I came across a discussion where people were comparing martial arts, saying, “This move was borrowed from that system” and “That move came from this system.”
I think they have a misguided understanding of forms.
Everyone”s limbs bend the same way. When you get hit, it hurts. All systems seem to have similar moves, given how easy it is to combine all of them. I don”t know many people who have studied only one art form, so of course all the moves are going to bleed together and seem similar from art to art.
I think what most people misunderstand is “the way” (that word at the end of ai-ki-do) we practice. For example, we have strikes in aikido. It”s not a defensive art. I don”t see any of the arts as defensive. I do see situational awareness, not getting into a fight in the first place, and controlling the attacker so he does what I want him to do, but I”m not waiting for him to do something before I react.
Just watch a randori. I”ve seen aikidokas try to do a move, and instead, they get tackled. I see them fighting instead of going with the flow, resisting when they have been taught for years to do the opposite. Don”t resist. Blend, like water around a rock. The only way to learn this is to practice, and that doesn”t mean practicing what you want to practice. It means practicing what you”re taught–letting go of what you think you know and deferring to the “do” (the way) of aikido.
Learning “the moves” isn”t enough. We have to learn to flow from one to another. If you understand the mechanics, it will work. If you try to do what you want, it won”t work. It”s like baking a cake. You can buy one already made, but when you want another cake, you may find that the store is closed. It”s the same if you use a cake mix. You might know a little more, but it still isn”t enough. If you learn what goes into a cake, though–what each ingredient does–then you can make all sorts of different cakes, pastries, doughnuts, etc. You”re almost there. If you go even further and learn where each ingredient comes from and how to make each one, then you can teach yourself how to make anything. Flour is flour, after all. It does what it does. You can”t make it do something it doesn”t do.
Give a fish, teach to fish, or teach people how things work, so they can eat more than fish. You can”t catch fish by doing what you want to do.
So, I don”t “do moves.” I practice “the way.” I”ve read a lot of articles that say pretty much the same thing, but I have to learn it for myself, by doing. I have to get pinned and screw up, then ponder why it didn’t work. Teachers can only guide you with their understanding. I don’t see “this is a judo move,” “this is an aikido move,” “this is a karate move.” I see how to prevail and get home to my family. I”m not going to do only “aikido moves” to win in a fight. I”m not going to get into a fight. The objective is to win–not to dominate or show you”re better–just to win. It doesn”t matter if the bad guy learns a lesson. It doesn”t matter if he wins or loses, either. I win by seeing my kids at the end of the day. I screw up moves in class all the time, but I don”t stop. I transition into something that works. I might not pass a test, but I still practice “the way.”
if you practice “the way,” everything you do is aikido.
Joe Gowen 4th kyu