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11-13-2006, 10:37 AM
Discuss the article, "'Sincere' Attacks: A Platonic Dialogue" by Peter Goldsbury here.

Article URL: http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/pgoldsbury/2006_11.html

billybob
11-13-2006, 12:57 PM
Brings out many of the problems associated with cooperative training.

I still can't tell if one of our senior mudansha is giving me a more advanced type of attack - feints, ducks blows, etc., or if he is just being difficult.

Dave

NagaBaba
11-13-2006, 09:52 PM
Nevertheless, you have to really intend to attack your partner. Otherwise he/she cannot do the technique.
It is some sort of false myth, urban legend, in the very first technique in 'Budo' -- ikkyo, Founder shows clearly how to deal with this situation. I'm really shocked you are trying to perpetuate such nonsense, Peter.

Then you talk about 'honest' attacks with 'real intent'
Shoumen-uchi is based on the sword, which is why the hand is called te-gatana (hand-sword) so when you raise your hand to attack, you have to imagine that you have a sword and really aim to slice your partner down the middle.
It is very true. 99.99% of aikidoka can only imagine how to cut with a sword, because they never did it physicaly. And their imagination fails completly -- it is to be expected. Honest attack with real intend with a sword(bokken or live blade) by someone who use to train sword 1-2 years will be deadly for most aikido high ranking aikido instructors. I'm not kidding here. I had quite few personal experiences, it is way safer I don't do very honest attack and without intend -- otherwise nage will not have time to blink -- and I'm really beginner in sword arts. The same situation will happened with some good kicker or grapler. Better to pray them for friendly attack ;)

So it looks like 'honest' attacks with 'real intent' is simply another urban legend?
I think you must think harder where and how to find another excuse for aikido weakeness :p

Peter Goldsbury
11-13-2006, 11:13 PM
It is some sort of false myth, urban legend, in the very first technique in 'Budo' -- ikkyo, Founder shows clearly how to deal with this situation. I'm really shocked you are trying to perpetuate such nonsense, Peter.

Then you talk about 'honest' attacks with 'real intent'

It is very true. 99.99% of aikidoka can only imagine how to cut with a sword, because they never did it physicaly. And their imagination fails completly -- it is to be expected. Honest attack with real intend with a sword(bokken or live blade) by someone who use to train sword 1-2 years will be deadly for most aikido high ranking aikido instructors. I'm not kidding here. I had quite few personal experiences, it is way safer I don't do very honest attack and without intend -- otherwise nage will not have time to blink -- and I'm really beginner in sword arts. The same situation will happened with some good kicker or grapler. Better to pray them for friendly attack ;)

So it looks like 'honest' attacks with 'real intent' is simply another urban legend?
I think you must think harder where and how to find another excuse for aikido weakeness :p

Do not argue ad hominem.

This is a dialogue between two hypothetical people that sets out some commonly held issues. I called this a Platonic dialogue, so you should not assume that I necessarily identify with either of the views espoused.

raul rodrigo
11-14-2006, 03:07 AM
Clearly Stephan is not familiar with Plato.

CitoMaramba
11-14-2006, 06:33 AM
Plato is Mickey Mouse's dog, right? Just kidding! :D

I have to say, Sczepan's post brings up a dilemma: If one really ATTACKS say a beginner, with full intent to hit and do damage, what happens if the attack succeeds?

Amir Krause
11-14-2006, 06:34 AM
One small comment, it definitely is not essential:

article: I have always learned wrist grabs as preliminary for other attacks like strikes and kicks.

I was often taught this attack is a traditional one, based on preventing/delaying you from drawing your own weapons. Similarly to Suwari-Waza, it also has significant role in the learning process, provided one is aware of the existence of other attack types and utilizes the learning from this type of attacks to take advantage of those issues.


The spirit of this discussion made me uncomfortable. The Aikidoka seems too sure of himself for this to be any real investigation\examination of ideas.

Amir

ian
11-14-2006, 06:48 AM
I liked the dialogue method - made a bit of a change.

Our method of teaching would be as such:
- go through the movements to unbalance the attacker slowly (not full commitment to attack)
- Increase speed and power of attack to enable realistic unbalancing of opponent
- with realistic force, then continue into the rest of the technique

i.e. the 1st part (physical/psychological unbalancing) is the most important, the technique is secondary. Beginners, within one lesson, can manage to unbalance a sincere attack (just getting used to timing, movement and relaxation).

Sometimes other aspects (e.g. moving between techniques etc) can be trained without a sincere attack at slower speeds to understand the concepts - however students should understand exactly what the exercise is trying to train (otherwise they cannot focus on the aspect they are trying to improve, and they will have an unrealistic concept of a real attack).

Thus I would say you can have sincere attacks on relatively new students. I would say the dialogue didn't expand enough into other arguments of competition vs non-competition, nor the fact that aikido is NOT like traditional arts in that the uke can change and adapt, does attack sincerely, and the response is less regimented. Indeed, in jiyu-waza randori it does approximate more of a sparring scenario if done effectively.

I also disgreed with the comment about some people believing the attacker would be unbalanced due to the sincere attack (presumably because the defender moves out of the way). Although this is an aspect, I think many people actually think the subtle redirection and over-extension is the major aspect of unbalancing (which therefore can occur, even if the attacker has a low centre of gravity*, and even with 'no touch throws'), and is necessary or desirable for almost all aikido techniques. However, for such a short piece I thought it was a nice introduction for competition vs. no competition for a beginner.

(* to transmit force to a body you need to channel your body weight into the attacking object e.g. fist or foot. That is why in aikido we don't use excessive force; otherwise we can be unbalanced ourselves).

Ian

SeiserL
11-14-2006, 07:43 AM
IMHO, an honest and genuine intent and intensity which allows our training partner the opportunity to progress without harm is a very worthy goal.

I always liked dialogues and conversations over being lectured to learn.

Alec Corper
11-14-2006, 09:46 AM
I believe that we tend to confuse a sincere attack with intention ( a training tool) with a competitive attack such as exists in various styles of free-sparring in other MA. In most free sparring there are no defined roles of attacker and defender, both are trying to score, defeat, win, knockout (choose your own ending) and therefore the dynamics, both physically and psychologically, are very different than classic aikido keiko, It is quite possible to overcome a training partner who is waiting for you to launch an attack, especially when the partner has agreed not to preempt your attack and has agreed to do minimal damage when executing the technical response.
I practiced full contact Chinese Boxing (Chuen Shu Chuan) for almost 8 years, and although we hit each other fairly hard (bone fractures and breaks were not uncommon) we still held back for 2 reasons, we were not trying to destroy each other, and we were very conscious of possible escalation to a dangerous point.
I often think that aikido could benefit from free sparring, but in most cases it would degenerate into some form of wrestling or unskilled shooto, and part of the character of our training would be lost. Most of the older practitioners (myself included :D) would bow out, since our physical recovery time after injury would become prohibitive, and there would definitely be injuries.
I have to agree with the "unpronounceable one" concerning shomen uchi. After almost 7 years of Shinkendo, including much tameshigiri, I believe that an unarmed person stands less than 1% chance of surviving against a sword. However, if the swordsman were stupid enough to raise their sword to jodan then perhaps. Defending against a swallow cut begun from kiriage is impossible. But whoever suggested that we were doing anything other than training our faculties to a better appreciation of maai and timing when we use weapons. And who confuses using the hand for using a sword?
Likewise, who amongst us really confuses the notion of a sincere attack with the idea of learning how to "fight"? If that is what we seek then we should start to modify all our attacks to mimic real attacks, wear body armour, incorporate scenario training, including psychological stressors etc. Show me the way out please.

billybob
11-14-2006, 01:45 PM
Continuing the thoughts above, I think most folks envision 'the fight' as some kind of one on one showdown or duel. Shame on you if this is the situation you find yourself in! I will never be in a 'fair fight' in my life! I run, hide, lie, misdirect - whatever it takes to survive. As I've matured I am polite, respectful, kind, humble and try to stay out of trouble.

Trouble is being hit in the back of the head with a 2x4 when you are distracted. Intuition is what we are training - knowing something is wrong.

Training can't be the way real life attacks are. We must cooperate, or people will die, or get injured too often. We had more injuries in the gentle art of judo than we do in aikido. This is a good thing.

No duels for me. Never again!

David

Demetrio Cereijo
11-14-2006, 02:06 PM
Nice article, but reading things like:

free sparring in aikido because it requires a very high level of expertise and without this level of expertise it can quickly degenerate into ordinary wrestling."
or
aikido could benefit from free sparring, but in most cases it would degenerate into some form of wrestling or unskilled shooto
makes me wonder about what could be the motivations for the use of the word "degenerate". Why not "evolve" or even a neutral "move"?

Nick Pagnucco
11-14-2006, 03:47 PM
makes me wonder about what could be the motivations for the use of the word "degenerate". Why not "evolve" or even a neutral "move"?

I can definitely agree that devolve suggests wrestling is bad.

When I see lines like those you are objecting to, I read it as the aikidoka in question has resorted to very un-aikido like behavior, which resembles a caricature of another martial art, often wrestling or karate.

A few years ago, my sensei was criticizing our practice for lacking a proper energy. Because without energy & intent behind the attacks & techniques, "All you're doing in Tai Chi." (I'll use the spelling that goes best with pronunciation ;) )

Now... I've assumed since then that he did not intend to suggest all taiji was silly and pointless. However, from his point of view, which includes aikido necessarily being martial, he wants to make a distinction between good aikido on one hand, and the stereotype of new agers moving slowly in a park.

We all use more verbal shorthands than we should, so I try to look for shorthands and figure out what the long hand version is. Of course, if there is a constant pattern (like ALWAYS making fun of wrestling or taiji), well, then thats different.

Peter Goldsbury
11-14-2006, 09:02 PM
I think I should make one important point before people start hunting for more red herrings.

Plato used the dialogue form as a literary & dialectical device, a form of argument, usually with two or more interlocutors. There is usually no conclusion to the argument, since the questions discussed were philosophical or ethical questions.

However, Plato never himself appears in any of his dialogues and it is very difficult to determine whether any one interlocutor actually expresses Plato's own views. So it is a great mistake to assume that the views expressed by the aikido practitioner in the dialogue are necessarily or actually the views of the author himself.

Much of the content is a distillation of many discussions here and on other Internet forums, especially those that purport to discuss the question whether aikido 'really' 'works'.

NagaBaba
11-14-2006, 10:28 PM
Peter, if it's not your point of view, what is the point of presenting such ideas by YOU, particularly when they were discussed already by others? I'm greatly confused here........

Clearly Stephan is not familiar with Plato.
I read it when I was at the university, but it was in prehistoric times ;) I simply don't see the reason to use it in aikido context.

I have to say, Sczepan's post brings up a dilemma: If one really ATTACKS say a beginner, with full intent to hit and do damage, what happens if the attack succeeds?
in fact my point was: what will happend if a beginner from specializated MA will honestly and with full intend attack very advanced aikidoka. I don't see a big deal with aikidoka attacking with their usual clumsy atemi, shomen/cut or grip -- honest or not, with intend or without, such attacks are worthless. However, this is every day sad reality in very many aikido dojo.
And on th base of such attacks, many instructors build their false confidence and are trying to impress the galeries with some tricks.

I believe that we tend to confuse a sincere attack with intention ( a training tool) with a competitive attack such as exists in various styles of free-sparring in other MA. .
Please, Alec, I don't talk here about full strategy of attacks/feint as in competition. I talk here about one normal attack -- normal by norms from MA where these attacks are taught on high level -- because it is their speciality. Their normal attack -- for us it is very difficult attack. They not only fully control their balance, power, maai etc ALL TIME, but are ready to repeat it or do follow up with other hand, leg, head, elbow... To take their balance little bit even for half a second becomes almost impossible. Entering against such attack is almost impossible.
Many O sensei students came form such MA and could deliver such high quality of attack.

That is why I'm not enthusiast to ask them honest, full intend attack .... :)

xuzen
11-14-2006, 10:39 PM
Plato is Mickey Mouse's dog, right? Just kidding! :D

I have to say, Sczepan's post brings up a dilemma: If one really ATTACKS say a beginner, with full intent to hit and do damage, what happens if the attack succeeds?

Two possible outcome IMO,

1) Newbie uke learns quickly or;
2) Newbie uke gives up learning altogether very quickly.

Boon.

Peter Goldsbury
11-14-2006, 11:19 PM
Peter, if it's not your point of view, what is the point of presenting such ideas by YOU, particularly when they were discussed already by others? I'm greatly confused here...

Hello Szczepan,

Perhaps you need to read Plato again, prehistoric though he is... :)

Best wishes,

Dieter Haffner
11-15-2006, 03:27 AM
Plato used the dialogue form as a literary & dialectical device, a form of argument, usually with two or more interlocutors. There is usually no conclusion to the argument, since the questions discussed were philosophical or ethical questions.

However, Plato never himself appears in any of his dialogue's and it is very difficult to determine whether any one interlocutor actually expresses Plato's own views. So it is a great mistake to assume that the views expressed by the aikido practitioner in the dialogue are necessarily or actually the views of the author himself.
So if I understand correctly, this is still an invitation to discuss whatever is talked about in the dialogue.
But we should make the distinction that these are not the views of the author.
in fact my point was: what will happened if a beginner from specializated MA will honestly and with full intend attack very advanced aikidoka. I don't see a big deal with aikidoka attacking with their usual clumsy atemi, shomen/cut or grip -- honest or not, with intend or without, such attacks are worthless. However, this is every day sad reality in very many aikido dojo.
I agree with Szczepan (unpronounceable but copypasteable). Many times I have seen advanced aikidoka giving a bad attack. Either they bend their back after a shomen, are already overextended when they do a ski with the jo, ...
So an attack is already unbalanced by itself, tori's job is half done (or even completely done). And people would say that uke performed a good attack because they made a sincere and honest attack.

I have the luck to train with an advanced karateka. And he admits he has never given us a sincere and honest attack.
What he does do is keep his balance through out the whole attack and keeps himself grounded.
It is so much harder to take his balance then with the so-called sincere and honest attacks as mentioned above. And he is not even going at full speed, which would give us only a split second to go out of the line of attack and take the balance.

When we are uke, we try to close our openings, stay balanced and grounded. Yet the attacks are mostly lacking in at least one of these areas.
And on th base of such attacks, many instructors build their false confidence and are trying to impress the galeries with some tricks.

So let us not get over confident (a thought that might pop up when listening to our aikido enthusiast) and realize that there is much more work to be done then we might think.

billybob
11-15-2006, 05:38 AM
I confess that I frequently post in a cryptic or 'weird' way. Let me try to be more clear.

We can talk about other people. We can talk about what other people did. We can talk about ideas. Mr. Goldsbury is trying to talk about ideas, not all the details.

My post above about 'the 2x4 to the back of the head' was an example, in my mind, of the real world. In the real world most people encounter the duel - squaring off with another for dominance. Less frequently, but more real is being attacked suddenly, viciously, unexpectedly. If you are an aikidoka please don't engage in 'the duel'. It is pointless. Negotiate.

If you train in martial arts you have at least heard about people being mugged, or murdered, swiftly in the dark. How will you train to prevent this from happening to you? Ikyo? Nikyo? Wave hands like clouds? Ogoshi?

So, what is the point of the training anyone does? Do we turn the lights off and bring baseball bats into the dojo? The senior mudansha I mentioned in first post seems to feel that if he thwarts my technique he has succeeded. I disagree. When the technique I am training is ikyo he knows how to block That technique. If he attacks honestly - he can use a lot of force, and even try to hit me with enough force to knock me out, preferably no more, BUT he should not be dishonest and prevent me from moving him in the ikyo motion.

What a lot of words I used just for one thought! This is the other reason Peter chose the dialogue - more fun to read.

David

Erick Mead
11-15-2006, 08:16 AM
Many times I have seen advanced aikidoka ... already overextended when they do a ski with the jo, ... THAT would be the least of my problems in trying to ski with a jo ...
:crazy:

Erick Mead
11-15-2006, 09:57 AM
More seriously --
Many times I have seen advanced aikidoka giving a bad attack. ... So an attack is already unbalanced by itself, tori's job is half done (or even completely done). There are no excuses for poor attacks.
I have the luck to train with an advanced karateka. And he admits he has never given us a sincere and honest attack. Training is not application. If so, then he stops short of the position that would do damage, or is not showing you the next opening that the mutual movement has created. In other words, he is likely not actually putting his hand through your head, gut or whatever target may be in play. He must be in a position to deliver his energy, even if we train at a diminished level of that energy.

This is critical, although the speed or energy level at which it occurs is not, for training purposes. Uke's job is not to stop technique -- but to attack and keep attacking, at whatever speed that allows nage to perceive the criticality of the rhythm in the movement.
What he does do is keep his balance through out the whole attack and keeps himself grounded.
It is so much harder to take his balance then with the so-called sincere and honest attacks as mentioned above. And he is not even going at full speed, which would give us only a split second to go out of the line of attack and take the balance. Then hit him.
(In the nicest possible way. :D )

Irimi.
Irimi.
Irimi.

Four to six inches is the differnce between being hurt and getting kuzushi, whether moving in or out, the key thing is meeting the rhythm of attack in irimi. Tenkan cuts him OUT of his grounded center -- although where "OUT" actually lies changes, sometimes dramatically, depending on the respective iniital movements.

I try to teach students to expand their concept of time in order to slow down their perception of that rhythm. If you can move in the rhythm of the attack the speed of the beat really does not matter.

Since we are referencing classical sources, I'll do so in kind. Musashi defined critical strategy almost purely in terms of irimi and defeating rhythm in this way:
The sure Way to win thus is to chase the enemy around in confusing manner, causing him to jump aside, with your body held strongly and straight. The same principle applies to large-scale strategy. The essence of strategy is to fall upon the enemy in large numbers and bring about his speedy downfall. By their study of strategy, people of the world get used to countering, evading and retreating as the normal thing. They become set in this habit, so can easily be paraded around by the enemy. The Way of strategy is straight and true. You must chase the enemy around and make him obey your spirit.
Frank Herbert, in another context, said "The slow knife penetrates ..." What aikido trains for is that kind of criticality -- which is largely born of the sword.

It is like Chuang Tzu's butcher:
"The places his hand touched,
... Came apart with a sound.

He moved the blade, making a noise
That never fell out of rhythm.
It harmonized ...
...
The joints have openings,
And the knife's blade has no thickness.
Apply this lack of thickness into the openings,
And the moving blade swishes through,
With room to spare!
...
Nevertheless, every time I come across joints,
I see its tricky parts,
I pay attention and use caution,
My vision concentrates,
My movement slows down.

I move the knife very slightly,
Whump! It has already separated.
The ox doesn't even know it's dead,
and falls to the ground like mud.
.

Nick Pagnucco
11-15-2006, 10:01 AM
I think I should make one important point before people start hunting for more red herrings.


Point taken
I keep forgetting to think while I read ;)

Erick Mead
11-15-2006, 10:03 AM
When the technique I am training is ikkyo he knows how to block That technique. ... BUT he should not be dishonest and prevent me from moving him in the ikyo motion. A blocked ikkyo carried through in proper irimi is called "koshinage" and is excellent training also --
for unprepared ukemi ... :blush:

billybob
11-15-2006, 01:39 PM
Erick A blocked ikkyo carried through in proper irimi is called "koshinage" and is excellent training also --

You're preaching to the choir brother! However, we were discussing sincere attacks - and to further elaborate - this guy can be a real stinker. During kihon waza he blocks the one way of the one technique we are allowed to train at the time. Sensei comes over - delivers a lecture and makes the insincere uke feel good because he made you look silly.

His loss - I try not to train with him. I do like to train with a guy who is rather large, formerly clumsy, and very very strong. He is honest. I have to be careful not to hurt him or myself when we train as he is extremely stubborn about losing his balance. However - his goal is to attack and learn aikido sincerely, not satisfy petty ego needs.

David

Ron Tisdale
11-15-2006, 02:23 PM
Very interesting thread. Thank you everybody...

Best,
Ron

Erick Mead
11-15-2006, 03:09 PM
You're preaching to the choir brother! However, we were discussing sincere attacks - and to further elaborate - this guy can be a real stinker. During kihon waza he blocks the one way of the one technique we are allowed to train at the time. Sensei comes over - delivers a lecture and makes the insincere uke feel good because he made you look silly. Silly may be the right counter, too.

I knew a girl once in Gainesville who, when faced with a resistant uke in the technique at issue, would resolutely goose him in the arm pit. Moved the technique right along, it did.

A strange thing, but those who most resist seem to me to be more ticklish than not. I read a study somewhere that you cannot tickle yourself because your nervous system knows its you doing it. If aikido truly breaks down the walls betweeen self and non-self, then aikidoka as a rule should be less ticklish that then general populaiton. I know I am far less ticklish than I once was.

JUN !!!! Where are you JUN ???!!!! A Great poll question :

Has aikido training made you
1) less ticklish
2) more ticklish, or
3) about the same

Tickling is a great and silly substitute for atemi, that gets the point across without the ego confrontation. She was also known to land a big wet smooch right square on uke's ear, when uke was triying to stall out an iriminage. Deafening. Or... so, I was told, .. yeah. And only slightly worse than a head butt. YMMV. Me, I'm not so cuddly.

billybob
11-15-2006, 03:15 PM
"Move to strike your honor - the defendant tickled me during cross examination" hahahah

good times.

I like your thrust though - answer ego with the outrageous. I escaped a mugging in Rome once by acting silly, screaming like a little girl and running in a silly way. When I heard my attackers start to laugh I got serious and escaped. (I was drunk and on liberty while in the Navy).

On topic - I don't think 'sincere' is about level of force, or trying to kill uke. I think it's about knowing what's coming and not using that knowledge unfairly - sort of like 'insider trading' in the stock market.

david

Ron Tisdale
11-15-2006, 03:38 PM
David, that's one of the funniest things I've read in a while! :)

Erik, you forgot the ubiquitous last question of the poll...

4) I don't do aikido...

Best,
Ron

Don_Modesto
11-15-2006, 03:56 PM
...I think most folks envision 'the fight' as some kind of one on one showdown or duel. Shame on you if this is the situation you find yourself in! I will never be in a 'fair fight' in my life! I run, hide, lie, misdirect - whatever it takes to survive. As I've matured I am polite, respectful, kind, humble and try to stay out of trouble.

Trouble is being hit in the back of the head with a 2x4 when you are distracted. Intuition is what we are training - knowing something is wrong. Pertinent, succinct, incisive...

Very nice, David.

Erick Mead
11-15-2006, 05:05 PM
Erik, you forgot the ubiquitous last question of the poll...

4) I don't do aikido... "... because it's too ticklish" ??

Erick Mead
11-15-2006, 10:20 PM
I like your thrust though - answer ego with the outrageous. I escaped a mugging in Rome once by acting silly, screaming like a little girl and running in a silly way. Of course, they may have just assumed you were also Italian ... :D

Or, a Platonist ... seeking dialogue ...

SeiserL
11-16-2006, 08:01 AM
Sincere: wholehearted, genuine, honest

Attack: forceful, offensive, undertaking

IMHO, a "sincere attack" in training would simply be to offer enough energy that your training partner can truly learn. This would be different if the context and relationship changed.

Dialog: conversation, exchange of ideas and opinions, a discussion to resolve a conflict

I learn a lot from conversations, even those I eavesdrop on. I tend to think in conversation or dialog to see many perspectives. Its a bit crazy making at times.

I certainly understanding from training around and attending seminars, the need to talk more about and stress the importance of "sincere attacks" in training so that our response will more easily generalize and have a higher probability of execution if even I should need it in the real world. I am always thankful for those people who would actually hit me if i didn't get off the line.

Peter Goldsbury
11-16-2006, 08:46 AM
Sincere: wholehearted, genuine, honest

Attack: forceful, offensive, undertaking

Hello Lynn,

I don't know--and this is partly why I wrote the article as a dialogue.

I remember a one-to-one training session with Chiba Sensei in his house in Mishima, after he had returned to Japan from the UK. The waza was irimi-nage, from a simple katate-dori hand-grab. It was not a crippling attack, but simply a gesture, to see what I would do with it.

I have to believe that the attack was sincere, since it was Chiba who was doing it, but what was noteworthy (and spectacular for me) was that the attack continued all the way through the technique, right until I had laid him on the tatami, and any loss or technique on my part invariably led to a kaeshi waza (usually a koshi-nage which made the house shake). And he taught in the traditional koryu way, by being uke until I had got the waza right to his satisfaction.

There is another thread somewhere in this forum about private lessons vs. group training. With someone like Chiba Sensei I think this is a no-brainer. I learned more about the techniques we practised from one session with him (and on other occasions with his father-in-law, M Sekiya) than from hundreds of hours of regular training.

Best wishes,

SeiserL
11-16-2006, 09:16 AM
I don't know--and this is partly why I wrote the article as a dialogue.
Oh I think you know, which is why you wrote the article to share it.

And if I understand it right (somewhat of a small chance), I would sincerely agree (that doesn't mean we are right, just that our experience and how we conceptual and explain it are a close enough match).

BTW, training with Phong Sensei in Tenshinkai Aikido has been a similar experience; sincere from start to finish.

Domo Arigato Sensei

jxa127
11-16-2006, 10:27 AM
I remember a one-to-one training session with Chiba Sensei in his house in Mishima, after he had returned to Japan from the UK. The waza was irimi-nage, from a simple katate-dori hand-grab. It was not a crippling attack, but simply a gesture, to see what I would do with it.

I have to believe that the attack was sincere, since it was Chiba who was doing it, but what was noteworthy (and spectacular for me) was that the attack continued all the way through the technique, right until I had laid him on the tatami, and any loss or technique on my part invariably led to a kaeshi waza (usually a koshi-nage which made the house shake). And he taught in the traditional koryu way, by being uke until I had got the waza right to his satisfaction.

Hello Peter, as always, I enjoy reading your posts.

What you describe above is exactly the high-quality ukemi that we strive for where I train. It really helps to have felt it, and I was lucky enough to have Yasou Kobayashi shihan attack me a few times at a seminar. His attacks felt exactly like you described -- except that he did not throw me with a hip throw if I did not perform the move exactly as he wished, he just stopped the technique until I adjusted. He may have been taking it easy on me, though, because I had only been training for a year or so at the time.

Mechanically, we are taught that continuing the attack involves constantly turning (especially our hips) toward nage in an effort to affect nage's center or strike nage. Working with beginners, we go slowly, but still continue to provide that incoming energy to nage. I think that's why, as a beginner, I found it easier to do a technique correctly with a senior student as uke than with another beginner as uke.

So, for me, a committed attack is one where we continue to attack the whole way through the technique. In broad terms, this contrasts with something like a jab, which I think of as a quick strike followed by a retreat. It also contrasts a bit with my very limited experience with judo in which I and my partner start off grasping one another and simulataeous work to off-balance each other and counter each other's attempts to do the same.

I feel that our emphasis on being good attackers has really helped my waza to the point where the roles of uke and nage become very blurred. If I grap my partner's wrist, I now know that that movement can be the precursor to a good throw and pin. Which, when I think about it, is not that different from the judo I've been exposed to.

Regards,

NagaBaba
11-16-2006, 12:41 PM
I think we mustnít mix up different concepts: teaching by attacking and trying to destroy by attacking.
In both cases attack can be honest and full of intent, but the goal of both attacks is completely different. Instructor may chose to teach you by providing an attack, but in normal practice it can't be a case. Attacker can't pretend he is teaching nage -- it will be very pretentious. Only very experienced ppl can teach like that. Nage can learn only from pure technique and not form 'self-imaginary master-attacker', otherwise the risk of deformation is too high.

Simple, high quality spontanous attack, whitout hidden intent (ex': by attacking like that I'll teach you that and this...) forces nage to find the best solution --- this is THE WAY to learn technique right.

jxa127
11-16-2006, 01:12 PM
Szczepan,

Did you attend a seminar with Ellis Amdur in Harrisburg, PA a few years ago? If so, and if you're who I remember from that seminar, then I remember that you liked to go al- out for each attack and asked your uke to do the same. :-)

Anyway, I think there's a difference between giving good ukemi that helps nage learn (with uke learning quite a bit at the same time) and trying to teach by taking ukemi.

The danger here is I'll talk about giving good ukemi that helps nage learn-- meaning ukemi with good attacks that continue throughout the technique and position me to take advantage of mistakes by nage -- and others with think I'm talking about soft attacks and "falling down" for nage.

That's why talking about aikido can be so difficult.

A question for you: how do you teach beginners to give a "high quality, spontaneous attack"? It seems to me that the ability to attack well follows the ability to fall well.

Regards,

billybob
11-16-2006, 03:49 PM
I posted this in a thread about aikido and yoga both being relaxing. I think it obtains to this discussion:

"I'm recovering from devastating injury of 25 years ago. I've done yoga, tai chi chuan, chi kung (this the most diligently) aikido, physical therapy - ad nauseum. One of my Senseis who is younger, criticized my training (sharply), and said that solo training alone would not give me all I needed. We had words.

Next class he taught was about connection for uke - even during the most rigorous movement - ikyo for me, as both my shoulders have come out of joint. The most difficult and painful exercise was staying connected during very very fast but smooth ikyo and bouncing back up to continue pushing into nage's center. I yelled from the pain, trembled, experienced rapid breathing, and generally hurt like Hell during this exercise, but began using muscle groups I've had locked down since my injury.

Next class I was throwing koshi nage off my right side - the side that has collapsed under load for all those years.

Thank you Sensei!"

David

NagaBaba
11-16-2006, 10:05 PM
Szczepan,

Did you attend a seminar with Ellis Amdur in Harrisburg, PA a few years ago?
Unfortunatly no, I've never had a chance to meet him. But I'm not sure if he'll be very happy to practice with me ;) :D

A question for you: how do you teach beginners to give a "high quality, spontaneous attack"? It seems to me that the ability to attack well follows the ability to fall well.

Regards,
oh, quite few of them have MA background, boxing, karate, judo, kung fu etc...so they have no problems. Others take exemple from them or are corrected every time when they attack is weak, or out of target, or full of openings(I do a lot of one-to-one practice to be sure that attack is right and powerfull). Nobody has right to RUN while attacking, in typical aikido way of attacking. We do a lot of static exercises and in the end of every class we do 10 minutes of jiu waza (any technique, any attack) -- even beginners after 1 month of practice.

No, they don't need to know how to fall well, in the end of technique we are able to slow down, to protect attacker from his own power :D

xuzen
11-16-2006, 10:49 PM
A question for you: how do you teach beginners to give a "high quality, spontaneous attack"? It seems to me that the ability to attack well follows the ability to fall well.

Drew, did you mean "one should have the skills to fall properly before one should have the skills to attack properly"? I think this matter is upmost important. If uke does not have this pre-requisite it is a recipe for disaster.

I remember my Judo teacher replying to a question fput forth by a student.
Student: "What is the most important technique in Judo?"
Judo Teacher: "How to fall properly (ukemi) technique".

Boon.

Ron Tisdale
11-17-2006, 08:14 AM
Unfortunatly no, I've never had a chance to meet him. But I'm not sure if he'll be very happy to practice with me

The guys from Itten know Ellis on the mat better than I do...but Mr. S, I think you know enough of Ellis's history to know better than that. ;)

Best,
Ron

jxa127
11-17-2006, 08:18 AM
Boon,

Yes, that's what I meant. A general rule for beginners I've heard is to only attack as fast as you want to fall. Still, even going slowly, one can continue to extend energy toward nage and try to control his or her center.

Regards,