Wednesday, July 1, 2009

10 yard Aiki

I am an iconoclast.

I learn my Aikido now by tearing apart the principles in order to disprove them, or at least to find loopholes in the rules. I challenge now, what as a younger aikidoka was fact expounded by the system of training.

I have found in the past few years a handful of teachers who have a hard time playing by the strict rules that a larger educational system lays down. Search for efficiency at a ranges of human interaction and conflict!

For the past few years I have been teaching a very passive and reactive Aikido. Matl Sensei kicked my butt a few months ago and noticed "you have no attack!" Hussey Sensei has a very, not aggressive, but active and engaged style as well. My previous theories of passivness were not incorrect, but they did not cover the whole of the Aiki experience. There is always more to learn. There are more facetrs and aspects than any one man can ever learn.

So I became involved in the martial arts at the age of 11 in 1985. I was getting beaten up by the football players at my middle school. I grew to hate football and everything about it. I have only seen a few games in my whole life. Then it occured to me they are playing a high speed game of Judo with a ball. It also struck me how difficult it would be to take down a 350 pound, 25 year old athlete fully armored and traveling at 20 miles per hour.

Maybe they are practicing Aiki too. Of course they are going to research the most efficient methods to reach their goals. Sure they collide energies. I have always been taught collison is an Aikido no-no, but is it?

I watched a few football tackle videos, and laid out Waddell Sensei with one. He laughed and joked that I wasn't allowed to do Judo with Matl Sensei anymore, thinking I had learned my technique from classical martial arts.

Maybe we are all searching for maximum efficiency with minimum effort. maybe there are just a sick few of us that can keep up one game, or one flavor of it, for our entire lives.

So without further ado...check out some tackles. If you have been doing martial arts long enough I bet you will start naming off technique names as you see the people go down.

I have never watched a "how to" football video before. They talk a lot like martial artists. They go through safety concerns, and most effective strategies to putting energy into the opponent.

So how is that for being an iconoclast? I am even throwing out and challenging my own thoughts and teachings, and looking to the art forms I had shunned for inspiration!


  1. "I have always been taught collison is an Aikido no-no, but is it?"

    It's funny, i've been mulling over exactly the same concept as expressed in my art. "Is opposing a force in Liuhebafa a no-no?" I've thought of it and id've have to say no.

    But why oppose or collide in the first place?

    If you use the analogy of radar or sonar, opposing or colliding corresponds to the "active ping" of radar and sonar. Pinging gives you vital information as to the intensity and direction of your opponent's force.

    We have to make sure though that we ping only to sense force and not try to directly negate it.


  2. Excellent! Be the iconoclast! Heck, I believe Kano was. The stuff that's worked for hundreds of years is probably still around for a reason, but at the same time, it's up to each generation to take it further than the last.

    As for collisions, I'd say two forces coming at each other and meeting each other at diametrically opposing angle leads to big crash, the two forces canceling each other out. Doesn't do much. A lot of those tackles looked like two forces going towards each other, but the tackler was often coming from an angle, not directly head on, so he was hitting the top part of the "uke", which caused a spin (the top part stopped while the bottom part kept going), or sometimes the bottom part, the legs, so the top part kept going. All the ateme waza of the 17 are like that. It can be very aggressive and violent! Some aikido techniques do the cut-under deal (last one of big ten, some yon kata techniques, etc.)

    So it sounds like what we're seeing is the forces can go at each other, as long as tori's serves not to STOP uke's force, just change it's vector (get the body turning).

    I was all super light for many years, until I had some choice aikidoka just rock my world!

  3. best to have all the tools in the tool box and not get all hung up on pro-active or reactive -- either defense or offense can be good aiki or good ju-- also like the ping comment above-- sometimes you have to set off a charge to sound the depths