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June 02, 2012

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L. Lackey

You've made a good argument for including groundwork in aikido. Of course, I've heard it before in class, but the important lessons are always worth a second look. Sometimes they even take a third or fourth before they sink in.

However, the issue of specialization needs to be addressed. Given the limitations of modern life, is it better to spend your limited time and/or money on groundwork, or would you be better off learning more falls and becoming more comfortable with aikido techniques?

I'm not very far yet, but I wondered what anyone else thought about this.

Myself, I enjoy the groudwork as a study itself. Not as much as aikido, but it's still a good exercise in strategy and kinesthetic knowledge. The transition between aikido/judo/jujistu is particularly fascinating.

L.F. Wilkinson

If one considers Kano's maxim of efficiency then over specialization is not an issue. Many times I've heard the comment on over-specialization and the result all to often is to pick one MA over the other. Choosing one primary art form and then having a second MA as an adjunctive/ancillary study is IMO the best; meaning that a primary of Aikido with its' emphasis on far-far ma-ai (weapons range with jo, bokuto, tanto) and far-range (2 arms length) as the primary to strike at that first crossing of ma-ai (and that first opportunity) is the best place to start (assuming that you are interested in a more classical & self-defense oriented study). Then adding ne-waza as the adjunctive side gives the failure mode of the Aikido. Stating that one wants a "complete" study of the MA and then failing to carve out the personal time it takes for the two (primary and adjunctive) is in my mind a not-so-very good excuse for not truly focusing on long-term end goals. If one trains two nights a week that still leaves 5 nights a week to hug the kids, kiss the wife, kick the dog and mow the yard. Focus and determination of your long-term (10 to 30 year) goals should set your training today. Always look forward at the horizon, not down at your feet.

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