From: David Valadez on Sun, 20 Aug 2017 13:01:15 -0600
Seen this video: [url]https://youtu.be/FV4RW7mIXIE[/url] Below are some comments I made on YouTube. Anyone else want to chin in here? - Why is there a need to title this video ""The Disillusionment of Aikido"? Why is it not more accurately titled, "The Disillusionment of MY Aikido"? Or even, more accurately, "How to Adapt Aikido and Aikido Training for Unarmed Dueling"? While one's awakening experience may feel immense and universal, it is only ever based upon one's ignorance. One's ignorance is always and only a very personal thing - a very small thing. We should not universalize our ignorance or the desires upon which it is based. Our own ignorance should not be assigned to everyone else, and nor should our associated awakening experience be considered desirable or needed by everyone else. - Aikido as a whole is a fictional term, a political one. In truth, there are countless "Aikidos." It has been like this from the Founder onwards. Some are better geared toward dueling, some see dueling as a waste of time - an arena felt only important by spiritually immature unreconciled egos. Some are geared toward the use of weapons. Some are geared toward combat (i.e. which is not dueling). Some have no interest whatsoever in martial things of any kind. One could go on and on and this fact would never change no matter how much non-practitioners talk about a single "Aikido" on the Internet and no matter how much younger practitioners that say they practice Aikido are influenced by such talk. The various things Rokus did and did not do are personal to his own practice. He is not representative of a great many Aikido practitioners, and many of those practitioners could have told him long before he realized it in a ring that he was set for a rude awakening. In truth, his supposed insights and aspirations from said awakening, along with his own ignorance that preceded it, should remain particular to him. If Rokus wanted insight into "Aikido," before looking outward (which is not a bad thing necessarily), he should travel and see all the other Aikido that is out there. This will help him lose his sense of Aikido, that singular fiction which does not exist, and by doing so he will find his own. Otherwise, stop Aikido, prioritize dueling environments, and practice BJJ if you control for strikes, or MMA if you don't. That would be a much quicker and more comfortable route to take. - Really? Dueling in a ring with rules and no weapons is actual fighting? Hardly. - You're describing duels still. I think Rokas and Roy are describing duels too. And that's fine. As long as duels are your thing, then let them be your thing. Cool. My point however is that a great many Aikido practitioners are not training for duels, and a great deal more think that duels are best solved by maturing spiritually. This is because duels and unreconciled pride are so intimately connected. I would agree with you that duels come with either stated rules or subconsciously accepted shared cultural assumptions. So yes, this is why duels that happen in bars between intoxicated young males, for example, seldom go to biting or eye gouging or to pulling a knife. They don't often involve murder. Etc. But because of this one is only dealing with a subset of human violence - not with all of human violence. Take another area, such as Law Enforcement. There are no rules for the criminals, and there are always weapons present, and no one is looking to shake hands and go their separate way after things are all done. Criminals are not looking to gain points or save pride. They are looking to avoid arrest by violently incapacitating, even by murdering, an officer - doing so by any means necessary. From this perspective, duels are rituals or games - not the whole or even the most real kind of violence. They are a test of skills under a certain set of shared assumptions. From the dueling perspective, for example, long hair and a lack of strength can be a zero issue. From this other perspective, way before the absence of weapons is even criticized, long hair and a lack of physical strength is going to be made an issue. From this other perspective, addressing this other type of human violence, you're going to taught how to squat and deadlift and told to cut your ponytail off before you even start worrying about what techniques are martial or not. - The issues I raised are not related to sparring or the absence of sparring. Sparring and other kinds of live training environments should always be a part of one's training if one's goal is technical access and application under stressful and speed-of-life conditions. I agree. My stated issue with the video was on a different point and was twofold: I am critical of how Rokas inappropriately generalized the art as a singular whole, with his own Aikido practice being not only representative of that whole but an emblem for that whole; and, second, that his quest to make his own Aikido more martial is merely a quest to make his Aikido more duel appropriate. The latter described effort is moot in my opinion because MMA as it is commonly understood (boxing, Muay Thai, wrestling, and BJJ) is already perfectly adapted to unarmed duels. If unarmed duels are your thing, it's ridiculous to adapt an Aikido for such purposes, especially from a starting point of a lower level Aikido skill while using the assistance of others having a lower level Aikido skill. Such adaptation is not only a waste of time, it is likely impossible. Just do MMA, learn that craft with the help of these great teachers, and the solution for that problem is solved. However, due to the aforementioned impossibility of such an adaptation, you are not doing and will not be doing Aikido. Your doing MMA, and any inclusion of Aikido's Kihon Waza training paradigm and/or its culture is a waste of time. (Note: This remains true even if one is seeking skills such as timing, connection, blending, yielding, etc., since these martial attributes are also present in the systems/arts that comprise MMA.) Because he does not do this, Rokas is merely going from one misunderstanding to another misunderstanding all the while he makes claims of alignment and allegiance with this great abstract and fictional whole called "Aikido." Instead, as a real warrior would do, he should just have ownership over his own ignorance. It's his journey he's on. It's not Aikido's journey. This makes another more accurately describing video title come to mind for this series: "A Documentation on How I quit Aikido and started doing MMA." But, if he is truly on a quest to make his Aikido more martial and not just more duel appropriate, then rather than looking toward dueling and duelist, he should look deeper into Aikido, and into Aikido's past, beyond his own individual Aikido, past that of his Federation, beyond his teacher's Aikido, outside of his dan ranking, over and above modern marketing discourses on self defense and martial arts training, having nothing to do with what Hollywood says violence is, where the hypothetical bar-fight scenario question never comes up, and where the issue is life-and-death and not win-and-lose. There and then, from there and from then, after learning how to squat and deadlift, and after cutting his ponytail off, he should bring knife and handgun utilization into his practice and look at his own Aikido from and through these weapons. He must also reclaim, if he has not already, Aikido's atemi, ne-waza, and its mechanisms for cultivating spontaneity (takemusu-aiki). He should also find a teacher that can teach him how to ground and project (i.e. Kokyu-Ryoku), since Aikido tactical architectures require and assume this skill, since they cannot reach full functionality just on the skills of Aiki and Musubi. (Note: This kind of teacher is extremely rare in Aikido circles in my experience, and so he may have to look outside of the art for this lost and disappearing skill.) In my opinion, if he were to do this, the assumptions Aikido makes, and the training paradigms it opts for, including its rituals, culture, and spiritual concerns, would begin to make more sense to him. It would be an entirely other way of addressing his rude awakening and it would do so without having his Aikido disappear.