Combative Mindset!

Discussion in 'Ju Jitsu' started by Dao, Jun 18, 2005.

  1. Dao

    Dao Valued Member

    Hello all,
    I hope it is appropriate for a newbie like myself to be starting threads but I have been thinking and I hope others can benefit from my thoughts.

    I was talking with someone today with regards to Aikido being a modern Jujitsu ryu rather than a separate art on it's own terms. I have to say that the more I think about the idea the more I am convinced that the two are quite distinct, even considering the scope of what is grouped under the blanket term of Jujitsu.

    The reason for my feeling this way is due entirely to the difference in fundamental ideologies. This basically comes down to a distinct difference in combative mindset. I feel that this exert from Ratti & Westbrook's Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere (2004.pp.20) explains the combative mindset associated with typical Aikido practice, although they do give a rather biased explanation not in line with the “no ego” concept of Aikido:

    [A]ikido says that you should and must defend yourself, and supplies you with an extensive practice that will enable you to do so with optimum efficiency. But aikido also says that you must be responsible for not inflicting unnecessary damage upon your attacker. He is still operating on a lower level. You aspire to a superior level where your proven ability, well earned self-confidence, and refinement of technique, will allow you to defend yourself without resorting to the brutal methods so often taught as legitimate means of self defense.

    Now, this fundamental premise of Aikido, that being that one can operate without relying on brutality in a self defense situation, is what separates it from Jujitsu.
    I am not casting a value judgment on Aikido, but rather I wish to highlight that this type of thinking is certainly not one which would or should be particularly associated with an art-form or practice designed with personal protection or the defense of others being of paramount significance.
    Jujitsu on the other hand is an art, or a collection thereof, designed and engineered on the battlefield during wartime with the intention of providing soldiers with efficient and effective combative skills at extreme close quarters. The mindset associated with this type of practice is far more conducive to effective self defense outcomes.

    The same could easily be said true for the combative mindset of classical Jujitsu compared with that of sporting or Brazilian Jujitsu. The motivation of the former is purely as a self defense skill, whereas the latter is primarily as a sporting skill and secondarily as a combative practice.

    Again I must emphasise that I am not casting judgment on any art or make any comparison in terms of the validity or effectiveness of any art but rather I am attempting to illustrate that each different practice incorporates different tactical and mental approaches. It is vitally important that if one is training for self defense in an art which doesn’t cultivate a combative mindset, as a fundamental aspect of training, that they take the time to assess, evaluate and cultivate this type of thinking and attempt to incorporate it into their training where ever and when ever they are able.
    It is undeniable that that mind and body are inextricably connected and that the actions of one, in turn, affect the other. It is for this reason that, regardless of the perceived effectiveness of a systems techniques or theories, without the appropriate combative mindset they may be more harm than help when the pressure is really on.

    Please don’t feel I am down grading the mindset of Aikido as a practice, I am not. I think that the peaceful ideals that form the foundation of modern Aikido are something we should all aspire to live by, however, when faced with an actual or perceived threat then this mindset, in my opinion should play second fiddle to that of survival in order to facilitate the safest and most efficient defense. If ones skills are such that they are able to do this without hurting the other person then so be it, but such a person has to start somewhere.

    I hope I have made some degree of sense,
  2. Jesh

    Jesh Dutch Side Of The Force

    Very nicely written thread...

    There are undeniable similarities between Aikido and Jiu Jitsu, as there are a lot of differences. With Jiu Jitsu, you don´t have to brutalize your opponent if you want... but the techniques taught and excersized are such that in the aformementioned encounter, you will use them.

    I don´t know if Aikidokas would use that level of `brutality`, but I think there are styles and schools out there who have a style that diverts from the original aikido line of thinking, like the one mentioned in that exerpt.
  3. Dao

    Dao Valued Member

    Thank you for your kind words,
    I agree that there are styles of Aikido that do emphasise a different mindset, such as the self defense mindset found on Mochizuki's Yoseikan Budo or the sporting/competitive aspect found in Tomiki's Aikido system.

    The individual techniques of Aikido and the technical theories are, in my opinion, indestinguishable from Jujitsu, and are of equal combative merit. The difference, however, as I have stated, is in the way they are approached intellectually.
    I think the difference has been explained best by the late Donn Draeger when he wrote in his book Classical Bujutsu: The Martial Arts and Ways of Japan (1997.pp.19):
    There are very great differences between the bujutsu, or martial arts [combative arts], and the budo, or martial ways. The bujutsu are combative systems designed by and for warriors to promote self-protection and group solidarity. The budo are spiritual systems, not necessarily designed by warriors or for warriors, for self-perfection of the individual.

    It is difficult to practice an art of the latter (budo) catergory whilst maintaining the mindset of the former (bujutsu) category without constant and consious effort and assessment.

  4. Pyro

    Pyro New Member

    One thing to note though. If you cannot develop that mindset by yourself then it's not likely that your chosen art will develop it for you. That whole "killer instinct" thing is a very personal trait. Like the old cliche goes "Some people have it some people don't". I have met enough people at training over the years that no matter how they are trained they are not "killers" as such. Then there are others with no training at all who you just know would fight like a beast when their lives were on the line. Now the chosen art can influence it partially but I don't believe it can give you that mindset, only enhance what you already have/think.
  5. Angry Fist

    Angry Fist New Member

    That's a great effort there! You must've been contemplating it for a while.

    I am no expert in Jujitsu and even lesser so in Aikido but I believe, purely for the sake of conjecture, that contrary to pyro’s viewpoint on developing the killer instinct, I think everyone has got it. Some just need a bit deeper than others to uncover it. For example, in the military, bayonet drill/training (a documentary on bayonet’s (UK) I recorded) is the most vulgar expression of this which is designed especially to tap into this because that’s the sort of personality they want. Its goal is to bring on the mindset so that and I quote “if he’s the enemy, he’s going to get it. End of story”.

    How this relates to our original discussion I must say that from my understanding of aikido (attended a whole of one lesson!), is that it teaches you are to “let go” which is not easy to understand, but something I appreciate more now. I have found during my jujitsu training and others, people often try anticipation and sometimes you can catch the other person out. I don’t try anticipating and think if you are constantly aware of your stance, your guard and the opponents’ stance and guard it will lend itself more naturally to you being more successful. I have noticed this of myself.

    Example, when you see beginners in a “V” defense, (tori is standing about 2m away from 2 rank’s of uke’s arranged in a V shape whose point converges onto tori’s position) the attacks come hard and fast like a real scenario and sometimes the novice tori will think “I think he’s coming in for a straight punch. I’m going to use ko soto gari”, diamond steps to his left and cops it in the face since the punch ended up being more of a hook since the uke thought “I’ll give him a curved one so he can use koshi garuma”.

    I think one thing that martial arts should be addressing more of is emphasising that to diffuse a situation without needing to resort to “physical struggle”. Having said that, I think it also needs to inspire a strong fighting spirit so that if it ever happened, one will not be surprised or shocked or stunned etc otherwise all that training is worthless.

    Anyway, I’m bored at work and my boss’s are all in a meeting which leaves me holding the fort and there are my two cents!
  6. Dropbear

    Dropbear Valued Member

    Jujitsu has several techniques and defences that can be applied to the same attack. Some cause more damage to the adversary, and some less. I don't see an issue with using the minumum amount of force required to deal with an attack, and don't believe that having that mindset means I am less mentally able to deal with a 'spirited attack'.

    If I'm attacked by a drunk mate at a party, I'm not going to break an arm or dislocate a joint - there is no need. I'f I'm attacked on the street with a knife, then only one of us would be walking away from the encounter (at this stage in my training, I'm not sure who that would be :eek: :eek: :D )

    In Australia, you are LEGALLY obliged to do the minimum harm that is neccessary to deal with a given self defence situation. You are NOT justified in using lethal force except where you can genuinly show your life, or others were in danger. You are not allowed to use lethal force to defend property.

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