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Old 02-03-2006, 05:33 PM   #101
Ketsan
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Re: Self-defense art?

In reference to number 4 I've noticed that a lot of dan grade Aikidoka tend to have rather large and well tonned arms.
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Old 02-03-2006, 06:12 PM   #102
Edwin Neal
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Re: Self-defense art?

David i have had some time to catch up on reading this thread and would like to know more about some of the things you said in post # 81
there is no way to say what a real or consistent skill is... each situation is unique and thus cannot be practiced for nor measured for consistancy... however the physical movements which are tactical and strategically sound can be learned and practiced and internalized (made somewhat automatic) in a relatively short time... we learn the forms and in time forget the forms and embrace the formless... ukemi is a good example... for some things this takes longer for some not so much...
real fake fake real give specific examples of each... like you seem to say you can feel the difference even if looks are decieving... it is all real viable usable and consistently practical... i am not aware of the position and critique of the nage uke relation, but i do have some ideas about it...any amout of training even dead training gives benefit... aikido science? well a good instructor and sincere student can cover the basics of science in about a year of study can't they?... lethal arts? breaking things? many times!? this is unnecessary and irresponsible possibly... what are you doing beating each other with sticks??? i think this student was making excuses and trying to let you down easy...
please excuse my fragmentary style as my fingers, and head are becoming thick...

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-03-2006, 07:25 PM   #103
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Re: Self-defense art?

These are all worthy questions and issues being raised. I'll do my best to get to them soon.

Thanks,
dmv

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Old 02-03-2006, 09:41 PM   #104
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Re: Self-defense art?

Hi Edwin,

I will see if I can lend a hand here will milling over some ideas…

First, however, I need to know how you are using the term "alive." Just to make sure we are on the same page -- could you please define that term for me and even, if possible, provide a couple of examples (even a contrasting example or two). Please/thanks.

As to your other points:

Point 1 --

You wrote: "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?"

I can only go with my own experience. In that experience, I tend to focus more on what I learn inside of spontaneous training environments against other skilled fighters first -- this is what I give the most weight to when it comes to determining what is "real" and/or what "works" -- what is self-dense capable and what is not, etc. I give secondary weight to what I learn from dealing with real-life skilled fighters (on the street). This is because they are relatively too few to base any kind of practical perspective upon and because they are nowadays fewer and further between. For me, I give almost no weight to what I experience when facing real-life unskilled fighters. For though their numbers may be adequate for forming some kinds of practical perspectives, the huge amounts of ineptness and overall "bad luck" of the unskilled fighter makes anything one might experience via them almost meaningless. In short, in my opinion, one should not determine what is real and/or effective via scenarios that one cannot to a large degree factor out the ineptness and bad luck (which tends to plague the unskilled) that is truly supporting "victory." Besides, if you are training right, what works against highly skilled fighters in a training scenario does work against skilled fighters in the street -- and, of course, it works against unskilled fighters in the street as well. If you take the inverse of this, what works against unskilled fighters in the street almost never works against a skilled fighter on the street and/or in the dojo. Better then, in my mind, to place weight as I have placed it when formulating what works and/or does not work, what is needed and/or not needed, etc.

With that said, my experience tells me that slight mechanical advantages are never enough when dealing with either real resistance and/or real skill. Using an abstract example here: If it takes "10" to move a person's shoulder to the ground under normal training conditions (into a pinning position), neither "10" nor "10+1" will be enough to get the job done when said person is resisting, and/or skillfully resisting. If you want to get that shoulder down when facing a skilled resistance, you had better have a capacity of something like "10+10" to do the job.

This is not something that has to remain abstract. If you are an aikidoka that is not familiar with this experience, then chances are you have not necessarily developed architectures that are designed to address it. If you have not developed architectures that are designed to address it, you are open to getting a first-hand sense of what I am talking about. All you have to do is get you and your buddy together and have one of you try and pin the other while the other one resists as skillfully as possible (strong-arm moves, strikes, counters, reversals, range changes, pulling knives, etc.). Note: You got to make sure your buddy is not so cultured as to fall down at your slightest cues and/or at the slightest sensation of pain and/or possible injury. If you do this, you will find that strength only goes so far, kokyu-ryoku only goes so far, and that both of these distances are way short of the work output necessary to achieve even a simple end like a pin. What is needed (in combination with physical strength and kokyu-ryoku), as I said before, is a tactical architecture that has as its aims the providing of a overwhelming mechanical advantage for you and an overwhelming mechanical disadvantage for your opponent. Without this, moves become very hard, most often impossible, to employ under real life conditions -- unless your opponent is inept, unskilled. Notice that I do not say "weak" -- because even a person of relatively little physical strength can give you one hell of a hard time should your tactical architectures not be designed in line with this aspect of the combative experience.

To tie this into what I was saying about Irimi Nage as it is more commonly practiced all over the word…

There are two main places where the common architecture actually seeks to function via a mechanical disadvantage -- and thus not to function under real-world conditions (i.e. where Uke is not choreographed to NOT take advantage of Nage's mechanical disadvantage). In Kihon Waza training conditions these mechanical disadvantages are not exposed for what they are -- the place where in real life you would lose dominance over your adversary -- because ukemi has been choreographed to not expose them. Using Shomenuchi Irimi Nage (tenkan) as my example, the two points in question are: 1) That point where Nage enters behind Uke and then performs a tenkan in order to bring Uke down and around into the Kuzushi; and 2) That point following the above mentioned tenkan and prior to performing the irimi-ashi in order to execute the throw -- with Nage standing to the front of Uke. The first point operates at a mechanical disadvantage for the very reason that it also loses aiki. That is to say, it is in fact a kind of "reverse clash" made up of two pulling energies -- two energies pulling against each other. Because of the soon-to-be-performed tenkan, Nage's pulling energy is soon-to-loose body fusion and directional harmony and does so increasingly as it generates greater force at the point of contact at Uke's collar and/or neck (wherever). This is no match for the body fusion and directional harmony present in Uke's shomenuchi strike. To feel this for yourself, all you have to do is get you and your buddy together and have him strike like he's about to break through ten boards with that strike -- without the slightest intention of taking ukemi (i.e. turning around Nage). What you will find when you do this is that it is extremely easy for such a committed Uke -- delivering a fully committed strike -- to either blow right past Nage's attempted control point (at the collar/neck/?) and/or to pull right out of its influence -- nullifying the Kuzushi altogether.

However, let us say you get through this and you are now standing in front of the Uke you just brought around… Here again is a clash of energy -- another loss of aiki -- only it is the standard push-push clash. It is often overlooked because either super-human strength is afforded to Nage's arm and/or because super-human weakness is afforded to Uke's head and/or supporting core muscles, etc. As a result, Uke is choreographed to either be surprised and/or caught coming up -- so that the irimi portion of the throw can occur. That is to say, Uke is choreographed out of executing a tactic that would actually demonstrate the mechanical disadvantage that Nage is experience simply because he is now standing in front of the on-coming Uke. To feel this mechanical disadvantage, again, get you and your buddy together and tell him to go ahead and give you the Kuzushi but then to do everything he can to not be thrown by the Irimi Nage part of the whole technique. You will again find that you will not only be at a mechanical disadvantage to Uke's lower oncoming posture but that you will also be at a tactical disadvantage because of Uke's lower oncoming posture. For example, you are a grappler's wet dream come true -- in other words.

Point 2 --

You wrote: "2. i agree... basically realism in the attack and reactions of uke to atemi, techniques etc... not faking."

Since others have asked for further clarification on this matter, please allow me to elaborate a bit on this as well…

Here I am referring to tactical architectures that fulfill their aims predominantly because Uke has been choreographed to attack in an inferior manner and/or to employ inferior tactics. Examples of this are those Shomenuchi versions where folks just stick their hand up and out and wait there for Nage to "blend" with them; and/or those Yokomenuchi strikes that come way from the outside (at an angle that would actually damage Uke's shoulder and/or elbow were he to actually hit any kind of real target, even a head), etc. One can even here consider those "reaction" techniques along the same lines -- e.g. where nage puts his hand up in Uke's face and Uke then does that goofy totally tactically inferior "block" that opens him up for Ikkyo.

Point 3 --

You wrote: "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."

I am not sure what you meant when you wrote this but I simply meant that one cannot go from form to non-form simply by doing form. I was not out to make a point against repetition and/or the internalizing of waza. My point, using your terminology, is that one cannot truly internalize waza simply by repeating forms over and over again. There is a lot that goes into unifying the doer and the deed and almost all of that is done way with when you only focus in on the deed -- when you believe the deed and/or the repetition of the deed accomplishes everything. To keep this short -- because this is a complex problem (the heart of the martial arts in my opinion) -- to unify the doer with the deed (i.e. spontaneity of technique) one's training has to have a thoroughly established system meant to address the doer himself. This has been brought up a great deal in the thread Larry started on the "Culture of Mediocrity," you see a lot of this being discuss on our website, and there is some of this being mentioned in the thread started by Paulina on "David's Drills." Remember, it is SHU-HA-RI, not just SHU.



Point 4 --

You wrote: 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.

Let us not forget that the whole time Osensei was putting in his time, he was thick and strong too. If you train hard, train a lot, both of which are required for the developing of real-life consistently successful self-defense tools, whatever your body type, you too will be thick and strong for your body type. Because of the nature of the exercise itself, you will not be able to train hard, train a lot, and not gain these same dimensions relevant to your own size. I am not saying that everyone has to weigh 180 lbs to 240 lbs in order to practice self-defense. I am saying that anyone that seeks to practice self-defense is going to have to train hard and train a lot, and that because of this they are going to be thick and strong (as their body type will allow). They will never be thin and/or weak for their body type. It is kind of like this: If you race bicycles professionally, you are going to have strong legs (not "x" size legs -- but strong legs). If you do not have strong legs, then you do not race bicycles professionally. You may ride bicycles, but you certainly do not race them professionally. Thus, it is true that Aikido does not require a high degree of such qualities in order to function -- especially if you are fulfilling my point 1 -- but it is also true that high amounts of hard training (which are necessary for developing self-defense skills as I understand them) do make one thick and strong for their body type -- not allowing one to remain thin and weak for their body type.

Point 5 --

You wrote: "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."

I'm not sure where the departure is in our views. I agree, one is after qualities like Fudoshin, but in order to truly cultivate this, one will have to train facing a whole lot of danger. My point is to bring the danger into training and to leave it there -- making sure it is there, always upping it, as one grows accustomed to it. This is how you cultivate Fudoshin, how you reconcile the egocentricism, the lack of awareness, and the tendency to resist energy by pushing against it, etc., things that all come from fear (for example) taking us over within self-defense situations.

I agree with you that for the average person the majority of violent encounters that one might face on the street are not made up of highly skilled martial artists and/or street fighters. However, I also have to say that I do not qualify those encounters that are the result of an immature spirit, ego-attachments, and/or emotional insecurities, as self-defense situations. Additionally, and personally (of course), I do not think it wise or honorable to develop, and thereby market, self-defense systems that are designed to confront and defeat the unskilled (no matter how numerous they may be and/or how many times the immature spirit will bring one into a state of violence with them). After all, what will the Yellow Page ad look like:

"Come learn to kick the ass of folks that can't fight worth crap! Gain confidence by beating up people that have even more reason to be insecure than you do! Sign up today and get a free gi and beer mug with dojo logo! Sign a friend up with you and get two beer mugs each! Come and learn Aikido now!" :-)

You wrote: "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."

No, I would agree, Aikido is not any more physically complicated than basketball or ballet or any other martial art. Only, I feel all of these things take a great deal of time to learn (obviously we have different understandings of "learn"). This is where we differ -- you think they all take a short time to learn, I think they all take a long time to learn. Sure, as you said earlier, someone can learn how to dribble the ball around, come to understand the rules of basketball, make a basket or two here or there, etc. -- sure he's playing basketball. A lot of folks do Aikido just like that -- playing Aikido. A lot of folks are just like that in every martial art -- just like a lot of little girls are out there now playing ballet. These folks play basketball, they are doing basketball, these little girls are playing ballet, they are doing ballet, these folks play Aikido, they are doing Aikido -- but the verbs "playing" and "doing" do not cover the difference in years that makes one into a basketball player, a ballerina, and an aikidoka.

I get what you are saying, trying to say. I understand your critique over this pride issue and how it is often used to disguise incompetence and/or a lack of investment, etc. However, for me, the solution to all of this is not to then say that one never really needs to know all that much and/or to invest all that much in order to understand. Rather, I choose to remain critical of the incompetence and/or the lack of investment directly -- leaving the passing of time to its rightful place in the maturing process of developing these skills authentically.

Great discussion, thank you very much for bring these things up.

Much appreciation,
dmv

FYI: My six year old daughter, the blessing of my life, plays ballet. She sucks at ballet.

David M. Valadez
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Old 02-03-2006, 09:44 PM   #105
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Re: Self-defense art?

Quote:
Alex Lawrence wrote:
In reference to number 4 I've noticed that a lot of dan grade Aikidoka tend to have rather large and well tonned arms.
My past teachers all felt like trains on the mat.

A funny story: We were all talking one day after class - when I was training in Japan - saying how Sensei felt like a train on the mat. Sensei was passing by without us noticing - when we looked up to see him there. He just said, "Wow, I never thought of myself as a train - I always tried to feel like a giant bear."

We said, "Same thing."


David M. Valadez
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Old 02-03-2006, 09:46 PM   #106
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Re: Self-defense art?

Quote:
Michael Varin wrote:
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

Hi Michael,

I think maybe I did cover these questions in my reply to Edwin - if not, please feel free to let me know.

Thanks,
dmv

David M. Valadez
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Old 02-03-2006, 09:48 PM   #107
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Re: Self-defense art?

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
David i have had some time to catch up on reading this thread and would like to know more about some of the things you said in post # 81
there is no way to say what a real or consistent skill is... each situation is unique and thus cannot be practiced for nor measured for consistancy... however the physical movements which are tactical and strategically sound can be learned and practiced and internalized (made somewhat automatic) in a relatively short time... we learn the forms and in time forget the forms and embrace the formless... ukemi is a good example... for some things this takes longer for some not so much...
real fake fake real give specific examples of each... like you seem to say you can feel the difference even if looks are decieving... it is all real viable usable and consistently practical... i am not aware of the position and critique of the nage uke relation, but i do have some ideas about it...any amout of training even dead training gives benefit... aikido science? well a good instructor and sincere student can cover the basics of science in about a year of study can't they?... lethal arts? breaking things? many times!? this is unnecessary and irresponsible possibly... what are you doing beating each other with sticks??? i think this student was making excuses and trying to let you down easy...
please excuse my fragmentary style as my fingers, and head are becoming thick...
Hi Edwin,

Not sure I understood this post - either my thick head or your thick fingers.

If you get a chance, perhaps you can explain things further for my thick head.

d

David M. Valadez
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Old 02-04-2006, 12:10 AM   #108
Edwin Neal
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Re: Self-defense art?

thanks for the reply David... heres a link about 'aliveness'
http://www.straightblastgym.com/newbook.htm

I think we are really very close in our ideas and values on this broad topic... i think that any differences are by relatively small degree's and the terminolgy is somewhat fuzzy... i have found that many people and myself find aikido 'harder' to pull off in the dojo than on the street... i think you are (rightfully so) being a little more conservative in you framing of the topic... we don't call that waza iriminage thats what Seagal does like a clothesline... we call it kokyu nage tenkan, and i recognize it from your description but all the problems you point out are problems my sensei taught us to fix/not do... it's uncanny how you touched the points that we work to avoid... i too have seen it done very badly in places, but i still have used it effectively in hard live randori and against people sparring outside the dojo... i will not discuss all the specific points of the waza, but i agree the points you mention are how it is done badly and yes i will say it wrong...
i think we will save point 3 for later as i too think there is a very complex matter there, but again i believe you are being conservative, and i am probably for the sake of my position taking a slightly more liberal view... again just a matter of degrees... point 4 i agree, but still maintain any training gives some benefit, and some skill that can be applied... though probably not at the conservatively high level you want to establish as a baseline... point 5 agian we agree, any difference is by small degrees... the only issue i still want to examine is practice of the waza... i truly believe that if the waza are practiced correctly in mind, body and spirit, then all the qualities and benefits will develop over time... the length will be longer for some not so much for others, but my core fundamental belief is in the practice... my sensei feels like a bear riding a train hitting you with sledge hammer's!!! ... your piece on your sensei reminded me alot of him... you can feel it when it is for real...

even i will have to go back over my last post... we will talk more if you like... your dojo sounds great... i couldn't get the videos to work... but i'll see if i can work on that... thank you so much this is really helping to organize my thoughts for my paper...

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-04-2006, 07:55 PM   #109
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Re: Self-defense art?

David,

I always enjoy your posts - even if they are long. I can tell that you put effort into them and speak honestly, and I appreciate that. And it seems like you guys train really hard and work with a lot of spontaneity at your dojo. That's great.

You did answer my questions, by the way. You also did a very good job describing the irimi nage. That is much different than the way I was trained to do irimi nage. If you achieve nearly pushing someone's face into the ground why not just continue to do so?

Regarding the overwhelming advantage/disadvantage, let me share a story that a close friend told me. He trained in mma in the LA area for a few years and told me of a time that one of his training partners (important note: this man could do repetitions of one-arm pull-ups, very strong), who was not a novice, was sparring with Kimo (early UFCs) who, many said, was on steroids at the time. He had Kimo nearly locked out in juji gatame (arm bar) and Kimo one arm curled him breaking the technique. I would say that juji gatame is one of the most classic examples of overwhelming advantage afforded by a technique, and yet it was defeated by sheer strength.

What is your opinion on size and defensive capability? Isn't the proper use of weapons the only thing that offers you a truly overwhelming advantage? Where does aiki fit into all of this? Both of these were important to Morihei.

Also, when you are practicing techniques that give you this advantage, and are, say, pining someone, or kicking them while they're down, do others in the dojo rush you from behind and then proceed to assault you as a group? We so often see things in a one-on-one environment. When in reality, things are seldom one-on-one in self-defense. What if you have a child with you?

In a neighboring city last week, a 51 year old man was knocked of his bike and beaten to death by 8 gangsters. I doubt they were trained, but I'm 100% sure they were dangerous. And I doubt that techniques that work against 'a' skilled fighter would have worked against them. Don't the gangsters' tactics give them an overwhelming advantage? Multiple attackers seemed important to O'Sensei as well.

These questions are not only for David, so feel free.

Michael
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Old 02-04-2006, 11:28 PM   #110
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Re: Self-defense art?

Hi Michael,

Thanks for the reply. Only - You are too kind, but thank you very much. I trust you can always scroll over me if ever you wanted to…

Let me try to reply to your questions and the issues you raised...

You wrote: "Regarding the overwhelming advantage/disadvantage, let me share a story that a close friend told me. He trained in mma in the LA area for a few years and told me of a time that one of his training partners (important note: this man could do repetitions of one-arm pull-ups, very strong), who was not a novice, was sparring with Kimo (early UFCs) who, many said, was on steroids at the time. He had Kimo nearly locked out in juji gatame (arm bar) and Kimo one arm curled him breaking the technique. I would say that juji gatame is one of the most classic examples of overwhelming advantage afforded by a technique, and yet it was defeated by sheer strength."

I myself have experienced this -- when I was first learning to apply this lock under more spontaneous conditions. Folks do not have to be all that much larger than you to do this and/or to do it enough to offer enough resistance to create some sort of opening for a counter or a reversal. Of course, if your opponent sucks, it's easy. You can do it just like out of picture book instruction manual. But if your opponent is good, no way - can't be done. It can't be done until you do more than just learn the basic mechanics of the lock. For example, one of the things that makes the technique more effective is being able to hide the opening for it within the opponent's own movements. This sounds obvious -- but obvious or not it is very hard to do and gets harder as your opponent gets more skilled. A lot of aiki goes into this and aiki is not cultivated in the body/mind over night -- certainly not within spontaneous and/or violent conditions.

Additionally, so we get away from the obvious strong folks… I've seen drunk girls of about 110/120 lbs give a 200 lbs plus law enforcement agent (even two at one time) one hell of a tough job in gaining tactical control. In our ARCON, with me only weighing about 170 lbs, and only offering about 10% resistance, it is very possible to shut down normal controlling techniques consistently -- sometimes just wiggling is enough even though the Nage is about 250 or 270 lbs. In short, as I said in an earlier post, one severely needs tactical architectures that are designed to meet resistance -- architectures that actually function better with resistance than without (in a way). Of course, we all say this, and we all think we do it. So no matter what I'm preaching to the choir here. No one is ever going to say, "Oh no, that's not true -- you do not want architectures that give you an overwhelming mechanical advantage and your opponent an overwhelming mechanical disadvantage." However, though we may not say it, many of us do it nonetheless (in my opinion).


You wrote: "What is your opinion on size and defensive capability? Isn't the proper use of weapons the only thing that offers you a truly overwhelming advantage? Where does aiki fit into all of this? Both of these were important to Morihei."

Of course, a weapon can do what you describe. However, weaponless techniques can do this as well. And, yes, in my opinion, aiki is definitely a part of what I am talking about. I will define aiki here as a harmonizing of yin and yang energies -- melding yin with yang and yang with yin (e.g. when pushed turn, when pulled enter, etc.). These are long answers already, and this one would be an immensely long one -- so let me say this one example and let me speak, for the sake of common ground, using commonly practiced Aikido kihon waza: To establish an overwhelming tactical advantage over a resisting opponent (inside of spontaneous conditions), and to simultaneously provide him with an overwhelming mechanical disadvantage, one can take the strategy of aiki and employ it tactically by finding the pin in every throw and the throw in every pin. Here is a very basic example of this -- using Ikkyo:

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/v...roteikkyo.html

You wrote: "Also, when you are practicing techniques that give you this advantage, and are, say, pining someone, or kicking them while they're down, do others in the dojo rush you from behind and then proceed to assault you as a group? We so often see things in a one-on-one environment. When in reality, things are seldom one-on-one in self-defense. What if you have a child with you?"

Well it is not that we don't practice these things -- we do (e.g. multiple attackers, etc. And thus it is not that we would say there is no need to and/or that we would say we shouldn't train in such things. (Though I have never taken my children on the mat with me for spontaneous training.) However, we do not orient our training via scenarios. We are very principle oriented -- we do not try to recreate ever situation that one might face, etc. I do not think one can do that or even should try to do that. The cultivation of technical spontaneity is only hindered by that kind of training. Additionally, one must remember, we are only interested in self-defense skills and such training, etc., because of the edge it can provide in the honing of our spirits. This will mean at some point, probably long before one gets to the horseback riding armor-wearing machine gun-carrying challenger in scenario training, we would have found our answer and felt little need to ask such a question. To really tie this into your last question, we would not uplift the fact that one could on rare occasion protect oneself and one's child within a self-defense situation if one could not protect one's child from one's own fears, one's own pride, and one's own ignorance on a daily basis.

Again - thanks for writing -- got to go now, sorry.

Take care,
dmv

David M. Valadez
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Old 02-05-2006, 10:20 AM   #111
AESBird
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Re: Self-defense art?

I think the best thing to do would be to learn several of the most easy and effective Aikido techniques, so they come as second nature to you (like the blocks in Karate should).

Some of the Aikido defences are so long and complex it is probably better to keep to doing them in kata, unless you are very good. I certainly wouldn't like to be working out the defence if someone attacked me.

If physical defence can be avoided then I prefer to run away, though I'd rather know some way of defending myself if cornered. Most of the blackbelts in our dojo show us how the techniques can be used in self defence, and that is not always 'clean' fighting - but effective!

- Angela

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Old 02-06-2006, 04:00 AM   #112
Nick Simpson
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Re: Self-defense art?

'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'.

Well, Im sure it's not unique as we know that theres a big drinking culture among older men in japan (shihan ) but it is definately an integral part of it...

Nick
Off the sauce for 9 more days...

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Old 02-06-2006, 11:22 AM   #113
senshincenter
 
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Re: Self-defense art?

I suggested one could take on more directly the underlying problem that may arise when one states that training and proficiency require time - that we do not have to throw the baby out with the bath water by saying "profeciency comes relatively quick and easy." I wonder if any others have any ideas along these lines and what suggestions we all might consider. Here's one that I would like to share...

In my training and in my teaching experience, the one thing that simultaneously keeps one honest with one's own training and/or progress (or lack thereof), and that instills in the student that profeciency take time, is training within spontaneous environments. Since we happen to do a lot of this type of training at our dojo, it seems, we almost never come across this problem of using the distant future as some sort of hideout for our lack of commitment, sacrifice, understanding, and progress. If one does not have these things in their training, which may be fine for someone at a given stage in their life/training, there's no hiding it. I think this is why we tend to have the opposite trend in training that I have experienced in previous dojo where I was a member. As folks progress in their training, as they become more senior in the dojo, they train more - not less. They don't seek to replace quantity with quality - they simply seek to add more quantity and to use it in a more quality-based manner. For example, after one gets some basics down, feels good about them (subjectively), it is about that time that they get their first taste of a spontaneous training environment. What always happens? They realize they should not be feeling so good about their technique, their rate of progress, their level of investment, their degree of commitment, etc. What do they do? They always start adding classes to their training week. For me, this is the exact opposite of what folks do when they hide their lack of progress in a distant future. The former way mentioned above seeks to relate to time through work - not hope - and it does this precisely because proficiency takes time/effort. It is not hindered or tempting us into not working because proficiency takes time. In other words, one is relating to time in an entirely different manner, and in my opinion, that difference is coming to one's training via honesty, which is coming to the practitioner via spontaneous training environments.

In the end then, I think the real problem here is twofold: 1) There is not enough honesty in one's training; and 2) There is too much room for denial on one's training. The solution then should address these things. It seems then that anything one can do in one's dojo to support honesty and/or to reject denial should be a huge part of one's overall training curriculum.

That said, I do agree that technical proficiency within idealized conditions (e.g. kihon waza) and/or within some sort of "real" altercation that occurred at less than idealized conditions (i.e. restraining a drunk girl you have over 100 lbs on) should occur at a relatively quick rate. What I am referring to is meeting the parameters that are contained in our idealized training assumptions but doing so within spontaneous situations. It's like I tell the law enforcment agents who finally and consistently detain the 100 lbs drunk college female - "We'll don't quit now - that'd be your worse mistake. Keep training - for a long time."

I came across these quotes by a boxing expert and a BJJ expert - they are intersesting because the seem to say the opposite of what most non-practitioners feel about these arts (i.e. that they are easy and easy to learn - that they can be learned fast).

"If improper form is encoded, or bad habits are picked up early on, it is very difficult to fix. Using improper form reduces you efficiency in the ring and doesn't allow you to optimize your movement...This is a difficult punch. It's going to take time, it's going to take patience on the athlete's part, it's going to take patience on the coaches part, but with persistence, and like with anything else in life, with training nigh after night, one will be able to learn the left hook properly." (John Brown - Boxing)

"For you that want to enter into a no rules professional fight or for those of you that are unlucky and get in a fight in the street, or for those of you that just want to know about real fighting, I hope that I could explain some details and help you in some way. It is very hard to explain real fights, the real situation, because you have to train a lot and you have to know a lot of techniques - you have to taste them - that's why did - I've done more than 20 years in Jiujitsu and more than 10 years in professional fights." (Mario Sperry - BJJ)

David M. Valadez
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Old 02-06-2006, 11:48 AM   #114
justinmaceachern
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Re: Self-defense art?

Hi David Valadez Sensei, How are you today. i have a question in wich i am having problems with the answer. My freind (Derek Gaudet) By the way he is the one from Canada that sent you footage of him and i doing some basic randori, doesnt feel that the training that we do is good enough for me to call him a sensei. He state that we are just practicing but doesnt realize the signifagents of what he shows me. Over the past few months he has maid me realize that alot of people use that term (Sensei) very lightly. Now despite what others may say, he is my teacher, I have learned more from him in short months then i did couple years of training at my old dojo. He can put me down whithout strain and that is not an easy thing to do. And he seems to have all the answers i need.
Do i have the right to call him sensei even know he is waiting for shodan.
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Old 02-06-2006, 12:21 PM   #115
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: Self-defense art?

Quote:
Justin MacEachern wrote:
Do i have the right to call him sensei even know he is waiting for shodan.
Calling someone "sensei" is not a right, it's a courtesy.

"Sensei" is a title, and implies an acceptance of a certain responsibility. If Derek Gaudet doesn't want, or doesn't feel worthy of the responsibility (or more importantly, isn't qualified for it), then the case is closed: don't call him "sensei".

If you absolutely must show your respect with an esoteric Japanese term, use "sempai". I would suggest that you just call him "Derek". And then start taking Japanese classes to get a sense of the meanings of these words you want to use.

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
- Chaucer
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Old 02-06-2006, 12:28 PM   #116
justinmaceachern
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Re: Self-defense art?

Another question how can you say he is not qualified just because he doesnt have a shodan. he has taught me more then a fourth dan could show me. And i dont want to just call him Derek were is the honour and loyalty in that. would you call your instucter by his first name? Probably not
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Old 02-06-2006, 12:47 PM   #117
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Self-defense art?

Honour and Loyalty are not in a title. My behavior may (or may not) reflect those qualities. What I call my instructor has no bearing on what you should call your friend. My intructor, for instance, is japanese, and teaches aikido as much from a cultural perspective as from a Martial Art perspective.

There are many that believe to open a dojo without supervision in judo or aikido should require a 3rd dan. Whether you agree with that or not is up to you.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
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Old 02-06-2006, 12:52 PM   #118
Edwin Neal
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Re: Self-defense art?

hey justin... i seem to have a situation where i am in derek's situation... i think of myself as a student... even though i have 'shown' some of the waza i know to my friend, and he like you is grateful... we are just training partners... i don't call him sensei when he shows me karate... we both just want to practice and learn...

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-06-2006, 01:31 PM   #119
Edwin Neal
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Re: Self-defense art?

Well David... i'm glad you do see it my way...LOL... i know exactly what you mean, since for every aiki-moment or 'street' encounter, i have an equal and opposite episode that lets me know where i REALLY am... i still have a ways to go to get that spontaneous place you seem to focus on... but my paper's focus, and questions at this stage are about training and what way best gets us where we need to go... for example the concepts of live training vs the more traditional slow idealized practice... "i believe both have their place and are complementary, but what porportion should we give to each? "... the next part of my paper is about the trend for most modern martial sports to feel that live is the only way to go to get timely effective skills, but i find many benefits can be offset by bad habits this kind of training may develop... of course i think the traditional method has some similar problems, so each supports the other... i like traditional for learning proper form and live training for proper effort or application... each has strengths and weaknesses...great quotes... i also think the traditional develops the mind and spirit of the waza,... whereas live training can easily lead one into sloppy, or less efficient waza... thanks for your insights... i have finally gotten my quicktime upgraded and seen a couple of your clips... very cool... it will take me some time to look at them all as i have dial up... living in the country also has advantages/disadvantages...

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-06-2006, 02:18 PM   #120
makuchg
 
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Re: Self-defense art?

I have been reading this post and wish to offer my opinion. While size/strength does play an important part in your ability to control, it can be mitigated. Several examples in this thread are strenght overpowering joint locks or submissions. While this is possible, it must be noted that in these examples, they are training, which means nage is demonstrating a level on control to avoid permenant disfigurement of uke. In real life, this restraint is removed. While someone powerful may be able to power out of an Ikkyo I'm holding (such as in training), I don't think they would power out of it when I apply the technique in real life causing the elbow to break. It must be realized that the initial application and break are near simultaneous, there is no pause to allow the resistance. I plan to use every pound of my being against that joint.

The techniques we train in the dojo have distinct self-defense applications if one understands the vulnerability of the human body and has the mind set to apply them. A half-hearted technique on the street will get you killed or seriously injured. Of course no technique is fool proof and the belief that your first technique will work can cost you dearly. For true self defense applications of Aikido, one must train technique transition and how to move from one to another. True self defense is adaptability and Aikido works very well in this regard.

Gregory Makuch
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Old 02-06-2006, 02:31 PM   #121
Edwin Neal
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Re: Self-defense art?

well put, Gregory... but just adding more force to the technique for self defense is a bit misguided as well... we should strive for seigyo... complete control over our attacker, not more injury and possible law suit... your points about transitioning is what i call flow or plan b,c,d,etc...

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-06-2006, 03:46 PM   #122
senshincenter
 
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Re: Self-defense art?

Quote:
Gregory Makuch wrote:
I have been reading this post and wish to offer my opinion. While size/strength does play an important part in your ability to control, it can be mitigated. Several examples in this thread are strenght overpowering joint locks or submissions. While this is possible, it must be noted that in these examples, they are training, which means nage is demonstrating a level on control to avoid permenant disfigurement of uke. In real life, this restraint is removed. While someone powerful may be able to power out of an Ikkyo I'm holding (such as in training), I don't think they would power out of it when I apply the technique in real life causing the elbow to break. It must be realized that the initial application and break are near simultaneous, there is no pause to allow the resistance. I plan to use every pound of my being against that joint.

The techniques we train in the dojo have distinct self-defense applications if one understands the vulnerability of the human body and has the mind set to apply them. A half-hearted technique on the street will get you killed or seriously injured. Of course no technique is fool proof and the belief that your first technique will work can cost you dearly. For true self defense applications of Aikido, one must train technique transition and how to move from one to another. True self defense is adaptability and Aikido works very well in this regard.
I agree with much of what you said, but I'm not too sure you got my points. I guess, here, I can say that while I can agree with much of what you said, I also know that the human body is way more sturdy than most folks might realize - especially folks that have not ever actually tried to damage it in non-idealized conditions against skilled resistance. This would be the flip side of my suggestion that one requires these overwhelming mechanical advantages and disadvantages. While I guess one could break some elbows with Ikkyo, there is just no real mechanical advantage there for doing so against a strong and skilled opponent.

Justin, I think you got some good advice from some folks that already posted, but you should feel free to email me (senshincenter@impulse.net) if you'd like to discuss things further - since that topic is a bit off topic here (in my humble opinion). BTW - please call me "Dave" or "David."

David M. Valadez
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Old 02-06-2006, 07:33 PM   #123
makuchg
 
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Re: Self-defense art?

While Ikkyo was a very rudamentary example, my point seemed to be received. I agree with several key points you made, the human body is much more resistant to damage than people anticipate. The old I'd snap that or this, particularly from someone who lacks the strenght to open a jar of mayonaise themselves is ridiculous. Martial arts students, or anyone interested in self-defense (preservation if you will) need to understand how much force is needed to damage particular areas. However, the human body can be damaged and damaged severly with the proper application of force at vulnerable locations. I think the key here is the proper application of force; I'm not talking about some mystical "death touch" crap or unlikely single strike knock-out. What I am talking about is understanding human vulnerabilty and understanding how to create or recognize these openings when they are available.

The strength of Aikido in combat application is the flexibility the techniques offer. Edwin, I agree that more force is not the answer, however wise use of force against vulnerable targets is. That means Aikido student wishing to understand how their art transfers to self-defense applications needs to know these targets and how to expose them. I think you misjudge how difficult it is to control someone who wishes to not be controlled. While I agree doing the least damage, none if possible, is the aim of Aikido. Protecting my attacker is not my goal in a self-defense scenario. Having taught police and military throughout combat zones, it is not their goal either. Self-defense and martial arts principles often do not intertwine. While the "rules of engagement" are different for police and military the ultimate goal is the same-self survival. I am not dismissing the higher principles martial arts teach, but for self defense applications these are often mute.

Gregory Makuch
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Old 02-06-2006, 07:44 PM   #124
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Re: Self-defense art?

Quote:
Gregory Makuch wrote:
The old I'd snap that or this, particularly from someone who lacks the strenght to open a jar of mayonaise themselves is ridiculous.
This is a great line - thanks for sharing.

dmv

David M. Valadez
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Old 02-06-2006, 08:54 PM   #125
PeterR
 
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Re: Self-defense art?

But some of those jars are welded shut with kryptonite.

"Here honey open this."
"Sure dear grunt gasp more grunting"
"Oh give me that - pop"
Peter totally emasculated slinks off to Aikido where he can feel the power.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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