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Practicing modern Aikido is not martially effective

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Practicing modern Aikido is not martially effective

Postby Francis Takahashi » Mon Sep 15, 2014 8:46 am

A long running debate has been quietly but consistently running in the minds of most Aikido veterans as to whether the Aikido they practice, as similar to that practiced in the vast majority of dojos, can actually be useful in a real fight. To admit that their training, despite the many and desirable benefits of training in a harmonious and no harm environment, is fundamentally deficit in real skills development, would be tantamount to heresy. After all, didn't the Aikikai yudansha ranks come directly from the House that Ueshiba built? Isn't there a long and respectable line of former direct students of the Founder who have paved the way for our style of training to be valid and representative of the Founder's legacy?

The Founder was consistent in affirming his creation to be “True Budo”, and was always ready to demonstrate the effectiveness of his art form to any who doubted the integrity of his art's legitimacy, or of his ability to deliver indisputable proof. As a younger man, he reportedly took on many highly skilled martial artists who requested such a match. Even in his military experiences, he was known to prevail in all instances, even to the point of death being a final outcome.

There is also ample proof that his prewar students, especially, were quite renown in applying their skills in all circumstances, becoming famous in their own right, and becoming highly respected and acknowledged over time as being amongst the best in their fields. Names like Mochizuki, Tomiki, Shiota, Shirata etc. come readily to mind.

So what, if anything, has changed the general perception, and even perhaps the reality, that the modern version of Aikido practiced world wide lacks the ability to demonstrate true martial effectiveness. Are the claims that continue to unequivically affirm proven proficiency, largely false, misguided and disingenuous? Are the criticisms and judgments by other martial arts experts actually correct in dismissing any real claims by the Aikido faithful, to assert proven martial effectiveness amongst the vast majority of Aikido teachers, shihans, and students practicing today?

Perhaps the postwar attitudes towards creating a lasting peace amongst former warring nations has been a factor in diminishing the need for any combat legitimacy. If so, why has the world once again become undeniably hostile, with aggravated examples of threats and actual invasions of sovereign states for the sake of property acquisition, natural resouces, and economic enrichment.Not only smaller countries have been targeted, but the superpowers as well.

To me, the starting point towards understanding how this question should be answered, must be related to how we accurately and universally choose to define the human equation in the world today. Have we ignored all the past scientific and historical evidence of mankind's penchant for violence in solving issues of territorial expansion and significantly enhanced economic gain? Are these belligerent groups that mindlessly advocate violence in reaching their goals, reacting to real threats to their people as survival issues? Or are they being manipulated by greedy and power hungry despots, who continually demonstrate zero regard and maximum contempt for basic human rights, and feel justified in disturbing the world order. without fear of consequences?
The tough questions are many, and the workable answers remain appallingly few.

I also see that our demonstrated character and real time behavior, are actual mirrors of what the Universe reveals to us about irrefutable reality, and the inevitability of change, almost always violent in nature. The observable Universe is essentially a living record of violent, unpredictable and inevitable changes that make extinctions, and the death and rebirth of solar systems a matter of course. “Peace” is a man made notion, completely denying the prima facie evidence staring into our faces on a daily basis. The degree of the inevitability of constant change varies, ooffering us the illusion of periods of relative quiet and stability in our existence. But woe to anyone who takes these illlusionary periods of “stability” for granted, and fail to see them for what they really are, rare phases of quiet between changes that are about to take place, usually with great violence in abundance. Our very planet has beneath its very crust, seething evidence of our past, our present and of our future in terms of imminent changes that have happened over the eons, are happening today, and will continue to happen sooner rather than later.

We, as a species, have totally and miserably misread the facts that have allowed us to enjoy our relative good fortune of the last 10,000 years. We are living in an anomoly of time, where the usually extreme violence of natural changes have been miraculously absent, creating the illusion of paradise promised and indefinite. We are so wrong. What will it take for us to wake up to the real danger of self delusion, and to redefine our future as a threatened race that must make serious changes to our thinking, our handling of dwindling natural resources, and the need to work together on a global scale, and to address changing our failed policies, misguided scientific dogma, and to commit to the real need to work together as one common society, to preserve and maintain what we have left for ourselves, and the generations to come.

Our Aikido is a product of these times, and must be appreciated in the context of what we are facing as a species today, and to reaffirm our obligations as stewards of our precious resources, and of finite time, for the sake of our continued existence, and that of our succeeding generations.

We must let go of our fascination of the fantasy of "world peace", and of delusional goals of living in harmony with one another, simply because we were meant to do so. A thousand times wrong! Rather, we must strive constantly to repress the urges that our rampant appetites urge us to satisfy. We must find new ways to treat each other as valuable assets for our interdependent futures. Mutual respect must be directly tied into mutual survival and rational co-existence. If the practice of Aikido helps in this regard, all the more reason to expand the numbers of people who train.

I have no argument with those who practice Aikido for reasons other than for martial effectiveness. Still, it is beyond silly, and needlessly self serving, to pretend that we are indeed honoring the Founder's fundamental legacy of preserving tried and true Budo principles. The vast majority of Aikido practioners would be haplessly mired in confusion, regret and humiliation, if they were forced to face the reality of their fantasy. Hopefully, most of them will not have to.

For a select majority, the decision has been made to eschew what we have called success in Aikido expansion worldwide, and to rethink, reconstruct and remake our attitudes and training systems to more authentically honor the Founder's original model. No need to place blame on the line of Doshus, who have attempted to preserve what Kisshomaru Doshu had changed. That is old history, and need not be an issue for the future. Time will tell as to whether Aikikai Foundation is willing to make major changes to its focus and current mission statement, or to blithely continue on as before. If so, then the door is wide open for a new way of thinking, training and creating new forms of Aikido for the future. If this means an end to the fantasy of a united Aikido identity, so be it. The Universe has already made its position on inevitable change clear, emphatic and final.
Francis Takahashi
Posts: 411
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 5:51 pm

Re: Practicing modern Aikido is not martially effective

Postby Carina Rei » Mon Sep 15, 2014 1:48 pm

Thank you Takahashi Shihan for writing another great article that gives us food for thoughts.

The training in aikido world wide is so different in each dojo, as dojos exist, each teacher learned his aikido from a Shihan and he learned it from another one maybe direct student or student of 2nd or 3rd generation. So in some dojos the training can be very effective martially talking and in others the training may be very soft. For me one of the most important lesson is to train my confidence to act the
best way to come out safe from eventual problems and if possible to protect weaker people in danger.

Yes we live in an ever changing world, our mistake, very human to never be satified with what we have, with how we live. Would we really be happy with "territorial expansion and significantly enhanced economic gain" or would we ever searching for more and more, why human never have enough. We should be grateful for every new day and live it the best we can, treasure every moment with our dear ones and laugh as much as we can.
Carina Rei
Posts: 461
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2011 12:50 am
Location: Gran Canaria - Spain

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