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Old 02-02-2006, 12:39 PM   #76
senshincenter
 
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Re: Self-defense art?

Hi Edwin,

Nope - don't need credit for anything. If you want it, and you can make it yours, it's yours. (It's the middle part that's hard to fulfill. :-)).

I sure would like to read the paper if you are ever up for sharing it with folks. :-)

That'd be nice indeed.

Thanks,
dmv

David M. Valadez
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Old 02-02-2006, 12:53 PM   #77
Edwin Neal
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Re: Self-defense art?

i kind of plan on doing that... i may submit it to this site and one other... if i think it is okay, but its been a while since i did any serious writing so we'll see... i've jumped into a couple of forums to kind of toss around some ideas and get some feedback, but i have about 3 papers in mind and i'm sort of just starting to lay out the outlines... so it may be about a month... i'll be here way more than i should since i really like the people and ideas that go around... thanks again...

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-02-2006, 12:54 PM   #78
jmcrae
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Re: Self-defense art?

Good post, David.

I agree with all of these points and believe that Burton would happily include them in his own definition (he addresses many of them in the article I reference, but I gave a rather condensed synopsis for brevity's sake).

It seems that a major point that can be drawn out of your comments (points 2, 3, and 5) is that the idea of "aliveness" is important in martial arts training. This concept is discussed a lot in Jeet Kune Do, and means that you and your partner should give each other realistic energy based upon your natural reactions within a resisting environment.

I especially like point 4: there are few things more shameful than seeing a martial artist with a huge gut hanging over his black belt (and don't anybody tell me it's all ki in there, either) .

Temet nosce,
Jim

"We cannot live better than in seeking to become better."
--Socrates

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Old 02-02-2006, 02:48 PM   #79
Charlie
 
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Re: Self-defense art?

In reference to David's post #70...yes yes and yes!

A large portion of this thread is based on the assumption that a practitioner of Aikido would not be able to exhibit elements of usable self defense until they reached higher grading levels [compared to other arts]. I say that this is not true if what you are teaching is truthful in its presentation.

Why market what ‘you' teach as a valid method of self defense when almost every aspect of ‘your' approach does not support this and then on the flip side offer classes for self-defense separate and apart from your regular Aikido teaching/training? If the answer is to still be able to attract students and remain in operation, then I have to ask again, what are we selling?

Your list [David] makes the assumption that one would have to incorporate these necessary levels into your everyday training in order to become at least partially viable in a self defense setting. This is why I take issue with the fact that so many make a division between what is considered to be self defense Aikido and regular old Aikido. For me, it is all Aikido and if the approach is truthful, what you learn in an everyday ‘traditional' setting SHOULD spill over into what you do in a "self defense mode' and vise versa. Proper body alignment, hand movements, balance and everything else important to executing good solid Aikido is relevant to solid self defense. Not separate, not less important and definitely not beyond the function of the everyday ‘traditional' student.

It is understood that not everyone wants to train this way or gain this function. That is SO fine. However, if that is the case then change the focus of what you are selling to closer resemble what it really is…a philosophical method of dealing with conflict in a non-martial context.

I would like to make it very clear that I do not feel that all the different methods of teaching Aikido that are out there are completely invalid as a method of teaching self defense. On the contrary, if someone is lucky enough to incorporate what they learn on the mats in a self defense context and be able tell about it tomorrow [including myself!] then it is all for the better. Furthermore, it probably helps to support my claim that if the foundations are truthful then they will be applicable early on.

However, if this is the case then I suggest that you take another look at an earlier post [#56] that touches on this. I very much like the way this post presents how back and forth the topic of self defense can be!

Respectfully,

Charles

Last edited by Charlie : 02-02-2006 at 02:50 PM.

Charles Burmeister
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Old 02-02-2006, 03:33 PM   #80
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Re: Self-defense art?

Charles wrote:

"Your list [David] makes the assumption that one would have to incorporate these necessary levels into your everyday training in order to become at least partially viable in a self defense setting."


I would say that what I listed not only assumes such things but that it prescribes such things. In other words, there cannot be any difference between this "everyday training" and any other kind of training. This I believe is also your point.

For me, however, this does not merely go to the issue of self-defense but also to those issues related to spiritual matters. For that reason, I may use such understandings in my own curriculum, and we may produce some very capable folks in relation to self-defense concerns, but my focus through such listings is not self-defense -- it is spiritual.

This really comes up when one lists all of those other things I suggested one would need in order to be able to list the things I have already listed. However, I do not want to detract from the thread too much -- seeing that for some this may be an entirely different topic. On the other hand, I do not want to run in and dash away either with this idea. Here then is what could be thought of as an entryway into this topic of how martial virtues can and should coincide with spiritual virtues -- for those that might be interested in such reading:

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/w...ideration.html

Thanks,
dmv

David M. Valadez
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Old 02-02-2006, 07:44 PM   #81
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Re: Self-defense art?

I just had a related experience to this...

It made me realize how much perception plays in all of this - really how much delusion and/or ignorance plays in all of this. I do not mean this in a derogatory way - I am referring to the perception that comes to us when we cannot see the whole picture and/or when we replace what we cannot see with what others (less virtuous than ourselves) suggest we should see. I am referring to the perception of the beginner -- the person who has not seen the whole picture; the person who cannot see the whole picture for the very reason of being at the beginning of a process or a path.

Allow me to ramble: On the one hand, we have this idea floating around here that real (I'm assuming this word means "consistent") self-defense skills can be obtained in a relatively short time. Along with that notion comes this implication that one should be able to SEE this in a relatively easy manner. In other words, there is as much obviousness to this position as there is immediacy to this position. Yet, as one read in my first post, I do not feel this to be the case at all. Of course, I am against the self-deception some use to hide their lack of progress -- placing it in some sort of abstract and never-experienced future. However, equally, am I against the notion that one can cultivate within him/herself viable martial skills quickly, easily, and/or in an obvious manner.

In my teaching, mainly when I am instructing our arrest and control class and/or when I am instructing our advanced topics classes -- because these classes both work around live-resistance and aggression -- I often start class with the following contextualizing statement:

"In the beginning of your training, what is fake will look real and what is real will look fake. What is fake will often look real in the beginning - when no resistance or aggression is present and/or when the rate of action is slow; what is real will often look fake in the beginning -- when no resistance or aggression is present and/or when the rate of action is slow. To know what is real in the beginning, you will have to accept what I am saying on faith; to experience what is real in the end, you will still have to take what I am saying in the beginning on faith. If you cannot muster up any faith, you will be stuck in the beginning -- where everything is fake but where you will see it as real."

In other words, a beginner, whether they belong to a "real" school or a "fake" school, is still going to be plagued by this illusion concerning what is real/viable/usable/consistently practical. Why? Because real techniques cannot be used safely and slowly without in essence dropping their connection to reality. This is compounded by the fact that real martial techniques -- techniques meant to protect the human from disability and/or damage the human body into disability -- are designed primarily to address great work loads. For example, this means they are meant to be used against strong and supple bodies and minds that can experience great deals of pain and injury before entering into a state of disability. Yet, what beginner comes into the dojo with such a body and such a mind? Answer: None. What is the result or consequence? You have to train them slow and easy or you will break them (physically, emotionally, mentally, even spiritually) and thus prevent them from learning whatever you are trying to teach. This brings us full circle: When you train them slow, easy -- the fake stuff looks real, and the real stuff looks fake.

This thread is stirring up some stuff for me -- not sure about all the connections -- not sure I have the time now to work them all out -- but I'd like to share a bit and see what comes up…

Once, a while ago, I was given a tough time by some when I wrote up our dojo's position on the nage/uke dynamic. One of the popular "critiques" centered on the ol' standby: "If you really want to understand, you should just be on the mat." I.E. Shut up and train. We all know this "criticism" -- it has many forms. Today, I think more folks, maybe most, now understand my position regarding the relationship between practice and theory, the role of these forums, etc. Therefore, it is no surprise when I say now that I still stand by our summary of the nage/uke dynamic -- seeing it as in no way being a replacement or substitute for training. Regardless, here is my point: Some of the folks that offered said "criticism" had websites. When you looked at their websites, you saw pictures of some really skinny weakly looking folks who couldn't possibly train all that much. When you looked at their schedule, indeed, you saw that such folks only held about three hours of training per week. Nevertheless, they felt fine leveling said criticism against a person that then had five times as much mat time per week (now, with our new dojo, nearly eight times as much per week -- they are still at three). I am wondering how much this delusion, this kind of delusion (which is nicely covered in George's article from two months ago), which of course comes in many many forms, and is experienced by many people (inside and outside of Aikido), further warps things that must already be warped to address the needs and limitations of the new beginner body/mind? In other words, how can we talk about teaching "self-defense" when we are not talking about how a beginner (or even an aikidoka), who already carries many delusions, must by the nature of the science being taught be deluded (i.e. having the real look fake and the fake look real)?

For me, when you raise this issue -- the same traditional answer must apply: It takes time, faith, and patience, to see through both the delusions one holds for him/herself and the delusions that must be generated so that lethal arts can be learned by bodies and minds that start out weak, uncoordinated, fragile, stiff, etc. For me, the quick fix has no place in the development of consistently successful self-defense skills. For me the old answer applies: One needs Faith, which gives one Patience, which allows Time to pass, which allows the delusions of the beginning to be replaced with the reality of maturity.

This last week I suffered breaking my most senior student's hand in kihon waza training. It was quite shocking -- not so much because it "came out of nowhere." Rather it was shocking because I was very "unsympathetic" toward my past teacher when I saw him do that many times to his uke -- me always thinking he should be more aware, etc. He always acted surprised at the event. I ended up acting no differently. It (metacarpal), at most, felt like a matchstick. Somehow, there is a sense of hypocrisy that is waving over me now -- a drive to say to my old teacher, "I'm sorry, I didn't understand everything you were doing and/or trying to do -- everything you were facing. I still don't -- I know this." Additionally, this same week, among many shots, I took a right hook to the brow that had me reliving that strike every day for the past seven days. This same week, among many shots, I severely connected with a left hook and a round kick to my senior student's face (when he was on the ground); this same week, my most brand new beginner tells me, "I see you as the teacher I always wanted; I see this as the dojo I always knew could exist; but I don't think Aikido is martial enough for me." There is only one answer for this statement: Faith, Patience, Time. If my new student cannot muster up the Faith our forefathers have always said we needed, he will leave in the beginning, when what is real looks fake and what is fake looks real and being none the wiser concerning this confusion.

dmv

David M. Valadez
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Old 02-02-2006, 11:41 PM   #82
Charles Hill
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Re: Self-defense art?

I, too, just had an experience relating to the issues Dave has written about. Last Monday, I taught a class on knife disarms. We use real kitchen knives that I have taken a grinder to to dull the blade. About half way through class, I called up a white belt student to demonstrate the next step in the progression. I saw that his gi was covered in blood. I realized that what had happened was that he had been paired with one of my seniors from another dojo who often visits my dojo. This person often resists in a way that leaves him open to strikes and reversals. He does it because he feels it is more realistic.

I didn`t see the event, but I am sure it ended with the white belt successfully taking away the knife but paying for it with a bad cut. This would have been a positive thing had it been a real fight, but it is shameful for me as the teacher because it wasn`t. Many students seem to think that this is a thing one "gets" as opposed to "develops." I think it does require "faith" but I also think that I have a responsibility as a teacher to help new students (or even old ones) acquire it.

Charles
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Old 02-03-2006, 12:25 AM   #83
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Re: Self-defense art?

I 100% agree with you Charles - this point of "many students seem to think that this is a thing one "gets" as opposed to "develops." I also agree with the point, "...that (we) have a responsibility as a teacher to help new students (or even old ones) acquire it."

Thanks for the post,
dmv

David M. Valadez
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Old 02-03-2006, 02:32 AM   #84
Edwin Neal
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Re: Self-defense art?

I think i am nearly satisfied with my thesis, but would appreciate any critiques of it... here goes...

Self defense is a goal that many training in the traditional martial arts and martial sports share. Defining this goal and training methodology to reach it, are not generally agreed upon, even by those within the various styles of TMA and MS. I will outline the similarities and diffences, between the two in both definition and training methodology for SD. I will not attempt to prove one approach is better than another, instead i will try to frame the debate and loosely define a middle ground that will allow a lay person to understand the debate and have some useful basic knowledge that they can use to judge an individual's or style's definition and training methods in a self defense context.

so what do you think???

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-03-2006, 03:26 AM   #85
Mark Freeman
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Re: Self-defense art?

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
I think i am nearly satisfied with my thesis, but would appreciate any critiques of it... here goes...

Self defense is a goal that many training in the traditional martial arts and martial sports share. Defining this goal and training methodology to reach it, are not generally agreed upon, even by those within the various styles of TMA and MS. I will outline the similarities and diffences, between the two in both definition and training methodology for SD. I will not attempt to prove one approach is better than another, instead i will try to frame the debate and loosely define a middle ground that will allow a lay person to understand the debate and have some useful basic knowledge that they can use to judge an individual's or style's definition and training methods in a self defense context.

so what do you think???
Good, with one small proviso, lay people are notoriously phobic of TLA's ( three letter abbreviations )so if you can keep them to a minimum or eliminate altogether it will make what you write more accessible.

Cheers
Mark

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Old 02-03-2006, 03:42 AM   #86
Edwin Neal
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Re: Self-defense art?

thanks Mark i have considered that, but had not decided to keep or not... just using it currently for my convenience... i am leaning toward eliminating them...

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-03-2006, 04:22 AM   #87
eyrie
 
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Re: Self-defense art?

Edwin, for good measure, perhaps you should compare your findings with what Marc Mac Young has to say about the subject of TMA/MAs marketing themselves as SD-oriented arts.

http://nononsenseselfdefense.com

Ignatius
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Old 02-03-2006, 04:34 AM   #88
Edwin Neal
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Re: Self-defense art?

Ignatius, i plan on that being a part of the basis of my discussion, but not getting int the whole marketing deal... thanks for the critique...

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-03-2006, 06:06 AM   #89
Nick Simpson
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Re: Self-defense art?

To jump back in again heres a little story about a daft encounter last night:

After training, the rest of the class were going to a pub and I was going to the bus stop, I was walking to the pub with them when a 'chava' (young thug for any american readers) who was walking in the opposite direction, drunk and with a gang of friends started looking at me. I could see the cogs whirring in his brain and sort of half realised that he was going to do something. But I was deep in conversation and didnt pay too much attention to it. When he got within a foot or so of me he leant forward and screamed in my face. I was a little shocked, but out of reflex elbowed him across the chest/collar bone and knocked him into a window, which he bounced off and staggered away the laughing stock of his friends.

I got a bit angry afterwards and thought I should have filled him in. Then I realised this was a fairly good outcome, no fight, no real violence, no police/ambulance involved. Not bad eh? Was a bit tense afterwards but no adrenaline dump or anything.

I have used aikido principles successfully in the past while on the defensive, but this was pure reflex and though not a technique (which would have been irrelevant anyways, as there was no 'attack', just an invasion of my personal space) it was definately something instilled in me via my training.

Which is nice.

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 02-03-2006, 06:24 AM   #90
Edwin Neal
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Re: Self-defense art?

who told you it was not an aikido technique???lol... sounds good to me... what if he had planned to follow up that scream with something more? you stopped that... and he got a lesson in ettiquete and humility that he probably needed... great story... too many people take a SD situation to be the extreme case of some incredibly huge, strong, bloodthirsty attacker, but even a dick like this one may have taken it further if you did not respond, just to impress his friends...

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-03-2006, 06:37 AM   #91
Nick Simpson
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Re: Self-defense art?

'who told you it was not an aikido technique???'

Well, No one. We do use a lot of elbows as atemi and in iriminage and as a technique themselves, but what I meant is it wasnt really what you would call 'Classical Technique'. If you know what I mean

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 02-03-2006, 07:01 AM   #92
Edwin Neal
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Re: Self-defense art?

i know what you mean... but atemi waza is aikido... and you did it with proper intention... so to me it counts... others will probably disagree...

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-03-2006, 07:51 AM   #93
Mark Freeman
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Re: Self-defense art?

Good story Nick and a good outcome, I'm not sure what constitutes 'Classical Technique', seems to me that you applied the right amount of force for the occassion. The only damage being to the chav's pride as his friends will probably dine out on his misfortune for quite a while.

Also I'm wondering is post practice drinking just a UK thing? we have always as a matter of 'tradition' gone to the pub after training, mostly to practice applying the classical technique of 'fluid replacement therapy'.

Cheers
Mark

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Old 02-03-2006, 08:12 AM   #94
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Re: Self-defense art?

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
Also I'm wondering is post practice drinking just a UK thing? we have always as a matter of 'tradition' gone to the pub after training, mostly to practice applying the classical technique of 'fluid replacement therapy'.
Nope! Training at Roppongi Yoshinkan pretty much means a compulsory visit to Geronimo's afterwards. Not naming names.. *cough* Michael Stuempel...

Nice story though Nick. Is it wrong to want to hear stories about the odd burberry cap boucing off a window?
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Old 02-03-2006, 08:38 AM   #95
Edwin Neal
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Re: Self-defense art?

we always went out after training when i practiced Yoshinkan in Japan... maybe it's a Yoshinkan thing???LOL

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-03-2006, 08:50 AM   #96
Ian Upstone
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Re: Self-defense art?

I reckon so! All that hiriki no yosei training gives you subliminal hints...

Well that's the official excuse I'm sure
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Old 02-03-2006, 12:35 PM   #97
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Re: Self-defense art?

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
I think i am nearly satisfied with my thesis, but would appreciate any critiques of it...
Sounds good, Edwin. Have you read Bob Orlando's book, Martial Arts America ? He offers a theory of how fighting systems evolve over time into martial arts (and can potentially devolve into practices with no self-defense value whatsoever). In particular you might be interested in his detailed definition of what is specifically entailed by the term "martial art."

Temet nosce,
Jim

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--Socrates

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Old 02-03-2006, 04:04 PM   #98
Edwin Neal
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Smile Re: Self-defense art?

Quote:
David wrote:
1. One's technical architectures must seek to provide the practitioner with an overwhelming mechanical advantage while simultaneously providing the attacker with an overwhelming mechanical disadvantage. (This sounds like a lot of Aikido but in reality this disqualifies more Aikido than one might imagine at first - just look at how Irimi Nage is practiced all over the world.)

2. One's idealized training assumptions must provide the attacker with the same level of sophistication as is being provided to the defender. (Again - this sounds like a lot of Aikido but in reality this disqualifies more Aikido than one might imagine at first - just look at how shomenuchi or yokomenuchi is executed all over the world.)

3. One's training must not assume that a consistently reliable spontaneity comes from the practice of basics alone. One's overall program must include a well-thought out process that cultivates the practitioner out of the realm of habitual reaction and into the realm of positive and immediate response. (Doing randori here or there and/or doing randori where everyone charges at your like a Frankenstein with his/her ass on fire does not qualify here.)

4. One's training must work to make one physically fit - strong of body and mind - flexible/supple - quick, high pain tolerance, etc. (Again, this quite different from most Aikido dojo where folks are often skinny, stiff, and very put off by pain. Ever have that hard of a time telling the Aikido group from the Judo Players?)

5. One's training should be dominated by a feeling of constant "intensity" - where injury is not only possible but more than likely, etc. (Again - not a normal position of most Aikido dojo.)
David, i think we agree on many issues here but i do have some things i would like to explore a bit more, i have gotten to the part of my draft where i will essentially be comparing training methodologies... you didn't use the term, but what you seem to be saying is we must train 'alive' a concept that gets much play on another forum i frequent, and has been written and espoused by a guy named Matt Thornton... do you know of him? i have also read an article in the latest issue of Black Belt Mag with similar ideas... this concept classifies aikido and most Traditional martial arts as dead drills...
let me address your list one point at a time
1. i agree, and i think aikido does fit the bill although 'overwhelming' is a bit well too overwhelming, advantage /disadvantage need only be slight for success... the more the better obviously... i do not understand what you mean when you give iriminage as an example ie practiced badly, wrong? or not tactically sound?
2. i agree... basically realism in the attack and reactions of uke to atemi, techniques etc... not faking
3. i think i disagree here i believe that the repetition, and internalizing of waza does cultivate an habitual, positive, and immediate response... i agree with your frankenstein uke objection
4. i think i disagree here too... practice does improve general physical fitness et al, but requiring a certain standard will mean that most people would never achieve any level of functionality... my example has always been TKD if i have to kick over my head to defend myself then i will never be able to defend myself... aikido does not require a high degree of these qualities in order to function and so is ideal for SD, for example the aikido granny story recently posted here... and i thought the stereotype for aikidoka was overweight, stiff and liked pain! haven't noticed much except judo players are thick and strong usually
5. i think i differ here too... this is more mental than physical the calm mind in the face of danger Fudoshin... which aikido cultivates...
I think too many people think that we will always be attacked by really big strong bloodthirsty killers that are highly trained in the MA, but that is by and large the exception i think... likewise a little training is all that is needed in some cases to make a difference... ounce of prevention and all that...
as to time to gain functional skills that is of course dependent upon training intensity and student and instruction, but is aikido really any more complicated physically that any other physical activity like basketball or ballet or other MA... i don't see that... i get the feeling that is an excuse or ego/pride/superiority of aikido, that has somehow become doctrine... thank you for your comments and ideas...

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-03-2006, 04:43 PM   #99
Michael Varin
Dojo: Aikido of Fresno
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 567
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Re: Self-defense art?

David, I have a few questions for you as well. Although you might answer them in the course of answering Edwin's questions.

The first is really just to clarify points 1 and 2 on your list. The second, while everyone should strive for physical fitness, not everyone can be equal or even in the same class with regard to physicality. How do you address this? Do you believe all people have an equal right to self-defense? With proper state of mind and training with a handgun someone who is physically weak can be quite formidable.

Michael
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Old 02-03-2006, 05:02 PM   #100
Edwin Neal
Dojo: Ronin
Location: Henderson, North Carolina
Join Date: Jan 2006
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Re: Self-defense art?

my point exactly michael... some people would never have the physical characteristics for this godly physical prowess... according to Shioda in Dynamic Aikido if you can lift 16 lbs you can do aikido, as aikido techniques require no undue physical effort...

Edwin Neal


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