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#127885 - 08/25/04 02:46 PM Ground Techniques

How extensive is the ground techniques of Aikido? I compare ground techniques to other arts like Brazilian Ju Jitsu and other forms of wrestling. While I don't expect Aikido ground techniques to be as extensive as other arts, I was just curious to the extent of them in Aikido.

Any responses welcome, thank you.

#127886 - 08/25/04 04:38 PM Re: Ground Techniques
reaperblack Offline

Registered: 04/30/04
Posts: 558
Loc: Victoria, BC, Canada
A great deal of aikido is done from a kneeling position, as a matter of fact anything that is done standing should be able to be done kneeling. There is no rolling around on the ground in aikido, it is intended to avoid that, that is why the breakfalls and rolls are designed to have you standing again as quickly as possible. The majority of aikido that is done on the ground is at the end of the technique, the submission at the end of a throw, etc.

#127887 - 08/27/04 07:01 AM Re: Ground Techniques
schanne Offline
breaks things

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 4370
Loc: Woodbury NJ
That brings up a question that I have always wanted to know. Why is Aikido practiced so much from the kneeling position vs. standing? Most all other MA practice from fighting stance and end up either on the ground or remain standing. Sensei Lou are you out there?

#127888 - 08/27/04 01:11 PM Re: Ground Techniques
reaperblack Offline

Registered: 04/30/04
Posts: 558
Loc: Victoria, BC, Canada
I can help you with a couple of answers for that, Senseilou may have some insights to add later. 1. Aikido is a style designed to defend against multiple attackers, when you are thrown or you have pinned the arm of an attacker it is quite often that you will end up on your knee, or at least transition through this position.
2. It conditions the knees, and in any style that is so grounded and has so many breakfalls, it is important to have strong knees. Strong knees are also the foundation of good balance, or at least a major contributor.

#127889 - 08/27/04 02:48 PM Re: Ground Techniques
senseilou Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/14/02
Posts: 2082
Loc: Glendale, Az.
Well its nice to know that my opinion is wanted. Before I answer the question let me preface it by saying I see things in different lights or purposes, which can be historical, lineage, function or form. Many things we do will fit into these categories. Not everything we do is based on self-defense or on the other hand, is done because that is the way it was handed down or taught. So there are several explainations for this. Historically, Samurai use to have to sit in seiza in presence of the Shogun, and other high ranking officials. They needed to be trained to fight in this position as it was against tradition and law to have your head above the Shogun, Emperor or what have.So they practiced defending themselves from this position. If you ever see some of Kurwasawa's movies, many times it shows someone trying to assisinate a Shogun and the Samurai attack them from a kneeling position. So I have been told and read, that this was the reason for Samurai fighting from this position. So it could be an historical perspective.

I don't really think O sensei would have done this for pure historical reasons though. Another thought as has been noted if you are thrown or taken down and can get to your knees you can defend yourself better than on your back on stomach. This is a viable reason as well. Once again we are dealing with recent information, as no one was really around when O'Sensei started his art, which evolved from the a 'Jutsu' to a 'Do'. So its hard to say WHY he really had kneeling and sitting techniuqes in his art. We hear from alot of O'Sensei's deschi why they believe so, but we will never know. I was told by an old Daito Sensei that the reason for the kneeling is that in a traditional system, you started your training on your knees so you didn't have to focus on your Ashi Sabaki. Working from your knees created upper body tai sabaki, and when proficient at this, you stood up and learned how to move the lower half. While sounding a bit far fetched, I found it to be true. I did not study Daito, but another style(an off shoot of Daito)had us on our knees for the first year, nothing but kneeling techniques. After that we did the exact same techniques standing, so it must have some merit. Looking at some other systems, many of them start with grabs. Why? In most cases you can teach the beginner how to deal with a static attack. Once you put in motion the attack, the student must learn tai sabaki, and how to move in relation to a punch. If he has the upper body work under his belt, now all you have to teach them is their ashi sabaki(footwork).(another note for what its worth, I teach it exactly opposite. I teach footwork first, then tai sabaki, finally te sabki[hand movement]Since we employ alot of boxing skills I teach footwork on the first night). So this is another possibility. I think alot of the reason was to condition the upper legs as well.We will never know the real reason O' Sensei added this to his art, we came along a bit too late. Even his deschi don't see things exactly the same. If you watch and listen to Yamada Sensei you will get a different interpretation than from Tohei Sensei. I was not taught Aikido from my knees at first, but was in Aiki-Jujutsu so I think thats a viable reason. There was heavy emphasis at later ranks on kneeling techniques in Aikido. On the other hand one Aikido school I attended made all the children only do kneeling technique, so they must have a reason. I think it may be a combination of all the above.

One final note, it depends on what kind of ground work one is talking about. Brazillian Jujutsu techniques, Sambo techniques have nothing in common with Aikido groundwork. However Judo is a bit different. We have seiza katame's(sitting locks) in the Aikido I studied but my Sensei was also a world class Judo champion, so we had some sitting locks, and sitting chokes in our Aikido, however they were all done from sitting not prone position. Most of my Sambo is either applied on top of the attacker's stomach or back. I have no Aikido techniques from these positions.


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