Aikido.. The reality?

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drop bear

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This only confirms my thoughts about Rokas. Although he's researching this with enthusiasm, his aikido was crap to begin with so he's starting with wrong assumptions.

They are common assumptions.

Aikido quite often doesn't have the back of house fundamentals to be able to do Aikido.
 

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This only confirms my thoughts about Rokas. Although he's researching this with enthusiasm, his aikido was crap to begin with so he's starting with wrong assumptions.
I dont know their Aikido, but all the things he has said so far (Im about halfway) have me thinking he doesnt understand the same Aiki principles I do. That connection he talks about is a vital part, and his comments about controlling with the arms doesnt match how I understand the principles.
 

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From my very limited experience visiting an aikido school in NYC many years ago, I found it to be a great way to train relaxation, rolling, falling, and being mindful of relaxing while being thrown.
However, in my experience, i found all of those things in aikiJu Jutsu and switched over to a school that worked on a hybrid of Aiki Jujitsu, Shotokan, bujutsu type class.
Most of Aikido is Aikijujutsu, named differently, from what I understand.
 

O'Malley

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They are common assumptions.

Aikido quite often doesn't have the back of house fundamentals to be able to do Aikido.
I think we need to distinguish the fundamentals of fighting and the fundamentals of aikido: they do overlap to some degree but not completely. I agree that some fundamentals of fighting (e.g. live training, flowing from one movement/technique to another) are missing from the typical aikido curriculum - that's where one can "improve" the method if that's one's goal.

However, aikido has fundamental principles as an art (e.g. maintain body structure, use whole-body power, enter and take the centerline, etc.) and, likewise, aikido techniques have principles that make them work mechanically (e.g. enter deeply in iriminage, which he doesn't do in that video). Rokas does not demonstrate a good grasp of these. I've found discussions from his pre-MMA-stuff period where he shared instructional videos and lots of other aikidoka would say "look it doesn't work because X, Y and Z". He never adressed the technical criticism. His poor aikido knowledge and ability puts him in a bad position to do his research. You won't know how good your vacuum cleaner is if you use it like this:

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I dont know their Aikido, but all the things he has said so far (Im about halfway) have me thinking he doesnt understand the same Aiki principles I do. That connection he talks about is a vital part, and his comments about controlling with the arms doesnt match how I understand the principles.
I lost it at the connection part. As you said, it's basic. If, as he says, "no one taught [him] that", then his aikido knowledge is clearly not up to scratch. For comparison:

Here we see shiho nage done without slack in the opponent:


Here we see the basic form of irimi nage, with the triangular footwork that allows the hip entry to prevent uke from stepping backwards:


I voluntarily chose examples from two different styles to show that it's not school-specific.

Most of Aikido is Aikijujutsu, named differently, from what I understand.
Yep, Morihei Ueshiba taught the same art under different names (Daito Ryu, Aikibudo, Aikido, etc.). There are manuals by Ueshiba with the same technical content but different names. So yes Morihei Ueshiba's aikido is just Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu.

That said, there are a number of modern systems called "aikijujutsu/aikijujitsu/aikijitsu" put together by people with an aikido background, in an attempt to make it more effective at fighting. The approaches are very heterogeneous and it can range from aikido techniques done harder and with a mean face, to a synthesis of aikido and other styles (judo, boxing, etc.).

To distinguish between the Daito Ryu lines and modern systems, I usually ask "who do you train under"?
 

Cynik75

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As usual: Rokas aikido doesn't work because he does not know true aikido. Where are all those aikidokas (who know true aikido) able to prove themselves in combat against medium amateur lever MMA hobbists?
As usual: words, words, words. One video of aikidoka in a ring like Rokas on the beginning of his journey will be worth more than 8766576554654 words.
Maybe his aikido is a crap. But who can show me non-crap aikido (without support of 15 years of full contact MA training) in combat against medium amateur lever full contact sport hobbists?
 

O'Malley

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As usual: Rokas aikido doesn't work because he does not know true aikido. Where are all those aikidokas (who know true aikido) able to prove themselves in combat against medium amateur lever MMA hobbists?
As usual: words, words, words. One video of aikidoka in a ring like Rokas on the beginning of his journey will be worth more than 8766576554654 words.
Maybe his aikido is a crap. But who can show me non-crap aikido (without support of 15 years of full contact MA training) in combat against medium amateur lever full contact sport hobbists?

Quality control in aikido is difficult since there is no competition, no common goal and no common standards across aikido schools. Everybody is doing his own thing. That said, there are technical teachings which are consistently taught by several authoritative aikido teachers, and it is easy to demonstrate that Rokas' aikido has never complied with these teachings. Furthermore, the same wrestling principles that he uses to "fix" it correspond exactly to the correct application of these aikido teachings, as seen in the videos I have posted. Simply put, from a technical perspective, he's bad at aikido.

So Rokas does not represent the aikido community as a whole, as lots of them don't share his goals. Moreover, he does not even represent correct aikido technique, as he demonstrably lacks very basic technical skills. Because of this, it's impossible to draw general conclusions on aikido from his videos.

The lack of videos of aikidoka "proving themselves in combat" against whatever is another topic. First of all, I don't think many aikidoka are interested in this. Among these, few would be willing to go through the hassle. And among these, even fewer would be capable of pulling it off. On top of that, in the end it would not prove much about aikido as a whole, as said above.

Yu Shiori is a Shodokan (Tomiki) aikido champion with a 9-3-0 record in MMA. He now teaches aikido and MMA. One can see him pull off a waki-gatame from standing at 3:33 in the video below. So what now?


As an aside, I'm puzzled as to how Rokas, who claims to have studied BJJ and judo to "improve aikido", seems to only discover the action-reaction principle now that he's done the wrestling video with Oliver Enkamp. That's the whole point of judo, it's in the name of the art, FFS. This is telling.
 
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Steve

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Quality control in aikido is difficult since there is no competition, no common goal and no common standards across aikido schools. Everybody is doing his own thing. That said, there are technical teachings which are consistently taught by several authoritative aikido teachers, and it is easy to demonstrate that Rokas' aikido has never complied with these teachings. Furthermore, the same wrestling principles that he uses to "fix" it correspond exactly to the correct application of these aikido teachings, as seen in the videos I have posted. Simply put, from a technical perspective, he's bad at aikido.

So Rokas does not represent the aikido community as a whole, as lots of them don't share his goals. Moreover, he does not even represent correct aikido technique, as he demonstrably lacks very basic technical skills. Because of this, it's impossible to draw general conclusions on aikido from his videos.

The lack of videos of aikidoka "proving themselves in combat" against whatever is another topic. First of all, I don't think many aikidoka are interested in this. Among these, few would be willing to go through the hassle. And among these, even fewer would be capable of pulling it off. On top of that, in the end it would not prove much about aikido as a whole, as said above.

Yu Shiori is a Shodokan (Tomiki) aikido champion with a 9-3-0 record in MMA. He now teaches aikido and MMA. One can see him pull off a waki-gatame from standing at 3:33 in the video below. So what now?


As an aside, I'm puzzled as to how Rokas, who claims to have studied BJJ and judo to "improve aikido", seems to only discover the action-reaction principle now that he's done the wrestling video with Oliver Enkamp. That's the whole point of judo, it's in the name of the art, FFS. This is telling.
His BJJ looks pretty good, and his striking is pretty sharp. I'm not trying to stir the pot, but when I look at that video, I see a lot of what is obviously boxing, a lot of what is obviously BJJ, a lot of what is obviously pretty standard MMA training, and maybe some cross-training in Judo (which is where I would presume he learned that waki-gatame).

So, all of that said, if he has trained his aikido in such a way that it now resembles functional BJJ and Judo, good on him. Truly.
 

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As usual: Rokas aikido doesn't work because he does not know true aikido. Where are all those aikidokas (who know true aikido) able to prove themselves in combat against medium amateur lever MMA hobbists?
As usual: words, words, words. One video of aikidoka in a ring like Rokas on the beginning of his journey will be worth more than 8766576554654 words.
Maybe his aikido is a crap. But who can show me non-crap aikido (without support of 15 years of full contact MA training) in combat against medium amateur lever full contact sport hobbists?
Yeah, this seems very familiar. It's circular logic. Because their Aikido didn't work, they are not skilled... because if they were skilled, it would have worked. I'm skilled, and my Aikido works, because I actually understand these fundamental concepts.

I am sincerely interested in whether Rokas could also explain these concepts to us. I'm guessing he could, but maybe not. Anyone have his email? If so, I'll email him some of the concepts outlined in this thread and ask him directly whether he learned them in his Aikido training.
 

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His BJJ looks pretty good, and his striking is pretty sharp. I'm not trying to stir the pot, but when I look at that video, I see a lot of what is obviously boxing, a lot of what is obviously BJJ, a lot of what is obviously pretty standard MMA training, and maybe some cross-training in Judo (which is where I would presume he learned that waki-gatame).

So, all of that said, if he has trained his aikido in such a way that it now resembles functional BJJ and Judo, good on him. Truly.
Shiori competed in MMA and Shodokan aikido during the same period, and now teaches both so yes he obviously cross-trained. Waki gatame is a standard technique in Shodokan aikido competitions:


Yeah, this seems very familiar. It's circular logic. Because their Aikido didn't work, they are not skilled... because if they were skilled, it would have worked. I'm skilled, and my Aikido works, because I actually understand these fundamental concepts.

Please refrain from making straw man arguments.

I have not said "Because their Aikido didn't work, they are not skilled... because if they were skilled, it would have worked."

I have said that 1) his aikido misses some basic technical elements; and 2) what he claims "fixed" the technique were the very basic elements that were missing in the first place. These two claims are objectively verifiable (see above).

I'm skilled, and my Aikido works, because I actually understand these fundamental concepts.

I've never mentioned myself. Don't put words in my mouth.

I am sincerely interested in whether Rokas could also explain these concepts to us. I'm guessing he could, but maybe not. Anyone have his email? If so, I'll email him some of the concepts outlined in this thread and ask him directly whether he learned them in his Aikido training.

Pretty sure you could reach out to the guy on his YouTube channel. But again, what would that demonstrate?
 

Steve

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Shiori competed in MMA and Shodokan aikido during the same period, and now teaches both so yes he obviously cross-trained. Waki gatame is a standard technique in Shodokan aikido competitions:

That's very interesting. Thanks for sharing, and to be clear, I think it's great to see. I also am not surprised to learn that Aikido, when trained for performance and applied in context, looks like BJJ and Judo. My point wasn't to question whether he trained Aikido.

Please refrain from making straw man arguments.

I have not said "Because their Aikido didn't work, they are not skilled... because if they were skilled, it would have worked."

pointing out your circular logic is not a straw man argument. You can't dismiss your own fallacious logic by tossing around another random logical fallacy. That's not how logic works.

I have said that 1) his aikido misses some basic technical elements; and 2) what he claims "fixed" the technique were the very basic elements that were missing in the first place. These two claims are objectively verifiable (see above).
Right. If you don't see it, I can't make you see it. But the circle... it's there.

I'm skilled, and my Aikido works, because I actually understand these fundamental concepts.

I've never mentioned myself. Don't put words in my mouth.
Okay. I'll just refer you to what you wrote in the two sentences above.

Pretty sure you could reach out to the guy on his YouTube channel. But again, what would that demonstrate?
Well, it would answer the question whether he "learned" these "fundamentals" when he was studying Aikido. The assertion seems to be that if he learned them, he would have sound Aikido technique. Clearly he doesn't, ergo, he didn't learn them.

I'm suggesting that a third possibility is that he learned them just like most (or all) other Aikido learn them, which is at a superficial, conceptual level, that they never move past because they don't apply their techniques. And so, the fix isn't in the philosophy or theory, it's in the training model.

The guy you post above. Do you think he trains his Aikido in the same way almost all other Aikidoka train? I don't get that impression, and others in this thread have said so, too (even aikidoka). Point being, perhaps Rokas' Aikido training was very typical, and what he found outside of Aikido wasn't new technique or new theory, but more the miracle of application. The dude in the YouTube video you posted above seems to get it.
 

Mider

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As usual: Rokas aikido doesn't work because he does not know true aikido. Where are all those aikidokas (who know true aikido) able to prove themselves in combat against medium amateur lever MMA hobbists?
As usual: words, words, words. One video of aikidoka in a ring like Rokas on the beginning of his journey will be worth more than 8766576554654 words.
Maybe his aikido is a crap. But who can show me non-crap aikido (without support of 15 years of full contact MA training) in combat against medium amateur lever full contact sport hobbists?
Dan the Wolfman has used it in mma, he even said that Gene Lebell taught him a few of moves from Aikido. I think the issue here is too many people here say oh I never saw this when they never actually researched people using aikido working ...its just an echo chamber.

not trying to be rude but when its repeated 100 times it gets old. when I hear a martial artist disparage another art i Just roll my eyes.
 

Cynik75

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....
Yu Shiori is a Shodokan (Tomiki) aikido champion with a 9-3-0 record in MMA. He now teaches aikido and MMA. One can see him pull off a waki-gatame from standing at 3:33 in the video below. So what now?
I am not native english speaker and I do not know how to explain to you meaning of my words "who can show me non-crap aikido (without support of 15 years of full contact MA training)"
...Yu Shiori is a Shodokan (Tomiki) aikido champion with a 9-3-0 record in MMA. He now teaches aikido and MMA. One can see him pull off a waki-gatame from standing at 3:33 in the video below. So what now?
.
I am not native english speaker and I do not know how to explain to you meaning of my words "who can show me non-crap aikido (without support of 15 years of full contact MA training)"

Both Shori and Wolfman are MMA practitioners. They can use elements of aikido in fights, but the core of they trainig is MMA. Yuri won fight by punches (5), RNC ( 1), guillotine (1), decisions (2) - NOW I UNDERSTAND!!! ATEMIWAZA - the secret weapon of aikido!!!
Please show me aikido purists in a fight against decent opponent.
 

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Dan the Wolfman has used it in mma, he even said that Gene Lebell taught him a few of moves from Aikido. I think the issue here is too many people here say oh I never saw this when they never actually researched people using aikido working ...its just an echo chamber.

not trying to be rude but when its repeated 100 times it gets old. when I hear a martial artist disparage another art i Just roll my eyes.
Honest question. Is Aikido discrete techniques or is Aikido a system?

BJJ, Judo, and Sambo... when I think of these systems, I think they're in the same family. They share many techniques, but it's the training philosophy and culture that links them. Aikido and ninjutsu share many of these same techniques, but the training models, culture, and philosophy of the styles is dramatically different.

And we can see this in the video above. A guy who purportedly uses Aikido in MMA, he trains his Aikido differently than most Aikidoka. As his training and philosophy morphs to more closely align with BJJ and Judo, his application looks just like Judo or BJJ. Indistinguishable, IMO. It no longer looks like Aikido, unsurprisingly, because the techniques are the same, but most or all of the rest is different.

Conceptually, at what point does his Aikido actually become something else, because the things that are uniquely "aikido" are all gone and what is left is Basically Just Judo.

Edit: To close the loop, I guess what I'm really asking above is, if Dan the Wolfman doesn't know anything more about Aikido than a few moves he learned from his pal (who was a Judoka)... is that really Aikido? I wouldn't have thought so.
 
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Cynik75

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BTW: I am not impressed with Dan's 2-3 record (defeated opponents are 0-2, <0-0 before fighting Dan> and 10-14 ,1-2 before fighting Dan.)
 

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pointing out your circular logic is not a straw man argument. You can't dismiss your own fallacious logic by tossing around another random logical fallacy. That's not how logic works.


Right. If you don't see it, I can't make you see it. But the circle... it's there.

I'll try to be clearer.

Okay. I'll just refer you to what you wrote in the two sentences above.


Well, it would answer the question whether he "learned" these "fundamentals" when he was studying Aikido. The assertion seems to be that if he learned them, he would have sound Aikido technique. Clearly he doesn't, ergo, he didn't learn them.
He said it in the video. At 4:14 he starts talking about irimi nage, and how cutting behind uke with your hip makes it "effortless". At 4:27 he textually says "But no one taught me that."

I've just found a video of Patrick Cassidy, Rokas's aikido teacher, doing irimi nage with the hip cut at 4:36.


I have also found a video where Cassidy performs shiho nage multiple times (at 0:52): he does not allow slack in his partner as he keeps her arm in extension. "Not allowing slack" was the "wrestling principle" used by Rokas to "fix" shiho nage (see the Rokas wrestling video from 3:16).


So we have two instances of technical elements that Rokas claims are missing in the aikido he was taught, but are present in his teacher's aikido. This means that either he didn't get taught, or he didn't learn properly. This is a problem when one tries to use Rokas to draw general conclusions on aikido, since he is obviously missing technical elements that he should have learnt from his teacher and that - according to his own claims - make aikido much more functional.

I'm suggesting that a third possibility is that he learned them just like most (or all) other Aikido learn them, which is at a superficial, conceptual level, that they never move past because they don't apply their techniques. And so, the fix isn't in the philosophy or theory, it's in the training model.

The guy you post above. Do you think he trains his Aikido in the same way almost all other Aikidoka train? I don't get that impression, and others in this thread have said so, too (even aikidoka). Point being, perhaps Rokas' Aikido training was very typical, and what he found outside of Aikido wasn't new technique or new theory, but more the miracle of application. The dude in the YouTube video you posted above seems to get it.
Again, there is no common training model, because there are no common goals or standards. So, if one wants to fix an aikido school's training model, that fix will only apply to that particular school. It will not apply to the vast majority of aikido schools that train differently for different purposes.

And to be clear, just like Rokas doesn't train the same way as almost all other aikidoka, Yu Shiori does not either. That's why I said "so what?". Can't draw any general conclusion from either case. One has to take responsibility for one's training, establish goals and see how to get there.

That said, if someone claims to train for fighting application, then that person will have to put himself to the test and see if the goal was reached.

I am not native english speaker and I do not know how to explain to you meaning of my words "who can show me non-crap aikido (without support of 15 years of full contact MA training)"

I am not native english speaker and I do not know how to explain to you meaning of my words "who can show me non-crap aikido (without support of 15 years of full contact MA training)"

Both Shori and Wolfman are MMA practitioners. They can use elements of aikido in fights, but the core of they trainig is MMA. Yuri won fight by punches (5), RNC ( 1), guillotine (1), decisions (2) - NOW I UNDERSTAND!!! ATEMIWAZA - the secret weapon of aikido!!!
Please show me aikido purists in a fight against decent opponent.
No worries, I'm not a native speaker either. That said, I don't have to show you anything, and you don't get to dictate anything.
 

lklawson

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Here we see the basic form of irimi nage, with the triangular footwork that allows the hip entry to prevent uke from stepping backwards:


full


Here's the boxer Billy Edwards doing irimi in his 1888 book, The Art of Boxing and the Science of Self-Defense together with a Manual of Training. But he messed up and called it "Back-Heeling."

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

Cynik75

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He said it in the video. At 4:14 he starts talking about irimi nage, and how cutting behind uke with your hip makes it "effortless". At 4:27 he textually says "But no one taught me that."

I've just found a video of Patrick Cassidy, Rokas's aikido teacher, doing irimi nage with the hip cut at 4:36.

....

I have also found a video where Cassidy performs shiho nage multiple times (at 0:52): he does not allow slack in his partner as he keeps her arm in extension. "Not allowing slack" was the "wrestling principle" used by Rokas to "fix" shiho nage (see the Rokas wrestling video from 3:16).

...

So we have two instances of technical elements that Rokas claims are missing in the aikido he was taught, but are present in his teacher's aikido.
Nope. You do not see the difference. There is no body-to-body connection on footage you have posted. Rokas and Olivier are talking about torso touching torso.
 
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JowGaWolf

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He still has stuff to learn. My guess is that he'll soon learn that the high guard that he's using will often make it difficult to pull off some of the applications he's trying to do.

The reality about TMA is that the stance and hand position are critical because it invites the punches that you need in order to pull of certain techniques. From a kung fu perspective. If I want to grab a punch or a kick then I must have my hands and my stance in the right place to do so. It's not going to happen from a high guard because it takes way too much time to get the hands and stance into position.

To put it in simple terms. It's like trying to bait someone for an under hook by holding your hands up high to cover your head. It's a much easier thing to do if one arm is already in position to do an under hook.

Most of my under hooks were the result of my opponent walking into the under hook. Where they saw an opportunity to pin my arm against my body, I saw an opportunity to underhook. All I had to do was to send an "Invite" which is easier than "Trying to go get the under hook"

Rokas still hasn't learn the simple concept, that if you want to grab someone's harm then punch or kick. Don't just go for the grab.

If you want to punch someone go for the grab, then punch them. Misdirection is key. It's normal for me to tell someone that I can land any punch that I want to. So I'll say. I'm going to punch you on the right side of your face. Then I'll kick the legs. My sparring partner would say. "See I told you , that you can't punch the right side of my face." I grin and tell them. "I just told you that because what I really was going for were your legs and I was successful with that."

To this date, I've been able to punch and kick someone where ever I wanted, so long as my opponent didn't know my true target. One day Rokas will learn this.
 
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The one thing I like about what I see in Rokas now is that he no longer seems to have that "Aikido is the problem" mentality. He seems to have accepted that his inability to do Aikido was due to his lack of understanding.

He showed one of his classes and you can see it in how he teaches now. You can see how he understands more by how he now describe things vs how he used to talk before he left Aikido.

Now he's back into teaching Aikido and will most likely be a better teacher than he was previously. He's no longer bashing Aikido.
 

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This thread is starting to feel a bit like The Truman Show, looking in from the outside. Its a The Rokas Show. We are following his life, noting milestones, cheering for his success
 
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