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smithid
08-06-2000, 11:27 PM
I have a very important question I would appreciate your help in exploring.

Full speed randori seems to me to lead toward very effective practical self defense training. After all, a street attack will also probably be full speed too (or you could just walk slowly away, right?).

Setting aside the issue of atemis (strikes) for a moment, I am wondering if it is really possible to practice TRULY full speed randori without risking serious injury to the uke UNLESS the locking techniques (such as ikkyo, nikkyo, sankyo, and especially shiho nage) are dropped in favor of aiki nages (kokyu nages) only - throws dependent upon balance, movement and timing only and not requiring the locking or twisting of any limb.

For example, as I FINISH a shiho nage at FULL speed I don't think there is an uke anywhere who could move fast enough to not have his shoulder dislocated. I can move my hands through two feet much faster than an uke can fling his entire body through a 12 foor arc to the mat.

These locking techniques, after all, did come from joint dislocation techniques in the combat origins of our art and when we start to move at full speed (as in a real street situation) I can't see how to avoid this kind of serious injury problem unless the joint locking techniques are skipped entirely.

I understand that Kenji Ota Sensei in Goleta, Caliornia is successfully training his students in full speed randori with a track record of many years with no serious injuries. He gave an interview published in AIKIDO TODAY MAGAZINE #68 describing his training methods in advanced ukemi and full speed randori.

I was struck by his description of how one of his black belt students was jumped once by eight gang members while walking home one night. He threw three of them down causing the other five to flee, surprising the police later who knew these gang members to be particularly violent. He is quoted as saying, "I didn't have time to think. I never even hit anybody. I just did randori as I'd done in every class for four years."

I found this story to be inspiring. It has always seemed to me that if Aikido can allow us to follow through with what we do exactly as we would on the street then we are expressing the highest values of Aikido in our training - a form of "non-violent" self defense, if you will.

The key to Ota Sensei's evident success seems to lie in the (eventual) practice of full speed randori by his students. And, again, I just can't help but wonder how it would be possible to perform the joint locking techniques at FULL speed without seriously injuring the uke.

Now I want to be clear here that my mind is not closed on this issue. I am posting this subject hoping that some of you reading this can share with me your insights and understandings.

For example, I have at my side next to Ota Sensei's interview a copy of John Perkins' new book "Attack Proof" which advocates the need to use devastating atemi first and continuously, primarily to the eyes and throat, in his brutal but evidently efficient self defense approach drawn from WWII commando techniques created for the OSS and other elite combat groups.

His point (which I have also heard from some very high ranking Aikido instructors as well) seems to be that on the street everything happens double quick fast and it is vital to strike the attacker first and fast for you to survive.

I am not trying to stir up any old arguments over atemis, yes or no, here. What I am interested in is the simple fact that having taught both kinds of self defense arts (not unlike John Perkins' as well as Aikido), I believe that the truth of the matter is that if you ACTUALLY FOLLOW THROUGH with your techniques you are TRULY training for what you find yourself doing for self defense in the street as well.

For example, if I practice a striking technique designed to attack the eyes, I must "pull" that strike in practice. However, if I use an Aikido kokyu nage, I can practise at full speed exactly the same way I would do it on the street. In the first case there always remains that separation between practice and reality, whereas in the second case there is no such separation. I believe that we end up doing what we practice most.

(I am also setting aside the moral question regarding using a maiming or potenially lethal technique as opposed to a throwing technique, of course).

I have privately written today to Ota Sensei asking if he could enlighten me regarding the use of joint locking techniques in his training approach but I wanted to take full advantage of this forum to ask you for YOUR knowledge, thoughts and opinions on this terribly interesting subject (at least to me).

Thank you,
George Smith

Erik
08-07-2000, 12:36 AM
Not to offer any real insight but if you can find a tape named Budo, survive all the crap in it (guys hitting trains and the like) there is a 1 1/2 minute section with Gozo Shioda (I'm pretty sure it was him) doing a randori that rocks (at least that's how I remember it). Also there is a tape named something like "Aikido - The way of harmony" which included Bruce Klickstein (yes that one) doing technique at a pretty high speed. The former will be very difficult to find and the latter will be almost impossible.

Sadly I had 3 copies of the latter and all are gone.

Nick
08-07-2000, 12:40 AM
Or, if you can stand the lack of a plot, "Above the law" does have some decent randori, featuring the greatest living actor (cough) Steven Seagal.

-Nick

chillzATL
08-07-2000, 07:49 AM
In my opinion there is no such thing as "street realistic" randori in the dojo. In a dojo, no matter what speed you attack, you are still attacking with control. You are not trying or hoping to knock the other guy out or hurt him. You are coming in very fast and VERY hard, but you still have a mind of control that if, at the last second, you see nage isn't going to be able to handle the technique, you are going to let up a little and not knock his block off. That same level of control falls back to nage once he accepts your attack. Accepting a hard, near-street realistic attack doesn't mean you have to respond with that same level of force. That is why aikido is what it is. You use what is needed to protect yourself. IF someone on the street comes barreling at you and throws a hard round-house aiming to bust your face, and you cut the attack away and move into a shiho-nage, you don't have to rip the guys arm off when you take him down. You don't have to slam the back of the guys head into the concrete. That level of control and awareness of the situation is what seperates aikido, philisophically at least, from most other martial arts. That applies to all the techniques, even joint locks. A sankyo is going to work on the guy just as well, whether you snap the wrist or not, it hurts both ways. The situation dictates what needs to be done. If there are three or four guys coming at you on the street and you put a fast sankyo on the first guy you get. The situation may very well call for you pop his wrist and put him out of the fight. Because in a situation like that you don't want the guy to scream and you let him go, only to have him hit you from behind while you are trying to deal with his buddies. In the dojo, when your uke slaps out of that sankyo, you should know that if the situation called for it, you could have kept going with it and did real damage, regardless of the speed of his attack. But the dojo isn't the street, once uke slaps out and you toss him aside, he's going to circle back up and look for another attack. In the street, with several attackers, you can't afford to give someone a second chance at you so you have to be aware of the situation and know what is best for you given that situation.

smithid
08-07-2000, 04:50 PM
I have two problems with using ikkyo, nikkyo, sankyo, and shiho nage in street situations:

(1) At full speed street attack level you cannot get usually them 99 times out of 100 unless you first so rattle the attacker with atemis that ANYTHING is then relatively easy to do (i.e., the locks become unnecessary).
(2) If you DO get them and try to slow down enough to NOT dislocate the attacker's joints, the serious attacker will then usually escape the hold. Most police I know using immobilization techniques report that the joints DO get injured unless there is instant compliance from the suspect.

No one is aware of what Ota Sensei is doing as described in the AIKIDO TODAY interview I quoted above?

I do thank the three kind people who answered my long question so far. My interest is in doing what I now understand to be possible - true full speed Aikido. Your points regarding slowing down seem to be the whole problem with the immobilization techniques - they break the flow and have high risk of injury in practice. Breath throws don't. Look at high speed Judo competition. Taking falls is a prerequisite for high speed randori.

Let me be perfectly clear. I understand that FULL SPEED randori WITHOUT causing serious injury to ukes is not only possible but has been the norm for many years at Ota Sensei's dojo in California. This is his bold and challenging claim.

Assuming (as I do) that this is a true report, then I am wondering if part of the key to achieving this level of training comes from NOT including ikkyo, nikkyo, sankyo and shiho nage as these are incredibly inclined toward severe joint injury when applied at full street speed. And yes, I am speaking of full speed by the nage in performing the throws.

Any further comments or suggestions are deeply appreciated. Thank again to those who have already pitched in.

Russ
08-07-2000, 05:42 PM
"Full speed" randori with joint locks...? Forgive my lack of experience but aren't they mutually exclusive. Are you saying that you would attempt ikkyo, nikkyo, sankyo, (or any specific technique for that matter)on the first of four guys coming at you at full speed? I've never tried but it seems that as soon as I successfully lock up one attacker I'd be dead 'cause the other three are no longer coming at me full speed, they're there taking me down full force.

I've always been taught that randori is practice in principles not techniques. Mainly irimi and tenkan (blending). Whether you irimi/tenkan with nothing or with an atemi is where the choice lies.

Russ

Erik
08-07-2000, 05:55 PM
Russ wrote:"Full speed" randori with joint locks...? Forgive my lack of experience but aren't they mutually exclusive. Are you saying that you would attempt ikkyo, nikkyo, sankyo, (or any specific technique for that matter)on the first of four guys coming at you at full speed? I've never tried but it seems that as soon as I successfully lock up one attacker I'd be dead 'cause the other three are no longer coming at me full speed, they're there taking me down full force.

I've always been taught that randori is practice in principles not techniques. Mainly irimi and tenkan (blending). Whether you irimi/tenkan with nothing or with an atemi is where the choice lies.

Russ

I was writing the same thing but you beat me to it. It seems like every time in my non full-speed randori that I try to do a technique I get burned. Now if a technique shows up, that's a different matter.

I don't think that in combat pure anything shows up. I do mostly free form practice and when I find someone to really play with what I find happening are hybrids. The point being that when I happen to stumble across a technique it's not in a practiced form. It's some weird convolution of stuff that has some joint action or something in it.

But I will concur with him that when doing technique with adrenaline and a resistant partner you can expect someone to get hurt.

JO
08-07-2000, 06:53 PM
I've occasionally done holds during randori but recognize the folly of doing this with multiple attackers .I just need to expand my repertoir of techniques and start building the right reflexes, I'm used to doing the pins over and over again in beginner classes and so I often move into them. Fortunately ther are ways of turning ikkyo, nikyo and sankyo into throws.
I have to disagree about some things said about ikkyo and shihonage though. First of all, how does ikkyo injure joints. I have been brought down hard with ikkyo, my nose into the mat, but I can't remember it ever hurting my joints. I've also never had shihonage hurt my shoulder, you can do it and break an arm at the elbow but if you bring the arm around quickly and bring the hand behind the shoulder blade, you can drop a person on his back rather quickly without putting much pressure on his joints. I also think ikkyo is one of the easiest techniques to do at high speeds, but maybe that's because I practiced it so much for my fifth kyu exam (from a shomen uchi attack).

Erik
08-07-2000, 07:26 PM
JO wrote:
I have to disagree about some things said about ikkyo and shihonage though. First of all, how does ikkyo injure joints. I have been brought down hard with ikkyo, my nose into the mat, but I can't remember it ever hurting my joints. I've also never had shihonage hurt my shoulder, you can do it and break an arm at the elbow but if you bring the arm around quickly and bring the hand behind the shoulder blade, you can drop a person on his back rather quickly without putting much pressure on his joints. I also think ikkyo is one of the easiest techniques to do at high speeds, but maybe that's because I practiced it so much for my fifth kyu exam (from a shomen uchi attack).

At high speeds you will often see someone high fall with shiho nage. The danger isn't so much in doing things right but in doing them not quite so right. In randori you will have a "in a hurry" nage who may not turn all the way to protect you.

As to ikkyo, I pretty much agree with you but there's some folks that it just plain hurts with. It's the same problem as above in that the nice ikkyo turns into an arm bar or "I must pin you". Often found when someone's technique breaks down.

Nick
08-07-2000, 08:58 PM
ikkyo, while it does not cause pain, allows for a pin and a submission. And isn't that the point of our training?

Shihan said after a class dedicated to ikkyo: "In a real fight, ikkyo will be your best friend. If you can't do ikkyo, try iriminage."

-Nick

JO
08-07-2000, 09:10 PM
I agree, I've had a few people worry me while doing shihonage in a way I thought would break my arm. But I don't consider that proper technique, and it's certainly not the way our instructor showed the technique. I have been sent flying from shihonage before, but I was not particularly worried as breakfalls are a standard part of our practice and the person sending me flying was experienced and knew how to not break my arm.
I haven't had any trouble receiving ikkyo but have had had a couple of ukes wince when I applied it, I sometimes forget not everybody has wide, flexible shoulders. But I still haven't seen an ikkyo that was dangerous from an injury point of view, and I haven't found speed in application to cause any problems for that technique.
I have often seen (and had it pointed out by my instructor) that ikkyo can turn into an arm bar but that is often beacuse uke gets tense and straigthens out his arm, making it rather easy to attack his elbow, this happens even more often in nikkyo with beginners.

Nick, I'm in complete agreement with that last post.
My friend ikkyo!

akiy
08-08-2000, 12:45 AM
JO wrote:
But I still haven't seen an ikkyo that was dangerous from an injury point of view, and I haven't found speed in application to cause any problems for that technique. My friend ikkyo!
Ikkyo, when applied correctly and powerfully, will turn uke heels over head. Unless an "ikkyo breakfall" is taken, this will cause uke's face to either get crunched into his or her knee or, perhaps worse, right into the ground...

-- Jun

Erik
08-08-2000, 01:06 AM
akiy wrote:
Ikkyo, when applied correctly and powerfully, will turn uke heels over head. Unless an "ikkyo breakfall" is taken, this will cause uke's face to either get crunched into his or her knee or, perhaps worse, right into the ground...

-- Jun

Thank you for adding this. I was looking at my prior response and found it lacking much upon further review.

I'm also struck by the causualness in regards to shiho nage in this thread. In my humble opinion it's one of the most dangerous things we do. There are a wealth of opportunities to mess it up and have someone get hurt. Injuries can range from a broken arm, to concussions and possibly death (or so I've heard in third or fourth hand form).

Just to add a bit on injuries. At the dojo where I spend my days a student was taking a kyu test. During the test she leaned a bit too much and uke accidentally kicked her. A day later she collapsed from a stroke caused by a clotted artery from the kick. By all accounts she appeared fine when she left the dojo. She lived but suffered brain damage. My understanding is some speech and coordination was lost.

There are no purely safe techniques.

samurai_x
08-08-2000, 01:32 AM
In addition to what has been posted by u guys. I have posted a while back in another thread about RANDORI in w/c i have pointed out that it's much better to do it in a more realistic manner rather than the usual.As i have observed
how u train inside the Dojo reflects on the way u handle things in reality. Example on this is on training in a Martial Art that is Aggressive in nature. The student somehow shows that aggressiveness in and out of the Dojo.Just like an AIKIDO student being trained in a Non-Aggressive nature inside the Dojo tends to bring that Non-Aggressiveness outside w/ him. And that's how we've been training now for the past 8 yrs. during every Randori.And believe me it's very effective. Had a student who escaped a life threatining situation thanks to the realistic way of doing the Randori.
But still safety is being observed . As for the most reliable techniques during an actual situation, i'd say it differs for every student coz each one of us has his/her own characteristic. This particular technique could be very handy w/ u but hard for others or the other way around. Regardless of what technique that suits u , always remember the faster u get rid of ur opponent the better specially if it's more than one attacker.


SCOUT "TUOCS" TUMULAK
Head Instructor-Timex Dojo,Philippines
Instructor-Musubi Dojo,Philippines
KI AIKIDO

chillzATL
08-08-2000, 07:34 AM
George,
I don't think anyone here has any first hand knowledge of what you are talking about, in regards to Ota sensei. What you have to understand is you will not get street realistic attacks in the dojo. The street is a random place, the dojo is not. If the Uke in Ota sensei's dojo are walking up to nage and at the last second launching an attack with no sign as to what the attack was, basically a "sucker punch" situation in the street, well, that's about as realistic as you can get. But at the same time, if Nage starts to apply a joint lock type of technique, it's foolish to think that uke is resisting with all his strength during the entire technique, otherwise there would be injury. There is just no way to avoid that. If you lock your arm up and try really hard to resist an ikkyo on someone with very strong technique, it will hurt. Having done it, I know. But I still relaxed and went with it at one point or another, where as on the street, that would probably not been the case. I can easily see my rotator cuff tearing from that. I think it's a case of not fully understanding what Ota Sensei means when he says "street speed aikido". while I don't dispute Ota sensei training with considerable speed and intensity, it's not going to be street realistic. There are far too many factors that will prevent that from happening. Perhaps you should contact Ota sensei though.

JO
08-08-2000, 07:59 AM
Jun, I will defer to your much greater experience, but you have me quite curious about the mechanics of "head over heals ikkyo".

Aiki1
08-08-2000, 09:05 AM
In many styles of Aikido, randori refers to a particular kind of practice, not freestyle - that would be called jiyuwaza. In many approaches to randori, you only use kokyunage-type throws, Never joint locks, because they take way too much time in that kind of multiple-attack situation to apply. Locks would be applied in jiyuwaza practice instead. So, when the uke are good enough to take the falls, it's not hard to practice full out, and that is done in many dojo(s). The people at Ken Ota's are very good at taking falls, so they practice randori a lot. It's good experience, especially when applied to the kind of situation that was originally described - an attack by eight people - because you move fast and the attackers tend to get in each others' way.

Chuck Clark
08-08-2000, 09:09 AM
Ikkyo, when applied correctly and powerfully, will turn uke heels over head. Unless an "ikkyo breakfall" is taken, this will cause uke's face to either get crunched into his or her knee or, perhaps worse, right into the ground...

-- Jun [/B][/QUOTE]

Ikkyo (or oshitaoshi as we call it) will often put uke's head exactly where the feet were in an instant depending on the kuzushi. Ukemi must be natural and relaxed!

Some years ago a fellow attacked with a high level of force and speed during randori and reacted so strongly to my oshitaoshi that his head and feet switched places and on the way down his chin connected with his own knee producing an unconscious uke!

He was okay, but said that he couldn't remember what the experience felt like.


[Edited by Chuck Clark on August 8, 2000 at 08:14am]

akiy
08-08-2000, 11:22 AM
Chuck Clark wrote:Ikkyo (or oshitaoshi as we call it) will often put uke's head exactly where the feet were in an instant depending on the kuzushi. Ukemi must be natural and relaxed![/B]
Very much as Chuck says above. When applied well, ikkyo can cause uke to pivot on one's center point. Unless uke is able to stay relaxed, keep light feet, and be naturally aware, it's going to be one of those ugly "splat" situations...

-- Jun

Nick
08-08-2000, 12:10 PM
Aiki1 wrote:
In many styles of Aikido, randori refers to a particular kind of practice, not freestyle - that would be called jiyuwaza. In many approaches to randori, you only use kokyunage-type throws, Never joint locks, because they take way too much time in that kind of multiple-attack situation to apply.

True, true. My sensei said in his bok Aikido Kyohan (plug plug) that in real fights "there was no time for nikyo, shihonage, etc." and instead opted for kata-otoshi, koshis for attack from behind, and iriminage.

-Nick

Nick
08-08-2000, 12:12 PM
Aiki1 wrote:
In many styles of Aikido, randori refers to a particular kind of practice, not freestyle - that would be called jiyuwaza. In many approaches to randori, you only use kokyunage-type throws, Never joint locks, because they take way too much time in that kind of multiple-attack situation to apply.

True, true. My sensei said in his book Aikido Kyohan (plug plug) that in real fights "there was no time for nikyo, shihonage, etc." and instead opted for kata-otoshi, koshis for attack from behind, and iriminage.

-Nick

[Edited by Nick on August 8, 2000 at 11:25am]

George S. Ledyard
08-09-2000, 12:34 AM
My , unfortunately now deceased college friend Albert, told me about an experience from his high school days in Chicago. Albert did Judo and Jiu Jutsu and had received a brown belt at the time. He exited from a local ice cream parlor and, being the urban survivor that he was, immediately noticed that there were two fellows following him. So he threw the ice cream down and started to cook down the block... But as he got to the corner he said to himself "Wait, I've got a brown belt!" So he turned and met the first attacker with a picture perfect koshinage which laid the guy out. Whereupon the other guy hit my friend Albert with a brick and knocked him out.

This is illustrative of the points made by several of the posters here. If you have a number of attackers you have no time for locking techniques. They take too long to apply and generally leave you too commited to that one particular attacker. Only if you can get one of the attackers quite a bit closer to you than the others can you execute a technique like shihonage.

Every technique has a series of beats. A real fight is like music that is playing very fast. Most of the beats are 16th or 32nd notes. The only really reliable techniques for a fighting situation are those that can be executed in one single movement taking one, one and a half or at most two beats. Anything else is too slow. That basically limits you to techniques that come off a direct entry (Irimi). Ikkyo can be done that way, but in a real fight usually the ikkyo is applied as a joint lock to the elbow and functions to take the joint out. A technique that only dumps an attacker without creating some level of dysfunction may be used strictly to buy a little time if the next attacker wasn't giving you enough time for a definitive technique. But really anything that allows an attacker to get back up and take another shot at you is risky and should be used sparingly. Most randori is really a practice of disguised atemi. Each technique should effectively take out one attacker in one beat or two at most.

That said, I don't understand the comments about not being able to do full speed randori in partcice because the techniques are too dangerous. Kihon Waza are specifically designed not to be injurious. You can take a full speed shihonage ukemi as long as the nage places your hand against your shoulder and does not stretch out the arm in the breaking position. All of our techniques are meant to be executed full speed without injury to the partner whether its one attacker or several. Most of the injuries in a randori happen when two attackers collide or one catches a flying heel as another takes a fall.



[Edited by George S. Ledyard on August 8, 2000 at 11:38pm]

smithid
08-09-2000, 03:40 PM
I thank all of you for the fine replies and thoughts you have been so kind to share on this question.

Let me cut to the core, though, as I feel that there is one critical point that has not been addressed.

What happens to randori if you deliberately and consciously drop all locking techniques and restrict yourself to only performing breath throws (kokyu nage, irimi nage, etc.)?

I am already experimenting with this and am finding that street speed randori is coming into my reach. (Now if I can just recover from this #$%&* knee injury!).

When locking techniques and atemis are added, this breaks up the flow and seems to slow things down.

I believe this is what Ota Sensei may be doing. (I am waiting for his reply to my email. I have already spoken some two months ago to himby telephone).

However, if this adaptation proves true it could provide a special dimension to Aikido practice which I suspect would be quite welcome.

To be blunt, if we can do Aikido throws at full speed, it would extend the sphere of Aikido to include street realistic training which would actually be superior to purely striking approaches.

Why? Because you just can't do striking in practice as you would do on the street. If you wear protective equipment, the effect of the strike is not the same and if you don't wear equipment you must pull the atemis to not injure your uke. It is just not the same. It can't be. And this has been a problem with martial arts in general for as long as I am aware.

But if indeed we can use full speed movements in practicing Aikido (by excluding locks and atemis) then we can practice what would happen in a street situation in the dojo with no compromise.

I see nothing wrong in practising locks and strikes. I have done them for many years and in several other arts as well as Aikido. (I am not young). I am not intending to "challenge" any other art nor the practise of Aikido by any school or stylist.

All I'm wondering is if by concentrating on aiki nages alone, what seems to be true IS true in the experience of others as well - that FULL speed Aikido without serious injury becomes the norm AND becomes therefore truly EFFECTIVE street defence. This is what I understand Ota Sensei claims to be doing.

If so, then we see the fulfillment of what I believe to be O'Sensei's dream of a non-violent and effective martial art which can be fully practised in all circumstances.

One writer intelligently pointed out the context of the street set up, such as when someone sucker punches a person or, I might add, distracts them verbally while another attacker blindsides the intended victim.

In such (common) street cases, the predominant reflex will be the response of the nage. If that nage responds from the reflexes of practising full speed Aikido aiki nages in full speed randori, then the nage MAY slip the attack and do just fine. I want to see if the ukes can be unleashed to perform ANY attacks they wish eventually.

The difference is more than just one of preference in how to train for self defense in general. Again, as I see it, ALL current common approaches to self defense MUST compromise in practise what they intend for the street. In this sense, one writer was most accurate in stating that the dojo is not the street.

But if these ideas are valid (and I am trying to test them currently) then the dojo CAN duplicate the street and without compromising basic Aikido principles or ethics!

THAT I find to be a very exciting idea.

Again, I deeply appreciate the exchange of ideas here. I hope I have clarified my intention. I am VERY willing to be proven incorrect but I hope that this is actually a valid idea.

Thanks again,

George Smith

Chuck Clark
08-09-2000, 04:41 PM
Mr. Smith,

The sort of training you're talking about has been done in the Jiyushinkai for many years by advanced people. We feel that sandan level is the beginning stage for this type of training and by the time yondan is achieved, the budoka must feel confident with speed and power.

To attack and make waza with a high degree of speed and force takes highly skilled budoka who have achieved a state of "not caring who wins" and who train with very strong levels of trust.

There are many things to consider when attempting this training. It is dangerous and we must remember that the energy put into the mix has to be dealt with by very good ukemi.

I don't know what Ota san is doing so I can't compare. I do know that it's very "juicy" and a little bit goes a long way!

Regards,

jim ludwig
11-30-2009, 04:05 PM
George: What comes up for me is nearly the opposite concern that you have voiced: Instead of worrying that full speed will hurt uke, my concern is that in a dojo, uke's attacks simply are not realistic enough. A skilled real attacker will not waltz in like a zombie and give his center to you, which is what we tend to do in conventional dojo practice. My experience has been that at higher speeds, along with a higher degree of "sincerity" from uke, most aikido techniques don't work most of the time. Uke just pulls out of them.

(I did one such session with a friend on the mat, after everyone had left. As uke I brought my full intelligence, and though he was a nidan while I was a second qu, again and again I was able to extend out of his usual aikido techniques.

There was one exception, which I should report. While going truly at full speed, he did catch me unaware on a kotogaishe (sp?). It was very similar to a sucker punch in that I just didn't see it coming.
He took me down hard, in a high fall. On the mat it was a great experience, though on the street it would definitely not have been in uke's interest. :) But my main point is that for that one time of success, there must have been at least 20 failures.)

So to me, speed is just one variable to take into account with regard to realism, while the sincerity/competence of uke is another. We might go so far as to say that uke can show up at one of three different levels:

Level 1: Zombie walks in and virtually throws himself.

Level2: Uke walks in and will allow you to take his center if you are skilled enough to do so.

Level 3: Uke comes in mindful of protecting his center. If you take it, he will strive instantly to move so as to regain his center. To throw him you have to take his center and keep adjusting to his adjustments. And uke's center is floating rather than locked so you don't know exactly where and when he will be....

My experience is that most dojos limit themselves to Levels 1 and Level 2, and to me, this represents a weakness in training that goes beyond the speed issue. What will happen to the typical student, regardless of years of training, when in the street he makes his move, expecting uke to happily comply,only to find that uke makes an adjustment and the aikido technique fails? What price will we pay for years of protecting our egos? : )

In his Attackproof book, John Perkins makes a passing reference to this. The way he languages it is that it is imperative to train with an "uncooperative" uke from the beginning in order to truly develop the grace necessary to deal with a street attack.

My sense is that Perkins is right, and for me, this trumps a concern regarding the speed (alone) of the training. To me, the challenge is to simulate an intelligent degree of "non-cooperativeness" while still guarding against undue risk of injury.... Jim

Dan O'Day
11-30-2009, 08:55 PM
We regularly practice a "walking" randori in the dojo where I train. I have found this to be very helpful.

Ironically, at first it seemed, the high speed randoris were much easier. I don't feel an irony with that anymore. High speed attackers are much more prone to being thrown - directed along their way - simply due to their enertia.

The slow speed practice remains a difficult but rewarding study for me. To focus on a blend and the subtleties of directing uke(s) as they move toward nagi....wow, that is very cool stuff.

And for me, a relative newcomer to the art, the walking randori continually helps me learn to respond versus react to the attack ( conflict ).

The street stuff...though I enjoy reading what folks have to say, I'm not particularly interested in discussing/debating it. It seems pretty straightforward to me. Aikido training will improve my response to any street incident.

JO
11-30-2009, 09:42 PM
Wow, talk about reviving an ancient thread. Before today, the last post dates back to when this shodan was a 5th kyu.

I have often thought, and continue to think that a lot of the criticisms of aikido training can be mostly addressed by increasing the intensity and decreasing the pre-planned nature of ukemi, at least some of the time. Interestingly, my last two classes were n this direction. One was a free practice on Friday where I spent half an hour with a partner with each of us refusing to give away our centers. Not many clean techniques, and not working towards speed or ultra intensity, but I was drained by the end and it may me focus a lot about maintaining my own posture, keeping myself in a safe position and in the importance as nage of not getting sucked into a game of tussling (aka, bad judo). This is aikido, don't fight; enter! cut!

Tonight we did multiple attacker randori where our instructor asked the attackers to actually gang up on uke and try to drag him down. Again, this wasn't at ultra high, we're out to kill you, intensity. But in this case, the speed was greater than usual for our training. A good lesson in humility for all of us, and again, a lot to think about.

I would never have all or even most training be of this type. But I don't think it is possible to maintain aikido as a martial art without exploring in these types of directions on a regular basis.

Everybody, at all levels, find partners you trust and mix it up once in a while!

mickeygelum
11-30-2009, 11:06 PM
You can take a full speed shihonage ukemi as long as the nage places your hand against your shoulder and does not stretch out the arm in the breaking position.

Then you are not properly executing shihonage.

ChrisHein
12-01-2009, 12:34 AM
We practice as hard and fast a randori as I've seen at any other school.

We have very few injuries (knock wood). We practice all common Aikido techniques, including shihonage and everything in the kyo waza.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGJCl6IS_xQ

jss
12-01-2009, 01:20 AM
Then you are not properly executing shihonage.
Why not? Is there a substantial flaw in doing it like that? Or is it just not the way it should be done in aikido?

dalen7
12-01-2009, 03:44 AM
Why? Because you just can't do striking in practice as you would do on the street. If you wear protective equipment, the effect of the strike is not the same and if you don't wear equipment you must pull the atemis to not injure your uke. It is just not the same. It can't be. And this has been a problem with martial arts in general for as long as I am aware.

But if indeed we can use full speed movements in practicing Aikido (by excluding locks and atemis) then we can practice what would happen in a street situation in the dojo with no compromise.

Personally locks are my favorites, as they represent what actually have the potential of working in Aikido. ;)
[Im thinking more of one on one fights that may arise due to various circumstances. Honestly I haven't made it up to the full-scale multi-attack yet. Im of the mind of just walking away.] :)

As for atemi with equipment not being the same, dunno.
There is the tendency to think that protective equipment dulls all pain. The fact is that as a younger person where this may seem to be the case, as one grows older and perhaps gets out of shape, any sustained beating, with or without protective equipment, will get to you.

The guys who are in the ring who make it look so easy have had their bodies adjusted turned into virtual punching bags... much like the guys who punch their hands into rice so that when they strike someone with their fist it doesnt cut open on the bridge of someones nose.

So I would say dont discount MMA gloves [they are pretty thin anyway, I would tend to go with the MMA sparring gloves which are a bit thicker but let you try out your Aikido techniques.]

Personally, atemi and Aikido are one in the same.
There was a point in my training at the beginning where I thought a conflict could be resolved with a magic pin or throw that didnt hurt uke. - but truth is, the harder the attack, the harder the fall.

If the guy is centered, how do you take that center... probably going to be a knee to the chest, and elbow strike to the face. [wouldnt really recommend the elbow strikes even with head-gear.]

Truth is, there is a magic bullet, and that is staying center and not getting involved in the conflict.

Similar to you, I want to take my Aikido to the next level - as I have mentioned in another thread, I would like to mix my Aikido with Thai Boxing.

What I have found is that my body is not in the shape currently to jump in with a Thai boxer for training. [not as springy as I was a decade or so ago... working on that.] ;)

Once Im able to better condition my body, and I am able to get MMA gloves, I believe I will have some fun with it. - until then I can go through simulations of course, the typical Aikido hypothetical scenarios, etc.

But as someone pointed out, Aikido does seem to be stuck where the Uke doesnt try to regain his center to keep Tori on his toes... granted, there is no reason this shouldnt happen, and though not necessary, something that a live training with protective equipment could assist with.

As another poster pointed out, its around Sandan, etc. when you can really start flowing from one technique to another, and going for it. I feel this is way to long. This is something that should be nailed down in the upper kyu levels - and in truth should be addressed at the lower kyus.

The structure, methodology, of how Aikido is taught seems to be the issue and its one of those things you have to figure out on your own. That is why I mentioned it would be good just to give everyone in the dojo some gloves and let them go for it.

Often certain fundamental concepts just seem to be falling through the cracks, and people hang around at a basic understanding for a long time. [I take that back, they get it, but they cant demonstrate it as they dont get it... get it?] ;)

Its been said before, sometimes, you just got to feel it.
Many people are in delusion as to what would work or not work, when in a real situation they would probably fall at the first strike cause they are out of shape. [first question is, "Rocky can you go the distance"] :D

... and I will add, I believe Aikido [for me] is learning how not to get into a situation where a fight could happen.
This really could be expounded on, and is worthy of contemplation - as this is the ultimate solution.

The rest is for sport and show. ;)

Anyway - I have babbled on enough, and I probably have made a great example of someone who is unable to communicate exactly what it is Im thinking concerning this. lol

Peace

dAlen

DonMagee
12-01-2009, 07:27 AM
I've spent the last few months boxing. I can say that wearing headgear and getting hit in the face with a boxing gloved fist hurts just about as bad as a ungloved fist. The difference is I'm not getting cut or my nose broken.

It still jolts my head back, forces me to close my eyes, takes my balance, knocks my block off, etc.

That said, I've always believed the best type of self defense training is one where your attackers have a well defined goal. Tell 3 ukes to do whatever it takes to tackle you to the ground and hold you there. It will be 100% different then any normal randori you have ever performed.

In jiujitsu we do a drill where we put one guy in the middle. Everyone walks in a circle around the edge of the mat. The coach touches each person as they walk by him. If he squeezes your arm, then you can attack the person in the middle (attempt to take him to the ground) anytime you want at full force before you reach the coach again. The person in the middle can use any of his training to defend this. As the person continues to succeed, then the coach will tag two, three, sometimes even four guys. Whatever it takes until the nage eventually fails. You can't "win" this form of randori, all you can do is hope to survive until the coach yells time.

I remember the first time I tried it. I had no problem dealing with the first guy. Then as he was keeping the pressure on me, a guy I didn't even see can behind me and football tackled my legs right out from under me and I basically did a backflip and landed on my belly. It was a huge eye opener for me. The game changes massively when your ukes are not just trying to give you an attack, but actually trying to succeed at a goal.

Maarten De Queecker
12-01-2009, 09:19 AM
George: What comes up for me is nearly the opposite concern that you have voiced: Instead of worrying that full speed will hurt uke, my concern is that in a dojo, uke's attacks simply are not realistic enough. A skilled real attacker will not waltz in like a zombie and give his center to you, which is what we tend to do in conventional dojo practice. My experience has been that at higher speeds, along with a higher degree of "sincerity" from uke, most aikido techniques don't work most of the time. Uke just pulls out of them.

(I did one such session with a friend on the mat, after everyone had left. As uke I brought my full intelligence, and though he was a nidan while I was a second qu, again and again I was able to extend out of his usual aikido techniques.

There was one exception, which I should report. While going truly at full speed, he did catch me unaware on a kotogaishe (sp?). It was very similar to a sucker punch in that I just didn't see it coming.
He took me down hard, in a high fall. On the mat it was a great experience, though on the street it would definitely not have been in uke's interest. :) But my main point is that for that one time of success, there must have been at least 20 failures.)

So to me, speed is just one variable to take into account with regard to realism, while the sincerity/competence of uke is another. We might go so far as to say that uke can show up at one of three different levels:

Level 1: Zombie walks in and virtually throws himself.

Level2: Uke walks in and will allow you to take his center if you are skilled enough to do so.

Level 3: Uke comes in mindful of protecting his center. If you take it, he will strive instantly to move so as to regain his center. To throw him you have to take his center and keep adjusting to his adjustments. And uke's center is floating rather than locked so you don't know exactly where and when he will be....

My experience is that most dojos limit themselves to Levels 1 and Level 2, and to me, this represents a weakness in training that goes beyond the speed issue. What will happen to the typical student, regardless of years of training, when in the street he makes his move, expecting uke to happily comply,only to find that uke makes an adjustment and the aikido technique fails? What price will we pay for years of protecting our egos? : )

In his Attackproof book, John Perkins makes a passing reference to this. The way he languages it is that it is imperative to train with an "uncooperative" uke from the beginning in order to truly develop the grace necessary to deal with a street attack.

My sense is that Perkins is right, and for me, this trumps a concern regarding the speed (alone) of the training. To me, the challenge is to simulate an intelligent degree of "non-cooperativeness" while still guarding against undue risk of injury.... Jim

You do realize you just resurrected a 9-year old topic, right?

Victoria Pitt
12-01-2009, 10:44 AM
You do realize you just resurrected a 9-year old topic, right?

Zombies are the new Vampires.

mickeygelum
12-01-2009, 10:48 AM
Why not? Is there a substantial flaw in doing it like that? Or is it just not the way it should be done in aikido?

The biomechanics are flawed. You do not have to cause the joint destructions, but you still have to maintain the broken posture.

A well verse judoka, or BJJ practicioner, will draw you in and use that to take your posture.

Train well,

Mickey

mickeygelum
12-01-2009, 10:54 AM
Zombies are the new Vampires.

Vampires know how to party and dress, Zombies eat alot and have intense BO...:D

Conrad Gus
12-01-2009, 01:24 PM
FWIW, I had an interesting discussion on this very topic with my Sensei. His point of view was that at full speed, it is unrealistic to apply shihonage, etc. to attackers.

The purpose of training techniques is to learn the principles of aikido which can then be applied spontaneously to any situation. Sure, nikkyo might come up, but it is more likely to be something spontaneous that does not look like an exact technique. (Takemusu)

The training that we do daily on the mat is designed to ingrain these principles into our natural movement. What happens when you go full speed with people that actually try to hurt you will depend on how sincerely you trained.

I think it is not necessary to exactly simulate the conditions for which you are ultimately attempting to train. It's quite impossible, when you think about it.

Walter Martindale
12-01-2009, 01:38 PM
Wow. That is an old thread.
Couple of comments. One sensei had a session where the ikkyo was such a sudden trip to the ground that uke (me) didn't really know what happened. Another sensei likened the slower (grading style) kihon ikkyo to using uke's head like a push broom.
A shihan (Kawahara) at a seminar once told us that "mukashi" (in the old days) ikkyo was finished by pinning the elbow and lifting the hand... Not nice, either way. Jun's comments from 2000 match up with my dojo sensei (in Regina SK in the 90s) showing us a rather brutal and sudden ikkyo that involved a bit of movement and a spiraling cut with tegatana. splat - huh? what happened?
Walter

dalen7
12-01-2009, 03:37 PM
Wow. That is an old thread.
Dude, totally missed the date - it is indeed quite old. :D

- dAlen

Aikibu
12-02-2009, 02:25 AM
I've spent the last few months boxing. I can say that wearing headgear and getting hit in the face with a boxing gloved fist hurts just about as bad as a ungloved fist. The difference is I'm not getting cut or my nose broken.

It still jolts my head back, forces me to close my eyes, takes my balance, knocks my block off, etc.

That said, I've always believed the best type of self defense training is one where your attackers have a well defined goal. Tell 3 ukes to do whatever it takes to tackle you to the ground and hold you there. It will be 100% different then any normal randori you have ever performed.

In jiujitsu we do a drill where we put one guy in the middle. Everyone walks in a circle around the edge of the mat. The coach touches each person as they walk by him. If he squeezes your arm, then you can attack the person in the middle (attempt to take him to the ground) anytime you want at full force before you reach the coach again. The person in the middle can use any of his training to defend this. As the person continues to succeed, then the coach will tag two, three, sometimes even four guys. Whatever it takes until the nage eventually fails. You can't "win" this form of randori, all you can do is hope to survive until the coach yells time.

I remember the first time I tried it. I had no problem dealing with the first guy. Then as he was keeping the pressure on me, a guy I didn't even see can behind me and football tackled my legs right out from under me and I basically did a backflip and landed on my belly. It was a huge eye opener for me. The game changes massively when your ukes are not just trying to give you an attack, but actually trying to succeed at a goal.

Excellent training paradigm for Randori and it brings up another point...Multiple Attackers often work together to achieve that goal These coordinated attacks are rarely featured in most Aikido Randori...

WIlliam Hazen

Daniel Alexander
12-28-2009, 12:24 AM
In the street and in the dojo both may happen: a punch may be thrown, or a kick, or maybe a grab or a choke. The difference is this: intent. Much has been said about nages and their responses. However, and uke in a dojo will not come at you like someone in the street. An attacker in the street intends to injure, maim, kill, sexually assault, etc. If when uke comes with a strike you can put your hands down and receive the blow, followed up by a kick to the groin and a stomp on the head once you are down, the the street is being approximated. The energy of malicious intent can't be manufactured or reproduced. Therefore, we have the opportunity when in the street to practice discretion, alertness and compassion and when that assault comes it will be a whole different animal. We all must walk in the street and will prosper if we can do that with the same respect as in the dojo.