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Joseph Madden
03-09-2008, 11:05 PM
Without a first strike whether it be proactive and/or a strictly defensive measure, aikido without proper hard atemi is useless. Now the real question remains; what is atemi? Is it a punch? Is it a distraction, as in the way O-Sensei taught. Or do you really need to give that attacker that first punch to the head to be really effective. In my mind, the answer is yes. This may make aikido a little more than boxing with flourish, but this is the conclusion I've come too.:cool:

mathewjgano
03-09-2008, 11:16 PM
Without a first strike whether it be proactive and/or a strictly defensive measure, aikido without proper hard atemi is useless. Now the real question remains; what is atemi? Is it a punch? Is it a distraction, as in the way O-Sensei taught. Or do you really need to give that attacker that first punch to the head to be really effective. In my mind, the answer is yes. This may make aikido a little more than boxing with flourish, but this is the conclusion I've come too.:cool:

Are you saying yes to all those questions you posed? I know there are earlier threads which deal with the concept of atemi, but my take on it is that atemi is any kind of shock to the system which temporarily disorganizes it so we can then overpower it with superior organization. It doesn't always have to be a strike, but a strike can usually be made at the point of atemi.

Joseph Madden
03-09-2008, 11:31 PM
Atemi should be first and foremost a strike. This idea of a shock to the system so it becomes disorganized works best, in my opinion, in the form of a fist to the center of the face, under the chin, to the side of the head etc.This idea of spooking a person by waving a hand in front of the face is in my experience completely useless from a defensive point of view. You have to get in there and hit. Otherwise you are dead.

David Yap
03-09-2008, 11:43 PM
Hi Joe,

This thread has been repeated many times in the forum. Best you do a search for past these threads.

You have posted good questions and some valid answers. By some accounts, I have had discussions with ppl with 30+ aikido experience who share your thoughts about the functions of atemi. IMO, to re-think again you may need to define what the word "Atemi" actualy means.

Regds

David Y

eyrie
03-10-2008, 01:47 AM
True, the "hand-waving" thing has somewhat become a symbolic gesture to indicate a strike. Obviously in training we're not out to hurt each other, but tori should... um... "gesticulate"... with the intent to land the strike, should uke not move, and likewise, uke should react appropriately as if it were a strike.

I think most would generally agree that atemi IS to "hit (the) body", and generally includes various closed-fist/open-handed forms of striking. However, I would include grasping, grabbing, pinching, raking, rubbing, pressing, poking, gouging, hooking (te-waza) AND kicking (geri-waza) in a much broader sense of atemi-waza.

Its purpose is "physical disruption" on several levels:
1. focus/concentration (i.e. distraction)
2. localized pain/numbness
3. temp KO
4. perm KO (i.e. apoxia/cardiac arrest/death)
5. some or all of the above...

Some more things to think about:
1. Any technique with a name like (something, something) ate... is an atemi. E.g. hiji ate, shomen ate etc.
2. Any kokyu nage can be an atemi... if you're close enough to throw, you're also close enough to hit.
3. Tegatana means "hand sword"... consider the implications of what that means.

and finally...
4. IF 75-90% (depending on who you're asking) of Aikido IS striking... AND the strikes are not explicit, how would you make it a striking technique without changing the shape of the technique?

CitoMaramba
03-10-2008, 02:02 AM
"I regard atemi as the soul of Japanese martial arts. Atemi temporarily neutralize the opponent's fighting ability and allow him to correct his attitude and return to his previous condition."
http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=647
In our practice of the throws and pins of empty-handed techniques the important principles of tsukuri (preparatory action for attack) and kuzushi (balance-breaking) almost always involve atemi. I use atemi techniques and breathing (kokyu) in tsukuri and kuzushi.
http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=397

Stefan Stenudd
03-10-2008, 04:33 AM
When I practiced for Nishio sensei, he used atemi to show the attacker that the fight was already over, so to speak. He regarded his budo as a way of giving the attacker sveral chances to regret and retreat. His atemi was part of that.

He could show three or more consecutive atemi to different parts of uke's body - demonstrating that they were possible. But he did not really need them to complete his aikido techniques.

And I assure you that his atemi were no meaningless waving of hands. You felt them, and you reacted, even though he did not hit you.
He talked about atemi no kokyu. I can't say that I am competent to write the book on the subject, but I like to interpret it as bringing some commitment and kokyu power into the atemi - even when it is not supposed to hit. Then it creates a reaction similar to what it would cause if it actually hit.

Nonetheless, presently I don't think atemi must be used for aikido techniques to work. It is much more interesting to try and find ways of doing the techniques so that strikes are not necessary.
And if you think you need to actually hit uke - then why not just shift from aikido to a martial art that consists of punches and kicks?

David Yap
03-10-2008, 05:18 AM
True, the "hand-waving" thing has somewhat become a symbolic gesture to indicate a strike. Obviously in training we're not out to hurt each other, but tori should... um... "gesticulate"... with the intent to land the strike, should uke not move, and likewise, uke should react appropriately as if it were a strike...

Sometimes these gesticulatings get lost during the waza. I remember (years ago when I was 5th kyu) doing a fist strike to uke's face with the intent that he would either raise his hand to block/incept or lean backwards. The guy didn't do anything that I intended him to do and I had to stop my punch barely a centimeter from his nose. Anyone less experienced wouldn't have control that punch and he would have landed up with a bloody or broken nose. When I asked him why he didn't move, he answered sarcastically that he trusted me not to hit him.

At another time when I was an uke instructed to attack with a mae geri. The nage was a yudansha, knowing that he didn't have experience in percussion art, I kicked with 60~70 speed. I expected him to move moment before the contact but he didn't even move a bit. Despite pulling back, my kick still touched him at his balls. He screamed at me for kicking him and I told him that it wasn't my fault - he was supposed to move.

I am still "confused" with this hand waving gesture especially at some dojo that practice this. The nage would waved their hands about my face and just when I raised my hand to block, they would drop the hands down as fast as they came up leaving the openings for me to strike back with my raised hand (of course I wouldn't do that). I realized where these were coming when I took ukeme for the dojo-cho. Times when I thought I didn't need to raise my hand in response to their gestures, I got smacked on my face.

I could figure out why they do these at some dojo and but not all the time. I will explain this at a later time and probably talk about an atemi which in Shorinji Kempo called "Me Uchi".

Regds

David Y

Flintstone
03-10-2008, 05:37 AM
I could figure out why they do these at some dojo and but not all the time. I will explain this at a later time and probably talk about an atemi which in Shorinji Kempo called "Me Uchi".
Actually we use me uchi quite often as initiating atemi in Nihon Taijutsu. It's faster and much less "devastating" than jodan tsuki. But then, of course, Nihon Taijutsu has some Shorinji Kempo influence...

And if you think you need to actually hit uke - then why not just shift from aikido to a martial art that consists of punches and kicks?
Because our atemi is not mean to destroy, but to make uke react the way we want him to do. But yes, there are situations when full force atemi is to be used. Anyway that's not the norm.

What about the "finishing atemi" ? That's not mean to distract, but to finish the encounter drastically if needed.

Ketsan
03-10-2008, 06:54 AM
Nonetheless, presently I don't think atemi must be used for aikido techniques to work. It is much more interesting to try and find ways of doing the techniques so that strikes are not necessary.

Better to be on the side of caution though.


And if you think you need to actually hit uke - then why not just shift from aikido to a martial art that consists of punches and kicks?


Why stand around trading blows and getting hit when you can end the situation with a throw or joint lock?

SeiserL
03-10-2008, 06:57 AM
We each come to our own conclusion about what is useful in our Aikido.

I too tend to use atemi to strike, distract, take attention, and take balance,

mathewjgano
03-10-2008, 08:41 AM
Atemi should be first and foremost a strike. This idea of a shock to the system so it becomes disorganized works best, in my opinion, in the form of a fist to the center of the face, under the chin, to the side of the head etc.This idea of spooking a person by waving a hand in front of the face is in my experience completely useless from a defensive point of view. You have to get in there and hit. Otherwise you are dead.

I agree a strike should always be ready to fire in an atemi...it's definately NOT just waving the hand in front of the attacker. I just prefer to not box in my set of options, so to my mind, anything which can be used to shock their system can be defined as atemi. Still, the bottom line is that we cannot rely on our attacker to cooperate with us, so we have to be prepared to place fist, elbow, whatever into the structure of our "partner." As an example to clarify where I'm coming from, when I don't respond to atemi at my dojo, I get hit.

mwible
03-10-2008, 09:37 AM
i would like to go against the opening statement of this thread.

i believe that in combat, real combat, you take what you can get. if some man comes at you with a punch to the stomach, do u necesarily have to punch him in the face while u enter and pivot to draw him off balance all the while setting up for a nice kote gaeshi? i would have to say no.
i think that atemi's are useful when the situation demands them. such as if you are in combat with a man who knows your tactics, (i.e.: take a wrist/ enter/ wait for an opportunity to take kuzushi), then you may have to do quite a few paries and blocks until u see an opening for an atemi and a chance to take kuzushi.
but equally as important, if you are in combat with a man who DOESNT know your tactics, or seemingly has limited or no martial ability, i would say that it should be rather easy for a competent aikidoka to take kazushi and make him submit or perform a throw and walk away.

have i made my argument correctly? do you still believe aikido useless without atemi? rebuttal?

-morgan

John A Butz
03-10-2008, 10:29 AM
i would like to go against the opening statement of this thread.

i believe that in combat, real combat, you take what you can get. if some man comes at you with a punch to the stomach, do u necesarily have to punch him in the face while u enter and pivot to draw him off balance all the while setting up for a nice kote gaeshi? i would have to say no.

-morgan

The counter argument I would offer is that someone intent on hurting you is going to do more then launch a single committed attack. That punch to the stomach is not going to be the only shot thrown. By using atemi immediately upon engagement with aite, we forestall his ability to throw followup attacks.

I think at issue here is the model that we adopt towards both attacks and atemi. If you view them as a singular event in time, then it becomes possible to deal with an attack without employing atemi. Alternately, you can throw a single atemi(either the real percussive type or the "wave hand in face type") and bank on it doing the job as advertised. Both are standard ways to practice, and teach the ideal form of a technique.

However, an attack is a process, one that involves acquiring a target, attacking the target, assessing the damage done and determining how to continue the attack. A committed attacker is going to react to what ever you do to preclude his attack, in order to deliver followup attacks to achieve his end. In using atemi, one can interrupt this process, and cause aite to have to adjust what they are doing in order to throw that followup strike. By actively assessing the effect of your atemi and by continuing to employ atemi continuously as you engage aite, you can set up the circumstance for your technique while minimizing your attackers "time on target" because they are to busy dealing with YOU hitting THEM, which is always preferable to them hitting you. :)

Different strokes for different folks in the end, as I have seen excellent examples of both sides of the argument. Personally I am a strong proponent of atemi, with the goal being to destabilize the attackers posture and preclude followup attacks. Actual damage done to the attacker is icing on the cake, the primary goal is postural control.

--John

Ron Tisdale
03-10-2008, 11:05 AM
Excellent post John!

Best,
Ron

charyuop
03-10-2008, 11:13 AM
***ashamed***.....Huuu huummm.....***whisteling***

The waving hand in front of the face....well....I mean....works with me!
Probably if you yelled "look over there" to me it would work too!

Kaze0180
03-10-2008, 11:17 AM
Atemi is not needed, it's a waste of time. The quicker you can get the person to the ground with a throw or pin the better. What's the saying..."crap or get off the pot." Using atemi breaks flow and timing for a good technique. The more time you waste on a person the more time you give them to respond. If you use an atemi there is not telling what his response is, he may react in a way you don't know. What if the other person IS a marital artists and proceeds to respond in his style. You're better off redirecting the situation before he can regain balance and coordination, at least in countering your flow you can counter back with a different flow. Besides, if you're using atemi you might as well just stick to striking until he's knocked out or on the ground; don't call it Aikido, it's just self-defense.

BJJ practitioners can subdue opponents without blows and it's very effective, there's no reason Aikido can't do the same. Using atemi will reduce your skills in timing, which is a major factor in Aikido. It's almost a unique trait in Martial Arts compared to others. In my experiences with altercation, it lasted less than a second, the longest was about 5 seconds. Don't waste time, get down to business. That could mean pre-empting with an iriminage as he's cocking back his fist, or going under a hook and coming to the outside for kokyunage. Whatever it is, get to it and don't waste time.

So my message: Perfect your technique and timing so you don't have to use atemi. If you need it, you could not complete the technique but you defended yourself. Congratulations. The point of Aikido is to learn to harmonize with attackers and find a peaceful resolution between both people, not enact violence because you fear for your life.

-Alexander
:triangle:

John A Butz
03-10-2008, 11:34 AM
Alexander, may I ask how you reconcile your viewpoint that "atemi is a waste of time" with Ueshiba's oft quoted remark about atemi being a central tenant of aikido?

Additonally, why do you take a negative attitude to the prospect of having had to strike someone to defend yourself in a real altercation? If my life or the life of my wife was in danger, and I failed to take advantage of my full arsenal of abilities in protecting us, I would take cold comfort in being able to say "Well, I didn't stop them but I did my best to harmonize".

re: BJJ not using strikes to defeat opponents, I would argue that my admittedly limited experience in groundwork has taught me that very often, the postural control that my opponent effected upon me entirely prevented me from being able to mount an effective striking offense. I would venture that such control is achieved by atemi, using body weight, limb position, and similar things. I would also argue that a good single leg is atemi. :)

For me, atemi is not just "punching and kicking". It is a much more varied animal, that consists of hitting the opponent with everything from fists and feet to voice, "spirit", structure, or the proverbial kitchen sink, ASSUMING THE GOAL IS POSTURAL CONTROL. Striking for damage is not a valid way to do things, control is the end goal of all atemi. Additonally, atemi should be integrated into the way you do your aikido, so that it doesn't detract from your ability to use timing and distance and all that stuff. Ellis Amdur has written about this sort of thing in a lot more detail, so instead of just parrotting him, I would encourage folks to look up his writngs on it.

Gianluigi's example of yelling "over there" to distract someone is also atemi, but the caveat I would attach to it is that if the guy doesn't actually look over his shoulder, you better be ready to do something else to him that will disrupt his posture, or you might have some issues. :)

--John

Aikibu
03-10-2008, 12:09 PM
Aikido is useless without Atemi true...and like some of the folks who have posted here I practice Shoji Nishio's version of Aikido which is quite simply as he put it (paraphrasing) "Aikido executed to the rythem and flow of Atemi." Having shopped around a bit before choosing Shoji Nishio's expression ( and being blessed with having two of his U.S. Senior Yudansha living in the SoCal area.) of Aikido and coming from a background in both Judo and Karate as he did I was appalled at how many Aikidoka in other styles were unaware that folks actually try to hit and kick you and how open to counter punching and takedowns they were...and So...

Folks view of Atemi seems to be a bit myopic...There are two important sides to this coin as Nishio Shihan understood it...Hitting and being Hit...

If you don't practice Atemi you are setting yourself up to getting your clock cleaned...If you don't "see" where Atemi is applied then you are half blind to where your Uke may see openings in your own technique...

Like Stenudd Sensei said it's not neccessary to use it and Nishio Shihan usually only demonstrated both how open Uke was to Atemi and how our footwork and movement protected Nage from Uke and counterstrikes in his semniars...but then also as Stenudd Sensei mentioned Nishio Shihan's "internal power" was such that he did not have to actually hit you in order for Uke to feel his Atemi..and that is what he meant by the rythem and flow of Atemi and where he wished his students to go with it.

That being said In my experiance use it or lose it.Atemi is a perishable skillset. If you don't spend some time practicing Atemi then over time this "skillfull means" will diminish and you will dumb down your practice to the point you are just dancing with a partner and wide open to harm.

In Nishio Shihan's view Aikido must be a Martial Art first in practice in order to truely benefit anyone and open them up to Aikido's potential

Atemi is one of the cornerstones of our practice and my suggestion would be to spend some serious time practicing it in your expression of Aikido.

WIlliam Hazen

Kaze0180
03-10-2008, 12:32 PM
Glady, after regular training, randori (up to 8 ppl so far), sparring with other martial artists, and real life situations (one on one to a group of 20 ppl) I've been in...I've realized an AIKIDO technique with atemi is a waste of time. It destroys its effectiveness as a martial art. Atemi to me is using a strike, or what Aikidoka call strikes before the throw or pin. To other martial artists the atemi we use is kind of a joke, but that's another issue. If you talk about yelling or something else that to me is Kiai or energy, which you need a lot of in Aikido and in life.

Now striking in general, punching, kicking, etc. IS effective, so I'm not saying attacks are ineffective but attacks with Aikido is. In randori, multiple attackers 2-8, you have no time for an atemi AND a throw, only a throw OR atemi. But you can't exactly render an uke unconscious in class so it's hard to gauge the effectiveness of your strike during randori. Aikidoka aren't renowned for their superior strikes, it's something that's sorely lacking. You better throwing your attacker into someone else and controlling the crowd.

I have been cross training for about 10 yrs now and when I spar people of other martial arts, their reflexes in kicking and punching are much faster than the average Aikidoka trying to use atemi. They are always beaten trying to go toe to toe with someone who SOLELY practices kicking and/or punching. After changing my strategy though, which was to drive in close for Aikido I became much more effective in using JUST Aikido. And when you're that close you have only time for one answer, throw or pin not play with your partner. Once the response was instantaneous you leave no gap for people to respond or get away, and since they are use to fighting people at a certain distance they do not have an answer to your technique.

In real life, it was the same principle. Don't waste time, do your technique fast and get them on the ground. I have struck someone before, but I did not call it Aikido. It was just a response. But the next situation I remembered my principles in Aikido and brought the attacker down without having to hit him, by then his friends came and apologized for him being a drunk idiot. Usually I avoid fight situations but I have a weakness for standing up for other people when they are being bullied, especially females.

As for BJJ, the goal is to subdue an opponent with a choke or pin, they don't control positions, they flow with the persons movement and find an opening for a pin or choke. JUST LIKE AIKIDO, just on the ground. ...and more training against resistance.;) So in their practice it's important to have superior technique, not use atemi to get the arm bar. It's to move in a position to get you to expose a limb so they can take it and lock it. It's fun! You should try it sometime.

Speaking of "real situations" and responses, here's a great video that should illustrate a good point about real life. I think we often misrepresent real life with movies....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3QAJoZ7FhY
-A

Joseph Madden
03-10-2008, 01:40 PM
That being said In my experiance use it or lose it.Atemi is a perishable skillset. If you don't spend some time practicing Atemi then over time this "skillfull means" will diminish and you will dumb down your practice to the point you are just dancing with a partner and wide open to harm.

Well said William. :)

Marc Abrams
03-10-2008, 02:16 PM
I would be frankly surprised that a person with any substantial time training in Aikido could believe that atemi is useless in Aikido. John's and Williams' descriptions about the nature of an attack and the nature of the function of atemi were spot on. The atemi is central in "owning" space that the attacker needs, which results in the unbalancing of an attacker. The idea that the flow of an attacker can be disrupted without some nature of atemi (ledyard sensei has posted at least one excellent article of atemi) raises a question about the quality and nature of attacks that some people experience. A couple of minutes with a well trained karateka or boxer should certainly point out some "holes" in that logic.

My teacher, Imaizumi Sensei, talked about the importance of atemi in the initial movement when he said: "If you move correctly, you do not need technique." I had the honor of hosting George Ledyard Sensei this weekend and his execution of this statement was obvious to any observer.

We are all entitled to our own opinions. If somebody believes that atemi is useless in that person's Aikido, then I will give that opinion it's due respect. I do not agree with that opinion and the founder of Aikido did not believe in that opinion, but the founder, nor I have to live with that opinion. Our practice reflects our believes. We can only hope that our practice holds up to the "reality test" if that were ever to come to pass.

Marc Abrams

Stefan Stenudd
03-10-2008, 03:13 PM
Atemi is not needed, it's a waste of time. The quicker you can get the person to the ground with a throw or pin the better. What's the saying..."crap or get off the pot." Using atemi breaks flow and timing for a good technique. The more time you waste on a person the more time you give them to respond.
Alexander points out what I tried to explain in my posts.

Atemi is no guarantee of anything at all - it is just as difficult to learn as regular aikido pinnings and throws. Honestly, I have seen a lot of "waving of hands" pretending to be atemi that uke is supposed to react to. Naah... Just as with basic aikido techniques, kokyu is needed, and you have to practice hard and long before you have learned to do efficient and trustworthy atemi.

Also, I have seen a lot of what I believe Alexander points out: People halt in the middle of a technique to make an atemi, and the only thing they accomplish is time for uke to counter. If you are on the way to complete a perfectly solid aikido technique, why interrupt it with an atemi?
Maybe atemi is so much an established part of aikido that people do it without thinking about it - kata style: "There should be an atemi here, so I have to make sure to do it."

I am often surprised by finding among aikidoists a disbelief in the aikido techniques, so that they feel they must add something "trustworthy", like a punch in the face ;)

Trust the aikido techniques, and don't let atemi be an excuse to stop perfecting them.

aikilouis
03-10-2008, 03:14 PM
Atemi is not about swinging fists or arms.

In accord with the aiki/kokyu/whole body power principle expressed with insistance elsewhere, training in aikido includes structuring your body in order to take control of the encounter, take a positional advantage, finally applying this power according to the situation.

I read somewhere else that O Sensei once said "Aikido is Irimi Atemi". While I would really like to trace this quote back into its original context (if you have any hint, please help us), I suggest that Irimi and Atemi are not separate concepts as it is often interpreted. If we combine Irimi-Atemi, we understand that the whole body is behind atemi, and atemi itself is not the setup for technique, it is the form tori takes at the point of contact with uke.

It is displayed brilliantly by O Sensei in his films, where we see very often see that his attacker's body structure simply disintegrates in an instant and falls to pieces as if O Sensei switched him off, so to speak. This description also seems to converge with what the people say about their experience of trying to attack him with the most serious intent and feeling immediately helpless.

Stefan Stenudd
03-10-2008, 03:29 PM
I read somewhere else that O Sensei once said "Aikido is Irimi Atemi".
I can't say that I know the quote, or the authenticity of it. But I believe it could be an expression for the entering and strike that Osensei very often started his techniques with. The irimi step to a hanmi position, avoiding uke's attack, and at the same time getting close enough to strike.
If you learn this entrance well, there is really no need for anything more.

Nishio sensei stressed it: By the very first step, tori has already won - avoiding the attack and entering to a superior position. The atemi is a way of telling uke just that: Look, you have lost, you are at my mercy.
To Nishio sensei, the rest of the aikido technique was a way of sort of forgiving the attacker, and bringing everything to a peaceful conclusion.

Nishio sensei was very firm about making aikido something different from just being victorious in a battle. He constructed his techniques - both unarmed and armed versions - so that they contained multiple opportunities for uke to stop attacking and retreat.

I am also reminded about Tamura sensei's entrances. He is extremely distinct in his irimi entering, and makes sure that he has complete control of the situation at that very moment. So, for him as well as for Nishio sensei, the entrance step is decisive.
Maybe that was what Osensei meant?

eyrie
03-10-2008, 07:31 PM
John B's post is spot on regarding aite and postural control upon engagement.

Let me make one thing clear... atemi is NOT simply about punching and kicking, nor is it about swinging wildly and trading blows. It is a measured and precise means of effecting a physical response in uke, which (if effective) would allow you to gain postural control.

Which is why I used the words "physical disruption"... Personally, I don't use atemi as a means to "distract", although on *some* level it does cause a distraction and temporary change in focus. (Intense) pain is usually a good distraction and sometimes a helpful deterrent.... Anyone who knows anything about cavity pressing, nerve/pressure/vital points would know what I mean when I say "effect a physical response". ;)

Obviously in training it's not entirely neccessary or even warranted - however, it depends on what people are generally practising and with what level of intent. For me, the intent is always there (and if not, it should be), EVEN if I don't actually do it. Sure, at some level, uke doesn't have to necessarily respond to a "gesture", but I think it is generally good practice for people to remind themselves that the "gesture" is a strike designed to elicit a specific response.

Otherwise, in the remote event that you *might* have to use your aikido for real, you might revert to "training mode" and simply "gesture" at your attacker. And, if you're lucky, he might stop and give you a strange look, and if not... well... ;)

Dan Richards
03-10-2008, 11:51 PM
Reading through - and lurking as I do - I actually felt I could offer something here. From my understanding - having trained in a few styles of aikido, and teaching at a Nishio Aikido-based dojo - the study of the application of atemi is fundamental for learning and understanding body positioning.

Atemi does not have to be used at all during a technique. But... if we don't know where it's applied, then we have no realistic reference for body positioning and angle relative to uke.

If uke attacks, and can strike, but nage can't strike; then nage's not in a very good position to do anything else. In other words; nage is dead.

Atemi acts as a compass, ruler, slide rule, etc. Just as the sword acts as a tool for refining movements - especially concerning the angle of the hands at any given moment in the technique.

A sword in hand is not at all necessary in order to apply effective aikido technique. But a sword is vital for learning how to apply effective aikido techniques. Flowing techniques can absolutely be executed effectively with no atemi applied or any where in sight, but a knowledge of atemi is necessary in order for the flowing techniques to be martially effective.

Someone not training atemi in aikido will not understand the angles and distances of nage and uke. Learning atemi application is like learning the ABCs on the long road of learning how to "write" in aikido. O-Sensei's movements in his later life were still absolutely martially effective, even though it may look to many as if he's just waving his hands in the air. And that type of more flowing aikido could be likened to someone writing their signature. But in order to learn to write a flowing signature, we all had to start out when we were kids and learn how to make letters, then spell words, then write sentences...

My signature shows little remaining evidence of my sitting in grade school learning how to make block letters, and then later, cursive letters. But it's all there.

Atemi is like the scaffolding erected to construct a building: it will serve as a load-bearer, and a frame for proper angles and measurements. And, of course, after the building is constructed the scaffolding is not necessary for the building to stand.

And the role of uke is equally as important in the study of budo as the role of nage. If nage is not applying atemi, uke will not learn about the strike possibilities at any given moment within the technique. As an example, if uke is put in the position to have kaiten nage applied, among other things, they need to know that nage is in the position to be able to plow a knee right into uke's face. An uke trained in atemi will naturally put their hand up to their own face in the direction of nage's inside knee.

Any aikidoka trained in atemi application can easliy spot someone else in training who doesn't have the knowledge of atemi. They're easy to spot because they're often in the position of being wide open to incoming force/s from uke. And I see this even in some high-level aikido practioners. They're open. Which equals: they're dead. I've seen many people training aikido focus so much on the controlling technique being practiced - kote gaeshi, shiho nage, nikkyo, etc - that comes near the end of the technique; that they blindly dance through the initial opening movements not seeing that they're completely open to attack. And those who do not train atemi will also be blind to attack possibilities from uke even during the controlling techniques.

In my training with Nishio sensei, he seemed to have little concern for which model of the controlling technique people chose. To him they were even more of a "massage" for uke. He always stressed being in proper position from the word go to strike uke (in many cases mutiple times) and to not allow uke to be in a position to strike. And to continue that relationship throughout all the movements.

Atemi is literally the "inside scoop" to aikido as budo. There is an old masonic creed: measure twice, cut once. And one of the symbols of masonry is the square and the compass.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freemasonry

Atemi and the sword are the squares within aikido. Atemi, in unarmed applications, is the sword of aikido.

My 2Ę.

David Yap
03-11-2008, 12:33 AM
Hi Dan,

Beautifully posted:D

You nailed it. Can we see that again in s l o w m o t i o n.

Regards

David Y

Aikibu
03-11-2008, 07:56 AM
Wow Dan,

You must be my clone! Only you're a far more intelligent, articulate, and better looking version of me. LOL

I especially enjoyed reading this "summary"

Any aikidoka trained in atemi application can easliy spot someone else in training who doesn't have the knowledge of atemi. They're easy to spot because they're often in the position of being wide open to incoming force/s from uke. And I see this even in some high-level aikido practioners. They're open. Which equals: they're dead. I've seen many people training aikido focus so much on the controlling technique being practiced - kote gaeshi, shiho nage, nikkyo, etc - that comes near the end of the technique; that they blindly dance through the initial opening movements not seeing that they're completely open to attack. And those who do not train atemi will also be blind to attack possibilities from uke even during the controlling techniques.

In my training with Nishio sensei, he seemed to have little concern for which model of the controlling technique people chose. To him they were even more of a "massage" for uke. He always stressed being in proper position from the word go to strike uke (in many cases mutiple times) and to not allow uke to be in a position to strike. And to continue that relationship throughout all the movements.

Amen Dan.

I tried to explain Nishio Shihan's approach the way you did and thanks for giving his views of our practice more depth and weight. :)

Great Post.

William Hazen

George S. Ledyard
03-11-2008, 09:04 AM
Atemi is not needed, it's a waste of time. The quicker you can get the person to the ground with a throw or pin the better. What's the saying..."crap or get off the pot." Using atemi breaks flow and timing for a good technique. The more time you waste on a person the more time you give them to respond. If you use an atemi there is not telling what his response is, he may react in a way you don't know. What if the other person IS a marital artists and proceeds to respond in his style. You're better off redirecting the situation before he can regain balance and coordination, at least in countering your flow you can counter back with a different flow. Besides, if you're using atemi you might as well just stick to striking until he's knocked out or on the ground; don't call it Aikido, it's just self-defense.

BJJ practitioners can subdue opponents without blows and it's very effective, there's no reason Aikido can't do the same. Using atemi will reduce your skills in timing, which is a major factor in Aikido. It's almost a unique trait in Martial Arts compared to others. In my experiences with altercation, it lasted less than a second, the longest was about 5 seconds. Don't waste time, get down to business. That could mean pre-empting with an iriminage as he's cocking back his fist, or going under a hook and coming to the outside for kokyunage. Whatever it is, get to it and don't waste time.

So my message: Perfect your technique and timing so you don't have to use atemi. If you need it, you could not complete the technique but you defended yourself. Congratulations. The point of Aikido is to learn to harmonize with attackers and find a peaceful resolution between both people, not enact violence because you fear for your life.

-Alexander
:triangle:

This is sport martial art thinking being applied to Aikido which is not a sport. The reason that BJJ and other mixed martial arts folks can treat the possibility of being hit as casually as they do is that, by agreement, they are not doing the types of strikes which are designed to be lethal or disabling. That is precisely why they can fight with full intensity and power and you have so few people injured in the sport.

If you gave the fellows in the Octagon knives, you would see an entirely different body type and absolutely different attitude. When one strike can finish you, you have to be far more conservative.

I hate to tie this thread into our now perennial discussions of "internal power" but it is relevant. Since we seem to have come to agreement with the idea that various Aikido teachers such as O-Sensei and at least the thirties deshi did achieve some degree of "internal power", we need to consider that, for these people, atemi were fight finishers. The logic of how we move, how we position ourselves, even our basic postures, is all based on the fact that you cannot afford to be struck by someone who has the kind of power that can kill or main in one shot.

I can guarantee you that, if you get to train with someone like Mike S, Dan H, Akuzawa Sensei or Rob, the top Systema folks, you will develop an understanding of what atemi was to the old Aikido greats. When you have an oponent with that kind of power you treat their capacity to strike you as if they had a sword or a knife. The whole, "I can take a punch mentality" goes away quickly.The entire logic of Aikido movement and interaction between the partners is based on atemi. In O-Sensei's Aikido, we go beyond that and use the atemi for other purposes as in the quotes by Nishio Sensei. I wrote an article on this subject which is in the archives here somewhere...

I was taught that, if one knows that his partner will not or cannot hit him, all techniques are stoppable.

O-Sensei's Aikido was not about fighting. For this reason certain problems have developed with the art (as we have discussed in the "internal power" threads.) Many of not most folks in post war Aikido have not put the attention on power which was there in the thirties. So we have an entire generation of folks doing Aikido who can't deliver strikes with the kind of single blow stopping power that was once part of the training.

This causes people to disrespect that atemi. Just as that fool who didn't react to the atemi in his face, folks do not train with the idea that they simply cannot afford to take that strike and they are largely used to their partners not doing it. I would have hit the fellow on the next technique, or done something that would wake him up. You can strike someone in a way that doesn't damage much except his ego...

We were at a seminar in which Vladimir Vasiliev was doing some freestyle with a fellow. Vlad moved as if to punch and the guy simply planted and ignored it. So on the next movement, Vlad hit him... the guy went down (although he was not injured in any way) and you could see that the internal strike that was delivered hurt enough that it really git this fellows attention. So guess what? The next time Vlad moved to strike him, the guy was already moving fluidly and the strike didn't actually need to connect. That is precisely the use of atemi that we make in Aikido.

Aikido is full of folks who, if they weren't doing Aikido, wouldn't be doing martial arts at all. Most of these folks came to Aikido because of their perception that it wasn't a striking art. These folks will not strike their partners, even when they really need to to restore the balance in the training relationship. I've even seen, on many occasions, ukes who wouldn't really strike nage. Ikeda Sensei once called a guy up who simply would not make contact with his tsuki. Five times Sensei said "HIT ME!" and five times the guy failed to make contact even though Sensei hadn't moved. Sensei had him sit back down since any real technique was impossible because the energy was false from the start.

I run into these folks all the time... What they don't understand is that, not only is training with them as partners of absolutely no value to their fellow students, it is detrimental. This is ultimately all about energy and if the basic energy is false, everything based on it is screwed up.

Because we have such weakness in our practice, it leads people to make assumptions about the foundations of the art which are not true. Since the process of correcting the lack of content in people's striking is a lengthy one as we have discussed in the "internal power" threads, I would recommend that people simply change their thinking about what atemi is. If you treat a strike as if it is an edged weapon, you will move properly and develop the proper sensitivity to the incoming lines of force. If you indulge in the knowledge that the person you are training with really couldn't hurt you with their strikes, you deprive yourself of the knowledge to be gained by training correctly. This does require imagination. Perhaps it requires that folks get out there and have a few shots from someone who has the juice to finish you with one blow. Some folks learn from other;'s mistakes and some folks need to make those mistakes themselves; it's your choice.

I think people should reflect on the fact that in the old days, there was an atemi at first contact on EVERY entry. You can see this in the Daito Ryu forms and you can see this in the old Noma Dojo photos of O-Sensei. The fact that in post war Aikido, these strikes are now more implicit rather than explicit, does not mean that they aren't there. They are ALWAYS there, whether you see them or not. The well trained uke will not put his partner into the position of having to show what and where they really are. In our stylized practice, they are, as they are in Systema, tools to communicate with the partner to develop proper awareness of space and posture etc. If you disrespect that use of atemi in the training, then you show a lack of experience with what these atemi could really be.

DonMagee
03-11-2008, 09:09 AM
Not only that, but in 'real' fights such as MMA vs sport bjj, I know of no bjj practitioners that do not use strikes to help them achieve their goals.

Even in the first UFC Royce was using strikes to get people to turn on their backs so he could choke them. He even used a horrible kick to setup shots. While we don't need strikes to use bjj effectively, it really helps when you can use them.

John A Butz
03-11-2008, 09:55 AM
This is sport martial art thinking being applied to Aikido which is not a sport. The reason that BJJ and other mixed martial arts folks can treat the possibility of being hit as casually as they do is that, by agreement, they are not doing the types of strikes which are designed to be lethal or disabling. That is precisely why they can fight with full intensity and power and you have so few people injured in the sport.


With respect Mr. Ledyard, I would like to disagree with you here. I think that the position Alexander has taken is not only an incorrect representation of an aikido approach to atemi, it is also not universally applicable to sport martial art.

Even in MMA events, with rulesets, limitations and clearly defined parameters for victory, the good fighters don't charge in and take punishment. A good "ground and pound man" will do everything he can to have a dominate positon so his target can't hit back or sweep him. A good stand-up man Will not simply absorb shots, because he knows that the other guy might be able to hit hard enough to put him down with one.

I hate to tie this thread into our now perennial discussions of "internal power" but it is relevant. Since we seem to have come to agreement with the idea that various Aikido teachers such as O-Sensei and at least the thirties deshi did achieve some degree of "internal power", we need to consider that, for these people, atemi were fight finishers. The logic of how we move, how we position ourselves, even our basic postures, is all based on the fact that you cannot afford to be struck by someone who has the kind of power that can kill or main in one shot.

While in the MMA world, one is not trying to maim or kill ones opponent, there are a number of fighters known for their "knock out power". While watching a fighter work against someone known to drop a guy with a single hook, you will see a level of maneuver, avoidance, and attempts to change the parameters of the fight so that the devastating blow can not be landed.

In essence I am simply making the point that sport fighting is not synonymous with a "stand and trade" type of striking exchange, although it can degenerate to that.

I entirely agree with the remainder of your points, and my only purpose with this post was to try to make it clear that I believe all effective combatants, regardless of the environment, are aware of the power of a strike and the need to disrupt the opponents ability to to throw that effective strike.

Sincerely,
--John A Butz

John A Butz
03-11-2008, 10:13 AM
Thanks for responding Alexander. If you don't mind, I am going to raise a few points here, just to see where we go with them.

Atemi to me is using a strike, or what Aikidoka call strikes before the throw or pin.

I think this is where you and I fundamentally part ways. I don't think atemi is a stirke, in as much as I think atemi is a process of interupting the attacker that can take the form of a strike. It is, even as a strike, not an element seperated from the technique, but an integral part of my movement pattern.

Now striking in general, punching, kicking, etc. IS effective, so I'm not saying attacks are ineffective but attacks with Aikido is. In randori, multiple attackers 2-8, you have no time for an atemi AND a throw, only a throw OR atemi. But you can't exactly render an uke unconscious in class so it's hard to gauge the effectiveness of your strike during randori. Aikidoka aren't renowned for their superior strikes, it's something that's sorely lacking. You better throwing your attacker into someone else and controlling the crowd.


I would agrue here that it is in fact not hard at all to gauge the effectiveness of your atemi. The goal simply needs to be defined, and then tested. My atemi is primarily to distort aite upon contact. If his posture is negatively affected, then my atemi was sucsessful. I think that you are employing atemi in your multi person randori in a way that I would call atemi but that you are calling a throw. You mentioned in your earlier post that if someone is loading up to throw a punch you would enter in to throw them. That is an atemi, one executed not with a limb but with the whole body.

They are always beaten trying to go toe to toe with someone who SOLELY practices kicking and/or punching.

I think if you read what folks are saying, you will see that the goal of atemi is not to stand and trade, a point that Ledyard Sensei made very effectively in his post, but rather to control posture so that one does not have to stand and trade. I don't go toe-to-toe, I break structure and head to a corner or go around the back, where the guy can't hit me.

As for BJJ, the goal is to subdue an opponent with a choke or pin, they don't control positions, they flow with the persons movement and find an opening for a pin or choke.

Respectfully, I disagree. A good groundfighter controls you, as effectively as a good aikido player. If you follow MMA you have heard the phrase "impose his will" used by the ring announcers. That is what I refer to when I say control. I am going to impose my will on you, make you move the way I want you to move, attack you in ways that open up other avenues for me to attack, and negate your ability to defend.

Thank you for responding. I think we have more in common regarding atemi then you might think, I just don't apply as strict of a definition on it as you seem to do.


edit: Apologies for spelling and grammar issues in my post one up from this one, I apparently am not very good at proof reading

GrazZ
03-11-2008, 10:55 AM
now the question is, if Aikido is 75-90% atemi.....why is it never practiced as part of the curriculum?

If the above statement is true, than i'd argue we are all terrible Aikidoka...personally i think this is a major problem with Aikido. When you lean how to strike, you also learn how OTHERS will strike and how they will move and react, anything less is just a farce imo because, in reality, i have no idea how someone who is really intent on hitting me is going to act. I've trained with people where we've tried this but the problem is it is very hard to take yourself out of Aikido-mode and just throw the strike without immediately thinking about how you are going to take the ukemi, instead of say trying to find an opening to escape or strike again after the technique has started.

As for Mr. Silva, i'd like to know just what other martial arts you claim to have studied, as well as your "vast" knowledge of real life combat experience in which you are godly enough to use Aikido perfectly with no atemi? I guess on the street you just magically blend with uke when they throw that perfect yokomenuchi, follow you around, watching in awe and feeling a complete sense of wholeness with the universe eh?

In regards to randori, randori in its own right looks nice, but i dont feel it is any more realistic than the rest of regular Aikido training since we are still bound to the "rules" of Aikido as ukes. Anyone with any sense whatsoever is not going to run full speed, head down, trying to grab your wrist in real life for example and yet this is what we do, because this si what we are supposed to do. If the 8 guys you do randori with were to slowly come at you, stalk you, circle you and then attack: one grabbing you from behind, one shooting for your legs while you attempt your ushirowaza, two flanking you from either side so you cant run anywhere, and the rest wailing away when you are trapped, i think you'd have a much harder time with your atemi-less Aikido....

MM
03-11-2008, 10:57 AM
I can guarantee you that, if you get to train with someone like Mike S, Dan H, Akuzawa Sensei or Rob, the top Systema folks, you will develop an understanding of what atemi was to the old Aikido greats. When you have an oponent with that kind of power you treat their capacity to strike you as if they had a sword or a knife. The whole, "I can take a punch mentality" goes away quickly.



Just got this far in reading, but I wanted to really, really, really emphasize this point. From personal experience, no less.

Anyone who has been "tapped" (I use this word loosely because it isn't really a tap, but a strike with power, designed to illustrate but not damage) by the above mentioned people understand the capacity for lethality in that atemi.

If you can't fathom this kind of thing, please visit one of those people and ask them about experiencing it. :) I'll wager you won't ask for a second demo.

Mark

Aiki1
03-11-2008, 11:19 AM
........the study of the application of atemi is fundamental for learning and understanding body positioning.

Atemi does not have to be used at all during a technique. But... if we don't know where it's applied, then we have no realistic reference for body positioning and angle relative to uke.

........Flowing techniques can absolutely be executed effectively with no atemi applied or any where in sight, but a knowledge of atemi is necessary in order for the flowing techniques to be martially effective.

Someone not training atemi in aikido will not understand the angles and distances of nage and uke.

..............Atemi is literally the "inside scoop" to aikido as budo.

.............Atemi, in unarmed applications, is the sword of aikido.

A very nice post, and well-articulated. Coming from a style of Aikido that is "atemi-oriented" it is a good explanation. However, not all Aikido comes from that direction, so to speak. My style does not rely on Atemi, if it's being defined as a strike, and it doesn't make it any less Aikido or effective. In fact, in my style, if Atemi is "needed" - in most cases (not all) then it means that Nage did not understand the process of interaction adequately and had to "rely on technique."

The difference is that I would substitute the notion of Kuzushi for the above, instead of Atemi. Then, Tsukuri is not based on the ability or need to strike (although it is "automatically" there) but the understanding of how Uke will lose their balance properly. When this is applied correctly, Kuzushi is the focus, a complete understanding of angles, distance, and movement is present, everything falls into place (including the "ability" to strike), no pun intended, and that, then, is the "sword of Aikido." For us, not for everyone. There is, truly, more than one way to do Aikido effectively.

Chuck Clark
03-11-2008, 11:39 AM
In my view, kuzushi and atemi are (or should be) the same thing. Atemi doesn't mean only a "hit" or "strike"... it is an effect. Atemi can be done with a "look" or a small, precise, focused touch as well as a crushing one stroke kill or cutting action that cuts the opponent in half (depending on the circumstances). It is a culmination of capability within principle and understanding of: target, distance, and timing. With these tools we can then apply strategy and tactics. As in all things my ultimate goal is to do the least amount of harm possible to achieve resolution of the conflict. One of the aspects of my practice that I continually search for is the ability to give as little sense of what is really happening during the interaction. Of course I'm not where I would like to be but am very content with the journey.

Aiki1
03-11-2008, 12:07 PM
Hoping you'd chime in here Chuck. Exactamundo.

John A Butz
03-11-2008, 12:13 PM
Mr. Clark, you have articulated concisely exactly what I have been fumbling around trying to say. Thank you.

Sincerely,
--John A Butz

dps
03-11-2008, 12:34 PM
Atemi is not needed, it's a waste of time.

Alexander, go to :
http://www.shodokan.ch/en/index.html,
Technical Reference,
Kihon Randori no Kata - 17hon,
These are animated gif of the first 17 techniques taught in Shodokan Aikido.
The first five techniques are listed as Atemi Waza. Would you consider these techniques a waste of time to learn?

David

Aiki1
03-11-2008, 12:44 PM
Alexander, go to :
http://www.shodokan.ch/en/index.html,
Technical Reference,
Kihon Randori no Kata - 17hon,
These are animated gif of the first 17 techniques taught in Shodokan Aikido.
The first five techniques are listed as Atemi Waza. Would you consider these techniques a waste of time to learn?

David

Numbers one, two, and four are not done in my style, ever, (nor in some others that I am aware of) the third is done Very differently, the fourth is common to my teaching syllabus. I still can't understand why people think there is only one correct approach to Aikido.

dps
03-11-2008, 12:57 PM
I still can't understand why people think there is only one correct approach to Aikido.

Do you mean me?

David

dps
03-11-2008, 01:32 PM
.So my message: Perfect your technique and timing so you don't have to use atemi.

What if atemi is a part of the technique? As the third and fifth technique is in this clip.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2139827750116838483&q=nariyama&total=12&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=6

Ron Tisdale
03-11-2008, 01:50 PM
Love that clip!
B,
R (Evil Man Who Loves Atemi) :D

Chuck Clark
03-11-2008, 02:10 PM
I have been uke and tori for those sorts of techniques for many years. If the kuzushi (especially the tsukuri) is appropriate and the connection and timing are right, there is very little felt impact from the "atemi"... the whole waza IS the atemi. It feels like a great ride... sort of like horsemanship.. if the rider and horse are "fitting" properly they act as one and there is no problem. If that fitting isn't right, the rider will soak up lots and lots of force that seems unpleasant to most. If there is too much tension in the connection from either or both sides things like over rotation, uke holding tension or tori having timing problems can cause problems. No such thing as a perfect technique. Some are better than others. Of course there are budoka that have a sense of "if a little force works well then a whole lot must be better." Hopefully we all pass past that stage...

An after thought... Kano's Seiryoku Zenyo and Jita Kyoei are the key.

Aiki1
03-11-2008, 02:15 PM
Do you mean me?

David

Just a general statement. Should have been more clear.

Chris Lacey
03-11-2008, 03:11 PM
Love that clip!
B,
R (Evil Man Who Loves Atemi) :D

Ron, right there with you! :D We were introduced to our first Atemi (a variant of number 2 on Davids link) during class last night. In Dans clip, I note the knife(tanto, sharp shard of metal..etc.) in Ukes hand. This is a life or death situation and only one way (in my humble opinion) of many techniques where the point is to get away. It seems to me, since uke is off balance (and wanting to pull away..in a hurry) releasing his blade hand as he is pulling to get away and bringing your arm forward is just an "invitation" to let uke get away from getting "clotheslined"

When Sensei introduced a similar Atemi technique, he emphasized timing and the release of the attackers energy and moving the arm forward, if done correctly, will not be bruised by uke and uke will not go away with a headache. :D

Of course, this is my interpretation and subject to change...with more training. hehe

Be safe and Be well,
Chris

Kaze0180
03-11-2008, 03:34 PM
Wow, a lot of response since I left. Awesome! Good discussion! So I will respond to all in this one post in chronological order.

George L.:
What I have encountered out there in real life, from my experience, was that sportsmanship and honor is what's needed out there. Not the intent to kill or harm, it's the modern age, and the situations we would get in do not require us to kill anyone. That is the whole point of Aikido, isn't it? Protect yourself and your attacker? What separates this from reality is fear, fear of pain and hurt, this is what get us in the way of reaching the meaning of harmony; because we fear death. Have faith.

Even BJJ sport is deadly! Just a small tweak past your threshold and you have broken elbows and necks. It's a hairsbreadth from getting real and sport, there is nothing fake about it. Neither is there anything fake about UFC, if they extended themselves past the point of knockout you would not stop them.

John B.:
I think you're right. You are using Atemi as a term to describe a moment of disruption to redirect, if so then I will agree. Maybe terminology is what we are arguing, haha. What I see that can be disrupting an attack is maai, kiai, kokyu, poise, eye contact, etc. In your case this is ALL atemi, right?

As for BJJ, if you've grappled with the legends of grappling like the Machado Brothers, the Gracies, or any of their students, they are extremely relaxed and flow despite being clinched. They know how to roll with movements instead of resisting them. What they do use is body weight to tire you out, but to get a pin the roll until you open a position for pin. It's REALLY cool. You should watch their videos if you can't train with their group.

Andrew L.:
hahahaha. Nice sarcasm, funny. I don't have much, only about 15 yrs with Aikido, Karate, TKD, 5 yrs with BJJ, Kickboxing, Boxing, and JKD. What I do see with the extra training is loopholes in Aikido atemi and the assumptions it has. If you really want to do atemi, learn the boxing movements of fast and slippery hits, or the power kicks of kickboxing, or the closing of body position by BJJ. Add that with the situations I've had to be in real life, it gave me a better understanding of what works and what doesn't work in Aikido...for me I should say. The fundamentals are important and so is the philosophy behind it, if you are weak in either it will show when coming up against these odds.

Dealing with skilled fighters takes a mixed approach to getting to Aikido, you have to know their language first before you can translate. But when I was in "real situations" where people aren't trained fighters the principles of randori and its strategies saved my life WITHOUT having to hurt people. ;) Again it's the fear thing, you fear for your life so you over exert yourself. Being considerate to these people also helped me after...as in these people I've had to see again and appreciate the fact that I didn't beat them to a pulp! Something to think about...

David S.:
Great video! A bit different style, but definitely interesting. Again I think this is a matter of definition of what ATEMI is, I have heard several kinds already on this forum already, so I guess we have to start speaking the same language before we ask if we understand each other.

To all these people I replied to, what is YOUR definition of Atemi? This will reveal quite a bit.

-Alexander
:triangle:

John A Butz
03-11-2008, 07:48 PM
Alexander, more or less you are correct. However, in my opinion, when dealing with a skilled attacker intent on hurting you, no amount of poise, maai, or timing etc will be sufficient to forestall his attack if you are not able to, at any point during the course of the encounter, deliver effective percussive force to aite with the goal of destroying his posture. If you are sufficiently skilled, that force can be applied through the structure, but I sincerely believe that you have to be able and willing to hit aite in order to do aikido.

I appreciate the discussion, and lets agree to disagree on this issue. :)

Aiki1
03-11-2008, 07:55 PM
Alexander, more or less you are correct. However, in my opinion, when dealing with a skilled attacker intent on hurting you, no amount of poise, maai, or timing etc will be sufficient to forestall his attack if you are not able to, at any point during the course of the encounter, deliver effective percussive force to aite with the goal of destroying his posture. If you are sufficiently skilled, that force can be applied through the structure, but I sincerely believe that you have to be able and willing to hit aite in order to do aikido.

I appreciate the discussion, and lets agree to disagree on this issue. :)

Are you saying here that you have to "be able to" strike, or you have to actually strike? The way you worded it, I'm not completely sure. If the latter, I not only disagree, but the early BJJers proved that that can be incorrect too many times to count.

It appears again to me that I do a completely different art than some others who are "also doing Aikido." And I can guarantee from experience that it is effective without actually striking.

eyrie
03-11-2008, 08:19 PM
I dunno... "ability to" and "intent/willingness to" are 2 completely different things IMO. One might be willing to do so, under specific, and perhaps life-threatening, circumstances. But whether one has the ability to do so under any given circumstance is a completely different matter. And whether that's "necessary to do so", is yet another matter.

But I think the discussion relating to whether one is able or willing to, seems to be digressing from the premise that aikido, without atemi, is useless... Useless for what? Under what circumstances?

I think the short answer would be "it depends"... on the situation and the variables relevant to that situation.

I like what Dan R wrote... To me atemi is just another set of tools, which also provide a different avenue for study and expression. You don't have to use all the tools in your toolbox, and you wouldn't use the wrong tool for the job either. But knowing which tool to use and how to use it to do the job efficiently and effectively... helps, no?

John A Butz
03-11-2008, 09:18 PM
Are you saying here that you have to "be able to" strike, or you have to actually strike? The way you worded it, I'm not completely sure. If the latter, I not only disagree, but the early BJJers proved that that can be incorrect too many times to count.

It appears again to me that I do a completely different art than some others who are "also doing Aikido." And I can guarantee from experience that it is effective without actually striking.

Mr. Novick, I am trying to say that you must be able to strike, as an integral part of the technique, if it is required to break down aites posture. Additonaly, if you must strike, you must be able to strike effectively.

I am not referring to grafting a percussive combat system onto aikido, but using the inherent movements of the technique to deliver percussive force.

Re: the many variations in aikido, I agree, very often it does appear that people practice something very different from what we are used to in our home dojo.

John A Butz
03-11-2008, 09:59 PM
Darn the short time frame to edit a post :)

Mr. Novick, I wanted to make it clear that I agree that there are different methods of practice and they may have a different end goal then my own. The question of the value of an aikido without atemi is very hard for me to conceptualize, due to the combative assumptions and paradigms that form the center of my dojo's aikido practice. For you, it appears that the value of an aikido with atemi can be called into question, and I can accept that. I am not attempting to imply that anyone has found the one correct way to do a thing as complicated as aikido. Different strokes for different folks, after all.

Sincerely,
--John A Butz

GrazZ
03-11-2008, 10:05 PM
hahahaha. Nice sarcasm, funny. I don't have much, only about 15 yrs with Aikido, Karate, TKD, 5 yrs with BJJ, Kickboxing, Boxing, and JKD. What I do see with the extra training is loopholes in Aikido atemi and the assumptions it has. If you really want to do atemi, learn the boxing movements of fast and slippery hits, or the power kicks of kickboxing, or the closing of body position by BJJ. Add that with the situations I've had to be in real life, it gave me a better understanding of what works and what doesn't work in Aikido...for me I should say. The fundamentals are important and so is the philosophy behind it, if you are weak in either it will show when coming up against these odds.

Dealing with skilled fighters takes a mixed approach to getting to Aikido, you have to know their language first before you can translate. But when I was in "real situations" where people aren't trained fighters the principles of randori and its strategies saved my life WITHOUT having to hurt people. Again it's the fear thing, you fear for your life so you over exert yourself. Being considerate to these people also helped me after...as in these people I've had to see again and appreciate the fact that I didn't beat them to a pulp! Something to think about...

i just got back from muay thai class so let me ask YOU a few questions since you are the expert after all, i think this will be very telling in that regard:

1. Aikido basic stance: how are you going to avoid/block/take a hard, fast low leg kick with a 60/40 front to back leg weight distribution ratio as it its supposed to be? How are you going to do the same with a kick to the ribs on the opposite side of your lead hand?

2. We dont practice jabs in Aikido. How do you deal with that given your vast expertise knowing full well that the first thing they tell you about throwing a punch is not to "trail" it like doing uke in Aikido, but snap it back quickly?

3. Push kick: you are WIDE open for that in Aikido

4. (i love this next one) Since atemi is not important/necessary for you in Aikido what happens when someone walks right up to you and grabs the back of your head in the Thai clinch? What "ushiro-neck" techniques do we have for that one?

Lets switch to BJJ since you do that as well:

1. Since there is no atemi, the BJJ practitioner can shoot for your legs without fear. How do you stop that? Dont even get me started on what would happen on the ground.

So what happens in randori when someone, let alone 8 guys, know any of this?

My point is that without atemi someone who is competent in a striking or grappling art/actually using their brains can find ways around "pure" Aikido very very easily. Atemi is the great equalizer imo. If someone knows you arent going to hit them then you better damn well be 100% with your timing and technique, so unless you can execute your techniques with 100% accuracy in practice every time with whoever you practice with, you need something to give you time to react which your opponent cannot, and that something is atemi. And im sorry but fighting some drunk guy at a bar who can barely stand is different than fighting someone who knows what they are doing.

I agree with you that the atemi the way it is practiced is a joke, however that doesnt mean its useless, that just means its not done properly because lets face it, the way Aikido is practiced in general is a joke without it.

92ilyas
03-12-2008, 02:06 AM
Just to add my 2 cents worth...

When I train i try to think of myself as being a weakling of half my weight say around 45kg and my attacker is a monster of say 120kg and my feeling is the only thing that will negate the strength and power of such a monster is balance breaking (kuzushi) however it is achieved and once we do we are free to apply technique as is appropriate to the situation. In my younger days when i was on the dark side of the moon so to speak there were a few occasions where id been punched in the face and even kicked in the groin and in the heat of those moments didnt not have enough effect to stop me but the had the opposite effect. My Sensei is in her sixties and has no physical strength to speak of but renders my 90kg powerless time and time again with her balance breaking skill and i do use full resistance when she asks it of me so all i can say in my humble opinion is...

Kuzushi rules OK.

Aikibu
03-12-2008, 10:44 AM
i just got back from muay thai class so let me ask YOU a few questions since you are the expert after all, i think this will be very telling in that regard:

1. Aikido basic stance: how are you going to avoid/block/take a hard, fast low leg kick with a 60/40 front to back leg weight distribution ratio as it its supposed to be? How are you going to do the same with a kick to the ribs on the opposite side of your lead hand?

2. We dont practice jabs in Aikido. How do you deal with that given your vast expertise knowing full well that the first thing they tell you about throwing a punch is not to "trail" it like doing uke in Aikido, but snap it back quickly?

3. Push kick: you are WIDE open for that in Aikido

4. (i love this next one) Since atemi is not important/necessary for you in Aikido what happens when someone walks right up to you and grabs the back of your head in the Thai clinch? What "ushiro-neck" techniques do we have for that one?

Lets switch to BJJ since you do that as well:

1. Since there is no atemi, the BJJ practitioner can shoot for your legs without fear. How do you stop that? Dont even get me started on what would happen on the ground.

So what happens in randori when someone, let alone 8 guys, know any of this?

My point is that without atemi someone who is competent in a striking or grappling art/actually using their brains can find ways around "pure" Aikido very very easily. Atemi is the great equalizer imo. If someone knows you arent going to hit them then you better damn well be 100% with your timing and technique, so unless you can execute your techniques with 100% accuracy in practice every time with whoever you practice with, you need something to give you time to react which your opponent cannot, and that something is atemi. And im sorry but fighting some drunk guy at a bar who can barely stand is different than fighting someone who knows what they are doing.

I agree with you that the atemi the way it is practiced is a joke, however that doesnt mean its useless, that just means its not done properly because lets face it, the way Aikido is practiced in general is a joke without it.

Good Post Andrew and in my limited 35 years of experiance in the Martial Arts The versions of Aikido that feature Atemi hold up rather well and those that don't Well...

Folks have been going round and round about this for decades and I like Sensei Ledyards post on the subject... To remove Atemi from Aikido is to risk losing it's identity as a valid Martial System but let's keep in mind the semantics here...Atemi has many flavors and if that flavor achieves the goal of unbalancing the attacker in (and this is important) in the real world and not just inside the Dojo then I would consider it Budo.

William Hazen

Kaze0180
03-12-2008, 12:06 PM
Andrew-
Muay Thai is fun! I don't think arguing these point by point is the direction I want to go in. The more I think about it, the more answers I get to everyone of them. There are thousands of techniques and responses to any attack no matter what style we are talking about! It's all a matter of what's in your arsenal to use and how you put them all together. It's also a matter of personal preference, maybe you are not so inclined to enter as fast as I like to. Maybe I like to come in close to do Aikido knowing that worst case scenario we go to the ground, in that case I use BJJ to get a pin. It's just a matter of transition.

Atemi, meaning striking in general is not BAD. I train in other arts that strike MUCH better. The strategy for striking is beyond the Aikido strategy with striking, using atemi in class for the point of body position and angles is also a good idea. But to train someone to do the same thing, with the same response in full practice, is a detriment to the student...they will practice and think this is how I will do it in real life. So when they practice full technique, I would teach them to continue through their technique without atemi. If you want GOOD atemi learn another art that is better at it, but don't call it Aikido. Call it for what it is, fighting not self-improvement.

If you're gonna go up against other MA'ists and use the Atemi you're learning in Aikido I'd feel really sorry for you because it will not work. You're better off using your thai movements. If anything adapt thai atemi to your Aikido. I am not the kind of person that will keep faulty technique or mind sets in my training, if it's not working get rid of it and find something that does.

-Alexander
:triangle:

Ron Tisdale
03-12-2008, 12:11 PM
Huh, the atemi I learned in aikido work just fine in my experience with other arts. Of course, I have kind of a hard head, and I am a YoshinOrc(TM)... :D

Best,
Ron

John A Butz
03-12-2008, 01:08 PM
Atemi, meaning striking in general is not BAD. I train in other arts that strike MUCH better. The strategy for striking is beyond the Aikido strategy with striking, using atemi in class for the point of body position and angles is also a good idea. But to train someone to do the same thing, with the same response in full practice, is a detriment to the student...they will practice and think this is how I will do it in real life. So when they practice full technique, I would teach them to continue through their technique without atemi. If you want GOOD atemi learn another art that is better at it, but don't call it Aikido. Call it for what it is, fighting not self-improvement.

Alexander, I disagree with your position here.

The question is not whether a system of striking is better then aikido atemi. Rather, the question should be "Is the way we strike in aikido in agreement with the rest of the way we move/think/philosophize in/about our aikido?". In other words, do we as aikido practictioners, strike in a way that is tactically, philosopically and mechanically in line with the rest of our aikido practice. Do we strike the best way we can for practicing aikido? And can that method of practice carry over into the world of combative effectiveness?

I believe that if we can answer those questions affirmatively, saying that any of our aikido movements have the potential to be martially effective atemi, that we have answered the question "Is aikido useless without atemi?" by stating that atemi and aikido are inherently linked, you can't have one without the other. In essence, aikido IS atemi, and atemi IS aikido. The caveat to that is that if you hold to that belief, as I do, you have to be sure that the way you train, the way you move, and the way you use atemi are all coming from the same movement/power template. You also have to be sure that your atemi has the ability to be thrown with effective power and can actually destabilize aite at any point in a technique.

As a side note, I don't think there is any such thing as a "better system", without further defining the parameters that the system is being trained for. Thai boxing is a better striking system for an mma bout then maybe Olympic TKD would be. That doesn't mean that thai boxing is the superior way to strike, just that it has advantages in some areas and environments that another art might not, and vice versa. There are no magic bullets, just hard training towards a goal.

--John

Ron Tisdale
03-12-2008, 02:55 PM
There are no magic bullets, just hard training towards a goal.


And the individuals who employ that hard training...

Best,
Ron

Kevin Leavitt
03-12-2008, 04:03 PM
And just what is that "goal"?

Lots of talk about this all the time, but very little in defining exactly what is meant by what the various parameters, conditions, and what not that we are training for.

Once you have this in focus, then we can discuss the subject on a common ground, and way the various merits and applications of force such as atemi.

Without starting the conversation in this matter we will constantly have the "atemi in aikido" fight. yes it is, not it's not...yes it is!

When you consider what in commonly practiced in aikido as atemi, I have found it most appropriate for teaching aikido, nothing more nothing less.

if you are talking about "real life"...well once you define "real life" then we can look at this in a different light.

phitruong
03-12-2008, 05:03 PM
a much more interesting question to ask - can atemi be done without irimi? ooohhhh trick question. I hate trick question. I hate myself. :)
I think I have to do some atemi waza on myself. wonder if i can sue myself for physical abuse. and would that consider as self-defense?

Chuck Clark
03-12-2008, 05:14 PM
Irimi can be done going backwards with the opponent coming forwards. More tricky concepts.

GrazZ
03-12-2008, 05:25 PM
Andrew-
Muay Thai is fun! I don't think arguing these point by point is the direction I want to go in. The more I think about it, the more answers I get to everyone of them. There are thousands of techniques and responses to any attack no matter what style we are talking about! It's all a matter of what's in your arsenal to use and how you put them all together. It's also a matter of personal preference, maybe you are not so inclined to enter as fast as I like to. Maybe I like to come in close to do Aikido knowing that worst case scenario we go to the ground, in that case I use BJJ to get a pin. It's just a matter of transition.

Atemi, meaning striking in general is not BAD. I train in other arts that strike MUCH better. The strategy for striking is beyond the Aikido strategy with striking, using atemi in class for the point of body position and angles is also a good idea. But to train someone to do the same thing, with the same response in full practice, is a detriment to the student...they will practice and think this is how I will do it in real life. So when they practice full technique, I would teach them to continue through their technique without atemi. If you want GOOD atemi learn another art that is better at it, but don't call it Aikido. Call it for what it is, fighting not self-improvement.

If you're gonna go up against other MA'ists and use the Atemi you're learning in Aikido I'd feel really sorry for you because it will not work. You're better off using your thai movements. If anything adapt thai atemi to your Aikido. I am not the kind of person that will keep faulty technique or mind sets in my training, if it's not working get rid of it and find something that does.

-Alexander
:triangle:

See i think we are arguing different points now, but i agree with your last paragraph. The point i'm trying to make is that atemi *in general* isnt useless. If someone uses boxing or Muay Thai striking as atemi to set up Aikido, i'd argue that is very effective and useful atemi to employ in your Aikido no? And as i said before i largely agree that the atemi you learn *in Aikido* is kind of useless but i dont think that was ever the point of the thread to begin with.

phitruong
03-12-2008, 08:03 PM
Irimi can be done going backwards with the opponent coming forwards. More tricky concepts.

This is true. lucky for me, one of my sensei demonstrated the concept; therefore, it's no longer tricky.

Flintstone
03-13-2008, 11:13 AM
a much more interesting question to ask - can atemi be done without irimi? ooohhhh trick question. I hate trick question. I hate myself. :)
Yes, like in Hiki Tsuki or while performing nagashi taisabaki.

xuzen
03-14-2008, 11:10 PM
Without a first strike whether it be proactive and/or a strictly defensive measure, aikido without proper hard atemi is useless. Now the real question remains; what is atemi? Is it a punch? Is it a distraction, as in the way O-Sensei taught. Or do you really need to give that attacker that first punch to the head to be really effective. In my mind, the answer is yes. This may make aikido a little more than boxing with flourish, but this is the conclusion I've come too.:cool:

Coming in a little late, so, here is my musing/thoughts

The shortest distance between two points in space is a straight line.

The quickest way to end a serious altercation is a KO or choke to unconsciousness.

In his auto-bio, Kancho Shioda said, in a serious altercation, 90% is atemi. He then proceeded to give some examples:

1) In Shanghai, as his opponent tried to kick him in a bar fight, he did a shomen-uchi to his leg and breaking it. Fight ends
2) In Tokyo, a drunkard and his buddy tried to pick on him due to his small size. Kancho pivoted and executed a sokumen-iriminage using his elbow to smash his opponent's nose and sending him to dreamland.

In these two examples, a single atemi-waza is all that he use to end the altercation. No kansetsu-waza, no fancy smancy stuff...

Now back to the OP initial post...

1) In serious altercation, I too believe 90% is atemi
2) In dojo, atemi is more towards causing distraction to ease the execution of technique on non-compliant uke. If uke is totally compliant, atemi is not necessary.
3) I love how the Shodokan people manage to incorporate atemi-waza safely into their Ran-dori practice. Learn from them.

That is all I can think off right now.

Boon.

92ilyas
03-15-2008, 02:32 AM
3) I love how the Shodokan people manage to incorporate atemi-waza safely into their Ran-dori practice. Learn from them.



Tomiki Sensei adapted the shodokan atemi waza directly from Daito Ryu Aiki Ju Jutsu these techiques i have no doubt Shioda Sensei would of been familiar with being a pre war student of O'Sensei like Tomiki Sensei. While practicing them in Randori or Kata the goal is to break balance and then throw the whole body. When taking self defence into account they provide a great foundation for exploring the use of fist and elbow etc. against targets such as the nose, throat, temple, ribs and solar plexus etc.

eyrie
03-16-2008, 05:24 PM
I don't know that I fully agree with John B's comment that "...aikido is atemi,and atemi is aikido". But I agree with the thrust of his post, particularly this point which I feel bears repeating....
...do we as aikido practictioners, strike in a way that is tactically, philosopically and mechanically in line with the rest of our aikido practice....that the way you train, the way you move, and the way you use atemi are all coming from the same movement/power template.

Which brings me to my point regarding adapting muay thai striking to aikido...

If you're gonna go up against other MA'ists and use the Atemi you're learning in Aikido I'd feel really sorry for you because it will not work. You're better off using your thai movements. If anything adapt thai atemi to your Aikido. I am not the kind of person that will keep faulty technique or mind sets in my training, if it's not working get rid of it and find something that does. A gentle caution about adapting techniques from other arts... just be sure that it is compatible with what you are adapting it to - strategically, tactically, philosophically and more importantly mechanically. Muay Thai *may* be an effective striking paradigm, but in terms of mechanics and power-sourcing, it's poles apart from good Aikido atemi. Otherwise, you might as well call it fighting...

OTOH, using other arts to inform your aikido and how to make your aikido better is an entirely different proposition.

Erick Mead
03-16-2008, 06:04 PM
I don't know that I fully agree with John B's comment that "...aikido is atemi,and atemi is aikido". I dunno. When I demonstrate most techniques, I find myself having to point out how, in training, you need to "avoid" hitting with this part, then the next part, and then the next part after that, etc. -- pretty much in proper aikido you end up striking uke with nearly every striking point on your body that progresses through the connection with him, unless you "avoid" doing so. If the shape is right for the aiki -- the shape is ripe for the strike.

It's there at every stage. But while we just train NOT to strike while pointing out these dangers to our uke in our "technical" aikido training, it actually trains us on a more critical point -- to always move on and through the position of the strike, and not become attached to, or let our minds be stopped by, the incidental fact of the strike as a goal in itself. Mushin.

eyrie
03-16-2008, 10:29 PM
Er... I said I don't FULLY agree, not that I don't agree or totally disagree with the idea... for a number of reasons. Firstly, if it IS, then the wherefore the need to quote percentages? As in 75-90% of aikido is atemi. Why not just say ALL or even 100% of aikido IS atemi. I just think it would be more accurate to say that atemi is an intrinsic and integral aspect (whether one trains to do so implicitly or explicitly) of aikido, rather than the definitive it IS.

Sure, as I said in my first post, if you're close enough to touch, you're close enough to strike, or something to that effect. You can be as explicit or implicit as the audience demands, or as you feel necessary to illustrate a point. I certainly wouldn't show a rank beginner (or anyone under a certain age) any of these until they have, at least in my mind, attained a "certain level of appreciation, ability and maturity".

FWIW, IF I do use atemi to illustrate a point (which I *might* occasionally), it'll either be a strike to a "point" to effect a specific physiological response OR to break something - not that I have to or do.... ;)

Of course, YMMV...

Ron Tisdale
03-17-2008, 07:17 AM
Nice post Erick.

I also feel that you have to be careful about what you use when from other arts. It's easy to ad hoc toss in a strike or two...but to maintain the proper body mechanics and have power in the right place at the right time for each of the sucsessive strikes takes more work. And to use it in a fashion that does not interupt your waza takes more work yet. And to be able to do it in practice with a non compliant uke takes even more work. And to not injure your uke at the same time...yup, you guessed it...more work...

Best,
Ron

John A Butz
03-17-2008, 08:02 AM
I agree with all of the above. To let other arts inform what you do is a valuable practice, that prevents you from stagnating or from having a skewed view of reality. Simply tacking on stuff from other places is a potentially harmful practice, because you will have to mentally "shift gears" to access a skill or movement that is trained differently from your primary practice. That shifting of gears, no matter how quickly it happens, has the potential to create holes into which the opponent can attack.

--John

erikmenzel
03-20-2008, 04:34 PM
Within my aikidostudy I study openings. Wether I can find them, both as being nage as as being uke, always. Some of my trainingpartners recognize what I am doing, some don't. The most comments I usualy get from those that don't.

Michael Varin
03-21-2008, 05:11 AM
i just got back from muay thai class so let me ask YOU a few questions since you are the expert after all, i think this will be very telling in that regard:

1. Aikido basic stance: how are you going to avoid/block/take a hard, fast low leg kick with a 60/40 front to back leg weight distribution ratio as it its supposed to be? How are you going to do the same with a kick to the ribs on the opposite side of your lead hand?

2. We dont practice jabs in Aikido. How do you deal with that given your vast expertise knowing full well that the first thing they tell you about throwing a punch is not to "trail" it like doing uke in Aikido, but snap it back quickly?

3. Push kick: you are WIDE open for that in Aikido

4. (i love this next one) Since atemi is not important/necessary for you in Aikido what happens when someone walks right up to you and grabs the back of your head in the Thai clinch? What "ushiro-neck" techniques do we have for that one?

Lets switch to BJJ since you do that as well:

1. Since there is no atemi, the BJJ practitioner can shoot for your legs without fear. How do you stop that? Dont even get me started on what would happen on the ground.

So what happens in randori when someone, let alone 8 guys, know any of this?
The question wasnít directed at me, but Iíd like to use it as an opportunity to discuss something that is critically important for anyone who wants to train aikido in a practical way. There must be a paradigm shift away from the one-on-one empty-handed scenario. This is not the context in which the techniques that are practiced in aikido were devised. Remember: form follows function.

You werenít meant to snatch jabs out of the air and kote gaeshi the guy. Actually, the whole repertoire of a kick boxer/mma fighter would have been laughed at by the warrior class of Japan. These men carried weapons and used them. The techniques that we recognize as aikido today are complements to the use of weapons.

#1-3: cut them down with your katana, #4 (assuming they clinch without regarding your arms): stab them with your tanto.

The 8 on 1, I canít help with. If they have bad intentions, knife, sword, gun, or no, youíre pretty much screwed.

I can guarantee you that, if you get to train with someone like Mike S, Dan H, Akuzawa Sensei or Rob, the top Systema folks, you will develop an understanding of what atemi was to the old Aikido greats. When you have an oponent with that kind of power you treat their capacity to strike you as if they had a sword or a knife. The whole, "I can take a punch mentality" goes away quickly.
On the whole one punch KO thing, this isnít that amazing. Itís not strictly a power issue. One punch KOs are almost always the result of a fighter not seeing the strike, and the strike being well placed. But when the fight is on and youíre charged up with adrenaline, it possible to eat absolutely brutal strikes and not even miss a beat.

Fists can be very dangerous, lethal in fact, but there are ways to protect yourself from punches and kicks, that are not available against an edged weapon.

To be fair, I havenít trained with any of the gentlemen that Ledyard mentioned (I really would like to train with Mike Sigman), and the only Systema that Iíve been exposed to in person was low level. I have seen video of Rob John sparring and his opponent seemed to survive!

What is not arguable is that a weapon magnifies the amount of damage that a blow can do. Depending on the weapon, it magnifies it to a point where the human body cannot take the punishment. In that case, stopping them from accessing their weapon, controlling the weapon hand, vacating the line of attack, and putting them face-down on the ground become very important.

Weapons change the engagement and render many empty-hand techniques much less effective.

MM
03-21-2008, 06:16 AM
On the whole one punch KO thing, this isn't that amazing. It's not strictly a power issue. One punch KOs are almost always the result of a fighter not seeing the strike, and the strike being well placed. But when the fight is on and you're charged up with adrenaline, it possible to eat absolutely brutal strikes and not even miss a beat.

Fists can be very dangerous, lethal in fact, but there are ways to protect yourself from punches and kicks, that are not available against an edged weapon.

To be fair, I haven't trained with any of the gentlemen that Ledyard mentioned (I really would like to train with Mike Sigman), and the only Systema that I've been exposed to in person was low level. I have seen video of Rob John sparring and his opponent seemed to survive!


I would highly suggest getting out and meeting one of them. Let them hit you with just a bit of "power". I'll guarantee that you won't have the opinion you expressed above. In fact, ask anyone who's had experience with feeling the "power" in one of those "punches". They are, literally, fight enders.

I want to reiterate what George Ledyard stated.


I can guarantee you that, if you get to train with someone like Mike S, Dan H, Akuzawa Sensei or Rob, the top Systema folks, you will develop an understanding of what atemi was to the old Aikido greats. When you have an oponent with that kind of power you treat their capacity to strike you as if they had a sword or a knife. The whole, "I can take a punch mentality" goes away quickly.


People need to reread that and really think about it. Then get out there and experience it because it isn't anywhere near what you thought it was. It's a whole lot worse.

Ron Tisdale
03-21-2008, 01:13 PM
As to systema strikes, I've been hit in the body by them. They hurt deep inside, and the power they have is deceptive. I wouldn't chose to get hit that way with evil intent behind it. Not going to be fun. As in ruptured stuff in your body. Hospital time...

Best,
Ron

roninroshi
04-05-2008, 01:32 PM
Training w/Sensei Bernie Lau will give one a "DEEP" understanding of the importance and power of Atemi...the flow from Atemi thru the final technique is seamless...

Aikibu
04-05-2008, 03:04 PM
I would highly suggest getting out and meeting one of them. Let them hit you with just a bit of "power". I'll guarantee that you won't have the opinion you expressed above. In fact, ask anyone who's had experience with feeling the "power" in one of those "punches". They are, literally, fight enders.

I want to reiterate what George Ledyard stated.

People need to reread that and really think about it. Then get out there and experience it because it isn't anywhere near what you thought it was. It's a whole lot worse.

A good anology of that kind of power may be "More often than not it's not the actual bullet that kills a man but the shock wave it generates when it hits the body."

Having been on the recieving end of a few top end Systema and
'Ki/Chi/Kiai Atemi Power Love Taps" All I can say is they fooking hurt and as you point out Mark... The fight goes right out of the fighter and that IMHO should be what folks should strive for in thier Atemi Application.

William Hazen

gregg block
04-06-2008, 06:32 AM
To answer the original question posted here the answer is yes as it applies to me. I am a striker by previous training and my Aikido is no where near good enough that I would entertain using a technique in a "street situation" without first making his knees buckle a little.

Thomas Donelson
10-11-2008, 04:02 AM
I have applied wrist locks and swung the opponent without a first strike, or Atemi. I find that changing the attacker's postion, at my application of force, changes the perspective of the attacker, to be less interested in hurting me.


http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=217471

Jose Dundee Santos
10-22-2008, 04:45 AM
Atemi is only applied when nage was grabbed or held unaware and the uke has no further attack. Atemi will resume the movement of the uke and the appropriate aikido technique will do the rest.

Dundee Santos
Philippines

Harm-ony
11-01-2008, 10:02 AM
i agree with Alexander Silva, IMHO atemi just an obstcle to me to make my aikido better and better, especially in musubi aspect, blending and timing. Atemi used just for the beginners, to help them in understanding of unbalancing uke. so, in the next stage we must learn to avoid atemi, and make our skill in blending and become one with uke to take control and leading.

Beside that, i found many aikido practitioners doesn't make a significant progress in their 'aiki' aspect, especially when their uke is bigger and stronger and even 'pain/hurt-proofed' :)

Peace and love.... :ai:

unisba aikido club (http://www.ragap-aikido.blogspot.com) bandung indonesia

Buck
11-01-2008, 10:52 AM
Without a first strike whether it be proactive and/or a strictly defensive measure, aikido without proper hard atemi is useless. Now the real question remains; what is atemi? Is it a punch? Is it a distraction, as in the way O-Sensei taught. Or do you really need to give that attacker that first punch to the head to be really effective. In my mind, the answer is yes. This may make aikido a little more than boxing with flourish, but this is the conclusion I've come too.:cool:

A two prong question. First, I have to agree only under some circumstances, and the opponent's first approach or attack, but not it doesn't hold true for all, and a first strike in some cases are a preference.

Second, a distraction is a very powerful tool be it a punch, kick, slap, spitting, language, object, etc. In a street fight you need both physical and psychological/intellectual tools and skills to cope with the unknown variables and situation.

If it is a question of life and death you will use anything anyway to survive, and you have to be adaptable to what ever comes at you. If it is a question of not a life or death attack there is more latitude in choice, and you are dictated by the law. As Aikido Shakepeare would say, to atemi or not to atemi is the question. :)

Harm-ony
11-01-2008, 12:35 PM
Agree Philip... distraction is a powerful tool... :)

Kevin Leavitt
11-01-2008, 02:59 PM
The Potential or possibility to do "something" must exist in order for you to affect the situation in your favor (whatever that may be).

Usually you have many options if potential exist. (That is you have kuzushi). You could strike, kick, or do some other action that controls your opponent.

Not having ANY possibilities to strike or kick, IMO, means you are on the losing side of the equation and therefore, you have no ability to affect the situation in your favor.

Thus, it comes with the territory, IMO, that you must have the abiilty to use atemi in order to be in control.

So one could indeed draw the conclusion that Aikido without Atemi is useless.

That said, having the ability to hit and the ability to control may or may not have anything to do with "Ai Ki".

Buck
11-01-2008, 06:10 PM
The Potential or possibility to do "something" must exist in order for you to affect the situation in your favor (whatever that may be).

Usually you have many options if potential exist. (That is you have kuzushi). You could strike, kick, or do some other action that controls your opponent.

Not having ANY possibilities to strike or kick, IMO, means you are on the losing side of the equation and therefore, you have no ability to affect the situation in your favor.

Thus, it comes with the territory, IMO, that you must have the abiilty to use atemi in order to be in control.

So one could indeed draw the conclusion that Aikido without Atemi is useless.

That said, having the ability to hit and the ability to control may or may not have anything to do with "Ai Ki".

Kevin you have to think outside of the ring. Street fights don't happen in a ring. They happen outside the ring. Unlike the ring there is something called the law and lawsuits that dictates what you can reasonably do and what can't done in excess.

Kevin Leavitt
11-01-2008, 06:13 PM
What does what I posted have to do with "the ring"?

Yea, I have no experience fighting outside of the ring. :)

Buck
11-01-2008, 06:25 PM
What does what I posted have to do with "the ring"?

Yea, I have no experience fighting outside of the ring. :)

everything you said was in the context of the ring, of a MMA fight in the ring. Who is going to strike first if you are grabbed and pull back by the sleeve by an aggressive angry bully at a public place who wants to intimidate you. You going to hit him first? The first question of the thread is a set up.

Kevin Leavitt
11-01-2008, 06:30 PM
No, it wasn't in the context of the ring. My comments are universal or fundamental in nature.

You are either in control of the situation or you are not. If you are ou have the abiilty to strike or hit. If not, then you don't really possess that ability other than maybe to flail.

This is a pretty simple issue really.

What does the ring have to do with anything?

Buck
11-01-2008, 06:41 PM
No, it wasn't in the context of the ring. My comments are universal or fundamental in nature.

You are either in control of the situation or you are not. If you are ou have the abiilty to strike or hit. If not, then you don't really possess that ability other than maybe to flail.

This is a pretty simple issue really.

What does the ring have to do with anything?

I take it you haven't been in too many street fights, win or lose. I can tell you spend allot of the time training in and fighting in MMA.

Kevin Leavitt
11-01-2008, 06:50 PM
Depends on what you call a "street fight" I guess.

Your assumptions about me spending alot of time in the ring and fighting MMA would be wrong actually.

Buck
11-01-2008, 07:13 PM
I say that not to insult you, but if you been in allot fights or been attacked like the formation of a fight has many incarnations, and not a direct toe-to-toe squaring off where someone swings first.

If attacking someone with the first strike can be very effective if done correctly, quickly, under the right circumstances, at the right target areas, and the opponent is not expecting it. If there is any variable that alters that formula the first strike can and often fails. Precision execution is required. I have seen it done.

I remember seeing a Gracie clip where a Gracie (forget who) took on a striker. The striker threw the first punch missed and was taken down and submitted. Many martial arts say not to strike first because it is a vulnerable thing to do making it hard to win.

Buck
11-01-2008, 07:14 PM
Depends on what you call a "street fight" I guess.

Your assumptions about me spending alot of time in the ring and fighting MMA would be wrong actually.

Well it clear that I am mistaken. :)

Kevin Leavitt
11-01-2008, 07:23 PM
Your reading too much into it. My response is very basic. It is not about who strikes who first or how effective. It is simply a statement of fact, based on my experiences of dealing with positional dominance and the concept of kuzushi.

FWIW, most of my experience comes from my military background conducting close quarters combat, doing room and building clearings and grappling over weapons.

Nathan Wallace
11-02-2008, 05:54 PM
I am a nobody in the Aikido world. I have been taking Tenshinkai Aikido for only about seven years now under Mark Hopkins Sensei, but I am no stranger to other forms of budo japanese or otherwise. I am also not someone who doubts the "miraculous" aspects of Aikido. Infact the more I experience and read the more I am convinced of the power of ki and of the potential of humans to surpass what science has accepted is possible.However in my meager opinion O'sensei never, even in his most ki filled peaceful moments, intended aikido to be devoid of actual applicability; and he may have reached the point where he didn't even need to touch a person but how did he get there? Through training the actual combat oriented techniques for years. I seem to remember very many images and video of O'sensei (in his old age)using quite vicious looking atemi. Infact I may be wrong, but I don't remember seeing a video of O'sensei performing a technique without seeing atleast some form of atemi (including ovcourse non 'striking' forms of atemi like ,as O'sensei himself described it, 'shoving' uke's arm into their face for Ikkyo) unless he was performing his 'miracles'. That is atleast one point of veiw.

Sy Labthavikul
11-02-2008, 06:39 PM
I don't think aikido is capable of developing people who can surpass what science has accepted as possible: i think aikido creates people who can surpass what people have accepted as possible. If anything, I think aikido and aiki and internal martial arts utilizes the most scientific principles of all martial arts; they just disguise it with the word "ki" or "qi" or "chi"

Nathan Wallace
11-03-2008, 08:47 AM
'knods' Perhaps...like i said im only seven years down the path. Regardless, i don't think aikido is aikido without atemi in there somewhere; and at first i thought otherwise.

Tony Wagstaffe
11-03-2008, 02:37 PM
When in a real fracas when you are facing thugs, drunk people who have sometimes mixed their intake with illegal substances or just high on some shit whatever that is.... ATEMI IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL!! !!!.... without it you will fail miserably and will be humiliated ......those mental scars take much longer to heal than the lacerations and heavy bruising that will disappear in a couple of weeks..... take my word for it!!
I have been in many nasty situations over the last 22 years as a Hackney Licensed cabbie......Unfortunately it goes with the territory of my job.......
Sadly in the UK alone 49 murders of cabbies have occured in the last six years let alone the countless assaults which occur on a weekly basis.... most of these go unreported.....
Honestly some or most of you guys do talk a load of old ......!!

Tony

Chicko Xerri
11-04-2008, 04:15 AM
When he attacks, then I attack first. The inner explosion pure and profound saturates the surface. At this moment I have defeated him.
Aikido has within it the means to enliven the spirit. Aikido teaches how to express, direct and deliver this power of the spirit. If you have been taught well and you have listened carfully it is sure to see, Aikido is all Atemi. Forget that Atemi has anything to do with the power in the fists. In Aikido, Atemi is useless unless it is Aiki-Atemi.
It is evident at this point we need to study more.( When he has a mind to attack, I have already defeated him, faster than Light. O'Sensei UESHIBA.):rolleyes: :ai: :ki:

Tony Wagstaffe
11-04-2008, 09:48 AM
When he attacks, then I attack first. The inner explosion pure and profound saturates the surface. At this moment I have defeated him.
Aikido has within it the means to enliven the spirit. Aikido teaches how to express, direct and deliver this power of the spirit. If you have been taught well and you have listened carfully it is sure to see, Aikido is all Atemi. Forget that Atemi has anything to do with the power in the fists. In Aikido, Atemi is useless unless it is Aiki-Atemi.
It is evident at this point we need to study more.( When he has a mind to attack, I have already defeated him, faster than Light. O'Sensei UESHIBA.):rolleyes: :ai: :ki:

All very nice and tidy but CAN YOU actually do it!! WHEN ATTACKED by MORE THAN ONE THUG when the attacks are coming in at all angles all at the same time I seriously doubt it!!

Tony

Enrique Antonio Reyes
11-04-2008, 10:16 AM
All very nice and tidy but CAN YOU actually do it!! WHEN ATTACKED by MORE THAN ONE THUG when the attacks are coming in at all angles all at the same time I seriously doubt it!!

Tony

Good question. I personally think I couldn't but would rather use the atemi in combination with Aikido footwork to facilitate an escape...then probably run away, find a stick or a sharp object and go kamikaze if they do decide to chase me...:hypno:

Tony Wagstaffe
11-05-2008, 03:09 AM
Good question. I personally think I couldn't but would rather use the atemi in combination with Aikido footwork to facilitate an escape...then probably run away, find a stick or a sharp object and go kamikaze if they do decide to chase me...:hypno:

Thank you sir..... my sentiments ...... hope you never have to experience it !! And be prepared TO DO IT if you ever happen to be unlucky enough to experience it!!

"He who hesitates is lost" and may be dead if you do!!

judojo
11-05-2008, 05:04 AM
Dear Senseis, I did read some of the comments about " the Aikido is useless without Atemi" and it is really true because the Nage is dependent on the Atemies Uchi/s or Hold/s thus are independent attacks. I have points from Sensei Jino Kang -Hapkido " To defeat an enemy without fighting is the greatest and highiest skill" this is applicable on any occasssions. Thus it produces peaceful techniques that applies the Ai which is Love and Charity. I remember our Lord Jesus Christ when He was crusified without retaliations. But in my real life I did some attacks and counter attacks on heated situations because I am not a God. Thank You Brothers of Aikido, from; Reynaldo Ligoro AlbaŮo

Enrique Antonio Reyes
11-05-2008, 05:35 AM
Dear Senseis, I did read some of the comments about " the Aikido is useless without Atemi" and it is really true because the Nage is dependent on the Atemies Uchi/s or Hold/s thus are independent attacks. I have points from Sensei Jino Kang -Hapkido " To defeat an enemy without fighting is the greatest and highiest skill" this is applicable on any occasssions. Thus it produces peaceful techniques that applies the Ai which is Love and Charity. I remember our Lord Jesus Christ when He was crusified without retaliations. But in my real life I did some attacks and counter attacks on heated situations because I am not a God. Thank You Brothers of Aikido, from; Reynaldo Ligoro AlbaŮo

Hi Rey! I saw a t-shirt worn by Thiago Alves (in a UFC bout) that says "Jesus didn't TAP!"...made real good sense to me.

One-Aiki,

Iking

Buck
11-05-2008, 10:53 AM
I think the fallacy of this whole thing is that you have to strike first to be effective in Aikido. As if striking is a must. I don't think so because when it comes to fighting, it is a case by case situation which have differen variables and scenarios. I think we get boxed into this idea there is only one fighting scenario or situation. Even in MMA there have been fights where the first punch was a dangerous mistake, miscalculation, etc. Many fighting styles in the martial arts don't subscribe to thinking that you should or have to throw the first punch enhance the waza. If you are attacking someone who is unaware or much weaker in skill or experience or both, or you catch someone off guard then yes a first strike can be effective. But Aikido like many other arts don't feel to make technique work you have to strike first. But in some cases it might be required, but not for all. -even for MMA this is true.

Nathan Wallace
11-05-2008, 05:08 PM
Only a few said that a 'first strike' was needed. Atemi as i meant it did include strikes, but was not limited to them. For instance a kiai is atemi and it 'is' essential to technique. See?

Kevin Leavitt
11-05-2008, 06:20 PM
It is not actually striking first that matters. it is being in the position to do so that matters. Either you have the ability to do so (efffectively) or you don't. If you can't strike, then you are not in control and, thus, you cannot influence the situation in your favor.

Striking become your choice in these cases, it is simply an option you have.

Aikido waza, being what it is, is really designed to show you that you have other options available.

Sometimes in waza, we must remind uke that we do indeed have that choice. The way we typically practice waza, it may not always be apparent that we can do this.

Buck
11-05-2008, 07:25 PM
I agree with Kevin, but where we might differ is here. I feel if your waza is good enough then in most cases striking is no longer required as an option. Of course I am not there yet, so I have to rely on striking as an option or a crutch to my technique. In a situation I would not open with a strike.

Kevin Leavitt
11-05-2008, 07:28 PM
May not be required...agreed...but it is always present and an option.

Demetrio Cereijo
11-05-2008, 08:54 PM
Don't change the art, let the art change you. If not, why are you training?

My technique is 70 percent atemi and 30 percent nage.

http://www.aikimizu.it/morihei_ueshiba/ueshiba_5_1_600.gif

*Source: "The Founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba", written by Ueshiba Kisshomaru (translated and reprinted in Aiki News #62). Excerpt originally written by Okamoto Ippei and published in the November 1933 issue of Budo magazine.

Buck
11-05-2008, 09:04 PM
May not be required...agreed...but it is always present and an option.

Agreed.

Buck
11-05-2008, 09:10 PM
I read someone who said Kiai is atemi, that is a first strike. I agree. If you think about it atemi isn't limited to just kiai and with the bare limbs. Consider jo training that is allot of atemi there as well. FWIW

Carsten MŲllering
11-06-2008, 01:36 AM
Hi
I feel if your waza is good enough then in most cases striking is no longer required as an option.
atemi in our Aikido is an integral part of waza itself.
It's not something optional which is added to waza and could be seperated.

In tanto dori, jo dori and tachi dori e.g. atemi is stated explicitly in the examination regulations.

Carsten

Kevin Leavitt
11-06-2008, 04:20 PM
I read someone who said Kiai is atemi, that is a first strike. I agree. If you think about it atemi isn't limited to just kiai and with the bare limbs. Consider jo training that is allot of atemi there as well. FWIW

I suppose it certain situations you could use it to startle or distract and that might lead to "opening up". and in that respect, yes.

However, you can kiai from a position of non dominance and not be able to influence the fight, so in that respect it would not be.

So, yes, I think if it caused a reaction from uke, most certainly.

The crux is that in order for it to work, you still have to have the ability to PHYSICALLY affect the situation, so I think that is the irony of the situation. therefore, IMO, Kiai is secondary and not primary wrt atemi.

Abasan
11-06-2008, 06:30 PM
I agree with Kevin on the positional advantage of being able to strike in order to begin a fight in control. (and choosing not to doesn't undermine your control at all). It creates this maai that your opponent has to overcome (ie he needs to figure out your tsuki or opening and has to move accordingly and I suppose if you're good you can make move where you want him to thereby perpetuating his inferior positioning). Anyway, my take on this is from my own understanding of Silat fighting which I feel applies well in my aikido training as well.

About being able to kiai from a position of non dominance though, I guess there's much to be read or watch about it. ( anyone remember the kiai master who rang giant bells with his shout-kiai but then got beaten up by an mma guy?). Still I do remember the book moving in stillness writing about a guy who kiai'd an 3rd party attacker and got him unbalanced enough that he stopped his assault on someone.

How that relates to aikido, I guess I'm not certain cause we don't do kiai. Other schools I understand do, and especially Iwama and from what I understand they generate kiai from different parts of their body with respect to what move they are doing. No idea why but I guess it would probably make sense.

FWIW is worth anyway.

Andrew S
11-07-2008, 07:25 AM
Some thoughts...
My primary Aikido teacher in Australia used to describe the whole technique as a flowing sentence and the atemi as punctuation marks. You needed to make sure that you were using commas, not full stops mid-sentence.
He also pointed out use of atemi to gauge maai and position yourself correctly for kusushi and the technique to occur. (A useful example is a middle knuckle punch to the pressure point between the big and second toe in order to lower your hips for koshinage)

At the Kobayashi Dojos gasshuku a few years back, Igarashi Shihan talked about shifting larger and stronger opponents through good kuzushi and kokyu power. He also stated that even as a 7th dan, there were still people he couldn't move, so he'd soften them up with a little atemi first.

From my own training, I believe that some techniques can be varied to become atemi. The basic iriminage lends itself to being a punch, or variations can be palm strikes. Sokumenirimi can become an elbow strike. Tembinnage is a forearm strike to the elbow joint...

Atemi also teaches the ura form - being aware of where we are vunerable to atemi. A kohai once asked me, "Why does uke pull their leg back in kaitennage? And what happens if they don't?"
Leg sweep/shin rake. (Of course, that's atemi strike number 3 in a series of 5 when doing it from the basic katatedori version.

Atemi is not something we need to train for specifically, unless we are training for combat effectiveness, but is something that will help us better understand Aikido. IMHO.

Nathan Wallace
11-07-2008, 08:07 AM
However, you can kiai from a position of non dominance and not be able to influence the fight, so in that respect it would not be.

Would that really be a true kiai then? I do not think so. It is my understanding that 'all' atemi must be mixed with timing or it is mostly wasted energy. Kiai should never be weak and half hearted or non-dominant as you put it; it should be an expression of your victory unfolding right? However, even the most intent powerful kiai will not throw someone or effect anyone in any note worthy way if they are prepared for it. Similarily if you throw a punch at a guy who is standing there balanced and waiting for you your probably going to get hurt. I think we can all attest to that lol. So, again, I don't think that a weak or timid 'shout' is a kiai; and I think all atemi is futile unless properly timed.

I believe that some techniques can be varied to become atemi. The basic iriminage lends itself to being a punch, or variations can be palm strikes. Sokumenirimi can become an elbow strike. Tembinnage is a forearm strike to the elbow joint...

That is infact the origanal version of irimi-nage. If you look for it you can find many images of O'sensei performing it that way; and sokumen irimi-nage as described by O'sensei in Budo is a simultaneous tegatana strike to the face and solar plexus. Nice.

Kevin Leavitt
11-07-2008, 07:37 PM
Thanks for the clarification Paul. I definitely see your point.

For me, the whole crux of the matter, if you distill it down to the basic element has nothing actually to do with the strike or the kiai, but having the ability to do both....which is positional dominance.

You say "timing", but I think we are saying the same thing at the base level.

Nathan Wallace
11-08-2008, 11:58 AM
Hai, I believe we are on the same page. I must admit though, I'd hit 'em. lol

Flintstone
11-08-2008, 02:35 PM
Tembinnage is a forearm strike to the elbow joint...
That's how we practice it in Kihon no Kata Ichiban, not with the forearm but with the biceps insertion into the elbow. And while doing so a same arm uppercut to the chin is good too ;).

Yours in evil.

Nathan Wallace
11-08-2008, 05:03 PM
Thats not evil its just good tactics.

ken zen ichii
11-12-2008, 05:15 PM
Give your attacker the first punch to the head!? I don't know if that will be effective. I am a Roku Dan in Wado Karate Do and based on my experience during my tournament days hitting your opponent to the face will only make him more aggressive. I had a chance to use karate once in a life and death situation here in Japan, The attacker was a San Dan in Ju Do, I tried to avoid him but he grabbed me with a Judo under arm lock and smashed a beer mug into my head. I know that if a Judo Ka grabbed you in the neck it will be over in about a few moments, so I tried to lift his arm by my shoulder and made a little opening on his left ribcage and gave him a couple of snap punch on that spot. He fell down and I instantly grabbed his neck with a head lock and pushed my center knuckle finger to his neck. Then he said that He will Die if I continue with it (He is a Judo Ka so He knows what I am doing) I lossened my grip and told him that the next time he threatens my home and my family I will kill him. Why did I loosened my hold? Hurting or Killing a person is not part of the "DO". Like in Ai KI Do, Karate Do has its path, My sensei always tells us that always parry your opponent's strikes with Tai Sabaki moves to unbalance him, and if you block his attack, snap your block with speed not power so it will cause pain to his weapon (Hands or feet) and will try to think if he should continue to attack you or not. Make him think if he should attack you or not. Making him angry and aggressive will only make the situation worst.

Note:
Wado Karate is a circular type of karate not like the other karate schools which are linear. Wado was developed via combination of Okinawa Karate and Shindo Yoshin Ryu Aiki-Jujutsu.
Long time ago, Master Otsuka, founder of Wado Karate,took my Sensei to his drinking session with a friend. Master Otsuka's friend was a small white bearded Japanese man, warm faced but energy seems to be flowing from this man. After the session, when they separated ways, My Sensei asked Master Otsuka who that man was. Master Otsuka replied, Oh that man? He is called O Sensei.
He is Morihei Ueshiba, my friend, My Good Friend.

Enrique Antonio Reyes
11-14-2008, 03:55 AM
Maybe it should be "Atemi is useless without a follow-up technique"...just a thought...

Kevin Leavitt
11-14-2008, 03:49 PM
Not always. There are one punch knock outs.

Nathan Wallace
11-17-2008, 05:57 PM
...you know Daito ryu lists seven forms of aiki and atemi is on the list.

Aikibu
11-18-2008, 01:58 AM
Not always. There are one punch knock outs.

Yup...I have had the bruises and I agree.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zh1P7TmRs0&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVAL24D04t0&NR=1

Yes there are and if one can find someone like Oyata Shihan to teach them the basics no one will ever question the effectiveness of your Atemi.

We're very fortunate to have Robert Bryner Sensei who is both a long time student of both Nishio Aikido and Ryu Te Kempo living in LA. He has blended the two very effectively.

knowing how and where to use Atemi in Aikido is of the upmost importance.

William Hazen

Nathan Wallace
11-19-2008, 09:31 AM
I agree

wideawakedreamer
11-19-2008, 06:43 PM
I must admit though, I'd hit 'em. lol

Me too. I also agree with you and Kevin.:)

salim
11-19-2008, 07:31 PM
Yup...I have had the bruises and I agree.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zh1P7TmRs0&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVAL24D04t0&NR=1

Yes there are and if one can find someone like Oyata Shihan to teach them the basics no one will ever question the effectiveness of your Atemi.

We're very fortunate to have Robert Bryner Sensei who is both a long time student of both Nishio Aikido and Ryu Te Kempo living in LA. He has blended the two very effectively.

knowing how and where to use Atemi in Aikido is of the upmost importance.

William Hazen

Awesome. Sounds like excellent training exposure. Good Aikido, with excellent atemi, awesome combination. I enjoyed the videos.

Lionel Mendez
02-23-2009, 04:07 PM
May be nobody will ever read this thread again but I felt really really compelled to reply.

Dear Mr. Stenudd: I disagree completely with you. From my point of view your opinion conforms a very irresponsible comment in the context of the martial art of Aikido. I understand that you agree with Mr. Alexander Silva since I disagree with his comments as well. I will reply to his comments soon.


Alexander points out what I tried to explain in my posts.

Atemi is no guarantee of anything at all - it is just as difficult to learn as regular aikido pinnings and throws. Honestly, I have seen a lot of "waving of hands" pretending to be atemi that uke is supposed to react to. Naah... Just as with basic aikido techniques, kokyu is needed, and you have to practice hard and long before you have learned to do efficient and trustworthy atemi.


If you have seen "waving hands" it is because in those cases you have witnessed Aikido poorly executed. That doesn't mean that ATEMI IS not effective...that means that THEIR ATEMI was not effective. Oddly enough you don't state that difference.


Also, I have seen a lot of what I believe Alexander points out: People halt in the middle of a technique to make an atemi, and the only thing they accomplish is time for uke to counter. If you are on the way to complete a perfectly solid aikido technique, why interrupt it with an atemi?


If you are in the middle of a perfectly solid aikido technique, then how an atemi could interrupt it...since it is perfectly solid? If the technique is perfectly solid it can or cannot include an atemi and it should be your choice to perform atemi or not to perform it...if you're in control all the way...it is a matter of choice, of expression of the self...

Atemi should never interrupt a technique if executed properly, if by applying it, it does interrupt...then the technique is not "solid" enough. Atemi must complement it, amplify it, harmonize with it. The principle of atemi does not interrupt a technique, the poor execution of atemi will.


Maybe atemi is so much an established part of aikido that people do it without thinking about it - kata style: "There should be an atemi here, so I have to make sure to do it."


And is not the same for any other Aikido technique?
"There should be a kotegaeshi so I hold here, let me catch that hand...there must be a tenkan here so let me place the foot to pivot around...there's an Irimi here so let me enter and place the feet this way, put my hand here and move to this side so I can take off his balance...there's a nikkyo here so let's wait uke grabs my hand or lapel then I get his hand etc, etc..."

Or how anyone learn the basics of Aikido if not by thinking about it - kata style?


I am often surprised by finding among aikidoists a disbelief in the aikido techniques


Quite frankly you are one of them, if one considers Atemi as a part of an aikido technique. Believe me, it is not hard, but sad for me to find a disbelief in the Atemi in aikido, especially from a person with your trajectory in aikido.


so that they feel they must add something "trustworthy", like a punch in the face ;)


First, to me is not rare to find a technique including a "punch in the face" in a martial art. In a tennis or ping-pong match may be, but not in a martial art.

Second, is not just for the sake of adding something "trustworthy"...if you look at it that way...you are telling me that you don't understand Atemi at all. Atemi is not a "punch in the face", to certain people it may look like that, but it depends on your view of YOUR aikido.


Trust the aikido techniques, and don't let atemi be an excuse to stop perfecting them.


Trust the atemi effectiveness...and don't let the lack of commitment and/or practice to be an excuse to not include it in your technique...continue to perfect those techniques...so well, so thorough, that you can seamlessly execute atemi without interrupting them. Practice diligently until the atemi blends with the technique and there is no breaking of flow, then you decide the level of "explicitness" you want for it.

Bottom line of my reply:

May be YOUR atemi interrupts your techniques, but that doesn't mean that Atemi interrupts aikido techniques. May be YOUR atemi doesn't work...but that doesn't mean Atemi is not effective.
I think you say that since it is not guarantee of anything at all you don't include it in your techniques...but I believe that since you don't want to include it in your techniques, then you say is not guarantee of anything at all.

And this is something you should be very clear and honest about. Even more so if you have taken teaching assignments.

Respectfully,

Lionel Mendez

Lionel Mendez
02-23-2009, 04:52 PM
Dear Mr. Silva,

I disagree with you.


Atemi is not needed, it's a waste of time.


That is a very bold statement.


The quicker you can get the person to the ground with a throw or pin the better. What's the saying..."crap or get off the pot." Using atemi breaks flow and timing for a good technique.


YOU using atemi may brake YOUR flow and timing for YOUR good technique. Atemi is as effective as the person who executes it.


The more time you waste on a person the more time you give them to respond. If you use an atemi there is not telling what his response is, he may react in a way you don't know.


Then you are not applying it properly. If by using atemi you fear the "uke" will react in a way you don't expect...then YOUR atemi is lacking something. If you don't apply atemi would you know invariably how "uke" will react?


What if the other person IS a marital artists and proceeds to respond in his style.


Then YOUR EGO could be shattered so I suppose you don't want to risk that.
You should be prepared for everything.


You're better off redirecting the situation before he can regain balance and coordination, at least in countering your flow you can counter back with a different flow.


Are you serious? It sounds like a formula or recipe..."and if he counteracts your counteracting flow then you counter-counteract that flow with a different flow..."


Besides, if you're using atemi you might as well just stick to striking until he's knocked out or on the ground; don't call it Aikido, it's just self-defense.


Why not calling it Aikido? What prevents the use of strikes to be called YOUR Aikido? Is it not possible to deliver a strike as a part of YOUR Aikido? What is the difference between self-defense and Aikido...just because you defended yourself NOT using fancy stuff...you ceased to be an Aikidoka?

If an intruder breaks in your home threatening your family, would you put your shotgun aside and engage him hand-to-hand to disable him with a pin and throw to say you used Aikido? Would you use the shotgun to blow the guy off but then for you it wouldn't be Aikido, you would stop from being and Aikidoka and put the Budo aside to just act in self-defense by pulling the trigger?


So my message: Perfect your technique and timing so you don't have to use atemi.


Why not: perfect your technique and timing so well that you can use Atemi without affecting your technique...then you can CHOOSE to use it or not use it at will as a matter of expression.


If you need it, you could not complete the technique but you defended yourself.


Why not? So if you use atemi you cannot complete the technique properly? But defended yourself succesfully but at the expense of not being an Aikidoka?


Congratulations. The point of Aikido is to learn to harmonize with attackers and find a peaceful resolution between both people, not enact violence because you fear for your life.


Really? IS THAT THE POINT?

Respectfully,

Lionel Mendez..

Stefan Stenudd
02-23-2009, 05:23 PM
Lionel Mendez,

I was thinking about replying, but it seems to me that you quote enough of my post for my views and my arguments to be evident.

Through the years, I've done my share of atemi, and it still happens. I notice, though, that I tend more and more to work on solutions where they are not necessary parts.
I find that rewarding.

Others come to other conclusions.

Yours,
Stefan

philippe willaume
02-24-2009, 06:35 AM
Hello
It is a bit like arguing what colour is the fence between your respective properties. It is clear that you have not painted then in the same colour but nonetheless it is the same fence.

From my modest experience, in medieval fencing and wrestling and in aikido, comparing the virtue of atemi or non atemi does not mean much without context.

We could say that the more symmetrical the contest is, the more you will need your atemi to connect.
The more asymmetrical the context is the more the attacks of the opponent tend to be committed or at least in movement, in that case the less you will need your atemi to connect because the more you are committed the hardest it is for you to change what you are doing and the easier it is for your opponent to unbalance you.

I would say that If your opponent is waiting to snipe (counter) your, unless there is a great difference in skills, you will need connecting atemi.
I you opponent is more running or charging at you, you not need atemi that much.
pretty much the same as controlling with your point in german medieval fencing.

That being said
Timing and distance alone will never ever be sufficient when you are not using a weapon.
It works fine, even with sub-standard weapons like rapier or small sword, for example with a void (dodge) and strike to the wrist or counter thrust in the elbow articulation.

In open hand, you will be able to grab the hand using the same principle but you can not guaranty the immediately and the intensity of the damage inflicted, even when compared not very effective weapons.
As well most of the fencing manual you will find, do not advocated pure timing and distance, there will be a closing the line or angles that makes defence and attack difficult for your opponent.
Atemi is just a way to get that 3rd pieces, you can get it in other way, leading or pushing pulling in order to accentuate or create that in your opponent

mathewjgano
02-24-2009, 09:24 AM
Dear Mr. Stenudd: I disagree completely with you. From my point of view your opinion conforms a very irresponsible comment in the context of the martial art of Aikido. I understand that you agree with Mr. Alexander Silva since I disagree with his comments as well. I will reply to his comments soon.
I'm not sure what Sensei Stenudd's views are on the exact wording Mr. Silva used, but I'm pretty sure he supports the use of atemi and is simply arguing against relying on it too much at the expense of other aspects of aiki-waza. The momentary disruption atemi provides in our partners' structures certainly makes it easier to penetrate their structures further. However, I can see where from a training standpoint one might want to attempt control purely through other means. In katate tori or kata tori situations, for example, I might want to work on controling through that "grab" since I could conceivably be otherwise held in check. We cannot necessarily count on any one aspect of our training, and that is, i think, the message here...even something as dynamic and helpful as atemi.