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#173008 - 07/30/05 10:24 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
wer Offline
Member

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 31
Loc: Massachusetts
Quote:

Here's a few things to get you thinking:
1. Rather than "push" or "pull", which connotates use of force, how would you effect a "push" or "pull" mechanically by simply using body mechanics? Is there another way to effect a "push" or "pull" using "aiki"? How?




Someone comes at me, thrusting hands out to push me.

If I were not thinking aiki, I would definitely: step forward shallowly with my right foot, lean forward slightly,chin down, right shoulder forward, right hand fisted, right arm bent at the elbow with the forearm horizontally in front and my left hand grasping my right forearm just above the wrist (so, shoulder and arms set for shoulder stroke), knees bent to drop my center of mass as he starts coming at me so I would be able to resist the push without being knocked backwards. (Of course since F=ma if he's a football player I'm going to go flying however well I root so I might be better off just taking ukemi.)

If instead I keep my aiki wits about me, I would, moving the instant his muscles tense for the motion towards me: keep my posture unbroken, grasp the attacker's right wrist with my right hand and his right elbow with my left hand as soon as he extends his arms for the push, and would rock my weight from my left leg to my right while stepping far back with my right foot turning my hips strongly to the right while keeping my arms fixed so their angles with my torso remains unchanged. I'm now "outside" my attacker, and my right foot is now my "post. If I don't meet too much resistance I could now release him and send him flying in the direction he'd been facing to start with (if he's a friend, I guess). Or, I could spiral to the right and down while still controlling my attacker's arm as I sink myself (seiza), the arm and its owner to the ground. (I'd do other stuff if he was resisting too much, but that's beyond our push/pull discussion).

If he was strong enough to keep his pushing arm bent and to keep himself from going foward when I stepped back, he would then be pulling me and I would respond to his leaning back by rocking my weight forward onto my left foot again then stepping deeply forward with my right foot in a classic ikkyo. (Again, assuming ideal technique -- if I couldn't pull off the ikkyo, I'd have to continue to counter whatever he did next.)

The biggest thing I get from this writing exercise is that I can't say what I'd do for sure because everything depends on what I sense he'll do. That might be what "aiki" is all about.

Quote:

2. "Ju" means soft, supple, pliant, yielding. How is the concept of "ju" different to "aiki"? Why is it different?



This, I don't know. I find many things in common between "ju" and "aiki" techniques, and most of the differences might be in the way modern training has evolved more than from something fundamental. But that's getting in to the "sport/competition" area. The other difference is that I haven't heard any discussion of ki in the ju arts, whereas ki is considered fundamental to aikido. But that might be considered getting into the spiritual area. You do a ju art -- what's your take on the difference?

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#173009 - 07/30/05 10:47 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: wer]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
OK, let's make this REALLY simple. Shihonage (4 corner/direction throw) is a standard takedown/throw in many arts. Describe what or how you would do it as an aiki technique.

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#173010 - 07/30/05 11:21 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
Intrepidinv1 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/20/05
Posts: 308
Loc: NC, USA
Okay, I'm going to admit this up front, you guys are getting over my head here but I would like to take this opportunity to discuss what I perceive to be the difference between judo and wrestiling as opposed to aikido.

Wrestling and judo seem to place more emphasize on controlling the main centers of balance. The area around the hips and under the arms. Aikido seems to emphasize the secondary points of balance, the arms, wrist and head.

I realize they're are different styles of aikido and I readily admit that I am not familiar with them. However, from the aikido that I have been exposed to there seems to be a lack of concern about those major area of balance which is where I have to scratch my head. The style I was in didn't even encourage the need to control the wrist in some of the throws. Seldom are legs blocked or swept or reaped as in judo so what prevents someone from just stepping around the attack?

Please realize that I am sincerely asking this question not to criticize aikido but to understand it's concepts better. It seems to me that it is essential to control/take these key areas of balance by lifting, blocking, pulling, etc. in order to effectively take a person down. What am I missing here?

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#173011 - 07/30/05 11:35 PM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: Intrepidinv1]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
To be quite honest, this is simple an intellectual exercise - to get people thinking a little more deeply about their art, rather than focus on some narrow and limited aspect, like say for example, "resistance training".

Because if you sure as hell cannot follow the conversation and discuss what it is that you're doing and why you're doing it, then it makes no difference whether the training is resistant/realistic or wotnot. The truth of the matter is, if you cannot explain in precise terms what makes the technique work, then whether there is resistance or not is immaterial, because the technique just won't work. Agreed?

Sure you can power your way thru the resistance and make it "work", but you're not really working the technique are you? Agreed?

Bear in mind I am only limiting the discussion to one small aspect of shihonage. Let's make it even simpler. Let's use shihonage from a same side wrist grab - attacker grabs defender's left hand with their right hand. Now do shihonage. Describe how you would execute shihonage. What makes shihonage work?

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#173012 - 07/31/05 12:03 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
KiDoHae Offline
Former Moderator

Registered: 06/29/04
Posts: 999
Quote:

It's interesting to see the same principle (of yin/yang) used differently in Judo - "When pushed, yield (or pull if you prefer). When pulled, push".




Most MAs who are either devoted to or dabbled in aiki systems have stumbled across a rather famous quote from a high ranking judoka who fought Jigaro Kano and described it as..."It was like fighting and empty jacket".

The use of "pull/push, push/pull" is a very basic element of instruction. You actually have to visulize the description of fighting an empty jacket in order to wrap your head around the concept of completely yeilding to an opponent. In there early days judo and aikido were probably much closer in practice than they might seem today.

The "empty jacket" offers no resistance and accepts the opponent's invitation. Is there a better way to describe "blending and yeilding"? Is that the essense of "aiki"?

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#173013 - 07/31/05 12:12 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: KiDoHae]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia


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#173014 - 07/31/05 01:33 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: eyrie]
csinca Offline
former moderator

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 672
Loc: Southern California
Okay, here is the first of what will likely be three posts...

The comparison between judo and aikido, and references to Kano and Ueshiba keep coming up. Just for the sake of reference, let's keep in mind that both men studied and mastered other arts before creating their own. And what they created was a "safer" version of what they had compiled. So when we say that one or the other is reported to have done this that or the other things, it wasn't because they spent their whole life training in what we currently have as either aikido or judo. I'm also pretty sure that most of Ueshiba's deshi were already fairly proficient in other arts.

I bring this up because the guys that we use as the reference points where not pure Aikido or pure Judo.

Chris

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#173015 - 07/31/05 01:47 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: Intrepidinv1]
csinca Offline
former moderator

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 672
Loc: Southern California
Quote:

... I perceive to be the difference between judo and wrestiling as opposed to aikido.

Wrestling and judo seem to place more emphasize on controlling the main centers of balance. The area around the hips and under the arms. Aikido seems to emphasize the secondary points of balance, the arms, wrist and head...





Intrepid,

My aikido training comes in the form of principles first and then techniques are ways to practice the principles...

And one of the key principles for me and the way I have learned aikido is the principal of skeletal locking, and this has taken me a very long way... I actually think it is one of the half dozen or so key and defining principles, but that's just my opinion.

Anyway, skeletal locking is the principle that I need to lock up your skeletal system from my point of contact all the way through to your shoulders (and preferably down your spine to your hips). So what you are seeing as wrist and arm locks/throws should actually be locking the skeletal structure from that point of contact to at least the shoulders and preferably to the hips. If it doesn't, then what you are seeing is simply wrist twisting, possibly pain compliance, and in my opinion bad/ineffective aikido.

There, I said it!

I'll get to eyrie's question on shiho in my next post...

Take kote-gaeshi (outward wrist turn) as an example because it seems like every art seems to have their version. I also use this because in my opinion this is one of the most commonly screwed up techniques but it's in every demo because the uke often takes a high fall...

Try this with another person, preferably a consenting partner...

Take their right hand with your left hand. Your left hand is grasping their thumb and the pad at the base of their thumb. Rotate their hand in what will be for you a counterclockwise direction which will cause their fingers to first point to your right and then straight up.

Notice that just as their middle finger is pointed straight up, their right shoulder will dip just a bit. At this point you will have "locked" their wrist, forearm, elbow and up into their shoulder like links of a chain (let me know if you aren't familiar with the chain analogy). You now have a skeletal lock to their right shoulder. If you drop them from here, they should feel as if their shoulder is being led down, not that their wrist is being twisted off.

so if you are seeing good aikido, you will see contact points at the wrist, fingers, elbows and shoulders, but the "kuzushi" or off-balancing is happening at the shoulders or hips

Chris

PS- kote is often ruined by continuing the rotation of the wrist beyond the point where the lock is achieved which allows for two counters that I know of....

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#173016 - 07/31/05 02:12 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: csinca]
csinca Offline
former moderator

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 672
Loc: Southern California
Shiho Nage with your right hand grabbing my left hand...

So many ways to go wrong, the first of which is for me to tense up my left arm, which gives you something to react to. So I need to keep my left arm relaxed and move my body around your attack (grabbing my wrist), in this case down and to my left.

My next opportunity to screw up is to enter with the wrong angle. If I come directly into you, I'll end up pushing into your grip and your arm and your strength; so I need to enter but allow your arm to pivot naturally about your shoulder. (Don't push)

Now as I'm moving and entering, I need to rotate my left arm with my thumb coming back and down. Here I can screw up by not rotating my whole arm, or by pulling away and breaking your grip. (don't pull). This rotation, ifI am connected to you will cause your right shoulder to begin to open up a bit as your upper torso rotates over your hips. Now I'm beginning to break down your posture (beginning kuzushi) on my way to breaking your base. This i very important because it takes away the first real counter to shiho which is you rsimply clenching your right elbow to your ribs.

As I'm entering with my left foot across your body and hopefully placing it somewhere near your main front triangulation point, I trap/hook your right wrist with my right hand and then begin to raise my right elbow up over my head (as if drawing a sword, hmmmmmm). At this point your grip will likely be lost and my left hand can reinforce the grip I have with my right or I can leave it free for a moment in the event I want to use it for "something else" later.

As I draw my sword, I mean raise my elbow above my head, I now have room to step through, turning my body about 180 degrees and bringing my right foot to my left. As I do this, the back of my left shoulder will come into contact near your right armpit, as I rotate I maintain a little bit of connection but let the contact point slid across my upper back. This will cause you to turn and be looking in the opposite direction as me.

From here a common mistake would be for me to start walking and trying to throw myuke to the ground, but off course uke should simply walk with me around the mat. The proper thing for me to do here is relax my elbows down almost as if I was doing a sword cut. This will cause you to arch into a bit of a back-bend as I begin drawing your right hand down behind your right shoulder...Your balance is mine and you have no base to speak of. I've locked your skeletal system from your wrist to your shoulders, down your spine to your hips....

And this is where things can get really exciting.

I can maintain a downward pressure and guide you down fairly gently (very aikido like)

I can step back with my right foot and make my cutting motion very firm, and you'll get to take a hot fall across the shoulers (maybe a "hard-style" aikido)

I can drop to my left knee and cut down 90 degrees to my left which will likely dislocate your elbow and possibly your shoulder and then force you to either drop your expanded ribs onto my upright right knee or bail and hope you can get over before I drive you head first into the mat. (probably not very aikido-like, and definitely not good for reusing ukes)

Along the way there are many ways to add a little spice to life, but this is certainly a long enough post

Chris


Edited by csinca (07/31/05 02:13 AM)

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#173017 - 07/31/05 03:26 AM Re: What makes an "aiki" technique, "aiki"? [Re: csinca]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
I'll work backwards...

Quote:

Shiho Nage with your right hand grabbing my left hand...

So many ways to go wrong, the first of which is for me to tense up my left arm, which gives you something to react to. So I need to keep my left arm relaxed and move my body around your attack (grabbing my wrist), in this case down and to my left.





How about a RH punch to the nose as I extend with my LH (which is grabbed) into your center, followed by pressing the ridge of my RH thumb into the radial nerve at LU7?

As I'm digging my thumb ridge into the nerve, I've already taken your balance onto your right foot, and your arm is nicely bent at the elbow.... which makes the following moot.

Quote:


My next opportunity to screw up is to enter with the wrong angle. If I come directly into you, I'll end up pushing into your grip and your arm and your strength; so I need to enter but allow your arm to pivot naturally about your shoulder. (Don't push)

Now as I'm moving and entering, I need to rotate my left arm with my thumb coming back and down. Here I can screw up by not rotating my whole arm, or by pulling away and breaking your grip. (don't pull). This rotation, ifI am connected to you will cause your right shoulder to begin to open up a bit as your upper torso rotates over your hips. Now I'm beginning to break down your posture (beginning kuzushi) on my way to breaking your base. This i very important because it takes away the first real counter to shiho which is you rsimply clenching your right elbow to your ribs.





Quote:


As I'm entering with my left foot across your body and hopefully placing it somewhere near your main front triangulation point, I trap/hook your right wrist with my right hand and then begin to raise my right elbow up over my head (as if drawing a sword, hmmmmmm). At this point your grip will likely be lost and my left hand can reinforce the grip I have with my right or I can leave it free for a moment in the event I want to use it for "something else" later.





As I step across the front of your body with my LF, I extend my L forearm into your R elbow (which is nicely bent) and stress the elbow joint as I am raising both my hands in front of my face. (Note: I am still digging my thumb ridge in LU7...)

Quote:


As I draw my sword, I mean raise my elbow above my head, I now have room to step through, turning my body about 180 degrees and bringing my right foot to my left. As I do this, the back of my left shoulder will come into contact near your right armpit, as I rotate I maintain a little bit of connection but let the contact point slid across my upper back. This will cause you to turn and be looking in the opposite direction as me.





In the same motion of stepping thru I drop into a horse stance so that your arm transitions over my head (at which point, I could also apply ikkyo using my R shoulder).

Quote:


From here a common mistake would be for me to start walking and trying to throw myuke to the ground, but off course uke should simply walk with me around the mat. The proper thing for me to do here is relax my elbows down almost as if I was doing a sword cut. This will cause you to arch into a bit of a back-bend as I begin drawing your right hand down behind your right shoulder...Your balance is mine and you have no base to speak of. I've locked your skeletal system from your wrist to your shoulders, down your spine to your hips....





Good. Lock the entire skeletal structure - wrist, elbow, shoulder, hips, knees and feet. Already done that as soon as you grab hold.

Quote:


And this is where things can get really exciting.

I can maintain a downward pressure and guide you down fairly gently (very aikido like)

I can step back with my right foot and make my cutting motion very firm, and you'll get to take a hot fall across the shoulers (maybe a "hard-style" aikido)





Here's a variation I like:
As I stand up from the horse stance to turn into you, I am also cutting (like bokken suburi) my hands to my belt knot. The dual action causes you to start to fall sharply - in effect, taking your center with me. From there I can control how fast you hit the mat.

Quote:


I can drop to my left knee and cut down 90 degrees to my left which will likely dislocate your elbow and possibly your shoulder and then force you to either drop your expanded ribs onto my upright right knee or bail and hope you can get over before I drive you head first into the mat. (probably not very aikido-like, and definitely not good for reusing ukes)





If I want to be really nasty, I use my R elbow as a lever and lever your R elbow as I'm dropping my hands, dislocate the shoulder as I'm going up and you're going down (i.e. using your own weight to do the nasty work for me).

If I want to be really really nasty, how about as you're already going down, I help you along into the mat by reaping your now fully weighted R leg with my R leg as I'm standing up and cutting down with my hands? Or even throwing you over my hip with your locked elbow? (as in basic jujitsu)

So, the same basic technique is there. The gross general movements are the same. But the devil is the minute detail and subtle differences...

I'm going to throw a curve ball out here. I'm sure everyone does this same technique slightly differently, so what makes it "aiki"?


Edited by eyrie (07/31/05 06:21 AM)

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