Aikido and X-training: No Faith?

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AikidoCal

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I was having a discussion about Aikido with another person the other day, and that came up. I am not sure if cross training in another art while an active Aikidoka demonstrates a lack of faith in the art.

Some people cross train because the want a more rounded martial arts experience. Some people X-train because they feel Aikido doesn't address other issues say, ground work. Other's I have read and spoke with feel the philosophy of non-violence as dicated in Aikido via technique is really useless into day's world. If you throw the attacker several times it my not ever dawn on him that he can't win. In fact, it may make him work harder at it. The longer the encounter the greater the possibilities of the tables turning on the Aikidoka. Therefore, you have to have a kill or be killed attitude.


Of course in the Aikido community there are those who don't feel that way at all. Aikidokas who non-violently have successfully countered attacks as dictated out by O'Sensei. These people get a lot of gruff from those pro cross training as if those who don't x-train are unskilled and stupid bunnies. But these people I think have more faith in Aikido, and the don't have to cross train, they feel.

Those who x-train may not have been very well skilled in Aikido, as a result they are lacking confidence in the art. Some may too impatience. I see this to be true personally. 9out of 10 times those who cross train or feel the need to X-train have not "got" Aikido very well. It is a difficult art. When the bar is so high it is frustrating. X-training deflates that frustration that come when the bar is set too high, and allows for expectations of Aikido to be met differently.

Is having faith in Aikido blinding, or enlightening who is right?
 

arnisador

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Some people treat Aikido as philosophy--almost religion. For them, faith is the issue.

If one approaches it as a martial artist, one must see the lack of practical weapons work and ground grappling, plus the difficulty of defending the jab with Aikido, and so on. (Yes, it can be done, but it isn't easy.) Then, cross-training makes sense.

It depends on why one studies! Aikido is a good system with relative strengths against long weapons and multiple attackers, in my opinion, but no system has it all.
 
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GRIM

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Cross training is the anwser to the perfect style because there isn't one and there never will be. I think Aikdo looks pretty cool and definitly has some practical application, did I mention it would compliment Kenpo greatly and vice versa.

But the fact remains that it, like any art has it's draw backs. Mainly the whole as Bill Wallace says "snag the punch out of" thin air theroy.
Against a skilled opponent who isn't giving stemmed energy this won't work.

Even a basic understanding in boxing would help to at least put this in to perspective, hence the need to cross train.

For example I love kenpo and train as much as possible but, I recently decided to take up BJJ because I want at least a basic or intermediate understanding of the "ground game".
 

Yari

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AikidoCal said:
I was having a discussion about Aikido with another person the other day, and that came up. I am not sure if cross training in another art while an active Aikidoka demonstrates a lack of faith in the art.

.......

Is having faith in Aikido blinding, or enlightening who is right?

It really depends on what you want from the style; excercise, filosofi, selfdefence or a program for self developement.

Since your talking about selfdefence or fighting, I would say that you should find a teacher that knows this and pratices it. If he does understand this he'll point you in the right direction be it other styles or just inside the style itself.

But sadly not many masters exsist that would do this, so students "think" that they can themselves find the missing links(x-train). They go hunting for the best missing link, thinking themselves the best judge to know if a thing works or not.

There are many AIkido styles, and if you need something else than what your club is practicing, then mayby you should be looking for another club. And if you don't have that luxery, then maybe you should be looking for a different sensei. Looking for your own style will be like making soup of everthing you enjoy eating. Maybe one or two poeple will make a great soup, but most people will not, and need guidance.

So the questions is not if you can or should x-train, but how your mindset fits you sensei/style.

/Yari
 

theletch1

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One of the lines you'll see posted on the front of several of the Nihon Goshin Aikido dojos is "Where self defense is a science, not a sideline." We do train is a manner a bit more consistent with defending yourself on the street than say KI aikido of some of the more esoteric sub-styles. Having said that though, there are still gaps with in the system for self defense. A great many of our yudanshokai hold dan ranking in other arts and these other arts tend to find their way into the everyday training of our aikido-ka. I don't for a moment believe that aikido is the be all and end all of self defense. For most of us it takes way to long to become proficient in aikido technique to view it as a viable way to pick up self defense quickly. When one becomes proficient in the art and is able to defend oneself properly with it then they are a bit more capable of picking and choosing what parts of other arts can be incorporated into your aikido to make it a more complete style. I brought kenpo with me to my aikido dojo, others have brought ju-jitsu, karate-do, wing chun etc and when working with someone with another background it's always interesting to see what sneaks in during multiple attackers or randori.
 

amir

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My brother just told me yesterday he met with an Aikido teacher from another style, they talked together and the teacher asked my brother to show him Tai-Sabaki and then the application of the Tai- Sabaki to actual techniques, he was then surprised to realize we practice locks in their potentially damaging form, rather then some changed format that removes the danger.

I have had a similar experience in several other instances in which I practiced with veteran Aikido students (1st dan and above) form other styles, they were surprised to find out I apply the locks, and in a painful way that aims at breaking their joints.



Those are examples of a teacher and several senior students for who Aikido will never be applicable for S.D. on it's own. They may be great teachers for practice movement, Aikido style, and they may advance their students in a path of personal development. But they will never be capable of teaching them S.D.

The problem is even greater with some teachers and students, who delude themselves into the belief their way is applicable S.D. regardless of their training remaining idealistic at best. Once a teacher believes, his students follow.





X-training, with other teachers, other styles, and other M.A. forces one to "play with other rules" and look at other models of violent encounters. None will promise these models apply for ones next altercation, but if one believes the rules will be those he meets in a non-violent Aikido lesson, hw will meet a violent surprise.





Personally, I stopped looking for S.D. in my study of Aikido. In fact, in the last few years I invest more and more time into the study of traditional weapons (Jo, Ken, iai, Wakizashi, Bo, Naginata, ...), while those do help me learn better Aikido, it would not have been my course had I felt any interest in improving my S.D. skills on the short run.

For me, Fighting is the "mirror" or criteria for the practice. When looking at a technique or concept, one should ask, resarch and examine it's quality in a fight, when would it apply? how to evade a punch? a counter? Can you flow through to option B (if it failed)? ...



Amir
 

theletch1

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Amir, that's a very well thought out response to this thread. I'd have to say that I agree with you on the surprise when working with some other aikido-ka that don't actually apply a lock until uke taps out. I'm in it as much for SD as self improvement (although the self improvement seems to be happening a little faster) but am in no rush to "master" aikido. I'm confident that I can use my aikido skills blended with my kenpo skills to defend myself until such time as I'm proficient enough in aikido to use just that.
 

arnisador

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X-training, with other teachers, other styles, and other M.A. forces one to "play with other rules" and look at other models of violent encounters.

More and more I see how essential this is. It's amazing how many assumptions are built into the ways we train.
 

Shogun

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once at class, one of the rougher guys asked the assistant instructor who was teaching if we could do Aiki defenses against double leg takedowns. The instructor explained that it is not a traditional aiki defense, and, although there is a possible defense against it, its not really aiki. Aiki is a particular way of doing something, and to stray away from it takes away from its goal.

our instructor always told us that if we wanted to do something else to supplement (for fighting sake) that he actually encouraged it, but it wasnt needed. Sensei Barrish (the instructor) practiced several forms of Bujutsu, Iaido, and Kyudo. some other guys did Judo, Kenjutsu, Karate, Iaido, BJJ, and Hapkido. when I did Aiki, I was also doing Taijutsu and wrestling. so it depends on the teacher, and their lineage, beleifs, etc.
 

amir

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once at class, one of the rougher guys asked the assistant instructor who was teaching if we could do Aiki defenses against double leg takedowns. The instructor explained that it is not a traditional aiki defense, and, although there is a possible defense against it, its not really aiki. Aiki is a particular way of doing something, and to stray away from it takes away from its goal.




My Sensei always asks us if we have new situations we would like to train. The way he teaches, Aiki is the concept behind your response, not some limitation on Uke selection of attacks. I am always dumbfounded by teachers who insist on training only a specific set of situations, even with advanced students.

Then again, I am studying with a very good teacher who has practiced Judo and Karate to a similar level to his level of Korindo Aikido (All for more then 30 yrs and around 6-7th Dan). Our group normally has enough advanced students to examine, test and try new situations, including students who have learned other M.A. I would not suggest the same concept for a Shodan teacher with a group of beginners (one does have to calm them from thinking they are learning to fight TODAY).



Quote:

X-training, with other teachers, other styles, and other M.A. forces one to "play with other rules" and look at other models of violent encounters.

More and more I see how essential this is. It's amazing how many assumptions are built into the ways we train.




In my past, I had a short period of time (~2-3 yrs) I practiced in Korindo Aikido and TKD in parallel. The TKD was with a younger teacher (about my age) who had some experience in law enforcement (court security). He used to devise various S.D. exercises that were quite different from the things I was used to. Cooping with those, I was amazed to find out how much I have learned from my teacher without even knowing it or doing anything in practice (group VS group and similar stuff). A good teacher teaches below the surface much more then one expects.



Amir

 

Shogun

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My Sensei always asks us if we have new situations we would like to train. The way he teaches, Aiki is the concept behind your response, not some limitation on Uke selection of attacks. I am always dumbfounded by teachers who insist on training only a specific set of situations, even with advanced students.
Then again, I am studying with a very good teacher who has practiced Judo and Karate to a similar level to his level of Korindo Aikido (All for more then 30 yrs and around 6-7th Dan).
well, as I posted he was the assistant teacher. I would never Discredit anything said about aikido if it comes from Sensei Barrish's mouth. the man has been teaching aikido for 40 years, and is the only american shinto priest in the world's history. www.tsubakishrine.com
 

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I dont think cross training means no faith or a bad thing but it can be an eye opener. For people who habe never practiced anything else I might be good for them to see different types of attack that are more "dynamic" or fluid, than what they are used to. Or understand how some people operate at a different range than they are used to practicing at. Or the possible wholes in what they are doing. But that applies universally across the board no matter what styles a person trains in.

Crosstraining is also good because you are no longer taking the word of one teacher but exposing yourself to other things and either
a- your own teacher will turn out to be right on point
b- you see they have some of the answers, and are a good starting point
c- there is someplace else where your time would be better spent (could be same style just different teacher)
 

KyleShort

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Shogun that is a bit odd. Though I have not studied Aikido much at all, what I have been told has always been that Aikido is a method, not defined technique. The kihon dosa exist to teach principles, with infinite variations. I have actually seen aikido defenses against a double leg and I can think of several different breath throw variations that may be used.

Certianly though I could see not teaching this because defense against a double leg is not common in the core aikido currcilulum used to teach the principles...at some point though you must transcend technique and become spontaneous.
 
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CrankyDragon

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NGA is a blend of martial arts, so was JKD if Im not mistaken. There are some forms that are results of blending arts, and that can only be done by cross training.

Only you have the answer, to what will suit you. It is, what it is.

Good luck,
Andrew
 

kroh

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However, JKD is a form of combat that expects to learn from its opponents. The system ( yes...we are not just a bunch of thugs running around practicing nothing ;-) ) starts off very structured by teaching the student a very well incorporated blend of Wing Chun Gung Fu, western Boxing, and Fencing (motions used for footwork, timing, etc.). At more progressive levels of skill, the student can start to operate "outside the box" where he can start to bring in "complimentary skills" to his syllabus. This is where a lot of Kali, western wrestling or Brazilian wrestling, and Muay Thai Boxing start to come to play. All of these arts compliment the basic syllabus well IF they are taught in complimentary fashion. There are a lot of people out there teaching JKD who are just collecting techniques and saying they are teaching JKD, but whose method loose the core technique ( intercept attack through forward pressure and a strong centerline ).

I have trained in Aikido in the past with several reputable instructors in Rhode Island and have always enjoyed my training. I find that some of the foot work and methodology compliment my JKD training well. But i wouldn't use them out of context.

I would think that cross training and application of what you learn to your Aikido studies (in context...it would look funny during randori if an attacker comming in suddenly saw you, while wearing the 'gittup'...break into a boxers bounce, start flicking your nose and started throwing jabs) should be seemless. After all, when some one attacks you out in the world they are not going to stop in the middle of the fight and yell at you because the Kenpo you learned isn't part of the "traditional syllabus." It is exactly the same when you are on the battlefield and you run out of ammo but the people you have already killed have plenty on them. You will not refuse to use their weapons against them just because they are not "standard American Military equipment." You will do what you have to.

A guy I train with every once in a while has a saying,

"Fighting First, Systems Second."

Makes perfect sense. If the "hakama" is a bit too restrictive or you have no faith in what you are learning... Get a better pair of pants and train elsewhere. If you can see cross training as a "supliment" to your Aikido, then you are a step ahead with an eye toward the fight rather than just earning another belt.

Regards,
Walt :asian:
 

Jenna

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I'd love to be master of a variety of arts but time taken to learn new arts is time taken out of my "Aikido strengthening". I have no desire to be a jcak of all trades and master of none. And is the most profitable way to spend training time, learning a completely new art or is it better used developing and adapting your existing art? I'm unconvinced that cross training is the best way to fill gaps.

I think the original post is correct. Cross training is where we go after developing a lack of faith in our art. When I am shown my Aikido is weak in relation to its application and to my goals then I go for new techniques / adaptation / situation training. Throwing in the towel to go to find another art isn't an option I would consider. I wish the same went for us all. But naturally we all have our different goals and methods.

If you don't believe in your Aikido or whatever art you practice or you don't feel it completely suits you then cross-train away or hook up with the better fit! But if you believe in your Aikido, if you believe in your art at all, stick with it, build it, adapt it, tighten it up and seal any leaks and it will see you through, no doubts.

Yr most obdt hmble svt,
Jenna
 

Yari

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Jenna said:
..... if you believe in your art at all, stick with it, build it, adapt it, tighten it up and seal any leaks and it will see you through, no doubts.

Yr most obdt hmble svt,
Jenna

Hi

Just wondering; How would you do taht wthout looking to other arts(x-training).

/Yari
 

Jenna

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Yari said:
Hi

Just wondering; How would you do taht wthout looking to other arts(x-training).

/Yari
Hi Yari.
OK, I'm not claiming to be an expert in anything but I work with a group of Aikido partners who are not afraid to try new things. We often try blind attacks where uke comes in randomly with as UNUSUAL an attack as possible as opposed to standard nage-uke beginnings.

We use non-standard attack in particular to tighten up our skillset. If I see my opponent is weak at the edges of his circle that is where I launch my attack from this is how we seal the leaks, if that makes any sense.

If I feel I am open to leg attacks or maybe grappler style takedowns, I work on my distance, my speed and my footwork. I wouldnt go to BJJ or Gracie for that sole purpose. And Id love to believe that all artists in all arts took that view. Maybe thats na簿ve :). But as an example, Id never dream of suggesting that a TKD practitioner who felt vulnerable to kansetsu waza went and joined an Aikido class. Id suggest they train the kicks to take out my points of application my hands or arms.

Yr most obdt hmble svt,
Jenna
 

brothershaw

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Jenna - I respect your dedication to training, and your honest attempt to plug holes as you find them. Still even if you dont train in other arts there are some things you should take a look at to broaden your prospective on things you may have to deal with.
At the same time often the way to deal with certain things are there within an art but is not shown or passed on and the knowledge is lost until "rediscovered".
I dont practice aikido, I do practice more than 1 art but that is because they do different things, and dont really think of myself as a cross trainer since i am trying to learn both completely.
 

green meanie

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Jenna said:
Cross training is where we go after developing a lack of faith in our art.

Not always. It doesn't have to be anyway. Cross-training can be about testing your skills against attacks not normally found in your art. For example, Cross-training in wrestling doesn't have to involve you learning how to shoot takedowns unless you want to. It could just be an incredible opportunity to practice your aikido against a good takedown -one that probably isn't being done in your Aikido class. Just a thought.
 

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