Aikido has no reason to prove itself!

O'Malley

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It isn’t built to deal with western style boxing, that’s for sure. It appears to rely on countering the striking found in Kung Fu and Karate.
I would go further than this.

As we're discussing technique I'll separate the body conditioning and the Jujutsu aspects (= looking at aikido drills/kata as a delivery system). The caveat is that body conditioning and principles are actually the core of the art, nothing prevents you from using them with a more effective delivery system (e.g. judo), I know some people do.

Aikido is mostly Daito Ryu aikijujutsu (DR). The creator of DR was an excellent swordsman with a lot of experience in sumo, who wandered around the country to challenge martial artists and cross-train. At that time, there was little to no striking knowledge in Japan. Traditional Jujutsu was practiced in the context of armoured fighting, where striking makes little sense. Karate made it quite late to the mainland and was certainly not widespread while Takeda was creating DR. Same with Kung Fu and boxing. Also, most men did sumo to some extent and consequently street fights, or more exactly the "cultural idea of fighting" looked more like sumo than, say, boxing.

Many aikido techniques were just taken from traditional Jujutsu styles that Takeda encountered and imitated (e.g. kote gaeshi). The others he made up. So aikido mostly has either techniques coming from an armoured fighting context or techniques coming from a sumo context (at best).

You can see it from the strikes, for example, which could represent sword strikes or sumo slaps and thrusts. Yokomen uchi is sometimes referred to as equivalent to a boxing hook but the trajectory and elbow position are different (and thus aikido responses to yokomen uchi lose applicability against an actual boxing hook). But it makes more sense if you think of it as a sword strike or a sumo slap (the downward elbow makes sense in a sumo context because that's consistent with sumo striking technique and it's also safer when grappling is involved).

Finally, I think that both Takeda and Ueshiba had other goals than putting together a coherent curriculum of techniques to use in a fight. They saw the value elsewhere (e.g. in the aforementioned conditioning).

I hope this helps.
 

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I would go further than this.

As we're discussing technique I'll separate the body conditioning and the Jujutsu aspects (= looking at aikido drills/kata as a delivery system). The caveat is that body conditioning and principles are actually the core of the art, nothing prevents you from using them with a more effective delivery system (e.g. judo), I know some people do.

I would argue that Judo also doesn't do very well in a MMA setting. That's really what Rokas is shooting for; Aikido to work in a MMA setting.

While I did limit the functionality of Aikido being limited against western (Kick)boxing, I would argue that Aikido also has fundamental issues when going up against western and modern grappling as well. Especially the rapidly evolving grappling systems coming out of competitive submission grappling and MMA.


Aikido is mostly Daito Ryu aikijujutsu (DR). The creator of DR was an excellent swordsman with a lot of experience in sumo, who wandered around the country to challenge martial artists and cross-train. At that time, there was little to no striking knowledge in Japan. Traditional Jujutsu was practiced in the context of armoured fighting, where striking makes little sense. Karate made it quite late to the mainland and was certainly not widespread while Takeda was creating DR. Same with Kung Fu and boxing. Also, most men did sumo to some extent and consequently street fights, or more exactly the "cultural idea of fighting" looked more like sumo than, say, boxing.

Many aikido techniques were just taken from traditional Jujutsu styles that Takeda encountered and imitated (e.g. kote gaeshi). The others he made up. So aikido mostly has either techniques coming from an armoured fighting context or techniques coming from a sumo context (at best).

You can see it from the strikes, for example, which could represent sword strikes or sumo slaps and thrusts. Yokomen uchi is sometimes referred to as equivalent to a boxing hook but the trajectory and elbow position are different (and thus aikido responses to yokomen uchi lose applicability against an actual boxing hook). But it makes more sense if you think of it as a sword strike or a sumo slap (the downward elbow makes sense in a sumo context because that's consistent with sumo striking technique and it's also safer when grappling is involved).

Finally, I think that both Takeda and Ueshiba had other goals than putting together a coherent curriculum of techniques to use in a fight. They saw the value elsewhere (e.g. in the aforementioned conditioning).

I hope this helps.

While Karate arrived in mainland Japan relatively late. if you look at the Atemi-waza in Judo kata, it shares similarities to chambered style of strikes found throughout East Asian martial arts. Additionally, the attacks that Uke performs in Aikido also fall in line with that style of striking. It is a very different striking style than what you see in western Boxing and latter kickboxing styles. It is easy to see why Aikido would have fundamental issues dealing with it, since the system was designed to deal with a different system of striking.

You mention this yourself when you say that men in Japan at the time of Aikido's formation would use Sumo striking. It's important to note that with the advent of more global contact in the late 19th and early 20th century, western boxing was the striking system that won out. In modern times, it's the standard striking you're likely going to encounter in professional, amateur, and even street fighting situations. I have yet to see some punk attack someone with a sumo strike, but I've seen numerous examples of jackasses attacking people with a boxing style. So in that sense, I think we're agreeing here. Aikido seemingly not being able to deal with that is a huge problem.

Back to the point; In order for Rokas to make Aikido what he wants it to be, he's going to have to change Aikido from the ground up, and frankly create an entire new martial art. I don't think he's prepared to do that, and I don't think there's a huge push in the Aikido community to change what they've been doing. So in the end, he should stick to MMA styles that have already done the hard part for him. BJJ would be the optimal choice.
 

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I have mixed feelings about the video. In itself, it's actually quite good. The topic is interesting, the production quality is great and Oliver's insights are thought-provoking.

That said, Rokas has no business publicly explaining aikido, as he does not have a good grasp of its principles. I see conceptual errors (e.g. re tenkan, moving off the line, etc.) and historical errors (the BS about Ueshiba's students being to

Yeah. But who would even know if people understand the concepts or don't?

The criteria for understanding the concept is so vague and removed from reality. That it is impossible to tell.
 

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I would argue that Judo also doesn't do very well in a MMA setting. That's really what Rokas is shooting for; Aikido to work in a MMA setting.

While I did limit the functionality of Aikido being limited against western (Kick)boxing, I would argue that Aikido also has fundamental issues when going up against western and modern grappling as well. Especially the rapidly evolving grappling systems coming out of competitive submission grappling and MMA.




While Karate arrived in mainland Japan relatively late. if you look at the Atemi-waza in Judo kata, it shares similarities to chambered style of strikes found throughout East Asian martial arts. Additionally, the attacks that Uke performs in Aikido also fall in line with that style of striking. It is a very different striking style than what you see in western Boxing and latter kickboxing styles. It is easy to see why Aikido would have fundamental issues dealing with it, since the system was designed to deal with a different system of striking.

You mention this yourself when you say that men in Japan at the time of Aikido's formation would use Sumo striking. It's important to note that with the advent of more global contact in the late 19th and early 20th century, western boxing was the striking system that won out. In modern times, it's the standard striking you're likely going to encounter in professional, amateur, and even street fighting situations. I have yet to see some punk attack someone with a sumo strike, but I've seen numerous examples of jackasses attacking people with a boxing style. So in that sense, I think we're agreeing here. Aikido seemingly not being able to deal with that is a huge problem.

Back to the point; In order for Rokas to make Aikido what he wants it to be, he's going to have to change Aikido from the ground up, and frankly create an entire new martial art. I don't think he's prepared to do that, and I don't think there's a huge push in the Aikido community to change what they've been doing. So in the end, he should stick to MMA styles that have already done the hard part for him. BJJ would be the optimal choice.
The question, in my mind, becomes how we define an art. I do think Aikido's principles can be used against the kinds of grappling and striking you're talking about. But not the techniques in the kata and drills (which, as I understand it, are really about developing principles - the body conditioning @O'Malley refers to - rather than necessarily being the target application of those principles).

I see this with applying similar principles (NGA also being largely derived from Daito-ryu) in ground fighting. I don't use the techniques I was taught in NGA, but the way I use them is just translating the body movement principles into other techniques. I suspect any difference from how other arts apply some them is only nuance.

So if we define a style by the core principles and how we develop those, Aikido could be taught and used in a way that works better for MMA-style application, while still being Aikido. I'm certain there are folks - especially within Aikido - who would disagree.
 

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The question, in my mind, becomes how we define an art. I do think Aikido's principles can be used against the kinds of grappling and striking you're talking about. But not the techniques in the kata and drills (which, as I understand it, are really about developing principles - the body conditioning @O'Malley refers to - rather than necessarily being the target application of those principles).

I see this with applying similar principles (NGA also being largely derived from Daito-ryu) in ground fighting. I don't use the techniques I was taught in NGA, but the way I use them is just translating the body movement principles into other techniques. I suspect any difference from how other arts apply some them is only nuance.

So if we define a style by the core principles and how we develop those, Aikido could be taught and used in a way that works better for MMA-style application, while still being Aikido. I'm certain there are folks - especially within Aikido - who would disagree.

Okay, but is it fair to argue that running drills and kata that are counterproductive to producing a desired result something that should be removed entirely? You fight like you train, and if you're spending your training time devoted to drills and kata that don't have a straight forward application in a fight/self defense situation, wouldn't a revamp of the training model be necessary?
 

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Okay, but is it fair to argue that running drills and kata that are counterproductive to producing a desired result something that should be removed entirely? You fight like you train, and if you're spending your training time devoted to drills and kata that don't have a straight forward application in a fight/self defense situation, wouldn't a revamp of the training model be necessary?
Sure. We'd have to go back to the question of what the desired result is, though. If someone wants to use Aikido principles in an effective manner, they'd have to leave the "Aikido" in there - removing it would be counterproductive. If their result is just to be as effective as possible in an MMA-style competition, style doesn't really belong in that, because it creates a competing priority. I don't think the aiki-style development is really a good fit for "most efficient" path to much of anything. It's too nuanced, and there's too little payoff for that nuance. But for those of us who like the nuance, we're okay with that tradeoff. I'm okay with "effective", without really needing to look for "most effective. I'm pretty sure I'm more of a limiting factor in the effectiveness of a style (commitment, consistency, physical ability, etc.) than the style, itself (for any style/training method with reasonable potential).
 

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Okay, but is it fair to argue that running drills and kata that are counterproductive to producing a desired result something that should be removed entirely? You fight like you train, and if you're spending your training time devoted to drills and kata that don't have a straight forward application in a fight/self defense situation, wouldn't a revamp of the training model be necessary?
Forgot to finish my thought.

Part of what you might be trying to grasp here is really hard for me to explain. Best I can use is analogy from Rocky. The chicken-chasing really didn't even look like boxing, but developed some quality (I've no idea what) that Mickey wanted Rocky to develop, and which he'd then put to use with the tools of boxing.

When I pick up a new-to-me technique from somewhere outside NGA (no new techniques for me within the core of NGA), I translate it through the principles and body movement concepts I learned in NGA's kata. When I do free randor (Judo-style) or roll, I rarely try for an actual, recognizable NGA technique. I mostly just use the concepts and principles to control structure and position, until something useful shows up (which may or may not be a recognizable NGA technique). Because I believe that's what the training system was meant to teach. So, though we have no standard hip throw in the 50 Classical Techniques (short kata derived from Daito-ryu), I have no trouble doing or teaching one. The kata let me practice the level changes, bodyweight shifts, structure control, and other parts needed to make that technique happen.

If you trained a few years, you'd recognize some of the concept, as I see it in BJJ, though expressed differently. The focus on position and structure (though I don't know I've heard the word "structure" used) is the same basic idea. The classical approach simply gets there differently.
 

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Forgot to finish my thought.

Part of what you might be trying to grasp here is really hard for me to explain. Best I can use is analogy from Rocky. The chicken-chasing really didn't even look like boxing, but developed some quality (I've no idea what) that Mickey wanted Rocky to develop, and which he'd then put to use with the tools of boxing.

When I pick up a new-to-me technique from somewhere outside NGA (no new techniques for me within the core of NGA), I translate it through the principles and body movement concepts I learned in NGA's kata. When I do free randor (Judo-style) or roll, I rarely try for an actual, recognizable NGA technique. I mostly just use the concepts and principles to control structure and position, until something useful shows up (which may or may not be a recognizable NGA technique). Because I believe that's what the training system was meant to teach. So, though we have no standard hip throw in the 50 Classical Techniques (short kata derived from Daito-ryu), I have no trouble doing or teaching one. The kata let me practice the level changes, bodyweight shifts, structure control, and other parts needed to make that technique happen.

If you trained a few years, you'd recognize some of the concept, as I see it in BJJ, though expressed differently. The focus on position and structure (though I don't know I've heard the word "structure" used) is the same basic idea. The classical approach simply gets there differently.

Well in regards to Rokas, it appears that he wants to make Aikido work for MMA. It seems that the general principles are there, they just need to be updated for modern fighting. I think you only get there by fundamentally changing how Aikido is practiced.

Unfortunately, as is the case with many Asian Martial arts, practitioners of a given system tend to vehemently oppose such changes, even in the case with something clearly effective coming along and fundamentally challenging the system. Look what happened with Judo after the 2008 Olympics when a Mongolian wrestler pretty much broke competitive Judo with traditional Mongolian wrestling techniques. He broke it so thoroughly that is negated nage-waza and grip-fighting completely. Instead of the Judo community coming up with a method to stop this challenge they banned the entire family of techniques altogether, greatly crippling Judo in the process.

In the case of Aikido, a similar thing would happen. We already know that the system has great difficulty dealing with the rapid strikes from western boxing. I haven't seen much in how Aikido deals with upper and lower grappling, but some of the counters to grappling I've seen from Aikido are.... questionable. Further, ground grappling is pretty much non-existent. In order to address these "holes" you'd have to revamp the system. Again, I don't think the Aikido as a community much cares about filling those holes, and are perfectly happy where they are currently as a martial art. That means that we're looking at "creating a new martial art" territory.

That said, I do see your point about how Aikido gives you the space to apply it differently across a variety of situations. Such as the ability of Irimi Nage to be applicable to multiple types of attacks. Perhaps the issue then is Randori? Maybe making randori more free-form like in Judo and BJJ would force the changes that Rokas desires?
 

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Well in regards to Rokas, it appears that he wants to make Aikido work for MMA. It seems that the general principles are there, they just need to be updated for modern fighting. I think you only get there by fundamentally changing how Aikido is practiced.

Unfortunately, as is the case with many Asian Martial arts, practitioners of a given system tend to vehemently oppose such changes, even in the case with something clearly effective coming along and fundamentally challenging the system. Look what happened with Judo after the 2008 Olympics when a Mongolian wrestler pretty much broke competitive Judo with traditional Mongolian wrestling techniques. He broke it so thoroughly that is negated nage-waza and grip-fighting completely. Instead of the Judo community coming up with a method to stop this challenge they banned the entire family of techniques altogether, greatly crippling Judo in the process.

In the case of Aikido, a similar thing would happen. We already know that the system has great difficulty dealing with the rapid strikes from western boxing. I haven't seen much in how Aikido deals with upper and lower grappling, but some of the counters to grappling I've seen from Aikido are.... questionable. Further, ground grappling is pretty much non-existent. In order to address these "holes" you'd have to revamp the system. Again, I don't think the Aikido as a community much cares about filling those holes, and are perfectly happy where they are currently as a martial art. That means that we're looking at "creating a new martial art" territory.

That said, I do see your point about how Aikido gives you the space to apply it differently across a variety of situations. Such as the ability of Irimi Nage to be applicable to multiple types of attacks. Perhaps the issue then is Randori? Maybe making randori more free-form like in Judo and BJJ would force the changes that Rokas desires?
I agree that - as I’ve seen it, at least - you’d have to fundamentally change how it’s practiced. The kata do what they were meant to, but need the context of resistance to translate consistently to application. I do think a change to Judo/BJJ-style tandoori would help for that purpose.

I really think too many people (not just in Aikido - this happens in NGA, too) have bought into the “no competition, because competition is bad” vibe. Resistive training isn’t opposing your partner’s development.
 

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I agree that - as I’ve seen it, at least - you’d have to fundamentally change how it’s practiced. The kata do what they were meant to, but need the context of resistance to translate consistently to application. I do think a change to Judo/BJJ-style tandoori would help for that purpose.

I really think too many people (not just in Aikido - this happens in NGA, too) have bought into the “no competition, because competition is bad” vibe. Resistive training isn’t opposing your partner’s development.

Also the less is more idea. So the less effort they put in the more it shows that their techniques work.

And then you get these smug bastards dropping people with two finger takedowns thinking that they have such an amazing handle on what they are doing.
 

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Also the less is more idea. So the less effort they put in the more it shows that their techniques work.

And then you get these smug bastards dropping people with two finger takedowns thinking that they have such an amazing handle on what they are doing.
I think that's largely a misunderstanding of a principle (of course, it could be that I am the one with the misunderstanding, but that's another story). Being able to do the drills/kata without putting muscle into them forces focus on other principles (which pretty much keeps the strength in reserve). So, the better you are, the more you should be able to perform kata with minimal muscle input. But it's not the minimal input that makes it better - it's being better that makes the minimal input possible. And it's not a straight line to application.

Think of it like working a basic hip throw. If you are good, you can demonstrate it on a compliant partner with very little effort. The better you are, the more easily you "read" their structure and alter it to get them just enough off-balance to bring them into the throw, which you execute smoothly and drop them fairly softly to the ground. But you'd never expect it to work that way in even really light randori.

I think that's kind of what happens with some of this in Aikido (and I've seen it in NGA, too). Folks mistake this effort toward being able to perform drills this way, with the expectation they should do the drills this way (and that this will reflect application).
 

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I think that's largely a misunderstanding of a principle (of course, it could be that I am the one with the misunderstanding, but that's another story). Being able to do the drills/kata without putting muscle into them forces focus on other principles (which pretty much keeps the strength in reserve). So, the better you are, the more you should be able to perform kata with minimal muscle input. But it's not the minimal input that makes it better - it's being better that makes the minimal input possible. And it's not a straight line to application.

Think of it like working a basic hip throw. If you are good, you can demonstrate it on a compliant partner with very little effort. The better you are, the more easily you "read" their structure and alter it to get them just enough off-balance to bring them into the throw, which you execute smoothly and drop them fairly softly to the ground. But you'd never expect it to work that way in even really light randori.

I think that's kind of what happens with some of this in Aikido (and I've seen it in NGA, too). Folks mistake this effort toward being able to perform drills this way, with the expectation they should do the drills this way (and that this will reflect application).
I think it's possible to get to a point where you can generally rely on technique over strength, but you only get there by applying the technique over and over against people who are doing their best to keep you from being successful... even (and maybe especially) going at close to 100%. Sweeps and submissions can be effortless... if you set them up well, executive them them well, and get the timing right. And if you don't get it exactly right, it's nice to be able to fall back on a little muscle.

The point, though, is that this aiki you talk about sometimes. I think it's only possible where there is application in the art.
 

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It is that big a leap from compliant training.

I mean your partner is playing a role or they aren't.
I knew it would be a train wreck when she said Easy. Her definition of easy and my definition of easy aren't the same thing lol.
 

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That said, Rokas has no business publicly explaining aikido, as he does not have a good grasp of its principles.
I think he's now learning this the hard way. He's learning that he didn't know as much about martial arts as he thought he did including his own. His analysis skills is really low level. Not something I would expect to see from someone who really took a look at their training beyond forms and movements. I would have expected someone of his knowledge of Aikido to have something higher than a beginner analysis level of understanding of what he's seeing and what he's doing.

I also don't like how he uses another system to validate his own. It's one thing to recognize similarities, but even with what he was claiming he he should be able to take knowledge and apply it to Aikido in a functional way. Having non-Aikido people explain Aikido to someone of his level is not a good thing at all. He probably means well, but when I watched the video I'm thinking.

So if you want to learn Aikido then ask someone who doesn't train it. In my opinion that's not good at all for his development or for Aikido as a system.
 
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JowGaWolf

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Also the less is more idea. So the less effort they put in the more it shows that their techniques work.
I martial arts in general I have always understood "less is more" meaning that one should not meet force with force. My goal should not be to overpower my opponent by going directly against the force he applies towards me.

The gold simply means "you'll get more and better results if you attach where your opponent's strength is not." So if you were to push me, my goal should not be to stand there and resist all of your strength like a "Tai Chi master" being pushed by 20 people lined up. If you are pushing towards me at 100% then my goal is to let your force pass so I can push where you aren't pushing.

Real life example, someone comes at me for a take down. I let that energy pass and at the same time, I twists my opponent's torso. The reason I twist because he's not applying any force to prevent his torso from being twisted. As a result, I use less to get a good counter by attacking my opponent where there is least resistance. Foot sweeps and foot hooks work the same way. A small movement with less power can yield bigger results than me trying to attack your force directly.

Parries and Jams work the same way against straight punches and jabs. The force that one uses to counter or prevent it, is less than what the attacker is using to hit you with. This conserves energy. Sort of how BJJ doesn't try to brute force things. They are willing to make lesser movements and smaller force if it leads to quicksand.

What qualifies as less? It's simply means less effort and use of strength than what is needed to confront your attacker head on. 50% less force doesn't mean that it's weak. I'm pretty sure there are guys who still hit really hard at 50%. Many kung fu people interpret "Less is more" and it makes their training lazy.
 

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why not? It's Easy. What could go wrong?
It's easy. All you do is put your leg behind theirs, execute four more steps, then pick them up and drop them gently to the ground. And while you control them with one arm, they will meekly submit to your will.
 

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It's easy. All you do is put your leg behind theirs, execute four more steps, then pick them up and drop them gently to the ground. And while you control them with one arm, they will meekly submit to your will.
Do you think they actually think this stuff through or do you think they think it through with 100% belief that something like that is easy? May they know the risk and just assume. That anyone who believes what they just sold would be an easy sale on some martial arts classes. Sort of like. "If you believe the crap I just showed, then I know I can take your money."
 

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I think he's now learning this the hard way. He's learning that he didn't know as much about martial arts as he thought he did including his own. His analysis skills is really low level. Not something I would expect to see from someone who really took a look at their training beyond forms and movements. I would have expected someone of his knowledge of Aikido to have something higher than a beginner analysis level of understanding of what he's seeing and what he's doing.

I also don't like how he uses another system to validate his own. It's one thing to recognize similarities, but even with what he was claiming he he should be able to take knowledge and apply it to Aikido in a functional way. Having non-Aikido people explain Aikido to someone of his level is not a good thing at all. He probably means well, but when I watched the video I'm thinking.

So if you want to learn Aikido then ask someone who doesn't train it. In my opinion that's not good at all for his development or for Aikido as a system.

If there was someone within Aikido who could demonstrate the skills on the level he desires (MMA) then he could do that. Unfortunately, Aikidoka being functional in MMA is non-existent, so yeah he has to go outside of Aikido to find what he's looking for.

That said, him linking up with Jesse Enkamp has made his videos as insufferable as Enkamp's videos. For shame.
 

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