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#126874 - 10/06/03 10:24 AM Re: If Aiki means non-aggressive then???
dazzler Offline

Registered: 09/22/03
Posts: 296
Loc: England
I could have a go Joe but then I'd be reopening other threads that I think have been chewed to death. All I'll say is that self defence is a tiny fraction of a martial art.

I dont really think too much of this 'defensive' label although I'm sure I'm not the first to use it as a selling point to beginners.

I've been taught that Ai-Ki-Do is the practice to unify the body with Ki according to the principles of the Tao eg ying / yang energy at ist highest level.

We practice to refine all those 9 bases I've previously referred to so that in the instance of combat all are applied in harmony to achieve this mythical infusion of Ki.

To me this doesn't imply either offensive or defensive but I would say that the whole uke / tori sytem does encourage everyone to look at conflict from both positions and encourages a more harmonious society in this way.

I dont think this conflicts with your 'positive pacifism' at all.

I've always had control emphasised within my Aikido training...First control yourself then you may control uke.

I believe this has given me the ability to chose...Fight or flight sort of thing. So again ...Offensive / Defensive...Up to the individual really.



#126875 - 10/06/03 12:17 PM Re: If Aiki means non-aggressive then???
csinca Offline
former moderator

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 672
Loc: Southern California
I'll jump in and agree with Dazzler's position on this.

I chose to interprete aiki and harmonizing myself, so that I can then bring my universe (surroundings) into harmony.

If I come upon someone threatening my wife for instance, there will be nothing passive about the situation. If the "bad guys" back is to me I will not invite him to turn around and attack me so that I may use aikido.

My goal would be to remain calm and not fly into a blind rage (control myself) so that I may effectively control the situation. If I choose to take out the guys base and go into a rear choke, I still need to do that properly (remain relaxed, break his base, control his shoulders, be aware or possible weapons or accomplices). With my wife and I safe and the "bad guy" on the ground or in control, I will have restored harmony to my universe.


#126876 - 10/06/03 05:43 PM Re: If Aiki means non-aggressive then???
Joe Jutsu Offline

Registered: 04/09/03
Posts: 575
I can't come up with the exact source at the moment, but I've read that O Sensei said something to the effect of:

"When I move, that's aikido."

So to me this is in direct contrast to the notion that one has to wait around and invite an attack to be doing aikido. I've read that pre WWII aikido kata would often be initiated by nage striking at uke, which elicited a response from uke which nage then used to do an aikido technique. I don't think aikido is taught this way much anymore, but it's something worth thinking about.


#126877 - 10/07/03 02:21 AM Re: If Aiki means non-aggressive then???
senseilou Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/14/02
Posts: 2082
Loc: Glendale, Az.
This whole thing is going back to interpretation. What one calls something is different than 'how' one does this(another post). The thing with what is true Aiki-we will never know as we are hearing what people think they learned from O'Sensei. Truth is he is the only one who truly knows what Aiki is, and he isn't here. What we have to work with is peoples ideals of what O'Sensei said. We all can't sit in a room together and pass a simple message around the room without it losing its meaning. I just had a neat experience where a Sensei taught a kata in the forrest to the person behind him, and that person shared to the one behind him, and so on and so on. It spread to about 40 people and the final result was about one tenth of the kata that was originally shown. This phenomenon has occured in Karate with kata. Nobody really knows what the originator had in mind, and we all study and speculate on what the meaning is. Same is true for Aikido. Anyone who has trained with Satome Sensei can see his Americanization in just his clothes and demeanor. He even told a senior student at our dojo he only teaches about 10 students in this country the way he teaches in Japan. So can you say what the true meaning is, it's what is true to you and how you define what you do.You can call things anything you want, but that doesn't make it anymore or less Aikido. The one thing that was stressed to me by the old school guys, and some of the Japaneese Sensei, that I have trained with, is a strong Irimi movement. Their explanation is that Irimi means not just to enter, but enter with a destrctive force, so that, your entry should be so strong that its the technique in itself. Motobu Sensei of Motobu-Ha Shito Ryu who met and trained with O'Sensei states in his book that the irimi is the essence of any Martial art, including Karate. Irimi should be so strong that the attacker should cause himself to lose his own balance. Anyone who has studied Kosho Ryu Kempo will see this in their technique as well. Dr. James Mitose also trained with and shared concepts with O'Sensei. So............Its not a question of technique, nor a question of waiting for an attack to develope, but to enter into uke's sphere and destroy it before he has the chance to attack. This is true Irimi and everyone knows, that Irimi is the basis of Aikido.

#126878 - 10/07/03 03:36 AM Re: If Aiki means non-aggressive then???
dazzler Offline

Registered: 09/22/03
Posts: 296
Loc: England
Rock on!

The techical advisor to the Federation I'm with has spent over 50 years practicing Aikido...

He says that he practiced for 25 years before he even found out what Aikido meant so its easy to see how lots of instructors can be floating around doing what they call Aikido when they all seem to be doing completely different things.

Incidentally - his big breakthrough came from translating 'do' as 'Tao' with its implicit philosophy rather than the simplistic 'way'...

Joe - I've heard that quote too!



#126879 - 10/11/03 03:57 AM Re: If Aiki means non-aggressive then???
Cato Offline

Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
Chris, it's the pre-emptive part I'm not so sure about from an ethical standpoint. I'm interpreting it as the classic "whatta you looking at?" kind of lead into a fight, only perhaps a little more subtle than that. I view my MA training as giving me the skills to at least try to avoid a fight, as much as the skills to use during one. The point of aikido, for me, is to use the absolute minimum amount of force in every case. Of course, the minimum amount can be quite considerable, but that is dependant upon and decided by uke, not me. Once I up the ante by using a pre-emptive strike I can no longer be said to be using the minimum amount of force.

Pre-emptive strikes can take any number of forms, from a blatant punch in the eye to offering uke my hand so when he takes it I can perform shiho nage on him. I think ethically it is debatable whether to do so it acceptable. I fully accept that it is far from plausible to always wait for uke to attack, and that in some circumstances all of us would take the initiative away from uke, but when we do so we are moving away from pure aikido as I understand it.

The example made of intervening when uke is attacking your wife/mother/little brother/dog/cat or parrot is, I think, a little more clear cut. Uke has initiated an attack and so applying aikido to subdue him is more acceptable. However, if uke had just called your beloved a nasty name it doesn't appear to warrant any pre-emptive strike.

Similarly, offering an apparently vulnerable target to draw an attack to initiate a fight is, arguably, unacceptable. It is no different than a pre-emptive strike, if anything it is less honest. If the tactic is used once the fight has started the obviously there is no conflict in using it. But I think its acceptability as a means to take the initiative is dubious.

We all assume we know there comes a point when a fight becomes inevitable, and as trained MA we have strategies for taking the intiative once it starts. But can we be sure? I would argue that offering a target presupposes the fight and could well push uke into starting a fight that might otherwise have been avoided, a bit like the man on the parapet who jumps once his rescuers start toward him. If uke believes you to be aggressive he would think it foolish to ignore the easy shot if he thinks you will start the fight with him anyway.

Of course I'm talking purely from a moral and ethical point of view, but morality and ethics are at the base of aikido as I understand it. Acting in an ethically acceptable way in no way detracts from the efficacy of the art and is the very thing that improves us as people. If we ignore questions like this because they are too hard to put into practice then all we are doing is learning to fight. [IMG][/IMG]


#126880 - 10/11/03 05:07 AM Re: If Aiki means non-aggressive then???
dazzler Offline

Registered: 09/22/03
Posts: 296
Loc: England

Pre-emptive exists! Its is part of Aikido.

The ethics of nipping something in the bud or waiting for confirmation of attack vary from every single situation and depend on the circumstances.

If you feel a situation developing and you just go home you have pre-empted it, if you see someone slipping a gun out of their pocket and you strike them you have pre-empted it.

All we can do is keep polishing our practice and our minds with it.

If you act for the right reasons then you cannot be wrong.


#126881 - 10/18/03 05:00 AM Re: If Aiki means non-aggressive then???
Cato Offline

Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
I'm in danger of going off on a tangent here, and getting too "philosophical" for some people. My apologies to them if I do.

The idea of a pre-emptive strike is undoubtedly a real strategy for many people in a confrontation, and often a justified one. But I would argue that that doesn't apply to aikido.

To be pre-emptive you have to pre-suppose what the other person is going to do. Not wait until they begin to do it but to act before they act. It is not the same as sen-no-sen, because there you take the initiative away from the attacker only after he has made a move to attack. The aggression is escalated by the attacker every time and the aikidoka responds accordingly thus maintaining the moral high ground in every case.

If the aikidoka takes the pre-emptive route then a degree of subjectivity has to be introduced. S/he has to learn the exact moment when an attacker will begin their attack, and then act a spilt second before they reach this moment. As the aikidoka gets more experienced they "know" this moment is just around the corner, so to speak, and so can act pre-emptively sooner and sooner. The inherent danger here is that all confrontations will end up with the aikidoka attacking the other person before they attack her/him. The confrontation is then escalated by the aikidoka, the roles become reversed. That is not aikido.

I would also disagree that striking someone who is drawing a gun from their pocket is pre-emptive. The chances are they aren't drawing their weapon so they can show you it, but they have started their attack as surely as they would have if they drew back their fist ready to punch you. However, if you only suspect they have a gun in their pocket, and break their face before they can draw it, that would be pre-emptive but in my opinion it wouldn't be aikido.

I also think there is a lot of discussion to be had about issues of right and wrong, and acting for the right reasons, but I suspect most people here don't want a long winded philosophical debate and so I'll leave that for now. [IMG][/IMG]


#126882 - 12/03/03 06:10 AM Re: If Aiki means non-aggressive then???
Painbringer Offline

Registered: 11/14/03
Posts: 18
Loc: Buffalo, Ny USA
[QUOTE]Originally posted by TaewandoBabe:
I have been told that Aikido means Aiki (non-aggressive) Do (Way).
I have been told that this is the reason why Atemi has been eliminated from Aikido to make it more non-aggressive.

I have been told that if Aikido contained Atemi, it would now longer be Aikido, it would be Aiki-Jitsu.

Are all of these statements true?



In nihon Goshin Aikido, Aikido means to walk the path of harmony with spirit. and we still use Atemi.

#126883 - 12/30/04 10:23 PM Re: If Aiki means non-aggressive then???

Ai-ki-do literally means the Way of Harmony. I think a lot of it gets lost in translation if one is not familiar with the chinese/kanji characters.

[Side note: Incidentally, the characters for Hapkido are exactly the same as they are for Aikido. Common lineage but different interpretations.]

Atemi (in aikido) hasn't so much as been eliminated as it has been de-emphasized. Again, a lot is lost in translation and, to borrow Sensei Lou's story of the kata in the forest, through erroneous transmission and gross omissions.

Just because some "styles" perform a stylized hand movement to indicate a strike or do not actually physically connect, doesn't mean there is no atemi in aikido.

Just that it isn't emphasized as such. And although there are reasons for doing so, more often than not, things are lost in translation, through transmission and plain omission.

It's kinda like saying a particular stylized hand movement in karate (say the opening move of Naihanchi) is like a "flourish" or a "salutation"....

A bad case of chinese whispers....

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