Saturday, December 19, 2009

Verbal Aiki

Putting your stuff out there on YouTube is an interesting experience. I have many films on aikido, juggling, magic, and calligraphy. By and large the responses are positive and people cordial. However You Tube can also be a tough street. The comment boxes are crawling with people who think they know everything there is to know about budo.

Here is one I just got on my AikiBudo Demonstration video

by jryamaguchi

Oh God!!!

"The sensei only make a little movement and the oponent to collapse... this is realy realy FAKE!!!!

The physics means that's not possible

There is the True Aikido but this is a joke"

Well you can't please them all! I know that I am not a kata guru, but it wasn't THAT bad. Actually I almost see this as a compliment because I am beginning to do work that in some people's eyes looks impossible.

(edit) I emailed the above gentlemen a polite message. He responded with this...

"Hi Sensei

First, forgive me my comment about your beautiful art... I just would want to comment only one movement your, the movement that you just move a little your right arm and your opponent falls, just this and no the whole video...

I really like your art too much, but I think that this movement isn't necessary and isn't effective...

Forgive me once again..."


He even subscribed to my channel.

Then I got this constructive piece of criticism from another hot head.

"what the fuck!@!@!@ you seriously suck... you don't face palm them! you take them down from the chin! your a fat american! go die unless you learn this! face it!"

OK, so my first impulse is to delete it or to snap back a biting remark. After looking at the videos this guy posted I realize he is a kid, whose manners are removed by being anonymous on the web. Instead of ignoring the kid I decide this is an excellent teachable moment.

I respond with...

"I understand it is difficult to see what you do not understand.

I look forward to training with you someday in the future. I will write off your disrespectful tone as a sign of immaturity and inexperience. The true nature of budo is 'Jita Kyoei' mutual benefit, or 'together we shine'. I suggest you learn stand together rather than tearing others down.

If you actually train I am looking forward to seeing a video of you and your club."

The next day I get a response...

"ok... ok... but seriously you really don't use there face it's there chin its more affective and wont break there nose"

I have had many exchanges like this in the past few years. I have found it is an interesting way to play with Aiki on the web. How can I change a hostile attackers energy in less than 400 characters? How can I bring harmony to a dynamic encounter?

E-kido, the art of harmony on the web. I guess if you do it from an Iphone it might be I-kido.

The first key is to have a thick skin. Stay centered. Why does it matter what some guy thinks? This sounds easy to stay calm but I remember from my early internet days I would burn with anger for hours over insults like these.

Stop by Sensei Strange's YouTube Channel and insult me sometime! ;)


  1. It's more fun to call you on the phone with anything I want to make fun of you for.... please don't condem me to just posting them.... Oh BTW I am forming a budo singing group.. only verse we know so far is KI--aii!!! so you would fit in too!


  2. Oh, I get my share of comments too!

  3. Yeah, it's pretty amazing the range of comments we've received on the Kaze Uta videos. Mostly, folks are very complimentary and some even ask additional questions or ask that we make videos to deal with issues they have. Very wonderful.

    Then there's the flip side of the coin. I suppose one must take the good with the bad. We should be thankful for difficult people, for they are our teachers. I think some people think your/our stuff isn't the "real" deal because we aren't doing it the exact way the great master so-and-so did it.

    We are studying a martial art. Art. Mine shouldn't have to look like yours. It should be allowed to be expressive and approached from a unique point of view, from my paradigm, for my purpose.