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#126055 - 06/18/03 05:05 PM Re: Boxing and Aiki
csinca Offline
former moderator

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 672
Loc: Southern California
I can't resist jumping into this one [IMG][/IMG]

First let me say that I am studying Aikido for self defense (not the history, customs, etc...) and I am cross training.

After ten years in Aikido, my dojo started some punching/kicking classes and some sparring (with pads)about three months ago. Every student that participated is developing skills to offer a realistic attack and has expressed their surprise at the speed and variety they faced when sparring.

I've been to a fair number of dojos and seminars and nowhere else have I seen an aikido class that practices against "any attack or combination" delivered when the attacker wants and not "ready-set-go".

I assure you that if you have not practiced against kicks you will get kicked. The line of a front kick may be the same as the line tsuki and the defense/response may even be similar, but if you aren't used to that foot being a threat and not just a base, it's gonna hurt.

The same goes for multiple attacks and combinations. It's nice to think that you can back away and suck someone into your range, but an experienced fighter particularly a boxer knows what his range is and will not over-extend. After all, isn't that what makes them experienced?

#126056 - 06/19/03 10:22 AM Re: Boxing and Aiki
Cato Offline

Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
I do agree with a lot of what you say Lou, and of course I have seen ineffectual, sluggish, uncommitted attacks in aikido, just as I have seen them in every other art I have ever witnessed. This is not a purely aikido related phenonema. Conversely, surely you must have seen at least one committed attack from an aikidoka?

I agree entirely with your comment that it is the artist not the art that requires criticism. Unfortunately this distinction was somewhat lost in your original post. It is, I think, a little unfair to denigrate a whole art and its practitioners solely because some of them don't train as committed as others.

My point about a tsuki being a jab is merely that they are both linear strikes that travel along a very similar path. (And they are). By maintaining proper ma'ai the aikidoka makes the use of both strikes redundant.

It isn't so much a question of learning how to deal with the timing of a jab as it is learning how to apply the principles of proper distance. No-one can catch or block a well thrown jab from a skilled boxer every time, but keep out of reach and you don't need to. I'm not trying to suggest for one moment that that is an easy skill to learn, but it should be one of the goals of all aiki students.

BTW, the "you" I referred to in my last post wasn't meant to be you in particular. It was more a general "you" meaning anybody. I know you (Lou) teach the complete art, which is a lot more than just self defence, and I didn't mean to imply otherwise. (I've got a headache now.)

csinca, welcome to the discussion, mate. You could've jumped in on my side though, I need the help. [IMG][/IMG]

If I might be so bold, I would suggest that training as you describe is fine for self defence, but it isn't aikido. After 10 years training in the art I am sure you will agree that aiki strategy already teaches how to deal with kicks, so why start to practice them after so long training?

I'm also more than a little interested in your assurance that having not practiced against kickers, I will get kicked. What do you base that on?

I'm also a little surprised that in 10 years you have never seen another aiki dojo that practices in a committed way. Are you suggesting that all aiki students other than your dojo don't train properly?

Final point. If an experienced fighter refuses to get drawn in, and an experienced aikidoka maintains proper ma'ai the result will be that the defender (aikidoka) wont get hit. Seems like a real good strategy to me. [IMG][/IMG]


[This message has been edited by Cato (edited 06-19-2003).]

#126057 - 06/20/03 01:31 AM Re: Boxing and Aiki
Big Offline

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 16
Loc: Spapporo

I have only been learning aikido for a few years now and I see this is one of the limitations of aikido.

Against an attacker with no MA experience akido is very effective. Against an experienced MA, then aikido has some limitations.

I have seen some great masters take on multiple attackers, which looks nice. But most of the attackers telegraph their attack or use 'round house' techniques.

In the real world, its not so simple.

I like aikido and I'm not trying to put it down, but it does have limitations as all MA do.



#126058 - 06/20/03 02:31 AM Re: Boxing and Aiki
senseilou Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/14/02
Posts: 2082
Loc: Glendale, Az.
The gauntlet has been thrown, I slap Cato with my white glove and challenge him to a duel!! Back to back, 5 paces(proper mai-ai?) and first koshinage wins. Anyway back to Cato in a minute. For "Big", its very intersting your observation. One of O'Sensei's deshi(he will remain name less unless you want to know) said his Aikido is only 90% effective, and thats against a non-trained person. In an encounter with a trained fighter he said he was about 60-70% effective. I didn't understand this and right after this moved on to Aiki-Jujutsu to beef up my odds. I find it funny that the very Master that trained under O'Sensei himself felt he was limited too.
As for Cato, my friend, we are not an Aiki dojo any longer, and practice Jujutsu and Karate mainly. To be exact our main arts are San Jitsu Ryu and Lua, but we have elements of many things as well. We do Aiki techniques, but not the way Aiki students do them. So my dojo really doesn't count. Yes I have seen a committed attack here and there, but to be honest, when the attack was more severe, sped up and attacked with more power, the techniques done by the nage were limited. That is not to say the art doesn't work, its to say when you walk through technique all the time, when you go harder and faster, you lose something. On the contrary I believe whole-heartidly if Aiki IS appied with self defense in mind it WILL work. Yes I have seen uncommitted attacks in other arts as well. I have seen Kempo schools punch in slower than slow motion, and they practice hard fast hands. It is not relegated to just Aiki, and I am not knocking the art,but the general practice of Aikido doesn't address certain things the way its needed to be, AND practioners believe than can deal with those aspects, which they are fooling themselves.
As an Aikidoka I can understand how you don't see kicking the way a Karate-ka would. Having achieved Dan ranking in both Aikido, and Karate, and having both mind sets as well, I am saying that recieving a kick from a karate-ka is not the same as an Aikidoka who just puts his foot out there. I can not tell you how many hours I have walked accross the dojo floor kicking from different angles, different heights and different stances. Sometimes the lead foot kick is just for your attention and can be followed by another kick off the same foot or a blasting kick off the back. I had an Aikido Sensei tell me that I couldn't hit him and kick him at the same time. He also told me to go for it and try to land my kick and punch, actually dared me to. I kicked him in the groin off my front foot and backfisted his nose. Not only did I break his nose, but kicked him in the groin. He said " the kick wasn't done right, as you can't kick off the front foot. You have to kick off your back foot all the time." This was an Aikido Sensei and I was a brown belt. Kickers know how to kick, and your comment about practicing for 10 years why should you practice kicks if the art pepares you for them, I think, shows the limitation of the art itself. Under that logic, if kotegaeshi is done for 10 years, why practice it any longer? In order to deal with kicks one must practice against them. Here, there is this raging argument that Karate-Ka would never let anyone catch their kick, Jujutsu-ist swear they can do it. I don't understand the argument, they are both right, a good kicker should not have his kicks caught, and a good grappler should be able to catch the kick and take the person to the ground. But its all about the practice. If you practice against real kicks, you can defend against them, but if you don't and you may get out of the way of a kick(say tenkan)he may find another harder kick from a different angle coming at you.
Lets be honest though all this is just rhetoric, Aikido was not designed to handle Karate-ka, and vice versa, so there must be adaptation of your art to deal with it. Remember, it the hey day of the arts, Aikidoka, and Karateka didn't meet alot and train together, or see much of each others art. Its only today with cross-training that arts are being compared. Its wrong, and I am not comparing the arts but discussing the weakness of the people who train in them.
One final point...........when discussing a fighter, and being sucked in or not, the question is what kind of fighter. Thats why I feel its important to try and understand how people fight. The art of Silant(Pentak/Penjack) is based on the 'collision of energies'(dabrook)They practice the exact opposite than Aiki. They like to move in and collide with their attacker. Now it would seem they would be a very easy to defend against as an Aikidoka. I will tell you from experience, trying Aiki technique on them is tough. They are always inside on you and banging you with their bodies. Now if you couldn't read this movement, it would totally overwhelm an opponent. In theory things always work good, in practice its not always the case. So when you view a fighter, boxer, street fighter various Martial Arts practioners, your art must be able to adjust to their attack, and unless you practice this way, its going to be hard to make your technique work.

#126059 - 06/20/03 03:32 AM Re: Boxing and Aiki
Big Offline

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 16
Loc: Spapporo
Hi senseilou

Thanks, this is pretty much what I thought.

I will do some real ju-kumite with my aikido sensei and tell you the results :-p

FWIW I sometimes throw in a few aikido techniques in karate and the results are really interesting... but the rules do not allow for full application.



#126060 - 06/20/03 11:02 AM Re: Boxing and Aiki
Cato Offline

Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
So it's a challenge you throw down, eh? Then I accept. "Have a care, sir, and be on your guard"

I'm actually really struggling to keep from launching into a tirade here against all the people who continually slag off aikido. The bottom line is that it is NO WORSE than any other martial art. If you don't like it, don't do it. Just leave it alone, in every sense.

If you happen to think karate training is more effective then good for you, go to your karate class safe in the knowledge that you are better than I, and that you can kick my arse anytime you choose. A small word of caution first though...

I was once asked by a karate sensei (wado ryu) to demonstrate aikido/aiki jutsu to his senior students. (He returned the favour to my class - an interesting exercise but no students switched camps). At their request we did some sparring and, although I never sparred with the sensei, none of his students could land a telling blow, or kick, on me. Not one. Sure they caught me sometimes, but not heavily, and on a number of occasions I threw them (gently of course, they're only karateka - can't break fall to save their lives).

Now, either I am exceptionally talented (sadly not true), extremely lucky (I wouldn't say that either) or there is something in the idea that aikido training teaches students how to deal with different types of attack, yes - even kicks from accomplished kickers. I had never trained seriously against a karateka in my life, yet I managed to at worst hold my own against a succession of them.

Lou, it is your turn to miss my point about
training against kicks. After training for 10 years,aikidoka should already have the strategy to deal with a kick, which would negate the need to start working on defences to them in the dojo. 10 years aiki training ought to have taught the practitioner that fighting is about principles of attack, not the attack itself.

On the other hand kote gaeshi is a defence, and an authentic part of the aiki syllabus. All aiki technique needs to be worked on if only to maintain the level you are at. It is however less important to work on technique than it is to work on other things - ma'ai, zanshin, tai sabaki, sen no sen, and so forth.

I disagree that aikido wasn't designed to handle karate. Aikido was designed for self defence, whatever the attack. Whether it works or not is down to the practitioner, but then that's true of anything isn't it?


[This message has been edited by Cato (edited 06-20-2003).]

#126061 - 06/23/03 03:43 PM Re: Boxing and Aiki
the504mikey Offline

Registered: 06/19/03
Posts: 790
Loc: Louisiana, United States
I study aikijujitsu, and we train for boxing attacks. How we train for them has had to change as we have gotten some real boxers who train with us. A boxer does not punch like a karateka, and a jab is not a tsuki, IMHO.

Most aiki people I see practice punch defenses rely on a total forward commitment from uke, who punches like he is going to end your life with that single blow. The weight shifts forward, the punch comes out, and tori blends with the punch's forward momentum.

That's wonderful, and it feels good to practice, but almost no boxer is going to give you a totally committed attack from the first engagement. A boxer doesn't think about killing you with one punch, he thinks about knocking you out with two or three, and he is careful to keep his balance while he is doing it. The only luck we have had "blending" with a fast, hard jab is to get the hell out of the way and follow it back in. This is an art in itself, because boxers dream about people walking into counter punches. Most times we address the counter punch as we close by striking or shoving uke's shoulder to disrupt his connection with the ground and therefore his punching power. Being able to execute a quick, strong tai sabaki to a safe place is of prime importance.

Once you close the distance enough to take away punches and hopefully destroy uke's balance in the process, you have some options-- at 9 or 8 kyu this tends to be osoto gari, ikajo, or waka gatame. People seem to have better luck with a good, hard sweep (augmented with a strike to the chin or through the neck/shoulder) than anything else.

I think it is a mistake to equate what your karate and tae kwon do experienced partner has in his or her striking arsenal with what a boxer can produce. I urge you all to spend some time working with boxers if self-defense is on your list of training goals, and if you don't consider the occasional cut or broken nose too much of an investment, then consider spending some time at the boxing gym in the ring. If nothing else the physical conditioning you get will change the way you look at the world. If you hang around long enough, you will learn to take punches you never would have thought possible.

#126062 - 06/24/03 08:17 AM Re: Boxing and Aiki
Cato Offline

Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
Oh dear. One throw away comment about punching and suddenly it becomes an issue. Could someone please tell me the DIRECTION of a jab, and also that of a tsuki? Are they not both forward from the attacker in a, more or less, straight line? In order to be effective do they not have to first land on the defender? My whole point is that by keeping proper distance the jab/tsuki will fall short unless the attacker over commits to make it land.

If the attacker never over commits, the punch never connects and the aikidoka never gets hit. I hope that makes it clear to everybody what I meant about a jab and a tsuki being the same PRINCIPLE.

I think it is a great mistake to cross train with a stylist from another system on their terms and still call what you "aiki". It isn't. In aiki you don't train to take a punch because, in aiki, your goal is to never have to. It is undoubtedly a difficult goal to achieve, but that doesn't mean you should abandon it altogether in favour of a more attainable one.

I would also make the point that you can not force an aiki technique. If you attacker doesn't give you means with which to apply the technique, you can't do it. It all depends on your personal skill level as to whether or not you can utilise the attack given, or whether you have to use a different strategy. The point about following the jab back in is absolutely right, but you need the skill level to do it.


#126063 - 06/24/03 11:23 AM Re: Boxing and Aiki
the504mikey Offline

Registered: 06/19/03
Posts: 790
Loc: Louisiana, United States
Cato, thanks for the interesting comment.

Allow me to elaborate on my "a boxing jab is not a tsuki" claim, and we may end up having more in common in our points of view than it appeared at first.

First of all, I would allow that all jabs are not the same, and that proper maai (sp?) encourages a puncher to over commit after encountering a frustrating inability to connect. And I think you are absolutely right-- in this case the jab *is* a tsuki, and the momentum is all forward.

I just think you will be hard pressed to find a boxer who will jab that way. Most boxers fight very close to their opponent-- you will only be able to maintain proper maai if you have fluid, excellent footwork. At their preferred range, a jab is not a "thrust", so much as a quick, snapping motion. The jab I am thinking of has more in commmon with a snapping backfist than a thrusting motion.

The hand is relaxed, the fist is flung out, and then everything from the elbow back is retracted violently. The fist snaps out like a whip being cracked.

Given that, I think a more "aiki" approach is to blend with the motion of the retreating jab, and that if you connect with the jab at its furthest extent and try to move uke forward to break his balance, you will actually be countering force with force-- uke is pulling his jab back in, and tori is trying to extend it out.

So in the end, I think we are applying the same principle to two different jabs-- and since the direction of the attack is different, the approach to connecting and blending with it has to be different as well.

I appreciate the need for the highly stylized attacks in aikido, because aiki is an elusive concept, and a total understanding of the nature of the attack increases our chances of experiencing it and understanding it within this lifetime. An uke who continually throws curve balls is not an ideal training partner.

At some point, though, it is beneficial to study attacks that are much less "well formed". I would agree with your statement about cross training-- when I suggested it, it was mostly a tip of the hat to the combat oriented folks. If you have really committed your life to gaining a deep understanding of aiki principles (a very different goal from the "make me combat ready in three years" attitude that many who train have), then a boxing ring is certainly not the best place to pursue it.

I would, however, stand by the claim that spending some time experiencing attacks from anyone who has trained in another system and is willing to give you some of their time can be of great benefit.

I hope this makes some sense-- I can't tell you how often as a lurker I have watched two people who in essence agree with each other flail away at two different perspectives on the same "truth".

Be well.

#126064 - 06/25/03 05:21 AM Re: Boxing and Aiki
Cato Offline

Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
I can definately see the benefit to training with a stylist from another system, so long as you do so from an aiki perspective. If I cross train with a boxer I should do so in order to gain a better uunderstanding of my art, and not to try to gain a limited understanding of his.

The principles of aiki remain the same irrespective of the type of attack you face. If you are training to learn how a boxer slips a punch, or how a karateka kicks from the front foot, you aren't doing aiki. If you are training to experience what it is like to apply aiki techniques/strategies to those types of attacks, then you are doing aiki.

In my opinion, I don't need to understand how a boxer punches, I need to understand how my aiki training allows me to deal with his punch. I don't need to know how to kick, only how to avoid one. I don't need to cross train, I need to train in aiki with different opponents. That is, I think, a subtle but extremely important distinction.

I'm not knocking any MMA systems in particular. They are not for me, but each to their owm. I do think though that such systems such systems are both limited and limiting. There is only so much self defence anyone can realistically learn to apply competently. I just happen to want a little more from my art, and I wont get it from cross training.

Do mu kyoku?


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