PDA

View Full Version : Effectiveness is the key to obtaining the other aspects of Aikido.


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


dps
12-20-2010, 03:58 AM
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/newreply.php?do=newreply&p=270503

Of course Aikido would be lots more "effective" with more use of atemi. That's a total no brainer... But is that the point of your training? Is effectiveness the goal?...

Yes.

Effectiveness is the key to obtaining the other aspects of Aikido.

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

"[Ueshiba] started with easy techniques using two of his students. Even for an untrained eye, it was clear that he moved very softly... However, in the meantime his students attack him with all their might and still tumble down in a shower of attacks (atemi) to their vital points.
In short his art reaches a conclusion before ordinary judo even starts its work. [The Founder] said, 'My technique is 70 percent atemi (striking) and 30 percent nage (throwing).' "

From the book "Budo Training in Aikido" (aka: Budo Renshu/ Aikijujutsu Ogi), written by Ueshiba Morihei - published in 1933. Translation by Larry E. Bieri and Seiko Mabuchi (Minato Research):

pg. 26 - "True Budo is practiced not only to destroy an enemy, it must also make him, or his own will, gladly lose his spirit (seishin) to oppose you."

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/newreply.php?do=newreply&p=63425



This discussion could be resolved fairly easily. Take out the atemi and practice with a partner who has no intention of cooperating.

Saotome Sensei, who had fifteen years training under the Founder, stated that "if you know that your partner will not strike you, then all techniques are stoppable".

All techniques need to be appropriate to the specific energy given by an attacker. If the attacker knows there can be no atemi, he can shift his energy to make the aplication of any technique impossible. Normally, if the nage has moved correctly and is in the proper position doing this would create a suki and leave the attacker "open". But with no atemi the question would be: open for what?

I remember, one of the last times we had this discussion, Goldsbury Sensei corrected those that had maintained that Aikido was 70% or 90% atemi by pointing out that it was, in reality, 100% atemi.

Saotome Sensei taught us that "every throw you do is a strike which you are choosing not to do." In other words, in Aikido practice, atemi can be implicit rather than explicit. What forces an opponent to keep his energy dispersed so that you can apply a given technique is the possibility at any instant that nage can throw an atemi.

If you make some artifial "rule" that there is no atemi then Aikido is simply a dance like contact improvisation (also where there is no atemi). There would simply be no possibility of application of technique against a trained attacker. If you don't believe this then try it out. This isn't mysticism requiring many years of esoteric training. Just get an experienced partner, preferably one who doesn't share your own predisposition, and try it out.

As for some teacher or other banning atemi... I have hundreds of hours of video in my collection. I have video of Koichi Tohei using atemi, Kisshomaru Ueshiba using atemi, O-Sensei using atemi. Perhaps Tohei Sensei decided, for his own reasons to deemphasize the use of atemi in Aikido practice, but it was there in his technique.

Just look at the people whom O-sensei trained directly... certainly no one from the pre-war era maintained there was no atemi in Aikido. Of the post war era teachers some of the most notable would be teachers like Saito Sensei, Nishio sensei, Hikistuchi Sensei, Saotome Sensei, Chiba Sensei, etc. For every one of these men, atemi is an integral part of their Aikido technique. Is anyone out there maintaining that they all got it wrong? Somehow the whole bunch of them failed to understand the Founder and that a particular individual who may have chosen a different path was the only one who did get it right? I am sorry, I just can't buy it. But once again I say, don't take their word for it. Just practice with ukes who will throw combination attacks, who will resist your throws, who will tighten up when you try to apply a lock, or will slip any attept to grab them... then see.

Aikido is 90 per cent atemi and the atemi is done at or before
the instant of contact to unbalance your opponent.

90 per cent of Aikido is done at or before the instant of contact.

To paraphrase a sensei of mine, " They should of called it (Aikido) Kuzushi.

O'Sensei's spiritual / religious/ philosophical Aikido was based on his martial arts training which was by all accounts effective.

dps

Daniel Lloyd
12-20-2010, 07:21 AM
IMHO I totally, 100%, agree with you.

tenshinaikidoka
12-20-2010, 07:34 AM
I too agree. Aikido is a martial art, and its techniques are effect and some can be very lethal. It's derived from a very combat oriented art and retained much of that art (especially pre war Aikido). I don't know why more dojo do not practice atemi more, unless they truly do not know how to properly do it in the first place!!!

jonreading
12-20-2010, 08:47 AM
The percentage changes, but I think the underlying statement is atemi represents the establishment of a connective state at a point preceding the physical contact between uke and nage. I still think Ledyard Sensei's article on the role of atemi best explains that function in great detail.

It does however lead down the road to something that I see more and more in re-interpreting (and re-reading) some of the older interviews and writings of O'Sensei and his senior students. That is, no where did O'Sensei ever truly criticize the previous [martial] experience his students brought with them to the aikdio dojo. In fact, for a period of time it seems he favored students with pre-existing martial compentency. Throw in a training style that clearly focuses on initial movement and some of the things O'Sensei said (as well as his senior students) and you get something like... it doesn't matter what comes next IF you connect with your partner prior to engaging him.

In my mind that begs the question, does contemporary aikido miss the focus of training by offering a psuedo-jujitsu curriculum that focuses neither on jujitsu core training (basic comptetency), nor an "aiki" connective state that precedes each exchange between partners? This is a generalized statement of course; there are individual instructors and dojo who provide competent instruction on both core training and aiki.

Also, it begs the question, would aikido be fundamentally different if Tohei, Tomiki, Mochizuki and other early leaders emphasized striking [techniques] instead of grappling [techniques]? In other words, if we have been training in "aiki" why should the anteceding technique be difficult to alter (arguing of course that the replacement curriculum would necessarily embody the principles of aikido)?

Of course, I would argue that many of us probably do not practice aiki in our everyday class and we are really doing modified jujitsu, possibly poor jujitsu technique. Which is of course why we desperately cling to the established curriculum of aikido...

Cliff Judge
12-20-2010, 09:12 AM
So what's atemi, really?

jonreading
12-20-2010, 10:47 AM
The most concise working explanation I've heard:
http://www.aikieast.com/atemi.htm

Thank you, Ledyard Sensei.

Michael Varin
12-20-2010, 03:22 PM
Great thread!

Jon, I thought you made a wonderful post.

does contemporary aikido miss the focus of training by offering a psuedo-jujitsu curriculum that focuses neither on jujitsu core training (basic comptetency), nor an "aiki" connective state that precedes each exchange between partners?
This is a great question.

would aikido be fundamentally different if Tohei, Tomiki, Mochizuki and other early leaders emphasized striking [techniques] instead of grappling [techniques]? In other words, if we have been training in "aiki" why should the anteceding technique be difficult to alter (arguing of course that the replacement curriculum would necessarily embody the principles of aikido)?This is interesting, also. I wonder if "striking with what?" is part of that question.

There seems to be a lot of confusion out there about jujutsu, aikijujutsu, and aikido. People have begun to twist and contort these terms, and suggest that one may be superior to the other. But it really is nothing more than the recognition that it is possible to engage an opponent before physical contact, and that in a weapons, multiple opponents, ambush environment it is a necessity to do so.

***

This is off topic and nothing personal… Consider it my attempt at a public service announcement.

In my mind that begs the question, ….
Also, it begs the question, ….
I was going to let it slide, but then came the second one. "Begs the question" does not mean "raises the question."

http://begthequestion.info/

Mark Freeman
12-20-2010, 05:19 PM
The most concise working explanation I've heard:
http://www.aikieast.com/atemi.htm

Thank you, Ledyard Sensei.

I'd like to second that, an excellent article

regards,

Mark

Dan Rubin
12-20-2010, 06:16 PM
"[H]is students attack him with all their might and still tumble down in a shower of attacks (atemi) to their vital points.
In short his art reaches a conclusion before ordinary judo even starts its work. [The Founder] said, 'My technique is 70 percent atemi (striking) and 30 percent nage (throwing).' "

Was the Founder performing aikido in 1933? I thought he was still performing Daito-ryu then.

In the wrong hands, reliance on atemi can completely contradict the art of aikido. If you want to see how one teacher's exaggerated reliance on atemi affects his interpretation of aikido, read Aikido Techniques & Tactics, by Gary Bennett. On page 41 he explains:

"The method portrayed in this book is different in that the initial balance-breaking motion is a good atemi, or strike, that dazes the opponent. The throw relies on the fact that the assailant's balance is now upset and unstable no matter what direction I should choose. There is no need to lead first in one direction and then reverse it. Any motion that is applied to the assailant's balance will result in a throw because the equilibrium is now gone. This approach may seem to some not to fit in this classification of kuzushi, but, even though extremely subtle, it is actually breaking the balance twice."

The book, and the author's interpretation of aikido, is reviewed here: http://www.aikiweb.com/reviews/showproduct.php?product=8&cat=5&perpage=12&sort=5&date=1074812919

Randall Lim
12-20-2010, 07:19 PM
[url]

90 per cent of Aikido is done at or before the instant of contact.

To paraphrase a sensei of mine, " They should of called it (Aikido) Kuzushi.

O'Sensei's spiritual / religious/ philosophical Aikido was based on his martial arts training which was by all accounts effective.

dps

By this I presume you mean Luring & Leading Uke's attack before contact??

If so, I fully agree with you. That makes executing a technique much more effortless that a static attack.

Randall Lim
12-20-2010, 07:38 PM
"The method portrayed in this book is different in that the initial balance-breaking motion is a good atemi, or strike, that dazes the opponent."



Just to make sure I've got the meaning of this qoute right.

Is it saying that any form of initial balance-breaking is considered "Atemi"?? Regardless of whether it is a strike or otherwise??

Or is it saying that ONLY by atemi striking is balance-breaking achieved?? No other ways of balance-breaking is effective??

Randall Lim
12-20-2010, 07:46 PM
[url]

In short his art reaches a conclusion before ordinary judo even starts its work. The Founder said, 'My technique is 70 percent atemi (striking) and 30 percent nage (throwing).".



There is in fact Atemi in Judo, still preserved in traditional Judo paired Kata exercises. Atemi is only removed in competitive sport Judo for safety reasons.

Traditional Judo Atemi is used for the same purpose as in Aikido (ie: to daze & off-set Uke's balance in preparation for a take-down).

OwlMatt
12-20-2010, 09:29 PM
It is worth noting that David's quotation of O Sensei comes from 1933; I think it is fair to say that O Sensei's aikido and philosophy of aikido changed a great deal between then and his death.

I'd also like to hear more elaboration on the idea that "Effectiveness is the key to obtaining the other aspects of Aikido". I've known some aikidoists who would say exactly the opposite, that effectiveness is a byproduct of aikido training rather than the goal.

I don't disagree with you; I'm playing devil's advocate here in the hopes of getting more explanation. I like what you're saying and would like to understand it better.

kewms
12-21-2010, 12:55 AM
I'd also like to hear more elaboration on the idea that "Effectiveness is the key to obtaining the other aspects of Aikido". I've known some aikidoists who would say exactly the opposite, that effectiveness is a byproduct of aikido training rather than the goal.

I think you need a definition of "effectiveness" before you can really elaborate on this idea.

On the one hand, if your aikido only "works" with half-hearted attacks from people from your own dojo, you're probably missing much of the really interesting study of connection that aikido offers. That study requires attackers who are really trying to take your center, and have some idea of how to actually do so.

On the other hand, if your primary concern is making sure that uke falls down (or, as uke, refusing to do so) you're probably *also* missing much of the "good stuff." It's hard to maintain the necessary sensitivity if you're too concerned with "winning" or "losing." If your attackers are good, they'll succeed some of the time, and you need to be okay with that.

So I think being aware of openings, aware of breaks in energy flow, etc. is essential to really understanding aikido: as you explore the deeper aspects, the martial reasonableness of what you're doing is one way to tell whether you're on the right track. But that's a much more subtle idea than what most people mean when they talk about whether aikido is or isn't "effective."

Katherine

Carsten Möllering
12-21-2010, 03:52 AM
Was the Founder performing aikido in 1933? I thought he was still performing Daito-ryu then.[
What exactly is the difference between daito ryu, aiki budo, aikido, ... (and there are a lot of names ...)?

What about Saito sensei who learned and taugth atemi in the same way - after the art was named aikido by Hirai sensei?

In the wrong hands, reliance on atemi can completely contradict the art of aikido.
"In the wrong hands" also reliance on harmony, blending or ki can contradict the art of aikido. As everything can turn wrong "in the wrong hands".

What do you mean with "reliance on atemi"? Is there any aikido without atemi?

I don't think the cited book is an inspiring example. But there are other books about atemi and aikido. (Traditional aikido, Aikido - It's heart and appearence, Budo, Aikido - Yuruso budo, Aikido shugyo ...)

The use of atemi as displayed by Ledyard sensei is very interesting.

But first I think it is very important to really learn atemi as a technique in itself even I one doesn't want to use it in such a way.
And second I find it also very interesting to differentiate within "a strike as a technique in itself". Because taught as a technique within itself are different possibilities to do a strike. I think striking in yawara, which is the root of aikido, differs from striking in lets say karate.

Gorgeous George
12-21-2010, 04:23 AM
I was under the impression that the atemi in aikido, is what is possible (implied), rather than applied (explicit) - i.e., in ikkyo, you would, in jujutsu, break the arm/elbow - but in aikido, you don't.
And then there are all the techniques which imply that you are holding a sword when you execute them - ruling out the possibility of atemi.

And isn't reliance on atemi to break the balance not what you aim for in aikido? - I thought you harmonised with someone, then effected kuzushi through that - rather than hitting them.
The techniques i've practiced, which include atemi, I thought that the atemi was used as a distraction so that you could enter - while momentarily vulnerable - and apply kuzushi?

And if aikido was all about using strikes to disable someone, wouldn't it be called karate?

Flintstone
12-21-2010, 05:14 AM
And if aikido was all about using strikes to disable someone, wouldn't it be called karate?
Well, I see high level old style Karate has more than a few similarities with high level old style Aikido. Anyhow nobody said "all about using strikes"...

Alfonso
12-21-2010, 10:23 AM
you meant like this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R797LamA3Vw

phitruong
12-21-2010, 10:46 AM
The most concise working explanation I've heard:
http://www.aikieast.com/atemi.htm

Thank you, Ledyard Sensei.

video to go with the article http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsZk7Eha1Us&feature=related

Carsten Möllering
12-22-2010, 02:52 AM
... - i.e., in ikkyo, you would, in jujutsu, break the arm/elbow - but in aikido, you don't.[Grin:
I heard aikido teachers say you won't try to break an arm, because it is more difficult then to use it to controll the attacker.
An I heard teachers of yawara say the same.

But more important to me:
When beginners start to learn ikkyo, they are told as uke always to bend the arm a little bit. Because otherwise the ellbow may be damaged or even break ... Hm.

And then there are all the techniques which imply that you are holding a sword when you execute them - ruling out the possibility of atemi.I don't know even one technique which is executed - in our way to practice - the way you describe?
Sounds if your hands are "fixed" like if they really had to hold a sword?
We always try to be free and have all possibilities to use our hands, feet, ... everything.

And isn't reliance on atemi to break the balance not what you aim for in aikido?I learned: First technique is atemi. To the face or throat. If this is enough, it's finished. (So for this you have to learn atemi as a technique in itself.)
If the attacker deals with this, techniques evolve.

- I thought you harmonised with someone, then effected kuzushi through that - rather than hitting them.

Is there any atemi nage in your aikido? Throwing the partner by using atemi?
What about the atemi to the neck in kaiten nage?
The atemi to the side in shiho nage?
They are a "surplus" and are not needed to apply kuzushi. They follow it.

And if aikido was all about using strikes to disable someone, wouldn't it be called karate?karate, judo, aikido and most other arts have strikes.
And one reason for not calling it karate is that the (technical) way of atemi in aikido or other traditional japanese arts seems to differ from the way of karate.

puh, we don't do a hard or "combative" or very martial style of aikido. On the contrary.
But nevertheless my thinking of atemi seems different from yours.

Gorgeous George
12-22-2010, 03:49 AM
I don't know even one technique which is executed - in our way to practice - the way you describe?
Sounds if your hands are "fixed" like if they really had to hold a sword?
We always try to be free and have all possibilities to use our hands, feet, ... everything.

I learned: First technique is atemi. To the face or throat. If this is enough, it's finished. (So for this you have to learn atemi as a technique in itself.)
If the attacker deals with this, techniques evolve.

Is there any atemi nage in your aikido? Throwing the partner by using atemi?
What about the atemi to the neck in kaiten nage?
The atemi to the side in shiho nage?
They are a "surplus" and are not needed to apply kuzushi. They follow it.

karate, judo, aikido and most other arts have strikes.
And one reason for not calling it karate is that the (technical) way of atemi in aikido or other traditional japanese arts seems to differ from the way of karate.

puh, we don't do a hard or "combative" or very martial style of aikido. On the contrary.
But nevertheless my thinking of atemi seems different from yours.

Isn't the basis of essentially all aikido techniques weapons work - videlicet, aikido is jujutsu with the footwork of a swordsman?
And isn't this why so many aikido schools have bokken training, too?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9PTMSwr1h0

'You must be able to employ a weapon using the same movement for a technique to be considered a true martial art.'

- Shoji Nishio

I loved reading Mitsugi Saotome's Principles of Aikido because he had sequences of photos which would show, for example, shiho-nage performed empty-handed, then with a bokken, then with a jo - and the movement was exactly the same.

I guess it'd be good to have your hands free - but wouldn't you feel safer with a samurai sword in them?
And isn't that the basis (along with a preparation for ushiro-ryote-dori) of ai-hanmi techniques - someone grabbing your hand to stop you from drawing your sword, or you learning to draw your sword even when your hand is held?

I guess I see tai-sabaki as the most fundamental thing: it's no use being able to do techniques if you can't enter, or move off the line - but then, what if someone has you in ryote-dori - how would you strike them? You would have to use aikido...

I think I said previously: most or all of aikido is atemi - you just don't see it.
This video - like Saotome Sensei's books - is very informative: he talks about how you must know what you can do to a person, in order to choose not to do it to them - i.e., to choose to protect them, rather than destroy them -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bwNbWQUTxU

So do I see any atemi when I practice aikido?
Yes, I do - i'm constantly aware that I am practicing a martial art, and I am frequently meditating on what aikido means - as a budo, and as a martial art.

PS: I train in the British Birankai - Chiba Sensei's organisation.

Flintstone
12-22-2010, 05:34 AM
you meant like this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R797LamA3Vw
No.

Ketsan
12-22-2010, 08:33 AM
And if aikido was all about using strikes to disable someone, wouldn't it be called karate?

My understanding from bothering my Karate instructor mate for several years is that Karate is as much about take downs as it is about striking. The only reason Karate is percieved as a striking art is because of the sparing and competition element which makes takedowns less usefull than they would be in real life so they're not really practiced.

Alfonso
12-22-2010, 10:39 AM
No.

like this then?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlvGlCP9R8Q

Nick
12-22-2010, 02:37 PM
I agree completely with the topic thread of this post.

Most of us are fortunate enough to live in a world where we are NOT constantly called upon to prove the martial effectiveness of our training. Fights can be prevented and avoided easily by someone who is conscientiousness in avoidance; dojo challenges are not only stigmatized but also prohibited by law. This is, of course, a good thing.

However, aikido (and all budo) are transcendental in that around the ostensible center of any martial practice (violence) comes a seemingly paradoxical result (nonviolence, or if you prefer, aiki). To my mind, it is the place of the instructor to apply as drastic a circumstance to martial training as is safe while still maintaining basic fundamentals and movements. The student's knowledge then, that they can overcome that conflict, that they've endured that training, that shugyo, allows them theroretically not to seek it outside of the dojo.

So, from a martial standpoint (defending our loved ones) as well as a philosophical standpoint, effectiveness absolutely must be at the center of our aikido practice.

Nick

Flintstone
12-22-2010, 02:41 PM
like this then?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlvGlCP9R8Q
I was not thinking of Kenji Ushiro specifically, but Minoru Mochizuki or Hironori Otsuka, but yes. Thank you.

thisisnotreal
12-22-2010, 02:49 PM
What then, is the key to effectiveness?

Nick
12-22-2010, 03:03 PM
What then, is the key to effectiveness?

A clever mix of honesty and experience. The honesty to know where your waza is lacking, and the experience to understand how to fix it.

I've often said that aikidoka need better hand skills. If not to improve our atemi (which we should), then simply because better attacks make better ukes and better ukes make better nages. I've not seen an art better than aikido for single strikes or grabs, but how can we train to counter combination strikes if no one in the dojo can effectively (and safely) throw them?

Randall Lim
12-22-2010, 07:23 PM
like this then?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlvGlCP9R8Q

Seems to have a lot of influence from Karaterdo, a little Judo & some Aikido.

Randall Lim
12-22-2010, 07:36 PM
Isn't the basis of essentially all aikido techniques weapons work - videlicet, aikido is jujutsu with the footwork of a swordsman?
And isn't this why so many aikido schools have bokken training, too?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9PTMSwr1h0


In my opinion, Aikido footwork is not derived from the footwork of a swordsman.

Kendo, Kenjitsu, Iaido & Iaijitsu footworks are different from Aikido footwork.

Aikido's unique footwork is used exclusively in Aikido training with or without weapons.

Gorgeous George
12-23-2010, 08:48 AM
Aikido's unique footwork is used exclusively in Aikido training with or without weapons.

Exactly: that's what I said.

Nick
12-23-2010, 09:17 AM
Exactly: that's what I said.

Truth told, footwork is unique for whatever you're studying; it's just that after a while, you can "fake it". For instance: given rubber-soled shoes and a canvas ring, I could NOT use aikido footwork in my boxing training; I could, however, occasionally use aikido angles to throw someone off my scent. Now that I'm training in aikido again, I try to move like an aikidoka should, but if I need extra mobility, I can "fake it" by using boxing footwork to hold my center.

People that know how to move can make things work for them-- it's just getting there that's the difficult part.

Nick

thisisnotreal
12-23-2010, 11:56 AM
I think you need a definition of "effectiveness" before you can really elaborate on this idea.

On the one hand, if your aikido only "works" with half-hearted attacks from people from your own dojo, you're probably missing much of the really interesting study of connection that aikido offers. That study requires attackers who are really trying to take your center, and have some idea of how to actually do so.

On the other hand, if your primary concern is making sure that uke falls down (or, as uke, refusing to do so) you're probably *also* missing much of the "good stuff." It's hard to maintain the necessary sensitivity if you're too concerned with "winning" or "losing." If your attackers are good, they'll succeed some of the time, and you need to be okay with that.

So I think being aware of openings, aware of breaks in energy flow, etc. is essential to really understanding aikido: as you explore the deeper aspects, the martial reasonableness of what you're doing is one way to tell whether you're on the right track. But that's a much more subtle idea than what most people mean when they talk about whether aikido is or isn't "effective."



Just as a take off on this post; and another one I shamelessly (http://rumsoakedfist.org/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=11243&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&start=30)rip off from another forum

..The aim is to move with complete control, to have full body power always on tap. You move faster, with supreme balance and you see attacks coming the moment you opponent thinks of them. BKF puts it quite well "you reach a stage where your mind ceases to disconnect, you start noticing how other people disconnect in almost invisible, micro intervals of time. When you catch someone between a disconnect and a re-connect, a stop and a re-ignition, you will find they are frozen and defenseless."
I liked that part.
I'm thinking of this in terms of the retrained Aiki body.
Just a thought for consideration: I think the most effective atemi comes when you can see and hit'em with the atemi...exploiting these gaps. Minimum effort, Maximum effect.

I'd still like to know how O Sensei could pin the guy with just one finger. Surfing the gap?