View Full Version : Is sloppy technique still effective?

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05-06-2002, 07:40 AM
I have been training nearly 7 months. I know a lot of technique now but I don't feel much power or blending with my technique. I'm still unbalanced and not bending my knees -- a bad habit I'm still trying to shake. If an occasion came up that I needed to use my skills to defend myself, would my limited ability still be effective? Or if I used a technique and bungled it up mid-way (I'm doing shihonage and oops! the hand slips out of my grip) in a real situation?

Tim Griffiths
05-06-2002, 08:40 AM
Hi Jaxon,

Any technique is effecive on someone. In the dojo, you may find that you can throw newbies easily, and have much more trouble with dan grades. The same is true of Real Life (tm) - there will be people you can do particular things to and people you can't, at almost every level of aikido proficiency.

Aikido teaches two things as regards self defense. One is techniques, which you're thinking of, and the other is composed of calmness, being centered, alertness etc. These latter skills will help you much more in a fight than good technique. If you fixate on doing a technique, then if it goes wrong (which it very often might - think about how beginners in the dojo respond to their first shihonage) you'll try to force it to happen. Ultimately, you don't 'do' techniques in real live - you move, and techniques happen naturally. If they stop working halfway through, something else arises to take its place. This is also true in practice - trying to force a technique to work when its gone wrong is not good aikido (although we often need to train this way to understand why the technique went wrong).

An old teacher of mine told me that he was once mugged in a park in Glasgow by two men. One threw a punch, and my teacher automatically moved out the way (irimi) and at that point 'saw' the inherent ikkyo in the arm of the attacker. He took the arm in ikkyo, tripped up over a tree root, and got the stuffing kicked out of him and a couple of cracked ribs. However, this idea of seeing the possibilities in uke stayed with him, and much of his teaching was based on this.

Getting back to what you said - if a technique goes wrong, do something else. Use the same principles of standing in a safe place and, controlling your attacker's balance that you do in the dojo. To be honest, after 7 months aikido training almost all your techniques will suck. Don't try to use them. What can save your butt is movement. Irimi, tenkan, back step etc out of danger, then hit 'em, grab their head, or whatever.

Remember - aikido techniques are the best way to protect both yourself and your attacker. Sometimes we're just not skilled enough to be able to protect both people, and unfortunately (for them) your safety comes before theirs.


05-06-2002, 09:59 AM
Wow, Thanks.

Doug Pichen
05-06-2002, 12:58 PM
Knowing where one’s flaws are within a move is crucial in correcting them. The idea is to improve upon your weaknesses while in the dojo. I have been doing Daito Ryu Aikibudo Jujutsu for about 10 years, and there are a lot of times when I think I have the move 100% down. Of course my Sensei never fails to prove me wrong.

Sometimes after we have done the move the same way for 2 or 3 years. (When the movement has sunk in to the level of habit.) Our Sensei will simply change the dynamics of how we move. When he does this you basically get to learn the same move all over again, and re-examine your flaws. :D

There are some moves that will be natural to you, and others that you will have to work at a lot. Our Sensei has told us that we need to do our own Aikido, and not copy him. In other words learn all the moves he shows you, but master the ones that you are most comfortable with. Not that I can’t, but I am 6’8” and doing shihonage on someone 5’4” isn’t exactly my first choice. You have 7 months under your belt it takes time. Know your limitations.

05-06-2002, 01:58 PM
You can always try at your own risk:)
I heard a story about a 6th kyu who was being mugged and then started to do ikkyo as slowly as in dojo but it worked on the big attacker 'cause he didn't wait for that kind of move. Anyway. A sloppy technique MIGHT work BUT try training that skill that when the technique gets sloppy - you feel the arm slipping or uke resisting - back off or hit 'em. You have to be one step ahead of them from the moment you begin to counter. Only then you may be successful. And the most important thing you MUST NOT DOUBT in what you do. There is no time for doing something then doubting if it was right and then doing something else.

Estonian Aikikai
Riveta Sportsclub

05-06-2002, 03:39 PM
If you have not been in a fight ever in your life, you're going to be in for a big surprise when the real thing happens.