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dps
03-29-2009, 10:28 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jk_Ai8qT2s4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWWl7tjxe6Q&feature=related

What do you think of Tony Bauer's idea about startle/flinch response.
How it can apply to Aikido?

David

MarkWatson
03-29-2009, 10:47 PM
Hi David.

I just watched the first video and paid close attention and i belive he has avery good point.
I'm am a white belt in iwama ryu aikido and have been training for approx 5 months and i love everything about the art, both physicaly and spiritualy, mentality of the art too. However beeing 16yrs old living in a small town near Glasgow, Scotland, i have the everygrowing need to protect myself against todays modern kids (im only a kid myself i know) and even adults. In the town where i live there is ALWAYS a chance of being attacked. I have been attacked twice whilst studying aikido and not used aikido untill i knew it was a right moment.
Basically in the video he talks about the first movements...
When i was attacked i through my arms up in the air and then grappled his neck and then realised 'hey if i move behind him i could do a variation of irimi nage' and i did so.

Basically what im trying to say is, protect yourself first and then try to apply a technique.
I was very lucky to be in the postion to apply a technique, unlike teh other time i was attacked.

Regards,
Mark

Spinmaster
03-29-2009, 11:43 PM
I just watched the first vid and enjoyed it quite a bit (though I probably missed a couple things because youtube doesn't like my laptop, and I was keeping the sound down so as not to disturb others who are trying to get to sleep). It sounds quite similar to some stuff my BJJ coach was describing when telling me about a "practical self defense" course he's going to offer in the near future. Working from natural flinch response, closest weapon to closest target, etc.
Maybe I'll have some more to say later, but I should be getting to bed now! :D
Thanks for posting the vids.

Michael Varin
03-30-2009, 12:28 AM
First off, it is apparent that Tony Blauer is a businessman who is capitalizing on the tactical trend that started after 9/11. He has come up with a catchy acronym and all the gear to go with it. Considering the affect this has had on the law enforcement community, I'm not entirely sure that this is a positive thing anymore. But I digress. . .

Blauer seems to be a very good instructor, but there is nothing unique or original about the concepts he is teaching.

This easily applies to aikido. It is part of the principle of centerline, and is embodied in the movement shomenuchi, which presents itself in numerous techniques.

Further, aikido addresses surprise, superior numbers, and weapons, which are the most dangerous situations and all of which relate strongly to the concepts Blauer was teaching.

Erick Mead
03-30-2009, 12:34 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jk_Ai8qT2s4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWWl7tjxe6Q&feature=related

What do you think of Tony Bauer's idea about startle/flinch response.
How it can apply to Aikido? It already is. Funetori, udefuri, furitama, asagao, etc.-- they are just slowed down in order to examine them is all. With good training "techniques" are what flow from those very basic things in various configurations as things just play out .

Good stuff though.

George S. Ledyard
03-30-2009, 01:28 AM
First off, it is apparent that Tony Blauer is a businessman who is capitalizing on the tactical trend that started after 9/11. He has come up with a catchy acronym and all the gear to go with it. Considering the affect this has had on the law enforcement community, I'm not entirely sure that this is a positive thing anymore. But I digress. . .

Blauer seems to be a very good instructor, but there is nothing unique or original about the concepts he is teaching.

This easily applies to aikido. It is part of the principle of centerline, and is embodied in the movement shomenuchi, which presents itself in numerous techniques.

Further, aikido addresses surprise, superior numbers, and weapons, which are the most dangerous situations and all of which relate strongly to the concepts Blauer was teaching.

To be fair... Tony Blauer pioneered many of the concepts about scenario training that are commonplace today. I have videos of the work he was doing way back in the early nineties. He was doing staged muggings in the park with protective gear cobbled together from myriad sources. His stuff has always been solid. He is a good business man, unlike most martial artists but that doesn't equate to bad quality, in his case. His gear is expensive, pretty much geared for institutional purchase. But it is good stuff and well designed. Anyway, he isn't just some Johhny come lately post 911 wonder. He's spent a lot of years refining his stuff and it's generally good stuff.

Michael Varin
03-30-2009, 03:12 AM
Thanks for adding that, George.

And, I'd like to make it clear that I wasn't disparaging Blauer specifically or entrepreneurialism generally.

sorokod
03-30-2009, 03:59 AM
"wax on, wax off"?

SeiserL
03-30-2009, 05:46 AM
Agreed, Tony has been around for a while. I have always enjoyed his emphasis on the mental discipline, knowledge is power if put into practice.

IMHO, what is important, is that the flinch/startle response can be trained and utilized.

dps
03-30-2009, 06:57 AM
"wax on, wax off"?

In the movie "Karate Kid" the sensei, Mr. Miyagi, teaches his student, Daniel, karate principles by having him do seemingly menial jobs. Waxing a bunch of old cars Mr. Miyagi has at his house (wax on, wax off ) teaches Daniel about blocking punches.

Go rent the movie and see it.

David

Bob Blackburn
03-30-2009, 10:16 AM
In the movie "Karate Kid" the sensei, Mr. Miyagi, teaches his student, Daniel, karate principles by having him do seemingly menial jobs. Waxing a bunch of old cars Mr. Miyagi has at his house (wax on, wax off ) teaches Daniel about blocking punches.

Go rent the movie and see it.

David

When I quote this movie and the student's eyes glass over, I start feeling old.

sorokod
03-30-2009, 11:30 AM
In the movie "Karate Kid" the sensei, Mr. Miyagi,...

"Karate Kid" is rated UK:12. It's a film for children.
Is this is the level of martial arts know how Mr. Blauer's audience is comfortable with?

Spinmaster
03-30-2009, 12:00 PM
I love Karate Kid. :)

Nick P.
03-30-2009, 12:31 PM
"Karate Kid" is rated UK:12. It's a film for children.
Is this is the level of martial arts know how Mr. Blauer's audience is comfortable with?

That is not how I understand that rating at all, it is for those 12 and over, see http://www.bbfc.co.uk/classification/c_12.php

That movie is simply a cultural reference, one which is rather quite wide spread, much like using the term Klingon or Darth Vader. Arguably also for kids of all ages, but by no means a limited modern reference in my opinion.

To the original question: seems already rather intigrated. Add it to basic irimi/tai sabaki and I begin to understand more why I feel
1- aikido seems so natural
2- I gravitate towards kokyunages, I guess as they remove the need for pinning and precise handwork (dont misinterprate that to mean I dont strive for precise handword and pinning).

sorokod
03-30-2009, 12:31 PM
Me, I am "The Cat in the Hat" person, but I do not see Thing One and Thing Two as a randori demonstration.

Ketsan
03-30-2009, 01:52 PM
I thought the idea was that Aikido became your flinch reponse.

It's near enough mine.

Russ Q
03-30-2009, 05:35 PM
Interesting.....George sensei, I've just finished watching your "Irimi" instructional video and I think what you have to say speaks clearly to the flinch response..... "being inside" with your mind before the combative distance is closed resulting in nage's action simply being a physical manifestation of already being mentally inside. This may not speak to the physical symptons of our fight or flight response but, I find, gives me a starting point to work from. Perhaps you could elaborate on that idea if you agree with my statement.

Cheers,

Russ

dps
03-30-2009, 09:44 PM
Three other links.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWeCWtI3d5c&feature=PlayList&p=AD8EEAD12CD58ADD&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=24

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--74CtXS6Y4&feature=PlayList&p=AD8EEAD12CD58ADD&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=25

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--74CtXS6Y4&feature=PlayList&p=AD8EEAD12CD58ADD&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=25

I see the basics he is talking about in the beginning of most Aikido techniques. The only thing I do not see is proper distancing. Is it because the system is a for law enforcement officers?

David

George S. Ledyard
03-31-2009, 01:52 AM
Interesting.....George sensei, I've just finished watching your "Irimi" instructional video and I think what you have to say speaks clearly to the flinch response..... "being inside" with your mind before the combative distance is closed resulting in nage's action simply being a physical manifestation of already being mentally inside. This may not speak to the physical symptons of our fight or flight response but, I find, gives me a starting point to work from. Perhaps you could elaborate on that idea if you agree with my statement.

Cheers,

Russ
Hi Russ,
I think the whole idea of "irimi", entering first with your mind and then with your body, pretty much precludes a flinch response. It's not hard not to get the flinch / startle response when you already know you are in an encounter.

On the other hand, it is very difficult to not have the startle response when you are surprised (which my videos didn't really address). This is why predators prefer an ambush.

I think Peyton Quinn's Adrenaline Stress Conditioning work is the most realistic training for the unexpected assault you can find. He's at Rocky Mountain Combat Applications.

Flintstone
03-31-2009, 06:47 AM
I love Karate Kid. :)
Ya, we all do.

JimCooper
03-31-2009, 07:02 AM
First off, it is apparent that Tony Blauer is a businessman who is capitalizing on the tactical trend that started after 9/11.


I went on one of his courses in the early 90s. The guy has been around a long time, always stressing realism in his training. But even back then, he did tend to use a few too many movie metaphors :-)

In regard to the original question, IME aikido dojo never train the flinch reflex. There's no particular reason why they couldn't though, as it is only used to protect yourself in the face of a surprise (and usually close range) attack. What you do next is where aikido (or any other martial art) comes in.


This easily applies to aikido. It is part of the principle of centerline, and is embodied in the movement shomenuchi


Well, having trained for some years with an instructor who also utilises flinch reflex training, I have to disagree with you on that one. I've never seen it used that way in an aikido dojo.

grondahl
03-31-2009, 07:28 AM
In some styles of aikido, nage/tori initiates the encounter by doing shomenuchi/shomenate and then capitalises on ukes response (similiar to the flinchresponse) to create the waza.

Flintstone
03-31-2009, 07:37 AM
I believe it's a pretty common response.

JimCooper
03-31-2009, 07:57 AM
I see the basics he is talking about in the beginning of most Aikido techniques. The only thing I do not see is proper distancing. Is it because the system is a for law enforcement officers?
David

No, it's because of the type of attack he's talking about. These are surprise attacks, from a realistic distance.

What you call "proper distancing" is dojo stuff for (basic) training purposes. If you have only ever trained from outside touching distance, you have never done any realistic self defence training.

If you always have the sort of control over distance that is possible in a dojo, you never need to get involved in unarmed combat.

But actually, nobody will ever attack you with a stepping punch. Firstly, because unless you've trained for years, you can't do one properly (and I include every aikidoka I've ever met, of any rank, who hasn't trained in karate or similar in that statement). Secondly, it's really a quite weak punch. Try doing it against a punching bag, then compare it with a simple reverse punch. There is no comparison.

sorokod
03-31-2009, 12:26 PM
An interview here: The Tony Blauer Story (http://www.fighttimes.com/magazine/magazine.asp?article=188).

Amusingly the FBI's name is misspelled along with the names of other organisations.

Brian Beach
03-31-2009, 05:35 PM
Looks like yokomen unchi "x"-kyo omote - (letting your back foot trail too much)

Michael Varin
03-31-2009, 06:17 PM
This easily applies to aikido. It is part of the principle of centerline, and is embodied in the movement shomenuchi, which presents itself in numerous techniques.

Well, having trained for some years with an instructor who also utilises flinch reflex training, I have to disagree with you on that one. I've never seen it used that way in an aikido dojo.

Jim,

This isn't really an argument, because I realize that training methods and styles vary, but we do this regularly in our dojo.

You may want to reconsider the significance of protecting the centerline and of the shomenuchi cut.

And if you have, I would love for you to expand on why you do not think it applies.

dps
03-31-2009, 09:31 PM
Here is an article on flinch response training, Aikido is mentioned on page 7.

http://www.montrealsystema.com/uploads/Russian_Systema_JAMA_Article.pdf

David

Michael Varin
04-01-2009, 12:33 AM
Good article. Althought it is funny that the author confused uke and nage!

The article metioned something that I felt was a flaw in Blauer's approach. Of course, I am basing this soley on the YouTube videos, so I do not know what level of development Blauer expects his subjects to reach with the "spear."

That flaw is that the flinch response cannot be honed. The unconscious mind certainly acts faster and is able to handle a greater number of simultaneous processes than the conscious mind, but the conscious mind can be used to program the unconscious mind.

The way we approach this is to use slow training, much like that described in Systema, to program the body, move on to varying degrees of speed and fluidity, then test that with full speed attacks delivered with as much surprise as can be reasonably created in the dojo environment.

Another factor the article addressed was the flinch response against a weapon (Blauer mentioned forensics showing knife and bullet wounds to the hands, but I did not see him address how to prevent it).

From page 9 of the article:
"As practitioners gain familiarity and comfort with the drill, your partner can begin to swing more quickly and with more force. Again, it is important for the bulk of your training to maintain a pace that permits you to continue to explore and experiment with your movement rather than simply flinch and freeze. As the stick comes more quickly or at more awkward angles, you will invariably be caught off balance. In these instances, your hands or legs may naturally rise up to protect your more vulnerable head and body. What is essential here is that you do not allow this flinch response to become oppositional, since blocking a stick or blade will result in serious injury. Instead, the arms should be used to guide and gently redirect the weapons with minimal force. In this way, the limbs along with any other surface of the body that receives an impact, can be taught to act as a sensor that detects the incoming force, dictating to your body how much movement is needed to avoid harm."

philippe willaume
04-01-2009, 04:08 AM
I think this is really what using te-katana is all about.
He does it this clip really highlights the similarities up to the hand being open and “alive”.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJ_DdP85Qvw&feature=related.

phil

JimCooper
04-01-2009, 06:49 AM
You may want to reconsider the significance of protecting the centerline and of the shomenuchi cut.

And if you have, I would love for you to expand on why you do not think it applies.

Because I've never seen it used in flinch reflex style training - in fact, I've never seen any aikido dojo do that sort of training. If you do, I'd be happy to hear an explanation of what it is you do.

Also, protecting the centreline has virtually nothing to do with this style of defence. By their very nature, these types of close-range, surprise attacks do not give you the time to do that.

The next step might, depending on where you are, but a flinch response is very fast - there is no time for you to move your body very far. You don't defend your centreline - you just defend yourself. After that, various other techniques and principle come into play.

JimCooper
04-01-2009, 06:50 AM
That flaw is that the flinch response cannot be honed


Actually, it can be trained, but it takes dedicated effort.

JimCooper
04-01-2009, 06:54 AM
In some styles of aikido, nage/tori initiates the encounter by doing shomenuchi/shomenate and then capitalises on ukes response (similiar to the flinchresponse) to create the waza.

I've done that too, but it's exactly backwards to what is being demonstrated :-)

What's being shown is how to deal with a surprise attack, i.e, tori is the one doing the flinching.

Brian Beach
04-01-2009, 09:03 AM
You don't defend your centreline - you just defend yourself.

Can you explain the difference as you see it? Controlling the space is the goal - no? The line isn't necessarily the line that bisects your axis.

JimCooper
04-01-2009, 12:24 PM
Can you explain the difference as you see it?


Well, I'll try :-) It's more convincing to show than to describe though.

Controlling the space is the goal - no?


Er, no :-) Not getting your head taken off is the goal. After that, other things come into play, but the very first thing to do to is not get hit (hard, at least).

This is for these particular type of close-range, surprise attacks.

For a typical dojo-style stepping punch, say, there is plenty of time to do other things (lead, enter etc). By definition, you don't have that amount of time to respond the sort of attacks in the videos.


The line isn't necessarily the line that bisects your axis.


Sorry, I don't think I follow what you're trying to say.

Brian Beach
04-01-2009, 02:29 PM
I see the SPEAR's flinch, wrestling's sprawl and Aikido's Ikkyo undo as all variations of the same - the difference is how the supporting structure transfers or redirects the force. Some one enters your space and you reclaim it. You aren't trying to block anything ( blocking his punch) you are putting up your shield as it were. Blocking entry to yourself. Transferring the energy : back into them ( Flinch ) , Downward (sprawl) or upwards (ikkyo). There are secondary forces as well - the flinch also redirect some of the force through your structure to the ground.

kironin
04-01-2009, 06:13 PM
In some styles of aikido, nage/tori initiates the encounter by doing shomenuchi/shomenate and then capitalises on ukes response (similiar to the flinchresponse) to create the waza.

the attacker's planned capitalizing on a reaction from the defender is not exactly the scenario Blauer is concerned about. What you are talking about doesn't have to be a startle response, it can just be a defense reaction of someone expecting an attack akin to a boxer delivering a jab as a setup to a cross. Also, unless you are talking about jiyu-waza, that's not likely really engaging the startle reflex for the defender either.

Blauer's point is a good one. The startle reflex is fast, it's going to happen if you get caught by surprise, is there a way to train that acknowledges that and allows a connection to previous training. I think it's certainly a worthwhile thing to explore. We've done some exploring of this in my classes in the past and found it very interesting.

Michael Varin
04-01-2009, 07:02 PM
Also, protecting the centreline has virtually nothing to do with this style of defence. By their very nature, these types of close-range, surprise attacks do not give you the time to do that.

The next step might, depending on where you are, but a flinch response is very fast - there is no time for you to move your body very far. You don't defend your centreline - you just defend yourself. After that, various other techniques and principle come into play.

How do you fail to see Blauer protecting the centerline at 9 seconds into the first video that was linked (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jk_Ai8qT2s4) to, or any other time he uses the "spear"?

There is no requirement of moving the body very far the protect/control the centerline. In fact, the movement can be incredibly slight.

I would agree that most aikido training does not stimulate a flinch, but I interpreted the original question as whether Blauer's "spear" and the flinch response could be applied to aikido.

My answer is yes it can, and that the principles, strategies, and techniques of aikido already address it.

Further, aikido training places (or should place) a huge emphasis on expanding your awareness and your perceptive abilities. This has the potential to eliminate the "jack in the box" moments altogether.

On a different note, you have to watch yourself in quoting people out of context. I had said that the flinch response CAN be honed. There have been many times when my flinch responses have been totally appropriate and I credit much of that to my approach to taking ukemi.

kironin
04-01-2009, 07:05 PM
That flaw is that the flinch response cannot be honed. The unconscious mind certainly acts faster and is able to handle a greater number of simultaneous processes than the conscious mind, but the conscious mind can be used to program the unconscious mind.


by definition a startle reflex occurs to a novel stimulus, so yes, habituation will not occur, but I took Blauer to be interested in the conditioning that could be trained for the experience in the next instant after the startle response occurs. I didn't read all of that article but what you quoted and what I read seems to be suggesting that the flinch can be honed not to be "oppositional". Certainly weapons are a challenge.

kironin
04-01-2009, 07:37 PM
Actually, it can be trained, but it takes dedicated effort.

The startle reflex can't be trained, but what you do in the moment after can. I really think it's forming a bridge to the rest of your training. I think Tony sums it up nicely here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWWl7tjxe6Q

dps
04-01-2009, 08:02 PM
I think it is important not to stop after the startle reflex gets you moving, but to use the momentum to continue on to what you have trained to do to defend yourself, a smooth transition from one to the next.

David

ChrisHein
04-01-2009, 08:03 PM
If your startle reflex cannot be trained, then there would be need for only one martial art technique.

This technique would be the one that cannot be stopped by the startle reflex.

dps
04-01-2009, 08:19 PM
If your startle reflex cannot be trained, then there would be need for only one martial art technique.

"This technique would be the one that cannot be stopped by the startle reflex.Fear stimuli are absorbed through our eyes, ears and other sense
organs, feeding information to the portion of the brain known as the
thalamus. There, time permitting, the brain quickly creates an image of the
threat in our minds, interprets this image and then processes an appropriate
response to the cortex-the portion of our brain responsible for delegating
actions. This allows the most evolved "human" portion of the brain to remain
engaged and rational thought to prevail. Neuroscientists commonly refer to
this neurological pathway as the "highroad". (Ledoux, 2004: 212-214)
A second neurological pathway also exists. In more spontaneous
scenarios, if the brain regards a stimulus as being too urgent, the threat
message received by the thalamus is instantly rerouted to the section of the
brain known as the amygdala. In these instances, the rational forebrain
(cortex) is completely bypassed. Instead, the amygdala instantly responds
with what is commonly referred to as the "startle/flinch" response. These are
any automatic reflexes designed to protect the body from sudden harm.
Startle/Flinch responses include instinctively pulling your hand away from a
hot stove, sneezing to clear your airway of foreign particles or blinking to
protect the eyes. Neuroscientists refer to this second protective subroutine
as the "low road". (Ledoux, 2002: 212-214; Ledoux, 2004)"

From; http://www.montrealsystema.com/uploads/Russian_Systema_JAMA_Article.pdf

Russian Systema's Flow Training:
A Progressive Alternative to Stimulus-
Response Training


David

Kevin Leavitt
04-01-2009, 09:01 PM
Just got back from Miami and was out of the net for a couple of weeks. My friend Matt Larsen and I were discussing this a few month back on my blog. Matt's comments are worth a read for sure.

http://www.budo-warrior.com/?p=118

Michael Varin
04-02-2009, 12:28 AM
by definition a startle reflex occurs to a novel stimulus, so yes, habituation will not occur, but I took Blauer to be interested in the conditioning that could be trained for the experience in the next instant after the startle response occurs. I didn't read all of that article but what you quoted and what I read seems to be suggesting that the flinch can be honed not to be "oppositional". Certainly weapons are a challenge.

Apparently, you didn't read all of my post, either. But since, this is the second time that someone has misunderstood the same comment, maybe it's my fault.

I said:
The article metioned something that I felt was a flaw in Blauer's approach. Of course, I am basing this soley on the YouTube videos, so I do not know what level of development Blauer expects his subjects to reach with the "spear."

That flaw is that the flinch response cannot be honed.

I meant:
The flaw in Blauer's approach is that he seems to be teaching his subjects that the flinch response cannot be honed. However, the above statement is based soley on the YouTube videos, so I do not know what level of development Blauer expects his subjects to reach with the "spear."

I have been saying all along that the flinch response can be trained.

ChrisHein
04-02-2009, 11:22 AM
any automatic reflexes designed to protect the body from sudden harm.
Startle/Flinch responses include instinctively pulling your hand away from a
hot stove, sneezing to clear your airway of foreign particles or blinking to
protect the eyes.

Right, so there is more then one response. Suggesting that when something startles us, we can move forward or backward. Drop our hands or raise our hands etc.

When you touch something scary the general response when started is to pull away. However bare handed fisherman have trained their "flinch response" when surprised by a fish to grab harder, while the normal person would pull back. They have honed their startle response, from letting go to grabbing.

There are lots of examples of this in lots of fields of work. You can't get rid of the startle response, but you can change it to suit your needs. This is why different people react in different ways to the same stimulus.

Ron Tisdale
04-02-2009, 04:06 PM
I have to admit, what Chris just said makes sense to me...

B,
R

JimCooper
04-06-2009, 01:16 PM
The startle reflex can't be trained

Well, I beg to differ. I believe it can, but it takes a lot of repetition. If it could not be trained it would be useless for self defence.

JimCooper
04-06-2009, 01:25 PM
How do you fail to see Blauer protecting the centerline at 9 seconds into the first video that was linked (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jk_Ai8qT2s4) to, or any other time he uses the "spear"?


We probably have different ideas what "protecting the centreline" means.


I would agree that most aikido training does not stimulate a flinch, but I interpreted the original question as whether Blauer's "spear" and the flinch response could be applied to aikido.


Like I keep saying, it can be applied to any art, because the art is what you use after you have stopped your head being thumped :-)


Further, aikido training places (or should place) a huge emphasis on expanding your awareness and your perceptive abilities. This has the potential to eliminate the "jack in the box" moments altogether.


Well, it should reduce them somewhat (although that type of training is also fairly rare, IME), but "altogether" is asking for perfection, isn't it? :-)


On a different note, you have to watch yourself in quoting people out of context. I had said that the flinch response CAN be honed.


Sorry, but in message 29 you said "That flaw is that the flinch response cannot be honed" (I copied and pasted that text). Did you mean to say something else?

JimCooper
04-06-2009, 01:30 PM
The flaw in Blauer's approach is that he seems to be teaching his subjects that the flinch response cannot be honed. However, the above statement is based soley on the YouTube videos

Ah, I see what you mean now. That wasn't particularly clear to me, sorry.

Well, when I trained with him back in the 90's he definitely thought it could be trained. That's the whole point really - to retrain it to be useful - ie his SPEAR technique. My karate sensei teaches something quite similar as well, and he also thinks you can train it.

Charles Hill
04-07-2009, 10:51 PM
Here is an article on flinch response training, Aikido is mentioned on page 7.

http://www.montrealsystema.com/uploads/Russian_Systema_JAMA_Article.pdf

David

Hi,

If you liked Kevin's article or any other of the great articles on his website, you migh want to consider picking up his "Warhead" DVD. Subtitled "combat psychology" it is full of stuff that is applicible to any martial art practice.

Sorry if this sounds too much like an ad, but I am a big Kevin Secours fan and this is about the best DVD I've seen on realistic self defense.

Charles

dps
04-28-2009, 07:20 PM
Here is something on the trainability of the startle/flinch response.
The highlighted sentence is by me.

This is from a link that Josh Phillipson posted at http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15991.

http://www.feldenkrais-wien.at/article-4.htm

"If I am going to hit you with a knife, what would you do? Put your hand up? Therefore, this is the point to begin. Now, I will train you with that movement only, until you, not thinking or not knowing anything, you will still protect your head and your throat and your own body against any attack, building off the first movement that you do spontaneously.

And then I went and took a group of people and I took a knife and I attacked each of them and I photographed them. And I retained their first move, and I found that for certain, if you really attack, nobody stands there and gets the knife. He does something to protect himself. He doesn't attack you, but he substitutes an arm for the head, the throat, the back. If you try to hit somebody, you will see what they do; they won't stand with arms down, facing you, defenseless. When you hit them with a stick, they will turn their backs toward you and protect their heads and let you hit them on the back. And therefore, most people, even in the movies, when they show people hit with sticks for punishment, you will see they will always let you hit them on the back. And the back, it's painful. But it is not dangerous, unless, of course, you break every bone, which is possible. But even if you break his every bone, he won't die, he will die later, but not on the spot. So that was the idea, to find out what was the first movement one does. And I built a system of defense for any sort of attack where the first movement is not what you think to do, what you decide to do, but what you actually do when you are frightened. And I said, allright, let's see now, we will train the people so that end of their first spontaneous movement is where we must start. And let us see now, we'lI train them three months like we did before, give them a year off without training regularly, and then a year afterwards, try to attack again. And of course, the year afterwards, the first defensive movement they did, once they did their spootaneous first movement, was the continuation of that first movement. It was a remarkable thing. Most of the people knew what to do immediately without previous notice. They did it, and I was as pleased as punch and, of course, I got another few guys in the Haganah to help me and we worked about two or three years and perfected that idea."

Moshé Feldenkrais

David

Wagnerphysed
04-30-2009, 08:39 PM
It's interesting to see all of the responses in relation to the SPEAR system created by Tony Blauer. I especially appreciate the insights shared by Mr. Ledyard. The idea of the flinch response as it is presented by Tony Blauer is valid, protect the center line and all of the vital points along that line and retake the initiative through a reactive response.

I also agree with many of the responses that capitalize on the concept that once the initiative is retaken you can insert your own martial art. Of course, here we are talking about Aikido.

However, I can't help but be bothered, and this has been for some time...I first looked at the SPEAR videos a year or two ago at the suggestion of a friend...that the suggested formation of the flinch response is palms down and raised to chudan position covering the throat and chin. This results in the exposure of the inside of the forearms and negates the protection afforded the center line. I see this as problematic for a system that purports to provide an initial defense against a surprise attack that can manage empty hands to a veiled armed attack.

Does anyone else see this as problematic, or is it just me?

Ron Tisdale
05-01-2009, 11:24 AM
Hey, it is a problem. Any of the indonesian systems I've seen (they regularly deal with MANY types of bladed weapons) recommend using the bone shield to protect such tasty bits.

But...no reason you can't train your flinch response to present the bone shield, correct?

Best,
Ron

Wagnerphysed
05-02-2009, 05:10 PM
Hey Ron, :) that is exactly what I was eluding to. In a previous life, I dabbled in Arnis for a few years and the teaching was to present the backs of your hands and forearms in protecting yourself. I understand it is the same in Kali. As these arts have a heavy emphasis with knives, I would think they know what they're doing from experience. I give those practitioners and their arts credit as experts with knives.

My post wasn't so much to ask why the SPEAR system doesn't teach this defensive tactic as opposed to pointing out, if there is a flaw then this is probably it. The rest of the stuff looks pretty good from my neophyte perspective.

Michael Douglas
05-05-2009, 03:44 AM
...that the suggested formation of the flinch response is palms down and raised to chudan position covering the throat and chin. This results in the exposure of the inside of the forearms and negates the protection afforded the center line. I see this as problematic for a system that purports to provide an initial defense against a surprise attack that can manage empty hands to a veiled armed attack.
I don't see a problem at all since the 'spear' is ONLY the initial movement as a response to AN attack, rather than a posture within which one receives attacks.
If it were the latter then yes, there'd be a problem regarding knives. But it isn't.
I reckon the 'spear' wouldn't work with the other side of the arms : the structure would be weaker and the hands couldn't do so much in the moment after application.

Wagnerphysed
05-06-2009, 08:14 PM
Michael Douglas wrote:
I don't see a problem at all since the 'spear' is ONLY the initial movement as a response to AN attack, rather than a posture within which one receives attacks.

Exactly, it is the initial response. Palms down exposes arteries and all kinds of tendons needed to close your hands. The next response with your hands, following the flinch response to an edged weapon, is to wipe blood and DNA all over your attacker so that the police have the evidence needed to arrest your killer and the DA can get a conviction.

Michael Douglas wrote:
If it were the latter then yes, there'd be a problem regarding knives.

Yes it would be a problem if it were a posture and it might not be a problem with someone who has little or no experience with a knife. However, there are few people in this world who have little to no experience with a knife. Almost everyone has cut something with a knife at one point in their lives. So, almost everyone understands how to slash.

If you present your vulnerable points, that is what will be slashed. If you present strong points, that will be slashed. If someone is a really experienced knife practitioner, flinch response won't help. They will cut you and you will bleed out.

The problem with the flinch response as presented is that it does not take into account what is in the attackers hands. However, it purports to take this into account and presents the underside of the arms as if this will protect against everything. As for the structure created in turning the forearms being weaker, I believe this position is indicative of how many Tai Ji Quan/ Tai Chi practitioners practice push hands. The structure in this position is sound. Further, if fisherman can train their flinch response to grab fish instead of pulling away from them, then this can be trained as well.

Finally, the goal of endless training and repetition in martial arts (including kata training) is to instill a new flinch response in the artist. This is also a fundamental flaw in Blauers instruction...maybe. However, from Blauer's perspective, he is working with LEOs and other professionals who need a defense that can be up in running in a much shorter time frame to protect his clients and his SPEAR system fits that bill nicely. These guys can't wait to reintegrate there autonomic nervous system through endless hours of repetitive training.

Sorry for the rant.

Ron Tisdale
05-07-2009, 07:37 AM
Nice post Brian, as usual.

Please give my best to the others (you know who they are ;))

Ron

Charles Hill
05-07-2009, 11:50 PM
Hi Brian,

I think you are misunderstanding what Tony Blauer is teaching. The position you described as problematic is not what Blauer is saying you SHOULD do, he is saying that is what you WILL do.

And whether one agrees with that or disagrees with that seems to be the line drawn here on this thread. The idea is this; if your brain perceives something coming at it in the peripheral vision that is unexpected, it shunts that info away from the areas that allow us to make decisions and straight to automatic response, the hands coming up, palms out.

If you disagree with this, my guess is that much of what he teaches is not going to make sense.

Charles

Wagnerphysed
05-09-2009, 10:03 AM
Hi Charels,
I really don't disagree with what I've seen of Mr. Blauer's teaching. Truthfully, I've only devoted a couple of hours to researching his pedagogy and curriculum and all of that was restricted to what I could find on the web...mostly You Tube.

From what I have been able to learn from my investigations...
I understand that he is demonstrating what most people do as a flinch response and building off of that initial response. He's not teaching the flinch response, rather he is teaching how to capitalize on that response as a way to survive an unexpected attack and buy time to counter it.

Charles, is this how you understand it?

Charles Hill
05-09-2009, 06:12 PM
Hi Brian,

That is my understanding of how Mr. Blauer thinks he is teaching the material. However, I don't think he is as rigorous in his research and presentation of the material as, for example, Joseph LeDoux, the scientist whom Blauer bases his stuff on. For example, there is an endorsement on Blauer's site by an LEO who says that during an altercation he "shot off a Spear" refering to the basic movement Blauer teaches. If the guy "shot" it off, then it is a technique and not really a flinch response. As it was chosen as an endorsement, it can't be just one guy's misunderstanding. I also found other examples of sloppiness. (IMHO, of course.)

So again, I don't think that is exactly what he is teaching, but it is what he seems to think he is teaching.

Charles

Kevin Leavitt
05-09-2009, 06:32 PM
Interesting Charles, I have also pondered that question. If you "shot off" something then it was something.

I think there is great merit in honing and developing a autonomic response that is appropriate, simple, and immediate.

I think alot of it is semantics when you come down to it.

Wagnerphysed
05-09-2009, 10:42 PM
Thank you Charles and Kevin!

Charles, what specific points are you referring to with your comment on Blauer's thoroughness in research?

Kevin, I think your point regarding semantics is very valid. I think that sometimes the way we interpret our responses (I shouldn't say we when I specifically mean me) to situations indicate a connection between an unknown reaction to a known definition of a reaction. IOW, I have an unconscious reaction to an outside stimulus and I connect it, in retrospect, to a known definition of a response...i.e. "I shot off a SPEAR!" The reality of this may actually be that I reacted to an attack with a flinch response that was exactly like that of the SPEAR described flinch response.

I was once told that it takes a thousand repetitions to make an action a reaction and ten thousand repetitions to break a reaction. I don't know the validity of this statement. However, I do know that after two decades of training in martial arts, I have made significant changes in the way I react to surprising and threatening stimulus (most of the changes really setting in in the last ten years...this has to represent more than ten thousand!). I also know that others involved in martial arts have had similar experiences (I don't know about the time frames involved?...this would be a great area for research if anyone were interested...). Despite the length of time this change represents, I think it confirms discussions earlier in the post that surround the idea that the flinch response can or cannot be trained. Personally, I believe that the flinch response can be trained.

IMO, further expanding on my thoughts above, Blauer's flinch response training, if it is in fact training the capitalization of the response following the initial automatic response, is ideal for low intensity conflicts experienced by LEOs...traffic stops and domestics with limited experience hostile combatants. However, it is remiss and irresponsible training for professionals facing trained and experienced combatants. These combatants will have most likely trained to capitalize on the automatic response to a physical attack.
Any thoughts on the above?

Given the subject matter and my opinions, I feel some disclosure of my level of experience is appropriate.

I spent six years in the DC ARNG as an MP. I served in Dessert Storm; I guarded EPWs and performed inspections for US Customs and the USDA (the latter was really boring and tedious work, yet it turned out to be really important). I've been around the small block a couple of times (some time in Panama and Germany) and have not had a great deal of experience with armed or unarmed trained combatants (a few disagreements between fellow soldiers that started with weapons in our hands, but ended with agreements to just beat the heck out of each other with empty hands) . Most of my experience comes from the controlled training environment, so I can't necessarily speak from definitive experience. However, the time I have spent training has been relatively intense.

Kevin Leavitt
05-10-2009, 02:14 AM
If the flinch response were the only thing we could do, then I would startle and drop my weapon when doing CQB verse using it the way I was trained to do it.

That said, I do actually agree with most of what Tony says, and as you state, I believe alot of it is semantics.

Arashi Kumomura
05-10-2009, 05:06 AM
I thought the idea was that Aikido became your flinch reponse.

It's near enough mine.

This is exactly what I thought and I'm surprised more people didn't mention it. (Some people did, but I thought many more would.)

I may have misunderstood some of what he was saying, but it sounded kind of like Tony Blauer was explaining that we're almost inevitably going to flinch at the sign of an attack and our reaction is beyond our control. If this is what he is saying, I completely disagree with him. Training Aikido has greatly affected the way I react to things. (I avoided an ugly faceplant to the concrete one time with a smooth, natural ukemi. Another time, I deflected and countered a punch thrown at my head. None of these were "brag" worthy, but I'm glad to be able to use them as exemplar anectdotes as to how are reactions or "flinches" can be shaped to better and to control the situation.)

Sorry if that isn't what he's saying in the first video. It was difficult to understand what side he was on. :o

On the other hand, I do agree pretty strongly with him on the second video. :)

Charles Hill
05-10-2009, 06:59 AM
Hi,

Again I think there is a misunderstanding.

From Blauer's website: "A stimulus introduced too quickly will by-pass the cognitive, muscle-memory systems in the brain and create a flinch response." In other words, if you are surprised, you will flinch, no way around it, no matter how many times you try to "train a response." This is fully supported by the research of Joseph LeDoux, the main scientist of how the brain deals with fear.

So, we cannot change the response, we can only affect what we might do the moment after the response. Tony Blauer is disagreeing with most of the posts on this thread (more accurately you are disagreeing with him.) Brian put it nicely, Blauer is teaching "capitalization of the response following the initial automatic response. And experienced combatants do use this when attacking, both good guys and bad, like SWAT teams and their flash bang grenades.

And I agree with Brian about it possibly being irresponsible training, but probably for a different reason. The first part of this equation is "a stimulus introduced too quickly" ,a surprise attack.

In an article on Blauer's website written by a Dr. Eric Cobb, there is this quote, "At least 90% of the time, the fight begins long before the actual physical confrontation occurs." Later Blauer writes "practically 100%." And there is some indication that they offer training on how to solve problems before they get to the physical stage. However, the overwhelming focus is clearly on the actual physical conflict stage of a confrontation.

This makes sense in a business sense. People do not respond in time and then get "surprised" due to what I would call damage in the psyche. And how much money would Mr. Blauer make if he were to offer to help people deal with their "issues"? And would he even be able to?

I know this is coming off as a harsh assessment. And it is. And I could be misunderstanding the whole thing. So I highly recommend people with an interest check it out themselves.

Charles

Jon Marshall
12-15-2009, 04:45 PM
I'll just get a bit more aikido technique specific, if I may. Ikkyo undo exercise can be performed as 'flinch response', so I guess I'm arguing that the flinch can be trained, at least a bit.

At the range we generally practice aikido, our ikkyo undo 'flinch' is clearly made to meet the attack/attacker. However, even when we flinch away from a surprise attack, part of us (ki, intent or tegatana) can and should go to meet the attacker. So think this going-to-meet response is good to train as a flinch - an irimi-flinch.

I like to do ikkyo undo exercise with hips oblique rather that square as it is more realistic. Experimenting with footwork during the exercise shows how versatile the it can be. Also, breathing in is a natural flinch response, so breathing in on the up will hopefully leave us in a good position to apply a technique (a key point of Bauer's) on the down/out.

I would have thought that the better we get, the briefer our flinch becomes before technique kicks in - until, a very long way down the road, one's 'flinch' becomes the calm pre-emptive initiation of a technique.

Because, in aikido, we are training ourselves to not clash, a sudden flinch can cause an attacker to brace himself for a resistance that doesn't happen. The resulting surprise will hopefully give the initiative to us. This is how I think a flinch-response could be successful against a blade - you might flinch, then immediately move to prevent the blade from penetrating.

Jon

Abasan
12-15-2009, 09:04 PM
I prefer Blink myself. :P

Kevin Leavitt
12-15-2009, 10:04 PM
Because, in aikido, we are training ourselves to not clash, a sudden flinch can cause an attacker to brace himself for a resistance that doesn't happen. The resulting surprise will hopefully give the initiative to us. This is how I think a flinch-response could be successful against a blade - you might flinch, then immediately move to prevent the blade from penetrating

I have a pretty well developed flinch response I think from years of training it spontaneously and dealing with CQB with the military.

There are so many conditions and parameters you will face that I don't believe you can really control (realistically) how much clashing occurs or doesn't occur. It depends on the attacker, the amount of momentum, overwhelming force he projects, skill he has, and environmental considerations such as noise, light, objects etc.

I think the only thing you can do is frame your default response which is "hands up", stay up right, balanced on your base, turn towards the attack, and enter. From there it becomes "Feel" based on your experience and "intuition". Intuition being what you develop over repetitive training.

It may be that you stay on your base and you uproot him and you simply "linebacker" him into the nearest wall or object.

It may be that you meet resistance of a well based and established opponent and you must move off to an angle, gain position on him, then drive him off his base (think iriminage).

It may be that he has suprised you enough and you are off your base and must "backpedal", clinch, or what not and regain your integrity.

Those are about the three basic scenarios that you will run into. He is off his base at the attack/you are not, both you are not off your base at the attack, you are off your base/he is not.

in reality, I think it is really that simple. All the variations, skill, throws, cheetah flips, and what not are all additive, fun to do, and yeah maybe useful after a number of years of training I suppose. (I am definitely not there!).

Anyway, that is my thoughts on startle/flinch from my perspective.

Jon Marshall
12-20-2009, 10:16 AM
I expect you're right Kevin, and it sounds like your opinion is based on some pretty solid experience. Still, it's nice to have an ideal to aim for.

Jon

Jon Marshall
12-20-2009, 10:57 AM
And another thought... the 5th bokken suburi, or any similar cut where raising the sword serves to deflect an attack, could be performed as a (conditioned) flinch reaction. Sudden in-breath, then technique.

Naturally, one would rather be calm and always ahead of the game, like our beloved O-Sensei, but maybe there are already lots of aikido movements that would work as a flinch-response. Something for me to experiment with.

Jon

Kevin Leavitt
12-20-2009, 03:02 PM
Ikkyo. Everything is ikkyo, I have heard this many, many times in AIkido from Shihan. These days I tend to agree. the basics of ikkyo are exactly the same as the finch response or Spear. You establish your mobile or moving base and your hands go up and forward. Everything starts with this movement.

The problem with all the other variations on a theme is you simply don't know what is coming at you and cannot process the information fast enough to make a decision and act so in the decision loop you start with the basic ikkyo posture, spear, or what not...observe/orient on the inputs you receive and then everything becomes a branch or sequel from there as you progress through the fight.

Jon Marshall
12-23-2009, 10:26 AM
Thanks. That's what I need to know / be reminded of. I can work with that.

Jon

Eugene Leslie
01-23-2010, 01:03 AM
Mr. Blauer is definitely onto something for law-enforcement, etc., but he's certainly ain't the new sliced bread. Very interesting stuff.
In my humble opinion he was too flippant and condescending towards martial arts using such words as goofy and making hollywood references.
His Spear is a great "just add water" system. Years of training in martial arts or any physical activity will hone the flinch response.

Ikkyo. Everything is ikkyo, I have heard this many, many times in AIkido from Shihan. These days I tend to agree. the basics of ikkyo are exactly the same as the finch response or Spear. You establish your mobile or moving base and your hands go up and forward. Everything starts with this movement.

The problem with all the other variations on a theme is you simply don't know what is coming at you and cannot process the information fast enough to make a decision and act so in the decision loop you start with the basic ikkyo posture, spear, or what not...observe/orient on the inputs you receive and then everything becomes a branch or sequel from there as you progress through the fight.

Sums my point of view best.

On this topic I think of hockey goalies. It's been tested and shown that when a goalie stops a puck with the glove hand; most slap-shots being 80 to 100+ mph; that it's all reflex and the mind has no chance of processing anything....all trained response....apply the same thought to martial arts and you get my point.

SeiserL
01-23-2010, 06:09 AM
Ikkyo. Everything is ikkyo,
Agreed.

I have also heard that everything is Irimi: initiate, intercept, and enter. IOW, move into it.

DonMagee
01-23-2010, 10:22 PM
I have a pretty well developed flinch response I think from years of training it spontaneously and dealing with CQB with the military.

There are so many conditions and parameters you will face that I don't believe you can really control (realistically) how much clashing occurs or doesn't occur. It depends on the attacker, the amount of momentum, overwhelming force he projects, skill he has, and environmental considerations such as noise, light, objects etc.

I think the only thing you can do is frame your default response which is "hands up", stay up right, balanced on your base, turn towards the attack, and enter. From there it becomes "Feel" based on your experience and "intuition". Intuition being what you develop over repetitive training.

It may be that you stay on your base and you uproot him and you simply "linebacker" him into the nearest wall or object.

It may be that you meet resistance of a well based and established opponent and you must move off to an angle, gain position on him, then drive him off his base (think iriminage).

It may be that he has suprised you enough and you are off your base and must "backpedal", clinch, or what not and regain your integrity.

Those are about the three basic scenarios that you will run into. He is off his base at the attack/you are not, both you are not off your base at the attack, you are off your base/he is not.

in reality, I think it is really that simple. All the variations, skill, throws, cheetah flips, and what not are all additive, fun to do, and yeah maybe useful after a number of years of training I suppose. (I am definitely not there!).

Anyway, that is my thoughts on startle/flinch from my perspective.

I've been l lucky (or unlucky depending on the situation), my default flinch response has always been attack.

It runs in the family, my dad startles the same way. I guess it really is fight or flight. I had a friend in high school jump out and scare me while I was walking to my car and I almost broke his nose. It's like when I'm scared I just try to break anything in the general direction of what is scaring me.

I have noticed however that as I become better trained, I recover from being 'scared' faster and my 'scared' attack is more efficient. I've also noticed that I don't flinch as easily. For example, my aikido instructor will faint blows to the face where he expects you to block (and thus give him a hand to work with). It was natural when I first started, but after training more (and in other arts such as boxing, mma, etc) my brain knows the punch will not connect and thus I don't instinctively block. I have to consciously do it.

Eugene Leslie
01-24-2010, 01:08 AM
It runs in the family, my dad startles the same way. I guess it really is fight or flight. I had a friend in high school jump out and scare me while I was walking to my car and I almost broke his nose. It's like when I'm scared I just try to break anything in the general direction of what is scaring me.

A good inherent ability to be sure..

There are some good you-tube vids of people being surprised by practical jokers and the "victim" punches the joker without malice or intent at the moment of surprise.

For example, my aikido instructor will faint blows to the face where he expects you to block (and thus give him a hand to work with). It was natural when I first started, but after training more (and in other arts such as boxing, mma, etc) my brain knows the punch will not connect and thus I don't instinctively block. I have to consciously do it.

I humbly ask you to rephrase this claim good sir...In my opinion I think an experienced (in life generally) person senses an artificial threat as opposed to a real threat. Ie; dojo vs. street.
Most martial artists with a modicum of skill level will strive for control and therefore not really "hit" their sparring partner if it is not full contact agreed.
Ergo: Why bother to block (or flinch) at all....

Kevin Leavitt
01-24-2010, 07:37 AM
Hey Don. I suppose mine has always been attack too. It probably started with Pee Wee Football where I was a lineman and was made to push forward into the defense practice after practice. Always move forward, never retreat!

So, at my base level, I was conditioned at a young age to do this.

For me though, I think back about my first fight. Naw that didn't apply I had no clue! I got hit and I simply froze and went into the classic fetal tuck! lol!

Then as an adult I learned martial arts. Which for me at the time was all about speed, timing, good posture, and movement...aka...AVOIDANCE! hmmmm.

Got my ass kicked again in a few fights...then learned about fighting a little more directly and ....well it all went back to what I learned in Pee Wee football! LOL!

Kevin Leavitt
01-24-2010, 07:49 AM
Eugene and Don...you guys bring up some excellent points concerning hitting and realism and how you respond. I struggle with this alot like Don does.

Most of the training we do in aikido with atemi is controlled and VERY artificial you simply have to extrapolate ALOT to make the uke/nage relationship work.

Nothing wrong with that, however, but I do believe that it does cause some challenges for someone that trains like Don and I do.

One, as you get used to dealing with very fast and powerful attacks, you begin to look at the situation a little more holistically, subconsciously taking in the whole of the strike and not just the strike itself. You intutiively begin to understand that even if a strike makes contact that it is NOT going to hurt. You also might process, as Don states, that it will not make contact.

So in Aikido, that is one of the challenges you will face both as Uke and Nage, and of course, a HUGE subject of discussion here.

Boxing: Don, one of the reasons I don't like boxing type striking for the street or AIkido is that as a sport it is a sport of "round attrition" and/or timed knock out as such you will also develop "Boxing responses" to strikes that say, "hey, I will take that one to close the distance".

Personally, I am that kind of fighter. I am a reasonably big guy and I don't mind eating a few punches in order to close distance.

I also assume in ANY fight really that I am going to take the first few strikes, blows with a stick and/or knife..simply because....hey, we are in a fight and I suck, and I didn't see it coming and if I did, and have time...welll....I am doing something else!

While I think it is good to train that way......

I also think it is good to practice good ma ai ala Aikido style and to work through the distance and timing scenarios that while are somewhat "wishful" and "perfect"....I think there is quite a bit to be learned there as well.

Anyway, not much for me to conclude on here...it is a problem for sure...and one I constantly struggle with too!

SeiserL
01-24-2010, 09:31 AM
IMHO, there is a great scene in Man On Fire where Denzel Washington is teaching a young girl to accept the starting gun in swimming as a friend. Her startle/flinch response when from freeze to dive. Illustrates that with mindful training that we can condition the startle/flinch response (not always to be confused with the fear response).

I also agreed that there are distinction is atemi. The more we train the more we can discern an actual strike. Also, the more we train the more we ask our training partners not to pull the punch. If I don't get off the line, please hit me.

I think as a young kid I had the fear based freeze or flight response. Later is was a fear based attack response. The it was move towards not away from (a motivational strategy that has helped in other areas of my life). Now, I am often kidded about my irimi.

Good discussion. Compliments and appreciation.

Eugene Leslie
01-24-2010, 03:56 PM
Hi again...

One, as you get used to dealing with very fast and powerful attacks, you begin to look at the situation a little more holistically, subconsciously taking in the whole of the strike and not just the strike itself. You intutiively begin to understand that even if a strike makes contact that it is NOT going to hurt. You also might process, as Don states, that it will not make contact.

I agree with that. Well said.

Myself; I know when I'm pumped up I'll take in the whole person and not just the "swinging arm". Untrained scrappers will just use their shoulder to strike which is not a very threatening punch. Like you Kevin, I'll eat it if I have to, ( though I'm smaller and quick) to get my favorable position, (along with a deflection and half-assed absobtion block which will make that punch pretty much useless by the time it connects). Then again some people expend their gas tank in a flurry of hockey style punches in which case it ends up a grappling session.
(Please note that I'm talking from a younger time when I did get in a few fights (some sober :) ) as well as sparring at kung-fu dojo's and with friends; but my "strategy" still applies today as I am now, until I learn more).

I'm a neophyte when it come to Aikido and I've got a mountain to learn. I've learned so much from this site and the fine (experienced) folks here. With my maturity and wisdom I see violence and aggression for what it is and Osensei nailed it when he says that aggression is insincere. A trained, sincere person can win the fight no matter what physically happens or the outcome.
But you will walk away!

Cheers, guys!

P.S. Man on Fire analogy sums up the flinch response perfectly! (good movie).

Charles Hill
01-24-2010, 11:58 PM
The more we train the more we can discern an actual strike.

Hi Lynn,

Let me put my NLP/DHE hat and modify your statement to "The BETTER we train the more we can discern an actual strike." When someone in an Aikido dojo does not react to a fist coming toward their face, there are two possible explanations. One is that the individual has accurately calculated that force, distance, timing, etc, is not equal to potential damage. The other is that the individual is ignoring a fast moving object coming towards them (in NLPspeak, altering submodalities), that is, deleting information.

In Man On Fire type situations, the trouble is that the individual is anticipating the sound. It is natural for us to hear a loud, unexpected sound and to react fearfully. (If we pretend the movie was real) the girl anticipates the sound/fear response and has a bit of the fear response first. To put into NLP terms again, the training involves anticipating the sound and lowering the auditory submodalities.

SWAT entry teams use flashbangs and they are not incompacitated like the suspects because they know the sound is coming and they know the sound is only a sound and not a sign of danger.

Man On Fire type training might be good for a sport based scenario, but I don't think it is good for a martial art. Yagyu Munenori said something like, when you take a swing at me and I blink, that is natural. If you swing again and I don't blink, that shows my mind is disturbed.

SeiserL
01-25-2010, 05:17 AM
Let me put my NLP/DHE hat and modify your statement to "The BETTER we train the more we can discern an actual strike."
Osu,
A kindred NLP spirit.
All acceptances, modifications, or rejections welcomed. Whatever makes it useful.
Rei, Domo.

Kevin Leavitt
01-25-2010, 06:11 AM
Charles Hill wrote:

Man On Fire type training might be good for a sport based scenario, but I don't think it is good for a martial art. Yagyu Munenori said something like, when you take a swing at me and I blink, that is natural. If you swing again and I don't blink, that shows my mind is disturbed

A conditioned response is a conditioned response, so is an unconditioned response. I don't think it has anything to do with being sport based or not.

For example, in the miltary we spend a great deal of time practicing developing good and appropriate responses to "suprise" stimulus, especiallly in the CQB environment. I believe it is the same thing you are talking about.

I think the whole modality of aikido is really designed around this as well. That is, to change our structure, be it emotional, neurological, or physical to respond in a way that is "more correct" or "better" than what we may do otherwise.

I think the whole practice of martial arts is really all about this. If it wasn't, there would be no need to practice martial arts as folks would have enate abilities to do these things without training!

AsimHanif
01-25-2010, 08:01 AM
interesting stuff....I've been trying to make sense of this for a while in an aikido context.
Last week I spent considerable time teaching my students how to throw a decent short lead hook to the body. After that the goal was to counter with 'something'. EVERYONE had issues dealing with a true punch...meaning the hand/arm wasn't left out there. Aside from mistakenly trying to deal with the hand/arm, most people backed off of the punch which creates other issues.
My point in that exercise was that if we are doing aikido for any significant amount of time and can't deal (emotionally) with a real punch, maybe we need to re-evaluate how we are training.

Then just this Sat at a yudansha class we were working on an iriminage initiated by an atemi. (Here's where I slightly disagree with Kevin). True boxing is a sport of attrition but the goal is not to take a lot of shots. Its about endurance on a few diff levels.
It's hard for me to do the atemi type techniques in honest practice because my response is to slip and counter...to attack but not to 'take it', but that's because I tend to be a counter puncher. I agree with Kevin, some boxers tend to eat punches, which really aint good.
So responding to these atemi initiated type techniques can be all over the board depending on how people are conditioned to train. I prefer an honest attack and response but that can be difficult if people are not confident to do so.

sakumeikan
03-12-2010, 03:47 AM
No, it's because of the type of attack he's talking about. These are surprise attacks, from a realistic distance.

What you call "proper distancing" is dojo stuff for (basic) training purposes. If you have only ever trained from outside touching distance, you have never done any realistic self defence training.

If you always have the sort of control over distance that is possible in a dojo, you never need to get involved in unarmed combat.

But actually, nobody will ever attack you with a stepping punch. Firstly, because unless you've trained for years, you can't do one properly (and I include every aikidoka I've ever met, of any rank, who hasn't trained in karate or similar in that statement). Secondly, it's really a quite weak punch. Try doing it against a punching bag, then compare it with a simple reverse punch. There is no comparison.
Dear Jim,
While I agree that there are some Aikidoka who couldnt punch their way out of the proverbial paper bag your statement that all the Aikidoka you have met irrespective of rank are poor leaves me to ask the question , who have you met?I can tell you that the guys I have met using a furitsuki /shomenuchi/ yokomen uchi attack , if it connects you know about it.
Anyway if you are serious about your art , you should make a point of knowing how to punch /kick.Perhaps this is where basic skills in Karate come in useful?

Abasan
03-12-2010, 10:17 AM
I believe, one of Osensei's students practised Karate... and Osensei did not approve of the linear aspects of the art. But once, the student realised it, he was inspired to use spiral energy in his attacks (punching etc), and Osensei saw that and approved. Actually, Osensei approved it because the student no longer stop his movements in Kata...more like flowing, but the spiral energy was part of the equation I think.

A high ranking karate-ka once wrote, that he found his inspiration one day when he saw a couple of kids playing with tops. He was given a conundrum by his sensei and couldn't understand it, until he saw the power of the tops.

FWIW, the above is just in response to the atemi part of the thread. But as for the flinch, I personally think at this point in time, that if we're flinching, then we're not getting aikido yet. Flinching, by all manner of understanding means that we're reacting... however fast, to an opponents attack. Whereas, full understanding of Aikido requires that we are synchronised with our 'opponents' from the get go.