Aikido need not prove itself! Part 2

Jaz

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Hey Guys, after the first video, I got loads of comments that I wanted to address. It involves certain things such the use of the term "Sensei" and has a brief look at Yoshinkan and Shodokan Aikido. Let me know what you think.

 

Anarax

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Hey Guys, after the first video, I got loads of comments that I wanted to address. It involves certain things such the use of the term "Sensei" and has a brief look at Yoshinkan and Shodokan Aikido. Let me know what you think.

Nice video, great job keeping it positive and friendly.

I agree with how some martial artist are trying to delegitimize Rokas by attacking him opposed to addressing his points. Rokas was an instructor and operated his own Aikido dojo, he has every right to criticize an art he put years into.

I've left numerous arts and have switched, swapped and continued training in several arts. I think many martial artists reach a point and self-evaluate what and how they're training. We either move onto different things that we feel is more in line with what we're looking for or continue with what we're doing.
 
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Elfwink

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Really glad that you are stepping up responding to challenges put out by martial arts enthusiasts.

I don't view aikido as a tool for fighting at all. Never have.
 
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MrBigglesworth

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It always seemed to me that the biggest issue with Aikido as a fighting style is that popular (and very contentious) quote stating that Aikido is 90% atemi (Ueshiba).
Whether "atemi" is the Aikido's use of some type of strike to create an opening, positioning or feints to draw the attacker into committing to a strike that offers more to work with, etc, the sad fact is that by and large, that element of the art is just not investigated sufficiently by a lot of practitioners.

As stated in the 2nd video, Ueshiba's students were all experienced martial artists in their own right before beginning Aikido training. They all knew how to handle themselves. So ignoring that element may have made sense to them, but not to the John Q Citizen who doesn't have that.

Yes, it's hard to learn effective kuzushi, especially when most of your art is reactive. You need big movements to work with, especially at the start. But entrenching the ritual of "slow", telegraphed strikes into the training limits the progress most students make, and gives your average student an unrealistic idea of their chances in a real situation.

So I think it can be very effective in the right hands, but that's less about the art and more about the practitioner than is the case for a lot of other arts.
 

O'Malley

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It always seemed to me that the biggest issue with Aikido as a fighting style is that popular (and very contentious) quote stating that Aikido is 90% atemi (Ueshiba).
Whether "atemi" is the Aikido's use of some type of strike to create an opening, positioning or feints to draw the attacker into committing to a strike that offers more to work with, etc, the sad fact is that by and large, that element of the art is just not investigated sufficiently by a lot of practitioners.

As stated in the 2nd video, Ueshiba's students were all experienced martial artists in their own right before beginning Aikido training. They all knew how to handle themselves. So ignoring that element may have made sense to them, but not to the John Q Citizen who doesn't have that.

Yes, it's hard to learn effective kuzushi, especially when most of your art is reactive. You need big movements to work with, especially at the start. But entrenching the ritual of "slow", telegraphed strikes into the training limits the progress most students make, and gives your average student an unrealistic idea of their chances in a real situation.

So I think it can be very effective in the right hands, but that's less about the art and more about the practitioner than is the case for a lot of other arts.
Getting tired of saying it but no, Ueshiba's students were not "all experienced martial artists". A lot of them were just kids (Shioda, Shirata, Kuroiwa, Tadashi Abe, Tohei, Tada, etc.). Ueshiba himself had relatively little formal training outside of Daito Ryu and he just taught his particular flavour of that art.

Aikido doesn't work as a fighting system because the training method was crap to begin with. Ueshiba was more interested in ascending to godhood than actually being a good martial arts instructor. Some lineages have tried to correct this but IMO only the Tomiki line managed to significantly improve the training model. As for the mainline, it went down a path completely divorced from fighting application, and the decision to market aikido as "non-competitive" consolidated this.

The "aikido is 90% atemi" quote is hollow, as I have yet to see an aikido instructor teach anything substantial regarding the timing, positioning or power delivery of strikes.
 

MrBigglesworth

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Getting tired of saying it but no, Ueshiba's students were not "all experienced martial artists". A lot of them were just kids (Shioda, Shirata, Kuroiwa, Tadashi Abe, Tohei, Tada, etc.). Ueshiba himself had relatively little formal training outside of Daito Ryu and he just taught his particular flavour of that art.

Aikido doesn't work as a fighting system because the training method was crap to begin with. Ueshiba was more interested in ascending to godhood than actually being a good martial arts instructor. Some lineages have tried to correct this but IMO only the Tomiki line managed to significantly improve the training model. As for the mainline, it went down a path completely divorced from fighting application, and the decision to market aikido as "non-competitive" consolidated this.

The "aikido is 90% atemi" quote is hollow, as I have yet to see an aikido instructor teach anything substantial regarding the timing, positioning or power delivery of strikes.

These "kids" as you put it were all still round 19-20 and had trained all through high-school in judo. Hardly your average punter walking in off the street.

As for the crap training method, that was my main point. They still tested each other in the early days because they (the students) lived in more challenging times with an attitude to match, but as they progressed and formed their own off-shoots, they forgot their roots and taught as they trained, except now with largely 1st timers.
Tomiki randori does put the combative element back in to an extent: at least the use are trying to attack without offering themselves up as sacrificial lambs. But some of the "multi-attacker" stuff demonstrated by dan ranks is just embarrassing: a group of attackers deliberately working individually with weak attacks, sometimes throwing themselves in response to a little tweak or tap.
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

They don't teach effective striking (because to them, it's providing enough of an opening for a technique to occur), so their students don't learn to to throw or handle any sort of real heat. The irony is that ukemi is practised religiously for that very reason.

If Aikido was taught with a Systema mindset, it would be whole different animal.
 
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Mider

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My understanding is that Aikido isnt a system you learn by itself, alot Of the guys on YouTube who can actually make Aikido work have trained in other arts first.
 

AIKIKENJITSU

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Really glad that you are stepping up responding to challenges put out by martial arts enthusiasts.

I don't view aikido as a tool for fighting at all. Never have.
Aikido circular motion is valuable to learn and adds to a punching art. Many of their joint locks are valuable and should be added to a striking and kicking art, if you do not have any joint locks.
I have been teaching for 50 years and still am. I use all the above when I teach my version of American Kenpo.
Is Aikido good for self defense standing alone? I personally don't think so, but they do have many effective body moves and joint locks that can be added to a punching and kicking martial art.
Sifu
Puyallup, WA
 

O'Malley

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These "kids" as you put it were all still round 19-20 and had trained all through high-school in judo. Hardly your average punter walking in off the street.

As for the crap training method, that was my main point. They still tested each other in the early days because they (the students) lived in more challenging times with an attitude to match, but as they progressed and formed their own off-shoots, they forgot their roots and taught as they trained, except now with largely 1st timers.
Tomiki randori does put the combative element back in to an extent: at least the use are trying to attack without offering themselves up as sacrificial lambs. But some of the "multi-attacker" stuff demonstrated by dan ranks is just embarrassing: a group of attackers deliberately working individually with weak attacks, sometimes throwing themselves in response to a little tweak or tap.
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

They don't teach effective striking (because to them, it's providing enough of an opening for a technique to occur), so their students don't learn to to throw or handle any sort of real heat. The irony is that ukemi is practised religiously for that very reason.

If Aikido was taught with a Systema mindset, it would be whole different animal.
Isoyama started aikido at 12, T. Abe at 16, Shioda at 17, Kuroiwa started in highschool as well IIRC. Even Ueshiba himself didn't have a lot of formal martial training prior to starting daito ryu (same for Yukiyoshi Sagawa who started at 12 and was Ueshiba's peer skill-wise). Yes times were different: they'd spar during and after training, and they'd fight in the streets as well.

Ellis Amdur has an interesting article on the gap between aikido and fighting: Great Aikido Aikido Greats 斤暹郎

What do you mean by "Systema mindset"?
 

MrBigglesworth

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What do you mean by "Systema mindset"?
I've trained in both, and I found that you were encouraged to keep an open mind and experiment during Systema. Both understand that you want to have your brain fades, freeze ups, absolute stinkers in the dojo instead of outside. But 1 recognises you have to get real to be real. An opponent who wants to hit you (hard!) and protect themself and adapt is real. Unknowns are real. Fear is real. Getting hit and having to overcome it in real time is real.

Systema says "throw a real punch, do it with intent, just don't do it full speed just yet until I can handle it a little better". It understands that under a full speed assault that the average student won't pull out a nice clean <insert technique here>. They'll probably panic and end up forgetting everything.
But don't take out the realism or intent of the attack, ie: don't give me some token shomen tsuki that will stop short if I don't move. Hit me like you mean it and make it hurt at least a bit.
Just slow it down a bit to allow time to understand the timing required etc. Because I want realism, but enough realism each time to stretch me without making me panic and drop my bundle. As I improve and stay calmer, dial it up to keep me stretched, in terms of technique and mental composure.

Throw in partial resistance, exercises that allow both sides to counter and adapt in controlled ways, without descending into bad judo.
Experiment with breaking structure as well as balance, and see where that takes the technique.
Actually use atemi, beyond the rote application of a backfist towards the eyes as the 1st movement of katate mochi shihonage 2, as the uke now stands patiently waiting, training themselves in the role of uke in response to any sort of torquing/turning/bending you might attempt.
Now try it with a wall at your back.
Throw the uke, but now you become uke and have to attack your partner. Also means they need to think about their roll and getting back up from it.
Mix up the attack, eg: they can grab you any way, not just <insert grabbing attack>.
Mix up the response. Sometimes an uke will grab with their elbow pointing down instead of out, so realise it and switch to skumen iriminage instead of trying to force ikkajo.
Try it with 2 guys, but they're allowed to work together.

In short: train to build a flexible mind as well as sound technique, continually challenge instead of striving for perfection under overly-controlled conditions, make the attacker's role real instead of ritualised, and most importantly (I know it's a cliche but it's a good one) become comfortable being uncomfortable.
 
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