Martial art of aikido

Discussion in 'Aikido' started by koyo, Jun 15, 2006.

  1. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Having had the benefit of seeing aikido when it first came out of Japan late 50s early 60s and seeing it today I think I may be able to address what I (personaly) see as misconceptions relating to modern practice. First being.Aikido is a circular art.
    AIKIDO IS NOT A CIRCULAR ART.The principles state that we should enter triangularly, control circularly(uke is caused to spin ,spiral around us (NOT the opposite) and exit strongly. This is the principles of aikido triangle circle and square.
    Aikido is a responsive art
    O Sensei stated that aikido is adynamic art which cuts directly through the opponents INTENTION to attack.And probably the most cotrovercial AIKI IS LOVE.
    When asked to explain the concept of aiki by a master of swordsmanship O Sensei said AIKI IS THE ABILITY TO CAUSE AN ATTACKER TO MOVE WHERE AND WHEN TO YOUR DICTATES.
    These are a few areas which I think could lead to beneficial discussions. I await your replies.

    Last edited: Jun 15, 2006
  2. aikiMac

    aikiMac boxing is fun Moderator Supporter

    I don't have a problem with the first one.

    My only problem with the second one is that it's taking me and my fellow students a really, really long time to get there. In the beginning, says me, aikido shows a lot of symptoms of being "responsive" because not being responsive is so damn hard to do -- for me anyway. Your thoughts?

    As to the third point, I don't see how your chosen quote speaks against the common refrain that OSensei said "aikido is love." You well could be right, but, with respect to your "proof," could we not say to a swordmaster OSensei spoke swordmaster words? That he was speaking in the "language" of the swordmaster just because that's who is audience was at that moment? Give OSensei a different audience and wouldn't he use different words? Furthermore, how does one quote to one person countermand the totality of the little yellow book "The Art of Peace" ?
  3. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    I am off to training right this moment but thank you for your questions they shall cause me to clarify what I wrote,Later this evening.Remeber this is what I think more important is what others think.

    keep on strummin'

  4. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    No doubt that Aikido can mean different things to different people. I don't even know much outside of my own experiences.

    Very good and appreciated information Koyo. As a fighting art, I do not see anything not true of what you wrote.

    Also much appreciated points from aikiMac. I can see how consideration of audience is important in what is said, but even more so, I can see how context can change the meaning of those words that are said.

    Do the two quotes above contradict each other? Yes they do, but then again they don't. I won't pretend to understand the true meaning of the above, but I do believe the first quote is on a practical level, more in line with the physical (manifest) world. The second quote maybe more in line with the divine realm. See below.

    There will be points where contradictions occur, I have experienced. Yet two contradictions can both be true. What can be said, except perhaps, in the end there is balance.

    When I was growing up, Aikido was grouped with Jiu-jitsu as both being arts that used the enemy's energy against them. You punch me and my Aikido skills would redirect your punch energy into a throw to the ground.

    I found this to be a contradiction of sorts. Indeed it was like the opposite. I learned not to use the energy of the punch at all but instead, when someone would start a motion to strike me, I would enter into them, intercept their technique before it could get fully started. If they wanted to move back, I would help them on their way. If they did not want to move back, we would collide in a not so nice manner.

    Then I read that Aiki principle was to learn to down someone in the direction they are already moving. This made a bit more sense to me. Whether forwards, backwards, up, down, inner, outer, or whatever the direction, I would learn to down them.

    Now I see all of the above as being true, depending on the context. I guess I'm no help when it comes to actually defining these things. :confused:
  5. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    I don't see any contradiction here. To me it's the same message. Just with different words.

    I would also add I would completly agree. I have always been taught to enter off the line of attack and to maintain an oblique posture. And when it comes to circles my experience is that tori should always be the center of the circle.

    However I can see why some people might address Aikido as being a circular art. Especially when it comes to my own sphere of experience which is Ki Aikido. When students are being taught to blend with uke, the movements are generally seem to be explained in terms of circles. Which I think tends to stick in peoples heads more easily than the entering movements and the oblique postures. Even techniques like Kotegaeshi are explained in terms of circles. At the beginning you start of with big circles which then become tighter and tighter as you progress.

    Symbolically the circle also stands out more than either a triangle or a square. It's something that just seems to stick in the mind without any effort.
  6. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Aikido is not a responsive art because the aikidoka should stand in sankaku ho (triangular posture) with the tegatana (handblades) thrust from his centre threatening the opponent.This closed (to the attacker) kamae is very difficult to attack therefor a careless or impatient attacker may attempt to strike around it leaving suki(openings) that the aikidoka shall immediately capitalise on. A good way for you to train aiki mac is to hold this kamae and then slightly lower the handblades "inviting" an attack to jodan (high) area. Or raise the handblades slightly "inviting an attack to chudan (middle area) In effect you are controling the attacker's choices. Another way you can train (and I suspect you will be good at this) is as an attacker approaches or at a higher level while an attacker is thinking about his attack suddenly and powerfuly thrust at his face as he attepts to block or execute a technique your momentum does not stop and you make a technique on his defending arm. Really it is the attitude in which you train. As a martial art it must be ruthless, remorseless and since it is aikido UTTERLY WITHOUT MALICE. In fact a good hard practice where no one is injured carelessly and everyone enjoys it.

    The third point which both you and wado rebel clearly understand from one perspective is aiki.The aiki I speak of here is the principle used on the mat. We must clearly define technique and philosophy Where harmony already exist there is no need of aikido techniques. Aikido techniques executed in a totally harmonious manner are ineffective. In martial arts there is a phrase aiki wo hazu which means avoid aiki. If we adopt the same rythm of an experienced martial artist he shall "see our timing" and be able to "read" our movements. We should break the attackers balance defeat his timing and negate his distancing. In effect we are not "fighting" him we are denying him the ability to fight.
    Third point of course you are correct aikido is the way of harmony but a true martial artist is someone with the ability to do harm who CHOOSES not to do so. I fear for the many fine people who train in aikido but do not posses true martial skills.In the end a true martial artist is one who needs fear no one and who no one need fear.
    Another controversial statement for you THERE

    ARE NO TEACHERS ONLY STUDENTS (and the first part there are no teachers means just that!)

    Now that I have answered your questions I shall read your posts again and see what I can learn. My thanks

    Last edited: Jun 16, 2006
  7. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Sorry I did not address you aiki wolf You must have posted while I was writing my replies.NOW THERE'S STEALING SOMEONE'S TIMING FOR YOU.
    Well done

  8. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    o!k! aiki wolf you think at times exlpanations of principles may be difficult to put into words? How about this one. After intense training in triangular entry I commented that aikido was not a circular art. Nakazono shihan answered that it WAS! After all that training? He continued "But the circles have no diameter!!" a zen like answer that is meant to shock you into realisation. I think I got it. Another one was "Slim (my nickname at that time) you are moving like a coward you must enter magnificently. I imagine he ment that I should be more positive but I liked his way of expressing it better. 8 posts so far and it was aikido without politics or personalities. I love it.
    My thanks guys.

    Last edited: Jun 16, 2006
  9. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    For aiki mac

    Aikido is based on sword principles more so than sword techniques. To enable you to teach yourself a more holistic approach here are some sword principles for you to investigate. In swordsmanship there are the terms Tai okurosu which means kill the man (let's change it to defeat the man) See your spirituality is rubbing off on me!!
    ki okurosu which means defeat the spirit and waza okurosu which means defeat the technique.
    If we choose irrimi nage as the technique in Tai okurosu irrimi nage we execute the technique using atemi and availing ourselves of every opening to do so. Effectively attacking the man.
    In ki okurosu irrimi nage we enter suddenly and decisively attacking the spirit of the opponent and executing the technique giving him no time or space to respond.
    In waza okurosu irrimi nage we cut his attack aside attacking his technique to execute irrimi nage. In fact we are learning three distinct ways to execute a particular technique, Thus we are not always waiting to be attacked or always attacking so our aikido becomes much more versatile. Please investigate this for yourself and inform me if it has been of any help.

    Gonna have a burst on my geetar then I am off to bed.

    Last edited: Jun 16, 2006
  10. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    LOL widdle wolfies are known for being sneaky :p

    To be honest I almost dissagreed with your statement about Aikido not being circular. I was thinking to my self "of course it's circular, I go in the middle and uke goes round the out side". But then it dawned on me how I get to the middle in the first place and I thought "hmm the man could have a point there".

    Thanks koyo :cool:
  11. aikiMac

    aikiMac boxing is fun Moderator Supporter

    I'll work on that. Thanks.

    The spirit one is of interest to me right now. I'll work on that too.
  12. kiaiki

    kiaiki Valued Member

    I agree that posture affects an attacker's choice. However, my (Yoshinkan derived) training is that in freestyle, meeting and controlling random attacks etc., the best posture is natural and relaxed, thereby giving nothing away to the attacker.

    Surely any posture has its inherent weaknesses - it would be interesting to know how the triangular posture would be dealt with by other arts, rather than a uke who as an aikidoka may be mentally constrained in his reaction to it.

    With respect, IMHO the raising of the arms to provoke a specific attack only provokes the response you want if the attacker knows what it means. Fine in a dojo of aikidoka or within the cultural context of Japanese MA, but body language is just that, a language understood within a cultural context and unlikely to work elsewhere.

    There are plenty of threads here about the attacking skills we learn in aikido, so it is obviously not restricted to defensive applications. However, in using it as a defence, I would rather my attacker was confused and surprised. I don't want to assume and telegraph a posture from the outset. For example, shomen-ate is highly effective when the arms are brought up from beneath an attacker's line of sight at the last minute, but surely can't be much use if one has already given away a chosen posture?
  13. Dave Humm

    Dave Humm Serving Queen and Country

    Nice one Bill, I've been saying this, in one form or another for a long time now. Aikido as we know is a physical practice, a budo - a martial system. It also has an ideology, a philosophy - associated with it.

    [edit] I would add that although aikido has a recognised ideology, having studied Iai for over (just) ten years now and having also just started Shotokan Karate recently, I don't see massive differences in the philosophical outlooks of those arts comapred to aikido. I personaly feel that as a community we often place too much empahsis on Ueshiba as a person and the beliefs he held, yes they are of course important aspects of what makes aikido "aikido" but there are many more equally important aspects which seem to take lesser priority in some cases.

    Philosophy alone will never stop a 200+lb determined attacker so there must be something else that does... This is the martial aspect of our chosen art, it stands to reason therefore; if a bias is placed upon ideological beliefs and the physical practice relies essentially upon [as you say..] a totally harmonious environment, there isn't anything particularly martial happening.

    Last edited: Jun 16, 2006
  14. kiaiki

    kiaiki Valued Member

    My Sensei always taught us the role of Aikido was to 'restore' harmony - so sorting out a violent troublemaker doesn't mean being in harmony with him, it means ending the disharmony he causes, with whatever force is necessary, but no more.

    In other words, I agree. :)
  15. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    My suggestion to aiki mac was to approach aikido in a more holistic manner. Many dojo ALWAYS have the uke attack in a predetermined manner and tori respond. Hence the BASIC osoku techniques. Had you read the post properly you would have noticed that there are three basic avenues available attack the man attack the spirit attack the technique.These are designed to teach the aikidoka to observe the opponent and to seek out any and all weeknesses rather than wait for an attack. The slightly lowering of the handblade to draw an attack is not done in an overt manner. If the attacker chooses not to attack then kill the spirit attack while he is thinking what to do. As for body language . It is universal not limited by culture or discipline.

    Natural posture would need a whole thread to itself. If a dozen men held an identical looking natural posture whether they like it or not it could contain arrogance, fear, confidence,deceit any number of hidden emotions.Only after many many years of training is "natural" posture an effective fighting posture, And only WAHBL (when all hell breaks loose) shall your natural posture present itself.Remember these are my conclusions based on MY experience they are offered in the hope they may be of value to others . They are NOT offered as the ONLY way. Thank you for contributing to the post.

    Last edited: Jun 16, 2006
  16. Dave Humm

    Dave Humm Serving Queen and Country

    I was pretty sure you had said as much before mate and to be honest I couldn't remember the way you phrased it which, best sums up how I likewise feel.

    Aikido should teach us to use the minimal amounts of force; if that is the case we're fitting very much within the ethos of conflict resolution without violence. It should also teach us the opposite side of that coin, that way, we have choices available to us and an ability to meet the level of response required for the level of threat presented before us.

    I have a shinken in my sword collection, I hope to God I never have reason to use it but, I have the skills never the less.

  17. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Martial arts should be an utterly ruthless attack on OUR OWN weeknesses.
    Therefor we grow as human beings. In a conflict we do not attack the "enemy" we attack the agression or anger within him and at a higher level maybe even control and change it.
    The difficulty is as reasonable men all of the philosophical principles are immediately true to us however in the real world WHERE IDEOLOGY AND PRACTICALITY MEET THERE SHALL WE FIND AN EFFECTIVE PHILOSOPHY.
    Got to go have to post a book to a friend,
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2006
  18. Dave Humm

    Dave Humm Serving Queen and Country

    That's the best thing written on this forum to date !

    Very closely followed by
  19. kiaiki

    kiaiki Valued Member

    Koyo, just noticed your comment: I did read the post 'properly' so please don't assume otherwise. Ta:)

    Whilst I respect your view I would make 2 points:
    A 'natural' relaxed posture is indeed something to strive for and does take many years of training to develop, hence my use of freestyle attacks as its context within the dojo. Outside the dojo, our response has been the subject of many threads so i won't repeat them.

    IMHO your contention that body language is universal seems rather simplistic - did you really mean that, or were you talking about within a narrower context? Even so, I have to differ on this one: Facial expressions, postures and gestures have greatly differing implications and inferences in different countries and cultures. At least that's been my experience in the countries I have visited and in everything I have ever read about human behaviour.

    Therefore we must agree to disagree that a slight specific hand or arm movement will initiate a given specific response from our attacker. I still feel that outside of a Japanese MA context, or 'WAHBL' it would have no predictable effect on the man, his spirit or technique.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2006
  20. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    One thing I never agree to disagree. I hold no domain over the opinion or beliefs of others and do not wish to do so. MY belief in body language is based upon working with gang members of various nationalities over a period of twenty years and the ability to "read" a situation saved me (and them) many times. While they were all young men and their body language tended to be exagerated it differed not at all between nationalities. As for outside the dojo I train to develop a character that does not attract violence and a technique that shall overcome it if need be. On a lighter side when advising a beginner I often say the first principle of aikido is DO NOT GET HIT, The second principle of aikido is REMEMBER THE FIRST PRINCIPLE. The first principle of aikido philosophy is NEVER STRIKE ANOTHER HUMAN BEING (short pause) UNLESS IT MEANS DENYING THE FIRST PRINCIPLE OF AIKIDO.

    Stay true to yourself

    Last edited: Jun 16, 2006

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