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Dark Fire
8/12/2009 11:42am,
I am embarrassed to admit this, but I study Tomiki Aikido which is otherwise known as Shodokan Aikido. I am embarrassed because I know Aikido has a terrible reputation and after seeing the Aikikai guys it's easy to see why. I have become disillusioned with it and I hope to hear what you guys have to say. The thing is though is that Tomiki Aikido is relatively unknown and I was hoping you could hear my case after I tell what I think I know on the history of it.

However, I really think Tomiki Aikido is different from the Aikikai version of it. Here's the history of it as I understand it. Kenji Tomiki was a, I think sixth degree, black belt with Kano. Then supposedly after hearing about Ueshiba and his art Kano sent Tomiki to train with Ueshiba. At this time what Ueshiba was practicing was still considered Daito-Ryu aiki-jujutsu. Tomiki was the first person Ueshiba ever awarded a black belt to. I will admit I am a bit hazy on what happened after Tomiki got his black belt, but I know somehow he ended up at Waseda University where he wanted to establish Aikido as a sport. There is much controversy here because people argue on whether it was Ueshiba that blacklisted Tomiki or whether it was the followers of Ueshiba that would become the Aikikai after Ueshiba died. I would like to think it was the followers because even after Tomiki established the sport Ueshiba still made an effort to come and visit Tomiki. However that is hardly evidence and is heavily dependent on my personal views. Then when Ueshiba died, normally the person with the highest belt is supposed to take over. That person would of been Tomiki, but he was blacklisted either by Ueshiba or his followers who did not let him head the organization and instead chose Ueshiba's son to do that. Strange huh, maybe Aikido would have a better reputation if Tomiki was in charge.

The sensei I study under met Tomiki at Waseda University where he was looking for a sport that was an alternative to Judo. The reason he did this was because he is a small man and at the time there were no weight classes in Judo. He found professor Tomiki in the gym practicing where he decided to practice. He became the first captain of the Waseda University Aikido team.

Here are things I have no way to confirm, but I suppose they are rumors. Supposedly when Tomiki was still developing the techniques to incorporate into his style of Aikido he would put my sensei into a ring with a boxer or a karate guy and tell him he could only use this one technique to see if he could get to work. The thing is though is that I didn't hear these from him, but from one of the other black belts there. I guess I should ask him, but I'm scared Haha. Time for my first investigation?

Ok, so about me. I've been studying Tomiki Aikido for about a year and a half now and I am an orange belt, even though I do not feel like one. I may be using the term disillusioned incorrectly and for that I apologize. The reason I feel like this is because I am starting to wonder on the effectiveness of Tomiki Aikido, big surprise figuring it's Aikido right? I always knew Tomiki Aikido is vastly different from the Aikikai guys, for one we don't do that circle bullshit. We also have Tanto Randori where we test our "skills" against one another. However what exactly are we testing? Our technique right? This is one question I have, when you study for example BJJ, when you learn a technique its how you would use it in sparring or whatever right? Well when we learn a technique you start with kata, then you move onto grabs. However, I feel like I am left on my own to figure out how to do it on somebody during randori. Is this normal? I also feel like originally Tomiki Aikido was supposed to be a style that steps up with its game, but I feel like it only supports that when it doesn't have to use it. What I mean is that we are supposed to value competition, but where is the testing versus karate for example? Why do we just stick with Randori and not venture out?

These are things I noticed in my own Dojo, when Sensei does full resistance Randori with somebody, he does the technique so well and quickly that it's almost like he violates the guy balance, I asked the guy if he was resisting and he tells me that he never had a chance to, but this almost feels fake to me. I am no expert on combat, but is that sort of thing possible? I mean when we do Randori when somebody tries to do a technique we tense up and they can't. I mean Sensei was doing some techniques to me and I tried resisting once and he bonked me on the head pretty hard during a technique where he transitioned to another technique to bring me down. Is that how it supposed to done? Are those strikes called Atemi? I also have been experimenting with creating enough force to do a technique by putting force on them the opposite direction I want them to go then when they resist I go with it, but I am really slow when I do that in Randori and in real life wouldn't I get clobbered in the face by their other hand?

I have some questions on what it means to train as well. What is normally considered the "norm" for training? When you practice a technique is it ok to drill it by yourself then drill it on an opponent with little resistance then drill it full resistance? Is that how it is supposed to be done? I want to do some full contact after I'm done drilling and I've never done it before, so I am wondering if you could explain it to me.

I know many people will suggest that I leave and go train in BJJ and stuff and really would love to do that! The one problem is though is that I've become good friends with the people at the dojo and would I be betraying them by leaving? Also how can I tell if Tomiki Aikido is the real thing? What does it mean for a martial art to work? Also I was wondering in arts like BJJ, when can the BJJ guy, from he begins as a white belt, get good enough to use his stuff on full resisting opponents? I ask that because while I may be an orange belt I have no idea if I could do a technique against anybody. Also, where I practice there is no word of Ki and I never heard those stories of one guy versus five until I read about the Aikikai. They consider us to be the brutes of the art Haha.

Thanks for reading, or not reading, the doubts of a youngster. : )

edtang
8/12/2009 12:18pm,
Welcome to Bullshido!

Have you talked with your sensei re: implementation of technique in Randori? It's not an unreasonable or unusual concern in any martial art, IMHO.

Evil Solvalou
8/12/2009 12:33pm,
Regarding the bonking you on the noggin and transitioning to another technique, I'd say that's a good thing; there's no point in forcing an already failed technique.

It seems to me that you're biggest problem is that you're young and lack experience in different training environments. That's not a bad thing, we've all been there.

My recommendation, and feel free to ignore this because I'm a useless bastard, would be to visit some other martial art classes in your area. Preferably good ones like Judo, Boxing and stuff like that. See how others do things, and compare it your own training. If you do, be honest with the other schools about you're situation and why you're there. It may also help to do a bit of sparring with some of them if they're willing.

After that it may help to talk to your instructor, telling him your concerns.

Dark Fire
8/12/2009 1:29pm,
Welcome to Bullshido!

Have you talked with your sensei re: implementation of technique in Randori? It's not an unreasonable or unusual concern in any martial art, IMHO.

Thank you!

I should talk with him, to tell you the truth I've just been scared to ask questions to him directly, but I'll do it next time I'm in class.


Regarding the bonking you on the noggin and transitioning to another technique, I'd say that's a good thing; there's no point in forcing an already failed technique.

It seems to me that you're biggest problem is that you're young and lack experience in different training environments. That's not a bad thing, we've all been there.

My recommendation, and feel free to ignore this because I'm a useless bastard, would be to visit some other martial art classes in your area. Preferably good ones like Judo, Boxing and stuff like that. See how others do things, and compare it your own training. If you do, be honest with the other schools about you're situation and why you're there. It may also help to do a bit of sparring with some of them if they're willing.

After that it may help to talk to your instructor, telling him your concerns.

Isn't something similar done in BJJ with chaining together submissions?

Thanks for the tip, I would like to check out other schools, but I am a college student and money is indeed an object for me. Should I go for the free 1 or 2 classes and absorb as much as I can?

Evil Solvalou
8/12/2009 1:41pm,
Isn't something similar done in BJJ with chaining together submissions?
I don't do BJJ so I'm not sure, but it was from a BJJ person that I first heard about transitioning when a technique has failed, or even to use the first as a setup for the second.


Thanks for the tip, I would like to check out other schools, but I am a college student and money is indeed an object for me. Should I go for the free 1 or 2 classes and absorb as much as I can?
As I said, go in and be honest about your experience and why you're there. Even if you just watch some classes, talk to the instructors and ask to do a little sparring, you'll at least be getting experience of what other people do and know how your training fares against other styles.

I'm not saying go and learn the other styles, just see how they do things. I couldn't help but get the feeling from you post that you're unsure of your training and how it's conducted.

It would probably be best to wait until someone with more experience than me comes into this thread though, I don't know **** and they'll probably give you far better advice than I can.

BTW, is you username a reference to the Gibson guitar?

creativo
8/12/2009 1:52pm,
Isn't something similar done in BJJ with chaining together submissions?



It's done in any art which has some aliveness, playing with reactions is how you make techniques work in randori.



Thanks for the tip, I would like to check out other schools, but I am a college student and money is indeed an object for me. Should I go for the free 1 or 2 classes and absorb as much as I can?

You won't absorb anything in one or two classes, you'll get an idea of the training methods and environment so you can see if you like it. Being a youngster I'd tell you to go with judo, as you'll get strong and develop good body awareness, plus you'll have less doubts about the effectiveness of what you're doing. Keep in mind there are clubs more competition oriented and others more recreational, so things may vary.

Your aikido teacher sounds good but maybe a foundation in judo could be helpful to you. (full disclosure: I wish I started judo earlier so go and make my dream come true!)

Dark Fire
8/12/2009 2:15pm,
As I said, go in and be honest about your experience and why you're there. Even if you just watch some classes, talk to the instructors and ask to do a little sparring, you'll at least be getting experience of what other people do and know how your training fares against other styles.

Oh ok, my bad for the misunderstanding on what you suggested. I'll do that once I get over the fear of people laughing at me when I tell them I study Tomiki Aikido.


BTW, is you username a reference to the Gibson guitar?

I didn't even know my name was a guitar. I guess I can tell people that now when they ask what my name means. :p


You won't absorb anything in one or two classes, you'll get an idea of the training methods and environment so you can see if you like it. Being a youngster I'd tell you to go with judo, as you'll get strong and develop good body awareness, plus you'll have less doubts about the effectiveness of what you're doing. Keep in mind there are clubs more competition oriented and others more recreational, so things may vary.Yeah, a seminar we had once from Professor Shishida told us that Tomiki Aikido and Judo are supposedly two sides of the same coin. I have no idea if that is true, but I suppose I can find out first hand right? However, after I absorb the training methods and stuff like that, do you think it would be a good idea to apply that to my Tomiki Aikido stuff?

edtang
8/12/2009 2:20pm,
Hey Dark Fire - what are you looking to gain out of training Aikido and/or Martial Arts in general?

Cowardly Lurker
8/12/2009 2:30pm,
I don't do BJJ so I'm not sure, but it was from a BJJ person that I first heard about transitioning when a technique has failed, or even to use the first as a setup for the second.

It sounds like you're referring to a lockflow or something like it. I don't think this is unique to BJJ or even to grappling. The idea of chaining together techniques seems like common sense to me.

The big difference between a BJJ lockflow and some others is the way that BJJ trains, with increasing resistance and sparring.

creativo
8/12/2009 2:35pm,
Yeah, a seminar we had once from Professor Shishida told us that Tomiki Aikido and Judo are supposedly two sides of the same coin. I have no idea if that is true, but I suppose I can find out first hand right? However, after I absorb the training methods and stuff like that, do you think it would be a good idea to apply that to my Tomiki Aikido stuff?

Sure. But don't think you'll absorb anything in less than a few years, unless you're very talented. The same goes for aikido I guess; but I think it'd be easier to pick up aikido after learning some solid judo than the other way around.

Also, you're young and you should be training until you puke, which I suspect is not the case with aikido, but I might be wrong.

permahudef
8/12/2009 2:41pm,
This may help. Matt Thornton (Straight Blast Gym) has lots of good information.
YouTube - Why Aliveness - Matt Thornton (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=932XUCWlelQ)

Feryk
8/12/2009 2:54pm,
Try reading this thread. It's older, but it has good information on Tomiki Aikido

Tomiki/Shodokan Aikido - No BS MMA and Martial Arts (http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=45477)

The general consensus at that time was that the kind of Aikido you are studying is better than most others because you do train with resistance.

Muerteds
8/26/2009 2:19pm,
Thread necro for great justice!

I would like to add a comment to the original poster about his experience resisting his sensei. Understand that we are typically compliant in drills with jointlocks to prevent injury. Tensing up when getting your wrist cranked is a good way to get a blown tendon. However, when you do face an opponent who is resisting, you can use misdirection to gain a momentary lack of resistance. The other two options are:

1. Powering through the move. Good for a technique that won't cripple someone. Bad when you're showing something potentially dangerous to your new student who's feeling you out.

2. Doing something else entirely. Also not a bad idea. But, if your goal is to demonstrate one particular move, doing something else does not reach that goal.

Your instructor used a quick, non-injurious strike to get you to momentarily concentrate on something other than resisting his move. And viola, the move works. It's not "cheating; it's smart. When someone knows exactly what you're going to do, they will resist that move specifically. So, get them to think about something else.

Anyway, have fun with whatever you decide to do. But remember that old adage- "Old age and treachery always overcome youth and skill."