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johanlook
07-22-2006, 12:28 AM
I know that Aikido is generally known to emphasize Irimi and Tenkan movements and it's no different where I train. I'd like to know if anyone incorporates the flinch/instinctive responses into their training? My teacher has explained that we are learning to overcome that response and to move in or in and turn - never backwards. Thoughts?

Xamien
07-22-2006, 05:32 AM
Seems to suggest that moving backwards has any negative connotation to it. I know from the few videos I've seen of Seagal sensei doing randori, he's used it to great effect. Just seems like it adds another dimension in movements, more room to move, and you can keep your eye on the opponents.

As for flinch reaction, I'm not sure what to offer you. I know that, traditionally, a lot of older styles used to use things like blades constantly swinging in your direction to get over your fear of the attack. Obviously, this doesn't go over too well in today's world. ;) I do remember reading some of the fast-reaction response exercises that some JKD practioners use. Namely, you had someone using handpads for you to strike and he would move them around to give you a different target location, then yell out "Freeze!", you'd stop -right- where you are (in the middle of an attack, wherever), he'd move the pad again, and call out to start again. Then you had to hit the pad from whatever position you were frozen in. Maybe there's a way to adjust this for Aikido?

dps
07-22-2006, 10:07 AM
I'd like to know if anyone incorporates the flinch/instinctive responses into their training? I think in Aikido and most other martial arts you train to replace natural flinch/instinctive responses with instinctive responses you want.
Going from responses out of fear to controlled responses out of training.

markwalsh
07-22-2006, 10:45 AM
The raising of the arms is an aspect of the instinctive flinch response that is incorporated into most aikido techniques, otherwise yeas, we train to overcome stiffening, shrinking and backing away in favor of a more effective response.

I would also add that the nature of your own "flinch" response is worth studying as it comes in several different forms that reveal a lot.

DonMagee
07-22-2006, 04:10 PM
I got over most of my flinch response by keeping my back against the wall, putting on some head gear and boxing gloves and letting someone take shots at me. Its not 100% gone, but most of it is. I supect the final solution is just letting him hit me instead of defending.

That said, moving backwards is a valid defense, as long as you do not move backwards constantly. If you have to move backwards, you MUST circle. Moving straight backwards will eventually weaken your defense and allow your attacker to gain the advantage. A couple steps backwards is fine, but any more then that and you need to circle or move forward again.

Xamien
07-22-2006, 05:40 PM
Don: I know experiences may differ across the board so I was wondering if you have or know anyone who has actually used what looked too much backing up to catch someone off-guard? It's not something I've used often in karate kumite competition but it was useful those couple of times.

johanlook
07-22-2006, 06:51 PM
From my experience in Aikido I tend to favor letting my natural flinch/instinct response do what it does and then try to flow from there into my technique. I am by the way talking about the flinch response from unexpected attacks and/or events - not the centering myself/sparring type of strikes. I mean the kind of flinch response that moves your body when you're about to run into a branch or a spider.

I've got not doubt that the natural response can be retrained - and I can see the good reasons for it I'm just also seeing benefits from allowing the natural instinct to remain. Lucky for me I have a teacher who is open to me being freer during the free practices after class.

DonMagee
07-24-2006, 06:36 AM
Don: I know experiences may differ across the board so I was wondering if you have or know anyone who has actually used what looked too much backing up to catch someone off-guard? It's not something I've used often in karate kumite competition but it was useful those couple of times.

I've never seen anything that I thought was done on purpose. Usually the guy backing straight back is at a disadvantage. He can't really attack and backup at the same time, and he is much more vunerable to a clinch and throw/takedown type attack. I favor circling because you can stay offensive, and move off the line of your partner's attack. Plus, you dont have to worry about what is behind you. I'm sure backing up could be used to bait your opponent, I just havn't seen it done well.

I agree with some of the posts I've read here. There are good and bad instincts. For example turning your head away from punches is a bad instinct. You can't see whats comming and you are in a very weak position. All you can really do is run away. Reaching out and grabbing things swung at you could be a good instinct reaction. Espeically if you are a grappler and providing that thing isn't a sword.

mickeygelum
07-24-2006, 11:02 PM
I was trained in this method..."Attack The Attack", or " Attack at the point of commitment"...sometimes in your training you get grazed by the atemi/punch/kickweapon...but, the training is progressive...and to this day I thank Stevens Shihan for that training.

Miku-san

Ron Tisdale
07-25-2006, 06:50 AM
Yoshinkan tends not to go backward often, if at all. If you do go backwards, you need to take an angle with the backward movement. There are some waza off of repeated side strike attacks where you xstep back, 45 degree pivot several times in a row...one of these sets up kotegaeshi nage ni no ni, where you are pivoting on the throw as well. I like Don's statement about circling...it tends to work well.

Having seen Matsuoka Sensei and others use backward movement to good effect, I notice that they too are always taking an angle with any backward movement. I think it was Peter Goldsbury in the first AikiExpo who was doing figure eight patterns (overall body movement) across the mat backwards, thumping his uke all the way. Reminded me of watching a clip with Ueshiba Sensei. Must be quite difficult to pull off.

Best,
Ron

Marc Randolph
08-01-2006, 09:31 PM
I don't think that I can answer the question until "flinch/instinctive" is defined. A few posters hinted at the (at least) two different meanings:

1. A response that is trained through repetitive exercises, so that the "correct" response becomes instinctive. In this case, the word flinch is being used as a replacement for "instant". In other words, you instantly do the correct thing (usually because of lots of training).

2. A reaction that is happens "naturally" (with little to no thoughtful training), and can happen even when you don't want it to. This basicly matches the textbook definition of flinch: To start or wince involuntarily, as from surprise or pain.

Just to be perfectly clear, an example/comparison of the two: when someone in the general population stumbles or trips and is falling to the ground, they try to "catch themselves", sometimes injurying themselves in the process (#2), instead of rolling or taking what we would otherwise consider "good ukemi" (which requires most people to do #1).

Needless to say, I strive for #1. My experience is that #2 is full of tension from stiffening muscles - and THAT actually slows down movements and responses.

Marc


P.S. One more example that I can't pass up: when you pull the trigger on a firearm, you experience a recoil. After a number of shots, many (probably most) shooters, even ones that claim to be experienced, will start anticipating that recoil and "flinch" before the bullet even leaves the chamber. The result is that the sights (and the bullet) are now pointed slightly off the original point of aim. The same concept can be used in martial arts... get your opponent to "flinch", and then use that flinch against them (regardless if it is them sticking an arm out or retracting it, bobbing their head, or ducking, or any other movement).

CNYMike
08-03-2006, 05:40 PM
.... I think it was Peter Goldsbury in the first AikiExpo who was doing figure eight patterns (overall body movement) across the mat backwards, thumping his uke all the way. Reminded me of watching a clip with Ueshiba Sensei. Must be quite difficult to pull off.

Best,
Ron

Very. The Shito-Ryu karate dojo I've been in since the '80s also teaches moving back at an angle (you're tuaght to move straight back at first, then back at 45 degrees; then your reverse punch reaches), but I was never able to pull it offf in sparring -- my instinctive reaction is to move straight back. So it's a good idea but probably very difficult.

That said, one Japanese(?) kid who joined us for a semester in the '80s responded to a flurry of kicks in punches by pulling both arms back to chamber and weaving back and forth; he caught everything on his elbows! Yes, it was sparring. No, I don't know where he trained before, but I probably would not have survived there. But it is possible to learn to do "difficult" things under pressure; they're not impossible!