most people don't do much grappling...We simply don't focus on them.
Again, I was aware of your next list of facts and agree completely, but again, I don't see it as really relevant: the original question was including shouldn't we include some of these aspects into our own practice, and if we take your previous passage as you answer you are saying 'We don't practice these things because there is no historical basis for doing so in aiki, so we won't practice these things...' which is a perfectly circular arguement! The strategy of not goign to ground in a fight is good, but again irrelevant: there are important things to learn by starting your aiki session in a state of complete unbalance are there not?... it's the old chestnut of anyone can reach enlightenment in the mountains but what happens when you go to the city.
Quote:
If you want to see ground fighting done with aiki...
Not especially! I want to see aiki kihon exercised effectively: which includes more henka and kaeshi waza as you progress on the path. Which means a good knowledge of how to use basic aiki principles to prevent ikkyou osae going on or to get out of it when it's applied, for example!
Quote:
Vladimir Vasiliyev ...can "breathe" you off him. The principles of aiki are Universal principles, they apply everywhere. But that doesn't mean that our practice focuses on this aspect of application. The Systema guys use exactly the same principles and they do work alot on ground fighting.
I've played with Systema guys here who've a lot of experience with Vladimir and again I agree. But the Systema principle of breathing seems to be exactly what O'Sensei was driving at looking at his poems and listening to first generation students... and was maybe lost in transmission. Regardless of Sytema's inclusion of groundwork into their curriculum, is it not laudable and highly relevant to look at these methods in relation to our aiki?
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Old 12-22-2005, 09:46 AM   #19
IlyasDexter
Dojo: Unity Aikido
Location: Hobart
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 19
Australia
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Re: Is there more?

I believe there's a Japanese proverb that says" To understand the new look to the old". Tomiki Sensei described the modernisation of Ju Jutsu like so, the old systems/schools of
ju jutsu all contained techniques of striking, joint locking, throwing and ground work in in the modern era Judo emphasizes throwing and ground work and Aikido emphasizes striking and joint lock/controls so on this basis would not Judo be the best art to combine with our Aikido as its underlying principles are the same.
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