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#365761 - 11/04/07 10:58 AM Re: Strikes In Aikido - how realistic are they [Re: evad74]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3219
Loc: Derry, NH
I always got the impression the use of atemi (such as in the earlier Usheiba texts) was to be a stop hit, a way to insert an opening into an attack, to give time to then move into position.

A sufficiently advance technician does not necessarily need strikes but can more sufficiently well to get to the point a technique execution is complete in itself.

But if you can't move that well, atemi creates an opening for the less skilled, or a matter of convenience in reducing attack for all.

Personally I find the purest aiki throw when someone is trying hard to deck me to flow a nukite into their throat and watch them throw themselves away. Not as a karate strike but a flowing spear.

I move far less than great and prefer to use a sledgehammer to perform my atemi these days. Makes the rest much similar.

My instructor always maintained that aikido worked because of pain and that you weren't throwing, projecting, locking anyone they were doing it to themselves to get away from pain, or the perception of the pain that would be coming.
_________________________
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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#365762 - 11/04/07 04:03 PM Re: Strikes In Aikido - how realistic are they [Re: eyrie]
evad74 Offline
Member

Registered: 01/24/07
Posts: 114
Loc: Qld, Australia
Quote:

PDR?




Pre determined response. Basically what you said about "set up's" causing an involuntary but predictable reaction on uke's part. I'd consider them to still be atemi, but I get what you mean now. Thanks.

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#365763 - 11/04/07 04:07 PM Re: Strikes In Aikido - how realistic are they [Re: Victor Smith]
evad74 Offline
Member

Registered: 01/24/07
Posts: 114
Loc: Qld, Australia
Quote:

But if you can't move that well, atemi creates an opening for the less skilled




yeah that would be me

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#365764 - 12/05/07 04:36 PM Re: Strikes In Aikido - how realistic are they [Re: evad74]
SBudda Offline
Member

Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 46
Loc: ATL
I'm probably way too late to enter this conversation, but that never stopped me from chiming in before

I should probably start off by saying; when I first started Aikido, I totally agreed with your question. Prior to taking Aikido, I had only trained a little in JKD; so of course I wanted to immediately learn how to work with jabs. I was introduced to mune tsuki, shomenuchi, etc. and I was disappointed.

Why should I learn how to defeat fake attacks when I didn't fight that way? I would never in my life perform an overhead chop to someone's head. Why was I told to commit my weight to a mune tsuki (middle punch), when every striking art in the world teaches to remain centered at all times?

So I performed the #1 most popular mistake that a student can make - I asked my sensei. Specifically, I asked what Aikidokas did in the face of a jab. Like any good sensei, he knew the answer, and showed me (ouch!). This performed two things: it showed me that there was a method to defeat the jab; and it showed me why we typically have uke do a slightly exaggerated weight transfer.

The answer of course (this is a blending art after all) was timing and the lead. Basically, for all strikes there is a moment where the weight transfer occurs. For a good boxer (for example) the amount of time that he/she is off balance is minimal - but the moment still occurs. If you blend at the right moment, and provide the proper lead (with atemi), the technique will work just fine. So why don't we do that in class?

Answer? It's too bloody hard!

Most Aikido n00bs are focused on their own hands or feet; ie. what they are doing [step, step, change hands, turn tenkan]. Intermediate Aikidokas start realizing that what they do is less important than what uke does; ie. they start thinking [extend his ki downward, keep the lead, blend and accelerate]. I don't know what expert Aikidokas thinks, but it's probably something like [hello attacker, oh look - flowers, why did you just fall down?]

If you've studied Aikido for long enough, you've likely heard the concept that "if the lead is good, you can screw-up the rest of it and still be ok". You've also heard that this is not a transitive property. If you have a crummy lead and the rest is textbook perfect, you probably won't get passed the lead in the first place.

Since the lead is SO important, it makes sense to lengthen the amount of time that the lead can be applied. So we shift our weight just a little more than we may normally. Aikido is hard enough when you're just starting out that every little bit helps. If it took you 2 months to get a semi-nice kokyo-ho lead before you started to learn how to chain that into ikkyo - there wouldn't be many students left.

It's much more interesting for the student - and I'd imagine the instructor - to touch on a number of different techniques, without trying to beat them to death on the first exposure to them. You're already trying to learn what a lead is, how different body sizes effect technique, what the stupid technique is anyway, how to avoid opening yourself up for kaishi, etc. So many things to think about, all of which can be defeated by bad timing. So you do it slow, and a bit exaggerated. But it's ok, I think for the following reason:

If you time your lead properly - you will start your technique before the exaggerated part of the attack even comes into play.

I found this out when I asked about the jab. From the uke's perspective (mine), the way sensei's lead felt; when I threw a jab or a men-tsuki; both the same. In both cases I was lead before I could recover, and hit the ground before I knew what happened. From nage's perspective (mine), the difference was between getting hit in the nose and actually doing a technique.

My timing isn't nearly as good as my sensei's. Which is as it should be (for now at least!). So I appreciate the little gimmies that I'm given. I appreciate it more when I improve and the gimmies are taken away!

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#365765 - 12/05/07 08:25 PM Re: Strikes In Aikido - how realistic are they [Re: SBudda]
evad74 Offline
Member

Registered: 01/24/07
Posts: 114
Loc: Qld, Australia
I agree with most of what you said, training needs to be catered to all skill levels. I have no problem with training with overexaggerated attacks, I just don't think thats where it should end. The best way to get people to improve their skills is to push them, not stagnate with what works for them.

Quote:

So why don't we do that in class?

Answer? It's too bloody hard!




For me this is the perfect reason too do it. You don't have to train like this all the time, but it will always be too bloody hard unless you push yourselves.

Apart from realistic attacks & resistance, the other thing about aikido that often comes up is the time it can take to develop good skills. In my rubbish opinion , it will take longer if all training is co-operative/overcommitted.

I'd rather train first in a way that lets me develop understanding of a principle/technique, and then second to apply it realistically. And I would rather be doing this from the outset of training, not waiting until I've reached a certain belt level or something. Better to have 1 or 2 things you can use confidently, than 50 things your still working your way up to using under any circumstances.

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#365766 - 12/06/07 08:37 PM Re: Strikes In Aikido - how realistic are they [Re: SBudda]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

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

Most Aikido n00bs are focused on their own hands or feet; ie. what they are doing [step, step, change hands, turn tenkan]. Intermediate Aikidokas start realizing that what they do is less important than what uke does; ie. they start thinking [extend his ki downward, keep the lead, blend and accelerate]. I don't know what expert Aikidokas thinks, but it's probably something like [hello attacker, oh look - flowers, why did you just fall down?]


I'm hardly an expert, but I believe Aikido is NOT so much focusing on what uke is doing, but more so how YOU respond to uke. The focus should always be on you - maintaining your own postural alignment, structural integrity and central equilibrium, whilst at the same time disrupting uke's ability to do the same. Just my $0.005.

Dave, I have a big problem with the way and context in which the word "realistic" is being used. To most, "realistic" implies a physical circumstance in which one does something to an attacker resulting in them being disabled, maimed or killed (and vice versa). Obviously, this has implications on issues of training safety. So, to me, it's more a matter of DEGREE OF CONTROL rather than one of "realism".

IMHO, ALL aikido is realistic... it has to be... to remain relevant as budo, bujutsu or even bugei. If it weren't then it would merely be a dance. But that's not to say that one cannot learn important martial principles even within the context of the dance.

However, I think there needs to be a distinction between learning mode i.e. kihon waza and application mode i.e. henka and oyo waza - it's not the same thing.

Grady already mentioned this before somewhere... using the example of shihonage. In kihon practice, the throw is executed by drawing uke's wrist straight down the spine. This is primarily for uke's safety. In applied mode, a subtle change of the angle of direction of throw will result in a shoulder dislocation. Obviously, if one were to apply it "realistically" in training, one would very quickly run out of ukes.

Also, if you are familiar with the standing jujitsu straight arm locks, there are at least 5 or 6 points in the execution of shihonage at which you can pop the elbow joint capsule, dislocate the shoulder, or change the throw entirely - or a combination of all of the above.

I think it's important to understand that Aikido is simply an evolution in training methods, and was designed to accomplish the same goals of the root arts from which it was formulated.

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#365767 - 12/06/07 09:25 PM Re: Strikes In Aikido - how realistic are they [Re: eyrie]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
Quote:

Dave, I have a big problem with the way and context in which the word "realistic" is being used. To most, "realistic" implies a physical circumstance in which one does something to an attacker resulting in them being disabled, maimed or killed (and vice versa). Obviously, this has implications on issues of training safety. So, to me, it's more a matter of DEGREE OF CONTROL rather than one of "realism".

IMHO, ALL aikido is realistic... it has to be... to remain relevant as budo, bujutsu or even bugei. If it weren't then it would merely be a dance. But that's not to say that one cannot learn important martial principles even within the context of the dance.




I was commissioned to teach on Wednesday night, and "realistic attacks" were both called for and executed. I did nothing to the ukes except redirect their energy from the point of contact... and people were flying all over the room. I don't know how anybody else defines "realistic", but they were throwing punches, strikes, and grabbing me in every way imaginable, and I was doing the same thing over and over to them... simply redirecting them in directions they weren't prepared to go.

As I was executing the techniques, I was explaining how and when my Aikido became jujutsu, and when the jujutsu became Aikido. Essentially, if a technique requires more than redirection, it's jujutsu... if it's "all energy", it's Aikido... but clearly the explanation was over some of their heads.

They became especially frustrated when I told them that the kihon forms that they practice as ikkyo, nikyo, sankyo...etc. were all jujutsu rote teaching methods, and to turn it into Aikido, they needed to learn how to redirect energy to make the techniques from those forms.

If you've ever wondered where I got my "handle", it's from the one instruction I give in class... twist the wrist...

Redirection and twisting the wrist will accomodate any technique you need for self defense.
Quote:

However, I think there needs to be a distinction between learning mode i.e. kihon waza and application mode i.e. henka and oyo waza - it's not the same thing.




Learning the steps of anything is a mechanical process... I do this, and then this...etc. Redirection is an "absorbed" reflection of that process in which you extend the other person's energy to make the technique do what you were originally doing to them mechanically using force. It takes the "jujutsu understanding" of the body's mechanics, and the "Aikido understanding" of the redirection and management of energy. Throw a little "swordfighting understanding" of movement, and you have a very adaptable art that works well in any type of combat.

Combined with the "redirection" ideal, is the idea of striking back and "hitting when you can". Strikes provide some of the defense against grapplers, along with redirecting them, but in martial arts it's never wrong to hit your opponent.

Normally, strikes are helpful in providing entry into irimi techniques, redirecting the ki of the attacker, and preventing the attacker from hitting you as you enter your technique... so the multiple uses of strikes in Aikido don't provide "one answer".

One instructor I had in Aikido used to tell us to "think of Aikido as the answer to a question"... your attacker asks a question with his attack, and you provide him with the answer through your technique. When you think this way, the "process" of movements in "doing Aikido" are simplified, and you can work on timing, centering, and other things to make it stronger. My class last night was on "redirection", and I thought it went well for the most part. I'll know the next time I attack one of the students and see their reaction and whether it's changed.

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#365768 - 12/06/07 09:55 PM Re: Strikes In Aikido - how realistic are they [Re: eyrie]
evad74 Offline
Member

Registered: 01/24/07
Posts: 114
Loc: Qld, Australia
Quote:

Dave, I have a big problem with the way and context in which the word "realistic" is being used. To most, "realistic" implies a physical circumstance in which one does something to an attacker resulting in them being disabled, maimed or killed (and vice versa). Obviously, this has implications on issues of training safety. So, to me, it's more a matter of DEGREE OF CONTROL rather than one of "realism".




I can see what you mean, I didn't phrase that properly. I'm talking about the realism of application at the beginning of an attack, the recieving/entry into an attack, not the finishing of a technique to disable someone.

This goes back to dealing with unpredictable attacks from someone defending themselves as well as attacking. More like training with a sparring partner, not an uke. Obviously control has to be mantained by all parties involved (everyone has to go to work tommorrow), but that comes back to yours and wristtwisters examples of not killing someone with the direction the technique takes at the end.

Quote:

However, I think there needs to be a distinction between learning mode i.e. kihon waza and application mode i.e. henka and oyo waza - it's not the same thing.




I do make the distinction in my previous post's, that there is definetly not only room for both, but a need for both.

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#365769 - 12/06/07 10:45 PM Re: Strikes In Aikido - how realistic are they [Re: wristtwister]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Precisely.... I don't know what "realistic" means either
To me, "realistic" means, you really try to hit me (and I will do the same). The same goes for grabs... pull in and strike, pull in and take down etc.. The fact that I don't knock you out, or break your wrist in training is a matter of degree - of both intent and control. "On the street" is a totally different matter. Which is why I prefer not to use the word at all. To me, there is only intent and control.

Quote:

As I was executing the techniques, I was explaining how and when my Aikido became jujutsu, and when the jujutsu became Aikido. Essentially, if a technique requires more than redirection, it's jujutsu... if it's "all energy", it's Aikido... but clearly the explanation was over some of their heads.


Exactly... it's all "mechanics" - from Archimedes to Newton. It wasn't until I studied jujitsu that I fully appreciated aikido for what it is, and vice versa.

Quote:

They became especially frustrated when I told them that the kihon forms that they practice as ikkyo, nikyo, sankyo...etc. were all jujutsu rote teaching methods, and to turn it into Aikido, they needed to learn how to redirect energy to make the techniques from those forms.


I think the hardest thing to convey to people is that ikkyo, nikkyo, sankyo etc... are not "techniques" (as in the way to do something to someone), but merely "outer shapes" of movement in which the principles of Aikido are conveyed. People tend to become enslaved by the form, i.e. this is HOW the "technique" is "applied", when it is simply a learning tool to explore the basic premise of energy redirection.

Quote:

Learning the steps of anything is a mechanical process... I do this, and then this...etc. Redirection is an "absorbed" reflection of that process in which you extend the other person's energy to make the technique do what you were originally doing to them mechanically using force. It takes the "jujutsu understanding" of the body's mechanics, and the "Aikido understanding" of the redirection and management of energy. Throw a little "swordfighting understanding" of movement, and you have a very adaptable art that works well in any type of combat.


Wonderfully succinct! And bears repeating.... because therein lies the beautiful simplicity and wonderful complexity that is aikido.

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#365770 - 12/06/07 11:13 PM Re: Strikes In Aikido - how realistic are they [Re: evad74]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

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

I can see what you mean, I didn't phrase that properly. I'm talking about the realism of application at the beginning of an attack, the recieving/entry into an attack, not the finishing of a technique to disable someone.


Practically I don't see what any difference that makes. If I as "uke" attempt to hit you and you don't respond appropriately, you'll get hit. Bearing in mind, the distinction between uke and nage/tori/shi'te is arbitrary and solely for learning purposes. The fact that I pull the strike to avoid smashing the bridge of your nose, or collarbone, within a training context, is a matter of control. Irrespective, the "attack" could be a sloppy, limp-wristed "wet lettuce" for all I care... the redirection of energy (i.e force) in such a way that it affects uke's structural integrity is essentially the same. I cannot see why it would be different, except in terms of degree of subtlety.

The only difference seems to be an implication that "realistic" equates to intent. Why not just call it "intent" then?

Quote:

This goes back to dealing with unpredictable attacks from someone defending themselves as well as attacking. More like training with a sparring partner, not an uke.


Grady has mentioned this before too... if uke changes, you have to change up. It would be silly, not to mention, un-aikido to force the technique where it is obviously not going to work.

The issue I have with this is, in learning mode, changing up to foil the "technique" robs nage of the learning experience. It also robs uke of a valuable learning experience... that of learning how to read nage's "holes".

Quote:

I do make the distinction in my previous post's, that there is definetly not only room for both, but a need for both.


Obviously... but it is also dependent on the individual's level of skill and ability.

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