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#127334 - 02/18/04 01:25 PM Re: Keri waza
Joe Jutsu Offline

Registered: 04/09/03
Posts: 575
I see where both sides of the issue are coming from. And I guess you could say I'm trying to figure out where I stand.

On the one hand, if the need be I would like to know how to defend myself. The style that I practice takes a LONG time to really develop a combat proficiency in it, not that it is unattainable, but there's a good reason why you'll probably never see a 4th dan under the age of thirty-five, and if you do I'm sure they've had some uchi deshi training and have been practicing perhaps 15+ years. It seems to me that different arts really just teach different ways of movement. (For the most part) you can but don't have to buy into the philosophy behind the art. That doesn't stop you initially from learning the physical mechanics behind the art. But at the same time I do strive to be a competant martial artist more than a fighter. Aikido looks to be that art, but I don't see how going to play judo for instance before class would hamper my ability to be a good aikidoka. In fact, from what I've read and people I've talked to it's quite the opposite. I don't even aspire to attain rank in judo, but after three classes I'm having fun with it and getting into better shape than what aikido demands of me.

I think I need perhaps to listen to the advice of David Shaner sensei, 6th? dan South Carolina Ki Society. First off, this man is amazing both as an instructor and a martial artist. At his last seminar that we put on at our dojo, he stressed innovation in our art, that aikido is dynamic and not static. We need to throw away what we think we know before we can improve, and so many don't do that, that's why I suspect Lou sensei has seen many dan-nidan aikidoka who never improve. In a previous seminar, Shaner sensei stressed letting go of our fear, which also hinders us. Fear that our aikido might not work, for instance, or fear of trying something new. I love my system, but when the time comes I'd like to train outside of it at least for awhile, so hopefully I'll find it again with a new outlook/beginner's mind. So I'm not a big proponent of MMA, but who knows, I'm merely thinking aloud.

Anyhow, good to see you back Cato, hopefully you don't feel too ganged up on.


#127335 - 02/19/04 04:06 AM Re: Keri waza
dazzler2 Offline

Registered: 12/11/03
Posts: 148
Loc: england
Hi Cato

I guess my point is that if you use your aikido base to avoid attacks and take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves...Should that opportunity be a kicking one then it would be a shame to miss out.

We dont practice kicks either...after 25 years of playing football (soccer to rest of world) I dont need too much practice in this department although I'll still use the heavy bag from time to time as I like to incorporate short kicks as distractions prior to applying atemi.

Not as part of my aiki particularly...but complementary, not contradictory.

Two further points to think about;

Whether Takeda thought of O'Sensei as a master I cant say...but he did award him his 'Kyoju Dairi' Teachers certification in 1922.

Syllabus ? O'Sensei ? Sorry - cant agree with you here. Syllabi (?) are nice as a vehicle for promoting club / individual development and a very useful teaching aid.

I'm not sure how much truck O'Sensei would have had with such things, but I'm very sure the idea of restricting oneself to the aikido of O'Sensei (whether within the confines of a syllabus or not) is definitely not Aikido.

The principle of Aikido cannot change. Ai Ki Do. Harmonising man with ki through Tao philosophy eg ying/yang.

But the manifestation of aikido will continue to evolve - just like all things in nature. If it evolves to a form that utilises a kick then so be it.

I guess my previous post and reference to JKD was that Bruce Lee said the same fixed forms!



#127336 - 02/19/04 09:35 AM Re: Keri waza
Cato Offline

Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
Dazzler, I'm intrigued by your views on whether or not O'sensei taught to a syllabus, and whether or not aikido has fixed forms. I have always understood the answer to both those questions to be "yes". O'sensei taught things that were compatible with his art and didn't teach things that weren't.

I'm a little confused because if I apply what I think is your interpretation then everything becomes everything else and there are no styles of MA anywhere. I don't accept that because there clearly are fundamental differences in the application of techniques from different styles. To my way of thinking a technique has to be representative of the philosophy of the style it comes from. Aikido didn't exist until o'sensei called it such, and he built his art around a philosophy. How can hoofing someone in the teeth be said to be compatible with aikido philosophy? Where's the harmonising, utilising their energy and the "loving protection" in that? I know atemi is found in aikido, but always as a means to an end, never as an end in itself.

I agree with Joe that aikido is very hard to learn and utilise to any good effect and I think that is the point. Learning aikido isn't just about learning to fight. The journey is more important than arriving at your destination. We seem to confuse fighting and art with disturbing frequency and the two terms have become almost inter-changeable. I don't think they are. Using aikido techniques is not the same as using aikido. Sure lots of things can compliment aikido techniques Judo, Karate, JKD or whatever are all good arts that can lend techniques to the fighter, but the artist will run the risk of diluting his art if he tries to use several styles in one system. Aikido is, by definition, a way of living and striving to be better than you already are, as is Judo and Karate-do. We can't know aikido or judo, we do them. We can however know aikido techniques and judo techniques. The two things aren't the same. I would respectfully ask whether your experience of JKD has brought you to think in a different way about your aikido, and whether JKD may underlie the dominant philosophy in your training? (Not meant in any way as a slight or to suggest aikido is in any way "better" than JKD, just an observation)

For the record, my understanding is that Takeda sensei famously reffered to o'sensei as his "part trained student" and awarded other students higher grades. Now, to my mind you can't be considered to have mastered your art until you've reached the highest level of competence.

Phew, I'm tired out now [IMG][/IMG]


PS It is always football, never soccer. [IMG][/IMG]

#127337 - 02/19/04 10:31 AM Re: Keri waza
dazzler2 Offline

Registered: 12/11/03
Posts: 148
Loc: england
Good...nice to promote a bit of interest.

With respect of syllabus my initial definition here is that my own club uses a series of syllabus to define minimum requirements from 6th kyu to shodan etc.

I think this may be a modern development and doubt that O'Sensei used such structured teaching methodology to govern his teaching.

I could be wrong, its probably down to definition and maybe he had a development process or structure in his head ...

Now for the really interesting stuff - you think that aikido has fixed forms? that your version of ikkyo will be identical to mine?

Wow! we are poles apart here.

As an example we don't even practice ikkyo as a technique (implicit fixed form). For us ikkyo is 1st teaching - We use it to teach posture, breathing, distance, entering and everything else that Aikido offers (hope we can agree it offers many martial benefits).

We absolutely do not say that it has to be done in a fixed manner. We do say that for it to have value the aikido bases must be correct and in proportion. Obviously for beginners you need a form for them to copy so we do teach a standard ikkyo against a standard set of attacks.

But if we are fixed in this way then as soon as we leave the dojo then such fixed aikido is valueless.

Lets not forget even O'Sensei practiced such things differently as he aged. Another great Aiki problem is those that trained with him in his 50s do 50 year old mans ikkyo those that trained with him in his 70s do 70 year old man ikkyo.

Which of these are you going to hold up as the true way of O'sensei?

On the styles of martial arts ...clearly there are different styles of martial arts.

But the fundamental essence of all of them is irimi / attemi. Enter and strike. I did not say this of Aikido - It has come from O'sensei. If that strike comes by way of my well trained left foot then so be it.

My experience of JKD starts and ends with the book...I read the philosophy and was pleased to see such a noted MA say the same things that I've been taught.

You question the word harmony in this usage.

Fair enough to do so. All I can say that I believe for aikido to be relevant as a martial art and not a dance form then it must retain a martial element. In the dojo I do not go around kicking people in the teeth (often) but if under pressure for real them why not. For me it is a valid defence. Or as you say 'a means to an end'.

Harmony is not something you can decide to have. It needs to be earned and achieved. Not everyone practices aikido and lives and dies on the tatami. To have harmony when the world contains the elements that it has requires development of a strong mind and body. A deterrent if you like.

While my friends and family know me for the happy loving person that I am, Hopefuly my students appreciate the care and concern that I give them I dont see how protecting my loved ones with absolute necessary force conflicts with my Aikido ideals.

Finally - what takeda said and didn't say abour O'Sensei probably isn't too relevant to the original question on kicking.

Its very interesting to talk with someone from the opposite end of the aikido spectrum - I bet we have a lot more in common than we have different Aikido wise.

To finish this (I should have left work by now)...

Aikido techniques are not techniques. They are merely tools.



ps. If I come across as argumentative about aiki..dont get me started on the beautiful game of football!

#127338 - 02/19/04 10:53 AM Re: Keri waza

Have you considered asking the Sensei from the TK class that is practising before you if he would "loan" you a couple of his students? You could practice your Aikido against a kicking attack.

Just a thought.

#127339 - 02/19/04 11:49 AM Re: Keri waza
Joe Jutsu Offline

Registered: 04/09/03
Posts: 575

That's a good suggestion. Unfortuanately as things stand now, I see two main problems. The first being, I'm pretty new to all these keri waza techniques, and against a properly executed well delivered kick, I could see it slipping through my defenses, at least for now. But that doesn't really bother me that much, I'm cool with it. I mean, who learns to ride a bike without ever crashing it, right? But what concerns me more is the level of ukemi required to safely take the fall. I think that's the reason that they don't start teaching kicking techniques in my dojo until you've been around a couple of years. I have a friend or two in tae kwon do, and even if we have tatami I wouldn't want to throw them unless I knew they could take it. I guess if I had some more time and found a willing partner we could work on a reciprocal basis, I could teach ukemi and my friend could work on kicking. I don't strive to really be a particularly good kicker as I don't think I'd ever use one outside the dojo, but I think it was the fabled video game Mortal Kombat that said, "There is no Knowledge that is not Power."

And one quick thought on why some schools practice keri waza and others might not. I just remembered that I've read an interview with Tohei sensei where he said that his aikido is probably only about 30% of O Sensei's techniques, 70% his own. So that would explain the variety in syllabi at least in my case. But on the other hand, I was just watching a DVD with O Sensei and a bunch of old shihans in it, and his aikido looked damned near identicle to what we do.

So much speculation and variation in such a new martial art in the scheme of things. Its sort of mind blowing, really.


[This message has been edited by Joe Jutsu (edited 02-19-2004).]

#127340 - 02/19/04 06:44 PM Re: Keri waza
csinca Offline
former moderator

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 672
Loc: Southern California

My school does practice both kicking and kick defenses.

For years we were told that the ukemi was to dangerous and therefore we never practiced the kick defenses. I think it was more of an excuse that a valid reason. You can (and in my opinion should) at least practice the entrances. Though many folks like to believe that a front kick can be defended the same as mune tsuki; in my experience the angles, distances, balance and secondary attacks are different. You can safely practice entrances without uke crashing into a quivering mass. There are also ways of controlling uke and taking him down that don't involve advanced uke.

I'm not a big fan of practicing my "kick defenses" against someone that can't give me a decent attack. Therefore we do teach the entire class the very basics of kicking, like how to kick with some balance, a bit of power and to keep your hands up. In the process I have seen great improvements in balance and flexibility in most of hte students, myself included. We also stress relaxed movement and generating power from the hips.

We spend about 30 minutes every Tuesday evening on striking basics.


#127341 - 02/20/04 12:38 AM Re: Keri waza
senseilou Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/14/02
Posts: 2082
Loc: Glendale, Az.
The question of curriculum and whether technique is fixed or not depends on who you train with. I think here, people have a tendency to treat all Aikido under one umbrella and say a generic Aikido. Nothing is further from the truth. I trained with an Aikido group where all techniques had to be just as the instructor showed, he wanted no variations and would not allow them. You were not allowed to train with anyone else except who he had come in. In this case technique was indeed fixed. We were not allowed to apply principle or fit the technique to the person, and this happens alot. Any style, any technique should be tailored to the individual. A person 6'4" tall person can stop a shomen strike before its peak, but a person 5'8" can not reach the peak of the attack of the same 6'4" person. So he has to adapt the technique and let it pass then deal with it. Many Aiki stylist stay rigid in their belief of what O Sensei taught, yet they really don't know how O'Sensei actually studied. On the flip side, I have seen Aikido done where the attack is called out and the technique and you handled it the way you felt comfortable. in this case its not set. So it depends on who is doing the training, not so much what the curriculum is. In my school technique is set at lower ranks to teach basics, but once you have matured in the art, there is nothing set, you just react to the situation based on all your information. Even though there is a curriculum some of it is not set.
As far as O'Sensei's curriculum, the late and wonderful Toyada Shihan, one of O'Sensei's Uchei Deschi told me O'Sensei taught whatever he felt like, he had no curriculum. He told me that the first generation of students, Toyoda Sensei, Satome Sensei, Kobayashi Sensei, Shioda Sensei, Tohei Sensei were the one's responsible for creating curriculum. Most of O'Sensei's teaching were based on what he wanted to get across at a certain time. He also said that test was done when O'Sensei would just call out attacks and they had to respond with technique. Most technique was learned off the mat in various settings outside the dojo.
If one would look at the early techniques of Ueshiba Sensei, and the early techniques of Daito, the Aiki-Budo techniques were only a small part of the whole Daito art. For all the understanding, Ikkyo was a technique in the Ude Osae group of techniques. Zempo Nage was another, however there were about 20 other techniques in the ude osae group. Nikkyo and Kotegaeshi were taken from the Kote Mawashi group and again there were almost 30 of those. So O'Sensei only took pieces from Daito. Maybe because he didn't have them all, or most probably because he wanted to minimize the damage these other techniques were doing. In my time in Aiki-Jujutsu and Aikido, the big difference is what the lock affected. Many Aiki-Jujutsu locks in the Kote Mawashi group were meant to break, dislocate the arm in order to take away the sword. Aikido on the other hand focused on control or neutralazation of the attack. So when one looks at the said curriculum of Aikido, it is really important to see where the techniques were drawn from, and see how O' Sensei chose to do them. I don't know how much O'Sensei got from Takeda, but I do know that he related all his Aikido to sword work. Many of the techniques in Aiki-Jujutsu do not lend themselves to sword work, so maybe that is why they were left out. Remember too, in this same time period Kano Sensei was doing the same thing, leaving out techniques that wouldn't work in certain settings. So curriculum is really based on the instructor and what he calls curriculum and how he chooses to teach it

#127342 - 02/20/04 02:08 AM Re: Keri waza
Cato Offline

Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
Dazzler, I'm so glad to learn you don't go around booting people in the teeth very often [IMG][/IMG]

I think we are getting bogged down with minutiae at the moment, and for clarity sake I think I should define what I maen by a few terms. A syllabus doesn't have to mean a set of techniques in a set order, it just means some techniques that are fundamental to learning. Any syllabus isn't necessarily exclusive of anything, but is inclusive of those basic techniques. I'm told that o'sensei taught the same techniques whenever he taught aikido, and awarded rank according to proficiency at certain set techniques. As you yourself say, a syllabus is a useful teaching aid, nothing more.

Set forms in aikido come in the form of kata, which are taught in more or less the same way across aikido dojo and sub-styles, or at least so far as I am aware they are. Whenever I've seen other aikido stylists practising a jo kata I have recognised it because it is virtually the same as I was taught, a set way of teaching and learning. Of course not everything in aikido is a set form, but some things would appear to be. [IMG][/IMG]

Now, back to the original question - kicking in aikido. I'm not aware of o'sensei ever practising an art that teaches kicking in the way TKD might, so I presume those of us who practice kicks do so as only a small part of their training and that the kicks they use aren't of the spinning back kick variety? So the kicks are more for atemi than as a technique in themselves? Whilst I personally have never trained aikido this way and don't feel that I've missed anything as a result, I can see why others feel differently. I think from an aikido point of view kicking makes little sense, it necesarily restricts your ability to move when you are stood on one leg, it makes it difficult to remain centred and doesn't have any advantage over hand strikes that I can see.

as for training against kicks, again I personally don't see the point. From a practical point of view, very very few people kick in such a stylised manner outside the sanitised world of the dojo and the chances that (a) you will meet one who is out looking for a fight (b) you will want to fight with him/her (c) they will use a kicking technique against you and (d) you will be able to use a nice dojo technique to defend against them are so small as to be neglegible.

From a training point of view you aren't going to gain anything that you wont get from other training; metsuke, heijoshin, ma-ai, sen and zanshin are learnt just as well from other forms of training. And given that most aikidoka don't know how to kick in this manner, you will have to either go to a dojo where they do and practice there, or learn to kick "properly" yourself. I don't feel the effort is warranted by any benefits of doing so.


PS Dazzler - As a life long supporter of the reds (the real ones, not the Mancs) I have a great appreciation of the beautiful game and would debate the merits of 442 against sweeper all day if you encouraged me to!!!

#127343 - 02/20/04 05:19 AM Re: Keri waza
dazzler2 Offline

Registered: 12/11/03
Posts: 148
Loc: england

I did say we probably had quite a bit in common.

Footie allegience is not one of them so nuff said on that subject.

I suspect most of our 'differences' are down to interpretation and hopefully minimal.

It seems we all use the techniques to learn more than the technique itself.

No issue with this thinking at all.

Lou - again some sterling points thank you.

My take on aikido is that it contains a minimum sub set of the techniques O'Sensei will have encountered. I believe he utilised just those that fitted into the philosophy that he was promoting as teaching aids. I don't think this closes the door aiki-wise on anything else..All the variations can still be valid and good aiki.



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