Friday, August 03, 2007

The wrong yardstick

Bravo! This is a fine video essay on the effectiveness of aikido. It mirrors some of the material I have written on effectiveness here and here. I don't especially like this person's definition of aikido as 'the thing that Ueshiba invented,' (my paraphrase) because that makes it a static thing. A dead thing. Tomiki and many, many others have made advances on Ueshiba's ideas. As I wrote in a recent article, I consider Ueshiba's ideas of aikido to be the first, but not the last. But upon the idea of the effectiveness of aikido as a martial art, I think this is a very fine video response.


  1. That's a very well-spoken and rational response to all of the "my martial art's better than yours" posts on the web.

    Thanks for posting it.

  2. One of the things I find interesting is listening to people compare and contrast martial arts that have a strong underlying relationship as though they were utterly different.

    Aikido has a strong relationship to the various sword arts, correct? So does Okinawan karate.

    Somewhere in the dim recesses of time, apparently a couple of visiting Chinese introduced some grappling techniques that became the basis for jujutsu, and that may have subsequently influenced aikijutsu. Likewise, Okinawan karate was influenced by the Chinese arts, quite likely giving rise to its body of tuite and kyusho techniques.

    Check out, if you haven't already, Javier Martinez' book on tuite, and I believe you will note some definite similarities.

    Personally, I became convinced a long time ago that there are only so many ways to strike an opponent, only so many ways to twist a joint, only so many ways you can direct an opponent into the grip of gravity. I think there are more similarities between the major martial arts than there are differences, if only one has eyes to see.

  3. hi Patrick, i'm glad you enjoyed my little vlog, and i just wanted to give my reply to your comment about my remark that aikido was 'the thing that Ueshiba invented'.

    because i have a tendency to ramble a bit (or as my best friend puts it, "giving too much spurious information"), i had to consciously keep my youtube vids as short as i can, and limit my rants to specific subcomponents of what i wanted to talk about.

    as you can imagine, doing so is like describing parts of an elephant at a time and does injustice to the issue as a whole - and especially for aikido, which has a very ethereal form (ha! another aikido oxymoron).

    but back to the matter at hand, i agree with you that aikido is not, and should not be, static. in fact, my dreams are that one day i will have "my own aikido". o-sensei found his path, and i seek to find/create my own some day.

    i guess in the context of the vlog i was making at the time, i had to contain my views to what was most relevant at that time. so looking at a very small linear pathway of aikido's 'birth', it was really morihei ueshiba's migration from jujutsu to what we now know as 'aikido' based on his philosophical/religious leanings.

    but where we will go/are going/had gone from there, is of course, a different story altogether.



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