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Old 02-22-2006, 03:26 AM   #1
white rose
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How important are the basic techniques

Hi guys.

How important do you think the basic techniques in Aikido are.

I ask this as I have been on courses with high graded Sensei and they all say the same thing, 'if your basics are weak, your Aikido is weak'. I was always taken back to ai hamm after every grading. I also do this to the people who train with me.

This is not always the case, in Aikido, which I know has many styles one being Ki Aikido that may not focus on technique as much as the one I train in. But even so, Ki Aikido will have basics that are at the heart of its teaching.

I have been told of classes were people have no idea about technique or basics at all and have seen this of myself.

So in that vain of thought, can you teach Aikido technique without some sort of basics and basics without technique.

Sean

Last edited by white rose : 02-22-2006 at 03:31 AM.

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Old 02-22-2006, 04:27 AM   #2
Mark Freeman
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Re: How important are the basic techniques

Hi Sean,

Can you teach mathematics without the concept of addition subtraction multiplication and division? Of course not. Aikido is no different, without understanding the basic underlying principles, you can't do aikido. You may be able to do something which looks something like aikido but it wont be aikido. Not as I understand it anyway.

Quote:
I have been told of classes were people have no idea about technique or basics at all and have seen this of myself.
What do they call what they are doing? not aikido surely.

Quote:
So in that vain of thought, can you teach Aikido technique without some sort of basics and basics without technique.
I don't think it is possible to teach Aikido technique without some sort of basics.
I do think it is possible to teach 'some' basics without technique.

I study and teach Ki Aikido and you are right, basics are at the heart of the teaching, they are used to build a solid foundation of understanding so that more advanced practice is possible. I can't see how that would not be present in all 'types' of aikido. When I watch a student perform a technique, if something is not going right, it is (in my experience ) 'always' something basic that needs to be addressed, one of the basic principles of aikido are not being followed. When I practice under my own teacher, and I'm having trouble with particular move/technique/exercise, my teacher usually smiles when he points out my missing of something basic!
I find this gives me great empathy with my own students, we all struggle with the basics of aikido.

My 2 penneth worth,

cheers,
Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 02-22-2006, 04:35 AM   #3
happysod
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Re: How important are the basic techniques

Quote:
...Ki Aikido will have basics ...
mutters in annoyance, falls into pseudo guru style much beloved on aikiweb - basics same in ki aikido as in all aikido (we just look sooo much more dashing and beautiful when doing them).

As regards your actual query, I'd say that no, you can't teach easily without a solid foundation. However, you may also have just hit a problem with terminology. If a club downgrades the dojonese terminology, you may be quite able to stump somone with what, to you, is a simple question easily understoood but is a concept which is taught using a different set of words.

damn... Mark got there first
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Old 02-22-2006, 05:24 AM   #4
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: How important are the basic techniques

Quote:
Sean Cassidy wrote:
Hi guys.

How important do you think the basic techniques in Aikido are.
Mr Cassidy,

(1) What techniques do you regard as basic and (2) why do you think they are basic? I would think you would answer the first part of the question by citing 1- 4 kyu, the four basic waza of irimi nage, shiho nage, kote-gaeshi and kaiten nage (though I think this is a postwar basic) and a few types of kokyu nage. What about the second question? Why are they basic: because you learn them first, or because they are the foundation of all the other techniques?

Have you ever practised 1-kyo with a shihan, 7th or 8th dan, for example? I do not just mean taking ukemi during a seminar, but in regular practise, with soneone else teaching the class. Occasionally I have done this and I have found that the techniques are 'basic', but the way they are practised by these shihan is far from 'basic' and has opened my eyes to vast possibilities in my own training.

Sometimes, I sense in these forums frustration among beginners that 1-kyo is something you do first and then, when you have mastered 1-kyo, you pass on to more advanced (and more interesting) techniques. 1-kyo is thus seen as something you meet at the very beginning of your aikido career and then progress from.

Another question. Would you regard ukemi as a basic technique? However, there are levels of ukemi. So, for example, would you regard a backwards mae-ukemi (from sumi-otoshi, for example) as basic. I would think not, but would you include advanced ukemi as 'basic techniques'?

I once encountered a 1-kyu student who could not take proper ukemi. He wanted to take his shodan test and return to the UK. My answer was that if he returned to the UK with a blackbelt and such a poor level of ukemi, he would be slaughtered in any dojo. I advised him to postpone his shodan test and work on his ukemi skills He did not take my advice, returned to the UK--and no longer practises aikido.

Best wishes,

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 02-22-2006 at 05:30 AM.

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Old 02-22-2006, 05:42 AM   #5
grondahl
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Re: How important are the basic techniques

How important? Is there anything exept basics?

Basic practices for aikido in my limited view:
tai no henko, morote dori kokyu-ho, ikkyo, shihonage, ichi no suburi and ju tsuki.

And ukemi.

Last edited by grondahl : 02-22-2006 at 05:44 AM.
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Old 02-22-2006, 05:45 AM   #6
happysod
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Re: How important are the basic techniques

Quote:
tai no henko, morote dori kokyu-ho, ikkyo, shihonage, ichi no suburi and ju tsuki.
this is what I was meaning by dojonese. Several of these terms I'd have to look up to see what you meant as we just don't use them.
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Old 02-22-2006, 06:38 AM   #7
ian
 
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Re: How important are the basic techniques

I think the basics of all martial arts, regardless of style, are the same. The techniques of aikido are a method of practicing these basics. The basics are correct timing and distance; correct posture (inc. use of centre) and relaxation. As a whole, this is effectively 'doing the right thing at the right time', which sounds trite, but it is what we are trying to learn.

The basic 'techniques' specifically ikkyo and irimi-nage, I think are the easiest route to understanding these basics, because without them the techniques make less sense and are more difficult to do; although the basics are identical in all techniques.

In the excellent book 'Master Tesshu: Sword of No Sword' (John Stevens) Tesshu talks about having to do 3 years of basic cuts (full time) prior to learning any sparring techniques. In kung-fu, traditionally the student would only learn how to stand in the horse stance for the whole 1st year of training.

Without the basics the techniques are empty and useless.

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 02-22-2006, 06:55 AM   #8
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Re: How important are the basic techniques

And before actual techniques are the building blocks of those techniques; or in other words, techniques such as ik(1)kyo and up are the manifestations of kihon waza applied to the setting of yourself and opponent:

Uke delivers shomen,

1 the basic principle of maai describes the space of reaction, and
the pace of reaction.

2 perhaps you haven't got the ideal grip in a particular instance of
meeting the above attack; sensing the connection through each
portion of contact between nage and uke allows nage to influence
uke without starting the whole technique over.

3 Zanshin, maintaining awareness of not just uke but
also surroundings for potential threats helps enable the body to
think for itself through the movement without over-focussing on
"why won't their arm move where i want it to!?"

4 balance; before, during, and immediately after technique.
it can go so far as to even affect simple breathing, not to mention
the ability of good balance to protect against those awkward
stumbles when uke holds on a bit longer than one is used to.

5 extension. keeping uke at arms length, either their's or your's,
both protects you, or unbalances them, which is what primarily
allows for the execution of technique.

6 center. Act from where nage is strong, and uke is weak, several
other bits in here that I will not even pretend to expound on.

There are others, such as line of attack, relaxed action/ reaction, uuuhh, oh, breathing (not as mentioned in #4) at the proper moments throughout reaction and action.

I'm no pro, but this is just the most readily shared opinion I can distill from my own experience. The basic techniques, some might say, are little more than the natural progression of events when nage applies the basics to any given attack. Mastery of the basics perhaps very nearly does equate to mastery of aikido. perhaps.

michael.
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Old 02-22-2006, 06:58 AM   #9
MikeLogan
 
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Re: How important are the basic techniques

Well, jeez ian (dodkins), way to say what i wanted in a quarter of the space and time needed.
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Old 02-22-2006, 07:25 AM   #10
Jorge Garcia
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Re: How important are the basic techniques

The basics (of techniques) are essential if your system of techniques is internally consistent. My Shihan has the same kind of movement in almost all his techniques so all advanced kinds of movements in succeeding applications of the basic techniques are the same. He always shows all kinds of strikes and movements where uke doesn't get a chance to grab and then tell us that it is the same as whatever basic technique he started with.

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 02-22-2006, 02:19 PM   #11
odudog
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Re: How important are the basic techniques

The basics are very important. The trained eye will see the basics in every technique. The advanced techniques are only the basics in the beginning with some other stuff throw on top of it. Just think of doing Shomenuchi Ikkyo {basic} then do Shomenuchi Ikkyo Nukute {advance}. If you can't do the basic, then you most definately can't do the advanced.
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Old 02-22-2006, 03:12 PM   #12
SeiserL
 
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Re: How important are the basic techniques

How good is the written word without a basic alphabet?
How good is mathematics without the basic numbers?

IMHO, its all in the refinement of the basics.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 02-22-2006, 05:02 PM   #13
DaveO
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Re: How important are the basic techniques

Basics or fundamentals?

Two different things - but folks have been using the two terms interchangeably.

A Basic is an introduction. A Fundamental is a foundation.

Basics are different for each style and art; often from schoole to school - they're what have been set down in the syllabus. Fundamentals are common to all arts - or should be - since they are core principles of movement, defense and attack.


Answers are only easy when they're incomplete.
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Old 02-22-2006, 09:19 PM   #14
Dajo251
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Re: How important are the basic techniques

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
Hi Sean,

Can you teach mathematics without the concept of addition subtraction multiplication and division? Of course not. Aikido is no different, without understanding the basic underlying principles, you can't do aikido. You may be able to do something which looks something like aikido but it wont be aikido. Not as I understand it anyway.



cheers,
Mark
My sensei once told me that, than again he is a math teacher by day so it made even more sense
dan

Dan Hulley
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Old 02-22-2006, 09:21 PM   #15
Mike Fugate
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Ki Symbol Re: How important are the basic techniques

I agree with Mark Freeman on this one.....I think Mathematics is a perfect example of Aikido and is even perfect for Kung Fu. With out the basics there is no techniques or ever advanced techniques... You can't expect to understand Einesteines equations with out learning the math skills needed. Same thing. This is why so few Traditional Martial Artsist are able to represent their arts in combat.

"When you cease to strive to understand, then you will know without understanding." -- Caine
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Old 02-22-2006, 09:57 PM   #16
xuzen
 
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Re: How important are the basic techniques

My judo teacher said you need 3 to 4 months to learn basic ukemi before proceeding to techniques in randori fashion. I did not believe him. I was thrown with the most basic O'goshi, and it scared the hell of of me. I humbly went back to learn the proper ukemi. I was served the humble pie... it tasted bitter sweet.

And yes, basic is important. Poor basic means you can't learn the advance stuff.

Yours Humbly,
Boon the humble pie eater.

SHOMEN-ATE (TM), the solution to 90% of aikido and life's problems.
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Old 02-23-2006, 04:03 AM   #17
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: How important are the basic techniques

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote:
How good is the written word without a basic alphabet?
How good is mathematics without the basic numbers?

IMHO, its all in the refinement of the basics.
Finally a point, where I can argue - as professional.
You can do mathematics without numbers, you can dan create even a mathematical universe without the basic operators.

And there might be 10 people out of the 10 bln, who could learn it another way - if they find a teacher. If I was to ask to teach someone, I always would start teaching to count (with the help of the fingers). That's how it works for most. And even if they are skilled, you always have to come back to the fundamentals, i.e. when is a theorem proved.

And that is probably the reason, why in all budo I know you have fundamental techniques that are taught again and again, and you have basics all beginners start with.

Dirk
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Old 02-23-2006, 05:02 AM   #18
seank
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Re: How important are the basic techniques

Isn't this a question regarding kihon? You practice until you understand the fundamental aspect of a technique; until it becomes natural and can be performed without thought (eventually... hopefully).

I don't like the idea of something being referred to as basic because it lessens the importance of creating a solid foundation on which to build everything else.

Can you learn something without a solid foundation? Sure... but remember the adage about building on sand and rock; one building is more likely to be weaker than the other... I believe that solid technique needs a rock to stand firm, but of course thats just my opinion
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Old 02-23-2006, 07:00 AM   #19
Lyle Bogin
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Re: How important are the basic techniques

Here's a story I think is relevant.

Once I was travelling in Hawaii performing a "shaolin disciple" in the opening act of the "Jackie Chan Martial Arts Spectacular". Wu Bin, Jet Li's former coach, was still traveling with the Beijing Wushu Team at the time (they were the main act of the show). We asked him to say a few words at dinner one night and he said "just practice the basics, don't worry about learining too many forms". Of course, we all nodded and admired his wisdom.

But later, over drinks, my instructor said "basics are important, but he also doesn't want you to be able to compete against his guys. they learn 100 forms by the time they finish grade school".
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Old 02-25-2006, 06:14 AM   #20
white rose
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Re: How important are the basic techniques

Hi all.

Mr. Goldsbury asked about 1-Kyo. I hope I get this right and he is referring to ikkyo. This is the only technique one of my Sensei does. He will try and do ikkyo and if this does not work, or he feels uku resists he will do another technique. This how I'm being taught at the mo.

Its very different to the old way I was taught. This was were you had 9 basic techniques and then another techniques were what I would term at the time is add on's. It was a very good way of learning the different ways in which you do technique.

But it had in my oppion something missing from it, it was like being taught parrot style.

As for basics or fundamentals, The use of the word basic to me does bring up images of first starting Aikido and you must move on from there. However, in my training I find going back to were I started from is very helpful in that it will never be perfect, and so I must do them over and over again.

I hope that makes sense. But why should, I never do any other time

Dont hit me again Nick I'll wash your smalls
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Old 02-25-2006, 11:24 AM   #21
Mike Fugate
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Ki Symbol Re: How important are the basic techniques

As for Jet Li's coach...well he was right. One should focus on basics, for the most part. It doesnt matter if you learn 20 forms or a 100........because I would rather know and start to master only 3 forms, compared to their 100 forms, that they could never applicate. Only competition that matters is the reality of execution of techniques and with out mastering of the basics one will always lack true power

"When you cease to strive to understand, then you will know without understanding." -- Caine
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Old 02-25-2006, 03:30 PM   #22
Lyle Bogin
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Re: How important are the basic techniques

Mike, what makes you say they don't know the applications of their forms (although admittedly in this case wushu is built upon performace for an audience)?

Those althetes that I met from this school of training were incredibly powerful.
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Old 02-25-2006, 09:18 PM   #23
James Kelly
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Re: How important are the basic techniques

ok... a lot of strong affirmation that it's all about basics. This is the party line and I tend to agree.

And yet....

I come from a school that emphasized basics almost to a fault (if that's possible). Many advanced students would come to town and see our practice and conclude that the training was too simple and go to one of the other dojo where things were a little flashier. No bigie, let them find their own way.

And students from my school and I would go to seminars where we'd find students who train at schools that don't focus on basics so much and we'd sort of chuckle to ourselves... this guy's trying to do super-crazy double-secret nage and he can't even tenkan. Or he's floating around the mat like a Shihan and he can't even handle a hard shomen. Again, they're having fun so let them. But we knew in our hearts that we were doing the real deal. Real aikido.

And yet....

Years later. These students, for whatever reason they skipped past the fundamentals, seemed to figure it out. Advanced teachers teach advanced technique and a beginner is best served by putting the advanced stuff in his pocket for a later date and focusing on basic technique. But sometimes that can't happen and in my experience even those who start right out with fancy stuff, eventually the basics come underneath them (sort of like building a house from the top down which is a no-no, but not impossible).

They may have had a harder time at the beginning, trying to pull off the fancy stuff when they really didn't have the chops, but eventually out of necessity I expect, everything comes together.

Maybe it's all abuot how much time you put in on the mat, basics or not. Just a thought.
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Old 02-28-2006, 04:43 AM   #24
Nick Simpson
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Re: How important are the basic techniques

Shioda - 'You must always go back to the basics.'

Something to that effect anyways. Without decent basics, then what will you acheive?

As well as the 'nine basic techniques' (Ikkyo, Nikkyo, Sankyo, Yonkyo, Shihonage, Kotegeashi, Iriminage, kaitennage, Tenchinage, in my opinion) I would list ukemi, Tai sabaki, Irimi-Tenkan, Tai No henko, whatever you want to call the body movements/exercises. The principle of Irimi and the principle of Tenkan. I'd pick those as the wider spectrum of basics (in my opinion).

After some time training, adding timing, intent, kuzushi, atemi etc etc and some of your own foibles they become something else, as Mr Goldsbury said with regards to the shihan. But I beilieve that you should always practise the basics and strive to practise them at a higher level.

I too have seen people with no or little correct knowledge of what I would call basics. For example, attacking, which I would put in the 'Ukemi' tag. If someone who has trained for 6 months does not know how to perform yokomen uchi, then what can you hope for from their waza? Then again, perhaps it is to much to expect that early in someones training?

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 02-28-2006, 06:36 AM   #25
Dazzler
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Re: How important are the basic techniques

as usual I agree with much of what is posted...but would like to make a distinction between basics and technique.

The basics or bases of aikido are absolutely fundamental. Without them then it is not Aikido.

The basic techniques are less important. They are the delivery mechanism for teaching the bases.

Generally, in my experience, most aikikai dojos practice the 'techniques' listed by Nick.

The question is why do they practice them?

Do you practice ikkyo to be good at ikkyo?

Or to develop posture, distance, timing, blending, correct breathing and so on?

A basic ikkyo is a fixed form. **

To have the goal of perfecting ikkyo for the sake of ikkyo to me is a mistake. Will your perfect ikkyo practiced on a 6 foot uke be exactly the same as on a 5 foot uke? Will it help against a kick?

To use ikkyo to have perfect timing, blending et al which can be applied to any form is a much better goal.

For this reason I feel any number of techniques could be used to teach these bases - not just the standard 9 listed by Nick.

Having said all that...the 9 don't exist by accident. My feeling is that these have come to the fore over time as the most effective vehicles for practicing the bases. Presumably specifically selected by O'Sensei from his experiences in other arts.

I'd suggest do not be fixated on the technique...look at what is within the technique.

Just my thoughts.

Cheers

D

** "No fixed forms" - Bruce Lee (according to the film....)
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