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Zach Trent
01-08-2011, 05:23 AM
Hi- I'm sorry if this has been discussed to death...but I have a question and situation I am curious to hear your ideas about.

Um...In Aikido...what is the difference between someone resisting energy and you doing a poor technique?

I worked with a guy doing Shihonage the other day and I could only move him slightly before I felt a lot of resistance----"I was like man my technique is not good"----but my instincts were like "I ain't gonna fight this guy" so I moved him as far as I could and then changed sides.

I wasn't frustrated, just curious- the guy says "You want me to stop resisting? I find it helps me learn when people resist, but I can stop." I said, no, you just do what you want to. Its cool.

When I felt the resistance I noticed other techniques that were opening up...but it wasn't what the teacher showed so I just kept failing at Shihonage.

What do you guys think? Should your techniques work even when someone gets super rigid and muscled up?

Mark Freeman
01-08-2011, 05:54 AM
What do you guys think? Should your techniques work even when someone gets super rigid and muscled up?

Hi Zach,

aikido should work 'especially' when someone gets super rigid and muscled up. When they do that, they lose co-ordination. The hard part is not fighting their resistance. Nage's practice is to remain calm, centred and relaxed and through sensitivity find the place of no resistance (it's always there, just sometimes the opening is small). Your teacher is the one to show you the way through this.

just a thought,

regards,

Mark

guest1234567
01-08-2011, 06:28 AM
Hi Zach,
I agree with Mark just stay calm and very relaxed, if it does not go in one direction, change it just a little bit, there must be one where you can take him

Mary Eastland
01-08-2011, 08:11 AM
It is so easy for uke to resist when they know exactly what you are going to do. Have you asked your instuctor about this situation?

Mary

Tony Wagstaffe
01-08-2011, 08:35 AM
I love people who resist, it makes my waza easier......:D ;)

Diana Frese
01-08-2011, 09:57 AM
yes, Tony, I agree that's really important to develop our movement and technique, but Carina's comment reminds me of when I did
exactly what Mary recommends.

Yamada Sensei had missed a previous seminar date for a medical or dental reason he was in Florida, which is quite far away so he showed up for his next scheduled seminar in New Haven even though his foot had been broken (someone had fallen on it, maybe in a demo...)
Yamada Sensei has great technique, great kokyu ryoku,
but sometimes these things happen.

Anyway, he brought two of his main assistants with him and
had them demonstrate the important points he was instructing
us about. Then came time for questions.
Now I wasn't anything like one of his favorite students, but he had a special concern for any of us who were teaching, and I was, at a YMCA in the city where I live in Stamford, between New York and New Haven.
A friend of my husband's and mine I had just met back around 1980 was in Aikido class in the summer prior to teaching kung fu in the fall, his teacher had retired passing on the
authorization to Clyde and another student who was to teach
it as "Chinese exercises" at the Greenwich YMCA.

I explained my situation to Yamada Sensei, and asked if the person raises his or her hand to strike shomen uchi and they have a lot of weight or extension in it, what do I do, I'm having trouble turning it back to do ikkyo.

Then an example of compassion and great kindness. Forgetting
to have his assistants do the technique, Sensei took a step, though
one of his feet he was supposed to stay off....

You're the teacher, you have to do the technique. So step
back, change the technique.

It seemed to be advice to let uke's force dissipate a little, then
ikkyo can indeed be done.

Carina , I hope you like this little example. Did Yamada Sensei
visit Gran Canaria? I might have seen it one year on a seminar
schedule.

Diana Frese
01-08-2011, 10:00 AM
I meant to compliment Mark's post too and thanks for the
question, Zach.

Zach Trent
01-08-2011, 10:45 AM
Thanks everyone for your suggestions and feedback:

I guess I wonder about the nature of ukemi- if ukemi means to recieve then why on earth would you ever resist?

Sometimes nage does not have my center, but that doesn't mean i resist him- I dunno

Tony Wagstaffe
01-08-2011, 11:25 AM
Thanks everyone for your suggestions and feedback:

I guess I wonder about the nature of ukemi- if ukemi means to recieve then why on earth would you ever resist?

Sometimes nage does not have my center, but that doesn't mean i resist him- I dunno

Practise hard very often, every session, while you are young, intensity is important to understand where your mistakes, problems are....
I instruct my uke's to always resist me when teaching waza, to attack hard and hit or grab me with all their strength, if they do not, it always ends up in press ups till they are sick of them!! That makes them hit me or grab me hard, which refines my waza and also theirs. Lackadaisical training is for those who want to cop out of the training they do not desire.....;)

Diana Frese
01-08-2011, 11:31 AM
wow another great topic, this time from uke's point of view. I
hear this all the time, even before I get back on the mat
my friends are all talking about it. How as uke can you bring
out the best in your training partners? And as nage, what do you
do when you find your training partners don't have your best
interests in mind, to put it mildly.....?

George S. Ledyard
01-08-2011, 11:32 AM
Hi- I'm sorry if this has been discussed to death...but I have a question and situation I am curious to hear your ideas about.

Um...In Aikido...what is the difference between someone resisting energy and you doing a poor technique?

I worked with a guy doing Shihonage the other day and I could only move him slightly before I felt a lot of resistance----"I was like man my technique is not good"----but my instincts were like "I ain't gonna fight this guy" so I moved him as far as I could and then changed sides.

I wasn't frustrated, just curious- the guy says "You want me to stop resisting? I find it helps me learn when people resist, but I can stop." I said, no, you just do what you want to. Its cool.

When I felt the resistance I noticed other techniques that were opening up...but it wasn't what the teacher showed so I just kept failing at Shihonage.

What do you guys think? Should your techniques work even when someone gets super rigid and muscled up?

There are basically three ways to do technique. First, is simply bad application. It involves overpowering the resistance with your own physical power. It can only be done on partners with whom you have the advantage of size and strength. It's pretty much a no-brainer that any martial art that only allows you to prevail against smaller, weaker attackers isn't terribly useful. So, do not train this way.

Second is external power which would be efficient application of force on the partner's weak lines combined with movement to get yourself off his strong lines (that's over simplified but basically covers what most folks do in their Aikido). It can work but a stronger, faster attacker still has an advantage so the only folks you see who can really do this are generally very strong men and a few really strong women. Smaller folks or folks who don't have a ridiculous structure really cannot do this kind of technique. Since most people train this way, the issue of collusion on the part of the uke becomes important because his or her collusion is required for most folks to succeed doing technique this way.

The third way is "aiki" / internal power. As previously stated here many times, just about everyone thinks their style or their teacher is doing this. But the fact of the matter is that the kind of truly effortless technique, done with complete relaxation, that one would see in a Yamaguchi, Saotome, Ikeda, Endo, Mary Heiny etc is fairly rare. This kind of technique does not rely on that kind of great physical power and therefore one can get better and better as one gets older, unlike external power which one loses as ones body ages and one loses muscle mass.

If really high level "aiki" skills are what you wish the end point to be... then you have to start with exercises that develop those skills. You will not develop these skills magically one day training externally. I know since I wasted about 25 years training in a way that one day I realized would never result in the skills my own teacher had.

So, at the beginning, if your partner is resistant, you will respond with tension. It is the only way at that stage you will be able to get an outcome that looks like what your teacher just demonstrated. Every repetition will imprint incorrect habits that are difficult to break later on. This is one of the reasons that Aikido is screwed up. Either my uke tanks or I use superior force to produce something like what my teacher just showed. Since those two alternatives pretty much apply to many teachers as well, finding the right teacher who isn't doing either of these is crucial to doing high level Aikido.

This totally ties in with the discussion of what a good uke is doing.

Diana Frese
01-08-2011, 11:45 AM
(simultaneous posts) I agree with Tony, but have another
question. My friends have experienced times when people
will just stop them in order to say they are doing it wrong.... I
guess in that case, ask the teacher what he or she meant, how
her or she meant it to be done.

No wrist push ups yet, but I have to do aikibunny hops thru
the snow to get the mail my husband phoned to say was there from
yesterday's storm on his way downtown to tax class. Any job in a down economy....No vehicle on the road makes for interesting physical training... Oil is running out so my training is getting
wood from all the stashes back in the woods, in the snow,
porch is full of repair projects... but you guys on Aiki web make
life interesting, educational and inspiring. Can't wait to train!

Zach Trent
01-08-2011, 11:49 AM
Thank you Sensei Ledyard-

I always appreciate what you contribute to a discussion.

I remember that we had a wonderful conversation about Aikido helping one to overcome fear in one's daily life at a ASU summer camp a few years ago.

That conversation has stayed with me and now I am researching using Aikido as a trauma healing curriculum for youth who have experienced domestic violence.

I sincerely hope to come to Seattle sometime and train with you- the class you taught at summer camp was also quite powerful for me.

Thank you Sensei,
Zach

Diana Frese
01-08-2011, 11:55 AM
(another simultaneous post, this shows it's an active topic....
Great!)

thanks Peter, you have great teachers and great experience, I
remember the first time I saw Yamaguchi Sensei. He was
laughing, uke was scrambling, Yamaguchi Sensei would just shift
balance a little and uke went from one technique to another
as he tried to get up, ikkyo to kotegaeshi, etc. irimi nage
uke was just running close to the ground shifting direction and
still couldn't get up. Yamaguchi Sensei looked totally relaxed,
and laughing ho ho ho like Santa Claus. I've seen the others too
and they're great.

I'm going to follow both themes of advice here.... whatever I can
manage to do. Thanks, everyone.

Tony Wagstaffe
01-08-2011, 11:57 AM
(simultaneous posts) I agree with Tony, but have another
question. My friends have experienced times when people
will just stop them in order to say they are doing it wrong.... I
guess in that case, ask the teacher what he or she meant, how
her or she meant it to be done.

No wrist push ups yet, but I have to do aikibunny hops thru
the snow to get the mail my husband phoned to say was there from
yesterday's storm on his way downtown to tax class. Any job in a down economy....No vehicle on the road makes for interesting physical training... Oil is running out so my training is getting
wood from all the stashes back in the woods, in the snow,
porch is full of repair projects... but you guys on Aiki web make
life interesting, educational and inspiring. Can't wait to train!

The "o" sensei syndrome me thinks here...... I just love these people, I'll let on a bit and just say the angle of the dangle, and the least line of resistance.............;)

Diana Frese
01-08-2011, 12:03 PM
Another simultaneous post.... Sorry Ledyard Sensei, I got the
names mixed up. I read you are coming to Bedford Hills, we
would like to go but as of now, transportation problems, also
short of cash. We're in building trades and they are way down...

in Zach's simultaneous post he mentioned ASU so here is
something that really impressed me early on about Saotome
Sensei's seemingly effortless technique. He was laughing too,
and had two ukes push him all the way down to the ground, I
think he sat there for a moment, then just got up and they
went flying. There seemed to be no effort at all.

We'll see if I can get there to class. The trades could pick up,
someone from here might give us a ride, I'll try to think
positively...

ChrisHein
01-08-2011, 12:18 PM
-Snip-
Um...In Aikido...what is the difference between someone resisting energy and you doing a poor technique?

I worked with a guy doing Shihonage the other day and I could only move him slightly before I felt a lot of resistance----"I was like man my technique is not good"
-Snip-

the guy says "You want me to stop resisting? I find it helps me learn when people resist, but I can stop."
-Snip-

When I felt the resistance I noticed other techniques that were opening up...but it wasn't what the teacher showed so I just kept failing at Shihonage.

What do you guys think? Should your techniques work even when someone gets super rigid and muscled up?

Good questions. You need to understand the difference between form, and application in order to answer this question.

No one technique works 100% of the time. If there were such a technique we would only do that one, and no one would ever beat us in a fight. But there's not, so we practice several different techniques.

When doing a form, uke has to provide the proper context for that form. If it is a form where uke pushes you, he must push. If it's one where he pulls then he must pull. If uke isn't providing the right energy for the specific technique of the form, then that form won't work.

So if your uke doesn't know how to provide the right energy, you should simply ask him to relax, not resist, and do the form the teacher asked you to do.

But as you said, in application, if they resist your technique, a new situation will arise, one where you can use another technique. In application you will flow from one technique to the next, because you can't expect any one technique to always work.

Tony Wagstaffe
01-08-2011, 01:22 PM
Dianna,
Just keep looking at the video, there are many clues in there.....;)

guest1234567
01-08-2011, 01:40 PM
Carina , I hope you like this little example. Did Yamada Sensei
visit Gran Canaria? I might have seen it one year on a seminar
schedule.
No, Yamada Sensei does not visit Gran Canaria he goes every year to Mallorca, also an island but not Canary Island, Baleares Island, Yamada Sensei also goes every year to Barcelona.

kewms
01-08-2011, 02:52 PM
It is so easy for uke to resist when they know exactly what you are going to do. Have you asked your instuctor about this situation?

Mary

This. At my dojo, it's better to take the opening that presents itself rather than attempting a technique even though uke's energy is completely wrong for it. (And at some point Sensei will come along and explain to uke why his attack does not allow the desired technique.) But different dojos have different training etiquette.

Katherine

Tony Wagstaffe
01-09-2011, 07:44 AM
This. At my dojo, it's better to take the opening that presents itself rather than attempting a technique even though uke's energy is completely wrong for it. (And at some point Sensei will come along and explain to uke why his attack does not allow the desired technique.) But different dojos have different training etiquette.

Katherine

I just let them find out for themselves.....;)

Ketsan
01-09-2011, 09:30 AM
What do you guys think? Should your techniques work even when someone gets super rigid and muscled up?

You're using your shoulders and arms too much. Stop focusing on technique and sort your body out. Your arms should be just two ropes that are moved by your hips and spine.

If someone can lock down your technique it means you have a noisy body that gives off too many signals. Of course if you have a quiet body then you don't need technique you just throw them on the floor and there isn't much they can do about it and in fact the more they try to do something the more amusing it gets for you.

Hence "there are no techniques in Aikido" you learn the body skills, shut your body up and throw them on the floor as you please.

Amir Krause
01-11-2011, 06:53 AM
Hi- I'm sorry if this has been discussed to death...but I have a question and situation I am curious to hear your ideas about.

Um...In Aikido...what is the difference between someone resisting energy and you doing a poor technique?

I worked with a guy doing Shihonage the other day and I could only move him slightly before I felt a lot of resistance----"I was like man my technique is not good"----but my instincts were like "I ain't gonna fight this guy" so I moved him as far as I could and then changed sides.

I wasn't frustrated, just curious- the guy says "You want me to stop resisting? I find it helps me learn when people resist, but I can stop." I said, no, you just do what you want to. Its cool.

When I felt the resistance I noticed other techniques that were opening up...but it wasn't what the teacher showed so I just kept failing at Shihonage.

What do you guys think? Should your techniques work even when someone gets super rigid and muscled up?

To my own understanding, you should not move into resistance. Regardless of using internal or external force, your movement should feel free even when UKe is resisting.
But, this is much easier said than done, especially once Uke knows your technique, and is on a level comparable to your own.

As a general rule, once you face resistance is starting to build in a particular direction, your technique should shift a little to either go around it, or tunnel through it or roll over it, depending on the exact situation , while generating power that is harder to follow and resist. Or, if the resistance is too strong, you may wish to use it to get into another technique.

It is pointless to practice a technique directly against resistance, since if you can do that, you could simply grab the guy and throw him with force - and the technique is not needed.

Thanks everyone for your suggestions and feedback:

I guess I wonder about the nature of ukemi- if ukemi means to recieve then why on earth would you ever resist?

Sometimes nage does not have my center, but that doesn't mean i resist him- I dunno

Training with the existence of resistance, is not the same as working directly against resistance. As mentioned above, one should be able to do his Aikido even when Uke is resisting, it would not be the Kata Senei showed, but it would be Aikido.

And Ukemi is not just simple recpetion, it is a much more subtle issue, which is at least as important to "martial effectiveness" as doing the techniques.

Amir

George S. Ledyard
01-11-2011, 12:13 PM
To my own understanding, you should not move into resistance. Regardless of using internal or external force, your movement should feel free even when UKe is resisting.
But, this is much easier said than done, especially once Uke knows your technique, and is on a level comparable to your own.

As a general rule, once you face resistance is starting to build in a particular direction, your technique should shift a little to either go around it, or tunnel through it or roll over it, depending on the exact situation , while generating power that is harder to follow and resist. Or, if the resistance is too strong, you may wish to use it to get into another technique.

It is pointless to practice a technique directly against resistance, since if you can do that, you could simply grab the guy and throw him with force - and the technique is not needed.

Training with the existence of resistance, is not the same as working directly against resistance. As mentioned above, one should be able to do his Aikido even when Uke is resisting, it would not be the Kata Senei showed, but it would be Aikido.

And Ukemi is not just simple recpetion, it is a much more subtle issue, which is at least as important to "martial effectiveness" as doing the techniques.

Amir

Students need to have permission to allow their technique to be what it "wants to be" rather than training themselves to force their partners into some predetermined form demonstrated by the Sensei. Otherwise you are simply training them to force their techniques and killing their sensitivity. Very bad martial arts.

If you consistently find you can't get the technique shown on a given partner, ask the teacher for help. See what he does when he or she throws your partner. I usually say "show me" when someone says they are having trouble. Often I see that the uke is giving an attack that doesn't lend itself to what I had shown. So, I explain this to the student and show the uke how to deliver the kind of attack that makes what I was teaching make sense. I also let the nage know that he wasn't stupid for not being able to do that particular technique.

This is so important... so much of our training is about trying to pound a round peg into a square hole. It's crazy and doesn't ever result in a decent level of skill. Training should be about, first developing the sensitivity to tell whether the hole is round or square and responding appropriately and then later, understanding how to get the partner to create the shape you want him to be in, preferably without him being aware that you did so.

Anything else will simply result in either manhandling the partner into the shape you want, or having uke collude so that your stuff works.

Amir Krause
01-12-2011, 08:39 AM
This is so important... so much of our training is about trying to pound a round peg into a square hole. It's crazy and doesn't ever result in a decent level of skill. Training should be about, first developing the sensitivity to tell whether the hole is round or square and responding appropriately and then later, understanding how to get the partner to create the shape you want him to be in, preferably without him being aware that you did so.


I agree with all that has been said in your answer (no idea why you chose to comment on my statements).

I would point out, however, that while the idea you stated in the section I quated is 100% correct. The actual order of learning apears to always be: technique first, opportunity identification much later.
Thus, using your analogy, most of the time, it is the role of the sensei to verfy the shape of the hole and peg matches, and only at rather later stages, the students starts to grasp this issue.

All the ideas I mentioned in my previous post, do come much later on, after the student identifies the shape early on, and then finds the angle of the peg which can match.

Amir

ChrisHein
01-12-2011, 11:01 AM
George,
Your second post sounds much different then your first.

David Board
01-12-2011, 02:25 PM
This is a beginners question so please take it as such. I come from an Iwama based Dojo. Sensei always talks about three level of Aikido. Kihon or static, Ki-no-nagare or flowing and Ki or Takemusa (and this may be a bastardization of what he is explaining). We practice all three levels but it is expressed that Kihon is the basic or base of the technique where we learn what a technique is and how it is performed.

My question is should one resist a technique while practicing Kihon? Also should we be altering the attack to meet the ukes energy/attack?

It seems this would defeat the purpose of learning the mechanics and fundamentals of the technique. At this point it seems collusion between Uke and Nage is part of the learning process both in learning the proper ukemi and the proper attack.

We often give verbal cues if a technique is performed incorrectly, especially after repeatedly making the same error. You'll often hear statements like, "you didn't really get my balance there." Or "you left yourself open there." You will on occasion find a point where your technique stalls because your not finding the right angle or your going into a persons power but I wouldn't call it resistance to a technique. As a beginner I'm reluctant to ever resist a technique because what I perceive as a point where the technique is failing is often a failing in my ukemi not the a fault on my partners technique. Typically, I have lost connection not the other way around.

Demetrio Cereijo
01-12-2011, 02:30 PM
My question is should one resist a technique while practicing Kihon?
Resisting as fighting back? No
Also should we be altering the attack to meet the ukes energy/attack?
No

I'm in a hurry so read this:
http://www.dragon-tsunami.org/Dtimes/Pages/articlea2.htm

BRB

gates
01-18-2011, 05:58 PM
Hi,
This is how we are taught.
In training you should grip tight enough so that nage struggles to do the technique, then you should let off a bit so they can do it. Over time the technique improves bit by bit and the grip can get stronger and stronger. This is the Iwama Ryu way of doing things.
Uke gets stronger, nage's technique improves.

You did the right thing to not deviate to a different technique. The uke should, in my opinion, let off the tension a bit and let you do the technique to the level you are capable of. This is how you improve.

In future, maybe ask them to hold a little easier? So you can actually do the technique.

Tony Wagstaffe
01-18-2011, 06:03 PM
Hi,
This is how we are taught.
In training you should grip tight enough so that nage struggles to do the technique, then you should let off a bit so they can do it. Over time the technique improves bit by bit and the grip can get stronger and stronger. This is the Iwama Ryu way of doing things.
Uke gets stronger, nage's technique improves.

You did the right thing to not deviate to a different technique. The uke should, in my opinion, let off the tension a bit and let you do the technique to the level you are capable of. This is how you improve.

In future, maybe ask them to hold a little easier? So you can actually do the technique.

Same in T/S.....;)

George S. Ledyard
01-19-2011, 09:14 AM
Hi,
This is how we are taught.
In training you should grip tight enough so that nage struggles to do the technique, then you should let off a bit so they can do it. Over time the technique improves bit by bit and the grip can get stronger and stronger. This is the Iwama Ryu way of doing things.
Uke gets stronger, nage's technique improves.

You did the right thing to not deviate to a different technique. The uke should, in my opinion, let off the tension a bit and let you do the technique to the level you are capable of. This is how you improve.

In future, maybe ask them to hold a little easier? So you can actually do the technique.

What is that grab supposed to be? If the intention is to train a good martial artist, then teaching people to do that ridiculous "grab of death" is silly. The first thing any martial artist from another style will say when he sees Aikido is that no one attacks that way. And it is true, no one outside of Aikido attacks that way.

Who ever won a fight by keeping the other guy from moving? You win a fight by breaking his balance, putting him in a position in which he cannot defend himself, and striking him. Not only does grabbing hard focus all the power on the wrist rather than the center, the tension involved curtails the freedom of movement of the attacker as well as the defender. This is not intelligent martial arts. Try taking someone's balance using strength. I am a 250 pound guy. If I grab someone my own size there is no way I can take his center if I tense up my arms when I grab.

On the other hand, I can have a person off balance and struck two or three times if I keep my arms relaxed and don't think this has anything to do with stopping someone else's movement. Since Aikido is being presented as some sort of extension of pub crawling or defense against foot ball hooligans, I'll say that in any kind of "applied" situation, I can't think of a less applicable skill than grabbing someone so hard their hand turns purple. Absolutely no function.

With my students, we start with katatetori and have the nage throw a punch with the off-hand. Or a kick... The uke should be able to use the grabbing hand to "solve" that problem. Try doing that while squeezing hard. Then we teach the uke to grab, use the grab to break nage's balance, and strike him. The instant you grab some the way you are talking about, you are totally open and cannot defend.

It is simply a fact that tension slows you down, reduces your power, and restricts your freedom. This is one of the reasons that serious folks from other martial arts think Aikido is bullshit. They look at this grab the wrist stuff and see what a joke it is. You'll hear that these grabs were originally about stopping someone from accessing his weapon, usually sword. But actually, it wasn't about stopping him from pulling his sword, it was about using the grab to break his balance and take the sword away from him and cutting him with it. That is entirely a different matter.

Now there are folks who have done a lot of IP work that can grab you in a completely relaxed manner and you'll have a hard time moving. That's different as they are using their structure for that strength and not doing anything which restricts their freedom of movement or makes it hard to defend themselves. But this entails an understanding of how to direct power to the nage's center and has nothing to do with holding the wrist hard. I can seriously restrict someone's ability to move while my arms are relaxed and my grip is only slightly tight, pretty much as you'd hold a sword. But, outside of kihon waza training in which the point is feedback for the nage, I would not see restricting the opponent's movement as having much utility at all. Do that and it's like grabbing an anchor... who actually has who? I render you unable to move using muscle strength and I am just as unable to move until I release you.

Everyone seems to basically agree that sword and empty hand are related. well, tell me when you would ever use the kind of strength and tension with sword? Pretty much never. So we shouldn't be imprinting that kind of mistaken tension through our training. You want to see what grabbing properly should look like, take a look at the YouTube clips of Judo's Mifune. That's grabbing.

Demetrio Cereijo
01-19-2011, 10:03 AM
George, a "crushing grip" and making your partner's hand turn purple doesn't imply tensing up one's arm.

George S. Ledyard
01-19-2011, 10:27 AM
George, a "crushing grip" and making your partner's hand turn purple doesn't imply tensing up one's arm.

Ok Demetrio, I have no idea how you would accomplish that without tensing up your arm. Maybe you have a secret I do not.

However, I will say that everyone I have ever trained with, which is of course limited to my own personal experience but includes folks from all sorts of Aikido stylistic backgrounds, who crushed my wrists, was tense and was limiting his own freedom of movement in trying to limit mine. If we ever get together you can show me how you'd do it without tension.

My general rule of thumb is that the place at which you feel the power is the place at which they are putting their energy and their attention. When I grab someone I want them to feel like I grabbed their center and I do not want them feeling much at the wrist. It is a waste of energy and has no function.

Cliff Judge
01-19-2011, 10:34 AM
I get it about the Grip of Death being something that might help a beginner develop some hand strength and some basic ideas of seizing nage.

But after a very short period of that, I worry that the GoD gives nage bad habits, since on the mat they can take for granted that uke is going to hold on no matter what kind of crappy connection they have.

And if you are going to practice the GoD, I really don't think you are doing yourself any good by putting it on, then relaxing. Anybody can squeeze as hard as they can for a couple of seconds. After that, your grip burns out. If you decide that grip strength is a goal of your training you should practice hanging on for awhile.

ChrisHein
01-19-2011, 10:46 AM
Ok Demetrio, I have no idea how you would accomplish that without tensing up your arm. Maybe you have a secret I do not.

I made an exercise for this. I'll try to make a video this weekend.

Demetrio Cereijo
01-19-2011, 10:56 AM
Ok Demetrio, I have no idea how you would accomplish that without tensing up your arm. Maybe you have a secret I do not.
Metalworking, using a grinder (http://www.rotecpro.com/maquinas_rotec/images/70060%20-%20Rebarbadora%20Electrica%20-%202400w.JPG). You have to control a crazy thing that can kill you while keeping movility in your wrist. If an ankward posture has to be held the better. Is not a secret, is only practise.

However, I will say that everyone I have ever trained with, which is of course limited to my own personal experience but includes folks from all sorts of Aikido stylistic backgrounds, who crushed my wrists, was tense and was limiting his own freedom of movement in trying to limit mine.
I totally believe you.

If we ever get together you can show me how you'd do it without tension
Or I am shown the error of my ways. It will be a win/win situation for sure.

My general rule of thumb is that the place at which you feel the power is the place at which they are putting their energy and their attention. When I grab someone I want them to feel like I grabbed their center and I do not want them feeling much at the wrist. It is a waste of energy and has no function
I don't have any problem with your approach, but reading accounts of O Sensei crushing grip by his deshi I suspect there is more than the feeling of center taking in founder's aiki.

George S. Ledyard
01-19-2011, 11:44 AM
Metalworking, using a grinder (http://www.rotecpro.com/maquinas_rotec/images/70060%20-%20Rebarbadora%20Electrica%20-%202400w.JPG).
I don't have any problem with your approach, but reading accounts of O Sensei crushing grip by his deshi I suspect there is more than the feeling of center taking in founder's aiki.

There is no question that O-Sensei was strong on a ridiculous level. He was conditioned on an internal level and was just plain crazy strong on a muscular level. Doing something like the famous "jo trick" would take both. One certainly wouldn't want Dan H to get hold of you either... But Dan can do it without losing any freedom of movement, not does he create any off balance in his structure. This is completely unlike what most folks are doing when they grab in Aikido. And, as I said, power put into the wrist, or any other point of contact, may be irritating but has little or no actual function in a martial encounter unless we are talking about strikes, and even then it's a lot more complex than that.

niall
01-19-2011, 03:17 PM
It is simply a fact that tension slows you down, reduces your power, and restricts your freedom. This is one of the reasons that serious folks from other martial arts think Aikido is bullshit. They look at this grab the wrist stuff and see what a joke it is.

I have never met a serious - as in high ranking - martial artist who didn't respect aikido.

Demetrio Cereijo
01-19-2011, 03:25 PM
Tatemae?

gates
01-19-2011, 05:26 PM
George perhaps, with utmost respect I think you are missing my point, or at least misinterpreting my words, and in essence I agree with your comments.

(I think we need to careful here, I am talking about static kihon techniques, not ki no nagare, that's has a slightly different story)

The intention of Uke is not to grab such that his/her whole body tenses and becomes stiff and rigid; and I concur the 'grip' should be directed towards nage's center (One point). You can hold a tight grip without tensing you legs, or your pelvic floor for instance. The face, the eyes will tell you everything about where the tension is being held.

When a 'beginner' is grabbed hard they usually focus on the power of the hold and hence they have a tendency to tense up themselves, and struggle to find a way out. This makes the technique hard, if not impossible to do. (This was the point I believed you made in one of your replies)

So nage is learning to move around the power of uke. The stronger the grip the better the lesson in moving around that power. Then no matter how hard (or even tense) uke becomes, nage has learnt to let go, relax, and developed a sensitivity to feel the freedom of movement that they do inevitably have, in one direction or another.

But it needs to be done progressively so that over time nage learns to 'let go' more and more, and realizes that no matter how hard or tight they are grabbed they are not trapped and there is a way out. (This for me applies to Aikido in verbal assaults too, but that's a separate thread entirely)

To quote Saito Sensei: "If you cant move when you are grabbed it isn't martial arts". The bully on the street isn't trained in how to grab nicely, they may tense up but most likely they will just hold as tight as they can to try to restrict your movements.

(This is obviously just one way of learning Aikido)
Keith

George S. Ledyard
01-19-2011, 05:45 PM
George perhaps, with utmost respect I think you are missing my point, or at least misinterpreting my words, and in essence I agree with your comments.

(I think we need to careful here, I am talking about static kihon techniques, not ki no nagare, that's has a slightly different story)

The intention of Uke is not to grab such that his/her whole body tenses and becomes stiff and rigid; and I concur the 'grip' should be directed towards nage's center (One point). You can hold a tight grip without tensing you legs, or your pelvic floor for instance. The face, the eyes will tell you everything about where the tension is being held.

When a 'beginner' is grabbed hard they usually focus on the power of the hold and hence they have a tendency to tense up themselves, and struggle to find a way out. This makes the technique hard, if not impossible to do. (This was the point I believed you made in one of your replies)

So nage is learning to move around the power of uke. The stronger the grip the better the lesson in moving around that power. Then no matter how hard (or even tense) uke becomes, nage has learnt to let go, relax, and developed a sensitivity to feel the freedom of movement that they do inevitably have, in one direction or another.

But it needs to be done progressively so that over time nage learns to 'let go' more and more, and realizes that no matter how hard or tight they are grabbed they are not trapped and there is a way out. (This for me applies to Aikido in verbal assaults too, but that's a separate thread entirely)

To quote Saito Sensei: "If you cant move when you are grabbed it isn't martial arts". The bully on the street isn't trained in how to grab nicely, they may tense up but most likely they will just hold as tight as they can to try to restrict your movements.

(This is obviously just one way of learning Aikido)
Keith

My greatest objection to the way Aikido is generally done, and it's the way I did it for years, is that the nage is attempting to do technique with total relaxation, using very sophisticated principles, against an uke that attacks like he is mentally deficient.

50% of your training is done as uke. If what you are doing in that role is different than what you are doing as nage, your body just gets confused.

There should be no difference between how you deliver a grab and how you grab someone. For many folks, it is almost the opposite as uke from what they do as nage. For many, they are indeed the same, but only in the sense that they are too tight and muscling in both roles.

I am not saying that, once you know what you are doing, that you can't move if someone is stupid enough to try to restrain your movement. I am saying that, in the hierarchy of likely situations in any martial encounter, being grabbed with the intention of holding you in place is just about the least likely. Holding someone and not letting them move will not set up a throw, will generally not create an opening for a strike, and has no function. Teaching Aikido people that this is a way to attack is doing them a disservice. Teaching them to grab i a way that can break the partner's balance at the moment of the touch is a primary and valuable skill for any martial artist and requires that nage actually be more sophisticated in his technique to avoid having his center taken.

kewms
01-19-2011, 06:12 PM
To quote Saito Sensei: "If you cant move when you are grabbed it isn't martial arts". The bully on the street isn't trained in how to grab nicely, they may tense up but most likely they will just hold as tight as they can to try to restrict your movements.

Let's consider that bully on the street in a little more detail... What is he actually trying to do? Push you over, maybe? Shove you against a wall and punch you? Yank you into a head butt or a kick? Keep you from escaping while he hits you?

All of these are possibilities, but I can guarantee that his primary objective is *not* to turn your hand purple. Whether he uses fancy Japanese words to describe what he's doing or not, his target is your center, or at least some soft punchable spot along your center line.

Katherine

gates
01-19-2011, 06:16 PM
My greatest objection to the way Aikido is generally done, and it's the way I did it for years, is that the nage is attempting to do technique with total relaxation, using very sophisticated principles, against an uke that attacks like he is mentally deficient.


I absolutely agree, but I fear from a completely different perspective. A vast number of Aikidoka jump straight into flowing ki-no-nagare techniques without the faintest idea what it feels like to actually be grabbed like the person means it. So when they are grabbed, even vaguely hard they have nothing, except as you say a sharp atemi to the face or groin. Same as nikkyo, weak uke means weak nage and rubbish nikkyo. Many Aikidoka can't actually put on a strong nikkyo because uke drops to their knees at the first ounce of pain. First go slow, get technically better and stronger at the same time. The fluid stuff can come later.

Atemi is 70% of applied technique, what is harder to master is getting around the power without the need to smack people.

I maintain learning solid technique, ability to relax and sensitivity is helped by a good strong (and flexible) uke.

"There are many paths to the top of mount fujiyama, but there is only one summit" :)

gates
01-19-2011, 06:24 PM
but I can guarantee that his primary objective is *not* to turn your hand purple

Naturally I agree, but the principles learned through somebody grabbing your hand hard and grabbing your hair hard, or your arms hard or whatever are the same. Otherwise why practice katate-dori at all, it wouldn't make sense.

You should be able to move whatever the hold or attack, or even better before you are grabbed or struck. The principle still applies before the event as it does once you are grabbed, tense up and you wont be able to move, remain calm, focused and relaxed and you will see that they don't really have you at all.

kewms
01-19-2011, 06:50 PM
Naturally I agree, but the principles learned through somebody grabbing your hand hard and grabbing your hair hard, or your arms hard or whatever are the same. Otherwise why practice katate-dori at all, it wouldn't make sense.

You should be able to move whatever the hold or attack, or even better before you are grabbed or struck. The principle still applies before the event as it does once you are grabbed, tense up and you wont be able to move, remain calm, focused and relaxed and you will see that they don't really have you at all.

Oh, I totally agree. I just think "hard grab" as usually taught in aikido dojos doesn't have much resemblance to "hard grab" as usually encountered out in the real world. The Bad Guy on The Street (tm) may not know anything about aiki, but he probably does have some martial goal. Too many aikidoka don't seem to.

Katherine

jonreading
01-20-2011, 11:20 AM
Hi- I'm sorry if this has been discussed to death...but I have a question and situation I am curious to hear your ideas about.

Um...In Aikido...what is the difference between someone resisting energy and you doing a poor technique?

I worked with a guy doing Shihonage the other day and I could only move him slightly before I felt a lot of resistance----"I was like man my technique is not good"----but my instincts were like "I ain't gonna fight this guy" so I moved him as far as I could and then changed sides.

I wasn't frustrated, just curious- the guy says "You want me to stop resisting? I find it helps me learn when people resist, but I can stop." I said, no, you just do what you want to. Its cool.

When I felt the resistance I noticed other techniques that were opening up...but it wasn't what the teacher showed so I just kept failing at Shihonage.

What do you guys think? Should your techniques work even when someone gets super rigid and muscled up?

Let me start by saying that what I believe most aikido people do as katatetori is probably a poor attempt at what used to be the precursor to a strike directed to seize control over your opponent. I believe that the goal of katatedori is to achieve kuzushi; that is take balance and center. In grabbing your hand I am symbolically and and physically seizing your center. In my uke training I should first require of nage to take back her center or, if you're nage is good, never achieve kuzushi. For example, a good judo player can grab your lapel and dump you on your head before you can blink. This is kuzushi.

Next, I believe that most aikido people do not have a clue what to do after seizing nage's hand, even if they may achieve kuzushi. We are not competent in concluding our technique even if given the opportunity. The result of this situation if often inappropriate, if not dangerous, response to nage.

All that being said, yes, within a bell-curve of physicality good kihon waza may be succesffully applied to uke regardless of uke's response. The mechanics of kihon waza provide nage with a mechanical advantage over uke; the mechanical advantage often makes the engagement more dangerous if uke decides to resist. Think of playing tug of war but one side gets a pulley and anchor... However, it is not always the case that technique you are trying to apply is the technique that you may successfully apply. I think this situation has already been covered, but it is confusing for beginners who believe unsuccessful application of technique means failure; more probably, it was the improper technique applied to uke.

"Resisting energy" once referred to the polite chastizing of poor martial strategy and application in engaging your opponent. It was better than saying, "Idiot, don't give me you back. You're cutesy turn out of my ikyyo is going result in koppo." It reminds students that martial techniques and engagement has an ebb and flow of energy that can be used to one's advantage. Unfortunately, I think the term is now mostly an excuse for nage's poor technique and uke's lack of martial competence.

It is the role of sensei (or sempai) to step in during these confusing egagements and provide clear instruction to each partner as to how to understand their roles.

Carl Thompson
01-21-2011, 12:41 AM
Dear Ledyard Sensei

There were a number of things I didn't quite get in your previous posts regarding Keith's training method. I wonder if Mike Sigman's response to this link I posted a while back might give a better view of what I believe Keith was describing:

http://www.iwama-aikido.com/resist.html (http://www.iwama-aikido.com/resist.html)

That's an excellent article, Carl. It's basically about the development from normal strength to ki/kokyu skills and going from static to moving techniques.

There is an interesting implication that a student is expected to go from resistance and muscle toward using correct strength (kokyu ryoku) and then developing technique and correct-strength toward using no-strength (that's a very classical statement). What's interesting about the stated ideas in that article is that a person more or less has to find his own way out of the muscle-puzzle. Too many people never do, so they wind up adjusting their use of muscle to techniques... and that's the common scenario in Aikido (and a number of other arts).

The power of the ki/kokyu skills is very much tied to the power that an Uke/opponent puts out in an attack. There is an old, old saying that essentially says "I cannot beat a wooden man or a brass man, but if he is human I can beat him". The essential idea is that using ki/kokyu skills I can blend with the various generated forces of an opponent, blend my forces with his forces and the combination will defeat the opponent. Since a wooden man and a brass man generate no forces, my ki/kokyu forces offer no real advantage.

Reading of an opponent's forces becomes critical. It goes beyond having a response up your sleeve that is an omote shiho-nage to a shomenuchi. You have to be able to see or feel the actual direction of general-movement force in the opponent and adjust your own internal forces in such a way the the attacking force is neutralized or, better yet, used to initiate the throw/technique that actually defeats Uke.

The body can be trained to instantly analyse and react to an incoming force, even if the force comes from behind. Tohei's "ki tricks" are actually basic training for always being in balance and letting the body "adjust" to any incoming force. At first in your training you just "ground" incoming forces... hence all the "immoveable" aspects of most "ki tests". But the Iwama comments imply the same things that Tohei's ki-tests do. Iwama just uses a different approach to the same core goals.

And of course doing some manipulations to affect Uke's forces before they actually reach Nage is a valid corollary of legitimate Aikido (and many other arts).

I often read old translations about various famous sword duels in the past and it's easy to see how much attention was paid to not giving away your general force directions, controlling the opponent's "ki" by generating your own force/kokyu/ki intentions in certain areas, and so on. "No touch" and "ki throws" are meant to be in these legitimate categories, but once you understand the idea it's pretty easy to spot the people who are making a parody of the legitimate skill, and so on.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

I agree with Mike's warning here that without proper instruction people can get lost in the muscle-puzzle but essentially, this is a way of purging strength and tension in favour of kokyu-power.

Kind regards

Carl

OwlMatt
01-21-2011, 08:12 AM
Zach, what you may have is an uke who prepares for your technique, that is, knows that we are about to practice shihonage (for example) and so gets himself set to resist a shihonage. Ledyard Sensei has an article about this somewhere.

I have a training partner like this, who analyses the technique he knows is coming and figures out how to thwart it before starting his attack. He thinks he is being realistic by providing a committed attack and resistance to the technique, but in truth he is training us both for a situation in which the attacker can read the defender's mind, obviously not a reaslistic situation.

Besides that, when he prepares to fight that one technique, he leaves himself completely defenseless against all manner of other techniques. I am not yet skilled enough to effectively move from one technique into another that smoothly yet, and so he often congratulates himself for having "beaten" me. In reality, he has just deprived both of us of an opportunity to learn.

gates
01-22-2011, 09:42 PM
I have a training partner like this, who analyses the technique he knows is coming and figures out how to thwart it before starting his attack. He thinks he is being realistic by providing a committed attack and resistance to the technique, but in truth he is training us both for a situation in which the attacker can read the defender's mind, obviously not a reaslistic situation.

I assume this person is your sempai. Often from my own experience when this is the case I have found that the best thing to do is to copy exactly how they do the technique. It is not that they are necessarily trying to stop you from doing the technique, but that they have a preconceived notion of how they think it should be done. By coping them it will placate them and they wont resist you doing the technique the way they believe it should be done, otherwise they are completely hypocritical and ridiculous. You also learn a slightly different way of getting around power, and learn a new way to do the technique, all valuable stuff.

gates
01-22-2011, 09:44 PM
I agree with Mike's warning here that without proper instruction people can get lost in the muscle-puzzle but essentially, this is a way of purging strength and tension in favour of kokyu-power.

I also find punching them repeatedly until they have 'dead arms' is an effective way of purging their strength.

Michael Varin
01-23-2011, 05:13 AM
I find much of the discussion in this thread indicative of the general ignorance with which most aikidoists approach their practice.

First, if you don't understand that ukemi truly is 50% of your practice, and that the attacks as presented are "smart" and potentially "deadly," than you really will have a difficult time reconciling the practice.

Second, if you can't find a way to train the specific skills of aikido in an integrated and honest fashion, your only option left will be to expect too much out of your static, ki no nagare, and jiyu waza practices. None of those represent a high level of aikido practice.

Weapons, multiple opponents, and surprise. I've said it before; I'll say it again… It's staring us straight in the face.

On a different note:

George,

For some time now your posts have appeared somewhat disjointed, like a person with A LOT of information, but who hasn't quite put it together yet.

I think Mike Sigman was correct; you have more than enough information. I think a big breakthrough is coming.

Carl Thompson
01-23-2011, 06:47 AM
I also find punching them repeatedly until they have 'dead arms' is an effective way of purging their strength.
:) But if someone were attacking with dead arms, you would probably be able to move however you liked (i.e.: using conventional muscle-power) and they wouldn't be able to resist you (so you wouldn't be able to feel your mistakes). However punching them repeatedly may be one possible way of purging an opponent of the problem Matthew was talking about...
I have a training partner like this, who analyses the technique he knows is coming and figures out how to thwart it before starting his attack. He thinks he is being realistic by providing a committed attack and resistance to the technique, but in truth he is training us both for a situation in which the attacker can read the defender's mind, obviously not a reaslistic situation.
If he is attacking differently from what the sensei is demonstrating against, the chances are it is a "sempai trick" (not necessarily committed by a sempai). Although it useful to figure out what they're playing at, generally I think that kind of training falls into the "non productive" category of resistance as in the David Alexander article.

Josh Reyer
01-23-2011, 09:25 AM
When I trained Iwama Aikido, I met guys, generally relative newbies, who would just bear down with all sorts of muscle. They were extremely stiff and tense, and I definitely got that feeling of someone jamming a technique they knew was coming. Heck, I certainly bore down with more muscle than I should have.

I also trained with a girl who had absolutely fantastic aikido. Her grip as uke was strong -- though I was physically stronger than her, I could not muscle my way through the technique. At all, full stop. When I was uke, I had the same kind of feeling as when I worked with Rob John; she seemed to move me without the slightest bit of strain, right through where I thought my power was, as if she was stronger than me. And she wasn't even very old or highly ranked. She was in her twenties, and I think she was a nidan. If timing, location, and the politics had worked out, I'd probably still be training at her dojo.

So, while the Iwama style of a strong grip that gives nothing away can be done the wrong way, just as the relaxed, non-resisting style can lead to collusion and unrealism, if done the right way it can lead to some pretty nice skills. At least in my personal anecdotal experience.

George S. Ledyard
01-23-2011, 10:40 AM
George,

For some time now your posts have appeared somewhat disjointed, like a person with A LOT of information, but who hasn't quite put it together yet.

I think Mike Sigman was correct; you have more than enough information. I think a big breakthrough is coming.

Michael, The breakthrough is happening right now. On the forums I am careful about what I write about. I generally stay away from the internal power material for a number of reasons... The main one is that there are several guys who post here who can do a better job of it. You'll notice that when someone less knowledgeable about the subject posts on the subject, it's as if they are submitting their thesis for review and the experts chime in. Since I have already conceded that, on this subject they know more than i do, I don't see the point. It only serves to make me look stupid and the other guys look even more like experts, which is already a given.

I am a professional instructor... I am willing to take a lot of risks. More than many of my peers I think. But it's a hard world out there. I have been nothing but supportive of the guys doing this work and have, at every opportunity, recommended that folks in Aikido find a way to work with one of them.

But any number of times recently, I have heard through the grapevine that someone's going around telling people "I felt George, he doesn't have it." Well, the reason whoever said that had the chance to feel me was that I made myself available and took the risk. So, exposing myself further to critique from people who are not even from within the Aikido community and to the extent that they had any Aikido background are far junior to me, when I have reason to expect that it may come back to me through the back door, well, I think it's not something I want to do.

I think that you'd find that, if you were in a class with me, it would not seem disjointed. I have a fairly integrated system which from the functional standpoint of teaching seems to get good results in terms of helping folks make big changes in their level fairly rapidly. Since I continue to train myself, I am adding to that all the time. But I think what I am doing is certainly more coherent and a tighter presentation than what i do on the subject here.

People being what they are, you have to protect yourself. I am a second tier teacher. When the uchi deshi have passed, we will be the first tier folks. I have tried hard to develop myself as a recognized and respected teacher. Now that internal power work is becoming a hot topic, partly through my own recommendations, I don't need it to become something that comes back to bite me. So I will continue to let the folks who already have the expertise keep posting. They do a fine job; I support them in the effort.

Budd
01-23-2011, 12:08 PM
George, I hope you forgive both the familiarity and that this doesn't come across as condescending . . since I've been away from what I consider mainstream aikido for a number of years and from formal practice of any Japanese martial art for a year or so . . it's from an admittedly outsider lens that I comment . . but I'm really pulling for you to figure all this stuff out . . or at the very least, lay the groundwork for future generations to run with the torch and blaze trails to follow higher up the mountain of mainstream aikido.

And for what its worth . . I think you're doing an admirable job of walking the walk and talking the talk (you've made me question some of my basic assumptions regarding aikido and "this stuff"), and I think it is a hornet's nest to start offering too much "insight" into internal strength until you've had a number of years to condition (rewire - in many cases) just the very basic things. I think quite a few of the initial round of folks that got hands on with people looked at it as an add-on skill (and therefore infinitely slowed their progress) and it's only really recently that I feel like enough people are starting to get on board that this is a foundational practice that requires some years of conditioning and correct practice to change the body - nevermind really apply it through a martial art (which doesn't mean it won't change your aikido practice or make it better, immediately, but the longer-term more beneficial changes would require that everybody be on board with the goals of the practice, I think, too).

But with that ramble aside - where it actually fits within the aikido training syllabus? I dunno . . because my "Aikido" never got to near a mastery level - and once I realized it wouldn't until I rethought how I fundamentally moved and carried myself . . I detoured off course from actually practicing budo and started looking at these things more as weird hybrid of mental/physical Way/Do/Tao and avocation. A very personal one that doesn't seem to have much in common with what I see happening in most dojos.

But maybe years from now when (hopeless optimist side speaking here) "this stuff" has become again the core of a martial arts study . . I'd like to think that I would walk into that kind of place and feel at home. Lots of pressures and risks, there, George, but I count on teachers like you to figure out how that's going to work and function within a mainstream activity like modern aikido.

Anyways, to come back on topic of the thread . . one of the foundational practices is the ability of the uke to offer a dumb force for nage to receive, return with their ground/gravity intent and learn how that creates off-balancing in uke. If both partners aren't committed to that type of exercise/training .. then it's one of many potential roadblocks to the foundational layer of body skill that's needed to do a martial art with "this stuff".

FWIW

thisisnotreal
01-23-2011, 12:51 PM
Compliments to George and Budd.
This is exciting.

Keith Larman
01-23-2011, 04:09 PM
I also trained with a girl who had absolutely fantastic aikido. Her grip as uke was strong -- though I was physically stronger than her, I could not muscle my way through the technique. At all, full stop.

FWIW, fairly recently a woman in her 70's who had trained with Tohei back in the 1960's grabbed my wrist to show me something. I'm over 200 pounds and strong. Yeah, I could have powered through her but she was able to mess with me a heck of a lot more than people my own age and size. Heck of a lot of power there.

DH
01-23-2011, 04:22 PM
Michael, The breakthrough is happening right now. On the forums I am careful about what I write about. I generally stay away from the internal power material for a number of reasons... The main one is that there are several guys who post here who can do a better job of it. You'll notice that when someone less knowledgeable about the subject posts on the subject, it's as if they are submitting their thesis for review and the experts chime in. Since I have already conceded that, on this subject they know more than i do, I don't see the point. It only serves to make me look stupid and the other guys look even more like experts, which is already a given.

I am a professional instructor... I am willing to take a lot of risks. More than many of my peers I think. But it's a hard world out there. I have been nothing but supportive of the guys doing this work and have, at every opportunity, recommended that folks in Aikido find a way to work with one of them.

But any number of times recently, I have heard through the grapevine that someone's going around telling people "I felt George, he doesn't have it." Well, the reason whoever said that had the chance to feel me was that I made myself available and took the risk. So, exposing myself further to critique from people who are not even from within the Aikido community and to the extent that they had any Aikido background are far junior to me, when I have reason to expect that it may come back to me through the back door, well, I think it's not something I want to do.

I think that you'd find that, if you were in a class with me, it would not seem disjointed. I have a fairly integrated system which from the functional standpoint of teaching seems to get good results in terms of helping folks make big changes in their level fairly rapidly. Since I continue to train myself, I am adding to that all the time. But I think what I am doing is certainly more coherent and a tighter presentation than what i do on the subject here.

People being what they are, you have to protect yourself. I am a second tier teacher. When the uchi deshi have passed, we will be the first tier folks. I have tried hard to develop myself as a recognized and respected teacher. Now that internal power work is becoming a hot topic, partly through my own recommendations, I don't need it to become something that comes back to bite me. So I will continue to let the folks who already have the expertise keep posting. They do a fine job; I support them in the effort.
This simply cannot be ignored.
That George and others like George, put themselves out there in venues unfamiliar to them places them head and shoulders above the average martial artist.
I had a question asked of another senior martial art practitioners, of whether or not "he had it" (meaning IP) I said no not in any significant way. Then I asked the one asking the question "Have you crossed hands with him or done weapons with them in their art of choice. They said "No, I haven't."I said "Trust me he can hand you your head!"
Of course it's not about just being able to fight; there is also the issue of knowing an art and having expertise in executed said art to consider. An area where the self same IP guy would fail.
I have sparred with Gleason any number of times, but when asked to do aikido...you don't want to know what I look like in comparison to Bill in doing Aikido!!

We can't go on to applaud Ikeda, Ledyard, Gleason, Amdur, then the next level teachers like Drachman, Liberti, Abrums, Beebe, etc for being stand up guys and testing themselves, then shoot them down at the same time for not knowing everything.
We also cannot go on letting an IP guy state "it has to be felt" then shoot down those they haven't felt, and telling those teachers and students who have felt IP guys that they don't have any ability to judge that either. What then was the point in IHTBF?
Doing so smacks of agenda to me.

An open door
I was/am hoping that when the doors to these men's lives opened that this movement was going to be a positive one; that it was to be a free exchange of information to help in bringing back to aikido what we have come to agree went missing from the art.
How does it help to then turn around and denigrate the efforts of the people who are trying to bring it back into the art?

We certainly do not have expertise to do that work do we? Those teachers who know me, know my answer when I am asked "How do we incorporate it into our art
"That's your job. I'm not qualified!"

It is difficult to read and see things that are a bit off in various description and videos (even sometimes seeing people going in a different direction from what you taught them) but I allow for growth, learning curve and experimentation. While certain forums have delighted in tearing down the efforts of those just learning and critiquing them...I have no part in that.

So George, If I was in any way party to what you have described, you have my sincerest apologies. The way I see it is "Yes, I have things you do not know." What needs to be stated here clearly is that "You have an "expertise" in areas I cannot approach.
All the best
Dan.

George S. Ledyard
01-23-2011, 09:20 PM
This simply cannot be ignored.
That George and others like George, put themselves out there in venues unfamiliar to them places them head and shoulders above the average martial artist.
I had a question asked of another senior martial art practitioners, of whether or not "he had it" (meaning IP) I said no not in any significant way. Then I asked the one asking the question "Have you crossed hands with him or done weapons with them in their art of choice. They said "No, I haven't."I said "Trust me he can hand you your head!"
Of course it's not about just being able to fight; there is also the issue of knowing an art and having expertise in executed said art to consider. An area where the self same IP guy would fail.
I have sparred with Gleason any number of times, but when asked to do aikido...you don't want to know what I look like in comparison to Bill in doing Aikido!!

We can't go on to applaud Ikeda, Ledyard, Gleason, Amdur, then the next level teachers like Drachman, Liberti, Abrums, Beebe, etc for being stand up guys and testing themselves, then shoot them down at the same time for not knowing everything.
We also cannot go on letting an IP guy state "it has to be felt" then shoot down those they haven't felt, and telling those teachers and students who have felt IP guys that they don't have any ability to judge that either. What then was the point in IHTBF?
Doing so smacks of agenda to me.

An open door
I was/am hoping that when the doors to these men's lives opened that this movement was going to be a positive one; that it was to be a free exchange of information to help in bringing back to aikido what we have come to agree went missing from the art.
How does it help to then turn around and denigrate the efforts of the people who are trying to bring it back into the art?

We certainly do not have expertise to do that work do we? Those teachers who know me, know my answer when I am asked "How do we incorporate it into our art
"That's your job. I'm not qualified!"

It is difficult to read and see things that are a bit off in various description and videos (even sometimes seeing people going in a different direction from what you taught them) but I allow for growth, learning curve and experimentation. While certain forums have delighted in tearing down the efforts of those just learning and critiquing them...I have no part in that.

So George, If I was in any way party to what you have described, you have my sincerest apologies. The way I see it is "Yes, I have things you do not know." What needs to be stated here clearly is that "You have an "expertise" in areas I cannot approach.
All the best
Dan.

Dan,
Thanks, that was very classy. I certainly have no interest in getting into personalities here. I just wanted some folks to know why I don't extend myself publicly on the forums when it's getting into areas that I am not yet totally confident in.

I think Aikido is at an interesting junction right now. The old generation is passing away and soon we will have the next generation of leadership taking over. This offers a unique freedom for many experienced folks to look around and try new things that perhaps they didn't feel ten or fifteen years ago. This corresponds to a situation in which people like you , Mike, Ark, Toby, etc are willing to share things with the Aikido community that previously were unavailable to anyone outside of some pretty obscure styles of martial art. In some cases these skills wouldn't even have been taught to guys like me because I wasn't Chinese or some such.

Anyway, although here on the forums I try to be very open about what I am willing to discuss, I am still careful. Aikido folks are, as a community, actually quite judgmental. Saotome Sensei used to say "Aikido people, most angry any martial art." Because this art is so ill defined, the skills pretty murky in terms of what really work s and what doesn't, people have a sort of insecurity about what they do. I think this is one of the things that has lead to so much violence and injury on that mat over the years and it also leads to the kind of mutual intolerance you find when a community isn't secure and confident about what it does.

So folks who have some recognized authority in a given area have a lot of influence over opinion in our community. Someone in a position of influence starts bad mouthing a member of our community it can have a negative effect. In the case of the folks who are involved with trying to help Aikido fix some of the problems that occurred during its too rapid post war growth, their credibility and ability to engineer this change is retarded when one of the very folks who is offering to help is sabotaging us at the same time. I agree it smacks of an agenda.

Aikido folks need to a) be far less judgmental than they are and b) be willing to look foolish learning new things. One of the things that I found training with the Systema folks was that they are the "cleanest" folks I have ever worked with. Virtually no judgment from the senior folks at all. I realized that this lack of judgment, the absence of the need to be posturing , always worried about what everyone thinks, that is the training atmosphere that they have created gives one the complete freedom to really learn. You can really let go, look foolish, fail over and over and no one cares, no one thinks less of you, I found that I was far more likely to really let myself go to a really vulnerable state working with Vlad, Ryabko, and the various seniors, who are extraordinary folks in my opinion, than I would ever let my Aikido compadres see me in. And that state allows the deepest learning, the most profound changes, to take place. Aikido folks, and a lot of others could learn from these folks.

I have to say that you also create this kind of atmosphere. You are at least as excited about passing on what you know to interested folks as I am in passing on whatever I can about Aikido to anyone who will listen. Your excitement about what you do is infectious. I can't remember seeing anyone, except maybe Howard, who has a better time teaching what he knows. And it shows in the folks who have gravitated to you to learn. Everybody just wants to learn. No judgment if you either can't do something (injuries or whatever) or can't seem to get it... the assumption is simply there that you will.

Aside from not wishing to open myself up to getting cheap-shotted behind my back, I don't actually care much. The person I believe responsible doesn't happen to think that anyone else (maybe three or four people in the world) has these skills the way he understands them. So I am in good company along with the rest of the 6 billion folks on the planet. Not worth worrying about. But I think Aikido folks would always do well to find out for themselves what anyone can and cannot do rather than listen to anyone else. People can make choices based on second hand information that they regret later because they passed up opportunities to work with someone and later discovered that they has a lot to offer.

I think it is funny that we are often so judgmental about other arts we know nothing about or other teachers we have never even met. When Aikido was the new kid on the block, it was always the art that no one thought worked. I'd get guys from karate coming in to the dojo saying their teacher told them not to bother with Aikido because it didn't work. After two hours of (nicely) wiping the mat with them, they'd have another idea when they left. But if course their teacher never came to play... Now we have Aikido folks pooh poohing stuff that they have absolutely no direct experience of. Systema is fake, Ushiro Kenji doesn't have the goods, Okamoto's ukes are just tanking... oh, and the ever popular, "we have the same stuff" when talking about internal skills. Didn't we learn anything when it was Aikido everybody thought was fake?

Anyway, thanks again. Missed you for KB, was hoping Josh and some of us could tap you for some more goodies. Hope all is well!
- George

DH
01-23-2011, 10:41 PM
George
I don't know whether to say thank you or you're welcome...seems both apply. In any event you made me smile. I think you have a good handle on the landscape and have your witts about you with all the various players out there.
I am so glad you picked up on how I feel about training. Budo is tough, so even though guiding people into a physical understanding is paramount, I try to make it as fun and interesting as I can.

I missed KB as well...I have a 90 yr old father in law who lives with us with some issues, I had to head back home. I am going to be talking to Josh about a Seattle visit in either Feb or March.
Hope to see ya soon
Dan

Mike Sigman
01-23-2011, 10:48 PM
Michael, The breakthrough is happening right now. On the forums I am careful about what I write about. I generally stay away from the internal power material for a number of reasons... The main one is that there are several guys who post here who can do a better job of it. You'll notice that when someone less knowledgeable about the subject posts on the subject, it's as if they are submitting their thesis for review and the experts chime in. Since I have already conceded that, on this subject they know more than i do, I don't see the point. It only serves to make me look stupid and the other guys look even more like experts, which is already a given. George, let me suggest again that if you know something you should post it. One of the things I keep an eye out for is someone posting specific how-to's in a way that a newby (but a real enthusiast) can read and profit by. I see more time talking about personalities and vague references than I see talking about how-to's. There is something really wrong in Aikido that this keeps on happening. Break the cycle. ;)

But any number of times recently, I have heard through the grapevine that someone's going around telling people "I felt George, he doesn't have it." Well, the reason whoever said that had the chance to feel me was that I made myself available and took the risk. So, exposing myself further to critique from people who are not even from within the Aikido community and to the extent that they had any Aikido background are far junior to me, when I have reason to expect that it may come back to me through the back door, well, I think it's not something I want to do. Well shame on them. Bad people. Meanies, even. But then, you have to be careful because in most of the situations like this there are people who agree on one side that someone is a meany and there are people on another side that feel their opinions about jealous or petty people is vindicated when they see oblique personal shots being taken. I saw a lot of this happen in Taiji at one time and I think there's a Y in a path here that can lead either toward progress or back toward the same petty fiefdoms trying to maintain and regain their power and status. In the case of Taiji, I saw that for many teachers it was far more important for them that they maintain their position and mutual support of their peers than it was to move forward. Ultimately progress in Taiji was stymied by the current "seniors" and by a group of aggressive but self-serving people who were looking to build their own kingdoms. I walked away and when I look back I see that none of them have really progressed in all those years. What Aikido does for now is up to whether people really want to progress, like Ikeda Sensei did, or whether they really are more interested in the status quo. It's going to be interesting to watch. As a mutual friend of yours and mine (someone who studied with you when you started) noted, Aikido has become so populated with people who are not really interested in Aikido that it's a real question which way it's going to go.

While we're all waiting to see which way things go though, my suggestion is *still* that people get off their backsides and if they really know anything, start posting it, talking it, and showing it. These wastes of time with oblique attempts to target people personally only confirm the low opinions that many people have about what goes on in Aikido. So why not try talking about facts, how-to's, etc., and show what a real teacher can do?

FWIW

Mike Sigman

kewms
01-23-2011, 11:36 PM
What Aikido does for now is up to whether people really want to progress, like Ikeda Sensei did, or whether they really are more interested in the status quo.

FWIW, I don't think it's coincidence that so many of the aikido people trying to "get it" are in Ikeda Sensei's organization. When someone as senior as he is is willing to try new stuff in public, it sets a strong example for everyone else.

(Full disclosure: I'm in the ASU myself, and have personally trained with most of the people Dan listed. But, fortunately for me, I'm not senior enough for anyone to care much what I can and can't do.)

Katherine

Mike Sigman
01-24-2011, 08:06 AM
FWIW, I don't think it's coincidence that so many of the aikido people trying to "get it" are in Ikeda Sensei's organization. When someone as senior as he is is willing to try new stuff in public, it sets a strong example for everyone else.

(Full disclosure: I'm in the ASU myself, and have personally trained with most of the people Dan listed. But, fortunately for me, I'm not senior enough for anyone to care much what I can and can't do.)
Ikeda Sensei came up again in a personal conversation I was having this weekend and both of us talking agreed that *no one* we have ever known in Aikido has ever stepped up to the pump and put out the effort in the way that Ikeda Sensei has done, ignoring pecking-order games. So Ikeda is a worth-role model.

On the other hand, most people who see the basic mechanics of good internal strength don't need to be convinced much that the skills are an obvious part of Aikido; the question is how far they're going to be able to take themselves, find viable information, etc. I continue to look for all valid information from all valid sources, disregarding the petty bs about pecking order, etc., that goes nowhere.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

MM
01-24-2011, 08:13 AM
Hi George and Dan,

Isn't it amazing how different training can complement each other provided the people are forming lasting relationships? People like Bill Gleason and Howard Popkin (you too, George) are putting themselves out there to learn something valuable and are putting in the effort to make their art stronger, more like what it was originally rather than what it has become, and teaching what they know. You guys have the necessary backgrounds, have the years of training, and are leading the way. What's nice is that you aren't the only ones doing this because others in various organizations are involved, too. All of you are talking about how to do this stuff, showing things, and teaching it the best that you can. And forming lasting relationships because of it.

People with a love of aikido and Daito ryu are strengthening the ties between their arts, strengthening their own art, and are forging new relationships with other people who love their art. I know I haven't met many people in their own art who really weren't interested or vested in making it or themselves better. It's a big world out there, so I'm sure there are some rare exceptions.

People like to *talk* about Modern Aikido's definition of "aiki" and how it's supposed to be harmonious, non-resistant, peaceful, loving, etc. But I find it amazing that the original definition of aiki has brought to life and *shown* the Modern Definition of "aiki" by having high level aikido people in the same room all practicing together and having fun.

Oh, and George, I echo Dan in this. If I was in any way connected to what you described, I apologize.

Thanks,
Mark

Mike Sigman
01-24-2011, 08:35 AM
Aside from not wishing to open myself up to getting cheap-shotted behind my back, I don't actually care much. The person I believe responsible doesn't happen to think that anyone else (maybe three or four people in the world) has these skills the way he understands them. So I am in good company along with the rest of the 6 billion folks on the planet. George, my position about the internal-strength skills is that they're very widespread and commonly used in Asian martial-arts and have been for probably a couple of thousand years. I've mentioned that a number of times in the past. The problem is that these skills are a lot more complex and somebody can't just grab a few bits and pieces and make up a hybrid "system" on their own without going astray. Many people go astray; it's a commonly-reported occurrence. What I'd suggest during this renaissance is that people be cautious, but move forward decisively (look how many years are passing quickly!).

In terms of worrying about what other people say about you, let me assure you that this is Aikido and I've heard many negative things about you for years, George (along with many good things, too, of course). Same is true of many/most people in Aikido... it's surprising how many people don't like some people or groups of people.

What to do about that in relation to i.s. skills? Ignore it. The next time I see you I'm going to be interested in what sort of skills you have, not whether you've taken some partisan side as an unproductive attempt to make any expert who doesn't blow your horn for you go away. I'll guarantee you that if you're good to any degree, I'll say it out loud. If you suck, I won't pretend to everyone that you're good anymore than I would mislead you if you ask me my recommendations about some teacher who is not as good as he hypes himself to be. I'll tell you the truth and I'll lay out specifically and physically why.

BTW.... these skills are complex enough that there is no narrow range of skills or partial skills that is the definitive "internal strength". So far, I'm not away of anyone mentioned on AikiWeb as teaching the full gamut of skills. In most cases, it's pretty doubtful that a lot of the named people are even aware of the full gamut of skills. What I'm getting at is that technically I disagree that a lot of the people who are "teaching internal strength" are all doing the same things. However, I don't want to argue it at present, but am simply laying it out there as a gambit for future discussions.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Marc Abrams
01-24-2011, 10:15 AM
Mike:

Have you ever given consideration to the idea that you are part of a larger problem being discussed here? You conveniently place yourself as the "king of internal skills." You talk about how you started off in the Japanese martial arts and then when to the Chinese martial arts to find your "answers." You talk about how this stuff is missing in the Aikido world and other Japanese arts. You talk about how it is being lost in the Chinese martial arts as well, because of organizational and personal concerns. Where are you in the Chinese Martial arts world? Who is your Sifu? What Chinese arts to you represent and teach? What school do you run? Who are your students?

You can try and hide behind your statement about not wanting any students. You can hide behind some less than gracious attempts to share your information with those of lessor status than you and of course, you will give a little bit more if they display some changes according to your standards.

One of the people who "practiced your stuff" was at an Ushiro Seminar and could do little of what was being done. He talked to another attendee ( a friend of mine) who asked why that person was able to do some of what was being taught. My friend asked him why are you not able to employ what you are being taught. He said that he did not want to do so too early so as to avoid learning bad habits! So, he was learning skills like useless parlor tricks that could not be employed in a martial arts setting. Gee, I thought this was all about martial arts. Not surprisingly, this person had less than flattering things to say about Ushiro Sensei, not unlike your opinion of me, or Ushiro Sensei for that matter. Heck, your opinion of Ushiro Sensei was without any hands on experience. You were at the Boulder Camp. Why did you not get hands on? Maybe you just have to wonder what would have happened if you tried to test your skills against Ushiro Sensei? The other people out there teaching "internal skills" seem to have no problem getting hands on with others and even allowing others to test their skills with them. Gee Whiz, Ushiro Sensei allowed Kazumi to try his best. Maybe you would like to test your skills against someone like Kazumi? After all, the martial arts world is about what you do, not what you say.

You talk about being an outside observer to the Aikido world. You seem to be outside of every world except your own self-imposed, self-governed world without a school or students for that matter. Nobody is disputing that you have valuable skills to offer others. The manner in which you attempt to offer your skills is done in a way that places you conveniently at the top of the "internal skills world" while demeaning the efforts to others and, maybe, just maybe, if you see them again and you are satisfied with what you see, you might offer another tidbit of wisdom.

Here is a suggestion for you. Start walking the talk. Open a school. Create a student pool who can replicate your skill sets. Try your hand at testing the skills of those other teachers who you demean. Get your hands "dirty" with some MMA fighters. Show us what art you represent and can pass on the traditions of. People like George Ledyard are out there doing everything they can to walk the talk and always get better. Do you really think that he needs your "approval" in order to learn new things?

I, for one, have had enough of your "contributions" to the Aikido world. The Aikido world managed to survive before you and I'm sure that it will survive without you now. Interesting how you were not an instructor at the Aiki Expos. Interesting how Ikeda Sensei does not attribute his gains to your wisdom. Then again I do not hear any instructor attributing their great gain in skills to you either. I do know of one promising student who stopped Aikido to do your stuff, not wanting to develop "bad habits" while he worked on such "great learning." Like I could really give a damn that you post about my lack of skills and the mistakes and inadequacies of others. The strings attached to your help only serve to insulate you at the top of some self-imposed food chain without you having to show much of anything for it. Why don't you go out there and earn it like other people out there. Go test your skills against those you like to put underneath your "level." Until then, why don't you work on yourself for awhile and allow us to work on what we do.

My prediction is that the other people out there teaching the "internal skills" will continue to grow in their popularity while helping all of us develop better skill sets. Their integrity of character is displayed in who they are as people and in what and how they offer their services to others. You, despite what you might have to offer, will become a victim of who you are. Less people will be willing to listen, less people will want to train and you become even more insular in your own little world. Sad prediction for you. Maybe, just maybe you want to step back and listen to what others are saying so that you can find a more social and connected way to work with others. I would consider meeting you again after I saw such changes. Until then, as one person said "an educated consumer is my best customer." With that in mind, I have no interest in what you might have to offer.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

OwlMatt
01-24-2011, 10:21 AM
I assume this person is your sempai. Often from my own experience when this is the case I have found that the best thing to do is to copy exactly how they do the technique. It is not that they are necessarily trying to stop you from doing the technique, but that they have a preconceived notion of how they think it should be done. By coping them it will placate them and they wont resist you doing the technique the way they believe it should be done, otherwise they are completely hypocritical and ridiculous. You also learn a slightly different way of getting around power, and learn a new way to do the technique, all valuable stuff.

There is sense to what your are saying, but you and I are not talking about the same thing. You are talking about an experienced student who is trying to teach, and I am talking about an inexperienced student who is trying to win.

Mike Sigman
01-24-2011, 12:51 PM
Have you ever given consideration to the idea that you are part of a larger problem being discussed here? You conveniently place yourself as the "king of internal skills." You talk about how you started off in the Japanese martial arts and Sorry, Marc, but can you quote the source for you "king of internal skills" claim. Since it seems to be a direct attribution, I want to see it.

In terms of the lengthy character assassination, I'm not going to bother to reply. I've had you freely as a guest in my home and took the time to show you gratis some things that would help you. Take that as my contribution.

The bigger question a number of us are looking at though, is this frenzy you and a couple of others seem to have worked yourselves into. I had one person who attended a recent workshop tell me about an instructor that mentioned my name and seethed a lot all through the workshop; I was told that the impression was that this instructor (who is not teaching his best-guess of a lot of the terminology from the QiJin list) appeared to be someone who wanted to physically harm me. You strike me as being in the same mood, Marc, along with a few others. Why not explain why you're like this?

Preferable to me is that you simply explain some baseline internal-strength skill stuff. As it is, a lot of people are getting the impression that the people engaging in the personal attacks are simply trying to discredit anyone who doesn't go along with a certain party-line. Why should this kind of petty stuff be happening on a martial-arts forum.

Try a fresh topic. Tell us how to move using the center, for example, as opposed to using some *aiki* and a lot of arm. That would be a great help to many newbies, I think.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Marc Abrams
01-24-2011, 01:53 PM
Mike:

Nice try to turn the focus on me. You have done nothing worthy of being a victim of violence. As I said, my prediction regarding you is sad. So much to offer, but could not get out of the way of himself. We can agree on moving on to other topics. What art do you practice and teach again?

Regards,

Marc Abrams

akiy
01-24-2011, 03:29 PM
Hi folks,

Please start discussing the topic rather than the people behind the topics.

Thank you,

-- Jun

Budogirl
01-24-2011, 10:31 PM
To address the original post,

Maybe this will help. I experience a lot of "resistance" to my "technique". It used to put me in a quandary. Now I'm beginning to learn more about creating a good opening to complete the technique and better angles.

On those occasions where I get both solid opening and good angles (not often and clearly not as often as I would like), the Uke's resistance isn't effective.

So if you work on off balancing the Uke, "resistance is futile"...:D

Lots of luck to you, and don't forget to enjoy your training!

Zach Trent
01-25-2011, 03:17 PM
Thank you everyone for the helpful advice...and interesting discussion of internal power. I got two for the price of one! :)

I really learned from people discussing how uke should grab- if uke becomes like a concrete pillar just so they can keep their kung-fu grip, then the martial confrontation is over. I could be wrong, but I think this fellow just locked himself up for the sake of attacking "honestly"- though it doesn't make any martial sense.

I'll look for this guy again and see what happens!

I have no knowledge or opinions of internal power, but I got angry at the people who were saying Ledyard Sensei didn't seem very organized in his thoughts and contributions. To be honest- I have this back-burner desire of getting all of Ledyard Sensei's writings published someday. I think it would be an amazing contribution of essays and I myself would love to have all of his writings in one place. I learn a lot from you Sensei- so please keep sharing!

So take that! ;)

George S. Ledyard
01-25-2011, 04:44 PM
I have no knowledge or opinions of internal power, but I got angry at the people who were saying Ledyard Sensei didn't seem very organized in his thoughts and contributions.

No, on the subject they were referring to, they were correct. I was purposely not as detailed (or lengthy) as I am normally, for reasons that I stated and I think subsequently became even more clear. I wasn't the least offended, so don't you be.

To be honest- I have this back-burner desire of getting all of Ledyard Sensei's writings published someday. I think it would be an amazing contribution of essays and I myself would love to have all of his writings in one place. I learn a lot from you Sensei- so please keep sharing!

Some folks have been after me for a while to write a book, But I've talked to Gleason and Amdur Sensei's, who have done so, and I think I am too lazy to go through the amount of work they went through for the most modest of returns. Videos are way better... only a short burst of effort with a long term return. Genie, my wife said we should simply get a good editor and see if he or she could pull something coherent out of the ridiculous amount of time I've spent posting on-line. I may do that. Right now, my Mom thinks I have wasted my adult like. Seeing my stuff on-line simply hasn't changed that opinion. The same stuff in a book, now that might change her mind. It would be something tangible she could show her friends. Thanks for the encouragement... probably need to get off my duff, except that I never actually seem to get to be on my duff... oh well.

OwlMatt
01-26-2011, 02:53 PM
Genie, my wife said we should simply get a good editor and see if he or she could pull something coherent out of the ridiculous amount of time I've spent posting on-line. I may do that. Right now, my Mom thinks I have wasted my adult like. Seeing my stuff on-line simply hasn't changed that opinion. The same stuff in a book, now that might change her mind. It would be something tangible she could show her friends. Thanks for the encouragement... probably need to get off my duff, except that I never actually seem to get to be on my duff... oh well.

This is really good advice, I think. One of my favorite books lately has been The Philosophy of Fighting by Black Belt columnist Keith Vargo. It's nothing more than a collection of his columns, but it's brilliant stuff and stuff I never would have read otherwise, since I have very little interest in subscribing to Black Belt.

Publishing as a book things you've already written might allow you to reach a whole new audience and market (that is, those who don't look online for their aikido) without writing another word.

Janet Rosen
01-26-2011, 04:29 PM
This is really good advice, I think. One of my favorite books lately has been The Philosophy of Fighting by Black Belt columnist Keith Vargo. It's nothing more than a collection of his columns, but it's brilliant stuff and stuff I never would have read otherwise, since I have very little interest in subscribing to Black Belt.

And it was the same for me and Dave Lowry - his collected essays from magazines I don't read, in book form, are a treasure I return to over and over.

Chris Parkerson
02-01-2011, 01:39 PM
I have a saying that comes from homeopathic medical jargon that I apply to throwing arts. I call it the "Law of Similars".

In throwing arts, we need to float uike's whole body rather than just his/her upper torso. You will feel "resistance" when the uke's upper body is being stretched out while his/her lower body recenters itself inside their base.

If you only use your upper torso when practicing a technique, you only push or pull on the uper torso of uke. Thus the "law of similars".

The principle involved is about how long your leverage is. If you do your work from the bottoms of your feet, then you will float uke's whole body from the bottom of his/her feet. I believe that this rule is one of the most important principles we must follow.

JCT53
03-18-2011, 02:40 PM
Thanks everyone for your suggestions and feedback:

I guess I wonder about the nature of ukemi- if ukemi means to recieve then why on earth would you ever resist?

Sometimes nage does not have my center, but that doesn't mean i resist him- I dunno

To me as uke, I don't really "resist" (or, as it is called at our dojo, "punk") tori, however, I do often walk out of a technique if it lacks in balance taking. So, I guess uke should be...neutral. He should be intent on attacking, not making tori's job hard, but he should not be like a house of cards and fall at the lightest touch either. That is just my thought.

*Take is with a grain of salt as I have only been formally training for 2 years*

Alberto_Italiano
05-01-2011, 06:33 PM
Students need to have permission to allow their technique to be what it "wants to be" rather than training themselves to force their partners into some predetermined form demonstrated by the Sensei. Otherwise you are simply training them to force their techniques and killing their sensitivity. Very bad martial arts.

Ah this guy has always been my ideal Sensei :-)
And he is not disjointed imho: he is intellectually rich. This is why posts where George intervenes normally branch out in many directions.

However to put my two worthless and rough cents into the original question: when uke resists openly, what to do?

There are much more competent answers than mine.
However, right or wrong: personally, I brazenly wait.

I just keep my hands on uke's arm in the position I was attempting the technique, and to his usually evident bewilderment, I just stay with my hands on him exerting no force whatever and I just wait.
Some ukes look at me as if wondering: well, do something.
I won't. I wait for them to do something.
Yet if he waits for too long, I can suddenly produce an arm lock, and wait in that position.

Sooner or later he has to move. As soon as he moves I follow his movement and see whether a technique flows out of it to unbalance him.
When he moves I follow his direction adding a bit of my own force and if he loses balance, it is normally possible to place a convenient technique. You don't need a big repertoire - certainly I haven't.

True, most dojos won't let you practice this way. But, then, they also shouldn't allow rigid ukes too. But, then...

ps i am a guy who fell several times on the mat (and on the ground) toghether with Ukes, in a very unstylish fashion with my legs flailing in the air, who attempts occasionally to force a technique (bad habits never die), and whose techiniques utterly fail once out of three times - on top of that, as a tori I lost balance myself slipped and fell twice face down doing a tenkan + kotegaeshi go figure: so, by all accounts discard my approach.

Shany
05-02-2011, 02:20 PM
Hi- I'm sorry if this has been discussed to death...but I have a question and situation I am curious to hear your ideas about.

Um...In Aikido...what is the difference between someone resisting energy and you doing a poor technique?

I worked with a guy doing Shihonage the other day and I could only move him slightly before I felt a lot of resistance----"I was like man my technique is not good"----but my instincts were like "I ain't gonna fight this guy" so I moved him as far as I could and then changed sides.

I wasn't frustrated, just curious- the guy says "You want me to stop resisting? I find it helps me learn when people resist, but I can stop." I said, no, you just do what you want to. Its cool.

When I felt the resistance I noticed other techniques that were opening up...but it wasn't what the teacher showed so I just kept failing at Shihonage.

What do you guys think? Should your techniques work even when someone gets super rigid and muscled up?

Out in the real world, people will use resistance all the time, because that's their defensing mechanism.. but in the dojo, they are learned not to use resistance, which is also a mistake in the long run.
What you basically need to do is to develop and sharpen your instincts and your ingenuity to come up with a new resolution (not necessarily a technique) faster to get out of the situation you're in it.
If it were a life or death situation, I'm sure the adrenaline would kick in to find a faster solution, but we don't wanna rely only on that, do we?

So when you study, welcome resistance, ask people to be resistant to you at times, because, it is the perfect guide toward a faster resolution.

and when all else fails, grab the balls.

hughrbeyer
05-02-2011, 08:45 PM
What I do depends entirely on uke and my relative experience.

If uke is junior, I assume they don't know what they're doing and I tell them why they don't want to be doing it. This may include a gentle demonstration, such as moving slightly from my center and inviting them to observe how their rigidity has given me a direct channel to control their center. Or it may include a more active demonstration, such as showing how easy it is for me to punch them when their rigidity leaves them open. (With junior aikidoka, it's nearly always being too stiff.)

If uke is at about the same level as me, I feel free to adapt the technique to take advantage of whatever opening they've given me. Recently, a guy I was practicing with received the beginning of shiho nage with totally stiff arms. Rather than trying to complete shiho nage, I took advantage of the leverage he'd given me to throw an odd reverse-kokyu thing that never would have worked if he'd been receiving properly. To his credit, he immediately saw what had happened and loosened up.

If uke is significantly senior, I assume they know what they're doing and they're trying to teach me something. So I try to find a way to move them compatibly with the technique we're practicing without fighting their power.

Mario Tobias
05-03-2011, 08:35 PM
My experience is that no matter how much the resistance uke is offering and how stable he is, there will always be a position where he will be weakest. Looking for these weakest positions takes experiementation and training.

My sensei says all techniques in general can be broken down into 3 generic movements 1) taking the balance (kuzushi) 2) doing the technique and 3) takedown, the most important being the first one and the last one, takedown as a "bonus". If you havn't taken his balance, you can't do the technique and if you can't do the technique, you can't do the takedown.

Kuzushi, as my sensei said is the most important but in my opinion/experience is also the hardest to master (a very good example of this is Endo sensei). Not only would you need to take physical balance, but you would also need to "take the mind". If you've successfully taken the balance, the resistance won't be there or has been diminished for you to do the technique properly. If your technique is poor, it's either your technique or you've done not so good a job at taking partner's balance fully or you let him regain balance even for an instant during the technique.

IMO also is that uke's kuzushi should always be taken everywhere and anywhere in the technique. Nowhere in the technique should uke be stable or regain stability. Uke will only be able to offer resistance "during" the technique if there is an instant of him regaining balance or him getting his center back.

My ideal analogy of a technique is Ying and Yang; it should be a picture where NAGE is of perfect balance and centeredness while UKE is the oppposite, where none of those traits exist.

Reuben
05-11-2011, 10:12 PM
But as you said, in application, if they resist your technique, a new situation will arise, one where you can use another technique. In application you will flow from one technique to the next, because you can't expect any one technique to always work.

I think this is the key and as most things in real life it's often a combination of factors.

But the key thing is that uke shouldn't be applying resistance to cockblock the technique that he knows what is going to happen exactly. At this stage, it's important just to get the flow and learn the technique and introduce bit by bit of resistance so that you know he's not just dancing/giving it to you. A bit of resistance is ok but if you have real problems moving his arm, he's over resisting specifically to your technique.

When practicing a specific technique, resistance should only be so that you can feel how the technique should work and how the application of force from uke affects his balance and the technique. Without any resistance, Aikido is just a dance. However with too much resistance, the technique is jammed unless u apply superior strength which is not Aikido.

Now to the question, how do you know the technique works if it doesn't work against resistance? You have to assume uke does not know what you're going to do which is what usually happens in a more 'real' situation. Randoori is a good place to practice a higher level of resistance from uke where you are free to change and use whatever techniques you have learnt to go with whatever resistance he gives you. You know...if uke pulls, go with him, if uke pushes let him pass through sort of thing.

Now I have met highly ranked uke, that since they have had years of Aikido training, in randoori with more resistance, switching techniques becomes more difficult as they know what you're planning to do but you'll be surprised how you can appear that you're doing one technique and then change it into a different one. But that's a separate problem for another day :D

Carsten Möllering
05-12-2011, 04:10 AM
...
When practicing a specific technique, resistance should only be so that you can feel how the technique should work and how the application of force from uke affects his balance and the technique. [
I practice with a different understanding. We try to learn and to teach two ways of acting:

First way is to make a given technique work even if uke is resisting or trying to hinder this speficic waza. We try this just by using "aiki", not muscel power. This is usefull to work on a specific technique and on an understanding of details, aiki, connection (atari) and so on. It's just "technical". And it helps to develop self-confidence and "intention". To not just react to a situation but also to create the situation, which is important I think.

To learn to be flexible and to adapt to different situations is not the aim of this first way to learn.
This only is the second way: To learn to adapt, to spontaneusly change or "create" technique, to be flexible. And to accept a given situation.

However with too much resistance, the technique is jammed unless u apply superior strength which is not Aikido.Hm, I / We assume that the techniques of aikido are "designed" to deal with resistance without relying on strength / muscle power. I /we think exactly this to be the essence of aiki
So a "good" technique can not be jammed. (Or only when uke is much more advanced than tori.) Because it disturbes the "structure" of uke and works right through or around his strength. That's why we welcome strong resistance when working this way.

Now to the question, how do you know the technique works if it doesn't work against resistance?Refering to our understanding - you can't. If you have to assume that uke doesn't know what is coming or that he will not block a technique using dumb strengh you will not know wether a technique works or not. What we practice and what we see as "good" waza does not rely on this assumption. Being able to do a certain technique just because or just when uke is unaware of it we don't call "working" or "good". Maybe the action of tori can be called "good" or "working". But not waza in this case.

Reuben
05-12-2011, 05:22 AM
Carsten: I think that to see an Aikido technique as irresistable no matter what uke does can't be right. What you're saying is that even when uke KNOWS what is going to happen and is allowed to resist, nage should be able to effortlessly do the technique if he's skilled enough.

I think that goes against the grain of what Aikido is. You work with what your uke gives you, so if he is resisting against one technique, you just do another one which his resistance makes him weak too. That's what Aikido is, using his resistance against him and different Aikido techniques are specific ways to deal with certain kinds of resistance.

What is the 'right' Aikido technique to do changes on what he gives you. So yes a 'right' Aikido technique will always work, but that doesn't mean you can apply a specific technique no matter what the resistance is, since it will be then the wrong technique for that situation.

sakumeikan
05-12-2011, 07:43 AM
Dear all.
My tuppence worth here.Generally speaking in an Aikido lesson Uke knows what Tori is going to do beforehand.Now sometimes you get the occasional King Kong ]immovable object type of guy or the guy who deliberately blocks your waza.The first group usually ar just naturally stiff etc.The second group imo is the awkward squad.My own tactic is to appeal to the guys good nature , inviting him/her to soften up a bit..If this appeal does work, I have to either walk away from King Kong, soften him up [Atemi] or depending on circumstances alter the waza.
Of course the same situation can occur when Tori is being difficult eg not taking care of Uke.Many years ago I had reason to 'persuade 'a guy who was doing Shiho Nage in a elbow injurying manner.I gave this guy an opportunity to make my life more tolerable by not wrenching my arm off.He did not respond to my pleas.I took him to one side and quite against Aikido principles[I was younger then ] I stated quote 'If you do Shiho Nage once more on me like you have been doing despite my pleas , the next time you do it , I will [pardon the Greek ] EF---G - do you'.
Your body is on loan to Tori.This does not give Tori the right to
abuse you.Its a partnership Uke /Tori , both sides of the same coin.Both should learn from any encounter.
Cheers, Joe

Carsten Möllering
05-12-2011, 07:58 AM
What you're saying is that even when uke KNOWS what is going to happen and is allowed to resist, nage should be able to effortlessly do the technique if he's skilled enough.Yes. - If he's skilled enough. Technically spoken this is (or should be) true.
It is just not allways reasonable in the sense of self-defense.

I think that goes against the grain of what Aikido is. Ok, this is your point of view.
In the aikido wich was taught to me from the very beginning, this is on the contrary a very important aspect of aiki. Not the only one, but a big one.
And is crucial when talking about kihon waza.

You work with what your uke gives you, so if he is resisting against one technique, you just do another one which his resistance makes him weak too.
Then what do you do, if uke gives you nothing?
Can you only react? How do you take the initiative?
Do you depend on uke or are you free?

That's what Aikido is, using his resistance against him and different Aikido techniques are specific ways to deal with certain kinds of resistance.
This may be true for the "wide/large/big" and "external" movements.
But you can also deal with resistance by a little rotation of the hand, the angle of the elbow, a small movement of your foot and ...
... not changing the external movement i.e. technique, but just using the "internal" structure" of your body, i.e. staying in the same technique but changing things hardly to see.

To me aiki doesn't only mean to "choose" the "right" technique but also choose the "right way" within a certain technique.

... but that doesn't mean you can apply a specific technique no matter what the resistance is, ...
You mean, you think you are not able to do so or you don't like to do so?
We practice this way and learn how apply a specific technique no matter what the resistance is. Exactly this is part of our daily practice. It is not all, but part of our training.

Carsten Möllering
05-12-2011, 08:10 AM
And how do you experience whether your technique is "good" or "works"? Can check your technique really only in randori?

Demetrio Cereijo
05-12-2011, 08:32 AM
Short answer: Yes

Alberto_Italiano
05-12-2011, 09:29 AM
And how do you experience whether your technique is "good" or "works"? Can check your technique really only in randori?

IMHO:
Basically randori is our only benchmark in Aikido. Actually also randori is far from being immune by ukes who still accommodate your technique, however it seems the best we can have as far as testing our techiniques in a more realistic setting is concerned.

Personally, I test all the techniques out of the dojo in a gym with a couple of friends who either don't know what i am going to attempt, or once they know they don't give a damn and keep either behaving normally in the striggle or also opposing vigorous resistance.

This immediately limited the scope of my techniques to a few basic ones plus a couple of customized versions that I would not do in a dojo but that introduce some efficacy against a determined opponent.
About 80% of the techniques I made in a dojo and that seemed to work there, I found out they do simply nothing against an opponent that won't do a thing to help you.

Of course, this also depends on the fact my aikido sucks. No problem admitting it. But it depends also on the fact some aikido techniques have been totally spoilt and wasted by years of malpractice against ukes that do their best to fall as soon as you lift a finger. We too often train treading too fictional a set.

The craziest thing of all is that one of the techniques that you can better place against a realistic opponent is the one I would have judged less fit: nikkyo. If you struggle your way to a wrist, nikkyo just seems the most spontaneous torsion to try.

In my very modest experience:
Major techniques that work:
arm locks of my invention derived from aikido
sankyo
nikkyo
Ikkyo can work if you quit doing it placing a hand on uke's elbow: place your chest or your forearm on it

kotegaeshi can do wonders, but in my experience it's not easy to "persuade" an uke who doesn't help you to put his palm upward

Major techiniques that never work
iriminage
Ikkyo !
atemi: works on "normal" guys, while guys with a boxing background, predictably, are not impressed by it in the least...

Still attempting to understand whether shiho nage could work - mine still sucks so I can't really judge yet about it.

Demetrio Cereijo
05-12-2011, 09:45 AM
Personally, I test all the techniques out of the dojo in a gym with a couple of friends who either don't know what i am going to attempt, or once they know they don't give a damn and keep either behaving normally in the striggle or also opposing vigorous resistance.
Hi Alberto,

I'm wondering which "ruleset" are you using. MMA or a more restricted one?

Alberto_Italiano
05-12-2011, 10:29 AM
Hi Alberto,

I'm wondering which "ruleset" are you using. MMA or a more restricted one?

No ruleset at all, except safety.

I have been proceeding as follow in the last year:

1) My goal is to develop an aikido that may work in a really real situation. My idea of a "real" situation is that of my boxing background - over 20 years ago. An incoming attacker fast on foot, throwing punches, and not intimidated by an atemi.

2) Despite it may sound unconsequential with what stated above, behind the surface I am pursuing a spiritual goal: i want to dominate a fight using something that excludes any possibility of hitting my opponent. I consider this a challenge.

3) I gave up for the time being any hope of getting a belt. That's just not my goal right now. I will allow myself to pursue belts only when I feel ready - if ever. My idea of the 6th kyu is that of a 1st kyu, so I know I just will never get a belt. - *shrugs*

4) I don't attend one dojo. I attend several, i show up for a month to learn new approaches, then I disappear for 3 months. I don't really care whether they think I am just a lurker or someone not entirely in his good wits. I learned to keep a low profile because dojos don't like pupils who are too inclined to overanalyze the _failures_ of a technique.

5) I then train with 3 gusy out of the gym, two are ex friends of the times I was boxing long long ago. Another one hopped in seeing us training.
I do a lot of katas.

6) Till now, evidently, my aikido utterly sucks because I find using Aikido against a determined attacker exactly as difficult as this dan found it when he tried for fun with a friendly foe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMg1OuKWcgI (ps I don't consider that iriminage, but as said I have my onw rules :D )

It's an hopeless pursuit probably, and done all in the wrong and most unacademic manner. But at least it's gonna be my way, right or wrong.

Maarten De Queecker
05-12-2011, 11:11 AM
And how do you experience whether your technique is "good" or "works"? Can check your technique really only in randori?

You know your technique works if you've got an uke who's got the sincere intention to utterly destroy you with an attack and you can succesfully stay in control of the situation.

Since randori seems to be the ultimate goal in aikido, it should count as the best way to test whether or not your technique works. However, randori with bad ukes aren't all that either. Uke should always attack with the intent to hit or immobilize you.

Alberto_Italiano
05-12-2011, 11:42 AM
IMHO (...)

The craziest thing of all is that one of the techniques that you can better place against a realistic opponent is the one I would have judged less fit: nikkyo. If you struggle your way to a wrist, nikkyo just seems the most spontaneous torsion to try.

Discussion boards are so useful because they also give you an opportunity to think, besides many others.

I think the reason an otherwise complex technique like nikkyo seems to come spontaneously against a heavily dynamic attacker depends on this: you attempt to irimi laterally to one arm.

If you manage to outfast your adversary who immediately attempts to face you squarely again to go on hitting you, at the moment you place your hands on his arm (say right arm, and you're lateral on his right side) your wrists are going to land there in extension (outstrech your arm, now raise your hand upward so that its back facing you: anatomically, that's an extension of the wrist).

At that point, once grabbed the arm, the spontaneous movement is precisely that of producing your wrist flexion (the opposite movement) because you just have a residual extension radius amounting nearly to nothing: you can't go that direction (that would prepare an uke upward palm for a kotegaeshi) any further.

Ath that point your next flexion, of course, produces exactly either a nikkyo set or goes for the sankyo.
I think this may account for why nikkyo seems to prevail, for me - I think.

It would be very unnatural going lateral and grabbing uke's arm with flexed wrists - that would mean grabbing from within, a position that makes you even more vulnerable and without any possibility of adding the momentuum of your chest leaning forward - which latter instead fits pefectly extended wrists grabbing an arm and then rotating internally with flexion.

Demetrio Cereijo
05-12-2011, 02:58 PM
No ruleset at all, except safety.

I have been proceeding as follow in the last year:

1) My goal is to develop an aikido that may work in a really real situation. My idea of a "real" situation is that of my boxing background - over 20 years ago. An incoming attacker fast on foot, throwing punches, and not intimidated by an atemi.

Kicks, throws/takedowns and groundfighting included or punching only?

David Yap
05-13-2011, 01:01 AM
Yes. - If he's skilled enough. Technically spoken this is (or should be) true.
It is just not allways reasonable in the sense of self-defense.

Ok, this is your point of view.
In the aikido wich was taught to me from the very beginning, this is on the contrary a very important aspect of aiki. Not the only one, but a big one.
And is crucial when talking about kihon waza.

Then what do you do, if uke gives you nothing?
Can you only react? How do you take the initiative?
Do you depend on uke or are you free?

This may be true for the "wide/large/big" and "external" movements.
But you can also deal with resistance by a little rotation of the hand, the angle of the elbow, a small movement of your foot and ...
... not changing the external movement i.e. technique, but just using the "internal" structure" of your body, i.e. staying in the same technique but changing things hardly to see.

To me aiki doesn't only mean to "choose" the "right" technique but also choose the "right way" within a certain technique.

You mean, you think you are not able to do so or you don't like to do so?
We practice this way and learn how apply a specific technique no matter what the resistance is. Exactly this is part of our daily practice. It is not all, but part of our training.

Good post, Carsten.

Alberto_Italiano
05-13-2011, 01:42 AM
Kicks, throws/takedowns and groundfighting included or punching only?

Well, I have to manage with what I can find here, and here there is no MMA. So...
Punching only - but there is also a reason for that.

Throws and takedowns may occur occasionally though.

The reason I find punching enough is such that only a guy who has a boxing background may understand it.
Whoever has been there will never forget that.

This is why I suggest that if you want to understand it, and why I say so, one ought to fight with a boxer who has at least 30 official fights under his "belt" - that is the "competent boxer" somebody spoke of in this thread, if I remember right.

No thai boxe guys (your atemi may work on many of them: most are just young men who occasionally spar a couple of minutes) - no karate guys: in my times I sparred for "fun" (fun means we squarely hit each other in the face all the same, but without pursuing cerebral incapacitation) with karate black belts and I never found one who could resist pure boxing.

I think eventually it all boils down to this and only this: you should find an opponent used to receive punches right on his face on nearly a daily basis and used to trade them - for at least one year, say.

Karate guys do not do that in their training routine: they hit fictionally.
You need somebody who is not intimidated in the least by any type of actual punishment - an adversary that will keep pursuing you no matter what.

Apparently, boxing to date provides that type of training as a regular routine more intensively than any other approach.

You won't need Mike Tyson - try to aikido these, within that speed that at times the video shows:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3b-bxejU1U

Aikido will shift instantly from the perfect ideograms we see in gyms to plain ugly - well, at least mine, ok! :o
It's not you cannot place a technique: it's that it becomes INCREDIBLY difficult to do so, and when you do you scramble.

ps oh, and you do not atemi them - positively!

Alberto_Italiano
05-13-2011, 02:26 AM
I hope thel following helps to understand why I say I find applying [my lousy...] aikido so difficult.

Boxing normalcy, imagine yoruself in it with only aikido at your hands:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYFYSS1zI_8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRvfC0Os_kM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10cF8emJRU8

ps this type of opponent provides resistance as well.

graham christian
05-13-2011, 03:11 AM
I hope thel following helps to understand why I say I find applying [my lousy...] aikido so difficult.

Boxing normalcy, imagine yoruself in it with only aikido at your hands:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYFYSS1zI_8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRvfC0Os_kM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10cF8emJRU8

ps this type of opponent provides resistance as well.

Hi once again Alberto.

I like your honesty.

Thought I'd give you a few ideas you could work with. First a couple of short stories.

Over 20 years ago now whilst training with my friend (who I've mentioned before was a boxer) I witnessed a scene that made an impression. He had brought his old time boxing friend to Aikido as this guy was having a bit of a rough time in life and we had decided Aikido would help him through it. This guy, a few years before had won the 'aba' championships two years running and then turned professional under a trainer called Mickey Duff. He had six fights undefeated but then got a detatched retina and was medically thereafter 'banned' from boxing.

So there we are a few years later than that training. He boxed actually a bit in the style of Smoking Joe Frazier. Anyway, at the end of the lesson our teacher was talking to him and explaining how all sports have rules and if you understand that you can see which principle or action would defeat or bewilder the opponent.

This led to Dave (the boxer) disagreeing and thus led to a demonstration. The teacher said all he would do is apply MA-AI. After two minutes Dave hadn't connected once and stopped and said it was like it wasn't fair as he wasn't fighting back.

The point here is that firstly applying that one principle (and being very good at it) leads to a condition of no fight. It's outside the 'rules' and believe it or not the boxers comfort zone.

I found this fascinating at the time because then I could see how those boxers like Ali and Nasseem Mohammed (albeit much later) apply that ma-ai principle, with patience, whilst using it to manoever to a position of strength or getting the opponent to move to a position of weakness.

Soon after that experience I was kind of set up in a friends shaolin kung fu school and told to fight the guy who was the senior student. The guy came at me with kicks and punches and all I did was keep ma-ai and 'parry' with tegatana as I was very good at that. In the end the guy just stopped. He looked at his teacher and shrugged his shoulders as if to say 'What should I do?' The teacher smiled and told us to bow out.

I went away a bit confused and in two minds. One was I was happy I had stuck to what I knew of Aikido but the other was I realized I couldn't work out how to enter from such an opponent. Basically, I had more to learn.

As with all types of fighters or situations in life or even business propositions it's a matter of studying the opponent or scene and finding which principles ARE applicable to such rather than how to make the ones you know applicable.

Food for thought?

Regards.G.

Alberto_Italiano
05-13-2011, 03:39 AM
(...)

Dave hadn't connected once and stopped and said it was like it wasn't fair as he wasn't fighting back.

The point here is that firstly applying that one principle (and being very good at it) leads to a condition of no fight.
(...)

Food for thought?

yes of course. Actually that seems the only viable aikido - no aikido at all, and only maai

(albeit a boxer can get at you anyway - maai exists also in boxing, and it is performed actually within the shortest range which is the most difficult maai to keep because a maai that can afford the long distance is, of course, much easier: bringing here an unfair example, the absolute master of boxing Maai at close quarters was Cassius Clay... lol).

However I am envisioning a situation where I have to fight - limited space to move by, for instance.
I am striving for an aikido that accepts the engagement. This not only makes things very difficult, but it is clearly too ambitious a goal for my bad aikido.

But that's what i want, that's why aikido fascinated me - you see, the idea of accepting close quarters and high dynamism without having the option of hitting back.

If you attempt aikido in that setting (and a Martial Art should find itself comfortable in both settings), it all becomes nearly impossibile to me.

These guys are too fast, they won't let you go lateral because they move with you and keep facing me, and even when I grab an arm, they immediately prove to me they have two and the grabbed arm has a high resistance level, and well the whole is a mess.

It ends up like in Reuben's video - you go for ikkyo (oooh! ikkyo! lol :eek: ) if you can, or you do things that can be dubbed "iriminage" but actually are chokes.
And it's no Reuben's fault!

Let me add a small story myself.
About 6 months ago I was in this ki-dojo. I can't remember right now what technique we were trying, however the dan guy could not place it on me.
This not because of any active resistance on my part (I never stay rigid just to prove a point) but simply because I was keeping a natural dinamysm - if you attempt to grab my arm, hey I withdraw it quickly in randori...! It won't stay there to await technique.

We came to a stall and i ended up saying to the guy "ok, don't worry if the technique failed. We're all here to learn. Now, just do something. Do something else. But do something, say: what comes to your mind?"
He said "well, this" - he produced a bear hug, lifted me from the ground and threw me away.

I got up and smiled: "that's quite something - however, when i said do something, I meant: do something that is Aikido" :p

This means only this: when we face an opponent determined not to please us, many of us, incljuding dans, end up doing things that are not aikido.
Go figure me with my incompetence!

Alberto_Italiano
05-13-2011, 04:04 AM
This means only this: when we face an opponent determined not to please us, many of us, incljuding dans, end up doing things that are not aikido.
Go figure me with my incompetence!

I am trying this type of Aikido because I don't think that it is impossibile.

I only think that our Aikido training routines (so different from the boxing ones) have never been designed to meet these situations.

Probably the apparently endemic amount of aikidokas who could not place any longer a sophisticated technique on a determined opponent, comes entirely by the fact we train within an excessively hypercontrolled routine that has stripped off the combative potential of aikido.

I am looking for the Aikido unknown, maybe, which given my incompetence is a preposterous wishful goal - I know this!

But that's the only Aikido I want, the only aikido that says something to me - and too many dojos instilled in me the sensation that if I follow their routines, after 5 years I may still have learned an unusable aikido perhaps without ever knowing.
Their routines apparently are not designed for the goal of meeting a truly hostile environment.

Thence, there I go fumbling for a training routine of mine and perfectly aware my aikido sucks!

Demetrio Cereijo
05-13-2011, 04:25 AM
Hi Alberto,

I know what you mean, when a was younger (in the 80's - early 90's) I trained and competed in TKD (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Nx7IY_l3tE) and in Kickboxing (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41knjKxa24Y) (not in official sanctionated comps) until well into the present century. Not that I was very good at it but I have some err.... experience in receiving and giving hard strikes.

Anyway, I have two problems with your approach:

One: It seems to me you try to use aikido waza against boxers at his game; unarmed standup striking. That's not going to work. Boxers weakness is in the clinch/throw/ground game. There is where you need to take the encounter.

Second: What is an aikido technique and what is not. It seems to me you are saying some techniques (like chokes or bear hugs) are not aikido techniques. Aikido techniques are not limited to the ones contained in beginners curriculum. Imagine for a moment someone who tells you the uppercut or the russian hook are not boxing techniques because he is a beginner who is still at the jab-cross phase and these techniques have not been taught to him... what you would say?

Maybe you're been exposed to an aikido that lacks martial value, or with small technical curriculum. Maybe your exposure to aikido has been too short and your knowledge of the curriculum is still limited. Maybe aikido is not what you imagine, or you've been told, to be.

Cheers.

BTW,

it's a matter of studying the opponent or scene and finding which principles ARE applicable to such rather than how to make the ones you know applicable.
I totally agree.

graham christian
05-13-2011, 04:29 AM
Alberto.
Yes, the principle of MA-AI as you see needs to be in play all the time but remember I said that was an example which leads to no fight, add a few more principles and how they apply and you start getting somewhere.

Let's take tegatana for example. How to use it properly, something you can't do whilst wearing boxing gloves and something hardly allowed in any fights or sports I've watched. Just like the 'mallet' fist brought down on the top of the head is barred from boxing.

Tegatana is the hand sword. Of itself it is quite fleshy yet it is very powerful when understood. It is called the hand sword for a reason and that would be the same original reason in Karate. You use it as you would a sword.

Now when a boxer strikes, and because his striking art is more like a coiled spring action the attempting to do any kind of 'grab' would be very inadvisable. However cutting would be perfect.

Sometimes people ask me why there is not much or any kicking in Aikido and I tell them they will understand when they see the relationship of some of Aikido to the way of the Samurai. A samurai is waiting for a nice juicy extended limb to cut off.

Now when a boxer strikes a natural reaction for many is to try and block the punch. Imagine turning that block or parry into a cut. When used to it it's quite easy for he is giving you something to cut. Of course that is simplifying it but when a person is competant enough it is natural and unexpected by the boxer.

So the rule of thumb here is the practice of cutting and turning or turning and cutting.

Now staight jab or a right cross or hook usually makes a person 'parry' from the inside so to speak and thus leads them into the other hand, unless done as a cut complete with continuous motion.

Anyway, if you get used to entering outside the strike and cutting you move into a different zone of operation. I'll explain.

Right cross coming at you.

Now first remember what I said about tegatana, the hand sword. Imagine drawing a sword with your right hand because the sword is naturally hanging from the left hip. Now do that drawing motion with an open hand using tegatana as the blade.

Now when you can naturally move to that 'dead' side of the strike and at the same time cut like your drawing the sword I think you'll see it opens the door to more Aikido.

Aikido I teach is non-stop motion, there is no stopping there is only a continuous flow so its not a matter of step and cut it's a matter of doing that on the way to joining the opponent which leads more to irminage type actions and kokyu variations.

Just my 2 yen.

Regards.G.

Dave de Vos
05-13-2011, 04:46 AM
As with all types [...] situations in life or even business propositions it's a matter of studying the [...] scene and finding which principles ARE applicable to such rather than how to make the ones you know applicable.

Very true indeed. I find it applies very much to playing go and writing software (my other passion and my profession).

Thank you.

Alberto_Italiano
05-13-2011, 05:02 AM
Second: What is an aikido technique and what is not. It seems to me you are saying some techniques (like chokes or bear hugs) are not aikido techniques.

Maybe you're been exposed to an aikido that lacks martial value, or with small technical curriculum. Maybe your exposure to aikido has been too short and your knowledge of the curriculum is still limited.

All the three possibilities apply at once! :o

As for chokes or bear hugs - I said they are not aikido because of these two elements:
1) any iriminage that would end up with choking my adversary, would end up also with the Sensei showing me( and rightly so) the door lol - nothing against using it in a real situation, of course.

2) on a more serious level, what i mean is this: chokes :crazy: and bear hugs :yuck: are not techniques not uniquely because they are not taught but, in my personal perception (which as such can be wrong), inasmuch as they are just natural brute force reactions, painted with a dash of despair, that anybody might attempt also without any Martial training.

My idea is that of banning any resort to brute force while in a situation where my opponent can use it freely.

That's precisely what attracted me, the Aikido challenge I sensed.
We don't find many places where the default training routine is designed to meet the great and complex difficulties that such a situation entails.
In this respect, active resistance becomes only one of the many riddles to solve, and probably not even the most threathening.

Thank you to you all for your perspectives I am trying to work them out - I hope also my considerations, despite my likely shortcomings in making my point understood, or the proposed youtube videos make clear why I find it so difficult and make some sense, at least occasionally :D

Carsten Möllering
05-13-2011, 05:19 AM
any iriminage that would end up with choking my adversary, would end up also with the Sensei showing me( and rightly so) the door
We practice tai jutsu irimi nage ending with a choke from time to time.
For tanto dori, jo dori, tachi dori this is our kihon waza.

2) on a more serious level, what i mean is this: chokes :crazy: and bear hugs :yuck: are not techniques not uniquely because they are not taught but, in my personal perception (which as such can be wrong), inasmuch as they are just natural brute force reactions, painted with a dash of despair, that anybody might attempt also without any Martial training.There are very few techniques in aikido which don't have parallels in other arts. (Is there just one?)

Doing irimi nage with a choke in the end has to be learned like doing it with a throw in the and. And it doesn't need brute force but good technique I think.

If something is done using aiki, why shouldn't it be aikido?

Demetrio Cereijo
05-13-2011, 05:36 AM
As for chokes or bear hugs - I said they are not aikido because of these two elements:
1) any iriminage that would end up with choking my adversary, would end up also with the Sensei showing me( and rightly so) the door lol
However, there are sensei that do not seem to have nothing against chokes (and other "nasty" things like elbows to the face), for instance:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDjk9v9DKLY (starting at 2:20)

Nor against bearhugs and many other possible ways of controlling an opponent, for instance:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyNsMXwqNzc

So maybe we are talking of one of the many versions/interpretations of aikido around, not about aikido in a general sense.

2) on a more serious level, what i mean is this: chokes :crazy: and bear hugs :yuck: are not techniques not uniquely because they are not taught but, in my personal perception (which as such can be wrong), inasmuch as they are just natural brute force reactions, painted with a dash of despair, that anybody might attempt also without any Martial training.

My personal perception about these techniqes is different, because (a) they were taught to me and (b) they require skill and finesse for being properly done.

My idea is that of banning any resort to brute force while in a situation where my opponent can use it freely.
Of course.

I wonder, is this the style of aikido you practise?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H03r0D4k-_k

Maybe you could find, if interested in learning how aikido works when faced with resisting opponents, another aikido style more appropiate to your interests. Not that the one seen in the video lacks value, but it seems they don't focus in teaching an aikido with inmediate aplicability to violent encounters.

Cheers.

Alberto_Italiano
05-13-2011, 06:09 AM
Nor against bearhugs and many other possible ways of controlling an opponent, for instance:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyNsMXwqNzc

I wonder, is this the style of aikido you practise?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H03r0D4k-_k

Cheers.

well, to answer your question - as for the first video, actually excuse me if I take the liberty of insisting that's not aikido - unless I am wrong, the Sensei there is not showing to his pupils what they must do, but illustrating what an attacker might do.

In this respect, we are not encouraged, and I don't think that Sensei was encouraging, to react to an aggression producing, for instance, that bear hug - rather, you are shown a few possible attacks, to which you have to react with some techinique that is Aikido.

Uke could also attack you with a set of jab/right, yet certainly we would not deduce that hitting somebody with jab and right is the aikido technique expected by tori. The same, in my subjective perception, applies to bear hugs.
I mean, if you allow me to be cheeky, if we go that path, then also extracting a knife and pushing it deep in my opponent belly could be: I used aikido to defend myself, I used a tanto! :D

As for the last video, probably you're not going to believe me (I have at times the impression I may sound like somebody telling stories) I know that dojo. They have a good thing, they have randori as a daily practice - that, at least, leaves to you a training space where you can act with some liberty.
The video doesn't make justice to them: actually they have an approach to aikido that is more aggressive than other dojos I know - though by my standards still utterly insufficient - but that's me and my absurd ideals :(

When you say "they don't focus in teaching an aikido with inmediate aplicability to violent encounters" - Demetrio, that seems unfortunately the situation with nearly all dojos.

I have to train in the way I do because a dojo where they say to uke: now attack this guy, without any complacency, and throw punches all the way and pursue him till you corner him, everything goes, refuse any complacency when he attempts a technique, and use both arms, and if he gets a smack on his face well that's a Martial Arts dojo - never seen such a dojo,

But how can I, or anyone else I guess, hope of having been really trained to meet so complex a situation (I repost: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYFYSS1zI_8 ), if such a situation is never reproduced in our default training?
That was/is my dilemma.

With this, let me thank you again for your videos and time. It's most appreciated!

Alberto_Italiano
05-13-2011, 06:23 AM
ps I prefer ukes like these, then (not those who attack the sensei, those who attack the pupil - instance at min 3.05 onward):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YziUvBqX-zI
It's alredy much more realistic than what I have seen thus far in dojos. Ukes shoudl attack you without regards, and no intention of accommodating you.

I learned this with boxing, so it's that paradigm that is leading (or misguiding) me: only permanent combat training eventually yields combat awareness.

Demetrio Cereijo
05-13-2011, 06:41 AM
well, to answer your question - as for the first video, actually excuse me if I take the liberty of insisting that's not aikido - unless I am wrong, the Sensei there is not showing to his pupils what they must do, but illustrating what an attacker might do.

In this respect, we are not encouraged, and I don't think that Sensei was encouraging, to react to an aggression producing, for instance, that bear hug - rather, you are shown a few possible attacks, to which you have to react with some techinique that is Aikido.

Uke could also attack you with a set of jab/right, yet certainly we would not deduce that hitting somebody with jab and right is the aikido technique expected by tori. The same, in my subjective perception, applies to bear hugs.

Hi again,

I think you are trapped in the tori/uke (attacker/defender) dichotomy, which is, imo, a false one. Don't worry, it happened to all of us... try go beyond that. The bear hug is as aikido as the technique used to defend it, and the technique which is used to counter said defense is aikido too, and so on and on and on.

I mean, if you allow me to be cheeky, if we go that path, then also extracting a knife and pushing it deep in my opponent belly could be: I used aikido to defend myself, I used a tanto! :D
It is still aikido
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIZvXlT5E0k
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yk4sm4_OKs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11F8wpte2Nk
:)

I have to train in the way I do because a dojo where they say to uke: now attack this guy, without any complacency, and throw punches all the way and pursue him till you corner him, everything goes, refuse any complacency when he attempts a technique, and use both arms, and if he gets a smack on his face well that's a Martial Arts dojo - never seen such a dojo,
May be it doesn't exist, but you can always train in what style of aikido is available and check your progress attending to boxing or mma gyms.

Demetrio Cereijo
05-13-2011, 07:17 AM
And, FWIW, it seems O Sensei had no problems with bearhugs as a mean of controlling aggressors.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79PMWGtl0qM
(7:50- 7:55)

So, who are we to say what is and what is not an aikido waza? Do we know the entire possibilities of aikido?

Alberto_Italiano
05-13-2011, 04:05 PM
And, FWIW, it seems O Sensei had no problems with bearhugs as a mean of controlling aggressors.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79PMWGtl0qM
(7:50- 7:55)

So, who are we to say what is and what is not an aikido waza? Do we know the entire possibilities of aikido?

Well, I know it's anathema: I never liked Ueshiba.
My impression has always been that all the good and the bad both that are in aikido, are his responsibility.

The good being of having envisioned a Martial Art entirely based upon defense and where brutal force is poscribed.

The bad being that in developing such an art, he has never been concerned with the fact it was clearly evolving towards fictional grounds that many Martial Artists (let's exclude me for I am neither martial nor an aritst: i'm a nuisance!) have often vocally noticed and denounced.

You can control an aggressor in many ways. If we go along this path, Demetrio, we can also arrive at the conclusion that gunfire is aikido.
In my humble perception, and I know I can be wrong, those videos where they face each others with tantos, are not designed to say that in akido you can defend yourself from a tanto wielding a tanto yourself - once again, they are designed to provide a training setting where, probably in order to save time, both act at once as ukes and toris.

if I would find a dojo where they instruct me about how to stab my opponent, I would leave that dojo immediately: i don't want to learn how to stab people (i'm not planning to produce a criminal record lol), or how to bear hug them (i already know how to do that :p ).
I want to learn how to produce pure techniques within the most aggressive and violent setting, with my bare hands and no punches: only leverages and projection.

Oh, let's be clear about this: I fully understand and even encourage your personal perspective about it: if you find allright defending yourself with a tanto or with bear hugs, I cannot but say you're right. In a real fight, most likely, one will end up forfeting all aikido (that's my point, sigh), and fighting fire with fire.

It's just that the Aikido I want is the one where my opponent can do whatever he wants, whereas I have plenty of limitations: only leverges and projections, and no force allowed except that which could move say 15 kilos.
Bear hug or chokes? No no no no no.... :rolleyes: :ai:

Alberto_Italiano
05-13-2011, 04:22 PM
how do armbar (http://howdoarmbar.blogspot.com/)

«A man may be a heretic in the truth; and if he believe things only because his pastor says so, or the assembly so determine, without knowing other reason, though his belief be true, yet the very truth he holds becomes his heresy.»

:D yes :D

Demetrio Cereijo
05-13-2011, 06:56 PM
I never liked Ueshiba.
I'm with you, Monica Belluci is prettier than him.

My impression has always been that all the good and the bad both that are in aikido, are his responsibility.
To a great extent, yes. No doubt.

The good being of having envisioned a Martial Art entirely based upon defense and where brutal force is poscribed.
Are you sure, really really sure, about this?

The bad being that in developing such an art, he has never been concerned with the fact it was clearly evolving towards fictional grounds that many Martial Artists (let's exclude me for I am neither martial nor an aritst: i'm a nuisance!) have often vocally noticed and denounced.
However there are various accounts of him heavily scolding Hombu aikido students for not doing "real" aikido... I think he was concerned, but lacked the power (or the skills) needed to enforce his vision.

You can control an aggressor in many ways. If we go along this path, Demetrio, we can also arrive at the conclusion that gunfire is aikido
Mochizuki Sensei, one of his direct students (and aikido pioneer in Europe back in the 50's) arrived to the same conclusion.

In my humble perception, and I know I can be wrong, those videos where they face each others with tantos, are not designed to say that in akido you can defend yourself from a tanto wielding a tanto yourself - once again, they are designed to provide a training setting where, probably in order to save time, both act at once as ukes and toris.
Of course there is a possibility. Can we ask the designer of this exercises about their purpose?

if I would find a dojo where they instruct me about how to stab my opponent, I would leave that dojo immediately: i don't want to learn how to stab people (i'm not planning to produce a criminal record lol), or how to bear hug them (i already know how to do that :p ).
I want to learn how to produce pure techniques within the most aggressive and violent setting, with my bare hands and no punches: only leverages and projection.
Well, if it is what you want go for it, but IMO, you're leaving aside lots of valuable lessons.

Oh, let's be clear about this: I fully understand and even encourage your personal perspective about it: if you find allright defending yourself with a tanto or with bear hugs, I cannot but say you're right. In a real fight, most likely, one will end up forfeting all aikido (that's my point, sigh), and fighting fire with fire.
Sometimes fighting fire with fire is the most sensible and compassionate option. Ask a firefigter.

It's just that the Aikido I want is the one where my opponent can do whatever he wants, whereas I have plenty of limitations: only leverges and projections, and no force allowed except that which could move say 15 kilos.
Bear hug or chokes? No no no no no.... :rolleyes: :ai:
Good luck in your search.

Dave de Vos
05-14-2011, 04:41 AM
It's just that the Aikido I want is the one where my opponent can do whatever he wants, whereas I have plenty of limitations: only leverges and projections, and no force allowed except that which could move say 15 kilos.

Perhaps you an get some ideas from Enso Aikido who just wrote an introduction: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19836. They show some videos of aikido versus boxing techniques, like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zLatvvYg5I&feature=player_profilepage and http://www.youtube.com/user/EnsoAikido?feature=mhee#p/u/0/q7fUDIvIVPI. It is not sparring or fighting, but it shows techniques that might work in these situations.

And perhaps some systema moves might fit in with aikido? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4vZCNYU3qo&feature=related and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bd5rL-RZB2U&feature=related

Alberto_Italiano
05-14-2011, 01:15 PM
Perhaps you an get some ideas from Enso Aikido who just wrote an introduction: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19836. They show some videos of aikido versus boxing techniques, like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zLatvvYg5I&feature=player_profilepage and http://www.youtube.com/user/EnsoAikido?feature=mhee#p/u/0/q7fUDIvIVPI. It is not sparring or fighting, but it shows techniques that might work in these situations.

And perhaps some systema moves might fit in with aikido? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4vZCNYU3qo&feature=related and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bd5rL-RZB2U&feature=related

Thank you for your videos.
Actually they are all good as fas as a theorical approach to incoming punches go.

Now, though this may work with an unexperienced puncher (a guy who never threw punches before, or a guy whos is an amateurish Thai Boxe trainee who believes he is tough because he never experienced a real competition), I am quite positive about what I am saying here, and the message I am trying to convey: you will never do anything like that to a boxer (you won't need a pro) who has say 30 official fights under his belt (this means about 3 years of training - or 2 too).

Actually, I know what's the reason for this.
A person who has never been on a ring with an experienced boxer, will never realize exactly how dangerous and difficult the situation can be - this aside from the fact that the real boxer will actually hit you: this alone makes a lot of difference for tori.

But the real reason is that a person who, unlike the videos, is punching you seriously, will never be so mild and slow. Those are not even punches. They can be the punches that I, after over 20 years without competitions and boxing, might sadly throw now. But 20 years ago, let me say: a boxer is fast, terribly fast, quick on foot, moves instantly in all directions, and his punches arrive with a rapidity that oftentimes you won't even see them.

Months ago I was in a dojo and there was this dan doing yokomenuchi to me. He lifted his whole arm and then attenpted to hit me.
I told him: don't lift your arm like that: if you do, I will know what your'e going to do, that's "un colpo telefonato" - I don't know if in Anglo-Saxon boxing jargon you have this Italian term: telefonato.
It translates: "(tele)phoned". The meaning is that if I can foresee what you're throwing at me, it's as if you were lifting a phone and calling me first to let me know what's coming :p

The guy was very perplexed - apparently he didn't even know the term (which in my opinion speaks a long story about how we never let our aikidokas train within a realistic setting). He repeated a few times to himself, mumbling, "telefonato?". He seemed pinched in his pride, though it was not my intention. My intention was to test something realistic.

He said: I'll show to you.

he lifted again his arm up to his head, and produced a yokomenuchi that, evidently, in his conception was "fast". I only had to see when he lifted, wait half a second and then lower.
I lowered twice because to an hook may always follow another hook and as I stood up I threw two direct punches with open hands at his chest.
In a real situation, that would have been a broken tooth. Koteageshi after that :D

The attacks we see in those videos are not like a real attack. Please keep in mind that I am not arguing or being polemical - I am trying, with great difficulty, to convey the fact that real competent punches are terribly fast. This in the interest of our Aikido efficacy.

The guy in the video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zLatvvYg5I
if he attenpts that irimi to a competent boxer, let me say what happens: uke will go one step backward instantly, and tori will go to meet the ultrafast following right of his uke, and in meeting it, he will sum the force of uke's right direct blow with the force of his incoming irimi, and tori will see the mat. In Italian, that's "un colpo di incontro" (incontro=meet).
A competent uke won't "hug" him with his right arm: would hit him with a totally straight trajectory.

Imagine an uke like the guy with the blue shirt here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYFYSS1zI_8

he is not the best, yet I hope we can concur, at least, that it is dangerous and everything becomes instantly much less easy compared with theorical videos.

Alberto_Italiano
05-14-2011, 01:34 PM
The guy in the video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zLatvvYg5I
if he attenpts that irimi to a competent boxer, let me say what happens: uke will go one step backward instantly, and tori will go to meet the ultrafast following right of his uke, and in meeting it, he will sum the force of uke's right direct blow with the force of his incoming irimi, and tori will see the mat. In Italian, that's "un colpo di incontro" (incontro=meet).
A competent uke won't "hug" him with his right arm: would hit him with a totally straight trajectory.

Our ukes don't act competently, and not even naturally. They all behave like ukes with one arm, and they produce slanted trajectories with ineffectual hands hovering there in order to accommodate us.
This is, unfortunately, endemic in Aikido.

Another rinstance: tanto practive, uke must stab my tummy.
I don't produce the technique, because I want to make sure of a thing first.
So as uke throws his tanto imagining I will do something, i do nothing and stay there.
Guess what?

His tanto goes about 30 centimeters away from my right side.
I stay there and look at him: "I am here, my friend. There is nobody there..."

They help us.
To get killed, because acting like that they generate in us the false confidence that a real attack might go for the air at our sides instead than for our body.
that's what that guy does in the video: his right arm never goes straight to meet tori.
Don't ever attempt that with someobdy who is competent, or with somebody about whom you're not sure (say in the street): you will get a terrible straight punch in your face and it's gonna be devastating without boxing gloves on.
Attempt something else. But don't irimi a stranger like that: if he is competent, you will discover then that uke can throw direct blows and iven if you glo sligthly lateral, a real uker can still produce a direct blow following the diagonal to your face, and rotate slightly his hips to meet you better. He will hit tori squarely, and in a real situation such a punch is gonna be final, believe me. I got them on my face long ago! :D

He will not let his right arm flounder nearly flaccid in the air like that.

That's how dangerous it can be.

Demetrio Cereijo
05-14-2011, 03:18 PM
I told him: don't lift your arm like that: if you do, I will know what your'e going to do, that's "un colpo telefonato" - I don't know if in Anglo-Saxon boxing jargon you have this Italian term: telefonato.
It translates: "(tele)phoned". The meaning is that if I can foresee what you're throwing at me, it's as if you were lifting a phone and calling me first to let me know what's coming :p

In English the word used for that is "telegraphed".

Dave de Vos
05-14-2011, 07:53 PM
I find aikido hard enough as it is with telegraphed yokomen uchi :)

mathewjgano
05-14-2011, 11:18 PM
The attacks we see in those videos are not like a real attack. Please keep in mind that I am not arguing or being polemical - I am trying, with great difficulty, to convey the fact that real competent punches are terribly fast. This in the interest of our Aikido efficacy.
Yes, a good boxer will be much faster than what most demos illustrate. A friend of mine isn't a particularly "good" boxer and I had a hard time entering quick enough on his 1-2, and 1-2-3 combos the last time we played around. Even his single jabs were hard for me, though it didn't help that he had a huge reach advantage over me...or that I'm simply not very well-practiced. Now, I was able to not get hit hard and get close enough to do some stuff, but I often got hit. A really good striker would have probably laid me out unless I got very very lucky.

His tanto goes about 30 centimeters away from my right side.

Now that's a pretty big mistake. I've been fortunate that the couple places I've trained at were very quick to correct this kind of mistake. I've been hit a number of times because I didn't get off the line of attack quick enough. I also really liked the Shodokan method of tanto randori I experienced because you're allowed to use feints and the like. Even with just a couple attack options, when done right, it's very hard not to get what would be various sized slices here and there.

jester
05-21-2011, 02:38 PM
What do you guys think? Should your techniques work even when someone gets super rigid and muscled up?

My instructor always said nothing ever works!

If you feel resistance in one direction, break uke's balance perpendicular to his force. A person with 2 legs can only be strong in one direction at a time!!

Don't be like the dog who chases his own tail trying to get a technique! You have to know when to move on.

-

Alberto_Italiano
05-22-2011, 03:09 PM
Yes, a good boxer will be much faster than what most demos illustrate. A friend of mine isn't a particularly "good" boxer and I had a hard time entering quick enough on his 1-2, and 1-2-3 combos the last time we played around. Even his single jabs were hard for me, though it didn't help that he had a huge reach advantage over me...or that I'm simply not very well-practiced. Now, I was able to not get hit hard and get close enough to do some stuff, but I often got hit. A really good striker would have probably laid me out unless I got very very lucky.


Exactly Matthew. Although I know this wasn't your purpose, yet you seem the one who illustrates best the points at times I am attempting to make - with mixed results.

To be sure, this ought to be understood: I am not insisting on the difficulties that arise from facing a skilled puncher in order to say that boxing is superior to aikido - if that would have been my conclusion, or even worse my puerile implication, I would just stick to boxing and wonder no further.
No one loves wasting time :cool:

It is, rather, that I have never seen to date any training, and not even any video, where our techniques are attempted against the type of opponent that you experienced and that here you describe.
I commend you for the keen awareness of its implications - they don't seem so obvious to everybody, Matthew. Yet they are real.

Our ukes seems all one armed. If our training would let us face how a skilled puncher attacks (and this is not immaterial a scenario, because competent fighters and strikers are far mor common as a real occurrence than somebody attacking you in a bar with a sword, or grabbing both your wrists from behind and waiting there who knows for what), how he has feet and jumps, how he has the capability of stepping back fast (our ukes haven't it), how he can pivot on himself ultrafast (our ukes are either slow, or still), how he can step back and pivot at once (our ukes can't walk and think at the same time lol), how he can keep hurling punches as he does that (our ukes throw only one at best, and they are quite sluggish to re-chamber), how he can be fast to re-chamber - then you realize how difficult it is to apply an Aikido technique.

If you manage - endgame. That's the good thing with that!

Bu the road that leads there, may be paved with our knock-outs, borken noses, split lips, wounded eyebrows, swollen and closed eyes, jumping teeth. Ugly, not classy as in demos.

Considering how difficult it is to apply our techiniques in these settings even when we rightly implement safety measures (here we punch with open hands and at chest level only), we would instantly quit training letting 6 guys with tantos attack us as we cheerrfully get rid of them all as nuisances.

the truth is, against a skilled puncher, ONE alone and even without a knife in his hands, we'd have a troublesome, lousy and miserable time before we land our scrambled waza.
Yet it is the only time worth spending, though.

I am having a hard time, and spending a considerable amount of time, trying to work out a training that may meet these requirements - for we haven't it, and I am the least equipped, with my lousy aikido, to invent it.

Yesterday I scrambled for a shiho nage. I ended up with his rigid arm (do they mention that in order to produce a good shiho nage you have FIRST to turn uke's hand palm upward?) above my head as he had already turned towards me in order to hit me fictionally (open hand) and yet precisely with his other arm right on my chin - repeatedly, while subtracting with vehemence his arm from my shiho nage and starting hitting me again with both arms.

That's how ugly it can be if you fail.
And you will fail.

graham christian
05-22-2011, 04:59 PM
Ah Alberto. I see your still trying.

This past Wednesday evening I had a new student, a young (to me anyway) polish guy who works for a friend of mine. He's full of energy and what he can do and has done. In the past I have told him I only practice the art of no fighting as he always wants to fight so I tell him he needs something else.

However, I finally let him come to a class.

I showed the class what to do and told them I would be taking the new guy for I knew he would be 'trouble'

You should have seen the other students faces when he walked in, complete with gum shield. I asked him what that was for and he said 'we fighting no?'

As it was a test lesson for him I told him I would run through some basics with him and give him an idea what Aikido was about but meanwhile he could try different things against me.

He said he was a good boxer and knife fighter and I could see he couldn't wait for the opportunity to show me. By the things he tried I found he had some experience in groundwork which he said was brazillian ju jutsu, some flashy way of attacking with a jo, a real mixed bag.

The point is he was unpredictable, tried many things including kicks and staff verses sword and I even gave him a tanto as he asked if he could try using a plastic bottle so he didn't hurt me.

Suffice to say he didn't learn much Aikido yet he did learn what Aikido was. (and indeed what it wasn't) He ended up quite happy yet a bit bemused. He hadn't a clue how I did what I did and ended up telling me I'm a great fighter. Alas, I am not. I am a good no fighter.

He also concluded that he wanted to learn this 'Aikido' because it seemed to operate from different rules and yet for him he said it could be the perfect self defence and then he could use what else he knew for attack. Ah well, then it wasn't a waste of time then.

Now here's the thing. When training is done like this, like that guy, the person learns no Aikido. He learned the effect of it only. As a teacher I found the lesson boring. As a challenge I found it interesting.

You see there are no short cuts to learning how to deal with such 'real' opponents and trying to do so without enough training is indeed trying to take a short cut and thus you fail.

Regards.G.

Alberto_Italiano
05-22-2011, 05:28 PM
You see there are no short cuts to learning how to deal with such 'real' opponents and trying to do so without enough training is indeed trying to take a short cut and thus you fail.


I don't know this guy, but there is plenty of guys who think they are expert.
In my intention, being able to fight doesn't mean being a troublemaker, but it is simply the whole goal and purpose of any Martial Art, because it is exactly by tapping into that formative ground that also the spiritual meaning eventually emerges, and its highly educational side acquires a final consistency.

They will never train me to face a real attacker in dojos. Simply never. I realized that, and though unpopular to be verbalized, nonetheless here I take the liberty of speaking my mind - they drove me to that conclusion.

They will keep me there years, and I may never realize I learned nothing truly usable - all techniques against ukes that do nothing consistent, all limited in scope and with ukes never at liberty of truly resisting and then going on attacking me without restraints. They just cower there like well instructed sheep who know they are supposed to fall - and so they fall.
.
Once I determined that was it with dojos, at least here, i had to decide whether I wanted to pursue a belt whatever and give to them 4 years of my money in order to do shio nages on flaccid arms that stay there for the purpose, or try to find a creative way to train in a more realistic way.

"Fighting" in those dojos it's like being in bed with a woman who does nothing and just lays there still and silent, I guess. You call it sex lol
1 hour there, and 10 actual minutes of training. No intensity. You may easily go out without having produced one drop of sweat, at times.

As long as I won't be able to place a koetgaeshi and a shiho nage as it pleases me against a massive attack, i won't take time to learn any other technique. These already are posing to me unsurmuntable difficulties against determined attackers. It's all totally different from a dojo.

It seems there is no fighting awareness.
Way before learning a technique, if you want to use it against a skilled attacker, you need fighting awareness.
I am at times near to the absurd conclusion that running through a door and bumping with intensity against its sides, may be more realistic and useful :eek:

I don't know. But I am stubborn and I rarely leave my hold on a bone. It may need 10 years before I give up and say: I have not found any viable way to train - a way that i can train also alone because I won't always have effective and determined ukes, these guys also have a life and can't fight with me more than once a week at times.

I'll keep trying. I want to find something. There must be something. There must be a way to do real aikido also if you have no dojo for that, not even within 500 km.

graham christian
05-22-2011, 06:11 PM
Alberto.
There's nothing wrong with your determination.

Do you know what Kotegaeshe is? Do you know what shihonage is?

Do you know why they are and under which circumstances they apply?

I think you are merely missing the reality of those two techniques.

Regards.G.

Alberto_Italiano
05-30-2011, 05:44 AM
Kotegaeshi - determine a lateral projection (the aikido technique most good on camera, and yet the most dangerous one - people seems to worry about tendons, yet if you fall on your neck, that's much more worrisome).
Cut on the wrist, push down towards your hip, plummeting, push outward with the other hand on the hand you've cut down.
With a rigid wrist (which is mostly the case) don't get intimidated, just do it. Easier to be said than done :-)

shihonage: that technique where they invariably fail to explain to you that it will never work if you don't make sure, first, that your uke's palm is turned upward. If you manage, it allows a great control, for once on the side of uke you won't even need to push down his hand - walking would suffice to make him fall.
I have no idea whi even Ueshiba does it, often, pausing before rotating on himself - it should be one flux.

Both techniques imply that a striker repeatedly punching you does not succeed, at one given moment to prevent you from going lateral. Going lateral under incoming blows and with an uke highly dynamic on feet is probably the WHOLE challe nge to make aikido usable in a real fight.

If we consider that in all dojos we still see attacks made as a shokomenuchi, we can't help but think that we are reproducing a false paradigm - the paradigm of a samurai whose sword has been taken away from him, utterly unacquainted with the extremely violent settings that a, say, "bar fight" in the WESTERN world may imply.

That's the whole issue: managing to go lateral against an opponent repeatedly punching you and fast on feet, determined to keep facing you.
We never train for this scenario. What we see on videos with tsuki+aikido is invariably performed on kes that do not display the full range of motility, brute force and determination that a real and a bit competent striker may produce.

graham christian
05-30-2011, 08:55 AM
Hi Alberto.
Thanks for the reply. I was worried you had gotten too annoyed. Your explanations of the techniques are vivid enough for me.

However, as I suspected, you have a limited view of what they are and thus understandably you come to such conclusions. (Don't take this the wrong way)

This is a good example of conclusions based on level of understanding, experience and ability. All good.

Regards.G.

Alberto_Italiano
05-30-2011, 09:57 AM
Hi Alberto.
Thanks for the reply. I was worried you had gotten too annoyed. Your explanations of the techniques are vivid enough for me.

However, as I suspected, you have a limited view of what they are and thus understandably you come to such conclusions. (Don't take this the wrong way)

This is a good example of conclusions based on level of understanding, experience and ability. All good.

Regards.G.

Graham, I am totally with you. I know my aikido sucks. What makes it worse, is that I am trying to work on a realistic attacker.

You have to understand this. I do have a boxing background, and I did indeed had over 30 official matches (though not as a pro) so I do know that one of those boxers I met on the ring, you would never get an hold of their arms without firstly paying a price that at times may be forbidding.

Thence, when I got fascinated with aikido, I could not remove from my mind how unrealistic its default training is.
Moving from a space where you get hit for real to another one where young ladies play shihonages on flaccid arms... it's quite a leap...

In boxing gyms I got hit squarely on my face nearly every day. Guys that tall and who punched without qualms. Fast, determined, capable of facing you even if you went lateral. I don't contend you can get an hold of their arm eventually. What I am saying is that our current aikido training doesn't prepare us for this scenario in the least.

An appalling shortcoming, because in our western modern world, that's our ideal case scenario: competent striker punching fast. It's a challenge, it's a big challenge. Our pupils are not ready for this scenario. They may only think they are, but they are not.

Alberto_Italiano
05-30-2011, 10:17 AM
I really appreciate your time Graham, and I also know that you know infinitely more about Aikido than myself. I know this and also when I don't openly state it, yet I am still keenly aware of this.

I just want to be sure you can identify with myself first, because I don't want to sound ungrateful.

Try to think for a moment you are this guy, Alberto. This is a guy who 20 years ago for about 4 years, got punched in his face nearly every day. He was used to physical confrontation that left no space for graciousness.
Now, he comes here among folks who say to him, who has been hit on his face by hooks uppercuts jabs and right punches in every fashion, saying to him that our secret is atemi, and that doing an atemi could work...
What will such a guy think? he will remember when he was punching furiously a good "incassatore" (dunno the English term) who couldn't care less of my best shots, go figure an atemi, and who kept coming, still charging, still dangerous, still offending...

He then sees these young ladies grabbing the arm of a guy who opposes no resistance and who turn around as if they were making a dancing pace. He sees guys being "attacked" by ukes who evidently think that hitting somebody on his forehead with the side of one hand is gonna be effective. He sees attackers who always stop to accommodate a technique. he sees guys who seem to have one arm only.
He sees folks that have never experienced what being hit squarely by a punch means, speculating that they may survive a combination of 6 boxing strikes delivered with bare hands in a span of less than 2 seconds, in order to win the day placing an atemi on such a foe...

Think where I come from, and you will understand why I say that I _know_ that 90% of the aikidokas I saw in dojos, would fare pretty poorly with a vaguely competent striker.

graham christian
05-30-2011, 11:51 AM
I really appreciate your time Graham, and I also know that you know infinitely more about Aikido than myself. I know this and also when I don't openly state it, yet I am still keenly aware of this.

I just want to be sure you can identify with myself first, because I don't want to sound ungrateful.

Try to think for a moment you are this guy, Alberto. This is a guy who 20 years ago for about 4 years, got punched in his face nearly every day. He was used to physical confrontation that left no space for graciousness.
Now, he comes here among folks who say to him, who has been hit on his face by hooks uppercuts jabs and right punches in every fashion, saying to him that our secret is atemi, and that doing an atemi could work...
What will such a guy think? he will remember when he was punching furiously a good "incassatore" (dunno the English term) who couldn't care less of my best shots, go figure an atemi, and who kept coming, still charging, still dangerous, still offending...

He then sees these young ladies grabbing the arm of a guy who opposes no resistance and who turn around as if they were making a dancing pace. He sees guys being "attacked" by ukes who evidently think that hitting somebody on his forehead with the side of one hand is gonna be effective. He sees attackers who always stop to accommodate a technique. he sees guys who seem to have one arm only.
He sees folks that have never experienced what being hit squarely by a punch means, speculating that they may survive a combination of 6 boxing strikes delivered with bare hands in a span of less than 2 seconds, in order to win the day placing an atemi on such a foe...

Think where I come from, and you will understand why I say that I _know_ that 90% of the aikidokas I saw in dojos, would fare pretty poorly with a vaguely competent striker.

Hi Alberto. I do get it. As I mentioned before my friend I started with was an amateur boxer and had similar questions.

The fault is with Aikidoka who think for example that doing kotegaeshi on tsuki equals doing the same on a boxer.

90% of boy racers would fare pretty poorly in a formula1 car. You will never change that, it's all part of learning.

There are reasons for doing the techniques in the way they are done so it is not that which is at fault.

It is looking at the correct reasons why that leads to a better understanding.

I'm not saying that all teaching is perfect but as a student I have a responsibility to understand the difference rather than dismiss or see it as useless.

To turn against doesn't bring added understanding it merely takes you off of your path.

Regards.G

Alberto_Italiano
05-30-2011, 12:50 PM
There are reasons for doing the techniques in the way they are done so it is not that which is at fault.


Ok but what is it? I have already heard a couple of times before about a reason being there for our training being so biased towards un-combativeness, but every time they allude to it, for some reason they don't explain this reason openly.

For a guy who comes from a boxing background, and who learned how highly educative physical clash can be, it seems irreplaceable - confrontation against vigorous resistance, a tonic like no other!

Once you have experienced it, once you sipped that type of training, learning by trial and errors within a highly combative training setting, all the rest seems ghastly.

I don't know if what I say makes some sense too.

Maybe one needs to have been there - do you know, that nostalgia, that ancient Greek "nostoi", that inability of the fighter to accommodate himself ever again into common life once he has been through combat...
I think it's a splinter of that - once applied the appropriated proportions.

thence we speak two entirely different languages where I am at fault in both cases: I can't understand aikido, and I can't make myself understood either when I advocate the beauty of vigorous fighting training, because maybe only if one has been there one understands it (btw I think safety concerns are something I always showed considerable respect, however).

Now that I cannot boxe anymore, and now that I got fascinated by aikido, I keep dreaming an aikido where they would allow me to learn by intense physical confrontation.

I will never find that dojo.

graham christian
05-30-2011, 07:45 PM
Ok but what is it? I have already heard a couple of times before about a reason being there for our training being so biased towards un-combativeness, but every time they allude to it, for some reason they don't explain this reason openly.

For a guy who comes from a boxing background, and who learned how highly educative physical clash can be, it seems irreplaceable - confrontation against vigorous resistance, a tonic like no other!

Once you have experienced it, once you sipped that type of training, learning by trial and errors within a highly combative training setting, all the rest seems ghastly.

I don't know if what I say makes some sense too.

Maybe one needs to have been there - do you know, that nostalgia, that ancient Greek "nostoi", that inability of the fighter to accommodate himself ever again into common life once he has been through combat...
I think it's a splinter of that - once applied the appropriated proportions.

thence we speak two entirely different languages where I am at fault in both cases: I can't understand aikido, and I can't make myself understood either when I advocate the beauty of vigorous fighting training, because maybe only if one has been there one understands it (btw I think safety concerns are something I always showed considerable respect, however).

Now that I cannot boxe anymore, and now that I got fascinated by aikido, I keep dreaming an aikido where they would allow me to learn by intense physical confrontation.

I will never find that dojo.

Alberto. Therein lies the conflict in doing a martial art the purpose of which is harmony.

The answer for me lies in the concept of budo. For me in budo there is no fighting, no oppositional mind. Thus my Aikido is soft.

Does this equal no intense physical confrontation? No. The attacker can be as intense and physical as they like.

Budo in this way is very intensive and requires great discipline. However it would thus be called more the art of no fighting.

It would however be called the art of finishing off quick time.

And when you can do that you then have choice and can afford to be compassionate in such circumstances.

Regards.G.

Carsten Möllering
05-31-2011, 02:39 AM
... I keep dreaming an aikido where they would allow me to learn by intense physical confrontation. ...I experience there are a whole lot of dojo where learning is practiced "by intense physical confrontation". - But: This physical confrontation is not looking and not feeling like Boxing.
Can be holding tori so he just can't move. I think this the usual confrontation in aikido in the beginning.
Can be deliver the usual attacks very fast, so tori can't adjust himself. Or can be deliver those attacks very strong, so tori can't get ouf the way ( ... lateral ...)
Can be drawing back the attack very fast, like karateka do.
Can also be delivering combinations which come near boxing.

Over the years there is - in the aikido I know - a whole lot to learn by physical confrontation or challenges.
If you train in a dojo where you not find things like this I think it is due to the dojo or the line of aikido they teach. Not to aikido in general.

But you will never in no dojo find the same "feeling" or "vibrations" you find in a boxing gym. The "feeling" of aikido is different. Methods are different. Techniques are different. Ways to learn are different. ... aikido is different.

Alberto_Italiano
05-31-2011, 06:39 AM
Well at least I have worked out this thing - for the first time in my life gee!

With the provision that by the term "combat" I don't imply any parallelism with warfare (that would be ridiculous, and insulting to those who have been in warfare indeed), I think it's the following what happened to me:

The secret is never to be in combat (in my case, intense boxing confrontation).
If you have been there once, you will never forget it and you will never be able to adjust any more to any more relaxed setting.

Being still valid the previous provision, it's like what has been reported as a strange phenomenon occurring to veterans - thus it is no longer just a quirk of mine, evidently: I found a legacy where it belongs. This seems what happened to me, and that makes me feel unadjusted.

Normal life (in my proportion: normal "dojos") invariably seems insufficient then. You keep being haunted (though in this case in a "pleasant" way, not in a compulsive one) by combat memories. You long for it, also if you know your training capabilities have vanished long ago. You dream of resuming them.
You have been there. Nothing will be the same ever again.

Don't go there!

And now, what shall I do?
"What I am, I don't know. I roam, oppressed by my memories" (The Vedas)

Carsten Möllering
05-31-2011, 07:18 AM
hmmmm I'm not sure if it's so easy.

We have people practicing aikido who did boxing before like you.
We have students who did full contact karate.
One student of my teacher is a full contact kickboxing champion.
Christian Tissier, one of the shihan of our federation, did kickboxing.

And: Not being able to reintegrate into society after being at war is part of a psychological trauma.
I hope you didn't suffer something comparable?!

Alberto_Italiano
05-31-2011, 07:48 AM
hmmmm I'm not sure if it's so easy.

We have people practicing aikido who did boxing before like you.
We have students who did full contact karate.
One student of my teacher is a full contact kickboxing champion.
Christian Tissier, one of the shihan of our federation, did kickboxing.

And: Not being able to reintegrate into society after being at war is part of a psychological trauma.
I hope you didn't suffer something comparable?!

No, it's not PTSD - war may induce that, from what I read. I stated my provision that my feeling is not comparable with warfare exactly because it's not something that fitts precisely into that pack - boxing does not induce PTSD.

However, it is combat - so probably it may induce something akin: sort of a need for intensity in physical training, so that once you have been into intense physical confrontation, a normal aiki dojo seems a nuisance.

I don't argue that nostalgia for combat, that makes you feel not adjusted any more to more relaxed training settings, is something that is supposed to be induced in anyone who has been in boxing matches. I am saying that probably in some of them, it may occur.

It doesn't present itself like a stress disorder, with as such would be invested with obsessions, deja vu, flashbacks. Nothing of that occurs to me, for instance. It simply presents itself in a more "pleasant" way - everything seems pale compared to my previous experience: everyday on a ring with guys hitting me and me hitting them.
When they face me with an uke who accommodates me and who refuses to move in a natural combative fashion, I feel there is something fake in it that I cannot reconcile with, with any finality.

In working out why I feel this thirst for a more combative version of aikido, where i can learn by trial and errors being flung into direct confrontation, I am supposing for the first time in my life it may be sort of a depleted version of that pack of phenomena: the "veteran" who finds normal life (ie: normal dojos) insufficient.

perhaps, as I have worked out this, it may be benefical for you also - evidently, some folks who have been in boxing combat, may feel this way. I mean: good to know, allright: it may happen, some of them may feel this way...!

Janet Rosen
05-31-2011, 10:39 AM
Alberto, I don't have anything specific to add but wanted to say that it has been fascinating reading your posts and how the process of writing/answering questions over a period of time has really been changing/deepening your insight into your situation. It's an inquisitiveness and willingness to stay engaged on the issue that many folks wouldn't have - very cool.

graham christian
05-31-2011, 10:46 AM
Hi Alberto.
Good news. I'm glad you have recognised what you have. All I can say is well done.

If I'm reading you correctly it sounds to me like it's coming to terms with a readjustment. Like someone who is used to one environment who has now moved to another. Of course not as drastic as war when the person moves from that environment into civil society.

It's one of those apparent paradoxes where when you are faced with life threatening things daily (as in war) some feel more alive. Similarly when you are faced with a non-stop real attack it tends to wake you up.

Regards.G.

Alberto_Italiano
06-01-2011, 06:10 AM
Hi Alberto.
Good news. I'm glad you have recognised what you have. All I can say is well done.

If I'm reading you correctly it sounds to me like it's coming to terms with a readjustment. Like someone who is used to one environment who has now moved to another. Of course not as drastic as war when the person moves from that environment into civil society.

It's one of those apparent paradoxes where when you are faced with life threatening things daily (as in war) some feel more alive. Similarly when you are faced with a non-stop real attack it tends to wake you up.

Regards.G.

First of all, let me thank Janet.
I am at times at odds in my attenpts to define to myself and to others what puzzles me with most aikido dojos, and I am always fearing that I may be perceived like an "aikido basher" (if anything like that exists lol) whereas my efforts are genuine and I do am interested with Aikido a lot.
So it is refreshing reading that Janet realizes that I am not conveying a polemic message, but a sincere attempt to work out things, driven by a real interest with aikido.

I have been reproached at times by my fellow ukes because I had a tendency to act too freely, or not to follow sensei's directions closely enough, because when trying a technique I never cease experimenting and if a movement that has not been prescribed comes natural to me, I do it. No matter what. Then if I am uke, tori fails.
They start considering you like a guy who is not into the "spiritual side of aikido" :D

I would like to add also that Graham has here described exactly one of the elements that belong to my feeling - "some feel more alive": it's also and precisely that, and it is why I said many times that facing an uke that moves aggressively and in a truly combative manner is a tonic. You feel you're alive, you feel actually you're being treated like a real human being and not like a dummy. An attacker that is combative is a honour.

When in most dojos I see a session training that goes as it often goes, i feel like I have wasted my time and that I'm not doing anything alive, exactly, but entirely fictional.

I go to a dojo, lesson lasts 60 minutes, sensei speaks 20 at first oftentimes.
Then he illustrates a technique, and a few more minutes go.
Then we should try it, in a mostly static setting. During this time, which is invariably short (maybe 3 minjutes) you are supposed to:
1) try the technique. This with the implication that often, if another technique flows out of your hands, your uke complains -thenceforth you realize you have no option to act naturally, to act... alive!
2) then also uke must become tori and try the technique.
3) suddenly, the sensei claps his hands, and illustrates some detail that maybe is not even your weak spot at that moment but the mistake of someone's else. We wait a few more minutes. Then back to 2 minutes of technique, once me another my uke.
4) the sensei changes technique, and spends 3 or 4 more minutes to illustrate it.
5) repeat the "algorithm"

At the end of the day, you have been in a dojo to train at best 15 minutes.
I don't feel alive.

ps one day I was attempting a waza asking my uke to let me do only a part of the technique, and yet to attack me in a truly aggressive manner. I had to conquer the right set of my hands on his arms as he moved naturally, without completing the technique. It imemdiately seemed something more real. After 3 attempts, uke said :"it's better we stop or it may end badly" - that is, he felt that a Martial apprpach was not natural and anyway displayed in a controlled environment, but as something that might eventually yield a true fight.
He never worked out this was a problem of his own perception, and not an intention of mine. Yet, since then I had to come to terms with the fact that my ukes could misunderstand me that much.

Alberto_Italiano
06-01-2011, 06:24 AM
I cannot remember all those japanese names...
In the ps above the technique was as follows: uke attacks me pushing me with both hands, I have to place one of my hands in the inner of one of his elbows, the other on the outer of his other elbow, and attempt a projection.

I asked him to attack me rushing towards me, grabbing my lapels with real intention,and then attenpting either to push me or pull me with the TRUE intention of overturning me, of pushing me on the ground for real.

I placed my hands under this attack and it seemed combative in effect, when i failed he left his hold of my lapels and i said to him "again again, go on go on, don't stop! attack me please, again, don't stop!"

he thought i was in for a fight, evidently.

Michael Varin
06-01-2011, 06:34 AM
I go to a dojo, lesson lasts 60 minutes, sensei speaks 20 at first oftentimes.
Then he illustrates a technique, and a few more minutes go.
Then we should try it, in a mostly static setting. During this time, which is invariably short (maybe 3 minjutes) you are supposed to:
1) try the technique. This with the implication that often, if another technique flows out of your hands, your uke complains -thenceforth you realize you have no option to act naturally, to act... alive!
2) then also uke must become tori and try the technique.
3) suddenly, the sensei claps his hands, and illustrates some detail that maybe is not even your weak spot at that moment but the mistake of someone's else. We wait a few more minutes. Then back to 2 minutes of technique, once me another my uke.
4) the sensei changes technique, and spends 3 or 4 more minutes to illustrate it.
5) repeat the "algorithm"

At the end of the day, you have been in a dojo to train at best 15 minutes.
I don't feel alive.

Sorry, Alberto. Your dojo sucks.

I realize that I was very lucky to find an excellent instructor initially, and to be able to define my own training since then.

But having said that, I am still somewhat concerned that you want aikido to answer question that it cannot.

Or more accurately, you want aikido to answer those questions in ways that it cannot.

You will have to look deeper and reflect on exactly what it is that you want out of your training.

With your level of inquisitiveness, I have very little doubt that you will find the answers... However, they may not be what you currently expect them to be!

Alberto_Italiano
06-01-2011, 06:39 AM
I want aikido. But I want it training in a combative situation.
Dojos, at least here, don't offer me that - they really are structured like above 60 minutes, at best you train 15 - in a good day :D

So I am here, bumping my head against a wall, in order to find how I can learn aikido in a combative manner without anyone available to teach me aikido in such manner.
For, certainly, I cannot relocate to Serbia for that!
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=nenad+ikras&aq=f

Pauliina Lievonen
06-01-2011, 06:46 AM
I cannot remember all those japanese names...
In the ps above the technique was as follows: uke attacks me pushing me with both hands, I have to place one of my hands in the inner of one of his elbows, the other on the outer of his other elbow, and attempt a projection.

I asked him to attack me rushing towards me, grabbing my lapels with real intention,and then attenpting either to push me or pull me with the TRUE intention of overturning me, of pushing me on the ground for real.

I placed my hands under this attack and it seemed combative in effect, when i failed he left his hold of my lapels and i said to him "again again, go on go on, don't stop! attack me please, again, don't stop!"

he thought i was in for a fight, evidently.I don't remember what this technique is called either... maybe just kokuynage? :D When in doubt it's kokyunage. :D

But anyway, what you describe here would not be at all uncommon in our dojo. I fail at techniques all the time and sometimes also get thrown by uke, and my partners don't think we are heading for a fight because of that.

Just last night, practicing a form of tenchinage with a guy with a judo background, I asked him to recover his balance if he could. The result was that he found himself in a position to throw me more than half of the time I tried the technique.

Sounds like you might have ended up at an aikido dojo where people aren't used to that kind of practice...

Pauliina

crazyaikidoka
06-01-2011, 06:59 AM
Dear Aikiweb-community,
yeahhh ... that's my first entry. First I want to make an excuse to all English native speakers ... I try my best to transfer my thoughts to more or less understandable English:)
Resistance is a problem I think everybody faces during Aikido training - sooner or later. I'm practicing Aikido for more than 12 years (not that long thinking of people who are practicing for several decades ...) and giving lessons on a weekly basis for approx. 6 (?) years. In the beginning of my "teaching-carrer" I sometimes had students who wanted to test me and resisted. I tried to show them, that I'm "better" then them, forcing techniques and being frustrated afterwards when they didn't work (and they worked nearly never ... :( One time I hurt a young student and that was the point when I changed my way of dealing with resistance. Now, for me forcing techniques is same bad habit than resisting. There is a way of "constructive resistance", but in my opinion this can only be performed by Aikidokas who are quite experienced. Teachers might give resistance within a technique to teach students, but it has to have a goal! Resistance just to demonstrate how "bad" somebody's Aikido is, is like having nothing understood in AI. For me it's much more challenging to lead Tori within the technique - WITHOUT resistance and without explanations. AND - at the same time - let tori feel the force and direction of uke's attack. The UKE is the TEACHER (I learnt from my teacher), there are a lot of excellent and a lot of lousy teachers on the tatami ....

Alberto_Italiano
06-01-2011, 07:05 AM
Probably Paulina. I cannot find a video with that, at least not now.

But see:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qR3A5EvXjU
if I do that in a dojo, uke will fall. If i do that on a freind of mine out of a dojo, he doesn't fall in the least. He stays there, or recovers his arms rechambering and punches me.

This difference between the ideogram and a real situation is what I want to avoid, the reason for (or what I mean by) saying: I need to train in a "combative" setting.

Real attackers, Paulina, are like your judo partner: they do recover their stance, immediately, and they hit back with a vengeance...

For all those superb iriminage I did in dojos, with ukes falling - I can't forget when I tried that on an old friend of mine from the boxing times: he didn't move by an inch - whereas in the dojo all my ukes fell, wow...

I don't want to learn how to succeed - I want to learn how to fail, and fail, and fail, until by failing over and over again against a combative attacker, then I understand finally how to adjust my body for a real situation where I am supposed to deliver aikido.

And I am failing magnificently well, I must say.... :D

Pauliina Lievonen
06-01-2011, 07:29 AM
Yes, failing repeatedly is the way to get better. I agree completely.

If you talk about this with dojomates, can you get them to understand that idea? You might find a couple of people to experiment with maybe? Also I think it's great that you still practice with old boxing buddies, keep doing that!

There is a good reason for taking light and easy ukemi sometimes. (I suspect that you already know this, so please ignore if that is the case). One of the things we want to develop in aikido is the skill of executing the techniques with relaxed arms and upper body. If a beginner is given too much resistance or an attack that is too intense, they invariably tense their arms and try to force the technique to work. So you have to increase the intensity gradually and appropriately to the level of the people practicing. I think that is just common sense really.

Unfortunately sometimes people stay there and start to think that that is the aikido way of practice and anything else is not aikido. Personally I think the next step should be to be able to stay relaxed even though the attack is a bit more intense or uke resists during the technique. And then you can build from there to increasing levels of difficulty.

As to the link: There are several possibilities with any technique - 1. you don't execute it perfectly, so it doesn't work 2. you try to do a technique that doesn't fit the circumstances, so it doesn't work 3. the technique is just not a good technique, so it doesn't work. :D The fun is in trying to find out which of the above applies I think. :D

Pauliina

Alberto_Italiano
06-01-2011, 11:20 AM
Yes, failing repeatedly is the way to get better. I agree completely.

If you talk about this with dojomates, can you get them to understand that idea? You might find a couple of people to experiment with maybe? Also I think it's great that you still practice with old boxing buddies, keep doing that!

There is a good reason for taking light and easy ukemi sometimes. (I suspect that you already know this, so please ignore if that is the case). One of the things we want to develop in aikido is the skill of executing the techniques with relaxed arms and upper body. If a beginner is given too much resistance or an attack that is too intense, they invariably tense their arms and try to force the technique to work. So you have to increase the intensity gradually and appropriately to the level of the people practicing. I think that is just common sense really.

Unfortunately sometimes people stay there and start to think that that is the aikido way of practice and anything else is not aikido. Personally I think the next step should be to be able to stay relaxed even though the attack is a bit more intense or uke resists during the technique. And then you can build from there to increasing levels of difficulty.

As to the link: There are several possibilities with any technique - 1. you don't execute it perfectly, so it doesn't work 2. you try to do a technique that doesn't fit the circumstances, so it doesn't work 3. the technique is just not a good technique, so it doesn't work. :D The fun is in trying to find out which of the above applies I think. :D

Pauliina

What among many things I am trying to do (besides clarifying things to myself), is to convey the feeling of a positive legacy to an environment that doesn't seem to understand what I am talking about.
Ther reason it is not easily understood is twofold: one, evidently I am not good enough at it. Secondly, if you have never been there one cannot appreciate the full extent of this thing, and it's noone's fault then.

What I am trying to convey is the way I learned boxing - and I was good at it (long ago).
Now, whereas it's true that one cannot expect aikido to be like boxing (this has been repeated to me many times, and believe it or not I got it), there is actually something precious too in what I am saying - because no one becomes unadjusted without having also good arrows in his quiver: you don't forfeit the whole quiver because you do know that a few of its arrows ar darn good.

You learn by failing.
You don't learn by succeeding, neither you succeed by succeeding. You learn by failure, and you succeed escalating an excruciating ladder of failures.

In my boxing times, the confrontation was ruthless. My "ukes" had no qualms, not even when sparring.
I remember my first sparring days, I was trying to be considerate towards my opponent. Then Lucio, as we were having a coffee in a bar after training said to me: "you were downplaying, weren't you?". Well, yes, that guy was smaller than me and I didn't want to hurt him. He said "fregatene, sbattitene - sconocchiali proprio", which may translate into "don't give a damn about this, don't give a s*hit about this - break them without mercy".

What does it mean? The atmosphere - our ukes were not a joke.

Now, if you train with an uke that attacks you without any regard, and who refuses to accommodate you in the least, you fail and fail and fail and you get pushed, bruised, bumped, turned, brought down, (in boxing of course also punched lol).
When you are over two things happen to you, or better 3:

1) you feel you have been into something very real and you feel that your body, regardless of all your failures, has learned. You feel this in every single fiber of yours.
2) you may have hangovers - many times after my boxing training routine I had to stay at home laying in bed with the sensation i was about to vomit and my head and bowels hurting for the blows - this is negative but I can't tell you how much it made you feel you could take the real thing.
3) the next time you are on the ring, you are already better - little by little you realize you are getting acquainted to the thunderstorm - there comes a day, and wonj't take long, when you can start dancing into fire.

Nothing compares to that.
Having ukes that are not aggressive (they want to make you succeed... but a good uke wants you to fail - not intentionally, but merely by acting ina manner that is not geared to appease you), means taking away from us the build up of this sensation, which is something that, once you have experienced it, it makes you feel any other training approach to martiality is not the right one.
But as said, one needs to have been there to understand why point 3 has such a value, so self-evident for those who trained that way.

This is why I, nonetheless, insist about a different training, with ukes much more aggressive rather than accommodating. But it's hard to convey my message.

You can be a beginner, and yet be thrown into fire. Initiation by fire.

Alberto_Italiano
06-01-2011, 11:44 AM
He is charging, I try to escape, pam - I see the mat. I am getting up, pam! I see the mat again - I try to roll away and get up as I am almost standing - pam! i see the mat again. I am confused, I understand nothing. How can I manage in this thunderstorm? I am supposed to do a nikkyo but I have no idea - how can I do a nikkyo in this situation?
I try - i get a smack on my face, a finger into my eye and pam - i see the mat again.
I make desperate attempts, at first using blunt force, other times grappling into the void - pam - i see the mat again.
I grab his wrist he pulls it back i lose my grip, pam, i get two smacks on my face, pam i see the mat again.
I grab again a wrist, i know i must be fast, but i have placed my hands in the wrong way - oh no darling, what do you want me to do rub your tummy? You did it wrong, so - PAM - you see the mat!
I try again this time a hand is placed corrctly but this wrist doesn't turn, why i cannot understand maybe because - pam i see the mat again!

then you go home. You rethink over and over the whole thing. It's engraved deeply into your flesh and mind now.
You realize your possibile errors. Tomorrow is another day, you will see the mat again, but this time you will try a new trick. Pam and you see the mat again!

Repeat algorithm. Over and over again.

One day you place a wonderful nikkyo - because you have realized that the way to a good nikkyo is paved of burning obstacles, and that if you don't manage thos efirst, you will NEVER place a nikkyo on a REAL attacker.

Pam - he sees the mat.

Aikido learned with the contribution of a boxing legacy.
You don't learn as you succeed during the day in the dojo. You learn by failing utterly and ingominously against the complete holistic challenge, when at night you think it over. You learn while the owls croak, as you lay in your bed.

sakumeikan
06-01-2011, 05:01 PM
I really appreciate your time Graham, and I also know that you know infinitely more about Aikido than myself. I know this and also when I don't openly state it, yet I am still keenly aware of this.

I just want to be sure you can identify with myself first, because I don't want to sound ungrateful.

Try to think for a moment you are this guy, Alberto. This is a guy who 20 years ago for about 4 years, got punched in his face nearly every day. He was used to physical confrontation that left no space for graciousness.
Now, he comes here among folks who say to him, who has been hit on his face by hooks uppercuts jabs and right punches in every fashion, saying to him that our secret is atemi, and that doing an atemi could work...
What will such a guy think? he will remember when he was punching furiously a good "incassatore" (dunno the English term) who couldn't care less of my best shots, go figure an atemi, and who kept coming, still charging, still dangerous, still offending...

He then sees these young ladies grabbing the arm of a guy who opposes no resistance and who turn around as if they were making a dancing pace. He sees guys being "attacked" by ukes who evidently think that hitting somebody on his forehead with the side of one hand is gonna be effective. He sees attackers who always stop to accommodate a technique. he sees guys who seem to have one arm only.
He sees folks that have never experienced what being hit squarely by a punch means, speculating that they may survive a combination of 6 boxing strikes delivered with bare hands in a span of less than 2 seconds, in order to win the day placing an atemi on such a foe...

Think where I come from, and you will understand why I say that I _know_ that 90% of the aikidokas I saw in dojos, would fare pretty poorly with a vaguely competent striker.

Alberto,
From your description of the dojos you train in or trained in
you must have been in pretty bad dojos.
You seem to think that the women are weak etc. I know I few ladies who would soon put you right on that premise.One lady in particular many years ago reduced me to a pulp.She was pretty tough.Learnt me a valuable lesson.Do not take anybody or anything for granted.
Cheers, Joe.

abraxis
06-01-2011, 06:10 PM
Alberto,
From your description of the dojos you train in or trained in
you must have been in pretty bad dojos.
You seem to think that the women are weak etc. I know I few ladies who would soon put you right on that premise.One lady in particular many years ago reduced me to a pulp.She was pretty tough.Learnt me a valuable lesson.Do not take anybody or anything for granted.
Cheers, Joe.

Joe,
I agree with you completely. I recently returned to practice after a long time away but before I did I did a survey of dojos within a one hour drive of home. I decided on a dojo where the Shidoin is a woman:-- not because of her gender but because her Aikido is great by any standard and she is a wonderful teacher. She also has a very good way of making our practices relevant to real world situations.
Best,
Rudy

hughrbeyer
06-01-2011, 09:16 PM
I have been reproached at times by my fellow ukes because I had a tendency to act too freely, or not to follow sensei's directions closely enough, because when trying a technique I never cease experimenting and if a movement that has not been prescribed comes natural to me, I do it. No matter what.

So Alberto, I respect your goals and your commitment to the honesty of the attack, but I think you're going at this the wrong way.

Good or bad, your dojo is your dojo. I agree with the other posters that much of what you're doing would be totally acceptable in other dojos, but you aren't in other dojos. And you're not going to change your dojo in any significant way--you don't have the recognized position to do that.

Furthermore, I think you're missing the goal of this type of aikido practice. My sensei says, "If you practice chaos, you learn chaos." Chaos comes naturally. The whole point of slower, less confrontational practice is to learn movement that does not come naturally. If you continually do what you want, instead of what your sensei is teaching, you'll end up learning what you already know. You'll never learn to move your body in a different way or deal with the attack in a different way.

And there is a different way. Boxing works because it is a highly constrained situation. It's a game. By the rules of the game, there's only one opponent, in a constrained but clear space, and you have to fight him. If you accept the rules, you end up with a ma-ai that is way too close for aikido. That's why those fast combinations work so well--at that distance a boxer can land a series of punches without committing themselves.

I have a video of my sensei dealing with a boxing-style attack which I never really understood until now (thank you) and until I'd tried boxing myself. Every time uke throws a punch, closing up the distance, he parries and opens it up again. He's not playing the boxer's game. After a few of these he's in a position for a throw. Just one example of how you don't have to buy in to the boxer's assumptions.

Given all that, I think you'd do better to fix your attitude towards your dojo or leave. If you stay, accept their approach and training methods, limited though they are, while you're in their class. But surely there are other young guys who would be interested in more vigorous practice. And maybe some of your boxing friends would be interested in learning some aikido. Practice after class, or meet up at the boxing gym if you have to. Do your exploration on your own, with like-minded friends. Maybe that way you can have your cake and eat it too, as we say.

Alberto_Italiano
06-02-2011, 03:03 AM
You seem to think that the women are weak etc.

No I can assure you it wasn't that type of chauvinist stuff :D
If I mentioned "lady-like" things, it was not to imply any derogatory statement about women on a dojo - I apologize if I gave that impression.

If I said something like that, was only to mean that I have seen also many ladies, clearly fragile and not endowed with any type of phisycal strength or determination, doing techniques on men who were clearly accommodating them to their utmost.

The unavoidable consequence is that they will never know such a technique won't work on a resisting adversary: it's not that they haven't enough brute force (which won't be needed), it's that without resistance they won't ever understand there are leverages points to exploit because they don't feel them.

So I wasn't meaning that physical strength is necessary - I was only thinking that if you have to train like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiRfJppQJcQ or like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsIyj_AjWP4&feature=related then you better stay home :)
Don't you agree? :D

Eva Antonia
06-02-2011, 09:46 AM
Dear Alberto,

I read this thread with interest and, also I don't have a boxing background, I partially can understand what you are searching.

I noticed also, both in our dojo and abroad, that there are two extreme types of aikidoka, on the one hand the super-compliant ukes with the flaccid arms, and on the other hand people who are looking for fight efficiency and are not afraid of the one or other bruise. Obviously, both types are incompatible; the soft ukes (and yes, you are right, there are MORE women among these) think that the harder ones are unduly aggressive, and the more rough ones think that the soft ones are absolutely unrealistic. I don't think that it has always to do something with skills, sometimes it is a question of preference.

When training in Aserbaidjan, I once trained with a woman of the feather-touch style (with hakama), and I just made my normal irimi nage, which means "smashing backwards on the tatami". After throwing me several times gently, she said: "You're doing it wrong. Irimi nage as you do is very uncomfortable for uke- I'll show you how it is when it's done on you", and she made a very brilliant irimi nage just hammering me effortlessly down. Then she looked defiantly and said: "So - is it THAT what you want???", and I just smiled blissfully and said: "YES!" Obviously,

In our dojo we don't have boxers, but some karateka, judoka and jiu-jitsuka. There is a difference in style and also in expectations. But I still think that you can learn something from every type of uke.

BUT - if in our dojo the teacher
- talked 20 minutes per class
- didn't allow us to improvise on techniques that don't work as foreseen
- ensured that we wouldn't have more than 15 minutes to really train,
I'd leave (and the others also).

Have a nice day!

Eva

Anthony Loeppert
06-03-2011, 04:20 AM
So I wasn't meaning that physical strength is necessary - I was only thinking that if you have to train like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiRfJppQJcQ or like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsIyj_AjWP4&feature=related then you better stay home :)
Don't you agree? :D

If it was an open question, my answer is YES!

Normally these videos would just evoke sadness... for some reason just free form typing here, the word "delusion" keeps popping into my head.

But here, within the context of this thread I'm LMAO!

Demetrio Cereijo
06-03-2011, 04:33 AM
So I wasn't meaning that physical strength is necessary - I was only thinking that if you have to train like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiRfJppQJcQ or like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsIyj_AjWP4&feature=related then you better stay home :)
Don't you agree? :D

Ask Graham Christian :)

Nicholas Eschenbruch
06-03-2011, 05:47 AM
No I can assure you it wasn't that type of chauvinist stuff :D
If I mentioned "lady-like" things, it was not to imply any derogatory statement about women on a dojo - I apologize if I gave that impression.

If I said something like that, was only to mean that I have seen also many ladies, clearly fragile and not endowed with any type of phisycal strength or determination, doing techniques on men who were clearly accommodating them to their utmost.

The unavoidable consequence is that they will never know such a technique won't work on a resisting adversary: it's not that they haven't enough brute force (which won't be needed), it's that without resistance they won't ever understand there are leverages points to exploit because they don't feel them.

So I wasn't meaning that physical strength is necessary - I was only thinking that if you have to train like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiRfJppQJcQ or like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsIyj_AjWP4&feature=related then you better stay home :)
Don't you agree? :D

How can you judge what other people get out of their training? If you'd rather want to stay home than train that way, fine, but why not let others do what apparently is meaningful to them? To me personally, it is not terribly meaningful to adjust waza-based aikido to boxing, but hey, if you want to do it, great, its your enquiry, not mine. Who knows, I might eventually even change my mind and like the results. Let others pursue their stuff.

RonRagusa
06-03-2011, 06:33 AM
So I wasn't meaning that physical strength is necessary - I was only thinking that if you have to train like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiRfJppQJcQ or like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsIyj_AjWP4&feature=related then you better stay home :)
Don't you agree? :D

Hi Alberto -

I don't agree.

Graham's knowledge of the principles of Aikido is evidenced by the nature of his posts; which when looked at as a body of work clearly show how Aikido can be applied in venues other than the martial arena.

If you wish to judge his Aikido then you might want to base your judgement on more than a couple of minutes of video.

Best,

Ron

Alberto_Italiano
06-03-2011, 06:47 AM
Uh, why two guys here seem to think I was addressing Graham? He has been always very kind, I always loved his posts, and he always sounded experienced and sensible to me, besides I have no idea how he trains - neither I am aware whether in those video there is Graham, but I don't think so.

Whatever, anyway for a video like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsIyj_AjWP4&feature=related anybody can decide, without me in the way.

Of course, if one finds that type of training benefical or effective or usable for self defense, or that type of ukes realistic, or even as a "spiritual" path worth pursuing - well, we're in a field that is so self-evident that any option for debate instantly vanishes. Once that type of training is regarded allright - discussion over :D

If that type of training is sustainable, and benefical to the credibility of Aikido - if those black belts are worth being imitated, we are hitting squarely the ball about why many persons are puzzled by aikido's martiality.

Nothing to add :D It's no longer a matter of me, you, boxing, aikido, thai chi, karate or whatever. It's a predilection that places itself beyond reproach.

Mary Eastland
06-03-2011, 08:25 AM
Hi Alberto:
First off : The videos are Graham's.

Next issue:

Grasshopper, your cup is full.

Complaining about something over and over is like crying. You sound like a victim.

If you don't like your dojo start a new one or train in Ju Jitstu dojo or something.
Mary

C. David Henderson
06-03-2011, 09:15 AM
Alberto,

The contrast between your impression of Graham and your judgment of videos from his dojo is probably something worth thinking about, and seems to suggest things are not as you supposed.

A person who you find experienced and sensible when he talks about aikido trains his students in a way that you hold up as unworthwhile training.

Hum...What does that mean?

DH
06-03-2011, 10:00 AM
Hi Alberto -

I don't agree.

Graham's knowledge of the principles of Aikido is evidenced by the nature of his posts; which when looked at as a body of work clearly show how Aikido can be applied in venues other than the martial arena.

If you wish to judge his Aikido then you might want to base your judgement on more than a couple of minutes of video.

Best,

Ron
I think both sides need to be respected.

If someone's Aikido has credibility in social interaction and life...then demonstrate it, and be comfortable in stating martial things are not your interest.
If someones aikido has no credibility in a martial setting, then why enter the martial arena at all?
Why get defensive when people with practical and real skills challenge the obvious martial errors on your part.

There is a great deal of hubris displayed sometimes that does the art little service. The good ones know well they don't have it in a martial venue, and they don't care and say so. The bad ones are unaware of their failures and thus harm the arts martial credibility.

Every martial art has faced the very real tactical demands that it is a martial art and makes no excuses for their identity and success and failure in their chosen venue. Aikido, almost singularly, makes no apology for its failures in the martial venue, and some of its less educated members are instead insulted or even arrogant in stating that their art has risen above the martial. Were that true, than it should be able to demonstrate extreme competence in a martial venue, and just how it has risen above.
If on the other hand, it has chosen to walk away from the martial venue, then it should embrace that and walk away from martial things like swords, Japanese clothing, locking and throwing and be comfortable with that.

I have no trouble training with senior members who were soldiers or bad asses in other areas and are very comfortable in stating that aikido brought peace to their lives and is something OTHER than a martial venue to them. But they are not the self deluded ones who think that what they are doing ...is...a martial pursuit.
It's as simple as the Karate kid
"Walk on road left-safe
Walk on road right-safe
Walk on road middle-squish, just like grape."

Anyone in the middle who keeps making videos like the ones just shown here, (and with a sword in their hand?? Good grief).... opens themselves up for more experienced and educated scrutiny,

You might as well put on a green beret, put on BDUs with medals, pick up a gun upside down and then lead it away from someone trying to grab it and then try telling a spec ops community that you understand war. They deserve respect for their efforts and hard won knowledge, so do martial artists.


Perhaps a better education about what "martial art" really means would help many people, Then they can be comfortable in their own skin and stop defending themselves. They can state openly that what they are doing is not martial and they don't care. You only open yourself and the art up to ridicule by imagining these things have any value martially and film it for an increasingly educated viewing audience. Aikido has many other positive aspects that directly benefit the community and those involved that need no defending
Dan

graham christian
06-03-2011, 10:06 AM
Uh, why two guys here seem to think I was addressing Graham? He has been always very kind, I always loved his posts, and he always sounded experienced and sensible to me, besides I have no idea how he trains - neither I am aware whether in those video there is Graham, but I don't think so.

Whatever, anyway for a video like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsIyj_AjWP4&feature=related anybody can decide, without me in the way.

Of course, if one finds that type of training benefical or effective or usable for self defense, or that type of ukes realistic, or even as a "spiritual" path worth pursuing - well, we're in a field that is so self-evident that any option for debate instantly vanishes. Once that type of training is regarded allright - discussion over :D

If that type of training is sustainable, and benefical to the credibility of Aikido - if those black belts are worth being imitated, we are hitting squarely the ball about why many persons are puzzled by aikido's martiality.

Nothing to add :D It's no longer a matter of me, you, boxing, aikido, thai chi, karate or whatever. It's a predilection that places itself beyond reproach.

Alberto.
To think you didn't know that was me had me in stitches. It's all good. I'm not offended by your views.

I did however discover some charachters who were trying to put your view into practice.

'Like a finger pointing to the moon------ you know how it goes. In other words if you are looking for something then look in the right direction. The videos I'm going to assume you might like are quite raw and real and may suit you.

However, unless you take time to slowly understand the principles of Aikido ie: the circle, ma-ai, entering, drawing, motion, etc. you will have to that degree a tough time in practice.

The videos can be found on youtube and are under the name of Aiki-Boxing by someone who goes by the name of skinnymonkey.

I'm sure you can find someone willing to put on some gloves and allow you to practice and learn by trial and error.

In good faith.G.

jester
06-03-2011, 10:38 AM
The videos can be found on youtube and are under the name of Aiki-Boxing by someone who goes by the name of skinnymonkey.

Unfortunately they have no clue about boxing. Their boxing skills are very very poor.

Get a real boxer and cross train. Learn how they think. Train with a Jujitsu, Judo, MMA or a Karate guy etc. You have to know how they move and why they move the way they do.

graham christian
06-03-2011, 10:45 AM
I think both sides need to be respected.

If someone's Aikido has credibility in social interaction and life...then demonstrate it, and be comfortable in stating martial things are not your interest.
If someones aikido has no credibility in a martial setting, then why enter the martial arena at all?
Why get defensive when people with practical and real skills challenge the obvious martial errors on your part.

There is a great deal of hubris displayed sometimes that does the art little service. The good ones know well they don't have it in a martial venue, and they don't care and say so. The bad ones are unaware of their failures and thus harm the arts martial credibility.

Every martial art has faced the very real tactical demands that it is a martial art and makes no excuses for their identity and success and failure in their chosen venue. Aikido, almost singularly, makes no apology for its failures in the martial venue, and some of its less educated members are instead insulted or even arrogant in stating that their art has risen above the martial. Were that true, than it should be able to demonstrate extreme competence in a martial venue, and just how it has risen above.
If on the other hand, it has chosen to walk away from the martial venue, then it should embrace that and walk away from martial things like swords, Japanese clothing, locking and throwing and be comfortable with that.

I have no trouble training with senior members who were soldiers or bad asses in other areas and are very comfortable in stating that aikido brought peace to their lives and is something OTHER than a martial venue to them. But they are not the self deluded ones who think that what they are doing ...is...a martial pursuit.
It's as simple as the Karate kid
"Walk on road left-safe
Walk on road right-safe
Walk on road middle-squish, just like grape."

Anyone in the middle who keeps making videos like the ones just shown here, (and with a sword in their hand?? Good grief).... opens themselves up for more experienced and educated scrutiny,

You might as well put on a green beret, put on BDUs with medals, pick up a gun upside down and then lead it away from someone trying to grab it and then try telling a spec ops community that you understand war.

Perhaps a better education about what "martial art" really means would help many people, Then they can be comfortable in their own skin and stop defending themselves. They can state openly that what they are doing is not martial and they don't care. You only open yourself and the art up to ridicule by imagining these things have any value martially and film it for an increasingly educated viewing audience. Aikido has many other positive aspects that directly benefit the community and those involved that need no defending
Dan

Dan.
I like this piece by you. I do as I've said before understand your view. You however do not understand mine. (I believe)

Education is indeed a wonderful thing.

My videos do their job for me. They keep away those who wan't to learn how to fight. They show my approach is different. They show there might be something else to Aikido as well. Many people I meet personally have viewed them and and communicate to me. You know what? They are under no illusion as to if that's what they are looking for or not. Job done.

They ALL in my experience recognise it's some kind of spiritual aspect and more importantly that it's my way of Aikido rather than what they have seen before.

The only point of contention seems to be the use of the word martial and effectiveness. When I explain how it is also these things it's not really as a defence it's to show their is something which is martial and effective yet very hard to understand as such.

As many stories you or any one has about meeting people using Ki and finding they couldn't do anything effective on you so I have an equal amount the other way around. However I don't see it as some kind of competition or reason to attack other ways.

Believe it or not I have met numerous Ki people who also couldn't do a thing for real.

A bit like you say in your way of doing things, those that get it benefit. A policeman friend of mine who 'got it' benefitted and it saved his life as well as disarmed a gunman. Now from a martial perspective I call that a success.

Regards.G.

graham christian
06-03-2011, 10:48 AM
Unfortunately they have no clue about boxing. Their boxing skills are very very poor.

Get a real boxer and cross train. Learn how they think. Train with a Jujitsu, Judo, MMA or a Karate guy etc. You have to know how they move and why they move the way they do.

Granted Tim.
But I look at it this way, start from where you are at and build. Also as I said you would have to be sincere in your study of the principles involved. Bit by bit. Why does everyone want to start at the top?

Regards.G.

Alberto_Italiano
06-03-2011, 10:55 AM
Hum...What does that mean?

That I am a kind person and a gentleman? :D

Alberto_Italiano
06-03-2011, 11:00 AM
Hi Alberto:
First off : The videos are Graham's.

Next issue:

Grasshopper, your cup is full.

Complaining about something over and over is like crying. You sound like a victim.

If you don't like your dojo start a new one or train in Ju Jitstu dojo or something.
Mary

Who's complaining?
We're just talking.

However, if for you this means complaining, nothing to object. You are entitled to your personal perception.

Besides you're not supposed to empty cups that you judge full - I mean use the ignore function, in the worst case :)

I am at odds at times because guys here keep addressing me - at times it may seem rude, I guess, ignoring them when they start a post with the line : "Alberto" - see how many.
And I didn't even start this thread.

What about replying stating one's views on the topic rather than addressing me as if persuading me would be of any value? I'm flattered you seem to believe so, but I myself I am not inclined in the least to overestimate myself that much: the fact I disagree with an outlook, doesn't mean my outlook is necessarily better.

However, i am entitled to my opinion, and to my thoughts. And I find this thread valuable.

now, if only guys would stop starting their contributions here with the line "Alberto"... :) It's not me vs you, it's just about intellectual debate.

graham christian
06-03-2011, 11:15 AM
Who's complaining?
We're just talking.

However, if for you this means complaining, nothing to object. You are entitled to your personal perception.

Besides you're not supposed to empty cups that you judge full - I mean use the ignore function, in the worst case :)

I am at odds at times because guys here keep addressing me - at times it may seem rude, I guess, ignoring them when they start a post with the line : "Alberto" - see how many.
And I didn't even start this thread.

What about replying stating one's views on the topic rather than addressing me as if persuading me would be of any value? I'm flattered you seem to believe so, but I myself I am not inclined in the least to overestimate myself that much: the fact I disagree with an outlook, doesn't mean my outlook is necessarily better.

However, i am entitled to my opinion, and to my thoughts. And I find this thread valuable.

now, if only guys would stop starting their contributions here with the line "Alberto"... :) It's not me vs you, it's just about intellectual debate.

Ha ha. Guilty as charged. Good point.

Regards.G.

Anthony Loeppert
06-03-2011, 11:42 AM
My videos do their job for me. They keep away those who wan't to learn how to fight. They show my approach is different.



Based on this new information I must now change my evaluation of these videos to "devastatingly effective". Well done sir, you are a skilled debater.

sorokod
06-03-2011, 11:56 AM
A person who you find experienced and sensible when he talks about aikido trains his students in a way that you hold up as unworthwhile training.

Hum...What does that mean?

It means that he can talk the talk but not walk the walk. A very common problem actually.

Alberto_Italiano
06-03-2011, 12:13 PM
It means that he can talk the talk but not walk the walk. A very common problem actually.

More than common: in aikido, endemic.
It seems at times a type of walk, that one wonders whether it's worth walking at all in the first place, if the way it's so frequently walked is the way that either you accept to walk, or it means you can't walk.

I am all with Dan.

Alberto_Italiano
06-03-2011, 12:29 PM
"Aiki requires an enormous amount of solo training."

Very interesting.
Could you be so kind to elaborate more, when you have a chance?

Also, how does that apply as far as resistance is involved? Apparently, solo training poses a permanent danger, namely that of training in a self delusional manner that you may believe effective and yet it is not (this happens regularly when we practice iriminages on dojos with ukes, and then we move those iriminages on to more "realistic" avenues - go figure what may happen in solo training).

With the limted scope of my understanding, I know katas are a founding factor of all martial arts - in fact, I have always been puzzled in seeing how katas seem so scantly developed in Aikido apparently, at least if comparatively evaluated against, say, karate.

However that statement in your signature is so interesting, and I loved so much your posts here and elsewhere in these days, that whatever thoughs you may have on that topic, would be gold to me.
Of course if you feel like, otherwise no prob.

Thank you.

DH
06-03-2011, 01:45 PM
Solo training is a type of conditioning, a softening and toughening of the body that connects it in ways designed for martial arts.

Kata and drills is patterning of movement to burn in responses.

Free style is the use of both in a pressured environment.

Fighting is fighting, if you have not or or not do it, its best not pretend you know what you're talking about.

That was not a personal you...just a general comment.
Few people really understand what solo training for internal power is for and how it relates to aiki. Most martial artists Really do not belong in an informed discussion of : internal power, aiki, or fighting. On the other hand good or bad techinque is an open ended discussion that is all but meaningless by definition.
Dan

Dave de Vos
06-17-2011, 02:53 AM
He is charging, I try to escape, pam - I see the mat. I am getting up, pam! I see the mat again - I try to roll away and get up as I am almost standing - pam! i see the mat again. I am confused, I understand nothing. How can I manage in this thunderstorm? I am supposed to do a nikkyo but I have no idea - how can I do a nikkyo in this situation?
I try - i get a smack on my face, a finger into my eye and pam - i see the mat again.
I make desperate attempts, at first using blunt force, other times grappling into the void - pam - i see the mat again.
I grab his wrist he pulls it back i lose my grip, pam, i get two smacks on my face, pam i see the mat again.
I grab again a wrist, i know i must be fast, but i have placed my hands in the wrong way - oh no darling, what do you want me to do rub your tummy? You did it wrong, so - PAM - you see the mat!
I try again this time a hand is placed corrctly but this wrist doesn't turn, why i cannot understand maybe because - pam i see the mat again!

then you go home. You rethink over and over the whole thing. It's engraved deeply into your flesh and mind now.
You realize your possibile errors. Tomorrow is another day, you will see the mat again, but this time you will try a new trick. Pam and you see the mat again!

Repeat algorithm. Over and over again.

One day you place a wonderful nikkyo - because you have realized that the way to a good nikkyo is paved of burning obstacles, and that if you don't manage thos efirst, you will NEVER place a nikkyo on a REAL attacker.

Pam - he sees the mat.

Aikido learned with the contribution of a boxing legacy.
You don't learn as you succeed during the day in the dojo. You learn by failing utterly and ingominously against the complete holistic challenge, when at night you think it over. You learn while the owls croak, as you lay in your bed.

Perhaps I should leave this thread in its dormant state, but I found this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gDbn7mEqxY&feature=relmfu) and it made me think of this thread again.

Perhaps this training has a somewhat higher degree of realism from a boxing point of view?

Chris Evans
09-11-2012, 11:51 AM
Practise hard very often, every session, while you are young, intensity is important to understand where your mistakes, problems are....
I instruct my uke's to always resist me when teaching waza, to attack hard and hit or grab me with all their strength, if they do not, it always ends up in press ups till they are sick of them!! That makes them hit me or grab me hard, which refines my waza and also theirs. Lackadaisical training is for those who want to cop out of the training they do not desire.....;)

thank you