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dps
04-05-2007, 11:11 AM
Aikido is:

Avoidance; Being aware of your surroundings, where you are at, who you are with, what you are doing, to avoid conflict. If you are attacked stepping out of the way of the attack to avoid conflict.

Blending/Harmonizing; Matching your opponent's direction and momentum.

Control; Guiding your opponent and their attack to a conclusion that you want that is primarily not harmful to you.

So why isn't Aikido referred to as 'The Way of Avoidance' or 'The Way of Control'?

Don_Modesto
04-05-2007, 11:29 AM
Why is the REAR deck called the POOP deck?

(Get used to it--sh*t happens...)

ChrisMoses
04-05-2007, 11:29 AM
So why isn't Aikido referred to as 'The Way of Avoidance' or 'The Way of Control'?

How would you say that Aikido is able to defeat an attacker at the moment of contact by avoiding them? My first Aikido teacher used to day, the #1 rule was to get out of the way. I now disagree, I now think the #1 rule is enter/irimi.

Janet Rosen
04-05-2007, 11:31 AM
I don't consider it avoidence. I consider it chosing to change the terms of the engagement.

dbotari
04-05-2007, 11:38 AM
"A rose, by any other name should smell as sweet....."

What's in a name?

FWIW

Dan

Ron Tisdale
04-05-2007, 11:46 AM
avoidance??? ick Evasion I'm ok with.

Blending?? My instructor used to ask "what is this blending??" he does not translate awase as blending...more like matching.

But hey, to each his own...

Best,
Ron

dps
04-05-2007, 12:08 PM
How would you say that Aikido is able to defeat an attacker at the moment of contact by avoiding them? My first Aikido teacher used to day, the #1 rule was to get out of the way. I now disagree, I now think the #1 rule is enter/irimi.

Do you do the entering movement while still in the line of attack?

David

dps
04-05-2007, 12:11 PM
Why is the REAR deck called the POOP deck?

(Get used to it--sh*t happens...)

Because inadequate bathroom facilities on sailing ships makes it more sanitary to do the necessary of the back of the rear deck.

David

dps
04-05-2007, 12:21 PM
"A rose, by any other name should smell as sweet....."

What's in a name?

FWIW

Dan
How you perceive what you are doing.

David

dps
04-05-2007, 12:22 PM
I don't consider it avoidence. I consider it chosing to change the terms of the engagement.

I like that. Thank you.

David

Erick Mead
04-05-2007, 12:26 PM
Aikido is:

Avoidance; Being aware of your surroundings, where you are at, who you are with, what you are doing, to avoid conflict. If you are attacked stepping out of the way of the attack to avoid conflict. Not avoiding -- engaging the attack directly. Irimi, irimi, irimi -- and when in doubt, generally irimi some more. Irimi going forward or irimi going backward; irirmi turning away or irimi into the opponent, but irimi.

Blending/Harmonizing; Matching your opponent's direction and momentum. Maybe not. Most of my manipulation of momentum is quite antithetical to the opponent's momentum -- But my input is 90 degrees out of phase on one or more planes, and so there is never any conflict or that "R" word (shhh! --- [""resistance""]).

Connect-enter-turn -- it only looks like avoidance, and it can be so darn small it ends up looking more like he is suddely avoiding you. You meet the attack from the side. Or the other side, or the topside or the bottom side or the back side.

O Sensei said (or rather, was translated): "When he attacks you striking or cutting with a sword, there is essentially one line or one point. All you need to do is avoid this." He didn't say "avoid the strike or cut," or "step out of the way of the attack." He said "avoid the one line or point." I most definitely want to be in the way of the attack, or else I cannot connect with it (musubi). If I "step out of the way" I actually conflict with or negate his attack, by removing his target. Anybody with a modicum of sword training will still slice you in the new position as easily or easier, in fact.

I do want to be in the way -- but in a different way. Avoiding the one line of approach to connecting with the attack (the line he wants to make the connection with), leaves 360 degrees of OTHER LINES of approach to enter that attack directly from any of those sides -- ALL of which are in a plane 90 degrees out of phase of that one line. Jujido -- 十字道 -- as it says in the Doka.

Control; Guiding your opponent and their attack to a conclusion that you want that is primarily not harmful to you.If I try to control, I am greviously tempted to conflict and negate the attack. I must never negate the attack or resist its force, becasue reistance to force is what that force is seeking.

Convert -- not control. Best to go right where he wants to go -- but with you attached and contributing (not conflicting), somehow it ends not getting there in quite the way he intended.

Conversion of evil action by meeting it with determined and forceful non-resistance -- not avoidance. Aikido is the antithesis of avoidance, to my mind. There is a spiritual point in there somewhere.

So why isn't Aikido referred to as 'The Way of Avoidance' or 'The Way of Control'?Because it really is neither.

crbateman
04-05-2007, 12:34 PM
Avoidance is running away. Stepping off-line simply puts one in a position to better choose the place and manner in which the "interaction" occurs.

ChrisMoses
04-05-2007, 12:45 PM
Do you do the entering movement while still in the line of attack?

David

Basically yes, but it will be hard to explain how in teh interwebs.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
04-05-2007, 12:50 PM
Answer to this thread:
http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=638

Eric Webber
04-05-2007, 02:10 PM
When I put things in a blender (e.g. milk, ice cream, some vanilla extract, maybe a little dark chocolate...mmmm), they don't avoid each other or make room for each other. They exchange properties to make a greater whole (and a great milkshake!). When I "blend" with a partner, I mix whatever he/she brings to the interaction with what I bring to the interaction. There is no avoidance in blending.

bkedelen
04-05-2007, 02:57 PM
Aikido does seem geared toward asymmetrical conflict, for which avoidance is a vital skill. To avoid another's blows does not mean you are moving away from a position of effectiveness, it just means you aren't getting hit.

chris w
04-05-2007, 04:24 PM
Avoiding an attack will not stop the attack. Avoidance is open-ended. I think Aikido is a way to resolve an attack.

Rupert Atkinson
04-05-2007, 05:40 PM
Sorry, I don't see Aikido as avoidance. I would rather it be defined as Irimi. Just learn to go straight through your partner's attack. If you can do that, then you will have the choice to either, go through them, or to avoid. So, the result may be that you avoid, but it is based on the ability to go through your partner that gives you the alternative to avoid. If you define it as avoidance then all you are doing is running away. I had a similar discussion with a WingChunian a while ago. In Wing Chun they avoid by a miniscule amount and then attack directly and I was trying to explain the difference, i.e. not avoiding at all. Not easy to do, indeed it is very difficult, as it is a higher skill. The WC method too is quite superb. I see the trend in Aikido is to avoid 95% of the time, and by far too much.

SeiserL
04-05-2007, 07:46 PM
IMHO, I am not avoiding or controling, but rather entering and blending.

ChrisHein
04-05-2007, 11:39 PM
Lynn, I think for once I agree with you, maybe that's twice now actually.

Aikido is about being in rhythm with what others are doing. You could use it to avoid, evade, enter, confront etc. etc. Avoidance is only one aspect, you can do lots of different things with Aiki.

That's why it's simply called Aikido. Someone who thought he was clever came up with Aikido:the art of peace. Just like you could write a book called Aikido: the art of avoidance. Putting so many tags on it just makes it harder to figure out though.

Alec Corper
04-06-2007, 03:04 AM
Enter, always enter. Avoidance is the wrong state of mind and increases the longevity of conflict. Even tenkan should be performed in the spirit of irimi.

dps
04-06-2007, 05:07 AM
Enter, always enter. Avoidance is the wrong state of mind and increases the longevity of conflict. Even tenkan should be performed in the spirit of irimi.

How does avoidance of a conflict increase the longevity of the conflict. If I am not there, there is no conflict.

David

dps
04-06-2007, 05:12 AM
IMHO, I am not avoiding or controling, but rather entering and blending.

If an attacker tries to kick you in the groin do you avoid the kick?
David

dps
04-06-2007, 05:15 AM
Sorry, I don't see Aikido as avoidance.
I did not say that Aikido was avoidance, I was saying that avoidance is the first step you do in an Aikido technique, then blending, harmony and finally control.

David

dps
04-06-2007, 05:16 AM
When I put things in a blender (e.g. milk, ice cream, some vanilla extract, maybe a little dark chocolate...mmmm), they don't avoid each other or make room for each other. They exchange properties to make a greater whole (and a great milkshake!). When I "blend" with a partner, I mix whatever he/she brings to the interaction with what I bring to the interaction. There is no avoidance in blending.

The avoidance comes before blending.

David

dps
04-06-2007, 05:29 AM
Aikido does seem geared toward asymmetrical conflict, for which avoidance is a vital skill. To avoid another's blows does not mean you are moving away from a position of effectiveness, it just means you aren't getting hit.

Thank you.
David

dps
04-06-2007, 05:33 AM
Avoidance is running away. Stepping off-line simply puts one in a position to better choose the place and manner in which the "interaction" occurs.

Another option would be to chose no" interaction".

David

crbateman
04-06-2007, 05:53 AM
Another option would be to chose no" interaction".Which, if you think about it, is still making a choice about place and manner. The gist of my statement is that the key is you making the choice.

dps
04-06-2007, 06:07 AM
Which, if you think about it, is still making a choice about place and manner. The gist of my statement is that the key is you making the choice.O\

Yes, I understand and you are right.

David

SeiserL
04-06-2007, 06:36 AM
If by avoidance you mean to offer no resistance and get off the line of attack, then I would agree because it implies you are still connected. If by avoidance you mean to run away, I would still disagree.

Words are so up for personal interpretation and definition. Makes them a very inadequate means of communication. Yet, we have few option.

Adman
04-06-2007, 07:16 AM
I did not say that Aikido was avoidance, I was saying that avoidance is the first step you do in an Aikido technique, then blending, harmony and finally control.

Actually, my first step is to become more of a target. But then again, I'm not talking about technique.

best,
Adam

dps
04-06-2007, 09:30 AM
If by avoidance you mean to offer no resistance and get off the line of attack, then I would agree because it implies you are still connected. If by avoidance you mean to run away, I would still disagree..

Yes, get off the line of attack is what I mean. It doesn't have to be a large or big movement, I think any movement that gets you out of the line of attack could be called avoiding the attack.

Words are so up for personal interpretation and definition. Makes them a very inadequate means of communication. Yet, we have few option.

Especially for someone like me not use to communicating by written word.

garry cantrell
04-06-2007, 10:01 AM
"The honorable art of ducking and dodging and getting the hell out of the way"

ChrisMoses
04-06-2007, 11:09 AM
How does avoidance of a conflict increase the longevity of the conflict. If I am not there, there is no conflict.

David

You must have one lazy attacker if they're only going to throw one punch before calling it a day. ;)

jonreading
04-06-2007, 11:53 AM
I played baseball when I was young. I was afraid of being struck by a baseball, so I avoided baseballs when they were hit towards me. It was very difficult to catch a baseball while trying to avoid being struck by it. I did not have to worry about being struck if I caught the ball, but I avoided the ball if I felt I could not not catch it . This problem is prevelant in baseball - watch a game and if you see a ball player catch the ball to one side of his body or another, chances are he chose not to committ to being in front of the ball. My baseball coach told me, "You are afraid to get hit, so you avoid getting in front of the ball. When you are not in the right position to catch the ball, your chances of being hit are better than you chances of catching the ball. When you become confident in your ability to catch the ball, you will not worry about being hit by it. Once you no longer worry about being hit by the ball you will be able to get into a better position to catch the ball." This completely changed my outlook on catching a baseball and helped my short-lived baseball career (which ended in college).

Avoidance is a deliberate act to not engage a person, place, or thing. If my mentality is to avoid my partner, then I have committed not to engage my partner for some reason. This is contrary to the spirit of fudoshin, the spirit to enter under the blade.

I have heard several posters who champion irrimi, and I agree that aikido is irrimi. I do not believe I have ever seen a shihan do anything that would resemble "avoidance" of his/her partner. I have also heard some posters argue the meaning of the word. Whether we choose to argue semantics, our bodies know the meaning of avoidance.

Larry John
04-06-2007, 03:39 PM
For Eric Webber: Mixing substances (no matter how delectable) in a suspension does not mean they are exchanging properties (which would create new substances), but that the substances are being arrayed into a complex system that takes advantage of some of the properties each substance brought with it.

For All: Based on my current level of understanding (which is much more limited than I'd like), I find Erick Mead's viewpoint most in line with what I think I've heard from my instructors. From one perspective, aikido is about achieving a tactically or even strategically dominant position in time and space, while maintaining the structure required to take advantage of that position if required. The ideal is to achieve this position and structure without conflict--perhaps by being in it all the time, regardless of the situation.

Larry John
04-06-2007, 04:06 PM
Oops! I should have said, "time, space and spirit," rather than just time and space.

aikidjoe
04-06-2007, 04:27 PM
As Lynn pointed out, it's all word choice, and I think we are all saying the same thing. Nonetheless, avoidance is a poor word to describe Aikido. Avoidance implies disengagement and as Jon described with his baseball analogy, a state of fear. Ikeda Sensei kindly reminds me always during shomenuchi practice to "get closer" while entering, because I keep trying to avoid being hit and so disengage with my partner. It's a completely different mindset than "irimi" and "tenkan", which certainly "avoids" the strike in that you are not hit, but it is done by accepting it, rather than avoiding it.

p00kiethebear
04-06-2007, 07:44 PM
Why should we avoid conflict? Some conflict sure. But all?

Kevin Leavitt
04-07-2007, 01:59 AM
I think Macroscopically it is impossible to avoid conflict actually. You may personally avoid it for the moment that you choose to, but in some way it must be dealt with eventually.

Another way to look at it would be this: If we consciously know about a particular conflict we make a choice concerning it. Avoidance would be one such choice. In making that choice..we have in fact "dealt with it, by non-dealing".

It may be the right thing to do at that point in time, however, we never had the option of taking "no action".

seeing a group of thugs doing something wrong....the best choice may be avoidance for self preservation. However, our actions of what we do later may either imply participation by taking no action...OR we can call the police and report it, or maybe be proactive and establish a neighborhood watch

or maybe we look at it deeper and decide to attack the root issues of what is the cause of the "thug" problems in the neighborhood and work on after school programs or what not.

Dealing with conflict can be very complex and involve many layers.

I think the biggest mistake we can make is believing that we as a person remain outside of a particular conflict...isolated from it, and we can indeed make a choice to "not participate" in it.

Avoidance is a choice, it is an action.

I think many of us are not saying avoidance...but "non participation".

I think one of the best parts about aikido is that it SHOULD raise our level of mindfulness and empathy. To help us realize that we are all interconnected and that the choices we make in life CAN make a difference for all.

dps
04-07-2007, 05:41 AM
I played baseball when I was young. I was afraid of being struck by a baseball, so I avoided baseballs when they were hit towards me. It was very difficult to catch a baseball while trying to avoid being struck by it. I did not have to worry about being struck if I caught the ball, but I avoided the ball if I felt I could not not catch it . This problem is prevelant in baseball - watch a game and if you see a ball player catch the ball to one side of his body or another, chances are he chose not to committ to being in front of the ball. My baseball coach told me, "You are afraid to get hit, so you avoid getting in front of the ball. When you are not in the right position to catch the ball, your chances of being hit are better than you chances of catching the ball. When you become confident in your ability to catch the ball, you will not worry about being hit by it. Once you no longer worry about being hit by the ball you will be able to get into a better position to catch the ball." This completely changed my outlook on catching a baseball and helped my short-lived baseball career (which ended in college).



In your explanation above the goal was to stop the ball by standing in the line of attack and catching the ball. In aikido we do not catch the punch aim at your body by standing in the line of attack. A better sports analogy would be jai lai where the player does not stop the ball by getting in front of the ball with his body, but to the side of the line of attack, matching the direction of attack, and guiding the ball back toward the front wall, adding to the momentum of the ball by using a circular movement of his body. An example of avoidance, matching and control.

David

dps
04-07-2007, 06:03 AM
Avoiding getting punched, kicked or grabbed does not mean you are running away from the attacker, it means you are protecting yourself from getting hurt and also setting your self up the take control of the attack. If you do not avoid getting hit in the face, then are you practicing Aikido or "The Way of The Intercepting Face"?

David

dps
04-07-2007, 06:30 AM
O Sensei said (or rather, was translated): "When he attacks you striking or cutting with a sword, there is essentially one line or one point. All you need to do is avoid this." He didn't say "avoid the strike or cut," or "step out of the way of the attack." He said "avoid the one line or point."

If you don't avoid the line of the striking sword or the point of impact of the cutting sword then the attack is over and the conflict is resolved not in your favor.

David

dps
04-07-2007, 06:40 AM
I do want to be in the way -- but in a different way. Avoiding the one line of approach to connecting with the attack (the line he wants to make the connection with),I
Hey, that is what I said.

Eric Webber
04-07-2007, 06:50 AM
There is a practice of shomenuchi ikkyo whereby nage (tori) stands on one leg to receive the strike (thus nage cannot "get off the line"). While remaining stablized there is a way to blend, harmonize, "deal with attack", etc., and not die in the process. While I am by far not particularly talented at this approach (lot's of clashing when I do it), I have experienced others doing it (that is, I was uke, and I was trying to land my hand forcefully on the target). This approach/practice is illustrated in William Gleason's book "The Spiritual Foundations of Aikido" (Destiny Books, 1995) by some nice pictures. It is a fascinating approach to this technique and others as well.

Eric Webber
04-07-2007, 06:56 AM
For Eric Webber: Mixing substances (no matter how delectable) in a suspension does not mean they are exchanging properties (which would create new substances), but that the substances are being arrayed into a complex system that takes advantage of some of the properties each substance brought with it.

Thanks for the scientific correction and explanation, Larry, I do like precision. Unfortunately science was not the point of the post, my point was to describe an interaction in general terms and language that others might appreciate for the value of the metaphor. However, if you get up to AWR anytime soon milkshakes are on me! See you on the mat soon.:D

dps
04-07-2007, 11:39 AM
In each of the video clips below you can see an avoidance of the attack before the Irimi.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NE4jkH204pM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJn74HJPN2U
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNQCmvXiTB4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDxULcp2bsA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUMugn8LjiM

David

Josh Reyer
04-07-2007, 12:04 PM
In these clips, you can see some nice avoidance of the attack before the irimi. But you can also see some straight irimi right into the attacker, perfectly demonstrating the occupation of space that Ellis Amdur mentions in his blog linked above:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kE4IkPzJOo4

Ueshiba does similar things (particularly, the straight knock back with his shoulders mentioned in Amdur's blog) in the 1935 Asahi film.

Chuck Clark
04-07-2007, 01:15 PM
Just my two cents worth here...

None of the clips referenced by David above were avoiding the attack. The "attack" is not the hand, arm, etc. but the center behind it that is providing the force from the ground through the uke's legs. The hand or arm are just the connectors and each time the tori evades or parrys the connector while entering (irimi) at the same time into the center taking control of the uke and redirecting their force.

Avoiding to me means to go away from the force without affecting it by creating kuzushi/tsukuri.

It's really important to define terms such as "avoidance". We may be talking about the same thing but using different terms.

Erick Mead
04-07-2007, 01:29 PM
In each of the video clips below you can see an avoidance of the attack before the Irimi.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NE4jkH204pM
No avoidance. He steps in off the back foot. The front foot does not move until he begins his tenkan. Irimi all the way, right alongside the line of the shomen cut, displacing it into kuzushi.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJn74HJPN2U
Likewise, not avoiding -- entering and leading in front of and in the line of the yokomenuchi cut.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNQCmvXiTB4
Again, irimi -- rolling like a wheel right along the line attacking arm, taking progressive kuzushi (i.e. -- displacing the attack from the line) -- and engaged the entire time. This is not avoidance -- although it may play into uke's preception that it is, which certainly helps.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDxULcp2bsA
Again, his center moves straight in and he sweeps the attack from the line with extension, allowing him to keep his own center on the line. His torso posture and turn may distract from that actual motion of his center -- which is straight in.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUMugn8LjiMThere. Now that one shows stepping off the line, and an initial avoidance. Good throw. But note that the disconnection from the inital attack, allows attacker -- if he had a knife-- to cut nage easily in the exposed femoral artery at the groin, as nage steps off line. That's the danger of avoidance.

Better to connect to the attack, immediately, so as to know exactly where the blade or hand is. We often perform this one with either the back hand or the front hand coming over to meet the knife arm and take it off line with the tai sabaki, and thus maintaining connection, throughout the movement. YMMV

Chuck Clark
04-07-2007, 02:53 PM
It seems to me that in the last one uke's right foot and right hand connect with tori's shoulder at the end of the evasion step and is compressing the uke enough that it would be difficult to continue without restructuring his posture. Tough to tell though without really feeling what's happening. I know what would be happening if I was the tori...

dps
04-07-2007, 03:26 PM
In all the clips below, if you draw a line between tori's and uke's center before the attack, then watch tori's center at the beginning of the attack and tori's first movement you will see tori's center move off to one side or the other of the line of attack.

First clip: When tori moves his back foot he moves his center off the line of attack.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NE4jkH204pM

Second clip: Tori steps with his rear foot forward and to the left of the line of attack, thus moving his center to the side of the line of attack.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJn74HJPN2U

Third clip: Tori twisting his hips moves his center off the line of attack.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNQCmvXiTB4

Fourth clip: Tori makes a slight shift of his center to the side with a slight side step that moves his center off the line of attack.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDxULcp2bsA

Fith clip: Tori's step removes his center from the line of attack.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUMugn8LjiM

David

ChrisMoses
04-07-2007, 06:19 PM
First clip: When tori moves his back foot he moves his center off the line of attack.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NE4jkH204pM

1st clip, no meaningful kuzushi at moment of contact, bad tori no cookie.

Second clip: Tori steps with his rear foot forward and to the left of the line of attack, thus moving his center to the side of the line of attack.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJn74HJPN2U

Kuzushi on contact, tori does not avoid the attack but enters into it and this affects uke's body immediately. Good tori, gold star. Still not how we would do it, but it's good.

Third clip: Tori twisting his hips moves his center off the line of attack.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNQCmvXiTB4

Again, no kuzushi on contact. Bad tori, no cookie.

Fourth clip: Tori makes a slight shift of his center to the side with a slight side step that moves his center off the line of attack.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDxULcp2bsA

No kuzushi on contact. Bad tori, no cookie.

Fith clip: Tori's step removes his center from the line of attack.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUMugn8LjiM

David

No kuzushi on contact. Bad tori, no cookie.

So 4/5 of your examples DO show people avoiding the attack as their opening move, but I don't think that's how Aikido *should* be done, just how it unfortunately *is* done by many/most.

If you watch the Shioda video, there's a lot of entry and not much avoidance.

dps
04-07-2007, 08:07 PM
If you watch the Shioda video, there's a lot of entry and not much avoidance.

Good tori, lots of cookies and gold stars?

David

dps
04-08-2007, 06:16 AM
If you watch the Shioda video, there's a lot of entry and not much avoidance.

When I watch the Shiodo video I see a lot of avoidance and atemi.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kE4IkPzJOo4


In the book 'The Spirit of Aikido' by Kisshomaru Ueshiba, on page 41, " Standing face to face with an opponent in the hanmi stance, when the opponent moves forward, one avoids the linear thrust and enters into the opening outside his vision, which is called shikaku or dead angle,"

ChrisMoses
04-08-2007, 11:17 AM
When I watch the Shiodo video I see a lot of avoidance and atemi.

Atemi can create kuzushi. Some of that video looks to me like he's showing off a bit, messing with his uke. If you know how people are going to react, you can play like that. If you look at the syllabus he left, there isn't a lot of emphasis on avoidance. I really liked Robert Mustard's demonstration of Yoshinkan Aikido from the first Aiki Expo. I thought he demonstrated some very solid stuff, (and I am not, and have never been in the yoshinkan or one of its offshoots).

In the book 'The Spirit of Aikido' by Kisshomaru Ueshiba, on page 41, " Standing face to face with an opponent in the hanmi stance, when the opponent moves forward, one avoids the linear thrust and enters into the opening outside his vision, which is called shikaku or dead angle,"

I would say that one avoids the linear thrust *by* entering into the shikaku. If you avoid, and then attempt to enter, with a dynamic uke, it's all over. Tori must control the encounter, and to avoid, you have accepted uke's timing and maai.

Since we're posting video links, note how Takeda Yoshinobu is able to get into the uke's shikaku without any elaborate avoidance.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BW3YE-oJJao

Also note how his uke are compromised no later than the moment of contact and stay that way throughout their encounter. I should point out too, for those who may not have seen or felt him before, that in this particular video, he is clearly on about 10% on the Takeda intensity level-o-meter. I've seen demos in person which his students described as about 70% of what he's capable of and it was awe inspiring.

dps
04-08-2007, 11:52 AM
I would say that one avoids the linear thrust *by* entering into the shikaku. If you avoid, and then attempt to enter, with a dynamic uke, it's all over. Tori must control the encounter, and to avoid, you have accepted uke's timing and maai.

Since we're posting video links, note how Takeda Yoshinobu is able to get into the uke's shikaku without any elaborate avoidance.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BW3YE-oJJao

Also note how his uke are compromised no later than the moment of contact and stay that way throughout their encounter. I should point out too, for those who may not have seen or felt him before, that in this particular video, he is clearly on about 10% on the Takeda intensity level-o-meter. I've seen demos in person which his students described as about 70% of what he's capable of and it was awe inspiring.

Thank you, after watching the video clip several times I can see where the avoidance of uke"s attack and tori's irimi is blended smoothly together or one in the same. The techniques are so refined. Only 10%, amazing.

David

Largo
04-09-2007, 05:47 PM
When I read posts like this, it makes me wonder if my original aikido training was really different from everyone elses'. I was taught that due to the nature of aiki waza, you had to be aware of the attack and moving into position sooner than you would be if you were just going to do something like block and strike.
Take a shomen uchi for as an example. A karate style block and punch could be executed literally an instant before you get struck. However doing a shihonage would require 1) being aware of the exact strike, then 2, moving offline (either irmi or ura) just before or just as full commitment takes place. To me, that would make even an ura or tenkan type technique extremely aggressive, because you are setting the stage to take down the opponent just as he is starting to move. I don't consider that avoidence or running away. I see a difference between dodging so you don't get struck, and taking assertive action to not allow someone to strike.

Alec Corper
04-10-2007, 03:09 AM
Don't worry Paul, I was also trained to enter and control. I think this thread is more concerned with the semantics of words than the reality of combat. Several posters have tried to find this common ground, but if people mean evasion and say avoidance I have no problem with that. I do have a problem with the strategy of avoidance since it rarely displaces the intent of the aggressor, merely prolongs the confrontation, which, to me, is contrary to the spirit of our practice.

dps
04-10-2007, 07:15 PM
I found this article while doing some research;

08-17-2006, 12:07 PM #30
George S. Ledyard AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
Username: George S. Ledyard

"... Irimi is like the spokes of a wheel with the attacker at the center hub. I might change my angle from the one directly in front of the attacker but I am always facing the center of the hub. If I place my attention on the center and don't change it at all when I move to a new angle, the attacker simply doesn't register what I am doing soon enough to track me.

This brings me to one of my own pet peeves, so to speak. Aikido is commonly described as the art in which the defender gets off the line, leads the energy of the attack past him and then puts it back in to the attacker. I think this very concept is wrong. The picture in Saotome Sensei's book is an excellent one in this regard. He shows two opponents on a log bridge over a chasm. Anyone who tries to get "off the line" is going to fall into the gorge. Aikido is ALL about irimi. Inside every tenkan movement must first be an irimi. I don't "get off the line" I go to the center and rotate. That's very different and the attacker perceives what you are doing quite differently.

In Aikido we "own" our space. As a visualization to counter the misconception that we are in some way "escaping" from the attack, I have students say to themselves "this is my house and I am not leaving just because you are coming in". Aikido entry is quite simply about creating rotation at or just before the moment of physical contact. This rotation is created by the relative movement of the hips. But the mind, how you place your attention, does not change at all when you enter. The mind is simply "inside" the attack at all times, even before there is an attack. A step coupled with hip rotation will change the angle relative to the attacker but there is no perceivable shift of attention to the place to which one is moving."


Thank You everyone for adding to my understanding.

David

Eric Webber
04-11-2007, 12:01 PM
The picture in Saotome Sensei's book is an excellent one in this regard. He shows two opponents on a log bridge over a chasm. Anyone who tries to get "off the line" is going to fall into the gorge. Aikido is ALL about irimi. Inside every tenkan movement must first be an irimi. I don't "get off the line" I go to the center and rotate. That's very different and the attacker perceives what you are doing quite differently.

Saotome refers to the Marubashi Bridge with that illustration. It is a great training tool. We built one at our dojo - made it out of railroad ties covered in fabric. Smelled awful, but worked well! I highly recommend practicing exercises, techniques, and especially weapons on this apparatus, it is very interesting. Ideas of irimi, musubi, kokyu, (among others) can all be explored on it. NO room for moving off line, only forward or retreat. I am particularly fond of practicing Saotome's kumitachi on the Marubashi, taught me a great deal when I was first using it.

tarik
04-11-2007, 12:47 PM
Thank You everyone for adding to my understanding.

David, I think this thread and your research is a great example of real training.

Regards,

Shannon Frye
04-11-2007, 12:54 PM
How does avoidance of a conflict increase the longevity of the conflict. If I am not there, there is no conflict.

David

I take it that you are not married, huh? :D :D

Shannon

dps
04-11-2007, 02:59 PM
I take it that you are not married, huh? :D :D

Shannon

Twenty years:) not so many conflicts as in the beginning but your point is understood.:)

David

dps
04-11-2007, 03:05 PM
Saotome refers to the Marubashi Bridge with that illustration. It is a great training tool. We built one at our dojo - made it out of railroad ties covered in fabric. Smelled awful, but worked well! I highly recommend practicing exercises, techniques, and especially weapons on this apparatus, it is very interesting. Ideas of irimi, musubi, kokyu, (among others) can all be explored on it. NO room for moving off line, only forward or retreat. I am particularly fond of practicing Saotome's kumitachi on the Marubashi, taught me a great deal when I was first using it.

The reference to Saotome was from a post by George Ledyard.

Thanks
David

dps
04-11-2007, 03:13 PM
David, I think this thread and your research is a great example of real training.

Regards,

Thank You.
David

Rupert Atkinson
04-11-2007, 09:10 PM
I did not say that Aikido was avoidance, I was saying that avoidance is the first step you do in an Aikido technique, then blending, harmony and finally control.
David

You also said, just after, The avoidance comes before blending.
-----------------

I disagree, totally. Avoidance is not the first step, nor is Aikido defined as avoidance. I know that avoidance is what people generally think to be the first step - but that is simply a big mistake, and one that I had drummed into me for a long time until I got rid of it.

In essence, Aikido is the Way of Aiki. To achieve that, you need irimi, the idea of entering and making contact. Of course, you can avoid and THEN make contact (this often results in a tenkan type technique), and we all often do that, but to improve your aiki it is better just to meet head on, early, merge, and only then move left or right - or go straight through them and take thier space if your timing is good (in the beginning you will fail many times and be tempted to just avoid). Also, it is better to begin tenkan with this spirit too. And, if you do move to the side, think of it more as a means to instantly advance forwards towards their centre to make contact than avoiding the attack. We are not searching fo ravoidance. What we are after is aiki - think! How are you going to get it?

Afterthought: After someone does a good technique, it will look to a bystander that they avoided, but they did not, even if they say they did.

I wonder if that makes sense?

dps
04-11-2007, 10:14 PM
[QUOTE=Rupert Atkinson;175253]

In essence, Aikido is the Way of Aiki. To achieve that, you need irimi, the idea of entering and making contact. Of course, you can avoid and THEN make contact (this often results in a tenkan type technique), and we all often do that, but to improve your aiki it is better just to meet head on, early, merge, and only then move left or right - or go straight through them and take thier space if your timing is good (in the beginning you will fail many times and be tempted to just avoid). QUOTE]

If an attacker is trying to punch me in the face, how do I do an irimi without getting hit in the face?
David

dps
04-11-2007, 10:19 PM
To clarify my previous post. What part of the irimi keeps the fist from hitting my face?

Thanks
David

Kevin Leavitt
04-11-2007, 11:48 PM
Ruppert, I think it is semantics really. David brings up a good point, I would not irimi into a hard blow and absorb it by first making contact, I would irimi to avoid it.

If someone is watching and you do it right, and it looks like avoidance, well it is avoidance.

Semantically, I would tend to call it proactive avoidance. That is, you move out of the way to avoid, but into a good position that gains the upper hand on uke, no matter how slight it may be. Not so far out of the way that you are now dealing with another attack versus causing uke to protect himself.

dps
04-12-2007, 05:45 AM
Ruppert, I think it is semantics really. David brings up a good point, I would not irimi into a hard blow and absorb it by first making contact, I would irimi to avoid it.

If someone is watching and you do it right, and it looks like avoidance, well it is avoidance.

Semantically, I would tend to call it proactive avoidance. That is, you move out of the way to avoid, but into a good position that gains the upper hand on uke, no matter how slight it may be. Not so far out of the way that you are now dealing with another attack versus causing uke to protect himself.

Thank you Kevin. I think the problem is a negative connotation to the word avoid. I like Janet Rosen's "chosing to change the terms of the engagement".

David

SeiserL
04-12-2007, 06:42 AM
I think the problem is a negative connotation to the word avoid. I like Janet Rosen's "chosing to change the terms of the engagement".
Notice how we practice blending with each others body on the mat, but tend to resist the words.

dps
04-12-2007, 06:46 AM
Yes

Chuck Clark
04-12-2007, 07:45 AM
What part of the irimi keeps the fist from hitting my face?

Changing the distance and or angle and creating kuzushi... even if the contact is with your face, it still works. If the fist does make contact with your face: Best case, the attacker's hit leaves no harmful effect and you get to make your waza... Second best case, the attacker's hit does some damage but you still get to make your waza (and then get a band aid...)

If the first contact is your hand/arm/shoulder, etc. then the kuzushi/tsukuri should create the opportunity to make your waza without the fist ever hitting your face. Remember a miss is a miss no matter how much air is between your face and the fist. Get off the line while entering or change the line while entering and affect the attacker's intent, structural integrity, and ability to continue the attack. Join and change the attack.

George S. Ledyard
04-12-2007, 07:51 AM
It's semantics but it is also a matter of what most people associate with the term "avoidance" on an internal level. At some point in an attack the nage has to "accept" the attack. He may then proceed to move out of the way but he or she had to be right at ground zero, if only for an instant. People who think of getting off the line as "avoidance" typically do not have the proper mindset of "irimi" and their whole energy is Yin which draws the attack right into them.

When I travel around I find all sorts of people who cannot execute their entries when the attacker is really trying to hit them. This is because they have the thought that they can escape somehow and then do the technique in question.

Nage should have one mindset and that is "in". His mind needs to be inside the uke's attack from the time they bow to each other. Even if he does rotate off the line at some point it was always a forward movement towards the uke's center. This is true even when he steps back....

Ecosamurai
04-12-2007, 08:32 AM
1st clip, no meaningful kuzushi at moment of contact, bad tori no cookie.

lol, maybe he's on a diet.

While I think kuzushi is really really important. I think it's probably worth bringing up the thought that sometimes kuzushi on contact isn't required or applied. I can think of two situations off the top of my head where it might not be:

1) Uke is going at it flat out and you need no irimi or atemi to achieve kuzushi. Uke basically does it for you. This is a fairly common sight that I'm not too fond of seeing personally.

2) Uke catches nage napping and nage has no means of entering directly and achieving kazushi in the first instance. In which case an all out grappling match may occur (avoid if possible, especially as uke may be better at it than you) or nage has to try something else because they're caught on their back foot (metaphorically not physically on the back foot that is). In this instance it can be fairly common for uke to over extend themselves and accidentally put themselves in a vulnerable positition. People are generally at their weakest IME when they have the thought in their head of 'got him!'

IMHO no 1 is to be avoided unless you have a specific reason for doing this which sometimes you may. Number 2. Well that's the place I like to train cos that's where things get really interesting. For me anyway.

YMMV

Regards

Mike

Chuck Clark
04-12-2007, 09:15 AM
When I travel around I find all sorts of people who cannot execute their entries when the attacker is really trying to hit them. This is because they have the thought that they can escape somehow and then do the technique in question.

Escape or avoidance and then "doing the technique" are at least two different cycles. I seem to remember Ueshiba Morihei saying something about KOBO ICHI... Attack and Defense Are ONE THING.

It's a matter of intent and actualizing that intent with action in one beat.

As George said, "Nage should have one mindset and that is "in". His mind needs to be inside the uke's attack from the time they bow to each other. Even if he does rotate off the line at some point it was always a forward movement towards the uke's center. This is true even when he steps back...."

ChrisMoses
04-12-2007, 09:21 AM
I think that Aikido is similar to Iai/battodo in that it presumes a victory at the moment that an attack forms. What happens when you miss this opportunity is jujutsu (IMHO) and is why the foundation for solid Aikido should be solid judo/jujutsu skills. If you miss that moment, you have somewhere to go, some skill set and experiences to draw from. Hopefully within that you will find a new moment where you can again achieve some aiki, but randori is randori... Similarly in iai, the confrontation should be decided the moment you begin to draw your sword. If your opening draw is weak or poorly timed however, you had better have some kenjutsu skills to fall back on. The moment of iai, that moment of perfection, has been lost and you now have to do things the hard way. Remember, iaido doesn't mean 'art of drawing a sword,' it would be better translated as 'way of being present in the the combined momement.' Hmm, sounds familiar... ;)

A few people have also mentioned tenkan as a kind of alternative to irimi, and I would have to disagree. I don't believe pure tenkan exists in aikido, but rather (and as it was described in budo renshu) the concept is actually irimi-tenkan. Tenkan really only can happen after irimi, or as an aspect of that irimi.

Ecosamurai
04-12-2007, 09:43 AM
A few people have also mentioned tenkan as a kind of alternative to irimi, and I would have to disagree. I don't believe pure tenkan exists in aikido, but rather (and as it was described in budo renshu) the concept is actually irimi-tenkan. Tenkan really only can happen after irimi, or as an aspect of that irimi.

So here's a question I think might be interesting. While tenkan may not be separate from irimi. It is something different. Should the two be practiced in isolation in order to work on the different aspects of each movement? Or is it pointless to practice tenkan without first practicing irimi and then taking the irimi into the tenkan movement?

Mike

Chuck Clark
04-12-2007, 09:46 AM
I think that Aikido is similar to Iai/battodo in that it presumes a victory at the moment that an attack forms. What happens when you miss this opportunity is jujutsu (IMHO) and is why the foundation for solid Aikido should be solid judo/jujutsu skills.

Chris, In my opinion, each cycle of thought or thought and movement is a chance for "aiki." Once you have "joined" the attack with kiai/zanshin that connection should not stop. If for some reason it does, then it must happen again in the next cycle... Its about taking and keeping the sente until it's all over.

I have been told by Menkyo kaiden (more than one) that budo is both jutsu and michi. The efficient and proper mental/physical aspects of the art are jutsu and the practice of michi as a personal study of self and others and how to live together is a choice of how to apply jutsu. Whether the "appropriate fitting" (Tomiki Sensei's translation of aiki) or aiki is a part of jutsu is a matter of ability. I think all good budo involves aiki. This makes sense to me and is how I practice and teach my students. How others view this and practice is their concern.

Best regards,

ChrisMoses
04-12-2007, 10:59 AM
Chuck, I totally agree with your comments. There's more aiki in a well done uki-otoshi than a 'jointy' kotegaeshi that's just pain compliance.

SeiserL
04-12-2007, 11:28 AM
As George said, "Nage should have one mindset and that is "in". His mind needs to be inside the uke's attack from the time they bow to each other. Even if he does rotate off the line at some point it was always a forward movement towards the uke's center. This is true even when he steps back...."
Osu,
Total agreement. The mind set directs and focuses the body and ki. When all are aligned and congruent, intent and intensity, ahhhh the magic.

Dennis Hooker
04-12-2007, 12:06 PM
Osu,
Total agreement. The mind set directs and focuses the body and ki. When all are aligned and congruent, intent and intensity, ahhhh the magic.

Ah sometimes even us old dogs get thrown a good bone now and again. One of the members of the Shindai Dojo is a young fellow that ranked first in competitive judo in the U.S.when he attend the Citadel on a judo scholarship. When he grabs me to flow of aiki back and fourth makes me young again and damn near giddy.

Chuck Clark
04-12-2007, 12:14 PM
Dennis, give Ian a whack for me (and my regards) next time you get the chance. He reminds me of training with my son at times.

Dennis Hooker
04-12-2007, 12:25 PM
Dennis, give Ian a whack for me (and my regards) next time you get the chance. He reminds me of training with my son at times.

Will do old friend. I really love those young strong folks. I actually gain power from them in a real since. When my physical ebb is at its lowest from Myasthenia Gravis I can get stronger just by interacting with them. I let them move me in ways I want and in some strang way I get stronger from it. It has been this way for years.

L. Camejo
04-12-2007, 12:47 PM
Chris, In my opinion, each cycle of thought or thought and movement is a chance for "aiki." Once you have "joined" the attack with kiai/zanshin that connection should not stop. If for some reason it does, then it must happen again in the next cycle... Its about taking and keeping the sente until it's all over.

I have been told by Menkyo kaiden (more than one) that budo is both jutsu and michi. The efficient and proper mental/physical aspects of the art are jutsu and the practice of michi as a personal study of self and others and how to live together is a choice of how to apply jutsu. Whether the "appropriate fitting" (Tomiki Sensei's translation of aiki) or aiki is a part of jutsu is a matter of ability. I think all good budo involves aiki.The above quote is golden. Great comment Clarke Sensei.

On the "avoidance" question I remember being taught in Shodokan in the beginning that there were 3 basic parts to successful Aiki waza - avoidance (tai sabaki), setup (tsukuri) and balance breaking (kuzushi). Avoidance is critical to not have ones mind or movement affected by the incoming force or actions of the attacker. In this case it fundamentally means getting off-line. However the concept of avoidance does not in any way mean "running away" or attempting to escape the attack, instead it refers to finding the weak lines and angles in the attack and immediately cutting the attacker down on this line. Done properly this line is both the safest angle of attack and places one in a position of control and kuzushi even before physical contact is made.

We have a saying in weapons training regarding avoidance - one should aim to "taste the blade" - this means moving just enough to not be hit by the attacker while simultaneoulsy being in the best position to take control of the attacker's space, mind and balance.

KOBO ICHI... Attack and Defense Are ONE THING.

It's a matter of intent and actualizing that intent with action in one beat.The above cannot be achieved if one uses avoidance with a "running away" mindset. As Ledyard Sensei says: Nage should have one mindset and that is "in"With this approach "avoidance" in reality is akin to the concept of irimi, so the issue becomes semantic one at this point.

Just my 2 cents.
LC:ai::ki:

Chuck Clark
04-12-2007, 01:29 PM
The above cannot be achieved if one uses avoidance with a "running away" mindset. As Ledyard Sensei says: With this approach "avoidance" in reality is akin to the concept of irimi, so the issue becomes semantic one at this point. LC:ai::ki:

I agree Larry, except since there's a lot of ambiguity in the word avoidance, so I don't use it unless I mean avoiding and disengaging when referring to budo theory.

By the way, what dictionary defines tai sabaki as "avoidance?"

Part of my practice is to try and be as specific and to the point as possible both verbally and physically. Along with being "picky" about many things, I try to also keep with the KISS principle (keep it short and simple) and I realize that I don't always hit the mark... (especially in the verbal short & simple department ;) )

Best regards,

L. Camejo
04-12-2007, 02:01 PM
I agree Larry, except since there's a lot of ambiguity in the word avoidance, so I don't use it unless I mean avoiding and disengaging when referring to budo theory.

By the way, what dictionary defines tai sabaki as "avoidance?"

Good question Clarke Sensei, I agree totally.

The use of "tai sabaki" in my above post is not supposed to be a translation for avoidance (apologies if I misled anyone). It is actually the term I have chosen to use to replace my original usage of the word avoidance for the same reason you indicated in your post, it can be ambiguous as we see in this thread. When I was initially taught, the word avoidance was used to explain the movements offline, into and around an attacker's strong lines of force as exhibited in tai sabaki (esp. when dealing with a strike) hence my reference to avoidance as tai sabaki. This however is not a dictionary definition in the least, my apologies again.

I totally agree with regards to keeping things precise and simple, training and teaching may have enough complexity as is. Like you said it is an ongoing process of refinement and I miss the mark sometimes.

Regards.
LC:ai::ki:

dps
04-12-2007, 02:08 PM
Here is a page from a website I found. The instruction is the same that I learned at the Youngstown Aikikai under Cycyk Sensei 20 years ago.
http://www.aikido-chch.co.nz/beginners/tai_sabaki.html

David

Rupert Atkinson
04-12-2007, 03:25 PM
To clarify my previous post. What part of the irimi keeps the fist from hitting my face?
David

That's why irimi is the harder skill. If you merely react to the punch then when you move out of the way he will likely punch again. If you avoid with irimi intention then you may be in an advantageous position to counter (what we all do 90% of the time).

But that is still avoiding. If you can anticipate a micro-second beforehand what he is going to do then you can push forward with your shomen-ate, without moving off line at all, deflect his punch at the same time, and go right through him. That is the harder skill, pure irimi, straight through his attack and straight through him. It is the sword principal of ai-uchi, and yes, it is dangerous, and people would be killed doing it, both believing themselves to be the stronger. You will never learn it if you avoid even a micron.

That, to me, is what irimi is. I was told that almost from day 1. Took rather a lot longer to understand it though ...

In a practical training sense, try to move forward a fraction, body and mind, realise you can't do it (you don't have control of the time), then avoid. With this, you try to do irimi, then fail, and then, avoid doing a 'lesser' kind of irimi. But, even if you fail to do pure irimi, the key to future success lies in the fact that you are aware and try to do it.

I don't think we can convey all this stuff in words.

George S. Ledyard
04-12-2007, 04:15 PM
Irimi is inherent in proper rotation. The body has three vertical axis on which it can rotate: the right foot, knee, hip shoulder; the left foot, knee, hip, shoulder; and the center axis of the head, spine, tanden.

Most people try to rotate on their center axis. To do this and not be struck by a liner strike on the line of attack, they need to move their whole body out of the way.

If a cylinder rotates, at any givin instant of time, half of the cylinder is yin and half is yang, relative to some other point. On a linear attack, half of ones body is safe already (meaning it is already off the line on the side one wishes to move towards) so it does not need to be moved more off the line in order to not be struck. The shape of a proper irimi is that of the "tomoe" (the drips in the yin / yang symbol). If one shifts ones weight to the forward foot and then rotates the hips, the half of the body that was on the side of the line of attack away from the movement will come to rest on the same side of the line as the lead foot. The body will have rotated completely off the line without any attempt at escape from the attack. In fact the front side of the body will now be "inside" the attack without the necessity of nage actually having to move forward. The act of rotating imparts a yang energy to the front side of the body which can manifest as atemi while the back half of the body rotates out of the way of the strike. Hence the phrase mentioned by Chuck Clark Sensei, "Offense and defense are one."

Actually, the energy flow of the "tomoe" can flow from the large portion out to the point or from the point back to the large portion. In some techniques it will flow both ways.

dps
04-12-2007, 04:51 PM
That's why irimi is the harder skill. If you merely react to the punch then when you move out of the way he will likely punch again. If you avoid with irimi intention then you may be in an advantageous position to counter (what we all do 90% of the time).

But that is still avoiding. If you can anticipate a micro-second beforehand what he is going to do then you can push forward with your shomen-ate, without moving off line at all, deflect his punch at the same time, and go right through him. That is the harder skill, pure irimi, straight through his attack and straight through him. It is the sword principal of ai-uchi, and yes, it is dangerous, and people would be killed doing it, both believing themselves to be the stronger. You will never learn it if you avoid even a micron.

That, to me, is what irimi is. I was told that almost from day 1. Took rather a lot longer to understand it though ...

In a practical training sense, try to move forward a fraction, body and mind, realise you can't do it (you don't have control of the time), then avoid. With this, you try to do irimi, then fail, and then, avoid doing a 'lesser' kind of irimi. But, even if you fail to do pure irimi, the key to future success lies in the fact that you are aware and try to do it.

I don't think we can convey all this stuff in words.


Found this link, http://www.furyu.com/onlinearticles/aiuchi.html
David

dps
04-12-2007, 04:57 PM
If one shifts ones weight to the forward foot and then rotates the hips, the half of the body that was on the side of the line of attack away from the movement will come to rest on the same side of the line as the lead foot. The body will have rotated completely off the line without any attempt at escape from the attack. In fact the front side of the body will now be "inside" the attack without the necessity of nage actually having to move forward. The act of rotating imparts a yang energy to the front side of the body which can manifest as atemi while the back half of the body rotates out of the way of the strike. Hence the phrase mentioned by Chuck Clark Sensei, "Offense and defense are one."


Is this a 90 degree rotation?
David

Erick Mead
04-12-2007, 05:05 PM
To clarify my previous post. What part of the irimi keeps the fist from hitting my face?That's why irimi is the harder skill. ... If you can anticipate a micro-second beforehand what he is going to do then you can push forward with your shomen-ate, without moving off line at all, deflect his punch at the same time, and go right through him. ...
In a practical training sense, try to move forward a fraction, body and mind, realise you can't do it (you don't have control of the time), then avoid. ...
I don't think we can convey all this stuff in words. Oh, ye of little faith! Well, not "all" surely. I don;t know that I agree with the anticipation part. Anticipation, either fearful or desirous in my mind is problematic to good connection. It also implies a timing game -- which is not really aiki either, to my mind

A couple of exercises I have been given on these points may help. The first one is very simple. I describe it as the "plow" or "wedge." With a shomenuchi attack, have nage place the very tips of the fingers of both hands together, palms facing one another. It is better for them to gain the feel of the connection to not place the palms themselves together, I find, but it works either way.

Have them walk directly into the oncoming strike and simply determine to place the fingertips on one side of the other of the descending blow. It will scrape and slide harmlessly off to the sidedown the length of the arm. All body movement must be straight toward the attacker -- dead on the line.

Have them do this a number of times. Then, shift it to more a jodan tsuki - doing them at first slowly to gain comfort with the distance and connection. then speeding up. The you can hift the body targets downward and use the same prinicple with appropriate adaptations to the attack.

The shape of a proper irimi is that of the "tomoe" (the drips in the yin / yang symbol). If one shifts ones weight to the forward foot and then rotates the hips, the half of the body that was on the side of the line of attack away from the movement will come to rest on the same side of the line ... The act of rotating imparts a yang energy to the front side of the body which can manifest as atemi while the back half of the body rotates out of the way of the strike. Hence the phrase mentioned by Chuck Clark Sensei, "Offense and defense are one."

Actually, the energy flow of the "tomoe" can flow from the large portion out to the point or from the point back to the large portion. In some techniques it will flow both ways.O sensei talks about the red and white jewels in several of the Doka and, I believe, in the Takemusu Aiki lectures also. "Jewels" in his context refer specifically to the paired tomoe shapes.

The second exercise is actually more in line wiht that observation.

Have a partner get a shinai and hold it, at proper extension for a shomenuchi cut, directly over your head. The person serving as target should be shown that, unavoidably, (for all but those using an O-Dach) that the hands of the person holding the sword arein reach of your hands. Not within grasp usually -- but well within reach. (As the old saw goes -- reach always exceeds grasp.) The person serving as target places the back of his hand agasint the back of the leading hand of the person holding the shinai.

Now the exercise is this. Have the person with the shinai try to hit the other one with the last part of the cut they were stopped in the middle of performing but for our little set-up described above. Not with a cheating lever-over type cut. It is ineffective as a cut in any event. Just the finishing portion of a regular, proper shomenuchi cut.

The person receiving the cut should enter/cut/turns with whole body motion from the hips and arms in complete extension -- in absolutely the same timing as the cut being received. The cut will not land if the motion is harmonious, and the sword will fall off line, and kuzushi, too oif the partner is not prepared.

Start slowly and then step it up, until the student receiving the cut gains confidence about how far he can get inside and still not be so concerned about being hit (and how much safer it is, in fact to be there than, say, six inches further away).

A point to be made with both of these exercises is that they demonstrate one aspect of what O Senei meant in saying that "When he attacks -- I am already behind him." When I meet the attack on the line just alongside, with extension, in irimi -- my hand and mind together have, in actual fact, already passed behind him. They become the thin end of the wedge that my body and spirit will hammer the rest of the way home.

dps
04-12-2007, 05:32 PM
Ohhh, I get it, you do not move off the line of attack, you move the line of attack off of you.

David

Erick Mead
04-12-2007, 08:46 PM
Ohhh, I get it, you do not move off the line of attack, you move the line of attack off of you. Yes, with a quibble, in that to "move the line of attack", sounds more like "trying to do something specific." My sense of it is that is if I try to get that specific about how to enter, or what I am intending do when I enter, it is likely to be as as self-defeating as if I am trying to avoid the attack in order to enter.

The commitment to enter, good connection, integrated body and extension set the conditions in which he actually moves his own line of attack off me. Getting too specific about what I am intending to do as I am entering is ultimately counter productive, but we have little choice but to train through these set-piece scenarios that are contained in the kihon. The real nature of the interaction is necessarily too contingent and organic in its flow to be reliably captured without a foundation of default movements to provide the sort of safety net for the highwire act that is what we are really trying to train to perform.

It is a fine line. Sound irimi requires adherence to very precise application of these principles. But, of course, getting too particular about any given application anticipated in advance may actually inhibit the true nature of the principle I am trying to express. Much practice is needed to create a trust in the nature and intuitive feel of these encounters.

dps
04-13-2007, 02:09 AM
Yes, with a quibble, in that to "move the line of attack", sounds more like "trying to do something specific." My sense of it is that is if I try to get that specific about how to enter, or what I am intending do when I enter, it is likely to be as as self-defeating as if I am trying to avoid the attack in order to enter.


You enter not with the intent of moving the line of attack, your intent is to enter the attacker's center. The attacker controls the line of attack, you control the attacker by controlling his/hers center.
Sounds aggressive. Mmmmm. The Art of Love, Peace and Harmony by Agressive Behavior.:)

David

Dieter Haffner
04-13-2007, 02:58 AM
Oh, ye of little faith! Well, not "all" surely. I don;t know that I agree with the anticipation part. Anticipation, either fearful or desirous in my mind is problematic to good connection. It also implies a timing game -- which is not really aiki either, to my mind
I have no idea at what Rupert is paying attention when he does this exercise. I try to watch out for that moment myself, where you can still just enter. But I dont know what I really have to look for or feel for, and I think I might never know, because it is probably something only a few might ever understand.

Thing is, I have seen this done by Shimamoto shihan. He would go straight in when uke wanted to engage the attack. He explained that it was a higher level of aiki, an aiki of the mind. This harmony would let you sense (I dont know a better word to explain) at what moment uke would attack.
He used the example of someone that was holding a gun towards you. There are 3 critical events: 1. gunner thinks of firing of the gun, 2. finger pulling the trigger, 3. bullet firing off. Now you do not anticipate when you see the bullet flying, see the finger moving, but when the gunner decide to pull that trigger. And that requires that higher level of aiki of the mind.

When I practise, I will mostly anticipate on the second event. When uke prepares himself for the attack with those subtle changes in body posture or breadth (which a lot of people do).
But this is certainly far away from being able to anticipate that first event. And unfortunately I have no idea how to do that or even train towards that goal.
Maybe it just takes a lot of good practise, but I doubt it would be that simple.

L. Camejo
04-13-2007, 05:44 AM
Dieter raises a good point. I think achieving the level of irimi and entry being described here is difficult unless one trains it regularly and correctly.

I've found that when we do things like resistance tanto randori (shiai-based randori) one has to be ahead of the incoming attack mentally else one is caught "sleeping" and is "stabbed". The only way one can see the openings to enter at the precise instant of (or just before) your partner's attack is to become adept at reading very subtle telltale signs of changes muscular tension, shifts of eye focus, breathing changes (as Clarke Sensei mentioned elsewhere) etc. while remaining very relaxed, in correct posture and ready for entry. The entry itself is not a conscious movement of "OK, now I go" but more of a thought of where one would wants to be in space and have the body manifest the best and fastest way to get there. Hard to explain in words but it's like I see myself in the position and I am there, the movement is unconscious and totally efficient within the instant of perceiving the attack. So the Aiki of the mind part imho applies not only in ones sensitivity to the other person but in ones sensitivity to oneself and placing the mind/body in a place where thought and action are almost simultaneous.

David: I see your dojo is listed on the JAA/USA site (your Ten no Maki avatar led me to search), do you guys practice Shodokan?

Just some thoughs.

LC:ai::ki:

dps
04-13-2007, 06:27 AM
David: I see your dojo is listed on the JAA/USA site (your Ten no Maki avatar led me to search), do you guys practice Shodokan?
:

Yes, my sensei is Michael Gelum. My previous training was under the USAF.

David

George S. Ledyard
04-13-2007, 07:43 AM
Thing is, I have seen this done by Shimamoto shihan. He would go straight in when uke wanted to engage the attack. He explained that it was a higher level of aiki, an aiki of the mind. This harmony would let you sense (I dont know a better word to explain) at what moment uke would attack.

There are two steps beyond just reacting to the attacker (which is too late if he's any good).

1) you move towards him and force him to attack. There is an instant at which he must either commit or back up. Since you control when this instant is, there effectively is no reaction time and you are ahead of him no matter what he does.

2) you relax your mind and body to the point at which you can start to "feel" make the mental shift as he forms the intention to attack. The best way I have found to work on this is with sword. Stand across from your partner in mai gedan no kamae (low to the front). Have the partner initially start in seigan. Cut him the instant your mind tells you to go. Don't second guess yourself about whether it's "right" or "wrong". Often you may sense the indecision on the part of the attacker and think you didn't go at the right time. Once you are consistently cutting him as he reaches the top of his raise, no matter how fast he does so, you are ready for the next level in which he stands in Jodan no Kamae (high overhead). Then see if you can cut his wrist just as he starts to try to cut you. Shinai is best for this as you won't slow yourself down by not actually trying to strike.

Erick Mead
04-13-2007, 07:59 AM
... I have seen this done by Shimamoto shihan. He would go straight in when uke wanted to engage the attack. He explained that it was a higher level of aiki, an aiki of the mind. This harmony would let you sense (I dont know a better word to explain) at what moment uke would attack. Now, that I all agree with. As I have continued in practice I have found my innate knowing (without having to consciously "figger" it out), when a person is about to act has increased steadily. And in those who are more experienced than I am, I can see are even better still.
I have no idea at what Rupert is paying attention when he does this exercise. I try to watch out for that moment myself, where you can still just enter. But I dont know what I really have to look for or feel for, and I think I might never know, because it is probably something only a few might ever understand. Fond as I am of analysis, this part I think is the antithesis of the analytic approach. If you focus on any particular aspect -- you lose the perspective of the whole. The most immediate way to sense disharmony arising is to see the whole in its entirety, and then the thing that suddenly does NOT fit reveals itself without any real effort at further perception on our part.

The best parallel I can suggest is in training the ear in music. After a while you can innately find the lines of musical harmony that follow from the first chord you hear. But only because you quit trying to pay attention to or to "make" one particular harmony from what is there. You start listening to the harmony as a whole and a compatible line reveals itself to you. After many, many halting efforts resulting in cacophony later, you find you have developed an ear for harmony in almost any piece.

I think this is very much like that. But it is not anything with specific cues or signposts you could or should "anticipate" or "look for" in a conscious sense. That is not to say that they are not there, but they are so varied, and individual and so un-reproducible. You must rely more on the fact that something has broken the previous harmony, without troubling to be too concerned about what, exactly, it is that made that cue apparent to you. It is highly unlikely to be the same thing the next time, in any event.

After all, in Aikido, like in singing, the ultimate point is not to stop, identify and dissect the nature of that dissonance, when it occurs, but to immediately restore the harmony of the whole piece after that unfortunate slip occurs.

It is, as I see it, simply an extension of the principles of maai to encompass intent (which is shown in posture and other nonverbal cues of mood) as well as time and distance. The sense of how close you can stand before he can hit you without shifting his feet only really develops from begin swung at many, many times. This is but a step further along that road, as I see it.
When I practise, I will mostly anticipate on the second event [pulling the trigger]. When uke prepares himself for the attack with those subtle changes in body posture or breadth (which a lot of people do).
But this is certainly far away from being able to anticipate that first event [ thinking of firing the gun]. And unfortunately I have no idea how to do that or even train towards that goal.

Maybe it just takes a lot of good practise, but I doubt it would be that simple. I think it is just that. Very simple -- but that does not mean it is easy. Of course, having good singers in your chorus helps immensely.

Dieter Haffner
04-16-2007, 03:37 AM
George and Erick, I had to let your words sink in for a few days.
But I still cant make a structured reply out of my thoughts.
So I just wanted to thank you both for your replies, and maybe I will be able to write something back in the future.

Martin Ruedas
04-19-2007, 10:08 AM
In what I have learned, Aikido is really not about avoidance. It's really abour accepting, entering, being there on what really happens right now.