Will You Be Able To Do That Technique When You Are Old?
A slow strike becomes a push and a fast push becomes a strike.
We train slowly focussing mainly on kusushi flows as sort of “pushes” because full impact kansetsuwaza conducted as atemiwaza will do harm.
Unless we could fully restore ourselves overnight like the fictional character, Connor MacLeod played by Christopher Lambert in the movie “Highlander,” “full contact” Aikido training is impossible.
Indeed any training would be impossible although I know some characters who have broken each other’s bones in training “just to see what it feels like.” Each to his own… psychiatrist.
In training it is essential to train INSIDE SAFE LIMITS. This develops The Aikido Body which becomes able to sustain rough treatment more easily because of appropriate yielding and relaxation. Wrestlers have good, no bs aiki-bodies.
The misunderstanding giving rise to such questions as, “Would aikido work in a real fight,” come from the idea that the pushey-pulley, dancey-pansy techniques of some “styles” were the uke are brainwashed into such self delusional states as to take giant leaps and imagine they are doing something “martial” instead of balletic, come from this.
No, the pushey-pulley, dancey-pansy stuff will not work in “a real fight.”
What soft training does, is to awaken the mind and body to notice the best paths, the ki openings where kusushi flows may be deployed with efficiency foremost.
In a real situation, such “softness” is then imbued with power resulting from natural; survival instincts, a totally different paradigm from training or even sporty contest.
Striking a Balance in Training
In training, finding a balance between effective and safe technique is a serious responsibility.
A lot of accusations regarding “collusion” arise out of this. We have to remember that in real life nobody will offer their body and parts to be handled.
For that matter, in real life, you don’t usually get attacked with intent to kill on a daily basis. An attacker will first have measured you and usually ensured they believe you are out numbered, out classed, less armed or at a disadvantage.
Remember this, nobody gets really attacked in a brightly lit, empty room with padded floors. If so, then very seldom.
A real attacker, I’m not speaking of old drunks begging or mum’s at swimming pools. Not even of barroom brawls you can walk out of if you are not the centre of attention.
A real attacker will evaluate his chances of success before embarking on his evil purpose.
Sometimes mistakes will be made, but these should be rare and immediately communicated. No-one, I repeat no-one is a crash test dummy. If you think someone should be your test dummy then please make a beeline for the nearest psychiatrist. You have serious problems.
It may also save you from a surprise visit to jail or a long relationship with wheelchair.
Everyone is made differently. Some are stronger, others more flexible, some more enduring, others faster and so on. The possibilities are endless.
If you want to up the ante you should find someone who meets your measure. And TRAIN! Don’t compete. Competition is for individuals with insecurity issues and self doubts wanting to prove. The purpose of training is to improve.
You can up the challenge indeed, but not without regard or communication. You up the ante by mutual consent to test your limits, not to conduct damage in training.
Training should be fun and it should be safe.
Training should have one overriding rule: SAFETY.
Dangerous training should be conducted softly and with communication.
There are many goals in training and a teacher worth his salt should know most of them and vary a session deliberately and with purpose.
Some classes are for stamina, others for flexibility, hand-to eye coordination can be the focus of yet another, and so on.
Read, watch videos, study, think, contemplate and be flexible.
You cannot test the ultimate effectiveness of a method in training or a sport contest riddled with rules, because a real fight may lead to death. Yours or the other persons. Are you willing to risk that?
Real fights should be avoided at all costs and if your career involves high risk action, then you’ve made a conscious decision to participate in that high risk.
You should leave the dojo with feelings of immense well-being of body, mind and spirit an having been enhanced, not diminished.
But because Aikido is Budo, you should never be unmindful of the risks and life-death possibilities involved.
Above all, in training you modulate and modify techniques and principles to make sure it is safe for all concerned whilst continuing to explore and evaluate efficacy.
Hopefully you will never be attacked.
If you are and if you survive, it will be a tribute to your training.
The dojo is a stage. Real life is more demanding. In training you must always be mindful of the balance between safety and effectiveness both in conducing and receiving any action.
The balance between precision and compassion will then extend into all things.
Will You Be Able To Do That Technique When You Are Old?
If not, what use is it?
The litmus test that defines Aikido is EFFICIENCY and ECONOMY of motion.
Nobody attacks you when you are full of beans, rather when tired, old, sick, worn out, in the middle of a divorce, depleted and so on.
In battle there will be times when you will be malnourished, dehydrated, exhausted.
Minimal output and getting optimal results is good aiki.
This does not mean that you will not add power into a technique in a real situation. Such power cannot be used in training without increase risk of severe injury.
Weak individuals always try to add too much power in training, but in so doing, deprive themselves of finding true power, the so called “inner.”
What is the ” inner” and are you an innie or an outie when it comes to doing things?
Efficiency, sometimes called “laziness,” cannot be tested when hyperactivity and muscle power is getting in the way. Relaxed power is true power because it carries immense reserves and is configured to release it fully. So long as you remain relaxed.
The muscles are for holding up the skeletal frame and for moving it in a balanced and efficient “bare bones” way. Not to try to shove life about. Life can shove back much harder.
Mimicking a form using crude energy without feeling, is neither ki nor aikido of any kind. You have to get ego out the way, risk failing and then NOTICE and DISCOVER the other potentials.
Sure there will be mistakes. Mistakes are learning curves intended for good training. You learn best from error and error is nature’s educative method. Make mistakes, notice them, acknowledge and then set about correction. This is Budo.
In order to learn to succeed where it matters, you first have to learn to fail in a safe environment.
In a dangerous environment this is not an option because it could be permanent. In the field of battle mistakes are not an option. There is only one mandate, win and do so decisively.
Young people are programmed by nature to expend excess energy. This, in ancient times increased the possibility of survival through the traumas of primitive life.
Maturing gracefully carries the necessity of letting go. Some resist, others make it an art form.
Finding the EFFICIENT WAY in all things is a gain, but not in the way usually presumed.
Efficiency augments skill exponentially. It is the same principle a gearing, be this money or the engine of a car. A well geared car uses less petrol. Well geared money grows. Well cultivated food crops require minimal maintenance and no to additives or pest repellants.
Well geared battle skill is not wasteful, safer and more effecting increasing, if not ensuring, your chances of success.
Who is it that does not want this?
But who is it that is prepared to do the WORK to achieve this state of increased efficiency?
And who is it who is prepared to do that most confronting, yet essential of things: TO LET GO?
Ahh, there’s the rub… and so people cheat and waste more time doing so, than the smaller fraction of time input required to get the actual and real result.
Work ethic can be geared also.
Aikido improves with age but only when you train regularly.
O’Sensei thrashed some yakuza who tried to mug him in Tokyo in his 80’s or so. In the news last year an old marine did something similar.
That’s spirit, not daydreaming of parables and daises you will end pushing up if you fail to train properly.
How do you get it?
There are oldies in their 80s in Okinawa who still train hard Karate-do, grow their own organic food and are ahead in every way and healthier, than the younger generation who eat crap and spend all day at keyboards.
It’s choice of lifestyle.
By training and LEARNING from training. By NOTICING CLEARLY and THINKING FOR YOURSELF, you will increase you skill and also your ability to continue to learn and be capable.
Furthermore, training keeps you younger than your chronological age as compared to those who sit and decide to “retire” and then work hard at vegetating.
And with regard those efficient and natural action techniques, they never leave you. The fancy forced stuff was never worth anything anyhow.
The Aikido Body-Mind is the gentle and gradual spiritual credit of transformation earned over time, in the Do of honest training, searching for the answers as they are, in accord with the Great Harmony that is Nature and the Universe. This means confronting oneself, the discomfort of a disciplined lifestyle and never giving up.
It is a lifelong process of refining the self-gratifying hairless chimp to become instead conscious, sensitive and benevolent towards all life and thereby Hito Jinja.