Tristan's blog

The Next Step - Breaking the Chain

A boy has an alcoholic abusive father. The boy is beaten, maybe frequently or infrequently. The father also expresses rage to the boy’s mother and on occasion beats her. This behavior is an example to the boy of what a man is. He learns either that violence is acceptable and normal when he is angry, or that violence is an appropriate tool to get his way. What type of character do you suppose this boy will show as he grows to adulthood? Chances are he will be an abusive drunk as well.

That's Not Aikido!

Something I learned from a systema instructor, who was describing an overview of the art, provided an interesting perspective to our martial arts (and all of them).

Systema is a Russian martial art. Russia, in particular what used to be the Soviet Union) is geographically huge. As such, it shares borders with many diverse cultures each of whom have their own fighting styles and flavors.

How Tough is Tough Enough to Defend Myself?

I think this is an unanswerable question, but a very common one. Defend oneself against what threat, exactly? People tend to think of self-defense skills kinda like having a fire extinguisher handy. If a fire happens, you grab the fire extinguisher and problem solved. Due to the wide range of threats one's safety, self-defense isn't so simple.

Even using the word 'tough' is precarious. I pose that 'smart' is far more likely to save one's butt from harm than 'tough'. 

Self-Defense and Fighting

It is common for people to think fighting is sport and vice versa. It isn't, although they have some things in common. Sport can build some good attributes which can be beneficial to surviving a fight.
Sport practice and training builds fitness, strength, fluid movement, speed, balance, and overall awareness of what your body can do. One of the best things is the hand-eye coordination you get from sport. Almost all athletics provide these benefits to some degree or other.

Thoughts on Competition and Aikido

Bring up the word competition among aikidoka and the typical response is that Osensei disapproved of competition and that is pretty much the final word on the matter. It is a broad brush concept which seems accepted on all levels regarding competition. There are many good things about competition so let’s discuss the matter deeper instead of dismissing all of it.

What Just Happened?!

What just happened?! That experience on the mat when you execute an attack, then nage adeptly steps to avoid it, and blends perfectly to redirect you with such light pressure that you don’t even feel it – you end up on the ground wondering what on earth happened. It is such a wonderful thing I cannot help but smile and even laugh every time it happens. It is the ivory tower perfection that aikidodoka seek, and it is truly marvelous.

Atemi - Taboo or Integral to Aikido?

Atemi is a strike meant to compromise an attacker's balance. Many aikidodoka (aikido practitioners) are uncomfortable with striking, some remarkably so.

There seem to be two primary sources for hesitance to use atemi, at least that I have noticed first hand:
1) They believe strikes are meant to cause pain and injury, which is contrary to the principles of aikido as laid down by the founder of aikido.
2) Mature and civilized people have respect for others and are not violent people. They equate striking with savagery and are actively resistant to indulge in it.

Mood and Atmoshpere of Training

Attitude and mindset are crucial to everything you do and have a direct influence over the results you attain. O'sensei said "Always practice the Art of Peace in a vibrant and joyful manner." This is very practical advice. Let's look at the benefits of taking on training in this way.

Martial Arts and Violence - The Three Realms

Here is something for all martial artists, not just aikidoka, to consider. The martial arts world consists of three primary realms, where practitioners of each specialize in certain aspects of hand to hand combat. Why consider this? In the larger sense, to increase your understanding and perspective. In a more personal sense, to give you a reason to set aside your scorn for those from other realms.