Aikido Q&A

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Aikido Q&A
Original Poster: bamboo
Forum: Japanese Martial Arts
Posted On: 05-07-2006, 23:26

Orginal Post: bamboo: If you have any questions about aikido please ask away! I have several years experience and live with a 16 year practitioner, so answers are at my finger tips.
Anything from technical to history is welcome, I can assure you that all answers will be researched and not just opinion based.

-Bamboo :)

Many thanks to EvilScott for such a great suggestion.

EDIT: Please note that what follows in terms of my answers are my own understanding at only ikkyu and shodan level. Although I did seek advice from others, it is still my understanding that has been put forth. Understanding changes with time, as would many of my answers.

Post: EvilScott:

You must tell me about Aikido footwork!!!! :cry:>

Post: bamboo:

Foot work in aikido is very hard to describe, but I will try.

Aikido footwork- the basics

Kamae (basic stance)- the main things to learn with your basic stance is always to maintain balance, have the hands, hips and feet at the centerline of the body, keep correct posture ( shoulders back and relaxed back straight, hands at the center as if holding a sword, and fingers separated but extended).

Your feet are both pointed forward but slightly out , shoulder width apart, your hara (center two inches below the navel) is always pointed at your uke. Your knees are bent (yoshinkan differs in that the back leg is extended) with a 60-40 weight distribution, 60 being on the forward foot.

Hips are always forward, upper body is extended so that it is slightly forward, neck is also straight. Your hands are forward (like I mentioned “holding a sword”) but relaxed so that they are not rigid or over extended, much like when you chop wood..

This is the basic stance.

Irimi

Irimi or entering is the signature of aikido, we never move backwards, always entering into uke’s sphere of movement. Beginneres generally learn 4 basic irimi techniques.

1- Enter direct, you move your whole body as one keeping the forward foot forward, much like a “slide”.

2-entering “off the line” . This is based on the theory that uke must at some time enter into your sphere to attack, we meet the attck by moving slightly off uke’s center line but still are forward and now angled at uke’s center. This is done to the inside of the attack.

3. Turning and entering. Still watching the attacker by keeping the head forward, the rest of the body turns to sideways (all turns start hip or center first), hands move from center to top of head, the hands reach the top of the sphere the body snaps back into a forward position and moving forward like in the first irimi.

4. Atemi, entering and turning. Atemi is a strike (This atemi is meant as a distraction rather than a damage infliction) As uke moves in for the attack, you step to the outside of the line of attack in horse stance (just like kungfu!) When sliding forward, the forward hand strikes at the attackers head, the strike is done in a circular motion so as to end up with uke’s forward limb below that of the arm doing atemi, from the horse stance, you then snap back into basic stance with your hands extended. This is the basis for kokyo nage or breath throws (internal method)

Tenkan

Tenkan is turning on the forward foot. We put our weight on the ball of the foot and turn from the hips, this essential to 80% of all techniques. In judo there is pushing and pulling, in aikido it is “enter and turn”. This is the blending many people hear about, we enter directly into an attackers space and then turn with their attackinenergy to effect a throw or lock.

Basic theory

The main point of aikido footwork is to maintain proper mai-ai or critical distance, thus controlling the “de-ai” the moment of “impact” for lack of a better word and to not get hit. Much like sword work, aikido tai sabaki (footwork also translated as techniques of body displacement) involves no hard blocks but rather parrys so as to continue the momentum of the attack. We try to very hard always maintain our center line and to upset that of the attackers.

You probably have more specific questions, so feel free to please ask. I can actually work out what ifs here at home with sensei. :wink:

Hope this was somewhat helpful.

bamboo>

Post: Umy:

I also have a question,

I was just wondering if there are any offensive techniques in aikido because from what ive seen it seems like a very defensive art.>

Post: EvilScott:

Great answers, thanks a lot.

In Chinese MA and medicine the “Hara” is called the Dan Tien (or Tan Tien). Your footwork seems to rum on similar principles to WC regarding centerline theor, but we try to avoid circular footwork.

Once again, thanks a lot!>

Post: bamboo:

Quote:
I was just wondering if there are any offensive techniques in aikido because from what ive seen it seems like a very defensive art.

This really depends on the dojo and the teaching sensei. Uke (attacker) is supposed to be able to deliver a strong, committed, and structurally correct attack. Many aikido dojos do not properly address this. WHile we do not learn offensive techniques for attack, they should be learned for proper practice.

The basic attacks seen in the first kyu ranks are as follows:

Shomen uchi- this is basically a “chop” or downward strike with the tegatana or knife hand. This is a training tool and should not be seen as a real attack.

Yokomenuchi i- this is a lateral strike to the temple, collar bone or neck. I have seen this strike used for real and to great effect.

munesuki-straight punch- done in the style of gojoryu karate with a chambered fist, can be high or low.

mae geri- basic front kick like gojo ryu

yokogeri-side kick

mawasi geri-round kick

If taught right this are all effective attacks but are used primarily when doing a technique or rather, when the oppurtunity presents itself.
We also use atemi (striking) to elicit a response from the attacker so to create a reaction and in turn – energy to work with. In our dojo, we use boxing technique for punches and muay thai style roundhouse, they are more realistic than a traditonal attack.

Please note that attacks vary from dojo to dojo, some work with only grabs and do not practice punches, others do nor practice kicks.

Aikido is an art of peace.

bamboo

Edited to add “please note disclaimer” :wink:>

Post: Umy:

Thanks bro, keep up the good work :wink:>

Post: EvilScott:

Is all Aikido standing grappling or does it have groundwork. I’ve seen Aikido classes use Bokens, are these the only weapons Aikido trains with (mostly they train AGAINST them)?>

Post: bamboo:

question 1.
Quote:
Is all Aikido standing grappling or does it have groundwork?

There is ground work in aikido but not in the sense of BJJ. You can throw a person away from you or straight in front of you or use a control to bring them to the ground. Once on the ground we have various pin/submission techniques at our disposal. All standing techniques translate very nicely to the ground, infact, for ikkyu and shodan, you must demonstrate your knowledge in freestyle while seated, both with one attacker standing and the defender seated and with both starting seated. The standing techniques work very nicely on the ground, we do not however practice from the guard. I am fortunate enough to have a sensei well versed enough in judo newaza and the goshin no te techniques of daito-ryu to have shown us and have us practice newaza when taken down.

Aikido in the older days was only trained by people that already had a high degree of training in other arts, so newaza was not a problem. Since for many people aikido is their first art, they miss that essential training and are left to the knowledge of the dojo instructor. Some dojo’s (one in colorado for example) bring in people to train in ne waza.

Question 2

Quote:
I’ve seen Aikido classes use Bokens, are these the only weapons Aikido trains with (mostly they train AGAINST them)?

We train in Boken, jo and tanto. We learn both tachidori, jodori and tanto dori (disarming techniques) as well as offensive techniques for all of these weapons. As much of aikido is based on weapons movement, we learn to use the weapons as an extension of ourselves. My organization has a seris of 12 kumitachi (paired sword practice), several jo kata both as partners and single. Also, we learn sword vs jo techniques and vice versa. We also use shinai for much of the beginning disarming practice because getting hit on the head with a boken in a botched disarming can kill or maim.

-bamboo>

Post: setsu nin to:

Just to say that you do great job here bamboo! Exelent thread!!!>

Post: bamboo:

:oops: Thanks very much Setsu! Please, feel free to write in , you have a great knowledge of the arts and your input is always appreciated. :D Anyone else as well, don’t let me hog the answers, I am sure there are others here that practice the way of harmony.

bamboo>

Post: EvilScott:

A couple more questions to stimulate discussion…

How long have you trained Aikido?
Have you ever trained anything else? How does Aikido compare to other arts you’ve trained? What art would complement Aikido very well for cross-training?
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about Aikido, and why are they false?>

Post: bamboo:

Quote:
How long have you trained Aikido?

I have trained aikido for roughly 7 years, on and off for the first 3, 5 days a week since 1999.

Quote:
Have you ever trained anything else? How does Aikido compare to other arts you’ve trained?

I started my martial arts training originally in Karate while living in Germany on an American Airbase, I went on to practice Judo as a teenager in Canada on Canadian forces Bases.

I found Karate as a child to be a bit of a turnoff as we focussed so much on tournaments (which I never participated in) that the hard work I expected never materialized, although, looking back I am thankful because I learned solid punching and kicking which I can continue to this day, I do prefer to keep my feet on the ground though!

Judo was amazing because it was soldiers teaching it and they emphasized effective take downs and finishes. I still use judo to this day when I get stuck in the clinch and my uke is a little too rooted and not giving me energy, or I can?t find a small joint to manipulate.

Once I started aikido I was hooked, it only became a matter of finding the right dojo and teacher. To me its all the power of judo without the effort. The falls are easier on the body since the philosophy is not to ?finish? your attacker but rather to throw them away from you. Aikido taught me an awareness that just was not there before, true budo.

Quote:
What art would complement Aikido very well for cross-training?

I would recommend not crosstraining when you start aikido. Take a striking art and some ne waza before starting aikido then begin. Aikido is damned hard and takes years to learn, average black belt time is 5-8 years in north America. Blending and controlling using small joints and not hurting your attacker is very hard to do, I?m not afraid to admit that most of my waza still uses pain as a manipulator, one day I hope to get it. It really is a life time art.

Quote:
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about Aikido, and why are they false?

That we cooperate. We do at the beginning to learn, as time passes active resistance is used. The better you are, the less effort you use and the faker it often looks.

That we do no touch throws- Uke moves not to get hit, if he/she takes a dive, well that?s garbage.

That it is all soft- It looks very soft and is at a higher level, but you need to work darned hard to get to that level. Our sensei says start like a rock, turn into wood, one day flow like water.

Hope this answered your questions :D

bamboo>

Post: azreil:

Hello bamboo

I also take aikido, I am now with a dojo who is a member of the USAF. Is yours affiliated ?

Second what rank (I know it truely doesn’t matter) are you?

Why do you take aikido(besides the obvius awnsers, you personally)?>

Post: bamboo:

Hi Azreil,

My dojo is ASU affiliated, I’m just an Ikkyu after all these years but will test for shodan in may. (I’m scared to death, the man I am testing under is notorious for making you do 50 ukemi after the test)

Why do I take aikido? Short answer- polish the mirror. Longer answer-I do it because it is one of the few martial arts that I believe really lives up to its ethics. I am a buddhist and I really believe that violence is wrong, aikido teaches us to look at things from someone elses perspective and allows me to control both myself and the physical actions of someone wishing to do me harm.

If you disagree with any of my answers I ask that you please post as diversity of opinion is important, it can help all learn. :)

May I ask the same questions of you?

ADDED: now shodan
cheers,
bamboo>

Post: setsu nin to:

Well Mr. bamboo thats what I call usefull thread. You interested people for Aikido. Exelent job my friend, I am totaly superfluous here. :D>

Post: azreil:

I just got on by have to go now, I will awnser in a feww hours. sorry.>

Post: setsu nin to:

Well Mr bamboo, did you think to put some tips here how t recognise real Aikido Dojo from Aikido McDojo. Something for beginers and people who are not shure what they are looking for.
Well it was just an idea.>

Post: Mumblyj00:

do you know what kanji makes up the ai in aikido, i’ve read what it translates too, but im trying to find a clear picture of the kanji, all the shots ive seen have been calligraphy and thats a little tough to read, andi haven’t been able to find it in my dictionary. i know it’s not really about any techniques, but at least its a question about aikido.>

Post: setsu nin to:

Mumblyj00

Aikido

Ai

Ki

Do
>

Post: bamboo:

Quote:
did you think to put some tips here how t recognise real Aikido Dojo from Aikido McDojo. Something for beginers and people who are not shure what they are looking for.

Because Aikido is so young its very hard to be a fraud without being found out very quickly, this of course is great for aikido at the moment.

As far as tips for beginners I would say the most importanat thing to do is make a list of reasons as to “why” you want to practice and “what” you want to get out of it and then some research. Then take that list and go watch some advanced classes at the local dojos and talk to the senior students and the sensei. See how the chief instructor views aikido and that will tell you basically what is being taught. eg.- For some Atemi is important, others it is blasphemy.

If you want “effective” technique, watch to see that they practice with active resistance, if it is energy, then ask about thier ki development excercises, if you want to practice weapons, ask to see a class on weapons. It really depends on what you want from your practice.

As far as Mcdojos go, they have all the same warning signs as a regular mcdojo, we are fortunate to have less of them right now because it is gendai budo and such a close knit community.

Hope this helps :)

-bamboo>

Post: bamboo:

Quote:
i know it’s not really about any techniques, but at least its a question about aikido.

It can be any sort of questions from what do we wear to what is “tenshin”. I just hope to open a dialogue :) .

-bamboo>

Post: jlambvo:

Bamboo,

In all the demonstrations of aikido I’ve seen, I can’t recall a single instance where the aikidoka has changed his or her level in technique, instead keeping everything on a single horizontal plane. Are there ever instances of lowering and raising your structure to affect distancing in the vertical space?>

Post: bamboo:

Raising and lowering the center is employed often but is most dramatic at the lower levels. A beginner uses big wide circles and lowers his/her center dramatically as need be. As you advance, the circles become very small and the raising and lowering of the center becomes so subtle that it is very hard to see (especially with the hakama on).

Technical

The raising and lowering of the center should not be done “during” the technique but rather at the moment of contact or even slightly before when intention has been determined. Example: A same height or shorter attacker is grabbing and punching in a bar type setting, as the attacker grabs you, at that moment step slightly off their center line and lower your center, this is the subtle leading and off balancing that makes aikido effective. If its a taller attacker, the center does not need to be lowered as he must alter his structure in order to attack.

Hope this answered your question. :)

-bamboo>

Post: setsu nin to:

bamboo

As we may see Aikido is evolving realy fast. What do you think what will be with Aikido for 10 or 50 years?>

Post: bamboo:

Setsu:

This is a very hot question right now in the aikido community. We seem to lose the some of founder’s original students each year and soon it will be all third generation teachers leading and spreading aikido. Already, we see the splintering of organizations when leaders pass on (such as Saito sensei’s son and his departure from aikikai). Thankfully, it seems that alot of the old ego battles are diminishing as the various uchi dechi are now getting together to share with the aikido community all the teachings of O sensei as he gave to each student.

****Remember, this is only my opinion****

In ten years I see mostly 3rd generation leaders (senior students of the present day shihan) taking the reigns. I picture aikido going into 2 directions: The martial and the very spiritual. The aikikai will still be around under the direction of a doshu but really as an umbrella organization and less than as a governing body.

In 50 years it will be people in my generation of aikidoka passing on and our senior students taking over. I sincerly hope that aikido does not turn into a sport and remains budo. With many of us already worried about about the dilution of standards, I think the 4th generation of teachers will strive to bring aikido back to the spirit of O sensei. We already have enough skeptics now, in 50 years I see aikido being widely accepted and better understood by the martial arts community. As well, right now many of the 4th generation students are still very much in the hard stage of learning, hopefully we will progress through this stage and realize what the founder truly intended and be able to pass on his message.

Its a tough question Setsu, ask me in 10, 20 and 50 years, we can share a beer and laugh at how wrong I have been about everything. :wink:

Have a great day

bamboo>

Post: setsu nin to:

bamboo

I like what you wrote. In my opinion Aikido is young art and what is dengerous its popular martial art. There are many people who think that Aikido have to be more developed so they change many things, some things are Aikido experts and some are clowns. Also its not good that in the begining Aikido get so many diferent styles…
In my opinion Aikido lost many of teachings of O Sensei and it is losing it every day.
In future, ofcourse only in my opinion, Aikido will be developed in few diferent ways.
There will be spiritual part which wont have nothing to do with martial arts and Aikido. It would be made from people who whant money, something as milion reiki experts today. From that milion reiki experts one worth other are clowns.
Second part of Aikido will be spiritual/helth. Something like Tai Chi.
Aikido is more and more popular every day, so there will be somer or later some caind of sports Aikido.
There will be pure OSenseis Aikido too. There will be more and more too similar Aikido styles and people wouldnt know which one to pick up. Than someone will start teaching OSenseis Aikido and say in comercial “I teach pure OSenseis Aikido”.
There will be Also Aikido as we have it today, some combination os OSenseis Aikido and Aikijujutsu or AikiBudo.
And in the end there will be Aikido which will be more Aikijujutsu or Aikibudo or maybe even some Jujutsu than Aikido.>

Post: jerbo8:

is aikido the hand to hand art that the samurai practiced? what ties does it have to the samurai?>

Post: bamboo:

Jerbo.

Aikido is a an art founded in the 1930s so it was never used by the samurai. However, because aikido is an off shoot of Daito-ryu, it can be said that it has links to the samurai. The techniques of aikido are those of control, not to kill. Here is an clip from the official Daito Ryu website (enough not to violate copyright law). Remember , they are talking about Daito-ryu and not aikido. :)

The actual founder of the art is said to have been Seiwa’s descendant Shinra Saburo Minamoto no Yoshimitsu [1045-1127 , who lived in a mansion known as Daito, hence the name Daito-ryu. The art was then handed down through his descendants, the Takeda family of Kai Province (modern-day Yamanashi Prefecture), until that family’s destruction five years after the fall of the its most famous member, general Takeda Shingen, in 1573. A distant relative of Shingen’s, Kunitsugu, made his way to Aizu in 1644, where he was taken on as a karo (senior councilor) under the Aizu lord Hoshina Masayuki [1611-1673 , son of the second Tokugawa shogun, Hidetada. Daito-ryu tradition asserts that Kunitsugu taught his family’s secret techniques to his lord Masayuki, who combined them with the principles of court etiquette that he had learned as oshikiuchi, into a system of self-defense for use within the palace. This amalgamation, together with the Itto-ryu Hoshina later studied, became the basis for the martial arts training of the succeeding lords of the Aizu clan, as well as for its highest ranking members.

So as you can see, it was not “everyday” samurai/bushi that would have learned this art. It was considered secret until Sokaku Takeda decided to share it with the rest of japan. As far as a “hand to hand” that the samurai would have used, there was no one art. You could say heiho or jujutsu as generic terms but each family had thier own systems, from that schools/styles or ryu-ha (school/style = ryu ha= branch) were born.

I hope this answers your question. :)

-bamboo>

Post: Gong||Jau:

Could you list some of the more well-known branches/factions of modern Aikido and maybe give a short summary of what about them is different, either in principle or in practice, from the rest?>

Post: bamboo:

Gong sao,

I will this evening afterclass.>

Post: Gong||Jau:

Thanks!>

Post: bamboo:

Here is the basic breakdown.

OLD SCHOOL

Aiki-Budo
Name given to the art O sensei taughtbefore it became known as aikido. It is very close in style to Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu. It is considered to be one of the harder forms of Aikido.
Shin’ei Taido
Founded by Noriaki Inoue. Not officially aikido as the founder of this art claimed it was the same but “different” He studied under O sensei
.
Yoshinkan
Gozo Shioda style. Shioda sensei studied with O sensei from the mid-30s. This is considered the hardest of of the aikido schools and is still used by Tokyo police to this day

Yoseikan
Formed by Minoru Mochizuki, early student of O sensei and also of Kano-sensei at the Kodokan. This style includes elements of Karate and Judo, also called “Yoseikan Budo”

NEW SCHOOL

Aikikai
This is the mainline branch of aikido as headed by the third doshu, the founders grandson son. This is the Ueshiba family organization. Has groups in N. America like USAF and CAF.

Iwama-ryu
While still a part of the Aikikai, the style taught by the late Morihiro Saito. Saito sensei wanted to preserve aikido from the early 50’s as to taught to him in Iwama.

Nippon Kan
Founded by Gaku Homma,VERY traditional school..

Aikido Schools of Ueshiba (My school and “style”)
Heaaded by Mitsugi Saotome. Saotome sensei has an eclectic approach to teaching Aikido, we learn everything from hard practical techniques through to soft abstract sensitivity exercises. We do tons of weapons under him. Was independent for years and rejoined aikikai organization, but style is dissimilar enough to warrant mention.

SPORT AIKIDO

Tomiki-ryu
Founded by Kenji Tomiki, Tomiki didn’t do ki and believed that aikido should be sporting and competitive along the lines of judo. Lots of rubber knife and kata type competition.

Jiyushinkai
Off shoot of tomiki.
Fugakukai
An off-shoot of Tomiki-ryu founded Karl Geis.
NO competitions

KI styled schools ? as originally split by Tohei Sensei

Shin-shin Toitsu Aikido
Founded byKoichi Tohei – Aikido with Mind and Body Unified. This is ki development and as far from the martial aikido as you can get. Practitioners look like they are dancing or even skipping from time to time.

Shin Budo Kai
This style is headed by Shizuo Imaizumi

Kokikai
Founded by Shuji Maruyama. He was a chief instructor with the ki society but split to form his own ki group. More weapons and technique here than with Tohie’s group.

Seidokan
Founded by R. Kobayashi. Another Ki split

(I’m sure there are more but I don’t think its worth getting into as they independent groups doing Ki aikido)

There are more but these are the main ones.

-bamboo>

Post: Gong||Jau:

Wow, thanks for all the info. What sort of sensitivity exercises do you guys practice? Also, do you know of a website for one of these organizations that has a school directory? I’d like to check out a school some time, because I’ve never actually felt Aikido, only seen it done.

By the way, I note with some dismay that you didn’t take my suggestion to change your name permanently :(>

Post: bamboo:

Gong Sao:

:lol: I’ll keep the name change in mind!

We do different types of sensitivity drills from a very “push hands” like exercise where both people are firmly rooted and one uses push like strikes to off balance the other to an exercise of where each person reverses the others tecnnique and flows into another back and forth but very softly, first open eyes then closed. It can change slightly from dojo to dojo.

Here is the my organization’s dojo directory: http://www.asu.org/dojo.html

Heres the USAF http://www.aikido.org/california.html

Ki society http://ki-aikido.net/KS-USA/Directory.html

Please note that dojos change from one to another based on the sensei and that beginners classes may seem rather different than what you may be used to. Beginners all cooperate to learn form, body mechanics and awareness. My advice is to always call ahead and try to watch an advanced class. Beginners can’t really give you the “feel”, ask a senior student or the sensei.

-bamboo aka bambeer aka old man bamboo :)>

Post: 8LimbsScientist:

Bamboo

What is the aikidoka’s response to other styles?

If an aikidoka were to come up against an experienced grappler (from whatever style) that person would be extremely resistant to being off balance. Does the typical dojo’s randori represent this effectively?

Also, are you trained to respond to strikes in combinations instead of single swings?>

Post: bamboo:

Quote:
What is the aikidoka’s response to other styles?

Play our game and not fall into to thiers.

Quote:
are you trained to respond to strikes in combinations instead of single swings?

Yes. :wink: Single swings for beginners to understand mai-ai (critical distance, de-ai (moment of “interaction”), timing and form.
Combinations (free and fixed),once the basics are down. We learn to expect the unexpected and isolate needed energy .

Quote:
If an aikidoka were to come up against an experienced grappler (from whatever style) that person would be extremely resistant to being off balance. Does the typical dojo’s randori represent this effectively?

This is a great question and really one of those “what ifs” that we get all the time. Aikido is a type of grappling, only modified so as not to go into the clinch if at all possible. We do however deal with the clinch, I personally have found the technique “heaven and earth throw” to be very effective in that regard. Also, a good aikidoka will also have amazing balance.
As far as randori goes it really depends on the dojo. A traditional randori will deal with traditional attacks in the japanese traditional sense. A more progressive dojo with the “martial” in mind will practice with all types of attacks. At my dojo, only the senior students practice against wrestling type take downs and shoots and similar attacks. We have alot of guys with alot of experience in other arts so it makes it much easier.
We also use feints to elicit response and use that energy to our advantage.

Like any other art, it really depends on the artist and their understanding of the art. I know some Aikidoka that I would not let face a 12 year old girl and others that seemed more like fire breathing monsters than anything else.

cheers,

bamboo :)>

Post: Gong||Jau:

Do you think Aikido could be a good art to crosstrain in, or do you think that it requires too much of a time investment to initially become effective? I guess what I’m saying is, do you think it’s something that requires more devotion than you would normally give to a second or third art?>

Post: bamboo:

Personally, I don’t think cross training in aikido would help you much. Alot of people start aikido after years of other training and focus entirely on aikido afterwards. It takes a long time to use effectively and really takes 100% of your focus. Whenever we get guys that want to cross train and use aikido as a 2nd or 3rd art, they quit after 2-3 weeks.

I plan on training in shinden musu ryu jojutsu after shodan (in 2 weeks) as a supplement to my jo work, but this works with my aikido and uses much of the same principles.

-bamboo>

Post: samadhi_fire:

Hi Bamboo,

Regarding the breakdown of Aikido schools, what aspect of the Yoshinkan school makes it the “hardest” school? Like what makes it “harder”?>

Post: bamboo:

Hello samadhi (cool name :wink: ),

Gozo Shioda, the founder of the Yoshinkan learned aikido from O sensei back before it was officially known as aikido and when the dojo was refered to as the “hell Dojo”.
Ueshiba sensei was a much younger man and still founding his own style, (then refered to as “aikibudo”), atemi were still very much used as was the harsh conclusion of the techniques including the much more violent waza that he no longer practiced during the “post-war years”. There was not mention of kami and ki so much as in the later years when O sensei became under the influence of Onisiburo Deguchi and used his art more in a martial sense rather than for “unifying the world”.

If you practice at a Yoshinkan dojo for 2 weeks and then switch to a post war style you will see a more regimented learning process and a greater emphasis on technique and application rather than philosophy.
Of course it can be argued that several schools under the aikikai banner are as hard if not harder, but then again everything changes. In my above breakdown I used generalzations and the philosophies of the governing shihan rather than individual dojo.
I recently had the pleasure of practicing at a yoshinkan seminar under Kimeda sensei and founded much of my technical opinion of the yoshinkan on that experience.

If you have a different experience please do share as it can only help myself and others learn. :)

Have a great day,

bamboo>

Post: The Axe Murderer:

Hey, Bamboo I’ve been wondering if Aikido has any hand or kicking techiques in it’s curriculam?>

Post: bamboo:

Axe murderer:

This from the first page of the Q&A concerning striking offensive attacks as I assume that is what you are asking about. Otherwise, all the techniques involve the hands to some extent.

From the first page:

Quote:
I was just wondering if there are any offensive techniques in aikido because from what ive seen it seems like a very defensive art.

This really depends on the dojo and the teaching sensei. Uke (attacker) is supposed to be able to deliver a strong, committed, and structurally correct attack. Many aikido dojos do not properly address this. While we do not learn offensive techniques for attack, they should be learned for proper practice.

The basic attacks seen in the first kyu ranks are as follows:

Shomen uchi- this is basically a “chop” or downward strike with the tegatana or knife hand. This is a training tool and should not be seen as a real attack.

Yokomenuchi i- this is a lateral strike to the temple, collar bone or neck. I have seen this strike used for real and to great effect.

munesuki-straight punch- done in the style of gojoryu karate with a chambered fist, can be high or low.

mae geri- basic front kick like gojo ryu

yokogeri-side kick

mawasi geri-round kick

If taught right this are all effective attacks but are used primarily when doing a technique or rather, when the opportunity presents itself.
We also use atemi (striking) to elicit a response from the attacker so to create a reaction and in turn – energy to work with.

Please note that attacks vary from dojo to dojo, some work with only grabs and do not practice punches, others do not practice kicks.

Aikido is an art of peace.

bamboo

>

Post: Raftrider:

Hey, I’m new here-so this’ll be my first post. I am very interested in training with a Jo and considering to purchase one. Any suggestions or things I should look out for? :!:>

Post: bamboo:

Raftrider,

first off, WELCOME! :)

For your first jo I would suggest nothing more than a trip down to the local lumber yard or large hardware store to purchase an oak dowel. Have them cut it so it measures about 2-4cm below the top of your shoulder. The dowels arre usually abit thicker in circumfrence and heavier than a store bought jo, this of course only helps in development. To treat the jo check out the thread in the “other” section concerning the treatment of wooden weapons, I have written a rather extensive guide to the treatment of your weapons.

If you have your heart set on buying one I would suggest ordering from a reputable company such as “bujin design”. The vast majority of the ones I have seen i the store were of a poor quality at best, good for showy weapons kata in “paul mitchell” competitions but useless for partner practices.

I still use my “dowel” jo ($12cdn) to this day and have had it for 7 1/2 years while my store bought $75 jo is long broken.

Good luck

-bamboo>

Post: Raftrider:

Thanks, Bamboo! :D>

Post: Wilhelm von Wänkensteïn:

Ah, jo…forty-eight inches of plea…er…pain…er…wood. Heh, heh :mrgreen:

*ahem*

I’ve been thinking of working on my breakfalls of late as I’m really poor at them. The trouble is, ukemi as I know it is really hard on the old body – all the ukemi I’ve ever known and done is hard judo-and-Chinese-wrestling-type breakfall training that really beats one up in the long run.

With that in mind, I’m really interested in Aikido ukemi – how is it done and what makes it fundamentally different from, say, judo ukemi? More to the point, what are the basic exercises and how does one do them in such a way that one does not breakfall on a sensitive part of one’s anatomy, say, the face? As I am wont to do :oops:>

Post: bamboo:

This is one of those questions that simply cannot be answered with a post.

Exercises I use to teach people how to breakfall usually include a “fish out of water” exercise where you start on your back and toss side to side mimicking a breakfall and the all time favourite “unroll”. To begin breakfalls I teach people to forward roll first then to start in the roll but at the end “extend thier limbs” to start breaking the fall.

Like I said, this is not a good medium for teaching such a specific technique principle. I would suggest watchig an advanced class or two to see good breakfalls then watch some beginners learning how.

-bamboo>

Post: Wilhelm von Wänkensteïn:

Thanks for the primer, bamboo. Would the idea of the thing be learning how to relax into a fall so one just sort of flops gently onto the ground rather than slamming hard into it, then?>

Post: Raftrider:

[quote=Wilhelm von Wänkensteïn Thanks for the primer, bamboo. Would the idea of the thing be learning how to relax into a fall so one just sort of flops gently onto the ground rather than slamming hard into it, then?[/quote 
My sensei tells us to do something similar to that, but you’re probably better off listening to Bamboo’s advice.>

Post: bamboo:

Quote:
Would the idea of the thing be learning how to relax into a fall so one just sort of flops gently onto the ground rather than slamming hard into it, then?

Relaxation is a major part of the fall, but it must be controlled relaxation. I think a major key is to realize when to fall. If you wait too long all the relaxation will do is allow for an easier joint tear, go too early and nage just gets annoyed because the throw was fake. I tell people to fall on their own terms. You know when your balance is taken and when the struggle would only be in vain, its at that point that you take the fall and then you can better control the landing with a “relaxed confidence”.

This is as I said very difficult to describe via the internet, I will see about maybe filming some breakfall practice to post if possible, this would be far easier to facilitate the understanding of breakfalls.

Take care,

bamboo>

Post: Li Shen Long:

bamboo, I have found a sporting club here in Cairo that teaches Kyokushin Karate and Aikido, I am calling this club tomorrow morning to get the proper information. I am wondering, is Aikido truly fit for all types of people? I am pretty big (6’3” and 250 Lbs), I would like to know if this art is very…physically demanding? I mean, is it suited for any body size or type? To be quite honest reading your posts has made me consider Aikido over Kyokushin Karate, I also think that this instructor will incorporate the knowledge of both arts into each class… which is excellent. I know that martial arts is physically demanding, I am not worried about getting bruises or getting hurt, actually i’m looking forward to it, but don’t take that the wrong way… I mean that as a form of discipline. I’m just wondering if the art is appropriate for someone as big as me? Also, when you were describing the art and what to expect and such… that’s pretty much what i’m looking for in a martial art. Anyways, take care and thanks in advance!>

Post: setsu nin to:

Body size wont make any problem to you with Aikido.>

Post: bamboo:

Quote:
I am pretty big (6’3” and 250 Lbs

That is the average size of the guys in my dojo, I’m one of the smaller guys at 5’9″ 205ish lbs.

As Far as physically demanding, it depends on the dojo. Our shihan has the younger guys go at it very hard in our organization but as you proggress you need less and less effort to execute the techniques, but nage (the attacker) should attack stronger and stronger. It really depends on the sensei. I really hope you get a good class and teacher, it makes all the difference in the world.

good luck, :)

-bamboo>

Post: Li Shen Long:

Well, my hopes just got smashed down again. I found out that the sensei doesn’t speak a lick of english and that it’s extremely overpriced, so that club is completely out of the question. One of my dad’s employees use to be in the military here and he has a good friend who opened up a dojo, he teaches Kung Fu and he knows of another dojo that does Karate. Now i’m not exactly sure what “kind” of Kung Fu or Karate it is but i’m finding out, in fact this paticular employee has many connections so he’s finding all the quality dojo’s around here for me. So I have to make a choice out of what options I have, Karate or Kung Fu? He may possibly find more dojo’s so i’ll have to give him some time to do the research.>

Post: shurite44:

[quote=setsu nin to Mumblyj00

Aikido

Ai

Ki

Do
[/quote 

bamboo I thought you may be interested that the two characters Ai Ki reversed is how one would write Kia, the spirit shout used in karate. :)>

Post: meathead:

yo everyone just joined up

i got some questions for aikido
– now i’ve seen the masters use minimum movement and people look like they are throwing themselfs just so their arms wouldn’t be twisted, it realy feels like it’s a mistake they get used to and those minimum twists wouldn’t work like that on an person with no aikido experience?

– soft styles usualy use the force of your opponent to do a counter move
would aikido be in a bad situation in you used like quick jabs on him and quickly contracting your arm so he couldn’t grab it?

– so just how good is aikido agenst an undisciplined street fighter
(usualy the kind that grabs your shirt and starts wacking you with everything he’s got)

ever heard of shodokan club?
if it’s any good?>

Post: TKDman:

[quote=meathead yo everyone just joined up

i got some questions for aikido
– now i’ve seen the masters use minimum movement and people look like they are throwing themselfs just so their arms wouldn’t be twisted, it realy feels like it’s a mistake they get used to and those minimum twists wouldn’t work like that on an person with no aikido experience?[/quote 
I’ll try and answer some of these, but bear with me since I’ve only had Aikido for a year. If you don’t believe those “minimum twists” would be enough to force you to the ground, ask for a demonstration at an Aikido dojo. The only thing stopping nage from torquing hard on uke’s wrist is the fact that uke’s wrist is now hurt and you’ll run out of uke’s eventually. You can say the same thing about bjj armlocks. They’re not applying them that hard. Why? Because they’ll break people’s arms! But i’m pretty sure an armlock will still work on someone with no “bjj” experience.

Anecdotally, every new person that has come to the dojo I train in has been thrown (if less gracefully) just as well as any of the regulars.

[quote=meathead – soft styles usualy use the force of your opponent to do a counter move
would aikido be in a bad situation in you used like quick jabs on him and quickly contracting your arm so he couldn’t grab it?[/quote 
I believe this is partially why the Aikido stance is the way it is. It’s encouraging a committed attack. But wrist throws are not the only techniques in Aikido. Nage should probably be aware of the ma-ai (distance) between himself and the other person to stay out of range of a jab until a more committed attack is thrown. The real expert on Aikido here is bamboo. He can answer your questions better than I can.

[quote=meathead – so just how good is aikido agenst an undisciplined street fighter
(usualy the kind that grabs your shirt and starts wacking you with everything he’s got)[/quote 
This is a question with no good answer. There are too many factors involved to answer it one way or another.>

Post: bamboo:

I would only suggest to TKDman and also to answer the original questions.

Don’t wait for a committed attack. If your in a real situation then take the offensive and force the response you need. Too many aikido people (IMHO) want to to do demonstration quality technique in real life. Ikkyo is ugly if done right to someone trying to impose thier will on you.

Quote:
soft styles usualy use the force of your opponent to do a counter move
would aikido be in a bad situation in you used like quick jabs on him and quickly contracting your arm so he couldn’t grab it?

If an aikidoka is grabbing you, he has no clue what they should be doing. We don’t grab.

Quote:
so just how good is aikido agenst an undisciplined street fighter
(usualy the kind that grabs your shirt and starts wacking you with everything he’s got)

Worked for me, but then that was me and not you.

Quote:
ever heard of shodokan club?
if it’s any good?

Its an offshoot of tomiki sport aikido. Its debated whether they practice aikido. Resistant randori practiced in any style will improve your chosen art.>

Post: meathead:

Quote:
If an aikidoka is grabbing you, he has no clue what they should be doing. We don’t grab.

realy? what do they do then (i mean i got no aikido experience)
Quote:

Quote:
Its an offshoot of tomiki sport aikido. Its debated whether they practice aikido. Resistant randori practiced in any style will improve your chosen art.

so this aikido club is more sport orientated?
is that bad or good?>

Post: bamboo:

Quote:
If an aikidoka is grabbing you, he has no clue what they should be doing. We don’t grab.

realy? what do they do then (i mean i got no aikido experience)

The problem with grabbing is that your intention is focused on one spot. Aikido is about getting into a superiour position so that you have complete control of your own balance and are then able to affect the other persons balance with hand placement and turning.
As a beginners, aikidoka practice technique, as they progress they should begin to see that all the techniques are basically variations of one common theme…we call it “ikkyo” or the first teaching. As good as someone can be at executing “technique”, they will soon realize that most technique simply will not work, its the off balancing and maintaining of a “connection” (read control) that will make the aggressor basicaly through himself.

Grabbing happens, but then their are ALOT of really crappy aikidoka that just don’t get it out there.

Many argue this point with me and thats fine, but I will state that I have yet to have anyone without the above stated understanding use aikiwaza to move me.

-bamboo>

Post: samurai6string:

Hey Bamboo, have you ever read “Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere,” by Mark Ratti and O. Westbrook? It is one of my all time fav. MA books, and I don’t even study Aikido! :) It is just so indepth and wonderful. I train in Jujitsu and like how some of the ideas are parallel. I’d like to train Aikido some day. I feel the same way about the idea of “techniques” vs the underlying principle behind them. If you understand “why” something works instead of memorizing elaborate moves in sequence, it frees your mind having to overthink itself, IMHO.>

Post: bamboo:

Honestly,

I’m not a fan of the book. It represents only one view of one man (koichi Tohei) while the authors followed him around.
Somelike it, some don’t.

-bamboo>

Post: samurai6string:

not to hijack here, but what don’t you like about it Bamboo? (just curious, as i said I haven’t studied Aikido)>

Post: bamboo:

Exactly what I wrote before. Its one mans point of view through the eyes of people just following him around. People would come to our dojo with a copy of the book under arm and get annoyed because the aikido we practiced was not like in the book.

Like I said, its one perspective and does not represent most of aikido.

-bamboo>

Post: meathead:

a guy told me that he tried aikido and e said it was unrealistic
i didn’t get to ask him why does he think that, so do you know why he said it?>

Post: bamboo:

I’m fairly certain I’m not the guy so I don’t know what he meant. :wink:

Heres the scoop, martial arts training is not realistic period. Like any martial arts, there are good aikido dojos and crappy ones. You have to find what you want.>

Post: JCSamurai:

Bamboo I am an aikidoka (shodan) testing at the beginning of the year 2006 for Nidan, and I must say you are on the ball. great job.>

Post: soktjoky89:

I have 2 questions for you.

Do you know a way to safely handcuff someone from Shinhonage? My sensei’s sensei always had a reward to anyone who can figure a way to do it.

Also does anyone have a copy of a film where O’Sensei is up against 5 Marines on a rooftop? If so, where can I get a copy and how much?>

Post: samurai6string:

I’ve read an account of it in Jay Gluck’s Zen Combat, he helped arrange for the Marines to be there. They were MPs I believe. I didn’t know there was a vid of it, if there is I would like to see it as well.>

Post: bamboo:

Quote:
Do you know a way to safely handcuff someone from Shinhonage? My sensei’s sensei always had a reward to anyone who can figure a way to do it.

Its fairly simple. There are two ways to execute the technique, one as “open” (uke must breakfall)where the throw could result in a dislocated elbow and the other is “closed” (uke does a safe backroll) where the throw is made more to the back, thus protecting uke.

Take the “open” version of the technique, forget the throwing aspect and turn it into a control keeping uke off balance. Its is uke’s own resistance to falling that makes this a usefull control. :wink:

Quote:
Bamboo I am an aikidoka (shodan) testing at the beginning of the year 2006 for Nidan, and I must say you are on the ball. great job

Thank you very much. You are too kind. :oops:>

Post: mitchellje:

Mumblyj00:

The kanji for ai means meeting or something like that. The dictonary conjugation would be au which means to meet. It can be used in the sense of something less tangible like aiki (meeting with ki) or more tangible like meeting with your friend (tomodachi o au).>

Post: Tea_Leaf:

[quote=bamboo 
Quote:
Do you know a way to safely handcuff someone from Shinhonage? My sensei’s sensei always had a reward to anyone who can figure a way to do it.

Its fairly simple. There are two ways to execute the technique, one as “open” (uke must breakfall)where the throw could result in a dislocated elbow and the other is “closed” (uke does a safe backroll) where the throw is made more to the back, thus protecting uke.

Take the “open” version of the technique, forget the throwing aspect and turn it into a control keeping uke off balance. Its is uke’s own resistance to falling that makes this a usefull control. :wink:
[/quote 

What are you jibber jabbering about Fool. You need to control the outside arm so you can finish with the cuffs. :)

My best working suggestion for this is start shiho-nage from ryote-dori. As you move through the throw do not try to grab Uke or reverse the grip on your wrists in anyway. You are going to rely completely on Uke to maintain contact with you. This style movement relies heavily on timing and the threat of you striking out if Uke releases your wrists at any time. Do a full shomen cut (with open hands) behind Uke and project into the ground dropping to your knees. If you try this with a training partner go slow to give them a chance to sit back into the pin. You should finish in good sieza (back straight, no leaning) with hand projecting into the ground behind Uke?s head. Uke?s inside (closest) arm should be bent back in shiho-nage position and the ouside (far) arm should be wrapped over their own neck so both of Uke?s hands are pinned to one side of Uke?s head.

So he?s still has you and you have him?now what? Now you need to grab one of Uke?s wrists and then free your other hand. The outside hand is probably the easiest to try this with since it should be stacked on top of the inside hand. Narrow the wrist you want to free and push it through the space between Uke?s thumb and forefinger. If you are worried about Uke letting go of their grip with their outside hand you have an inside knee you can bring up and apply pressure with to the back of Uke?s arm. It?s not very Ai-Ki, but then neither are handcuffs. Once you have your hand free you could try applying the cuffs. If this is not workable or you can only get one wrist, I would suggest controlling the outside arm and rolling Uke onto their stomach and moving into Ikyo pin. You may no longer be in shiho-nage but at least you can get both of Uke?s arms behind his back.

You could also try finishing this movement with a wrestling choke since you have an arm wrapped around Uke?s neck, but you need to find someone qualified in wrestling for further discussion about that idea.

I should point out that while this style of Shiho-nage is not commonly depicted in books it is completely legitimate. This is essentially a derivative of how you would do shiho-nage if someone grabbed both your wrists while you where holding a sword/boken and had to clear them off fast.>

Post: zefff:

:lol: WAR AIKIDOKA!!!!!

*zefff grabs his jalepeno nachos and guacamole dip and gets comfy in his chair*>

Post: bamboo:

Tealeaf-

Unlike you, I see no point in writing out long technical explanations to people that do not practice. If they do, then they’ll take the suggestions and try till they discover it for themselves.

My post is in no way contradictive to yours, but then you some how where able to go back in time and read whatever I must :roll: have had in my head that day.

Now to business, what you described is heavily dependant on uke, and your assuming that if uke lets go you will be able to strike, hmmmm, is this the option the police officer wants? Have you tested this with a resisting non aikido partner? I have.

I see no point on dropping to the knees, if you do a proper ura movement you will effectively have placed uke in such a position where an easy transition to sankyo can be obtained, sankyo of course being used as one the most traditional police control techniques out there. Heck, if your assuming as you mentioned that its a two handed grab then the ura movement from shihonage can just as easily turn into a very nice udekimeosae which in turn can be easily transitioned into the before mentioned sankyo control.

Notice I mentioned a control in the original post and not a throw? Thats for the simple reason that if you do you go down to the ground you now risk having to grapple. As well, sometimes turning a throw into a control gives you a better position to do what was originally intended, which was in this case to cuff someone.

My shihonage works quite nicely thank you and turned into nice osae waza when practiced with that intent.

Perhaps you can make what you described work for you, but don’t tell me what i do is rubbish until you’ve actually practiced or expereineced it.

-bamboo>

Post: Tea_Leaf:

My apologies, I didn?t mean to say that your answer was in any way wrong, just that it ignored the specifics of soktjoky89?s question. For example, there was no mentioned of police, just handcuffs and shiho-nage. Perhaps soktjoky89 has a non-police application for handcuffs in mind. I make no assumptions. :) Either way, when you didn?t have anything more insightful to suggest than finishing with a pin instead of a throw, I thought it might make the effort to offer up a more specific idea for consideration. And that’s all it is…an idea.>

Post: bamboo:

Honestly, i enjoyed your post, i guess it was when you called “rubbish” that I got my back up.

Welcome to FA :D .

-bamboo>

Post: Tea_Leaf:

[quote=bamboo Honestly, i enjoyed your post, i guess it was when you called “rubbish” that I got my back up.

Welcome to FA :D .

-bamboo[/quote 

I didn’t use the word “rubbish”. 8O

Them’s fighting words.>

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