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Erick Mead
10-17-2006, 09:15 AM
Peter Ralls prompted a question in another discussion that seemed to warrant separate development:
I think the most important thing to have in developing ones ability to defend themselves in a fight is to actually have been in some fights and gained some experience ... teaching you how to function in a crisis. Surely, I thought, there is some better way to teach and to train for developing the psychological/spiritual wherewithal to perform in true crisis (and to give a student confidence of his or her ability to continue to perform) that does not involve wearing your best pink flamingo print hakama to pick a fight in a biker bar ...

-- not that there's anything wrong with that :D

What methods of teaching for students to experience a serious sense of crisis have you seen in aikido training that you would approve or recommend, either as student or as teacher?

What have you seen that you would avoid?

Kevin Leavitt
10-17-2006, 02:05 PM
none in aikido training that I have experienced. Aikido does teach some very good things and is correct in principle.

However, as a famous general ,whose name escapes me, once said, ""no plan survives first contact".

What this translate in our martial practice is that in order to be successful in a "real fight" we must be prepared for what we did not plan for.

The only way to really do this is to first, develop a methodology that best trains us to have our bodies respond appropriately and properly to the situation intuitively. This is done through drills and technical training under the supervision of a good instructor. Slowly and methodically to instill the right responses.

The second thing we must do it train with fully resistive opponents,or at least as fully resistant as we can best do safely and sustainablely. i.e. it must best approximate a "real fight".

This allows us to work through what we learn in our slow, technical training and how to adapt it to the multitude of things we will encounter, physically, emotionally, and mentally.

True, you cannot train 100% realistically and any training we will do will have "weaknesses" due to the rules we impose.

This can be mitigated somewhat with an overlap strategy, which allows us to isolate our training safely, but ensures that we cover all the gaps that the individual isolated methods leave out for safety.

We do this all the time in the miitary in our live fire training. Of course we cannot fire real bullets at people, but we do fire real bullets at targets, we also use Miles laser systems to fight manuever aspects of fighting, and we also use simunitions that closely approximate combat and provide the correct feedback that targets and lasers cannot. When you put it all together, you get an effective soldier.

UFC guys do this as well. Police officers train this way too.

As you can imagine it is a full time job to do this, and you never really complete everything you need to.

Okay, all that said, your question was much focused than a military/UFC/police professional.

"how do you prepare a everyday person to handle crisis?"

well, first you have to define the crisis and what you feel is the threat. Then figure out the best methodology to get you there. There is no one right way, other than to develop a strategy that is somewhat mixed.

This is why MMA has become so popular. It eliminates parochialism, inbreeding, and the one size fits all approach. It allows for creativity, innovation, and efficency to best train for the strategy that you need to mitigate your threat.

I think aikido does a good job of preparing you for the everyday crisises, and actually I think that the "soft" crisis we all deal with all the time in our day to day living is best served through an art like aikido. It is subtle, soft, gentle, and teaches the proper control to allow us as deal with conflict in a skillful way.

Even in my military training, I think we could benefit from the "warm and fuzzy" of aikido by using it as a method to teach interpersonal/interactional skills to resolve conflict at a low level with skill. It is a critical skill!

That said, if you are talking about phyical, violent action, well I would look for a better tool set to train those aspects.

deepsoup
10-17-2006, 04:55 PM
Going off at a bit of a tangent, I know, but...
If you want to train for a crisis, the best way to start is by getting some training in First Aid. Unless you live in a town where people are attacked by packs of predatory ninjas on a daily basis, your CPR skills are a lot more likely to save the life of a stranger than anything you'll learn in a dojo. (And as a bonus, may also save someone's life at the dojo.)

Janet Rosen
10-17-2006, 06:13 PM
there are people I have trained w/ for whom having a training partner come at them w/ a tanto constitutes a bonafide crisis. pushing one's boundary's of trust play w/ that edge but it is different for each person.

ian
10-18-2006, 05:21 AM
I'd agree Janet, that many people who start training often gain a lot from someone (for them a stranger) attacking them, often quite hard - even though it is simulated. Maybe they gain more from that than we get from the daily grind of training?

I'd also say though, just from questions many beginners ask and the usual attitude towards martial training and technique development that many people cannot relate what they do in the dojo to real attacks. I tend to look at aikido like a fire-drill - its completely simulated but it gives you a plan. Also, many times I've released a grab in a real situation using aikido, which i believe has prevented escalation into a full blown fight, and this is often just the same (if not easier) than normal dojo training.

However I think the hate, intimidation, level of violence involved in some real attacks is often suprising to many people who have not experienced this. However I think even if you are a street fighter, fight scenarios are so unpredictable and varied that you can be caught out. I do think people that have been in real fights are often sceptical of aikido at first, but after a while can become the better students because they relate what they are learning to their experience (thus my signature). The truth be told, no matter if you are the best cage fighter or martial artist in the world, if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time you can get yourself killed by a group of thugs. The reason Takeda (Ueshibas aikijitsu instructor) wouldn't let people within 2 yards of him was because he knew that anyone can take you out if they want to. All we can do is try and increase the odds.

As to your question

My methods of crisis teaching are:
1. for gradings I ensure they are completely knackered before the grading even begins (the objective being to simulate the energy drain that can occur just prior to a fight due to adrenalin - and it shows what their body can do, not what their mind can do)
2. we now do 3 mins of powerful and fast striking practise on focus pads regularly and I make it explicitly clear that the main objective is to get themselves to the point where they are exhausted and yet still keep going (mental resilience) (this also tends to increase the pace of training, making the same true in aikido techniques).
3. we are doing scenario training soon (body protection and head-guard with cage) with realistic scenarios such that in some cases they may be able to talk their way out of it (focussing on the most important non physical aspects of confrontation)
4. I am giving some talks on self-defence (heavily influenced by own experience and geoff thompson)
5. during these talks I shall be showing video footage of real fights/stabbings etc (which help to illustrate some self-defence points and give people a close look at what happens in a fight without actually having to get in one!)

Although from an ethical and safety viewpoint it is wrong, the best way to learn how to fight (or defend oneself) is to be put in that position regularly through real experience.

Also liked this quote from Field Marshall Slim:
Hit the other fellow as QUICK as you can
and as HARD as you can,
where it HURTS him most,
WHEN HE AINíT LOOKING

And this from (would you believe it!) ghandi:
"I do believe that, where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence,†I would advise violence"

ian
10-18-2006, 06:27 AM
Just as an example of scenarios, see this excellent video footage:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=vWQfgwuOAxo&mode=related&search=

Dazzler
10-18-2006, 07:07 AM
Had to watch it with sound off so am going with body language.

I've practiced like this many times and its useful but still a long way from real.

In this piece of film , the general absence of any real pre-emptive strikes from the defenders was something that detracted for me.

How many shoves in the chest would you need before perhaps realising that this guy was not going away?

How much of your personal space are you going to concede before headbutting someone?

These guys put up a fence but then let the attacker walk straight through it.

Because of this, I feel it skewed the scenarios a bit resulting in nearly all situations resulting in upright grappling then going to floor.

Only exception was David v Goliath where unusually the little guy selects a target twice his size and then gets rewarded with an outer hock takedown and a squashing.

Having said all that - still a good effort and if this full on committed attack is what you are preparing to deal with then its probably a much better way than the standard tanto defences which are a long long way from fighting.

As is much of Aikido...and I don't mean that as a criticism. For me the positives of not being specifically targetted at this extreme end of training eg A real crisis , outweight the negatives.

But I stress "For me" - everyone else has too choose their own position.

Anyway - just my 2 pence worth. I'm no expert so just saying what I see.

Cheers

D

Ben Joiner
10-18-2006, 07:37 AM
Interesting though eh Darren? I agree that that's not how I'd want to train week in week out either but it might be quite fun, as someone who hasn't already played with this kind of thing, to try and apply some principles in that kind of environment once in a while. Just as a kind of check on how we we've absorbed what we have been training in our week in week out sessions. Between consenting adult volunteers of course!

Ian will you be filming any of your sessions in future so we can see how people with more of an aiki background respond to this kind of scenario?

Dazzler
10-18-2006, 07:40 AM
Interesting though eh Darren? I agree that that's not how I'd want to train week in week out either but it might be quite fun, as someone who hasn't already played with this kind of thing, to try and apply some principles in that kind of environment once in a while. Just as a kind of check on how we we've absorbed what we have been training in our week in week out sessions. Between consenting adult volunteers of course!

Ian will you be filming any of your sessions in future so we can see how people with more of an aiki background respond to this kind of scenario?

yep.. consenting adult volunteers.

Sounds like we need a bit of an Animal day in the dojo.

Lets give it some thought.

(and check our insurance cover!) :freaky:

D

SeiserL
10-18-2006, 08:20 AM
IMHO, while all training by definition is artificial, the closer the training context and scenario to the actual application the easier to generalize the state specific learning.

Some training is better than no training.

Remember, a crisis is an opportunity.

Amelia Smith
10-18-2006, 09:05 AM
Many of the posts above seem to be operating on the assumption that crisis = street fight or physical attack. I think that regular aikido training, without extra "fight training" is actually an excellent preparation for that kind of thing, but also for other crises (natural disasters, accidents, illness, interpersonal conflict, work troubles, etc.).

What aikido does (hopefully) is help us practice keeping our centers under stress, when exhausted, etc. Being centered in turn allows the mind to stay engaged, develop strategy as needed, and not be overwhelmed with fear, anger, panic, etc. That's more valuable than any specific physical technique.

Dazzler
10-18-2006, 09:55 AM
Many of the posts above seem to be operating on the assumption that crisis = street fight or physical attack. I think that regular aikido training, without extra "fight training" is actually an excellent preparation for that kind of thing, but also for other crises (natural disasters, accidents, illness, interpersonal conflict, work troubles, etc.).

What aikido does (hopefully) is help us practice keeping our centers under stress, when exhausted, etc. Being centered in turn allows the mind to stay engaged, develop strategy as needed, and not be overwhelmed with fear, anger, panic, etc. That's more valuable than any specific physical technique.

Hi Amelia

Yes - thats the sort of crisis i'm posting about. a determined committed no restrictions type of attack. That has started so one cannot trot out the arguments about a good aikidoka being able to talk his way out of the fight or not be their in the first instance.

Valid though they are, a situation this easily avoided would for me not constitute a crisis.

I agree that regular practice can teach some effectiveness in this crisis type situation but I think that there are other methods that more specifically address such things.

Again I agree - the theory is that Aikido practice allows one to remain centred and thus deal with the fall out of a physical attack.

However often it is just that - theory. As is shown in the clip being centred may not help much when the attacker is so determined.

I believe that there are practical training methods that specifically focus on these types of attacks which for some is a more effective way of learning. If your training incorporates these then thats great, but IMO much of 'regular' aikido training does not target this level of attack and has a far broader set of deliverables.

I think this is what Lynn Seiser was saying but far more eloquently than I.

Of course in focussing on just this type of attack many of the other highly important benefits of Aikido may be lost.

At the end of the day we have to be realistic in our expectation of what Aikido can and cant deliver.

Regards

D

ian
10-18-2006, 09:55 AM
Well said!

Erick Mead
10-18-2006, 03:37 PM
Just as an example of scenarios, see this excellent video footage:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=vWQfgwuOAxo&mode=related&search=As an aside, I would note that the one thing lacking in almost all of these encounters was a serious irimi on the part of the defender once it was clear there was a honest confrontation.
The one notable exception (the false handshake) resulted in a (fairly) clean iriminage/kokyunage drop (with a couple of knee kicks thrown in for deterrent value). The attacker only got in his initial sucker punch.

He never backed up once the engagement began in earnest, never surrendered the attacker's ikkyo line and very few, if any, of the knife blows were able to land, unlike the others that either retreated or tried to block or grapple the knife arm.

FWIW.

Erick Mead
10-18-2006, 04:09 PM
Yes - thats the sort of crisis i'm posting about. a determined committed no restrictions type of attack. That has started so one cannot trot out the arguments about a good aikidoka being able to talk his way out of the fight or not be their in the first instance.
Valid though they are, a situation this easily avoided would for me not constitute a crisis.
I agree that regular practice can teach some effectiveness in this crisis type situation but I think that there are other methods that more specifically address such things. My point in beginning this discussion was to hone in on methods of aiki training that involve precisely the sense of stress to overcome, which the video illustrates, but with the aiki that it, to my eye, it does not illustrate.

One of the encounters, as I noted above does seem to show more of an aiki aspect (and a better example of appleid kicking in aikido technique that meshes well with the typical openings I have been taught and typically show in the course of performing technique (and one of the more successful defenses shown, too, to my way of thinking.)

I believe that there are practical training methods that specifically focus on these types of attacks which for some is a more effective way of learning. If the video be any example, though, it is not, largely, training in methods of aiki, however.

If your training incorporates these then thats great, but IMO much of 'regular' aikido training does not target this level of attack and has a far broader set of deliverables. I think you are right here. At this level one principle may be "No one escapes battle unscathed", so chooose the cut you wish to take, and ensure it is the last that you will have to.

Of course in focussing on just this type of attack many of the other highly important benefits of Aikido may be lost. On this I also agree, as the provocation of typical "instinctive" responses indicates. What I am looking for are methods to raise the perceived stress and intensity of the encounter, so as to be able to eventually recognize and move past that aspect of the initimidation or fear of the attack in accepting it with aiki and then dealing with what ever technique is presented.

At the end of the day we have to be realistic in our expectation of what Aikido can and can't deliver.
So what is real in that context? Sacrificing the aiki by a general descent to melee, which the video fairly represents, is I think generally counterproductive of the purpose, since it reinforces aspects of aggression that aikido does not rely upon for its psychological underpinning. Bringing that same intensity in another setting is not per se impossible or impractical, it seems to me, in a manner that preserves the aiki approach to the problem.

The assymetry of the weapon is good, but the knife is too fast and close, I would think, for a student jumping off a good kihon foundation. Shinai tachi dori, perhaps, with some defined attacks, progressing to jiyuwaza ? I have done these in the past, but not with this intent in the training.

Sydney Tovatt
10-18-2006, 04:31 PM
Re: Training for Crisis?
Sometime before encountering Aikido I read a book of a 16th century Ronin, Miyamoto Musashi translated and commented upon by Stefan Stenudd from the Japanese to Swedish: Fem ringars bok ( approx. The Book of the five rings). Organized crime had during difficult years presented me with many threatening situations (Crises?). Musashis and Stenudds words while only words expanded upon those critical confrontations where Centrum, syncopation of rythm, fantasi, humor, inovation, utilization of what ever is, not weaving dark plans to transform reality to something else, not bowing to convention, keeping a low profile, not relying upon a weapon, keeping relaxed together presented an expansion of thought about facing realities in confrontations. Amelias words above illustrate this flexibility in facing lifes complexities, unspecific yet living and free in ones Centrum. Thought upon and exchanged in dialogue, Crisis? seems if not to solve the practical problem at least to free the mind and the soul a bit on the way. Without Musashis and Stenudds words I might not have found my Centrum and without my Centrum...
Sydney Tovatt

deepsoup
10-18-2006, 08:43 PM
I think that regular aikido training, without extra "fight training" is actually an excellent preparation for that kind of thing, but also for other crises (natural disasters, accidents, illness, interpersonal conflict, work troubles, etc.).
Hmm...
That's more valuable than any specific physical technique
Nope, not buying it, sorry.
Here's an example. The Heimlich Maneuver (aka Abdominal Thrust) - a simple, specific technique which is easily learned. As long as its performed competently, this technique is more valuable than any amount of "keeping your centre", ask anyone who's choking to death.

Dazzler
10-19-2006, 05:36 AM
My point in beginning this discussion was to hone in on methods of aiki training that involve precisely the sense of stress to overcome, which the video illustrates, but with the aiki that it, to my eye, it does not illustrate.

One of the encounters, as I noted above does seem to show more of an aiki aspect (and a better example of appleid kicking in aikido technique that meshes well with the typical openings I have been taught and typically show in the course of performing technique (and one of the more successful defenses shown, too, to my way of thinking.)

If the video be any example, though, it is not, largely, training in methods of aiki, however.

I think you are right here. At this level one principle may be "No one escapes battle unscathed", so chooose the cut you wish to take, and ensure it is the last that you will have to.

On this I also agree, as the provocation of typical "instinctive" responses indicates. What I am looking for are methods to raise the perceived stress and intensity of the encounter, so as to be able to eventually recognize and move past that aspect of the initimidation or fear of the attack in accepting it with aiki and then dealing with what ever technique is presented.


So what is real in that context? Sacrificing the aiki by a general descent to melee, which the video fairly represents, is I think generally counterproductive of the purpose, since it reinforces aspects of aggression that aikido does not rely upon for its psychological underpinning. Bringing that same intensity in another setting is not per se impossible or impractical, it seems to me, in a manner that preserves the aiki approach to the problem.

The assymetry of the weapon is good, but the knife is too fast and close, I would think, for a student jumping off a good kihon foundation. Shinai tachi dori, perhaps, with some defined attacks, progressing to jiyuwaza ? I have done these in the past, but not with this intent in the training.


Hi Eric

Been thinking about this. My view really is that people will be attracted to training in a style and intensity that is appropriate to them.

Specialised training will produce more targetted results than unspecialised training.

an example would be the contrast between a 1500 metre runner and a decathlete.

The closing event of the decathlon is the 1500 metres but they rarely perform as well as specialists despite I am sure training hard for this event.

The purpose of my posts really is to state that I do not believe it is possible to match those that train purely for crisis.

At the same time like the decathletes, a high level of effectiveness can still be obtained along with so much more.

To contribute something positive and more in line with your objective for this thread before the introduction of the clip, I would add that it only requires a bit of adjustment to jiyawaza or scenario training to keep the aiki alive in this more specialised training but it needs careful analysis of the attacks and what is used to work against them to avoid the descent into melee as you put it.

You have highlighted irimi yourself and Ive already mentioned atemi. So we have the basis of a plan. All thats now needed is an acceptance that this is what we want to do and a lesson can be formulated incorporating these and other aiki principles and restraining the urge of tori to do what comes naturally...until it does come naturally. To assist Uke would need to temper the intensity through a range of say 50%, 70%, 90% and full on as skill levels rise.

With respect of any critique of the film..well they are guys working towards what they believe in. I've voiced a few concerns but it is after all only training and the extreme measures required to deal with extreme violence are hard to take and demonstrate.

What is real? Who knows? The reality of everyones life is different.

Respectful regards

D

Charles Hill
10-19-2006, 05:57 AM
Hi Sean,

I think your example supports Amelia's ideas rather than undermining them. The Heimlich is easy, effective and known by many people. Yet too often people who choke to death are found dead in the parking lots of restaurants. They panic, get embarassed that they are panicking and go where there are no people. If they knew how to "keep their center" they would realize that the best thing to do would be to stand up and indicate to the whole restaurant their prediciment as surely there would be someone who could do the Heimlich.

Charles

DonMagee
10-19-2006, 06:57 AM
Just as an example of scenarios, see this excellent video footage:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=vWQfgwuOAxo&mode=related&search=

While I feel that video is a good start, I feel it lacks in a few areas.

1) Too much posturing - I hate the whole, lets pretend we are going to verbally disarm the oppoent. It's always going to end in attack anyways (in the senario) so why bother playing out that part.

2) No acknowledgement of successful knife hits, or blows. Because of the safetey gear, they are not responding properly to blows. I would suggest a red marker so they can see how much they got cut up. I would also suggest lighter head gear so they can feel more impact to blows. When I used to spar with this kind of gear I really had no idea how hard I was getting hit.

and finally
3) At one point the attack is taken down and someone says "Where is his friend". I think that is a good point, why didn't they do 2 on 1 type senarios. Again, don't just talk about it, do it.

However if you are not already doing fully resistant training like this, then this training is a good start.

As for those who say that this would be counter productive to their aikido.... If you can't use your aikido in a situtation like this, can you really perform the physical techniques of aikido?

Mark Gibbons
10-19-2006, 12:48 PM
Hi Sean,

..... that the best thing to do would be to stand up and indicate to the whole restaurant their prediciment as surely there would be someone who could do the Heimlich.

Charles

Just to be clear, the choking person grabs their own throat to indicate choking. I've been there when a CPR trained person didn't remember how to convey the fact that they were choking. Post Heimlich they were ok, I (responder) was mess. Sort of back on topic. I've been very close to or involved in roughly equal numbers (around 10) of assaults and serious first aid situations. Not being overwhelmed in either case takes similar mindsets. It's hard to convince yourself something is happening. It's important to do something and to get ahead of the problem. Recovery after an incident is rough on the emotions.


Mark

Erick Mead
10-19-2006, 01:59 PM
Been thinking about this. My view really is that people will be attracted to training in a style and intensity that is appropriate to them.

Specialised training will produce more targetted results than unspecialised training. Which I think is indeed narrowing in on the point. Aikido is a generalized response with specific applicaitons, but its ultimate ideal is takemusu aiki -- a spontaneous creativity of technique. Targeted training in the manner this video suggests would created specifically honed tactical efficiency, which may or may not be appropriate under given circumstances.

At the same time like the decathletes, a high level of effectiveness can still be obtained along with so much more. Your comment distinguishing between sprinters and decathletes is well-taken. It is the age-old generalist/specialist divide.

Military operations train tactical efficiency of indivdual units or soldiers in a predefined role because they are component arms with a defined role in a much a broader strategically deployed force. Tactical training increases efficiency at the expense of versatility of response. Aikido is a strategic art, and its exploitaiton of tactics must fit the overall strategy of its disposition of force.

Let me be clear -- I am not seeking to apply that type of specialized tactical efficiency in defined encounters to aikido traininng. Such athing would be antithetical (in my view) to aikido's strength as an art. Any art that narrows its concern down to a sufficiently defined role can explore that conceptual space in greater depth and superior detail, and likely defeat any opponent that comes within it.

Aiki does not even attempt to defeat the opponent within his realm of superiotity but instead seek to remove the terms of his victory outside those boundaries. In this sense aikido is assymetric combat. For the attacker to win -- he must definitively win -- for the aikidoka to win, he must merely not lose.

Aiki is thus strategic denial of ground -- by denial of any opposition within the attacker's prepared space -- that is -- defense in depth, by holding no particular ground that uke is prepared to fight to gain or maintain, but not by passively retreating either.

Simplistically, the first principle is irimi for good reason. Aiki is about taking the physical space your opponent is about to abandon. Since he did not intend to keep it, he presents no effective opposition in you displacing him from it. By the same token he loses some measure of control over how he departs that space, since nage now gets a vote, too.

I find that the the biggest barrier for beginning and even mid-level students is in simply performing fully committed irimi. Someone in commenting on the video mentioned a fence, and not enforceing it. That is what we see on the video, mostly. Something is almost always held back -- a little part of the fence is kept up. Aiki in my mind is about knocking the fence competely over as the attacker leaps it or tries to barge through it.

It takes a long time for nage to realize there is an internal barrier to this action, and longer still to overcome it. Training paradigms that aid a student to identify in and for themselves and to overcome the pscyhological barrier to this form of direct engagement in aiki is what I am looking at.

By committing to no particular form or sequence of response, aiki can lead a prepared attacker outside of his space of superiority or competence. Like getting a non-swimmer to unwittingly enter the water -- you change the fundamental equation of the conflict, in material and psychological terms.
To contribute something positive and more in line with your objective for this thread before the introduction of the clip, I would add that it only requires a bit of adjustment to jiyawaza or scenario training to keep the aiki alive in this more specialised training but it needs careful analysis of the attacks and what is used to work against them to avoid the descent into melee as you put it. I could analogize what I see on the video to teaching someone to swim by tossing them off the pier. It may work out, but it has the tendency to violate the first principle of swimming -- don't fight the water, cooperate with it. Which is also the first principle of aikido -- don't fight the attacker, cooperate with him.

Swimming has much that relates to the approach of aikido. Water will drown and kill you -- which reasonably provokes a sense of extreme crisis in the person of little or no training subjected to it. Crisis provokes fighting -- which, unfortunately, also makes drowning far more likely.

I want to more reliably remove this sense of crisis in the event of physical confrontaiton. It comes up inevitably through instinctive, and unconscious reactions flowing from fear.. Bu these reactions are not natural to the combat environment, as thrashing is not natural to motion in water. I see too much of this type of physicality in typical randori to give me confidence that there is no room for improvement on this point.

I want to ultimately overcome the same sort of fear that exists in regard to the water -- make a student as comfortable stepping directly to the center of someone launching a full speed punch, as swimmers become comfortable in diving into the water.

Their sense of crisis must therefore be addressed and eliminated for this to occur. The video ( and related forms of training tend to heighten crisis to a degree and in a manner that may find means to perform despite it all, but make no attempt to elminate the crisis altogether. It results in the kind of physical effort in technique that may get someone out of a pool they fall into, but will not get them across the English Channel.

Aikido is far more in line with the latter need, than the former. As an heir of sword arts aikido comes from a legacy of walking around field with people routinely swinging three-foot razor blades in one's general direction. The degree of intensity illustrated by the video cannot be maintained in an environment of potentially sustained conflict. That degree of adrenaline cannot be kept up in ordinary life.

A student cannot reliably eliminate this fear without experiencing and recognizing the threshold of crisis and overcoming it in controlled circumstances. That does happens through long training, as it has with me and with many in aikido and other arts. But aikido is more akin to swimming lessons in approach than the type of training we see on the video. We should be able to find a more effective means of showing students how not to fall into the abyss they are learning to float above. That is the paradigm I am working toward.

deepsoup
10-19-2006, 03:10 PM
I've been very close to or involved in roughly equal numbers (around 10) of assaults and serious first aid situations. Not being overwhelmed in either case takes similar mindsets. It's hard to convince yourself something is happening. It's important to do something and to get ahead of the problem. Recovery after an incident is rough on the emotions.

Sounds like an eventful life you have there. :)

I remain unconvinced that dojo based budo training offers much, or any, preparation for such things. (At least, over and above any kind of regular activity, like yoga, tennis, etc.. Any form of regular excercise is good for the overall mental health I believe, which has to be a good thing.)
However, I can't point to any real evidence one way or the other, its just a gut feeling. Does anyone know of a proper scientific study into this, or is that all that any of us has to go on?

I had a CPR "experience" earlier this year. Whilst walking in the hills, I came across a gentleman who'd keeled over with chest pains and subsequently lost consciousness. At the time I'd had no training in CPR, but fortunately there were a couple of members of a mountain rescue team passing the other way. More people became involved as time went by, but sadly after some time had elapsed he was pronounced dead.

Fortunately I was able to make myself vaguely useful to the people who were trying to save him. While I'm not likely to forget the conversation I had with his wife/widow on the way down any time soon, I didn't find it particularly rough on the emotions after the event. She, incidentally, was absolutely magnificent throughout what has to be one of the most traumatic events that can happen to a person.

However, I was very aware that had I been the first (or only) person on the scene, I would have had nothing to offer, other than to impotently watch him die. That, I think, would have been harder to get over.

Ironically, I'd already booked myself onto a "mountain & outdoor" 1st aid course, which took place the following week.

Sean
x

L. Camejo
10-19-2006, 03:28 PM
Well said Erick. You seem to have the relevant concepts of interpersonal conflict distilled to the key elements, which is critical towards devising a means of dealing with said crises.

Imho if one gets into the "fight" mindset when faced with conflict one has already abandoned the strategic paradigm of how Aiki is designed to operate when in the midst of conflict. In a purely self protection (i.e. survival) oriented situation it does not matter whether one uses an Aiki type response or another type (e.g. adrenaline/fear-fueled, full force attack until target stops moving mode), since survival of the situation is the key objective.

However if we strive to approach potential crisis situations from the Aiki perspective we must develop the particular elements of Aiki (technical and psychological, tactical and strategic) that address such situations. From my experience this paradigm is contrary to the fight or struggle type response to danger or conflict as alluded to above.

Methods that can be used:
1) Mindset and self/situational awareness training - Before one can move, one must know how to stand. The method of "standing" before conflict in Aikido imo comes directly from understanding/applying mushin mugamae (no mind, no posture) this will aid the individual in learning to deal with potential danger and fear even before it begins to manifest itself in a tangible form by pre-emptively placing the mind and body in the right (centred) place to deal constructively with a potential crisis. This involves identifying the tell tale signs where a person retreats into themselves (ego) as a means of denying the reality of the danger before them. It takes a skilled instructor and an individual who is willing to deal with one's internal fears to really make progress in this area. David Valadez imo has some good points on this as evidenced in his posts on Aikiweb. Basically the idea here is to establish a basic degree of mental inner control in the face of danger and then attempt to progressively and gradually destabilize this centre through the use of different mechanisms, including the pure hate, aggressive energy and disdain for life that can be experienced in certain crisis situations.

2)Training of physical responses - Basically these are fast-paced, medium to full-power drills that enable an individual to master tsukuri (fitting) for a variety of attacks to the point where this reaction is instinctive. Correct use and understanding of maai (distancing) and metsuke (peripheral vision) will be critical for the student to develop the necessary responses to instinctively "fit" into any full-powered, full-speed attack, from which kake (attack/technique) will be a matter of natural selection based on the situation.

3)Resistance training - Building off exercise 2 this allows the student to train the end technique while one's partner resists either passively (i.e. shutting down technique without attacking) or actively (attacking any openings in Tori's waza). This can be done at varying levels of resistance and start with limited attacks and then open up to more attacks and higher levels of resistance. The difficulty here is with striking the correct balance between training that nears realism and maintaining at least a modicum of safety where someone does not go to the hospital every time.

Just my 5 cents.
LC:ai::ki:

Dazzler
10-20-2006, 02:40 AM
Nice 5 cents Larry.

I guess the question really is can "drills" - even 100% full on - with their inherent predictability really emulate the unpredictability of random attacks and induce a sense of 'crisis'? Throughout this thread I've focussed primarily on Crisis as being something that happens out of the blue and not something that has a development process eg an argument that escalates where a cool centred aproach can save the day.

As has been said - Certainly an aiki mindset can be applied to something that you see evolving, but is not so simple where one second you are minding your own and the next you are under frenzied attack. Now this is a Crisis!

Lets be clear - I practice Aikido. I'm not championing the clip. It was placed here and I've given my comments for what they are worth.

I've experienced this style of training having practiced goshin jujitsu for 8 years, I've practiced aikido for 15 and never been put under the sort of pressure that I received in the "fight club" I joined.

I'll be honest and say that as a nidan at the time I had a lot of confidence in my aikido, but under the regular exposure to more realistic attacks I soon saw many weaknesses.

Personally I found the experience of this style highly beneficial. It clarified what I could and could not do with my Aikido against such attacks.

Eric - sometimes getting out of the pool will do! Swimming the Channel may not be a crisis situation?

My challenge now is to practice more to address the gaps through Aikido.

Regards

D

deepsoup
10-20-2006, 04:53 AM
the "fight club" I joined.
Er... Are you supposed to talk about that ? :)

ian
10-20-2006, 06:47 AM
Ian will you be filming any of your sessions in future so we can see how people with more of an aiki background respond to this kind of scenario?

Yes I will, before the end of the year they'll be on aikiweb. Partly I want to show that aikido is very effective in scappy situations to non-believers, and to absolute believers I want to illustrate the scrappiness of situations (as well as the difficulty of some scenarios).

L. Camejo
10-20-2006, 06:49 AM
I guess the question really is can "drills" - even 100% full on - with their inherent predictability really emulate the unpredictability of random attacks and induce a sense of 'crisis'? Throughout this thread I've focussed primarily on Crisis as being something that happens out of the blue and not something that has a development process eg an argument that escalates where a cool centred aproach can save the day.
Good point Daren. This is where we get to the fun stuff. I totally agree that drills alone cannot simulate the unpredictability of a "crisis" situation since by its very nature one has no time to prepare for it. The only alternative then is to be constantly or regularly prepared imo. What the drills do is start programming your basic Aiki-based tai-sabaki, te-sabaki and other fundamental elements to allow one to respond to a sudden attack in a manner commensurate with the tactical and strategic paradigm of Aikido (as against the instinctive response of raising one's hands to block whatever is incoming). Iow the drills are what train us to mentally and physically keep centre, get off line, place ourselves in the right position, maintain connection, break balance etc. etc. as a reflexive action instead of a conscious action (more on this later).

What I forgot to mention above is that the drills embody varying degrees of unpredicatability and are characterised by multiple random attacks on the one hand while one's partner merely tries not to get hit (tai sabaki), find openings and fitting into them (tsukuri), improve timing (sen), distancing (ma ai) and train the basics of movement into muscle memory before any application of technique is attempted.

As has been said - Certainly an aiki mindset can be applied to something that you see evolving, but is not so simple where one second you are minding your own and the next you are under frenzied attack. Now this is a Crisis! Precisely. So then the only way to have the Aiki mindset operate within the "surprise" attack situation is to evolve from an Aiki "mindset" into an Aiki "state" where it is not switched on and off, but is always on (this does not imply that the mind is constantly stressed to maintain this state else it will not be sustainable for very long - this is where relaxation comes in).

From my own research into instinctive crisis responses, what is often seen imho is a tendency for human beings to react in a simple manner that protects some critical element of the human physical and/or mental machine. Often the response is a primitive one, designed to sacrifice non-critical systems for that deemed critical. This is why we naturally reach out with all the limbs towards the ground while falling to provide supports to protect the skull primarily and chest secondarily even at the risk of severely damaging the limbs. This reaction can be trained out of normal behaviour however with ukemi practice. It's also embodied in the example I gave earlier where a man may swing at you with a machete but you raise your hands to protect your head instead of getting out of the way of the blade (this happens a lot here).

The same can happen with the mind, where a "comfort zone" or denial response may be triggered to protect the mind/consciousness from dealing directly with an extremely harsh reality or crisis that it is incapable of dealing with at the time. This takes the person out of touch with their immediate reality and actually places them in more direct danger (there is a pizza parlor attack video here somewhere that gives a good example of that). The first drill I gave above seeks to deal with this problem, by detecting the behavioural signs that indicate that Tori is engaging in some sort of denial of the danger in front of them or some other means of removing oneself from the reality by hiding deep within an ego-created false reality. The instructore needs to nip these reactions in the bud and bring it to the attention of the student who must now learn to recognise these signs within the self and start on a process of understanding, evolving and replacing this reaction with a more centred, clear, solution-seeking mind that allows one to constructively deal with the immediate problem without collapse.

In the end its about bringing the "Aiki" response out of the conscious/cognitive, cerebral mind and instead making it a part of the instinctive, spinal cord, reptilian response system that dictates how we will respond in a crisis. If we have to "think" to make Aiki work then we won't be able to use it in a crisis. Imo takemusu aiki is about making the aiki response a part of one's natural self so it becomes the instinctive method of responding to and dealing with a crisis. Imho one gateway towards achieving this lies in understanding and applying/embodying the concept of mushin mugamae.

I've experienced this style of training having practiced goshin jujitsu for 8 years, I've practiced aikido for 15 and never been put under the sort of pressure that I received in the "fight club" I joined. This is very true.

Personally I found the experience of this style highly beneficial. It clarified what I could and could not do with my Aikido against such attacks.This was alluded to in my first post. There is nothing wrong with seeking another means to deal with a crisis that is more in tune with how you prefer to deal with a crisis and/or which is simply an easier way for you to deal with it. One does not need to respond to crisis in an "Aiki" manner (for lack of a better term) it comes down to the individual. There are many responses that may prove more effective based on the outcome that one wants from the encounter.

My challenge now is to practice more to address the gaps through Aikido.This is a good thing imho.

Just 5 more cents.

Gambatte.
LC:ai::ki:

Dazzler
10-20-2006, 06:54 AM
Amazing what you can get for 5 cents these days!

Regards

D

L. Camejo
10-20-2006, 09:44 AM
Amazing what you can get for 5 cents these days!Lol. Only online.

Gambatte.