How appliable is aikido for self-defense?

Discussion in 'Aikido' started by kehcorpz, Aug 11, 2016.

  1. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    (I assume this is directed at me.)

    This is not a difference in perception, at all. Judo, when everything falls into place, will have the same "aiki" moments. The main obstacle to aiki in Judo is that you're practicing Judo on someone who knows what you're doing and is using the same training to counter it. In styles that take a pure-aiki approach, they only practice to work with that pure flow. Some aiki arts (like NGA) split the difference. We practice what I call "Judo style" versions of many techniques. These are versions that work with or without aiki (like Judo techniques do). They can be countered (like Judo), but are effective against unskilled counters (like Judo). We also practice pure-aiki versions of some techniques, which we would only use when that certain feel is there - there's zero resistance, a gap (what I refer to as "the void") in their structure, which allows us to effortlessly execute the technique. We'll almost never find the latter against another NGA practitioner (nor, likely against anyone with similar training), so we'd depend more on the Judo-style versions.
     
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  2. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    Mostly, but not entirely. While some places practice it as such, there is reasonable standing work in BJJ (at least in GJJ), too. My view is that it's rather rudimentary (most likely because it doesn't get the same attention as the ground work), but the principles are sound. From what I've seen, the standing work in BJJ is mostly about controlling what's going on while standing unless and until things hit the ground. Kind of the opposite of those who train ground work mostly to be able to get back up.
     
  3. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    This could be Aikido, Hapkido, Budo Taijutsu, a plethora of Japanese systems and from a lot more martial systems from around the world. In IRT we call this a Horizontal Wrist Takedown. However, this is video evidence of an Aikido like technique being used. ie. kote gaeshi

    Earlier in this thread people were bagging on Aikido and here we have an Aikido technique utilized very well.
     
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  4. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Are you telling me what BJJ is? Really? :)

    And I didnt say there is no standing technique.
     
  5. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I'm debating the terms. From what I've seen of the standing work in BJJ, there's enough there I wouldn't call it a ground fighting system. That's its primary strength, no doubt, but I consider it broader than just that.
     
  6. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    So pure aki will never do that first probing attack. Where in Judo they will. And this comes up a bit with combination throws. You can stand there like a glob and defeat some martial concepts where you are kind of relying on them to defend.

    And the basic premis there is if they don't want to defend then the first attack will drop them.

    Of course there won't be much aki involved.
     
  7. O'Malley

    O'Malley Green Belt

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    Actually in the older versions of aikido you don't wait for the attack but you do that "probing" with an atemi. It's a strike that forces your opponent to move and give you something to work with.

    [​IMG]

    Not everyone does it but from what I know there's still a rather large consensus on the need to do atemi to make the techniques work.

     
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  8. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes Senior Master

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    I'd say rather that the current competition rules define a ground fighting sport. The martial art as a whole covers both standing and groundwork, it's just specialized so we're excellent on the ground and only average standing. (To be fair, the current widespread emphasis on competition has produced lots of practitioners who are excellent on the ground and crappy at standup, but someone who practices the whole martial art and not just the sport should have at least basic competence at stand up.)
     
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  9. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    Which then becomes consistent methodology with any of those aiki style thows in any style
     
  10. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Aren't we picking nits just a little? I don't think it's controversial to refer to BJJ as a ground fighting system, even though it has standing application (because, after all, you can't fight on the ground if you aren't there). And I wasn't at all trying to start a sport vs street deal.
     
  11. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes Senior Master

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    Just a quibble over terminology. I think of it as a fighting system with a strong specialization in ground fighting rather than just a ground fighting system. I do teach my students some moves and tactics which don't involve going to the ground and discourage them from fixating on the idea of always trying to take the fight to the ground.

    Then again, my personal BJJ is an expression of everything I've learned in martial arts over the last 35 years, so my perspective isn't necessarily universal.
     
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  12. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Just for clarity, a reference to BJJ as a ground fighting system also does not preclude techniques and tactics for returning to one's feet from the ground.

    As I said, I didn't intend for this to be controversial. I think if you got 1000 BJJ practitioners in a room and referred to BJJ as a ground fighting system, it wouldn't even cause a ripple. It's only here, where every word is dissected, that it matters at all.
     
  13. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    The point is that the rules favor striking over grappling because MMA is a commercially driven sport. BJJ competitions, similar to wrestling competitions, are intended to be exercises of skill in ground fighting within the rule set. In the former, if you back out of guard, the ref stands both up and fighting continues. In the latter, if you back out of guard, the ref will ask you to engage, and if you don't you will be penalized and eventually DQ'd for lack of combativeness.

    I appreciate your point about other rule sets for grappling/BJJ. That's one of the things I like about it. :)
     
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  14. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    It's definitely nitpicking a bit, Steve, but I just want to be clear that I'm not arguing. I see BJJ as containing a ground fighting system. BJJ as a whole encompasses more than that, as you said, so I think maybe we're saying the same thing and I'm just picking the nits that are lying about.
     
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  15. JP3

    JP3 Master Black Belt

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    Jerry, here's a question for you.

    Clearly, O-Sensei used atemi-waza in his aikido, but I've heard/read a crowd of people come out and say that strikes aren't aiki/aikido and they can't BE aiki/aikido, which I admit, confuses me. If the dude who "invented" the art (I know he didn't invent the techniques but the methodology is... his, IMO) himself used strikes and he was calling it all aikido... then it's all aikido.

    Of course, strikes aren't unique, so maybe that's it?

    Personally, I blend in strikes to create kuzushi all the time, of all the varieties I've learned. What do you think?
     
  16. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I'm with Stan Pranin on this one. I think the atemi were lost. Here's my theory (backed by some historical knowledge). Ueshiba's early students were mostly very experienced martial artists. They already knew how to strike, so he likely didn't teach that. Some of them went on to teach what he taught, which means they also didn't teach strikes. Follow that for another generation or two, and you have people who may never have seen strikes used in any significant way in Ueshiba's art.

    My experience with aiki is straightforward: most of the time, you have to help manufacture the aiki moment (the "void"). Strikes are a handy way to change a person's focus, encourage them to move in a certain direction, shift their weight to open "the void", etc. Without strikes, Ueshiba's art becomes the "20 year art" some refer to it as, because only after extensive experience is it likely to be consistently usable on someone bringing violence and intent without strikes.
     
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  17. O'Malley

    O'Malley Green Belt

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    Or maybe the "aiki" part is so challenging/interesting that the guys teaching it didn't bother with the strikes as the "meat" of the matter is the aiki. There might also have been drifts due to philosophical considerations. But O Sensei and G. Shioda stressed the importance of atemi in aikido ("70-90% of aikido is atemi").

    My teachers are from the Sugano lineage I think (at least he was the one who did the gradings) and we have atemi. We don't train them as an independent part of the curriculum but the teacher tells us where they fall into the techniques and uke has to respect them (I'm really bad at this, I tend to take the blow rather than shift my position to avoid it).

    Oftentimes atemi also helps with the positioning, like when you drop under the guy's arm in shiho nage, if you position yourself as if to elbow him in the ribs your position is better.

    My humble 2 cents.
     
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  18. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    Oh, there's definitely some of this. Once you dig into the finer points of aiki, there's a lot to investigate and play with. There's a danger for anyone who likes digging deep like that to drop some of the basics. In NGA, we specifically teach strikes - they are core in our curriculum. From a combat perspective, this opens up more options. For the first 2-3 years of their training, I tell students not to try to correct a failed technique. Rather, I have them use strikes to either finish the defense, or to lead them into something else. Eventually, their flow gets good enough that fixing failed techniques and switching to other techniques to recover becomes a viable option.

    (NOTE: NGA is not directly related to Ueshiba's Aikido. Both are primarily derived from Daito-ryu, so are close cousins.)
     
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  19. O'Malley

    O'Malley Green Belt

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    It's like when you watch an advanced aikido master "fooling around" with aiki concepts.

    Yamaguchi sensei required his uke to move and react in a certain way and if one were to look at some of his demonstrations he'd think that aikido is worthless without a cooperative partner. Yet, he could pin any non cooperative uke face down, then lay on that person back-to-back and prevent him to get up by matching his movements. ( It Had to Be Felt #7: Yamaguchi Seigo: Suburi with People - AikiWeb Aikido Forums )

    If you look at the video below, it seems that Watanabe sensei is doing no touch throws. One could see him and believe that it's how aikido should look like then start to teach no touch throws. Or one could believe that Watanabe sensei is unable to protect himself on the street or do "aikido that works". However, according to advanced practicioners he's the kind of guy who'd take basically anyone as an uke and make his techniques work: AikiWeb Aikido Forums - No-touch aikido: defence



    At my level, I can't understand what he's doing. I hope to do so one day.

    Btw I've done a no touch throw in the dojo once (like on my 6th lesson or so): uke was supposed to grab my wrist and just before he made contact I pulled it back while keeping it nearly in reach of uke, he chased it, stumbled past me and lost his balance. I've been doing this to my cat since twelve years, he's a great teacher.
     
  20. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I do understand what he's doing for the most part, and much of what he's doing is, in fact, no-touch throws built on solid mechanics but with overly-compliant execution. The body mechanics the ukes are going through are quite solid, and that's what's making them fall. His movement is simply their lead (as in dancing) to tell them which way to move their bodies. In that demo, almost nothing he does actually initiates their movement.

    Now, if he's teaching the actual techniques that use those body mechanics, there's likely nothing wrong with his (or his students') Aikido. But, as you said, those who see it done this way may decide this is what Aikido is, and leave out the actual techniques.
     
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