Reassessing Aikido in the Modern Age

HighKick

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The thing is. MMA is a very different beast than what once worked in the UFC.

It is not a product of fashion so much as a product of technology. In that we can access elite level training from anywhere in the world.

And there are levels to fighting.

Superior communication was the super secret.
I have to agree with both you and @Bill Mattocks. Fundamentally, the mechanics of most kicks have not changed greatly however, the variety of kicks (even within the same kick) has. And fight strategy has changed exponentially.
 

Taiji Rebel

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Aikido Riai means aikido complete; this must include atemi and weapons training. Some aikido groups do not use weapons training saying that the use of a weapon is against the pacifist nature of aikido. There is a great difference between one who shall not fight until all other avenues have been tried and a pacifist who shall not fight for any reason. A martial art cannot be a pacifist art.
 
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Gerry Seymour

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I realize that could be a practical reality in real world combat. My post was about the ethical reality that Aikido strives for.

Page 34 of the Book Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere by A. Westbrook and O. Ratti says:

"In Panel D, we have the ultimate in ethical self-defense. Neither attacking nor provoking an attack, the man on the left defends himself in such a way, with such skill and control, that the attacker is not killed. In this case he is not even seriously injured"
This is a common philosophy I've seen in Aikido schools I've visited. It's even made its way into NGA (a cousin art, probably not derived from Ueshiba's line).

I've never seen it really addressed practically. The assertion I've heard from instructors has always been not much more than "use no more force than necessary, so you cause no more harm than necessary." But then during practice, there's no real emphasis put on how to do that with specific techniques. I think there's a blind spot because they are so good at their falls. There are techniques the Aikikai can do over and over with each other, that would feel much more punishing to me, because I'm not trained in their falling techniques. And if they'd feel more punishing to me, on mats, they'd be devastating to an untrained person on harder surfaces. And you just can't see that when you look at a room full of trained aikidokai.

That's not to say those techniques are more powerful than those from other arts - Judo certainly has techniques that are just as punishing (and, IMO, easier to get to), but Judo doesn't train feather falls, so they know how hard their falls are.
 

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Gerry Seymour

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The strike can represent a vertical weapon strike but the classical version is different. In Iwama aikido, tori (the partner doing the technique) is the one that initiates by striking straight at the eyes of uke (not downwards). Uke covers from the same-side (e.g. right hand vs right hand, called ai hanmi in Japanese) which leads to the position for the basic pin ikkyo:



Aikido, hakko-ryu and hapkido all derivate from daito-ryu aikijujutsu, as they were founded by students of Sokaku Takeda.
That's a great video for showing the more direct, classical approach in Iwama. IMO, the circles have become exaggerated in many branches, either caused by or causing those exaggerated "attacks".
 
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Not really. Military and police are moving towards a MMA style combat sport these days.

And they have been very resistant to that for ages.
I'd like to learn a little more about that, do you have a reference?
 

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Aikido can have "leg skills". It can even have artillery: the art does not have a finite curriculum. That being said, it's possible that the lack of emphasis on leg skills comes from its close links to Japanese jujutsu and, most of all, sumo, where bringing your hips closer to the opponent exposes your mawashi/belt.
That's an interesting observation - it explains some things I'd thought about over the years when looking at the breadth of what was common in the Aikido I'd seen and/or experienced. There were gaps I couldn't quite understand, because they weren't present in NGA (most likely because of our Judo influence), though we certainly had our own odd gaps.
 

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As I understand it (and I may be wrong) aikido is based on merging with and hyper-extending (leading) the opponent's own movement. By restricting or attacking the legs one is interfering with this movement, thus going against the art's basic strategy. I'll leave it to one who actually practices aikido to confirm my theory. As an Okinawan karate practitioner, I do employ "leg skills" to break balance as well as attack/damage them directly.
My understanding of Aikido (and it's certainly true within NGA) is that it includes a bit wider range of "blending" - though what you've described would be accurate of the most basic version of blending. There's a redirection principle, which doesn't rely on overextension in the same way (in concept, you create an overextension in a new direction, because they don't have the structure in that direction). Aikido does interfere with movement in several techniques, sometimes appearing to clash with it (look for clips of kokyu nage) - the redirection in those is hard even for me to quite grasp, because we use a different set of principles in a similar-looking way, though I think we use similar principles in a different technique. (Yeah, I'm confused by that, too.)
 

Gerry Seymour

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Here is the concern. Which is more important? Combat effective, or stick to basic strategy?

What if you fight in a small space that your opponent cannot move around?
It depends why you're training. If I were to train Aikido, it would be specifically to explore their approach to aiki mechanics and their basic strategy. I'd personally explore beyond that, but in class I'd be interested in exploring what works within those constraints, as I would with any other style (much the way @JowGaWolf looks for solutions within the techniques and principles of Jow Ga, rather than adopting solutions from catch wrestling or such).

Sometimes, we just want the intellectual exercise - the challenge - of working within the constraints of something. It's really why I enjoyed the aiki side of NGA most, as much as I enjoyed the wider curriculum.
 

Gerry Seymour

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MA training is used to solve problems. If a MA system can only solve a small set of problems, there may be some issues there.
I don't think it has to be an "issue". Sword training solves a relatively small set of problems, but that's just inherent in the type of training. If I'm training to learn swordwork, I don't really want to spend time learning to escape the mount. That's useful, but not within the scope of the training.
 
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I don't think it has to be an "issue". Sword training solves a relatively small set of problems, but that's just inherent in the type of training. If I'm training to learn swordwork, I don't really want to spend time learning to escape the mount. That's useful, but not within the scope of the training.
Bring your attacker down with a sword and you are guaranteed to make the news.
 

Xue Sheng

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I don't like this article, or Pranin's view on this. There are certainly many reasons folks might participate in or watch combat sport matches, and to place a moral judgment upon them as a monolithic group ("common mentality and morality") is absurd and insulting. It's also elitist, in a "we are morally much better than them" way.
Don't see that at all, I get no such impression from it either way..... but then I posted it just as info, I have no feelings about it one way or the other
 

drop bear

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I have to agree with both you and @Bill Mattocks. Fundamentally, the mechanics of most kicks have not changed greatly however, the variety of kicks (even within the same kick) has. And fight strategy has changed exponentially.
The ring is you can get a guy like GSP. who is as good a martial artist as anyone can ask for.

And he can train with John Wayne par who is probably a better striker.

And the trickle down effect of that is martial arts just gets better.


And this hasn't been the case traditionally.
 

Gerry Seymour

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Don't see that at all, I get no such impression from it either way..... but then I posted it just as info, I have no feelings about it one way or the other
It seems clear to me, but that may be partially my bias. I've heard a lot of that exact attitude within Aikido, and within the SD-oriented community.
 

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