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Old 01-30-2006, 10:03 PM   #26
Edwin Neal
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Re: Self-defense art?

i agree, Peter, but i just think it is way cool when you realize that this stuff is internalized, and works on like automatic pilot...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-31-2006, 12:10 AM   #27
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Self-defense art?

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
Sensei George,
It has been my honor to train with many fine students and instructors... I began my training in Japan, and have trained mainly on the east coast and southeastern areas of the U.S....
I do not believe my idea of functionality is unrealistic... i believe that some methods of training do not focus on funtionality and thus it does take more time to become skilled... and i think we are using the words: functional, skilled, mastery(no such thing)and effective in a rather loose fashion... i have a strong feeling that this is a matter of Doctrine (indoctrination), and methodology... taking your MA examples i feel judo is just as complex as aikido, and based on similar even nearly identical principles... i am not saying that one will have a grasp of kokyu/ki or a mastery of these skills but rather will be able to apply them in a meaningful way... see my earlier posts on this thread...
Hi Edwin,
I think my own biasis come out in these discussions... When I think about functionality I am usually thinking in terms of "martial arts". I have always been fond of Ellis Amdur Sensei's definition of "martial arts" as training to fight another professional.

If by "self defense" one means being able to execute some effective techniques on someone who, while potentially being dangerous, has little or no actual training, then yes, there are all sorts of stories, many of them recounted here on the forums.

This is why the police are able to actually handle the subjects they arrest... It certainly isn't the high level oif skill they posess technically, despite their total focus on practical application. It's that the people they are arresting are generally untrained idiots in various stages on intoxication, not people with formal training in fighting. On those occasions in which they do meet with someone who can really fight, they generally get the punky beat out of them and end up prevailing only by calling in superior numbers. Even then they usually get very bunged up in the process.

Peyton Quinn has written extensively on the problem of appying ones tecfhniques under real high stress street situations. In general, even those people who train in very practically oriented self defense styles, have trouble accessing those skills when they get the adrenaline dump associated with a real violent encounter. The physical symptoms associated with the adrenaline dump i.e. tunnel vision, loss of fine motor control, lack of depth perception etc. make executing technique of any complexity, difficult, if not impossible, for a person who isn't used to operating under that type of stress.

Aikido is an art which has quite a bit of complexity compared with many of the standard moves one would see from some of the other arts I mentioned. The hands are very important in the execution of technique, well beyond what is required for simply striking someone or what is needed for grabbing them in order to do a double leg takedown... For most Aikido folks, even though they may have been training very energetically, they still have no experience applying what they do in the dojo on the street in that high stress, adrtenalized environment. Most self defense programs which are aiming for solid, reliable self defense capability in the shortest possible time focus on a set of simple techniques that rely on gross motor movements an the large muscle groups. I can't think of any Aikido school that teaches Aikido with that in mind as it would be completely wrong in terms of the principles we are trying to imprint in our traiing.

Clint George Sensei told me a story about Shioda Sensei that he'd picked up from someone who had trained with him (Shioda). Shioda Sensei and some students were doing a demo after the War for some American GI's. After the demo, one of the soldiers said that it was pretty cool stuff but how would it work against a boxer? They of course had a guy with them who had been a golden gloves boxer in the States. Shioda Sensei had his boys try to show them but they couldn't get anything on the boxer so Shioda Sensei himself had to show them (in order to save the reputaion of the art). Shioda Sensei completely ignored the jab, which had been so effective against his students and entered in and seized the boxer's rear hand and cranked a shihonage on him. Now I think that the Yoshinkan guys have the reputation for being the most concerned with the ability to do effective technique of any Aikido style and these guys were training directly under Shioda Sensei, yet they had a very hard time with the boxer... it took the big guy himself to actually do a technique against him. This story is completely consistent with my own experience that it takes quite a bit longer to reach some real functionality in Aikido than the other arts.

It is not that difficult to go to the center and knock someone out... If one trains hard in a striking art, one starts to have a pretty good strike in a relatively short time. I have not seen anyone who could pull off the entry required for an Aikido technique and then be relaxed enough to execute that technique against a resistant opponent as well as a person could be taught to step in and hit someone rapidly with some decent power in the same amount of training time. I can't think of an Aikido technique that one would learn in a few months that would be as reliably executed by someone of only moderate experience that would be as effective as a BJJ student would be on his double leg takedown after the same amount of training. I just don't see it. I've taught for a very long time now and seen students of all sorts of capabilty and experience levels come and go and I just haven't seen equal defensive capabilty in the Aikido folks for the first few years of their training when compared with some other arts. After four or five years (which is close to Shodan in most places) the Aikido person starts to integrate his stuff and may start to develop some ability to apply technique outside the controlled environment of the dojo.

It's possible that someone with a different background in Aikido, like Peter Rease, who comes from a style which has competition, might have a different perspective on this but it certainly hasn't been my experience at all.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 01-31-2006, 02:02 AM   #28
Edwin Neal
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Cool Re: Self-defense art?

Charles, i was there in 87-90 at the Naval Supply Depot and at Yokota Air base some too...

George, i do think the definition of SD is a little hard to pin down, but most people DON'T have any serious training and even with the rising popularity of MMA it is still unlikely that any aikidoka would encounter such a person in a SD situation, and the relatively 'unknown' style of aikido is surpriser even for them... just ask the GJJ guys about my SNEAKYO(TM) nikkyo in guard that sets up many other possibilities... as to LEO with all respect to them, IMHO alot are relatively speaking poorly trained, they have too many other things on their plate to really put considerable time into it, but they also illustrate my point... a little goes a long way... they are also not in a SD situation they are trying to arrest, in a SD we are trying to live and/or escape...
as to performing under stress that is part of the beauty of aikido... there is joy in repetition... you don't defend with your brain, but with your fighting spirit and physical movements... your body does it... shin no mushin...adrenaline is liquid ki...
i still take issue with "complexity"... after "trying" to do judo and GJJ i would argue that aikido is easier in some ways!!!... take TKD there is no way i could execute some of those kicks under stress... ever watched some karateka/tkd spar? bounce bounce flail flail... all that beautiful technique gone...
Simple gross motor physical movements in aikidoka's repetoire
atemi waza(99% per Osensei an "essential" skill, sometimes a stopper see charles' post), ikkyo(FIRST teaching/principle), irimi nage, tai no henka tenkan (cited in post about the child), sayu nage, kaiten nage(great against shoots), kata otoshi, aiki otoshi, ude osae, sumi otoshi, koshi nage(although i still have problems with it), kokyu nage(lots of varieties)... it seems to me many of the moves in aikido start with simple gross body movements chained together to great effect ie 'gestalt'... sum is greater than the parts... the 'control' of the dojo ingrains this precision and power into our waza through repetition... te waza 'might' be a little more 'complex', but i have always felt comfortable with them...
The example with Shioda Shihan... well thats a little misleading... no one was trying to execute 100%... they did not want to injure the GI's... I bet Shioda did not use his 'metsubushi' backfist to the eyes (one of my favorites) as he entered for the throw... and his mind did not become captured by his foes sword(jab)... as a less experience aikidoka might in a 'sparring' situation... especially as most dojo do no sparring... even light sparring...
with respect to all...the MYTH of not functional in a timely manner, retold by generations of aikidoka only reinforces the belief in it... it is indoctrinated... teaching methodology does not try to address this but takes it to be fundamentally true and so reinforces it even more... reread the posts above... i hope more people will share... true it is anecdotal, but i will trust my fellow aikidoka's anecdotes

however, we never get to the top of the mountain... it is always one more step...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-31-2006, 05:26 AM   #29
Nick Simpson
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Re: Self-defense art?

Actually edwin, I believe Shioda broke the boxers arm/shoulder. I might be wrong, but I have heard this story before and thats how it ended. Apparently it was a fairly 'rough' contest...

I'd also agree that its the mindset and the will to do your utmost to survive/win that dtermines a persons effectiveness, rather than the art they study. If someone is tying you up on the floor trying to break your arm in a lock, then you might well have to gouge their eyes out or bite their nose off. Are you prepared to do this from training in a martial art? Im fairly sure no martial arts will train you in how to bite someones nose off. (sorry for all the grizlyness of this) But your attitude, mindset and survival instincts might. Of course, MA training can help cultivate this mindset. And I agree that Aikido is as good a place to start as any. Im very happy with it, while still realising its limitations and shortcomings

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 01-31-2006, 05:36 AM   #30
Edwin Neal
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Re: Self-defense art?

aikido does not have any limitations or shortcomings, unless ones practice or instruction has them... cultivating Tokon or fighting spirit is fundamental to all martial arts...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-31-2006, 05:41 AM   #31
Nick Simpson
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Re: Self-defense art?

Thats your point of view, but I would say that nothing is perfect, therefore everything has limitations. A man should know his limitations...

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 01-31-2006, 05:58 AM   #32
Edwin Neal
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Re: Self-defense art?

the art of peace is to fulfill that which is lacking.

multifaceted
not knowing any boundaries,
Aikido-
open it to the world,
manifest it in everyone's body and soul!
Osensei...

not only my point of view...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-31-2006, 06:05 AM   #33
Nick Simpson
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Re: Self-defense art?

By saying that 'the art of peace is to fulfill that which is lacking', then you are indeed recognising and reaffirming that 'something' is 'lacking'...

Nothing is perfect, working towards perfection is, however, a great goal.

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 01-31-2006, 06:12 AM   #34
Edwin Neal
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Re: Self-defense art?

nothing is lacking in aikido... it fulfills what is lacking

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-31-2006, 06:18 AM   #35
Nick Simpson
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Re: Self-defense art?

Again, thats your opinion...

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 01-31-2006, 06:27 AM   #36
Edwin Neal
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Re: Self-defense art?

the art of peace (aikido) is to fulfill that which is lacking.
Osensei

this is not my opinion... it is Osensei's... you may argue with him if you like... but i believe him...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-31-2006, 06:29 AM   #37
Nick Simpson
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Re: Self-defense art?

Erm, he's dead mate. Thanks though...

So currently, it is two peoples opinions. Qouting O'sensei ad-infinitum does not a strong argument make...

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 01-31-2006, 06:38 AM   #38
Edwin Neal
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Re: Self-defense art?

so if you put no faith in the words of the founder... if you find aikido limited and imperfect, then why do you practice aikido at all? would not your time be better spent elsewhere somewhere less limited and less imperfect? Do YOU know more about aikido than Osensei? And for the record no one and nothing 'dies'... even modern physics takes as fact the Law of conservation of energy and matter... nothing is gone it has merely changed form... i believe many more people share that "opinion" than just Osensei and me... even you are perfect and without limits, though you do not know it... perhaps you better stay with aikido, until you realize this truth...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-31-2006, 07:08 AM   #39
Nick Simpson
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Re: Self-defense art?

Theres more of that condescension Edwin. I did not say I had no faith in the words of the founder. I find pretty much everything limited and imperfect to some degree. It may be a very small degree, it may be a very large degree. Depending on what we are talking about.

I practise aikido for a mulititude of reasons. Mainly because I love doing so and it is part of what makes me who I am.

My time? If I was you, I would worry how you spend your time...

No, I imagine that I do not know more about aikido than O'sensei did.

As for your statement about no one and nothing dying, yes I recognise the fact that energy changes form etc etc. But the man is dead.

Perhaps, Edwin, you should refrain from being quite so arrogant and telling other people what they should and should not do. You do not know me, how I train, who I train with. You do not know my heart, my mind or my soul. You concern yourself with, well, yourself and I will do likewise. This is my last on this topic with you.

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 01-31-2006, 08:06 AM   #40
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Re: Self-defense art?

Quote:
aikido does not have any limitations or shortcomings, unless ones practice or instruction has them
I'm puzzled by your point here, do you claim that aikido somehow transcends the practice and instruction that is available to most. Perhaps you could given me an example of perfect practice and instruction that embodies what you mean.
Quote:
nothing is gone it has merely changed form
certainly the "fact" that energy can neither be created nor destroyed is accepted by most scientists, but I'm unsure how this equates to either aikido practice or a persons attempts at mastering any activity.

While I agree with your disdain for the "too complex to learn" which is sometimes used to defend poor aikido from a self-defense point of view, I also disagree with your idea that aikido is perfect. For Ueshiba, it was. However, to then extrapolate that it is perfect for everyone is to do his wealth of experience both in other arts and the lifestyle he led a disservice and also begs the question why he originally insisted his students came from other arts. I much prefer to think of people as the sum of their experiences rather than a single thread.
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Old 01-31-2006, 02:11 PM   #41
Edwin Neal
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Ai symbol Re: Self-defense art?

good questions Ian... aikido by definition is transcendant( ), and thereby perfect and limitless... have any of us reached this in our practice?... well i haven't, but i have had what i believe are glimpses or hints that that state is possible... i would guess that lots of people have had 'aiki-moments'... i made a general statement with regards to practice and instruction, not a statement claiming there was a perfect practice or instruction... people are the sum of their experiences, we all bring our own stains and imperfections to everything we do... aikido is misogi, a practice to 'fix' these problems...it is indeed because of Osensei's experience and lifestyle that one may reach this conclusion... he chose other MA (although not exclusively so) because they also had experience that would lead them ultimately to this same conclusion...
if any see this as 'condescending'... i apologize again... i have given no 'orders' that 'must' be obeyed merely made observations and discussed issues that we all agree are 'limitless'... most of my 'questions' are not to be taken personally, but to further the discussion... is it not the height of arrogance to not concern yourself with your fellow man? would you watch someone drown or would you reach out to save them, even at the risk of your own life?

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-31-2006, 03:12 PM   #42
Michael Varin
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Re: Self-defense art?

Wow! A lot of back and forth since I've been gone. I have high hopes for this thread and don't want to see the Does aikido work in a fight? thread that never goes anywhere.

Stating that it takes a long time to be effective with aikido (because that's how it's always been/that's the way my teacher did it and he's the greatest) just doesn't cut it for me. Be innovative. How can one attain effectiveness sooner? How can we move toward, as Edwin said, the limitless? What methods should be used? Can it be done?

Also, George Ledyard said: "When I think about functionality I am usually thinking in terms of "martial arts". I have always been fond of Ellis Amdur Sensei's definition of "martial arts" as training to fight another professional."

OK. So one guy does kyudo (archery) and the other does judo and they are 10 meters apart. The judo guy is in trouble. None of his techniques will work, yet he was training to fight other martial artists. Why do we always think of boxers when we talk about self-defense, real fighting, etc?

The people who are most likely to assault you are either cowards, sociopaths, total idiots, or very highly trained. All of these with the exception of the idiots are going to favor the use of weapons and/or numbers for their assault.

Just the presence of a knife drastically alters the situation. Jab, you die. High kick, thigh is cleaved to the bone. Double leg, you die. A good right hand, with the element of surprise, will KO most anyone, so I'm not arguing that one. But you get my point. Back to my original questions. What are ways we can enhance the training? Assuming your other layers of security have been breeched, What makes an art viable for self-defense?

Something that I have been experimenting with for about the last year, is the execution of techniques when either uke or nage is holding a knife. Most people instantly recognize why they would use a technique such as shihonage. Even the traditional attacks are clear in their usefulness (How many times have you heard these are just for learning the techniques?), and in fact become legitimate techniques themselves.

Don't take what I just said to mean that aikido has no empty-hand v empty-hand applications, because it clearly does.

Again thanks for all of the comments.

Michael
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Old 01-31-2006, 03:57 PM   #43
Charlie
 
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Re: Self-defense art?

Ah, I just missed you Edwin. I didn't get there until '92.

Charles Burmeister
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Old 01-31-2006, 05:33 PM   #44
Michael O'Brien
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Re: Self-defense art?

I could be wrong in my interpretation of the question asked regarding Aikido/MA in general and self defense, but I took it to mean an attack on the street from "joe punk".

George Ledyard Sensei approached vs. another trained martial artist instead.

My only encounter in street self defense was in the early 90's after a year or two of training in Tae Kwon Do and ended in a matter of seconds with my attacker unconscious on the ground.

In my humble opinion I would say in Aikido, or any art, the more time you dedicate to training will obviously speed up your learning curve to being able to effectively defend yourself on the street.

How quickly will that occur with dedicated (3 days/week) training? Again, my opinion, I would estimate the timeline at 1 year give or take a little.

Against another well trained person in a different style of MA? I don't feel qualified to answer that.

Harmony does not mean that there are no conflicts,
for the dynamic spiral of existence embraces both extremes.
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Old 01-31-2006, 06:12 PM   #45
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Re: Self-defense art?

Sorry…this is long!

This debate about Aikido's effectiveness in a self defense scenario and/or the supposed long learning curve to get to a level to be effective in a live scenario has always disturbed me.

What are we selling? MOST of the schools that are represented by the people on this forum claim to have some level of self defense capabilities whether that is there main focus or not. I don't recall anyone's training brochures stating that -- "Oh by the way…it will take you a really really long time to be in any condition to use what you are taught in a manner that resembles competency. So, in conjunction to your regular Aikido training, you will have to attend my ‘dumbed down' self defense course.

If the argument is that we learn all this stuff to use outside the dojo walls and that it will be nullified by the adrenaline dump that is sure to come regardless of skill level -- then what is wrong in our approach?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
…Most self defense programs which are aiming for solid, reliable self defense capability in the shortest possible time focus on a set of simple techniques that rely on gross motor movements an the large muscle groups. I can't think of any Aikido school that teaches Aikido with that in mind as it would be completely wrong in terms of the principles we are trying to imprint in our training...
With all do respect, WHAT? We are talking self defense right? The only ethical stance on principles that I need to be making in this type of situation is do I kill them or not! Do I continue to apply that choke or lock or what ever to the point of no return or not? Are these not Aikido principles as well? My training never made a distinction between this is Aikido and this is not because I use muscular strength in my technique in a self defense scenario. That is what you are saying right? Self defense relies on using strength to be effective and therefore is not Aikido? On the contrary, my training dictates that this is in fact AIKIdo, on a lower level, but Aikido none the less.

If what is being represented as Aikido self defense is only the higher level of AIKI applications then yes, I concur. You will only be able to apply effective Aikido self defense techniques after you have reached the higher ranks.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
…Clint George Sensei told me a story about Shioda Sensei that he'd picked up from someone who had trained with him (Shioda). Shioda Sensei and some students were doing a demo after the War for some American GI's. After the demo, one of the soldiers said that it was pretty cool stuff but how would it work against a boxer? They of course had a guy with them who had been a golden gloves boxer in the States. Shioda Sensei had his boys try to show them but they couldn't get anything on the boxer so Shioda Sensei himself had to show them (in order to save the reputation of the art). Shioda Sensei completely ignored the jab, which had been so effective against his students and entered in and seized the boxer's rear hand and cranked a shihonage on him. Now I think that the Yoshinkan guys have the reputation for being the most concerned with the ability to do effective technique of any Aikido style and these guys were training directly under Shioda Sensei, yet they had a very hard time with the boxer... it took the big guy himself to actually do a technique against him. This story is completely consistent with my own experience that it takes quite a bit longer to reach some real functionality in Aikido than the other arts…
After reading Aikido Shugyo, I would have to say that you completely missed the point of Shioda sensei's account of this incident. He tells of this very story starting on page 56. He touches on the fact that his kohai was bested because of his preoccupation with HOW to deal with the opponent's attack. As such he was psychologically out maneuvered and placed in a reactive mindset. He goes on further to state, "This is why you must abandon any plans about doing one technique over another. It is not a matter of moving based on conscious judgment, but rather, when you rely completely on your five senses, you will for the first time be able to move freely. If you can do this, then the type of attack your opponent uses becomes irrelevant. As it was, my kohai was unnerved because he was up against unknown fighting techniques and even his stance seemed to be saying, "Now what do I do?" He had completely lost his own natural posture. As a result, he was already psychologically one step behind the opponent. He was defeated."

Sounds like he was beaten before the contest began and according to your own self professed biased definition as to what an encounter is between two martial artist; then this account is right in line with any other dual of past between two professionals where there had to be a loser. He made the 1st mistake and lost -- period.

For me, teaching self defense is not based on techniques. Anyone can come up with a list of techniques to present as self defense. All the arts have them and most of them are very similar.

Instead I try to make a point to be aware of the immediate surrounding, to be aware of the people in these surroundings. In general, to utilize the same five senses that Shioda sensei alludes to. I constantly strive to be aware of my body positions and stances in each and every one of my everyday activities. When I am practicing on a crowded mat: to be aware of my spacing and the activities surrounding me so that I can protect myself or my training partners.

For me this is the first line to good solid self defense. The addition of technique is secondary. If this awareness is not the focus of your entry level Aikido training program then [IMO] something is serious lacking and you will always have a division between what is perceived as Aikido and self defense Aikido.

Respectfully,

Charles

Last edited by Charlie : 01-31-2006 at 06:18 PM.

Charles Burmeister
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Old 01-31-2006, 06:45 PM   #46
Edwin Neal
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Re: Self-defense art?

spot on Charles... fighting is not the same as SD, SD covers way more ground than just fighting... but if you had to you better know how to fight! standing or on the ground...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-31-2006, 07:25 PM   #47
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Re: Self-defense art?

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
Alex, with respect you don't defend yourself with your mind, by the time your mind kicks in it is usually too late!
Actually. Your mind controls your body, so what I say holds. Your body can only work with the knowlege and understanding (martial mind) that's in the mind. The more knowlege you pack in, both in terms of depth of knowlege and breath of knowlege the better off you are.

Last edited by Ketsan : 01-31-2006 at 07:33 PM.
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Old 01-31-2006, 07:49 PM   #48
Edwin Neal
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Re: Self-defense art?

true but not entirely accurate... i am not a doctor so i'm no expert on the whole process, but the 'nervous system' has a conscious and unconscious component... i think we train for unconscious action... you don't think 'i have to blink' your body does it although your subconscious makes it happen... sympathetic/parasympathetic nervous system... tell you heart to stop beating... it won't, but you don't have to tell it to keep beating every individual beat either...

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-01-2006, 02:44 AM   #49
happysod
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Re: Self-defense art?

Quote:
If the argument is that we learn all this stuff to use outside the dojo walls and that it will be nullified by the adrenaline dump that is sure to come regardless of skill level -- then what is wrong in our approach?
This is the nub of the argument regarding many TMA (not just aikido) in that it is more often taught as an end unto itself rather than a specific path to self-defense. This is why many of the posters (including myself) have mentioned that if their interest was primarily self-defense, then their approach teaching aikido would change, often sacrificing some of the more esoteric moves in the process.
Quote:
The addition of technique is secondary
Here I disagree, the points you mentioned re mental competence are valid from a "keeping yourself safe" point of view. While I agree it should be your formost reaction to situations, but if that's what you're focusing on you don't actually need a martial art and you'd probably be much better promoting money-fu to prevent yourself ever having to be in the situation in the first place.

The practice of martial arts assumes the worst-case scenario in that the confrontation has already happened or is unavoidable. Here, the techniques you know (in the bone so to speak) are paramount as these will dictate your actions.
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Old 02-01-2006, 03:00 AM   #50
Alec Corper
 
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Re: Self-defense art?

I have often heard the trem "fighting spirit" used in association with Aikido. I can even remember my former Shihan referring to it during gradings. It struck me then as now, as a misnomer when applied to Aikido. When I began MA 37 years ago I started with Kyukushin and Shotokan for a couple of years, then switched to 5 Animal boxing. We did fairly full contact fighting without pads or body armour, and there were plenty of injuries .During one competition I fought a guy 15cm. taller and at least 30 lbs. heavier whose primary tactic was to try to deliver head shots. I got scared, I disliked being hit in the face (who doesn't) and this quickly turned to an aggressive response since that was the way we trained, fear as a stressor supplying adrenaline for fight rather than flight. I successfully delivered a flying kick to the solar plexus and the guy went down and stopped breathing. Fortunately for both of us he was brought round with several bangs to the back, no damage done, apparently a motor spasm. That marked the end of my love affair with fighting but it taught me that under duress we go where our body has been trained to go, not where our mind tells us.
So when people talk about fighting in Aikido I think they must be very careful because the fighting mind develops a fighting body. The development of a peaceful mind can lead to a self defense capacity but it needs special training to do so. It is a contradiction to train Aikido all the time thinking about how this or that technique could be applied lethally whilst still saying that Aikido is an art of peace. However if we are not studying the essence of mortal combat it is not Budo, and therefore not Aikido. This is the paradox that we wrestle with and you cannot seperate the moral, ethical and psychological aspects of training from the physical since they impact and influence one another.
Edwin, by the by, you can certainly learn to slow your heart down through mental control, and develop breathing control to reduce autonomic responses. So I guess in that sense Alex has a point.
Finally we should not ignore the fact that Aikido attracts different people to the dojo than other MA and I'm always surprised if fighters show up and stick. After all if they can fightalready why do Aikido. I asked one of my students, a big, strong paratrooper why he was doing Aikido. He said with a smile and a wink, "I already know how to kill people, now I want to learn to have the choice not to!"

respectfully, Alec

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