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DavidM
06-15-2002, 02:28 PM
I heard that O Sensei once said, "Aikido is 99% Atemi" is that true?

erikmenzel
06-15-2002, 04:32 PM
I have heard a lot of people saying O'Sensei said "something".

Only recently Henry Kono Sensei was quite able to put my feeling about this to words. His words were ( at least as remembered by me and past on in my own way, probably distorting it already) :" A lot of teachers say O'Sensei said this and O'Sensei said that. How do they know what O'Sensei said? They were not there! "

Michael Mules
06-15-2002, 05:46 PM
The only source I have to hand is Gozo Shioda (founder of Yoshinkan Aikido) in his book Total Aikido (p.24):

'Ueshiba Sensei, said, "In a real battle, atemi is seventy percent, technique is thirty percent."'

Hope that helps.

cheers,

George S. Ledyard
06-15-2002, 08:23 PM
Originally posted by erikknoops
I have heard a lot of people saying O'Sensei said "something".

Only recently Henry Kono Sensei was quite able to put my feeling about this to words. His words were ( at least as remembered by me and past on in my own way, probably distorting it already) :" A lot of teachers say O'Sensei said this and O'Sensei said that. How do they know what O'Sensei said? They were not there! "

Saotome Sensei quoted the figure at 90% but ascribed it to O-sensei as well. He WAS there and I got it from him directly.

SeiserL
06-15-2002, 10:51 PM
I have heard that reference too. From watching some of the old tapes, its apperas to me that O'Sensei got off line and aimed his atemi towards the centerline in such a way that the atemi itself unbalanced the person. Most remarkable.

Until again,

Lynn

JJF
06-17-2002, 04:04 AM
I'm hardly an authority on this subject, but what I am trying to learn is this: Everything we do in our technique should be powered and guide from the atemi. This is not ment in such a manner that we should hit or kick uke all the time, but we should at all times during the execution of the technique be in a position where it is clear to both uke and nage that a strike could be launched. Thereby discouraging uke from carrying his attack all the way to the end, and giving nage the best possible balance, center and power.

The way I see it atemi is the art of NOT hitting the opponent while at all times being able to. Once you have connected to the ground and your body is ready to deliever the force neede for cutting or knocking down uke then relase this energy into the technique.

The hard part is to not give the impression of a being dangerous, which will easy occur if you are overdoing it.

I like to think of it as the 'Martial' part of Aikido being a 'Martial art'.

Just my point of view at my current point of development. Hope it helps.

tedehara
06-17-2002, 04:41 AM
Originally posted by George S. Ledyard


Saotome Sensei quoted the figure at 90% but ascribed it to O-sensei as well. He WAS there and I got it from him directly.

So what was the other 10%? Inquiring minds want to know. :D

George S. Ledyard
06-17-2002, 06:31 AM
Originally posted by tedehara


So what was the other 10%? Inquiring minds want to know. :D

Rather than go into length here i would refer you to an article I wrote a while back. I have posted this link before but as the topic gets repeated frequently with new participants it may be helpful.

Atemi in Aikido (http://www.aikieast.com/atemi.htm)

tedehara
06-17-2002, 08:53 AM
Originally posted by George S. Ledyard

Rather than go into length here i would refer you to an article I wrote a while back. I have posted this link before but as the topic gets repeated frequently with new participants it may be helpful.

Atemi in Aikido (http://www.aikieast.com/atemi.htm)
Come on George...I was just fooling around :freaky:

But thanks for that interesting article on atemi.

Many people quote O Sensei to show the importance of atemi. Of course atemi is important, but so is the rest of Aikido.

chadsieger
06-17-2002, 10:37 AM
Mr. Ledyard,

It seems to me that your article was designed to make Aikidoka aware of the atemi, as a physical strike, as it applies to budo. Should Aikido incorporate strikes when surrounded in an alley? Most assuredly.

However, where we train, we concentrate on capturing an opponents center and then everything else (atemi, trow, hold), is just gravy.
By striking somone in the dojo to free yourself enough to apply a technique, you have skipped the really difficult part. Stay relaxed, use your hips, capture their center and worry about the strike later.

It's just that when I hear people rally behind atemi, I simply wonder why? People say, "In Aikido you must atemi!" Well, we practice Aikido, and you will rarely find an obvious atemi. All Aikido techniques can be done safely without atemi. I'm only saying that if it can be doen the hard way (tai sabaki, blending, softness, hips ect.), strikes will present themselves to you, for when you are truly in danger.
I'm "anti-atemi" or "pro-atemi" depending on the circumstances, and training is the time to make it "worse case sensario," so have uke attack as hard as possible, and try to succeed without atemi.

Thanks.

Paul Clark
06-17-2002, 12:48 PM
Hi Chad,

Should Aikido incorporate strikes when surrounded in an alley? Most assuredly.
However, where we train, we concentrate on capturing an opponents center and then everything else (atemi, trow, hold), is just gravy.

I don't train in aikido because I ever hope or expect to use it in a fight. However, if I ever do find myself in a fight, I hope that somehow aikido will be useful to me.

That said, in the world of my other budo, that of the fighter pilot, we have an axiom that goes like this:

"you fight like you train."

In other words, when the time comes to fight, you will probably not think, but will do what you've trained to do. If you haven't trained to anticipate, look for, and exploit opportunities for atemi, I don't think you will do it in a fight. Too much thinking.

I only have 18 months practicing aikido, many years at that other "budo". I'm inclined to believe that what works on that battlefield is applicable to this one.

Besides, if O'Sensei said 90%, or 70%, who are we to argue?

thoughts?

Paul

aikidoc
06-17-2002, 01:04 PM
I am currently researching a book on atemi in aikido. I originally started it as an article but found so much stuff that I feel it is worthy of more in depth treatment. A few comments:
1. Historical roots trace atemi in the locking and pinning arts back to India
2. O'Sensei's training roots appear to provide a solid foundation for the use of atemi.
3. O'Sensei can be seen in most pictures delivering an atemi while delivering technique.
4. Technique can be smoothly applied without stopping to strike-in other words the strike can occur in the process of the flow of the technique without disruption.
5. Atemi waza is generally best accomplished by striking pressure points to cause pain compliance for setting up a techniuqe, or shutting down the muscle function to a limb.
6. Atemi or pressure point manipulation (kyusho jitsu) makes it easier to apply a technique.

I believe a strong case can be made for the application of atemi to aikido. A survey I performed indicates a lot of interest in the topic.

Dr. John Riggs
Midland, TX

chadsieger
06-17-2002, 01:28 PM
Mr. Clark,

Yes it is true that "no-mind" is the ultimate form of budo and that it is through your training that budo is developed and ultimatly released without "cognitive" thought. This is precisely why one must train for all situations, attaining the "feel" of budo is paramount to particular techniques or strikes.

Although I have heard the quote attributed to Ueshiba, I find it ambiguous. Anytime an opponent comes in contact with me, immediatly after absorbing their energy, I give them a powerful ki atemi. What I am trying to say is that there are many different types of atemi. Ueshiba may have meant this.

A physical atemi on every technique is far from necessary, I know this, so I can't believe that O'Sensei would mean this. I also know that he was fully aware of the "feel" of budo and I am sure that he wanted his students to develop this feeling. That's why I think he invented Aikido.


:confused: Of all the wonderful aspects of Aikido (blending, redirecting, softness, circles, extension, rootedness, creative aspects, ect.) could someone please tell me why of all things, Atemi recieves so much attention from the net community?:confused:

Thanks.

Paul Clark
06-17-2002, 01:40 PM
Chad,

Of all the wonderful aspects of Aikido (blending, redirecting, softness, circles, extension, rootedness, creative aspects, ect.) could someone please tell me why of all things, Atemi recieves so much attention from the net community

I have no idea, other than that

1) as above, O'Sensei focused on it quite clearly and can, according to many, be seen in an awful lot of his photos delivering a "physical" atemi;

and

2)that aikido is budo, as O'Sensei seems to have believed, at least if he chose the title for his own book;

and

2)there seems to be a significant number of practioners who choose to believe that what O'Sensei said and did relative to atemi is not what he actually meant?

Like you, I don't understand why it needs so much discussion, but we come to that incredulity from different directions.

best
Paul

Jorx
06-17-2002, 02:55 PM
I think there is a simple answer for that question - there are many people who at least start Aikido for self-defence reasons as well. And those people see atemi as a thing which can make their techniques work on an average attacker so much faster. I think as well that it's quite hard to kick someones butt with 'creative aspects' when you have learned only couple of years.

Of course I know that Aikido's objective is not to 'kick butt' but hey, we have to survive on those post-soviet streets (it's a whole lot safer than NY I guess but still...:) )

Jorgen
Estonian Aikikai
Riveta Sportsclub

tedehara
06-17-2002, 03:19 PM
Originally posted by John Riggs
...3. O'Sensei can be seen in most pictures delivering an atemi while delivering technique.
4. Technique can be smoothly applied without stopping to strike-in other words the strike can occur in the process of the flow of the technique without disruption.
5. Atemi waza is generally best accomplished by striking pressure points to cause pain compliance for setting up a techniuqe, or shutting down the muscle function to a limb.
6. Atemi or pressure point manipulation (kyusho jitsu) makes it easier to apply a technique.

I believe a strong case can be made for the application of atemi to aikido. A survey I performed indicates a lot of interest in the topic.

Dr. John Riggs
Midland, TX
3. Perhaps the most dramatic moment during a technique is when atemi is done. This is the photographer's art, not the art of Aikido. Perhaps there are more pictures of Ueshiba doing atemi because the photographer thought it made for an interesting picture, not because O Sensei's Aikido was 90% atemi.
4. Actually this was the reason, I've been told, why my style no longer does atemi. It was felt that most people spent time trying to strike rather than learn the technique. It was also seen as disrupting the flow of techniques.
5. I'm sure pressure point striking would greatly increase the chances of stopping an attacker. However, in a real fight, you may not have the luxury of finding then hitting a pressure point. You just need to strike then do the technique.
6. This brings me to a quandry I've always had with atemi. How do you know if the person complies with the technique because you've knocked them silly? How do I know I can even do a technique correctly unless I practice without doing atemi?

While many people pride themselves in practicing the Art of Aikido, atemi definitely sits on the Martial side of the Martial Art. Perhaps this is the reason it stirs up so much controversy. It reflects our own conflicts of what Aikido really is.

Good luck with your book. As you noted, there is plenty of interest in the topic.

guest1234
06-17-2002, 06:33 PM
Ah atemi...the only thing that gives me more fits than irmi nage (followed closely by ikkyo:confused: )...

My first dojo had pretty much taken it out of the curriculum; my next, it depended on the instructor. Where I'm at now, well more than one intrcutor has cheerfully admonished me to 'just hit them (uke)' when uke does something not too bright. Very reluctant at first, I am growing fond of it. Yes, it can stop uke's movement, so I'm not a big fan for many of the places it can get tossed into a shown technique, and find myself thinking 'easy for you (you big teacher) to get uke going again...us little nages need all the momentum we can get...' And yet, there are places, and the one teacher I've pretty much settled into following here clearly illustrates those places it's nice to have: I was always a fan of using it when I had to pass close to uke moving under his arm, but now actually have gotten away from that. Where I appreciate it more is when a big lumbering uke throws his or her massive weight full force straight in at me (us shorter folk try for a correct angle of attack)--- I find a hand in the face tends to remind uke that charging me might just be as unpleasant for him/her as for me, and slows them down enough or moves them off center enough for me to use their motion rather than be bowled over by it. Yes, I could move and do tenkan instead, but if it was omote that was shown, sometimes you just have to remind uke where your boundries are, and to respect them.

SeiserL
06-17-2002, 07:57 PM
To atemi or not to atemi, that is the question? Or is it simply a choice. Perhaps if we train with atemi and know we can strike and choose not to, then we are expressing compassion and mercy. I, for one, like to train how I intend to fight. Therefore the situation will dictate the choice I'll make.

Until again,

Lynn

JJF
06-18-2002, 02:27 AM
Originally posted by SeiserL
... Perhaps if we train with atemi and know we can strike and choose not to, then we are expressing compassion and mercy. I, for one, like to train how I intend to fight. Therefore the situation will dictate the choice I'll make.


You said it Lynn!

What I previously tried to express was very close to this (but not as eloquent I'm afraid). I'm actually a bit puzzled, since to me it seems that there is a great deal of disagreement about what atemi really is. A lot of the posts discuss atemi as if it was the strike itself - I've been of the opinion that atemi was the awareness of the possibility of a strike or a cut, the positioning of one self in a position where the strike or cut is possible and the controlled release of the power that could have been released through a strike or a cut.

Can anyone give a precise definition of the concept of atemi ? or is it just one more of those 'loosely defined' concepts that seems to start most of the threads on this board :)

(throwing gas of the fire while quickly stepping back.... :D)

PeterR
06-18-2002, 03:10 AM
Originally posted by Jørgen
I'm actually a bit puzzled, since to me it seems that there is a great deal of disagreement about what atemi really is.
Hi Jørgen;

You and me both. One of the points made in the Shishida/Nariyama book that just came out (yes this is a plug) is that traditionally Atemi in the Japanese martial arts primarily used the soft parts of the body. For example shote (base of the palm) versus a bunched fist. One is also not limited to the hands and feet. Both points are illustrated through five examples of atemi waza shown here

http://homepage2.nifty.com/shodokan/history/kyogi/kihon/atemi_e.html

My feeling is that when Ueshiba M. talks about Aikido being [insert your favourite percentage here] atemi he is not limiting it to the very narrow sense of punch in the nose. I am also sure that he varied the number he gave at different times and not for any profound reason. The exact number is not so important.

Secondly atemi definately implies contact. Atemi as feint sure but just shifting your body position requires your opponent to do no more than the same. Again we are talking in the broader sense, not just waving your hand in front of his nose.

Hope this helps.

Ecosamurai
06-18-2002, 04:16 AM
Originally posted by tedehara

6. This brings me to a quandry I've always had with atemi. How do you know if the person complies with the technique because you've knocked them silly? How do I know I can even do a technique correctly unless I practice without doing atemi?


Personally I'd go with the idea that if you're doing atemi right, with the right presence and centredness, then you don't need to smash peoples heads in with them. You can injure people, but if you're doing it right that doesn't happen.
I've had a number of occasions in practising where if I wanted to I could've hit someone hard in the face, but instead all I needed to do was time the movement right in order for them to slow down, give up some of their balance and enable the rest of the technique to happen.
If I'm performing a technique that has an atmei, if I move too quickly my partner gets injured, if I move too slowly, the technique doesn't work and I leave myself with openings. It has to be timed just right, I have to harmonise with ukes timing.
If you ask me that sounds like its in the best traditions of Aiki, and there is nothing confusing about it.

Mike Haft

adrian
06-18-2002, 04:28 AM
Originally posted by chadsieger
Mr. Ledyard,

It seems to me that your article was designed to make Aikidoka aware of the atemi, as a physical strike, as it applies to budo. Should Aikido incorporate strikes when surrounded in an alley? Most assuredly.

However, where we train, we concentrate on capturing an opponents center and then everything else (atemi, trow, hold), is just gravy.
By striking somone in the dojo to free yourself enough to apply a technique, you have skipped the really difficult part. Stay relaxed, use your hips, capture their center and worry about the strike later.

It's just that when I hear people rally behind atemi, I simply wonder why? People say, "In Aikido you must atemi!" Well, we practice Aikido, and you will rarely find an obvious atemi. All Aikido techniques can be done safely without atemi. I'm only saying that if it can be doen the hard way (tai sabaki, blending, softness, hips ect.), strikes will present themselves to you, for when you are truly in danger.
I'm "anti-atemi" or "pro-atemi" depending on the circumstances, and training is the time to make it "worse case sensario," so have uke attack as hard as possible, and try to succeed without atemi.

Thanks.

You must be dreaming man !, get into a real fight !, if you think you can apply what you've learnt in the dojo in a real fight without string atemi you must be dreaming !

Tim Griffiths
06-18-2002, 07:56 AM
Originally posted by adrian

...if you think you can apply what you've learnt in the dojo in a real fight without string atemi you must be dreaming !

Ah yes... I always carry a ball of string around with me for exactly this purpose.

Slightly more seriously, in my post-high school and post-starting aikido fights (about 6 or 7), I haven't used an 'obvious' atemi at all. You don't have to use it, and more importantly, you don't want to use it.

We do proper atemi in aikido. Full on, that's a palm or fist to the jaw or nose, which is going to cause some serious damage, that you're going to have to justify afterwards both to yourself and the police. This is real life, not life-and-death fantasy. Most fights are just some drunk guy in a bar, or a couple of guys out for kicks, etc. Do you really want to leave them with broken jaw, limbs and nose? If so, why?

Most aikido techniques begin with atemi (and end there if it connects). This is then tempered down to meet a particular situation. Take katadori ikkyo as an obvious example - the first movement is a shift offline and an atemi, which ends it there and then if it connects well. If uke parries it, the hand is pushed naturally towards the holding hand, and the technique continues.

Tim

Kat.C
06-18-2002, 09:42 AM
Originally posted by chadsieger




However, where we train, we concentrate on capturing an opponents center and then everything else (atemi, trow, hold), is just gravy.
By striking somone in the dojo to free yourself enough to apply a technique, you have skipped the really difficult part. Stay relaxed, use your hips, capture their center and worry about the strike later.


:confused: I'm a little confused, I thought atemi was a part of the process of capturing your opponents centre. And how is a technique complete if you just gain control of your opponenets center but do not do a throw or a hold? You cannot keep someone off balance forever.

mike lee
06-18-2002, 10:30 AM
It seems to me that O'Sensei emphasized atemi for training purposes. The purpose of atemi is to make sure that your postion is correct and that the opponent is unable to counterstrike. In such a case, you are now free and clear to complete the technique. If you are unaware of how and where to use atemi, it probably means that there are many weaknesses in your technique, and in a real-life situation your aikido would probably not work.

Much confusion arises because Koichi Tohei de-emphasized atemi because he felt that it interrupted the flow of the technique. In a way, he was right, especially for someone at his skill level. That's because his position was always correct and he was never in any danger. But, I suspect if he suddenly found himself unexpectedly open to attack, he would not hesitate to use atemi.

Atemi is an extremely important training tool, and everyone should know how to use it as such. In fact, some basic techniques cannot be done correctly without it.

Bruce Baker
06-18-2002, 11:16 AM
If you have had training in a striking art that emphisizes striking, you will eventually cause or see openings that are screaming to be hit. Either because they are deceptions, or your ability to recognize opportunity verses ability of your attacker/opponent to cover these areas, then you will have to deal with displacement of their balance by using striking/Atemi.

The game of striking is sometimes more difficult because of years of sparring practice, but as Aikido proves, it is not always the safest method of defense/offense for martial arts.

If you observe the many ways that we maneover an opponent, through locks / grabs / taking away balance / or atemi, you begin to see that we are either creating or working with openings that appear as the balance is taken and we pursue neutalizing the opponent.

Key to keeping within the tenents of Aikido is the neutralizing the opponent with the least amount of force required, a lesson learned with practice, experience, and training.

So, the arguement of what you think the ideal amount of impact Atemi has upon the importance of creating an opening, or giving you the opportunity to use other means to immobilize, it is your own experience that will determine how much YOU need to find a balance that you can live with as you train.

I think is is great that we can quote teachers, or figures who have had great impact or influence upon Aikido and the direction in which our training has advanced, but don't make their ideals the absolute goal of YOUR training.

Enjoy your practice, your training for what it is.

Observe the world for what it is, or what it was, but don't let that be your yardstick to what you must be ... that will come after you are long dead and gone by others.

Of course, learning how to strike, where to strike, and how to use the least amount of force would be equal to learning how to break walnuts with your fingers, rather then using a sledge hammer ... which I think is within the tenents of Aikido is you have the right attutude?

Atemi ... another handy tool that you must search outside of your normal Aikido practice for, but very nicely compliments your Aikido.

davoravo
06-18-2002, 05:54 PM
Dear PeterR
Thanx for the great video link. I have often practised similar techniques but always as Kokyu-nage, not atemi. Is this where are missing percentages have gone?

Also some martial artists would define nikkyo, sankyo etc as atemi.

My favourite use of atemi is as a cover. eg yokomen uchi shiho nage using the atemi to block an imaginary 2nd strike by uke. This reminds me that attacks never travel alone.

PS In the link shomen ate is being delivered to the chest, is it normally a strike to the face?

"One of my dear Aikido friends was fond of planting a big kiss on your cheek just before hurling you with her iriminage"

my kind of dojo!

davoravo
06-18-2002, 06:50 PM
The important thing about atemi is that it should not replace blending - uke should be off balance from the point that the attack is intercepted. Atemi can be used to keep things that way.

It is essential an aikido practicioner not get trapped into an exchange of blows because he will lose - never let uke drag you into their style of fight, always fight on your terms (ie not at all :D )

PeterR
06-18-2002, 07:07 PM
Originally posted by davoravo
In the link shomen ate is being delivered to the chest, is it normally a strike to the face?

Shomen-ate means front strike - I remember being up to the wee hours with a slightly psychotic ex-US marine looking at assorted variations, some quite nasty, of shomen-ate. His favourite was a close quarters palm heel strike under the jaw. One of my favourites, also close quarters, is putting one hand on the small of the back while pushing up and over with the other.

However, to specifically answer your question, you will notice that initially the hand does make contact to the face and it is not so much a strike as a whole body shove. The power comes from the hips not the arm. A real beginner keeps his arm straight but this has major problems in that it is easily countered - wakagatamae (one of the 17 animated gifs on that site) comes to mind. The idea is that as you move forward your hips drop and you apply a downward pressure to the chest. A double whammy so to speak. A similar situation occurs with the ushiro-ate (same page). It is not just a pull backwards but a push down.

Hope this helps.

George S. Ledyard
06-19-2002, 06:04 AM
Originally posted by chadsieger
Mr. Ledyard,

It seems to me that your article was designed to make Aikidoka aware of the atemi, as a physical strike, as it applies to budo.

No, in fact there was discussion of atemi as not physical. Most of the use of atemi in Aikido is not physical in the sense that there is not necessarily any impact (although the partner doesn't know this).

Atemi is primarily designed to capture the opponent's (partner's) Mind in the instant of the attack which then allows you to capture their center.

Saotome Sensei has said that if you know that your partner will not strike you, all techniques are stop-able. The only reason that you can do soft technique at all is the atemi that is hidden inside of it. If I know you won't or can't strike me, I can direct my energy to counter any technique you choose. I can place my body in positions that would normally get me struck, thereby nuetralizing your technique and giving me an angle that allows me to strike you. I can pull back my energy every time you attempt to lead it out as required by most technique. I can cut my energy off every time you attempt to throw, giving you nothing to work with.

If you have been having success working with no atemi you have been working with a compliant partner or an opponent who is incompetent. A partner who is familiar with technique, knows the kaeshiwaza, has good striking skills will not be locked or thrown without the need to keep his attention and thereby his energy evenly disbursed in order to cover his openings against potential (notice I said POTENTIAL) atemi.

We hosted Clint George Sensei this past weekend. He trained under Hikitsuchi Sensei in Japan for fifteen years and now teaches in Helena, Montana. We discussed at length the fact that so mnay Aikido people do not understand the role of atemi in their technique. His training was virtually the same as mine in that atemi or the possibility of atemi was the way in which the Mind was directed before the phsyical technique happened. Additionally, he made it clear that every technique in Aikido has a manifestation as atemi, which you are normally choosing not to do but would represent the more combative application of the technique itself.

Finally I will add that I have occasion to do technique on non-Aikido folks all the time. Since I am a police defensive tactics instructor I work with students who have NO ukemi skills. They do not know how to fall, they do not flow with you, if they don't like what is happening they will break the connection between you. Many of these fellows are extremely strong. I have two students who bench press in the four hundred pound range. There are simply no techniques that will work on these guys when they are resistant without the ability to redirect their attention with atemi. You can't even snag a limb to attempt a technique without atemi.

In my training I ask my partners to react in a sensible and knowledgeble manner. If they can stop me they should do so. If they can hit me they should do so. If my partner has a high level of skill it is impossible to do techique without atemi. That doesn't mean that you necessarily see a strike every time I throw but it is there just the same.

davoravo
06-19-2002, 06:59 AM
Does anyone teach/learn "self-defense" techniques. I practice knee and elbow strikes on a heavy bag and eye gouges and thumb strikes to the carotid but I keep these separate from my usual aikido. They are my desperate-measures tool box.

I deliberately keep them reserved for close range grappling as I think they would ruin my flow and timing if I tried to incorporate them into my aikido.

Does anyone else have a similar practice or do you believe "everything is aikido"?

chadsieger
06-19-2002, 09:59 AM
Mr. McNamara,
I understand what you are saying. It is always important to have tricks up your sleeve. If you are worried about self-defence however, I would recommend simply developing your ki. For those who don't belive in ki, just learn whatever the tai chi students practice. That ki element is supposed to be in Aikido as well(for a variety of reasons), so I dont think Ueshiba would mind if you crossed disiplines. Once you begin developing your ki, opponents will find it much more difficult to "get close," and much less hurt you.

Mr. Ledyard,

I am happy to report that there is in fact nothing wrong with our uke's. We have a saying at our dojo. "No attack, no defense." It is near impossible to force Aikido techniques on those simply relaxing, much less to "snag a limb."
Now, if they are attacking (even a simple grab), they have given my something to work with. Aikido is defensive, because that is where we are stonger. Take their energy, and save the Atemi for when you are in danger.

Thanks.

chadsieger
06-19-2002, 10:05 AM
I meant atemis of the physical variety. Yes, all moves in a way require their own atemi. However, I believe this thread was started on physical atemis.

Thanks.

Paul Clark
06-19-2002, 10:22 AM
Without resorting to a wholesale quote:

Well said Ledyard Sensei!

best
Paul

akiy
06-19-2002, 10:46 AM
Originally posted by chadsieger
I am happy to report that there is in fact nothing wrong with our uke's. We have a saying at our dojo. "No attack, no defense." It is near impossible to force Aikido techniques on those simply relaxing, much less to "snag a limb."
Now, if they are attacking (even a simple grab), they have given my something to work with. Aikido is defensive, because that is where we are stonger. Take their energy, and save the Atemi for when you are in danger.
The hypothetical questions I always bring up when people say something along the lines of "aikido is purely defensive" include:

What do you do when someone is attacking your child (and not you)?

What do you do if one person is abducting your child and another is deliberately blocking your way to reach him/her?

What happens is a person is deliberately blocking your way out of, say, a burning building?

Would you say that you wouldn't be able to apply aikido in these cases?

As an aside, some approaches to aikido include nage/shite/tori starting out with a strong atemi to uke's face and such. Many other shihan subscribe to the principle of "kobo ichi" or "offense and defense are one." I, personally, don't think there's really any difference between uke and nage outside of who has the initiative...

-- Jun

chadsieger
06-19-2002, 11:06 AM
Jun,

No, I wound not say that you could use "pure Aikido." However, if you train correctly (ie. for the "feel" of budo) that only comes from applying the mind/body to training, the person blocking the doorway or harming your child will have worse things to worry about than self-defence, like staying in one piece!

That is precisely why when training not to rush through moves, muscle through moves, or "strike" through moves. The techniques are designed to teach you the subtle feelings that when added together, form a powerful budo. Don't cheat yourself.

Mr. Leynard,
I forgot to ask you, if you know the attacker won't strike you, why is their cause to do anything?

Thanks.

akiy
06-19-2002, 11:25 AM
Originally posted by chadsieger
No, I wound not say that you could use "pure Aikido." However, if you train correctly (ie. for the "feel" of budo) that only comes from applying the mind/body to training, the person blocking the doorway or harming your child will have worse things to worry about than self-defence, like staying in one piece!
I'm not too sure if I understand what you're saying here. Can you explain further?
That is precisely why when training not to rush through moves, muscle through moves, or "strike" through moves. The techniques are designed to teach you the subtle feelings that when added together, form a powerful budo. Don't cheat yourself.
I'm not disagreeing with what you write here, but can you explain what this has to do with what I wrote?

Thanks,

-- Jun

George S. Ledyard
06-19-2002, 12:41 PM
Originally posted by chadsieger
Jun,

No, I wound not say that you could use "pure Aikido." However, if you train correctly (ie. for the "feel" of budo) that only comes from applying the mind/body to training, the person blocking the doorway or harming your child will have worse things to worry about than self-defence, like staying in one piece!

That is precisely why when training not to rush through moves, muscle through moves, or "strike" through moves. The techniques are designed to teach you the subtle feelings that when added together, form a powerful budo. Don't cheat yourself.

Mr. Leynard,
I forgot to ask you, if you know the attacker won't strike you, why is their cause to do anything?

Thanks.
It is clear that we are not of a mind and will not be. Unless you put yourself in a position in which your training demonstrates what I am talking about you will be able to sustain these ideas. That is absolutely your right. This is one of the areas in which the lack of matches in Aikido does make for some wide variety in opinion which would probably have been resolved in the old days. I believe that I could come to your dojo and definitely proove what I am talking about. I also believe that you could not do so at mine.

But the doing of such things leads to a kind of victory / defeat dichotomy which isn't really positive for either party. So unless you go out of your way to find a training situation in which you get exposed to what I am talking about you will have no incentive to change your thinking or your technique. Since I can see that your are happy with what you do and love your practice passionately that will not likely happen.

As for your last question, it showed that you had not understood what I was talking about. If the ATTACKER knows that you, the DEFENDER, will not strike him, then none of your so-called defensive techniques will work; not if he has any skill. The idea that Aikido is passive and that you wait for an attack is incorrect. If you wait for an attack you cede all control over the circumstance to the attacker. Once again I refer to Hikitsuchi Sensei when I say that nage initiates and does not passively recieve.

chadsieger
06-19-2002, 02:31 PM
Jun,

I can answer both of your questions at the same time. You were esentially wondering how through Aikido training you would be able to stop someone hurting somone else, blocking you, ect..

Remember that martial arts (budo) is really only one mountain, is just that Ueshiba calls Aikido the fastest way up. Karate/TKD start hard, they end soft. At first they emphasize the external, its only later in training do they begin to look inwards (generally:D ).

Aikido is nice because immediatly it trains all the things that true budo involves (circles, extension, softness, sensitivity, absorbsion, taisabaki, blending, creativity, breath, no-mindedness, irimi), but it also lays them out in some sort of system (techniques, ukemi, streaches, breathing ect.). Amazingly, those simple tai chi routines (when done correctly) will teach you almost all of those qualities as well (maybe not ukemi:D).

However, regardless of the style a proper instructor and plenty of practice is the only way to begin down this road. Eventually combatants will no longer seem as singular oponents, but instead a system of which you are the most integral part and you will dictate the outcome. This is not only for a select few sequestered on a hillside somewhere, this is attainable for anyone.

Mr. Ledyard

With regard to this statement,

Mr. Leyard wrote:
As for your last question, it showed that you had not understood what I was talking about. If the ATTACKER knows that you, the DEFENDER, will not strike him, then none of your so-called defensive techniques will work; not if he has any skill. The idea that Aikido is passive and that you wait for an attack is incorrect. If you wait for an attack you cede all control over the circumstance to the attacker

I did understand what you were saying, however I am sorry but I must still disagree. If the attacker does not attack, will will stalemate. Hopefully giving us time to think, maybe talk, or one of us time to run away. If that prevents a conflict, I think that would qualify as Aikido. Nonaction is an act.

If you are referring to a martial arts fight, I still wouldn't attack. Blend with whatever energy they offer and redirect it. Maybe an irimi is called for? Regardless, the attacker never gets control of circumstances, rather quite the opposite. With multiple attackers or if the necessity ever arises, yes I might strike. Hopefully I would enter no-mind and after all, strike are a part of budo.

Although questionable, I suppose I'll quote Ueshiba,
"When an opponent comes forward, move in and greet him; if he wants to pull back, send him on his way."

Thanks for reading.

akiy
06-19-2002, 02:53 PM
Originally posted by chadsieger
I can answer both of your questions at the same time. You were esentially wondering how through Aikido training you would be able to stop someone hurting somone else, blocking you, ect..
No, actually, I was wondering how you can reconcile your assertion that aikido is a "defensive" art in the face of people who are threatening you or someone else without attacking you.

I also asked what you meant when you wrote "the person blocking the doorway or harming your child will have worse things to worry about than self-defence, like staying in one piece!" as, frankly, my reading of it did not make sense to me.

Also, I was not sure how your statement of "That is precisely why when training not to rush through moves, muscle through moves, or "strike" through moves" explains just how you would deal with such situations as above.

Am I the only one confused here?

In any case, I agree with George here in that aikido is not a passive art but is one in which sen-no-sen and sen-sen-no-sen are utilized. I'll have to also disagree with your assertion that aikido is the "fastest way up" the mountain; it's not the art -- it's the practitioner.

-- Jun

guest1234
06-19-2002, 04:53 PM
Just one comment on 'compliant' ukes: yes, some just go where you want, either out of a sense that thay should, or being muscled there (us little folk). Some of them also go because they recognise that to stand there is to be open to atemi (whether or not this is what you all are meaning by non-physical atemi or not, I have no clue). But some of us, especially sized challenged, know better than to stand where we can get pounded by a much bigger nage, and get our body parts out of the way.

I can certainly say, when attacking Ledyard Sensei (or my current sensei) I am well aware any given limb of theirs holds more muscle mass than my entire body, and I do my best not to put the more delicate parts of that same body in the path of all that muscle mass. So from my point of view, compliant just means 'not too stupid to get out of the way of the fist'...something I've found not always true when I have a big uke (by this I do NOT mean Ledyard Sensei or my current sensei:eek: , both of whom move real quick for big guys :D)

George S. Ledyard
06-19-2002, 05:38 PM
Originally posted by ca
Just one comment on 'compliant' ukes: yes, some just go where you want, either out of a sense that thay should, or being muscled there (us little folk). Some of them also go because they recognise that to stand there is to be open to atemi (whether or not this is what you all are meaning by non-physical atemi or not, I have no clue). But some of us, especially sized challenged, know better than to stand where we can get pounded by a much bigger nage, and get our body parts out of the way.

I can certainly say, when attacking Ledyard Sensei (or my current sensei) I am well aware any given limb of theirs holds more muscle mass than my entire body, and I do my best not to put the more delicate parts of that same body in the path of all that muscle mass. So from my point of view, compliant just means 'not too stupid to get out of the way of the fist'...something I've found not always true when I have a big uke (by this I do NOT mean Ledyard Sensei or my current sensei:eek: , both of whom move real quick for big guys :D)

I am really not talking so much about practice asa true martial encounter. In training we are of course going to comply with any technique which is close to effective. Who wants to be injured?

But in a real encounter we are talking about a life and death encounter. In class we throw someone and we "win" in a fight a successful technique could mean serious injury or death. You simply can't afford to "go along" you do whatever it takes to stop the techniue, reverse it or escape from it. This is one area in which many non-Aikidoka see a disadvantage to our style of compliant training. Unless you put special attention to the issue it is quite possible to develop quite nice technique without the strength of intention required to execute that technique in a real martial encounter. That's why so many judoka are stronger martial artists than their Aikido counter parts. This is not always true, and as a "sport" judo has it's own problems but strong intention on the part of the practitioners isn't one of them.

For someone of your physical characteristics the compliance isn't a matter of giving in, it is a matter of moving to escape a technique, set up a reversal, and / or gain an opening for an atemi. Since this thread has been about atemi it is important to point out that atemi is the great equalizer. A small person who understands atemi can still handle a larger attacker. Take out the atemi and you find out quickly why the sport martial arts like judo have weight classes.

tedehara
06-19-2002, 06:02 PM
Originally posted by Ecosamurai

...If I'm performing a technique that has an atmei, if I move too quickly my partner gets injured, if I move too slowly, the technique doesn't work and I leave myself with openings. It has to be timed just right, I have to harmonise with ukes timing.
If you ask me that sounds like its in the best traditions of Aiki, and there is nothing confusing about it.
Mike Haft
This reminds me of a former dojo mate who practiced a Chinese art. He was happy to train in Aikido because you could really do the techniques. Striking with a poison palm technique, if done properly, would wipe out your training partner. This meant untold problems in recuiting new training partners and keeping a lawyer on retainer to defend you from those annoying manslaughter charges. :D

All joking aside, there are plenty of things atemi can teach you. Chief among them are relaxation and ma-ai.

However, for those of you who talk about the real world, I was told about two experienced martial artists who were arguing and lost their tempers. Instead of using their respective arts, they ended up bashing each other. Another martial arts moment lost forever...:rolleyes:

Paul Clark
06-19-2002, 06:22 PM
Hi Jun,

Am I the only one confused here?

Nope, I'm also not "getting" much of what Chad says.

In any case, I agree with George here in that aikido is not a passive art but is one in which sen-no-sen and sen-sen-no-sen are utilized. I'll have to also disagree with your assertion that aikido is the "fastest way up" the mountain; it's not the art -- it's the practitioner

Amen. Although I'm not certain of the Japanese translation, I "get" this intuitively, including the bit about the practitioner (I think); well said.

cheers
Paul

George S. Ledyard
06-19-2002, 06:49 PM
We can clearly see that there is a wide gap of understanding which I do not see closing as Aikido goes forward in its development.

People do Aikido for a variety of reasons. There are many people who are not in this lifetime going to be martial artists. They are not interested in that side of the art. Rather they are interested in pursuing the movement side, the energy side, the side which serves as a model for conflict resolution. In some cases they simply like to have a community of like minded people with whom they can do an interesting practice.

I have no problem whatever with that. Your practice must be a reflection of who you are and who you'd like to be. When people are straight with themselves and others and state that they simply aren't interested in the martial side of Aikido they are free to proceed without any criticism from me.

But there are people who have spent many years attempting to maintain the side of the art which manifests the principles of Budo. The art as it was presented to me was both a vital spiritual practice and a martial art. It is a matter of importance to me that people not misunderstand the nature of what they are doing.

There are many of us who look at what passes for Aikido as nothing more than an art of "wishful thinking". I have seen people fly into the air when the nage was ten feet away. I have done techniques on an uke that sent them flying across the room with a flick of my wrist fully knowing that that same technique would have had no effect whatever on one of my own students. I regularly get on the mat with people whose strikes are designed to do anything except hit the defender. I watched once as Ikeda Sensei refused to move until the uke really struck him. That uke could not get himself to do the strike. Repeatedly he diverted the strike at the last second.

All of these people had the notion that they were doing a martial art. But what was going on had nothing to do with Budo. The Founders of the modern martial arts wanted to preserve those aspects of the martial arts which they could see developed by deep training in the martial arts. They recognized that the primary purpose of training was not combat any more, modern technology made that irrelevant. Yet they did see that there were lessons which Budo training did provide and they did not wish to see those disappear.

Aikido is precisely one of those arts. The Founder was quite specific about not wanting Aikido to be sportified. The training he gave his students was of the most strenuous kind. He certainly did not view his art as a form of non-martial dance that had no application.

When the art is toned down to the point where there is no longer any reality in the training the lessons of Budo are absent. So when there are discussions in which it is apparent that well intentioned people make statements about Aikido that are quite simply not accurate it does bring out a response.

This is not just a matter of opinion. Spirituality, philosophy, technical variation, are largely matters of personal preference. Martial application is not. You can either do it or you can't. In the old days in Japan, if you set yourself up as a teacher you could expect that someone would show up on your doorstep to see if you could walk your talk. If you couldn't, your students were apt to go down the street.

Those days are gone. So all that is left is the application of common sense, the desire to gain as much knowledge as possible, and a commitment to truth in your own training. You have to ask for the partners who will strike you if they can, the ones who will stop your technique when you make an error, ones who can reverse you when they get the opening.

I have trained with every Aikido teacher I have encountered over the years. There is a huge range of focus and ability amongst these people. Some can do their technique in a martial context and others can not. Some are martially ferocious but not useful as models of the values I am espousing in my life. A small number can do both and those are the teachers with whom I now go out of my way to train. Barring going around the country challenging other martial artists to fights that is the best I can do. When teachers who have more ability and experience than I am likely to ever have tell me something I tend to believe them. When I see people with a fraction of their experience or even a fraction of my own experience ignoring their teachings and maintaining that things are possible which I know not to be, it rather makes me despair of the state of training and what it means for the art in the future.

There are people who are highly skilled at technique and teaching. It is a shame that so many students can not tell the difference between what is real on a fundamental level and what is simply a case of the Emperor's New Clothes. Many of the finest Aikido practitioners I know have a hard time surviving because there simply aren't very many people who seem to have the desire to take their art up to the level it could be. Instead they avoid challenges to their preconceptions, join with people with whom they can be mutually affirming, and make their practice fun. That is precisely the thing to do if you want to remove those elements of personal transformation which exist in the practice of a true Budo.

O-Sensei challenged all of us to see that there was a radical shift in looking at his art. It didn't in any sense mean to him that the art was going to be watered down, made to be an entertaining pastime for well meaning Seekers. And that is one part of what Aikido has become. And I don't know that anything will change that. For people for whom that has appeal, training in Aikido as Budo will not be their path. If people do not want to know something, no one can make them see it. So Aikido will continue to develop in such a way that merely saying you do Aikido will have no meaning. Instead you will need to specify what type of Aikido you do, what is the approach you take, who your teacher is, etc. Then people might have some idea what you are doing. There are people out there doing Aikido which has nothing but a superficial resemblance to what I am doing. Yet we both call it Aikido. That will continue as long as there are people training who do not wish to know what they can and cannot really do but simply wish to be validated for their efforts.

chadsieger
06-19-2002, 11:20 PM
Sorry Jun,

I thought that you asked me this...

Originally Posted by akiy
The hypothetical questions I always bring up when people say something along the lines of "aikido is purely defensive" include:

What do you do when someone is attacking your child (and not you)?
What do you do if one person is abducting your child and another is deliberately blocking your way to reach him/her?
What happens is a person is deliberately blocking your way out of, say, a burning building?
Would you say that you wouldn't be able to apply aikido in these cases?

So, I poorly summed it up with:rolleyes: :

Originally Posted by chadsieger
You were esentially wondering how through Aikido training you would be able to stop someone hurting somone else, blocking you, ect..

I then did my best to explain myself, sorry if it didn't help. If you are wondering if I would still call my martial response "Aikido" if I was forced to initiate budo on someone hurting a nearby victum, the answer would still be yes. Ueshiba, I think, would call that a decicive irimi. Cut off an attack all the same, and if they aren't focused on you, they are already out of position.:D

Thanks.

Jermaine Alley
06-20-2002, 01:43 AM
It is my opinion that the use of Atemi is important for the majority of our techniques. We all train in some shape or form to consider "real world" applications. I am only a novice in this game, but there aren't too many arts that don't include some kind of offensive strike etc. to facilitate a technique. If that atemi, should end the altercation without the application of whatever technique, so be it.
That is why now more than ever, I try to include some type of atemi somewhere in the technique. Atemi at the beginning, the middle and the end is the best policy in my humble opinion.
Can you still make Aikido work without atemi? I believe that you can.
Take care..
jermaine

Jermaine Alley
06-20-2002, 01:53 AM
Hey,
You brought up some good questions about aikido and Offenses.
In trying to convince some of my co workers to train (police co workers) questions about effectiveness, necessary aggresiveness etc. always seem to sneak into the conversation.
When it comes to switching from defensive to offensive technique, I am reminded of the term takemusu (if i spelled it correctly). Martial Creativity is what I have understood it to mean. MC covers all of those variations that you might do in rhandori, or the wierd "beach front" kokyu nage's that a well trained imagination might come to think up. Being offensive whenyou need to be offensive is also a part of MC. You canmake any technique work offensively and defensively.
What do you think?
jermaine
richmond, VA...
]

paw
06-20-2002, 05:20 AM
Mr. Ledyard,

Props for an open, honest baring of your martial soul! As I've said before, I greatly appreciate your integrity and honesty.

Warm Regards,

Paul

akiy
06-20-2002, 12:36 PM
Originally posted by chadsieger
I then did my best to explain myself, sorry if it didn't help.
Maybe it's just me, but your response seemed to just be an redirection of sorts
-- answers that really didn't have much to do with what I asked.

Once again:

No, actually, I was wondering how you can reconcile your assertion that aikido
is a "defensive" art in the face of people who are threatening you or someone
else without attacking you.

I also asked what you meant when you wrote "the person blocking the doorway or
harming your child will have worse things to worry about than self-defence, like
staying in one piece!" as, frankly, my reading of it did not make sense to me.

Also, I was not sure how your statement of "That is precisely why when training
not to rush through moves, muscle through moves, or "strike" through moves"
explains just how you would deal with such situations as above.

Any possibility you could address these three points above, one by one? I'm
just curious as to why you believe aikido is a "defensive" art when there are so
many people (including the founder) who indicate that nage/tori/shite initiates
the technique (often with something along the lines of, "Tori: Step out on your
right foot and strike directly at your opponent's face with your right te-gatana
and punch his ribs with your left fist" (from "Budo" by Morihei Ueshiba))...

My own thought is that aikido is not a defensive martial art nor is it aggressive. I'd characterize it as an "active" martial art. I believe that atemi is very much a part of the art, both as nage and uke.

Also, a public "thank you" to George for his most recent post. Good stuff.

-- Jun

Erik
06-20-2002, 01:58 PM
I'm sort of embarassed to come in after all that's been written. What to say after George Ledyard's posts other than "amen!"

Nuked the rest of the post!

It's wasted space relative to what came after.

chadsieger
06-20-2002, 03:47 PM
Jun,

1.
No, actually, I was wondering how you can reconcile your assertion that aikido
is a "defensive" art in the face of people who are threatening you or someone
else without attacking you?


Irimi is as intergral to Aikido as tenkan is. Irimi is considered the act of entering, to cut off an attack before it can reach its potential power. The shomenate on the Atemi Waza link is kind of what I mean. (Actually we would call that a kokyunage. Also, I am somewhat perplexed because the nage seems to blend with the attack, then switches to irimi. My point is, he had uke off balance by blending with the striking hand, then for some reason he let go and went for the strike. It should have either been one movement-strike or continue to draw to a throw. Can anyone help?)
Anyway, if I see any attack (even one not directed at me) I feel it is my duty, as human and Aikidoka to irimi the attack. That may include the use of my martial ability (the principles of budo as learned through Aikido among other arts). Hopefully, I will have Ueshiba's control and neither the attacker nor mysleft will be harmed. Whether I call it Aikido at that point I feel is moot.

2.
I also asked what you meant when you wrote "the person blocking the doorway or
harming your child will have worse things to worry about than self-defence, like
staying in one piece!" as, frankly, my reading of it did not make sense to me.


I only meant that if someone was hurting somone else in my presence, I would be compelled to intervene. Of course their actions would dictate mine, so hopefully they would elect to talk.

3.
Also, I was not sure how your statement of "That is precisely why when training
not to rush through moves, muscle through moves, or "strike" through moves"
explains just how you would deal with such situations as above.


My only problem with Atemi is and has always been that I feel they degrade the training in the dojo. There are so many wonderful aspects of Aikido training (softness, blending, extension, sensitivity, ect.) that all must be built by employing the mind is a controlled manner with a unwaivering uke.
Many of you feel that Atemis on the mat help your mai or improve your striking capabliity, and you would be right. However, there are so many other lessons to be learned!
The "feel" of budo is learned by masters of hard arts, however, it takes much, much longer, simply because at first their emphasis is external. Aikio is/can be internal right away. As Mr. Ledyard stated, it is your choice.

Many of you belive that removing the spirtual aspects of Aikido improves it's budo. However, this could not be farther from the truth. Training in the budo with teach you as much about the spirtual as learning the spirtual will lead you to the true budo.
You can hit so hard what next? You learn a new technique now what? When you limit your budo to defeat/win mentallity there will always be at least one loser. Ueshiba was not blowing smoke when he said, "In Aikido we never attack... do not try to supress or control an opponent unnatually. Redirect each attack and get firmly behind it." Spritually enlightening and budo sound. (BTW: he said this much later than Budo Renshu)
Eventually budo is simply the application of the priciples that have been learned. Utilize priciples on the street by entering no-mind.

To the beginner: Know your basics well.
To the master: Know your basics well.


Thanks, hope this helps.:D

George S. Ledyard
06-20-2002, 04:48 PM
Originally posted by chadsieger

Many of you believe that removing the spiritual aspects of Aikido improves its budo. However, this could not be farther from the truth. Training in the budo with teach you as much about the spiritual as learning the spiritual will lead you to the true budo.
You can hit so hard what next? You learn a new technique now what? When you limit your budo to defeat/win mentallity there will always be at least one loser.

You see, here is the essence of the misunderstanding. No one has said anything about removing the spiritual aspects of the art. This is an interpretation of what was said based on your own feelings that this is what the use of atemi is doing.

In point of fact, I defy anyone to explain to me how performing technique in a manner that would be effective is somehow less spiritual than doing it in an ineffective manner.

Also, I must add that people on both the pro-atemi and the anti-atemi side of his debate still are failing to see atemi in its true light. Yes, atemi can be used to a) create physical dysfunction, b) create distraction through application of pain, or c) simply unbalance an opponent physically. But the aspect of atemi that is so poorly understood is the non-physical side. Atemi in your kihon waza or basic techniques is usually implicit rather than explicit. It is often no more than a momentary alignment of some part of the body which points out an "opening" which the attacker may have. In that instant, whether the atemi is actualized as a strike or not, the recognition of the opening serves to "catch" the Mind for an instant. This in turn creates the space to catch the Body and take the Center.

This is not some Eastern mystical idea. Anyone who has seen boxing is familiar with the concept of the "fake". The "fake" is precisely a way in which one can produce a reaction in the opponent or to freeze him for a split second in order to achieve some other end.

Most often when I throw an atemi, I do not expect that it will strike its target. I expect that my partner will deal with it. It is precisely that involvement which I am looking for. Did you ever wonder how an Aikido practitioner can actually do an irimi against a full speed attack by a skilled partner? I am a large man, six feet and over 250 lbs. It is not possible for me to move quickly. However people perceive that I am fast. The idea that you move off the line when attacked is all very nice but try to do it against a Fourth Dan in Karate or a Western style boxer. If your Mind is attempting to move out of the way you will draw their attention directly to you every time.

Atemi is the way that you can catch the Mind of the attacker for an instant. It can produce the desire to raise an arm in defense that would otherwise have been immoveable, it can dominate the attacker's perception for an instant, blinding him to your irimi movement and keeping him from tracking you. None of this involves actually striking the opponent although he can't tell the difference until it is too late.

Clint George was teaching Yokomenuchi techniques this past weekend at our seminar. Over and over he emphasized that in receiving the attack one did not focus on the arm delivering the attack but rather on the attacker's Center. That initial irimi to the Center was precisely the instant that you CHOSE not to deliver the actual atemi but then moved to deal with the arm. At that instant the attacker's Mind recognizes that the threat of the atemi is there and his energy makes the shift that allows the actual technique to be executed. Without first catching the "attention" or the Mind of the attacker one can not expect to successfully execute a technique against a knowledgeable opponent.

I absolutely fail to see how this is somehow less "spiritual". It is precisely on this element that all of the most sophisticated, soft technique is based. An atemi can be the briefest pulse of intention towards the partner. Saotome Sensei could produce a tangible reaction producing a stoppage in my attack just at the instant that I initiated simply by tightening his hanmi and bringing his attention from a dispersed state to a focused point.

If you do not have the energy, the physical focus, and the strong intention to deliver a blow that could knock out or kill you will not be able to choose not to do this and to use that energy for another purpose. So initially the important part of atemi waza is developing a decent set of strikes that one can actually do with speed and power. But eventually the most sophisticated use of the atemi is to let the potential for that atemi produce an effect in the partner without having to make do the strike at all. This is an energetic communication rather than a merely physical act and that is about as spiritual an application of technique that I can imagine. Those who avoid atemi as violent and an attack on the other can never understand this aspect of our art.

AikiAlf
06-20-2002, 05:53 PM
What Ledyard sensei has eloquently described is what I've been taught in the dojo since I started my training. So, the 90% or 99% Atemi quote seems completely reasonable to me.

I'm confused because I've never seen anyone do technique without Atemi in the sense of "taking the mind".

And in that same way I don't understand where the problem with "proactive" aikido is either.

I even get the sense from reading the posts, that everyone agrees, including Chad, given his take on Irimi.

Some people talk of Irimi in the same sense as Atemi.

I'm confused ; who are the Atemiless Aikido people?

Erik
06-20-2002, 05:59 PM
Originally posted by AikiAlf
What Ledyard sensei has eloquently described is what I've been taught in the dojo since I started my training. So, the 90% or 99% Atemi quote seems completely reasonable to me.


That's because that Rowell guy is a bad influence on you.

You can tell him I said so too. :)

SeiserL
06-20-2002, 10:48 PM
Originally posted by akiy

My own thought is that aikido is not a defensive martial art nor is it aggressive. I'd characterize it as an "active" martial art. I believe that atemi is very much a part of the art, both as nage and uke.

-- Jun

I knew there was something about you I liked. Very nicely said. Compliments and appreciation. I tend to see waza as neutral, its my mentality and intent that make them otherwise.

Until again,

Lynn

Bronson
06-21-2002, 12:11 AM
Ok, I'll admit that my understanding of atemi is limited. Our dojo doesn't use it that much, or so I thought. After reading all the posts here I've been looking at atemi with different definitions than I previously had been using. I started re-examining my techniques and watching sensei's for it and I'll be dipped if it isn't everywhere.

Also if I use George's definition,

An atemi can be the briefest pulse of intention towards the partner.

then yes I use atemi all the time in every technique that I can think of right off the top of my head. This is the kind of atemi my sensei is doing all the time and consequently what we're all trying to learn. Maybe it's like trying to start halfway up the mountain but that's for a different post :p

Just tonight I found myself using atemi and teaching it in a tachidori technique. Uke struck shomenuchi with the bokken and we were doing a tenkan kotegeashi with it. They go down a lot faster if they think you're gonna hit 'em in the face with there own weapon :D

So I guess I'll need to retract what I've said in other posts on this subject. Apparently I do use atemi, maybe not a full on physical atem, but by the definitions offered in these posts it is still definitely atemi.

I'd just like to thank everyone on here for posting. Although I don't always agree with everything that's said, it does make me think about my training and what I believe and where I want it to go. I especially like when I think I am completely on the other side of an issue from others but upon closer examination I find that we're really doing pretty much the same thing but are just using different names or have a different focus to it (kinda like the whole atemi thing)

Thanks again, learning is fun:)

Bronson

mike lee
06-22-2002, 11:20 AM
Anyone who "throws" an atemi stands a very good chance of being thrown by a good fighter. This is because he would momentarily be over-extended.

In addition, anyone who advocates using atemi to make up for their own lack of proficiency when practicing with a much larger, stronger individual, doesn't know how to practice aikido correctly. This is white-belt stuff.

If tori practices atemi correctly, when uke moves into an atemi, he should feel a rock-solid fist.

People who can't even take the time to learn how to fall have no business learning aikido techniques. There is no free lunch, especially when it comes to learning aikido. Any teacher worth his salt should know that.

Aikido is a budo of love, not of violence. Violent intentions undo the enemy, and more words count less.

Bruce Baker
06-22-2002, 01:20 PM
It is said that you can say the same words in different ways, and they will have a thousand different meanings ... that would seem to be the case here, after reading all of the posts for three plus pages.

We have the young warriors who use speed, emotion, and what they think is strength to tear into the opponent, then we have some of the older heavier guys, like George Ledyard and myself (6ft tall over 250lbs), who somehow appear fast and proficient because of distractions, and maneovers that take away the power of our opponents.

There is no absolute right way to learn, but there are ways to train to lesson the pain, or the time it takes to acquire skills you see in other practitioners or teachers. If you break some of the complicated renderings of your mother tongue so that you can understand what is being said, it might be easier to understand so that the japanese terms won't mean a thousand different things.

Yeah, I know that is a cheat way to do it, but being a bear of very little brains, I find that understanding what a technique does is not always grasp by its japanese description.

Atemi ... hmmmm.

I did like the description about the muscled policemen, and that they needed a little prodding to get them going, such as a distraction, poke, or a little pain?

I look at most of the Aikido techniques as working from a pain point of view, atemi use to initiate or counter, the use of some type of distraction or pain initiate movement is your primary goal.

As for the TKD people, they take a lot longer to realize that their skills of kicking, or punching are not the end all, along with the emotional baggage of proving they are the best fighters in a given situation, although some people do get past this.

The few good points of looking at the overall opponent, his/her balance or offensive capabilities, and Clint George bringing these little tidbits to Ledyard sensei's attention are worth rereading by those seeking to understand interpreting a larger picture verses emotional baggage or a hand coming toward your face?

Oh, well.

Atemi causes action, you react, then hopefully you will gain control or upper hand.

It shouldn't matter if you are the cause or you react from it, eventually, with proper training, it shouldn't matter.

If you don't believe it, pay attention to your training, mentally mark the times you miss a technique, and see if your reaction corrects for the miss or not ... eventually it will, then you will see the first strike, or reaction to Atemi.

By the way, I did enjoy reading most of the posts for this thread, they were more interactive than the normal da-a-a-a-ah.

Mike Haber
06-24-2002, 09:01 AM
Originally posted by mike lee
Anyone who "throws" an atemi stands a very good chance of being thrown by a good fighter. This is because he would momentarily be over-extended.

In addition, anyone who advocates using atemi to make up for their own lack of proficiency when practicing with a much larger, stronger individual, doesn't know how to practice aikido correctly. This is white-belt stuff.

If tori practices atemi correctly, when uke moves into an atemi, he should feel a rock-solid fist.

People who can't even take the time to learn how to fall have no business learning aikido techniques. There is no free lunch, especially when it comes to learning aikido. Any teacher worth his salt should know that.

Aikido is a budo of love, not of violence. Violent intentions undo the enemy, and more words count less.

I hate to say this but people like you are why aikido is seen as a dance and not an affective way to deal with real attacks. Atemi is absolutely ESSENTIAL to aikido in a true self-defense or combat situation.

mike lee
06-24-2002, 09:19 AM
People like me? I never said that atemi was not important.:o

ChristianBoddum
06-24-2002, 10:04 AM
Hi there !
Correct me if I'm wrong.My understanding and
practice of atemi is not to intently hit someone,but to initiate your technique and
the "rythm" and continuation of the technique
- drawing of the sword and completing the cut.
I once had a conversation with a policeman,
he said that unfortunately he could not use atemi to start an arrest,because to the public it would look like police brutality or
agression to the layman.
If the opponent does get hit,in my opinion ,
it is because he really is attacking and does mean to hit you .
I once noticed K.Tohei do gokyo (textbook aikido) and to my eyes that showed me the meaning of atemi,also O'senseis atemi's
looked to do the same.
Yours - Chr.B.