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Andrew Macdonald
04-25-2010, 11:37 PM
Hi everyone

I would like to know everybody's opinions on the striking that is practiced in aikido

I have been given many different ideas by different people. follow through is a constant in all of them but there seems to be some change as to how to follow through

the other day i was told that a shomen uchi should follow through and almost hit the floor if there is no nage, similar with yokomen uchi, it seems that I am asked ot follow through to an unreasonable level

I have a back ground in Karate and other striking arts, a lot of the things i am told in Aikido about striking go against what i would do as a puncher

has anybody else come across this, or train differently?

ChrisHein
04-26-2010, 12:11 AM
They are simply trying to get people to not strike the surface. Probably a little overzealous, but I would suspect that is the goal.

The best advice anyone can give you about Aikido striking is: make sure you have something in your hand when you are doing it!

Amassus
04-26-2010, 02:41 AM
the other day i was told that a shomen uchi should follow through and almost hit the floor if there is no nage, similar with yokomen uchi, it seems that I am asked ot follow through to an unreasonable level


That does seem a bit much. I think the key is to strike with sincerity. You have a background in karate so this won't be too much of a problem for you I take it?
I teach a teenagers class and one of my best uke is a young man from a karate background. If I don't move his punch will connect. It doesn't have to be fast, but true. He remains on balance through the whole attack and it is up to me to lead him towards imbalance and apply technique.

Have fun training.

Dean.

SeiserL
04-26-2010, 05:47 AM
IMHO, I think that in the old days most people already had belts in striking arts when they started Aikido so it wasn't part of the curriculum.

In many schools it still isn't.

As an old boxer, I tend not to give up balance. But since Aikido came from sword work, I at least extend through the body lines or limits.

Each school may be different, so its only respectful (and flexible) to strike the way the dojocho tells you when training on the mat.

This is one of the criticisms I often hear about Aikido, that we don't know how to strike. IMHO, they are accurate.

Shadowfax
04-26-2010, 07:22 AM
If you think of shomenuchi as a sword cut and you think of your hand blade as the sword blade... then to me it would make complete sense for the strike to continue in an arc all the way to the floor. Not that it is practical to follow through that way if you are attacking with open hands but keeping in mind that your hand is a figurative sword and striking as if it is one would help to make your strike much more solid, real. The energy of the strike should continue all the way to the floor, you don't necessarily need to follow that physically but the intention should be there.

At least that's how I understand the concept. Now if I can just put it into practice.

Carsten Möllering
04-26-2010, 08:11 AM
the other day i was told that a shomen uchi should follow through and almost hit the floor if there is no nage, similar with yokomen uchi,
...
has anybody else come across this, or train differently?

We do it the other way round:
In our training it is "forbidden" to strike / to cut through as if you would hit the floor.
Our attack should stop at the head of nage. Maybe some centimeters behind the surface.
We don't cut through nage but hit him. That is different.

This is best demonstrated with yokomen uchi: We set apart yokomen uchi (hitting) from kesa giri (cutting through).

If you think of shomenuchi as a sword cut and you think of your hand blade as the sword blade... then to me it would make complete sense for the strike to continue in an arc all the way to the floor.
The same, when we do kenjutsu or aikiken:
The sword never cuts to the floor. Even when doing shomen uchi suburi the sword stops in seigan kamae.
When doin shomen uchi or yokomen uchi it cuts the head. (Or neck.)
When doing kesa giri it cuts the body. But even here not to the floor but from shoulder to the hips.

So shomen uchi an yokomen uchi is not only a downward cut. But also a foreward movement.

That's the way we practice ...

Carsten

Shadowfax
04-26-2010, 08:48 AM
Thanks for the clarification. Could you explain the reason, in the sword work, that you would not continue all the way through?

Mark Peckett
04-26-2010, 09:30 AM
In order that nage can practise defence against a strike, uke's attack has to be committed, which is to say, striking through nage; but if it is so committed that it travelled all the way through to the floor uke would be so unbalanced s/he would need to receive any technique at all to fall over.

I'm sure the truth of the matter is that the attack should be somewhere between the two.

Chuck Clark
04-26-2010, 09:41 AM
Intention, Intention, Intention !

ruthmc
04-26-2010, 10:07 AM
In order that nage can practise defence against a strike, uke's attack has to be committed, which is to say, striking through nage; but if it is so committed that it travelled all the way through to the floor uke would be so unbalanced s/he would need to receive any technique at all to fall over.

:D I did that when I was 6th kyu - the 1st kyu student I was attacking with mune tsuki just stepped offline and slightly backwards and I fell flat on my face without him touching me :o

That taught me a great lesson, once I got over the embarassment ;)

Ruth

John Matsushima
04-26-2010, 10:12 AM
In my opinion, a strike is a strike is a strike. As long as it connects, it is a strike. Sometimes when people don't know how to take your balance, they tell you to over extend your strike, which is wrong.
I think the proper direction is important. For example, if I am practicing shomen-uchi irimi-nage, and you come at me with a wide yokomen, then I won't be able to do it properly.

I understand the argument that people in Aikido don't know how to strike, and should thus be trained; however I don't want to train myself to react only to the same trained attacks. I think there is a lot to be learned by dealing with attacks when you don't know what you are going to get.

I'm sure many of you have seen this before, but I never get tired of watching it....here is Jim Carey teaching martial arts....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_vvI26NnwE

"Like a lot of beginner students...you attacked me WRONG!" lol!!!!
:D

RED
04-26-2010, 10:22 AM
I think every technique has atemi, whether you take advantage of it or not. I think atemi is vital for getting uke going where you need them in many cases.
I don't think strikes should ever break the motion of the technique however. Like, I've seen people run up to uke, knee them in the crotch then throw them. It is too brass IMO. I like strikes that rise up from and blend perfectly into the technique.

Lyle Laizure
04-26-2010, 10:27 AM
A commited attack is necesary to apply Aikido techniques. Well, not always, but it is very helpful. When you don't have a commited attack you have to "encourage" your attacker with atemi of some sort.

RED
04-26-2010, 10:40 AM
A commited attack is necesary to apply Aikido techniques. Well, not always, but it is very helpful. When you don't have a commited attack you have to "encourage" your attacker with atemi of some sort.

I actually don't agree that a committed attack is necessary.

I remember about 6 months ago: I had trained with a few uchi deshi from NY Aikikai. If you didn't give the energy they needed, they knew what to do to extract what they needed from you, regardless of your level of participation. It didn't necessarily require atemi either.
That was at least the best example I had experienced as of yet of intuitive defense technique. It has really become something I've subscribed to and am working on.

Chuck Clark
04-26-2010, 02:20 PM
There are many different "ways" to be "committed" in movement. A fairly decent level of skill and understanding of target, distance, and timing will enable tori to "take" the uke, no matter what... as stated above, intention is the crux of the deal... what is your intent as uke when you try to "take" the aite?

Walter Martindale
04-26-2010, 02:54 PM
Somewhere, you have to come up with 100% to do a full technique. If uke comes with 90%, you add 10. If uke comes with 10%, you have to add the remaining 90. If uke comes in with 100%, you don't have to do very much at all.

That said - I disagree that shomen with a sword should go to the floor - any time we've been training suburi with bokken there has been severe criticism when the tip of the blade went below the level of the handle - the wrists lose their integrity. Yes, you want to cut/punch/whatever through the target, but not in such a way that you lose control of your cut/thrust... e.g., In tsuki attacks, I try to hit the nage's spine with my fist - his/her spine usually isn't there when I get there, and if he or she isn't moving off line I "pull" the punch. Even with jabs (I'm not a boxer but I think I understand the concept) I think the punch should be aimed at somewhere deeper than the tip of the nose - say - an inch or so inside the cheek?
W
I think I think, therefore I think I am. (not quite Descartes)

RED
04-26-2010, 03:14 PM
I agree shomen should not go to the floor. That is bad sword technique. Nor should to swing shomen so erratically that you are "thrown " by your own swing. Uke should be centered as they strike and they should have the ability to control their own motion. Uke is equally a martial artist to nage.

Ron Tisdale
04-26-2010, 03:22 PM
Thanks for the clarification. Could you explain the reason, in the sword work, that you would not continue all the way through?

Pointy end goes in the other guy...not in the wall next to him, not in the floor. Always, in the other guy. If its not in him, it should be between you and him. Otherwise...why use a sword?

Best,
Ron

Shadowfax
04-26-2010, 03:31 PM
That said - I disagree that shomen with a sword should go to the floor - any time we've been training suburi with bokken there has been severe criticism when the tip of the blade went below the level of the handle - the wrists lose their integrity. Yes, you want to cut/punch/whatever through the target, but not in such a way that you lose control of your cut/thrust..

Thank you Walter ... this makes sense to me.

Pointy end goes in the other guy...not in the wall next to him, not in the floor. Always, in the other guy. If its not in him, it should be between you and him. Otherwise...why use a sword?

Yes that I kinda understand. makes perfect sense.... but say pointy end indeed goes in the other guy... then through the other guy... then comes out the other side... then what? Hmm?

I mean if this were never the case there would be no such qualifications as a 5 body katana.

If I were ... and trust me I have no illusions or fantasies that I ever want or will be....in an actual fight and wielding a katana would I realistically stop at eye level or would I do my darnedest to cleave the guy in two?

lbb
04-26-2010, 03:35 PM
Otherwise...why use a sword?

...cuz it looks cool?

RED
04-26-2010, 07:53 PM
...cuz it looks cool?

:cool:
I 2nd that!

Aiki1
04-26-2010, 09:35 PM
Somewhere, you have to come up with 100% to do a full technique. If uke comes with 90%, you add 10. If uke comes with 10%, you have to add the remaining 90. If uke comes in with 100%, you don't have to do very much at all.

I'm with Chuck here (or at least my interpretation of what he wrote), in the "no matter what" department. For me, whatever Uke "comes in with" is 100 percent in the moment, be it "a lot" or "a little." It takes more experience to deal with a less physically-committed attack, but in the end, it's all the same.

Andrew Macdonald
04-27-2010, 12:34 AM
Thanks for all the responses

I like to put in good hard strikes in but some times the amount that i am corrected so that the nage can do his stuff (when i am traveling around dojos, thankfully not where i train) really messes me up. i think this happens more on yokomenuchi more than other techniques

Rabih Shanshiry
04-27-2010, 05:49 PM
I recently watched the "Principles of Aiki" DVD by Ledyard Sensei. He had a really good segment on strikes and how they should be delivered in training.

He used shomen uchi as an example: according to Ledyard Sensei, strikes should be delivered with full force/speed but aimed at the surface of the target.

Full force/speed so that sh'te can learn how to deal with the energy of a real attack. Aimed at the surface of the target (instead of through it like a real strike) so that uke does not injure his partner in case sh'te is unable to neutralize the attack properly.

There seemed to be a lot of value in this method.

Logan Heinrichs
04-27-2010, 07:10 PM
IMO, stopping on the surface is a great way to learn the technique. My question is: at what point do you go beyond learning the technique and focus on "mastering" it? Once you have learned a technique you eventually need to practice it against a committed attack that has the intention to hit and possibly hurt you. I think for a lot of Aikidoka this can be scary and intimidating. But if you are practicing Aikido as a martial art, then that is how it needs to be practiced. In the classes that I teach I tell my students that if Nage gets hit, it is his/her own fault. I don't intend to make it sound like we all beat each other up, but at the same time there has to (eventually) be an element of realism in the attacks if we expect to be able to defend against them.

A little back to the subject, I believe there are Aikidoists out there who have a hard time taking uke's balance, and find it much easier to do techniques when the attacks are done off balance. Therefore, those ukes are taught to attack off balance for the sake of the aikido technique.I try to teach my students that after the attack (assuming there isn't a technique being done to them) they should have their balance/posture and be ready for ukemi or defense. This is similar to any other striking martial art.

Your thoughts?

Logan

Abasan
04-27-2010, 09:31 PM
Rabih and Logan, you bring up 2 very good points.
1. How to train
2. How to go beyond the comfort zone

No 1 is just a great way to train in the dojo. It reflects the general community that makes up a dojo. Realistically, this comprises martial artists, hobbyist, health and fitness individuals, students and the like. The % of budoka and fighters might be small. Thus a method which simulates strikes but takes away most of the danger would be the best way to proceed.

No 2. For some though, they learn Aikido not as a past time but as something that they will inculcate in their lives. Be it for self defence, a tool or etc. To them, simulations are great, but what about the real thing. So other than going out and looking for opportunities to use it, you can also simulate 'reality' in the dojo. By upping the ante, you ask committed strikes that should hurt if you fail to apply. You also have a checklist. This checklist eliminates stages of the 'reality' that you do not wish to partake i.e. strikes that can permanently disable, fight to kill, lethal weapons, verbal abuse, sans tatami mats, and the like. In any case, simulation training increases proficiency and maintains the lifespan of the trainee as opposed to real training.

In any case, preconceived striking and its follow through are still ritualised. Haymakers, blindside strikes, grappling, hands not free, distracted situations are reality...

Finally, the objective of training must be clear from the get go. If the question has always been, can I really use Aikido when push comes to shove, no amount of simulation (reality or otherwise) in the dojo will convince you. The day you finally use it out there is the day you will find out yourself. There are no buts.

Carsten Möllering
04-29-2010, 05:38 AM
Thanks for the clarification. Could you explain the reason, in the sword work, that you would not continue all the way through?

Like Ron wrote: The sword should always stay in a position which leeves no openings.
And the cut of the sword isn't a downward cut. The sword moves towards the attacker. Not towards the ground.

So when doing shomen uchi subiri its not me who stops the sword. But the sword just stops at a position near seigan kamea.

Greetings,
Carsten

sakumeikan
04-29-2010, 07:00 AM
The main thing about any cutting /striking /thrusting motion in Aikido is to give a sincere attack.In order to practice with safety you have to tailor your attack to suit the situation. An attack on a Shihan obviously can be applied with more rigour than one applied to a 6th Kyu.Its a case of using ones common sense.
The attack while being sincere should be made in a manner that utilises the total power of the body not simply using individual parts. Maintaining ones own posture while making atemi of course is a prerequisite.No point n striking anyone if you yourself are off balance .
As far as dealing with fast /slow /soft /hard punches etc as long as you use correct timing and blend with your partner there should be no problem.You either use SenSen no Sen , Sen no Sen or Go no Sen principles.Applying these three timings allows you to deal with the situation at hand.