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#125490 - 04/06/03 01:44 PM How long to be effective?
Cato Offline
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Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
More so than most martial arts, aikido suffers from the charge that it takes too long to become proficient enough to use the art for self defence. I was wondering whether people think this is a justified criticism, or is the end result worth the endeavour?

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#125491 - 04/07/03 06:18 AM Re: How long to be effective?
Anonymous
Unregistered


Well, it's supposed to take 10 years to become effective in the SOFTER styles but 1 year in the HARDEST styles. You don't think half the world's riot-police would wait 10 years to adequately train an Officer if it was INEFFECTIVE, do you? You've got to understand the OBJECTIVES of Aikido: You must be as concerned about the aggressor as you are about YOURSELF. I confess I am NOT that spiritual but it may be the sainly "way to go" for those who subscribe to such idealism.

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#125492 - 04/07/03 10:50 AM Re: How long to be effective?
raccoon Offline
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Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 848
Loc: Victoria BC Canada
Cato, whatever you were smoking, I hope you didn't smoke it on duty! And you said I ask too many questions... [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/wink.gif[/IMG]

If you are a pig, err, I mean a cop in Japan, you can enroll in a one year black belt aikido program, extremely hard on the body though.

Gobzhad mentioned aikido being a soft art, I seem to remember you (Cato) making similar comments in the past... now, tell me, were you serious? Or were you just kidding?

The way I look at it, most people don't practice aikido hard and fast because injury is a real concern. I think injuries is a fact of life in MA, while some injuries serve to toughen the body, other injuries never quite recover fully, and it gets worse every time you reinjure it. Brain injury is one of them, joint injury is another. Unfortunatelly, aikido practice does put a lot of stress on the joints. I don't mind nursing a 7 inches diameter bruise and a few broken bones from pushing myself beyond my limits in karate; give it time and it will heal, in fact, it will become tougher than before the injury. But in aikido, you do that regularly, and your body is probably going to break beyond recoverable. I haven't seen them myself, but I heard horror stories of Chiba sensei's students, having to retire from practice after 30, because their joints are so damaged it's not possible to practice anymore.

I can see how people get the notion that aikido is a "soft art"; but in another sense, it's extremely harsh and demanding on the practitioner (I think, but then I am only a beginner.) I don't think aikido usually take a long time to master because it's "soft". While aikidoists don't like pushing their limits as much as budoka in other arts, I don't think that make them softies either, I think it's just sensible.

One personal observation from cross training... in karate, we have some really basic moves that we try to practice repeatedly in hope of internalizing them. For my dojo, low round house kick is one of them. We practice it so much it's rediculous. Anyway, I think it's kind of analogous to tenkan practice in aikido. You would think after training for 2 years, you wouldn't still be practicing tenkan ... but then you turn around and look at your sensei, alas, he is practicing tenkan deligently! To me, that means 2 things, not necessarily mutually exclusive:
1) those basic moves are so difficult to master, there are always room for improvement, no matter how much you practice
2) aikidoist are getting a little too ... "sensible"? Ok, it's one thing to be caucious so you don't break 5 joints per practice. But sometimes I look at how we practice in aikido (I have to confess my dojo is a truly softie dojo...), and I find myself whispering under my breathe, "c'mon, put some effort into it, we aren't getting no where"
In karate, we will perform rapid and full power round house kicks to the count, 9 kicks a count, 10 count per student. By the time everybody counted, you could have finished 1500 kicks, and so we start over again, the other leg. By the end of the practice, if endurance is the focus of the day, it's not unusual to get through a good 5000 kicks in 2 hours.
Now... how many tenkan do we do per practice? How "hard and fast" do we do it? And is there any reasons why we can't do it harder and faster?
Some things are so easy to fall into habit ... such as the habit of being lazy and not push yourself in training.

Just my 2 cents.

-raccoon

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#125493 - 04/07/03 01:00 PM Re: How long to be effective?
Cato Offline
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Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
aaah, raccoon, you are, I think, making a classic error with regard to aiki training. Soft doesn't refer to weak, ineffective or gentle. In aiki practice it most usually refers to way in which an attack is recieved. Blocking is a "hard" way to stop an attack. The direct contact of bone on bone is necessarily hard, and if done badly may well result in injury to the defender. Aikidoka never block in that sense, but recieve the attack, harmonise with it and redirect it. That is what I mean by "soft". People from other arts often sieze on the aikidoka's admission of it being a "soft"! art to try to suggest it is in some way inferior as a martial art. I really don't think it is.

I'm very sure you can enrol in an intensive program for just about anything, and aikido is no exception. But I personally would look very carefully at the quality of what you are getting,, as compared to training in a more conventional manner. I also wouldn't necassarily agree that injury is an unavoidable consequence of martial artrs training. One of the reasons why aiki is practised with a certain amount of co-operation in the early stages is to help stretch and strengthen the tendons in your joints so as to avoid injury. Rush into a full force sankyo or nikkyo and the chances of such an injury are greatly increased.

I'm not even sure that the world's riot police actually do learn aikido, or any martial art for that matter. Riot tactics negate the need for hand to hand combat, and oly a few arrest techniques are required to be learnt, not a full program of martial arts with all the attendant weapons training, kata and philosophy that goes with it.

And finally, "Pig"??? a little ungenerous, don't you think? Do you know why police are reffered to as "pigs"? No...? It is because they spend so much of their time surrounded by shit.

Budo
Budo

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#125494 - 04/07/03 04:17 PM Re: How long to be effective?
Jamoni Offline
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Registered: 01/17/03
Posts: 1514
Loc: St. Louis, MO, USA
Cato, great explanation between soft and hard styles. I personally believe Aikido takes longer to develop "combat effectiveness" than many arts. My reasoning is that, based on the few schools I've trained at or observed, Aikido teaches principles first, and fills in the variations later, where most MA teach specific techniques and patterns, then teach principle at higher levels. Hence the "Frankenstein" attack is a symbol of any straightforward attack. Shomen uchi is a symbol for any downward attack. ETC.
Not only this, but the movements are very intricate, and to learn good irimi nage is a little harder than learning a good left jab.

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#125495 - 04/07/03 05:18 PM Re: How long to be effective?
Anonymous
Unregistered


In MY studies "soft" means less or no kicks/punches. "Hard" means MORE kicks/punches (as in Yoseikan branch of Aikido and other branches etc.).

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#125496 - 04/08/03 03:08 AM Re: How long to be effective?
raccoon Offline
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Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 848
Loc: Victoria BC Canada
sorry for double posting

[This message has been edited by raccoon (edited 04-08-2003).]

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#125497 - 04/08/03 03:10 AM Re: How long to be effective?
raccoon Offline
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Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 848
Loc: Victoria BC Canada
Mr. Godzhad> I am glad you said "less"; just like you can’t take out contact or kata and still call what you do karate; you can’t very well take out atemi waza and still call your practice aikido. You argued that aikido takes long time to learn because softer arts in general require longer time to acquire proficiency; I agree to a certain extend. It's a lot easier to punch your opponent silly and give him a clean KO, than to subdue them without outwardly using more aggression than the situation calls for. Aikido seems to be great in that respect, because the intensity often depends on how hard the aggressor attacked. Now, that said, by your definitions Judo and Jujitsu would also fall under "soft art" category. I confess I know next to nothing about those two arts, but my perception is that judo and jujitsu doesn't take NEARLY as long to acquire proficiency as aikido does. Any thoughts?

Cato>… sorry about the pig comment, that was not funny. I can only imagine how much sh!t cops have to deal with; it is very ungenerous of me to call them pigs.

I made the comment about “softness” in response an old e-mail (regarding contact level in karate). You said (jokingly I think) “But then, I do study aikido so perhaps I'm just soft!!!!” So my interpretation is that when you said “soft”, you meant the girly notion of "the lovingly protect all things". I see that we are using “soft” on the technique side of aikido practice here, so let me adjust.

I agree bone to bone contact is necessarily hard, but I don’t know very many styles that teaches that kind of block. Most karate blocks are meant to deflect by rotating the blocking limb at the moment of contact, which allows more contact surface and redirection of energy. There are a few notable exceptions, such as when you block with your knee/ elbow, but not very many style use that anymore (cos it hurts!).

Now, you might argue, “that’s how it’s *supposed* to work, but in reality, most karate student fails at it. Therefore the contact is still hard”. But the same goes for aikidoists… Many beginners in my dojo seem to enjoy making me wince at how they receive my “shomen uchi” (of course I am the notorious renegade who ventured into the karate arena…) – they hurt me a whole lot more than the karate folks! Blocking in karate hurts when a beginner hasn’t mastered the deflecting rotation; blocking in aikido hurts because nobody ever teach those kiddies the art of deflection, they are just taught to “practice until you can step off the line without crashing into the attack”, which is a lot harder to do full speed and full power.

If, deflection and redirection principle is what makes aikido soft, then karate isn’t very different. We just don’t place so much emphasis on harmonizing the attack after first contact. We deflect and stay engaged in the fight; while aikidoists get past the first attack and perceive the conflict is over.

And I am sure you already know I don’t think aikido is a weaker or inferior MA, I just think it’s a lot harder to learn!

As with injury prevention, I agree with every word you said. I see that (giving practitioners time to strengthen joints) as one of the major reasons why aikido takes so much longer to learn. True, the techniques are a lot more complicated than just strike and block. But the intensity we practice at also plays a role. You are a lot more prone to irreversible injuries if you rush things in aikido, than you would in karate. In that respect, aikido is a lot tougher than any other arts.

My God, how I rambled [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/redface.gif[/IMG] I need to learn the skill of summarizing my points!


Yours in aiki
-raccoon

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#125498 - 04/08/03 05:57 AM Re: How long to be effective?
Anonymous
Unregistered


Osensei DID say "Atemi waza" is 90% of Aikido." I've often thought while training at my (NON-Aikido) Dojo: "What's to stop people from abusing and misusing this knowledge?" The ETHICS of Osensei DOES stop transgression BEFORE IT EVEN STARTS!

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#125499 - 04/09/03 02:07 AM Re: How long to be effective?
Joe Jutsu Offline
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Registered: 04/09/03
Posts: 575
Hey guys (and gals). I'm new to the forum, but I saw this thread and I could not help but to add my two cents. I am a relatively new Aikido student (I've been studying a little over a year and a half) and I have to say that some really good points have been brought up in this thread. I study Ki Society Aikido, the softest school of the softest MA [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]. Does that mean that my Sensei is a softy?? That question seems very silly to me. What I have always heard is that it takes longer to develop a proficiency in a soft art than a hard one. This makes logical sense to me anyway. However, I live in a college town with LOTS of belligerent drunks. Within the first six months of my Aikido training, I had to use Aikido twice to keep safe in physical altercations. With that said, though I am still far from proficient, my breif training was enough to keep me unharmed. Was I able to actually deliver a beautifully timed koteoroshi or shihonage?? Well, no. But our work with keeping appropriate distance (ma'ai) and ki awareness was enough to keep me safe. Granted, I was not facing an accomplished martial artist, thank god, but it was enough in those circumstances.

The other Aikido experience outside the dojo that I have faced was when a Tae Kwon Do friend of mine wanted me to show him some Aikido. A skeptic to the last, I could not really finish a technique for fear of hurting my friend. So he asked me to spar with him. I reluctantly agreed. Again, keeping proper ma'ai was enough. He eventually got tired of "chasing me." End of conflict. He was smart enough not to overextend to give me a chance to try my unrefined techniques on him, and I was smart enough to stay just out of his reach.

Sorry I'm rambling, but here's a realization that I've come to recently, so I'm going to throw it out there. Hopefully other Aikidoka can chime in to support/debunk my theory. (Ideally), you learn the techniques to learn Aikido, not the other way around.

Peace my friends.

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#125500 - 04/09/03 10:37 AM Re: How long to be effective?
Cato Offline
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Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
raccoon, first and foremost: No offence taken, so no need for an apology [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]

The quote you used is definately tongue in cheek. Of course it wasn't aikido that made me soft, it was nature, I was born that way!!

I would agree with gobzhad that "soft" arts necessarily use less punches or kicks, but that is because of the very nature of the art. It isn't in using less strikes that they become soft, but more they are soft because they don't rely upon them. Softness still refers to the non opposition of force. It is very difficult to strike someone without interupting the momentum of their attack. Once the attack is stopped, the aiki principle is lost. It is virtually impossible to perform aiki techniques on a static opponent.

I think even a block that deflects a strike, be it with a twist or whatever, is still a block, it is still the direct opposition of force - you're meeting attack with a counter of your own. I like to think of good aiki as being flowing, like striking into water. There is minimal resistance, and you never seem to come to a stop. Aiki draws the attacker in rather than blocks/deflects him away.

Clearly as a principle this is going to take a loooong time to learn effectively, but as our friend Joe Jutsu (my kind of name, that) points out, there are other aspects of training that don't take so long to learn and utilise. So does this mean that aiki doesn't take so long to be effective after all?

Budo

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#125501 - 04/11/03 09:41 AM Re: How long to be effective?
Cato Offline
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Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
A question for you karateka out there: How long did it take before your karate training was effective ouitside the dojo?

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#125502 - 04/11/03 07:41 PM Re: How long to be effective?
joesixpack Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/04/02
Posts: 2282
Loc: Australia
Honestly I don't know.

But I felt fairly confident in about two years. Don't know if this is realistic because I can't remember what I was like.

Hard to say, because I started training at the start of high school.

I am certain my technique was effective and I hit hard enough after four and a half years and got my Sho Dan Ho

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#125503 - 04/12/03 01:16 AM Re: How long to be effective?
senseilou Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/14/02
Posts: 2082
Loc: Glendale, Az.
Another country heard from, but since I have studied both,I can offer a unbias opinion. I know Cato, I am never un-bias. But here goes as I see it. its a question of curriculum. You can debate till Sadamn appears, whether Aikido is soft or hard and what that means. You will have to look at HOW people apply their Aikido. Chiba sensei here in the states is as hard a practioner as I have ever seen. My Aikido school was as soft as I have seen, so it depends on how you view it. I don't believe that soft or hard means whether you add kicks or take them away,its the way you approach your art.
But the question was about proficiency. When you look at curriculum, Aikido teaches a techniqe from a specific attack and then as you mature you add different attacks to your technique. You don't learn say ikkyo then learn every attack for ikkyo. I understand why things are done the way they are so I am not criticizing it. I spent my first year doing swari-waza, I didn't get off my knees for a year. The reason I know is you don't have to learn ashi sabaki right away, but still its hard to defend yourself from your knees all the time. Honestly though, I don't think you need to be a Brown Belt to learn ikkyo from a Yokomen attack. My entire Brown belt test were techniques that I knew from just a yokomen attack.I think I could have figure it out earlier than 4 years later.
Karate on the other hand is not attack specific. You learn how to block, and you can ususally block anything, so the attack doesn't matter. Kicking and punching are the same thing, you don't have to wait for a Brown Belt to learn a different strike. You need to learn in karate what fits where and what you can make work. Thats why you find guys who are more hand oriented or others more feet oriented or how you put combinations together. Advancing in Karate, you learn more complicated kata and Bunkai, this does not exist in Aikido. So you are looking at apples and oranges in approach to what they do. By its nature, it is easier to use Karate right away because you practice punching every night. Now I don't know about anyone else, but my Aiki classes(both Jutsu and Do) hardly ever did the same things every night, except stretch and roll. One night throws, next night locks, never lock then throw. So it was always piece meal in Aiki. Even in seminars, you never felt the information could be used right away, it needed practice. I was told 10,000 times before you understand it.
Being the rebel I am I changed the curriculum, so that you learn 3 attacks for your first technique test. So for 9th kyu, my students need to learn Ikkyo(ude Osae) from a Chest grab-wrist grab then punch. For their next test, they will learn another technique from the same 3 attacks and then Ikkyo from all attacks. I do this through the kyu ranks. I feel Rokyo and Gokyo can wait till upper Kyus, instead of learning various attacks at that rank. So I don't think it a criticism necessarily, but its a product of how the 2 different arts are taught.

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#125504 - 04/14/03 10:11 AM Re: How long to be effective?
Cato Offline
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Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
If it is all a question of technique, and aikido taking longer to teach effective techniques, how do low grade karateka cope with their timing, distancing, selecting the right technique, proper application of that technique and so forth. My contention has always been that a mistimed gyaku tsuki is no more effective than a mistimed anything else, so how can karate be effective so quickly? are the techniques that simple?

Budo

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#125505 - 04/14/03 02:09 PM Re: How long to be effective?
senseilou Offline
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Registered: 10/14/02
Posts: 2082
Loc: Glendale, Az.
Yes, yes yes, it is that simple. Give me a chimp and I bet I could train him to punch, it really isn't that hard to do. Now as to why about timing and such, there are exercises called Ippons, these are one step sparring tools that teach timing distance(mai-ai) and target areas. These are done from the out set. But here is the kicker, its not as difficult to learn and its repetition, repetition. I have thrown 1,000 punches in a given night. You will work basics for 3 plus hours, of nothing but block-punch-kick. In my Karate training vs. my aiki training, here is a typical class. Karate class has gone for 5-6 hours, starting at 4 going till 10. Those hours were nothing but accross the room working your basics. My average karate class is 3 hours and you need to be stretched out before class. 1 hour of basics, 1 hour of kata(in which you practice basics, and timing) 1 hour ippons and sparring. In aikido we strteched for a half an hour-rolled and did throws for a half an hour and technique for an hour at best, sometimes only a half an hour. The Aiki school I attended kept hours and I got 24 hours a month. In karate I got that in a week. And again you work the same basics every time, so it doesn't take long to be able to block kick and punch. It took me months do learn an Iriminage, and many more to get it so I can use it. Its just a different process

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#125506 - 04/14/03 03:54 PM Re: How long to be effective?
raccoon Offline
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Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 848
Loc: Victoria BC Canada
I can't possibly say it any better than sensei Lou, but perhaps it's more convincing to see it with your own eyes, Cato...
http://www.templeofblood.com/downloads/pictures_and_videos/karate_chimp.zip

I know, the chimp was showing kicks, not punches. But the argument stays same - karate really is THAT simple!

-raccoon

p.s. Okay, that was supposed to be a joke...

[This message has been edited by raccoon (edited 04-14-2003).]

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#125507 - 04/15/03 05:44 PM Re: How long to be effective?
Cato Offline
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Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
You all already know I'm argumentative so don't get upset with me but...

If karate is simple to learn, and beginners can learn correct timing, distancing etc. in a matter of months doesn't that then suggest that the art is lacking something? Surely there is more to it than simply standing and punching and kicking? Most people have a basic knowledge of punching just from their everyday experience, does karate not offer much above this?

I would think that any art that can be picked up so easily is limited. There is already a strong body of opinion that states that karate blocks simply don't work, can this be extended to suggest karate punches, kicks and strategies offer little above what people can learn themselves, without any training?

Okay, do your worst - I'll take you all on [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/biggrin.gif[/IMG]

Budo

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#125508 - 04/15/03 08:56 PM Re: How long to be effective?
joesixpack Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/04/02
Posts: 2282
Loc: Australia
Cato - you are right and wrong, IMO.

Yes there is a lot more to karate than kick block punch, and the Japanese down block shouldn't be used in the manner prescribed by the JKA...such knowledge of a down block is as advanced as a beginner's punching.

Basic techniques, locks and manouvering take a maximum of two years to learn, then are refined, then more advanced stuff is learnt before reaching black belt (beginner) status. After this, nuances of tai sabaki, bunkai and kyushop are learnt. There are many tegumi drills for speed and lead into bunkai from katas/finishing holds/strikes.

But much of what karate really is isn't taught any more. The tegumi, grappling contact sparring and real tuite and effective self defense is unknown to many.

Take for example the basic front kick. Rarely do I do a straight up, normal one these days. All are directed at weaker points with varying angles of attack and distancing. Variations like this are learnt in full contact kumite (like Kogas says, it doesn't have to be 100% all of the time) and from classical bunkai.

As for the blocks, it is any movement to which the same motion is executed.

Quicker to train up a reasonable practioner, just as long to master.

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#125509 - 04/16/03 02:01 AM Re: How long to be effective?
senseilou Offline
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Registered: 10/14/02
Posts: 2082
Loc: Glendale, Az.
I agree with Joe too. The question was easier to learn, and yes it is, but its not limited as one would think. As my Sensei once said you are only limited by your own ideas. Basics are what we were talking about, and basics are easier to learn at first and used at first.
Then you get into the meat of the matter. A block is a lock is a blow is a throw.Yet you can not teach that to a beginner. As Joe said, downward blocks( and Gedan Barai means downward movement, it says nothing about blocking)are not meant to use as a block say for a kick as it leaves your face open. However try doing Nikkyo from a chest grab and do it like a downward block. Outward block can be kotegaeshi or sayundo. Once again you can't teach this to a beginner.In studying kata, first you learn a simple one, you learn the pattern, pick up speed, and then add power. you can't teach a kata to a beginner and have them create power in the kata, so this is a process for learning kata. Then the sweet science of Bunkai or application of kata comes, and you learn Torite(tegumi)tuite(pressure pointing) and nage waza(throwing) Once again not something a beginner understands. For that matter I have a couple of kata that to this day make no sense to me. there is much to learn in Karate, but you need solid basics before getting into the meat of the art.

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#125510 - 04/16/03 04:46 AM Re: How long to be effective?
Cato Offline
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Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
I accept that the art gets more involved the higher your grade, but my point is this - If a relative beginner can apply karate effectively in "real life", doesn't that suggest that karate teaches them little they didn't already know.

Forget specific techniques, I'm talking about the important things in a fight: avoiding the attack, keeping proper distance, body movement, appropriate responses, correct mindset, awareness of your opponent and so on. these don't change as you go up the grades, you just collect more, and more complex, techniques. If you are to apply your art you need to know all things first. In aikido it takes a long time to get them, because they are difficult. But the value of that is that you are learning new skills, not simply using those you already have. The impression I'm getting from you all of karate is that it is very simplistic in its approach to fighting.

Learning to punch should be only a small part of learning to fight. It would seem that learning to punch is a major part of fighting in karate. Now, I know that isn't so, but I'm obviously missing something very fundamental. Just how can begginners apply karate effectively, if karate is anything other than a simplistic style of fighting?

Budo

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#125511 - 04/16/03 05:25 PM Re: How long to be effective?
csinca Offline
former moderator

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 672
Loc: Southern California
In addition to being more complicated and precise, Aikido goes farther towards reducing (eliminating?) size and strength advantages. To do that makes the art inherently more difficult to become proficient.

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#125512 - 04/24/03 05:15 AM Re: How long to be effective?
Cato Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
Aaaw c'mon. Where have all the karateka gone?

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#125513 - 04/24/03 05:18 AM Re: How long to be effective?
raccoon Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 848
Loc: Victoria BC Canada
look who is picking fights in here [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/rolleyes.gif[/IMG] so much for an "aikidoka" [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/biggrin.gif[/IMG] [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/biggrin.gif[/IMG]

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#125514 - 04/24/03 05:58 AM Re: How long to be effective?
UKfightfreak Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/08/03
Posts: 2599
Loc: San Francisco
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Cato:
A question for you karateka out there: How long did it take before your karate training was effective ouitside the dojo?[/QUOTE]

I never got there (even after 10 years) as it wasn't full contact, was far too linear, and had no real life application.

Thats why I quit and switched to Kickboxing.

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