View Full Version : Lunging range and random thoughts on Aikido.

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09-18-2001, 11:52 AM
I've seen many people doubt Aikido's effectiveness, and scoff at it when I'm not looking.

One person jokingly referred to it as "the art of defending yourself against someone who is running straight into you."

I've sparred a bit with someone using protective gear, and despite actually getting him into an ikkyo once (accidentally, by catching his gloved fist near my stomach), I overall got my butt handed to me.

Then a few other things occurred. Once I was going to work and I saw an angered (and very likely insane) homeless man start cursing some random guy that was passing by, jump away and assume some kind of a pseudo-martial-arts-stance-that-he-saw-in-a-movie-once.

The guy laughed and stepped away to have between them a distance which is roughly equal to that of when we do munetsuki in class. Nothing further happened.

Then I saw Seagal's "Path beyond thought" tape. It has a segment where Seagal is being attacked by what looks, by all intents and purposes, as a knife made of metal (a real one?), and the attacker is being about as aggressive and fast as they get.

However Seagal just kept stepping away and kind of ignoring the small, and extremely fast knife movements - until the uke had lunge himself into him, and then he was immediately disarmed.

These things together kinda clicked in my head recently, and now I came to realization that yes, Aikido should be _very_ effective as long as I see a confrontation coming (and these days I do), and manage to keep the distance at the point where the opponent's "footwork" is not sufficient to keep up with me simply stepping backwards, and in order to hurt me, he has to dedicate an attack. There's simply no other way to catch up to someone who keeps the distance, than lunge into them...

As a 5th kyu, that's how I'm seeing it now. I think Aikido relies on the farthest range - the lunging range, because the practitioner is not interested in closing the distance to attack in other ranges (kicking, punching, grappling, CQB).

Given the fact that during the fights that I've actually been in, people WERE launching themselves into me, and they WERE grabbing me by the elbow (to go outside), and they WERE pushing at first, (all those fights happened before I took Aikido), I'm coming to conclusion that Aikido can be a very effective means of self-defense.

Just a few thoughts that were cruising in my head... Replies are welcome...

Bill D
09-18-2001, 02:48 PM
I was reading an article (I think in Black Belt) some time ago about one of these new martial arts that use techniques from lots of other martial arts and add them up into a big mix of things. In that art, the person who created it had supposedly absorbed Aikido techinques into his "medium range" strategy. In other words, there are other MA which will be more effective if you want to kick someone's rear up very close, or grappling, or on the floor, or even farther away, but Aikido was deemed effective for just about the range we use it for.

As I understand it, Aikido is effective mostly against a dedicated ("lunging") attack because any attack which is not fully committed is dealt with by other means than Aikido techniques, like moving out of the way as you said. If someone isn't really committed to attacking you, don't try to force your Aikido on him or her, or you will be risking inflicting harm on him for no good reason, which is against the most basic teachings of Aikido.

Those are my random thoughts.


09-18-2001, 03:20 PM
My random thoughts agree with your random thoughts.

09-18-2001, 05:07 PM
my random thought is that aikido works great in fights. expecily if you are small and the person does not know you take a martail art.
why? well 2 things they will leave their guard down by your looks and ingorance and another reason is they can reverse ( unless they know how to which is unlikly)

aikido works for more than medium range attacks it is just difficult.

09-19-2001, 01:17 AM
I have found that a good quick jab will teach people to respect your space. This is especially true when you dont have much room to move.

L. Camejo
09-20-2001, 06:42 AM
Originally posted by shihonage
One person jokingly referred to it as "the art of defending yourself against someone who is running straight into you."

As a 5th kyu, that's how I'm seeing it now. I think Aikido relies on the farthest range - the lunging range, because the practitioner is not interested in closing the distance to attack in other ranges (kicking, punching, grappling, CQB).

An alternative random thought to add to your random thought with which I agree :)

Lunging range works extremely well until you're cornered:eek: but you can still use it to your advantage by doing a powerful irimi technique at the point when the aggressor lunges at you.

Actually, being cornered gives the aggressor a false sense of superiority (they think you can't move back anymore :D), so they lunge even more, giving you even more energy to do an irimi technique.

Check out this link, it utilises a lunging knife strike, but the principles are the same (especially for the last one) http://www.tomiki.org/nariyamauki.html

My random thoughts


09-20-2001, 07:37 AM
Random thoughts/memories:

Ueshiba said something about drawing people outside their power base (i.e. off balance), which makes even the strongest person easy to control.

Distancing is very very important in my aikido. Also, it is not so much whether you are near or far, but whether you allow uke into you 'special area' in front of you. i.e. within your extension range. If you do, uke can strike you before you can move.

However this means you can also strike uke. Therefore, I think it is useful to learn good strikes because uke often leaves themselves open to striking. Also, such atemis enable you to do techniques from their defence. I would hate to see aikido turning into a martial art where you are always running backwards (and Ueshiba did not do this). But I think there is a certain amount of drawing uke towards you, even in the irimi techniques. When we do randori I never worry if people do not do a technique, as long as they are out of the way of the attack and don't get into a struggle. Ueshibas famous enlightenment (after facing a top navy bloke with a sword) did not involve techniques, but just evasion.

I quite like the fact that some people think aikido is crap because it stops those who want to use it for violence training. For myself I know it works very effectively in real life (because it once saved my life from an armed attack) and I'm pretty certain any other martial art I could have done would not have been as succesful. Saying this though, 'sincerity' in training definately has to be the key word in aikido due to the dynamic nature of the art, and the way we simulate combat.


mariko nakamura
09-20-2001, 09:50 AM
We do practice Ma-ai. Proper distance. This varies time to time but proper distance is the back side of your and your partners hands touching eachother. This is an extended tegatana.
I dont think the amount of energy or the direction or distance of an attack matters much at all. I very rarely get a staight lunging attack. Thats too easy right? The uke has to make the nage work for it, but during practice not hindering it. Sometimes is ok though. If your sensitivity is right then you can make any movement your partner makes into a very effective technique. I cant do this all the time though. When I can feel this is when I am relaxed, free of muscle tension and have proper breathing control. What I try to do is swallow the attack. Follow it until it falls away from you and catch it so it doesnt land hard. Very soft is all you need to be. Although I guess it depends on my emotions at the time. Sometimes I like the big ones but you dont really need it.
If your ukemi is good enough and if your sensitivity is in tune you dont even need the tobi. Just follow it until the end and roll quietly away. True ukemi really has nothing to do with falling at all. After learning kaishi I realized this. Ukemi is complete devotion. Ukemi is a very powerful attack.
This is how I feel now. Tomorrow could be completely different.
What is Ki?

09-20-2001, 10:45 AM
Ian:do you happen to know minegeshi sensei(spelling might be wrong)

My Random thoughts:why are there so many of you in fights?