Friday, March 21, 2014

The intersection set

Judo and Aikido are related arts - you might even say they are sister arts.  We often go so far as to say they are the same thing (sometimes we qualify that by adding, "but not really.")  This relationship between judo and aikido goes right back to the beginning - both were at least partially derived from Kito-ryu.  The relationship can be seen more recently in that the judo that our group does (1950's Kodokan judo influenced by Kotani and Osawa) is highly-related to the aikido that we do (as taught by Tomiki at Waseda in the 1950's).  It is difficult to examine Kodokan Goshin Jutsu and not see Tomiki/Ohba Koryu no kata and vice versa.
So, you might say that 1950's judo and Tomiki aikido are different arts with highly-overlapping domains.  In a Venn diagram, they would have a large intersection set, including...

  • Basic posture (shizentai) is predominant instead of jigotai or hanmi
  • The same ukemi skills are taught and used in both
  • Many ukiwaza/tewaza are shared between the two arts

There are, of course elements that find themselves in the domain of one art but not the other (not intersection set).  For instance, the domain of judo includes ...

  • ashiwaza
  • greater variety of koshiwaza
  • sutemiwaza
  • shimewaza
  • newaza
  • kumikata (gripfighting)
  • resistive randori

...while the domain of aikido includes more...

  • solo exercises (tankdoku undo)
  • connection practice (hanasu dosa, musubi renshu)
  • suwariwaza
  • tekubiwaza
  • weapons work
  • hand randori

But hang on here for a minute.  There is nothing saying that these things have to be the domain of one art or the other.  Why cant we start (judiciously) moving more of the material into the intersection set such that players of both arts have explicit permission to make use of it.
For instance...

  • Tomiki originally envisioned the tandoku undo of aikido as a "Judo taiso" or a sport-specific warmup.
  • Kumikata and Hanasu have the same purpose and a great overlap in skills.
  • Suwariwaza and newaza are just different modes of groundwork practice.
  • Some aikidoka have had success working with ashiwaza, koshiwaza, and shimewaza
  • Roy Dean (BJJ and Judo guy) has had some success with working the tekubiwaza (for instance) into BJJ.

By "judiciously" I mean, we should not necessarily pile all of judo and all of aikido into one pile and do all of it together, because not all of each art fits well with the other.  It might take some time to figure out where each piece of the puzzle fits, but I say we should be working toward shifting more material into the intersection set.

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Patrick Parker
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