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WFMurphyPhD
3/31/2017 11:59am,
I have posted before that I am not an Aikidoka, and that I am not a big fan of cult elements or magic chi power flavors that are sometimes found in some Aikido environments but that I also don't think that Aikido training has nothing to offer in the right contexts.

A couple of years ago I taught some classes at an honors university where most of the student base had perfect SAT scores and were very bright, but many of them had no coordination, and no physical education regarding the athletic or even everyday functional use of their own body, etc.

At that college, myself and a few others decided to offer a for credit "Introduction To Martial Arts" class for a couple credits as an incentive to get the students involved in a physical activity. I was one of the BJJ/Judo instructors, and we also had three Aikido instructors who helped teach the class, and while the students were given a broad introductory survey of BJJ, Judo, and Aikido, they had some latitude for which of the activities they wanted to spend the most time on.

I don't know that there is really harm in having students with no current coordination or physical education starting with Aikido before moving on to Judo or BJJ or Wrestling etc.

I expect those who disagree to post that Aikido practice might be a waste of their time, or might give them false confidence.

But as a basic form of initial physical education for those who never really had any and are not in good physical condition, I think Aikido might be an appropriate first art in the following situations:
1) For those students that might have difficulty starting with a higher impact activity,
2) For those students who have so little physical education or coordination that simply learning how to walk in balance and with posture would be beneficial,
3) For those students who really can't psychologically handle an activity where there is grappling style contact or where they might get punched or kicked, whether as an initial unfamiliar situation or because of past incidents relating to trauma, PTSD, sexual abuse, etc.
4) For those students who would benefit from starting with activity that had regular falling / ukemi practice (which is really everybody).
5) And, finally, as I have posted before, for those long time martial artists in harder style martial arts whose bodies gave out (full knee replacements etc) that just want to continue being on the mats and playing with kuzushi principles, and/or having a social or stress relieving activity, especially if they feel they can no longer safely practice their preferred martial arts/sports due to physical disability.

So, even though I remain opposed to cult like elements that are found in some Aikido schools, and even though I am opposed to any martial arts school that tries to convince people that magic powers exist, and even though I realize that Aikido on its own has severe limitations as a hand to hand defense art, I remain open minded that Aikido training may have potentially useful purposes in the right contexts.

Tranquil Suit
3/31/2017 12:02pm,
Better option for those groups: PT.

I.e. jogging, gymnastics, weights, etc, ...

WFMurphyPhD
3/31/2017 12:03pm,
Better option for those groups: PT.

I.e. jogging, gymnastics, weights, etc, ...

All also fine choices. I would add: swimming. Or ballroom dancing. Any form of physical education that gets them off of their butts and away from the electronic screen.

BKR
3/31/2017 12:15pm,
I have posted before that I am not an Aikidoka, and that I am not a big fan of cult elements or magic chi power flavors that are sometimes found in some Aikido environments but that I also don't think that Aikido training has nothing to offer in the right contexts.

A couple of years ago I taught some classes at an honors university where most of the student base had perfect SAT scores and were very bright, but many of them had no coordination, and no physical education regarding the athletic or even everyday functional use of their own body, etc.

At that college, myself and a few others decided to offer a for credit "Introduction To Martial Arts" class for a couple credits as an incentive to get the students involved in a physical activity. I was one of the BJJ/Judo instructors, and we also had three Aikido instructors who helped teach the class, and while the students were given a broad introductory survey of BJJ, Judo, and Aikido, they had some latitude for which of the activities they wanted to spend the most time on.

I don't know that there is really harm in having students with no current coordination or physical education starting with Aikido before moving on to Judo or BJJ or Wrestling etc.

I expect those who disagree to post that Aikido practice might be a waste of their time, or might give them false confidence.

But as a basic form of initial physical education for those who never really had any and are not in good physical condition, I think Aikido might be an appropriate first art in the following situations:
1) For those students that might have difficulty starting with a higher impact activity,
2) For those students who have so little physical education or coordination that simply learning how to walk in balance and with posture would be beneficial,
3) For those students who really can't psychologically handle an activity where there is grappling style contact or where they might get punched or kicked, whether as an initial unfamiliar situation or because of past incidents relating to trauma, PTSD, sexual abuse, etc.
4) For those students who would benefit from starting with activity that had regular falling / ukemi practice (which is really everybody).
5) And, finally, as I have posted before, for those long time martial artists in harder style martial arts whose bodies gave out (full knee replacements etc) that just want to continue being on the mats and playing with kuzushi principles, and/or having a social or stress relieving activity, especially if they feel they can no longer safely practice their preferred martial arts/sports due to physical disability.

So, even though I remain opposed to cult like elements that are found in some Aikido schools, and even though I am opposed to any martial arts school that tries to convince people that magic powers exist, and even though I realize that Aikido on its own has severe limitations as a hand to hand defense art, I remain open minded that Aikido training may have potentially useful purposes in the right contexts.

Rather than criticizing Aikido as it is generally practiced...

You could easily design a judo/bjj program that was lower impact, and emphasized developing ABC'S as appropriate for the level of people in the class.

I'm thinking picking a stage in the LTAD and adapting to uncoordinated, unathletic geeks. You would have to use some judgement and modify it on the fly, but I bet it would work.

I've offered to the parents at our Judo club to do a "judo aerobics" type class (really a fitness class). Sometimes one or two will join in on warmups and sport-specific warmups.

They would be learning Judo but at a slower pace and with emphasis on fundamental movements. Not a lot (any) heavy contact, though.

http://www.judocanada.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/LTAD-judo-stages.pdf
http://sportforlife.ca/qualitysport/stages/

BKR
3/31/2017 12:17pm,
I've never seen aikido taught in a manner truly consistent with modern training methods/principles. No building overall core athletic competency before diving into art-specific movements and exercises...

Tranquil Suit
3/31/2017 12:22pm,
@OP: I summarize your op/ed as: "It's better than nothing."

Okay, but doing something "LIGHT", can still be executed badly. Which is usually the case in Aikido (PT-wise AND MA-wise). More efficient and more fun options are available.

WFMurphyPhD
3/31/2017 12:26pm,
I've never seen aikido taught in a manner truly consistent with modern training methods/principles. No building overall core athletic competency before diving into art-specific movements and exercises...

In the intro course that was taught, the Aikido portion was twice a week for about 14 weeks, the instructors focused mainly on falling, walking in posture, open palm shomenate to the face, the physics of off balance and kuzushi, and basic wrist releases. All the students in the class, regardless of their preferred area of specialization were required to study materials and be tested on infection, infection prevention, injury, injury prevention, first aid, and the ethics of using violence, ie rules of engagement and when is violence justified.

The Aikido instructors told us they used an Aikido curriculum specifically drawn up as a college physical education program originally compiled by Kenji Tomiki, while he was employed to teach Judo and Aikido as Japanese university physical education. They had every lesson plan written out a head of time. Their sections were basic, academic in nature, and probably what you would expect for students to experience in a 1 or 2 credit physical education university elective. The class was not designed to produce fighters nor be a hard core self-defense class in all cases. If you saw the participating demographic, you would understand the limits of what could be taught in the short class very well.

BKR
3/31/2017 12:26pm,
I've never seen aikido taught in a manner truly consistent with modern training methods/principles. No building overall core athletic competency before diving into art-specific movements and exercises...

To be fair, that is problem in Judo training as well, and I imagine others.

A prime example would be teaching kids judo as if they were adults, rather than viewing Judo as a part of the overall athletic development of the kid(s).

The cart gets put before the horse quite a bit all-round.

WFMurphyPhD
3/31/2017 12:29pm,
@OP: I summarize your op/ed as: "It's better than nothing."

Okay, but doing something "LIGHT", can still be executed badly. Which is usually the case in Aikido (PT-wise AND MA-wise). More efficient and more fun options are available.

I dunno. That was as goobery of a group as I have even seen. I am not sure they had ever physically challenged themselves beyond the handling of a video game joystick in their 18 years of life. And that was also the most liberal and sensitive college that I have ever taught at, for what it is worth. If somebody farted wrong, there was a 3 day mandatory protest and feelings sit in.

BKR
3/31/2017 12:33pm,
In the intro course that was taught, the Aikido portion was twice a week for about 14 weeks, the instructors focused mainly on falling, walking in posture, shomenate to the face, , the physics of off balance and kuzushi, and basic wrist releases. All the students in the class, regardless of their preferred area of specialization were required to study materials and be tested on infection, infection prevention, injury, injury prevention, first aid, and the ethics of using violence, ie rules of engagement and when is violence justified.

The Aikido instructors told us they used an Aikido curriculum specifically drawn up as a college physical education program originally compiled by Kenji Tomiki, while he was employed to teach Judo and Aikido as Japanese university physical education. They had every lesson plan written out a head of time. Their sections were basic, academic in nature, and probably what you would expect for students to experience in a 1 or 2 credit physical education university elective. The class was not designed to produce fighters nor be a hard core self-defense class in all cases. If you saw the participating demographic, you would understand the limits of what could be taught in the short class very well.

I'm glad to hear they had a well-structured class, designed for the audience in the motor, affective, and cognitive domains.

I would not design or suggest to design and present a class for that demographic designed to produce fighters or hard core self defense nut-sack squeezers.

The issue for me would be perhaps a bit more emphasis on basic physical skills linked to useful "martial art" skills. Of course, they expect to get some MA training in context of something, and that's really the easier part.

BKR
3/31/2017 12:34pm,
I dunno. That was as goobery of a group as I have even seen. I am not sure they had ever physically challenged themselves beyond the handling of a video game joystick in their 18 years of life. And that was also the most liberal and sensitive college that I have ever taught at, for what it is worth. If somebody farted wrong, there was a 3 day mandatory protest and feelings sit in.

LOL, well you know ANTIFA really stands for Anti Fart...

WFMurphyPhD
3/31/2017 12:41pm,
I'm glad to hear they had a well-structured class, designed for the audience in the motor, affective, and cognitive domains.

I would not design or suggest to design and present a class for that demographic designed to produce fighters or hard core self defense nut-sack squeezers.

The issue for me would be perhaps a bit more emphasis on basic physical skills linked to useful "martial art" skills. Of course, they expect to get some MA training in context of something, and that's really the easier part.

The only section we really made them sweat in, and had them do live rolling, was the BJJ section.

Even the Judo portion was non-randori oriented, and very ground up basic motor skill development in nature. Falling practice, practice some of the most basic throws, but no resistance.

But we had a handful of folks who were athletically inclined or had prior backgrounds, and they all bee lined right for the BJJ section.

And we let them have some fun and grapple in that section.

BKR
3/31/2017 12:51pm,
The only section we really made the sweat in, and had them do live rolling, was the BJJ section.

Even the Judo portion was non-randori oriented, and very ground up basic motor skill development in nature.

But we had a handful of folks who were athletically inclined or had prior backgrounds, and they all bee lined right for the BJJ section.

And we let them have some fun and grapple in that section.


I see, I have a reading comprehension fail pattern going on this morning. Everybody at work is having to repeat what they say to me. It's like I'm in that realm where you can't understand spoken word, like when you first wake up, and can see, but nothing spoken makes any sense.

I've taught a basic Judo class as PE at university level. But it was at ISU in Pocatello, and never had to deal with much of this...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zfnJq8mdiU

WFMurphyPhD
3/31/2017 1:15pm,
I see, I have a reading comprehension fail pattern going on this morning. Everybody at work is having to repeat what they say to me. It's like I'm in that realm where you can't understand spoken word, like when you first wake up, and can see, but nothing spoken makes any sense.

I've taught a basic Judo class as PE at university level. But it was at ISU in Pocatello, and never had to deal with much of this...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zfnJq8mdiU

Pretty much.

Wounded Ronin
3/31/2017 4:22pm,
Not to be snarky or anything, but wouldn't low-key gentle aikido possibly make untrained people fight worse than they would if they were just flailing with intent?

In other words, I thought that the big problem with aikido is that it was originally designed as a supplemental body of technique for people who were already championship level competitive fighters. It was never designed as a starting point or a foundation for self defense or combative sports. This is why teaching someone only aikido is unlikely to produce a fighter.

If people are uncomfortable with being touched (basically) and yet you wanted to get them started in martial arts, how about doing general fitness plus firearms training? As they gain more confidence add in weapon retention stuff, and from there go to classical jujitsu, then to judo, and so forth. If the person wants to keep exploring at that point they should be ready for anything.

WFMurphyPhD
3/31/2017 4:37pm,
Not to be snarky or anything, but wouldn't low-key gentle aikido possibly make untrained people fight worse than they would if they were just flailing with intent?

In other words, I thought that the big problem with aikido is that it was originally designed as a supplemental body of technique for people who were already championship level competitive fighters. It was never designed as a starting point or a foundation for self defense or combative sports. This is why teaching someone only aikido is unlikely to produce a fighter.

If people are uncomfortable with being touched (basically) and yet you wanted to get them started in martial arts, how about doing general fitness plus firearms training? As they gain more confidence add in weapon retention stuff, and from there go to classical jujitsu, then to judo, and so forth. If the person wants to keep exploring at that point they should be ready for anything.

I hit like to your post, because I fundamentally agree with your points.

However, believe it or not, some adults benefit greatly from instruction on how to walk, pivot, and keep posture while doing so, especially in cases where they have been couch potato slugs their whole life.
And most people certainly benefit from learning how to fall.
And when you are dealing with an arch liberal honors campus where 98% of the campus believe that the sight of a gun is traumatic....
Just getting that young demographic to put the joint and joystick down and getting them to start a non-threatening, cerebral, and gentle practice was a good start.
The fact that Aikido has an expressed philosophy of non-violence was a major plus for that crowd.
Then you may ask, why bother with that demographic at all?
But, we have had people come over to BJJ and Judo and other combat sports before after starting in Aikido.
Anything to build the confidence up about stepping on mats, in a Gi or other practice uniform, and that they did not explode, is a beginning step.
Then one day, you can say: "Hey let me show you a Judo footsweep", or "Let me show how to survive punches if someone actually gets on top of you".
Or they decide to stay for the BJJ class as the Aikido class is ending because they are already wearing a Gi and have grown curious.
And, they might be willing to listen.
Next thing you know, a year of cross discipline training has passed, and you take them to play paint ball, and one day they go down to the actual shooting range with their training buddies to take a firearms class of their own accord to try it out.
When you get a self-reinforcing group of young people who are constantly fed a steady stream of "guns ownership is bad", and "survivors (and potential targets) of violence should not have to learn how to defend themselves", the process of opening their minds to other ways of thinking often has to be a gradual one.
What can I say, I did not invent the universe, I did not raise these kids, I just have to try to encourage them that there is more to life than pot, video games and their school books, as I get placed in front of them or in their general vicinity.