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11-30-2011, 12:34 PM
Posted 2011-11-30 11:25:41 by Jun Akiyama
News URL: http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2011/11/29/irimi-by-ellis-amdur/

This article entitled "Irimi" (http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2011/11/29/irimi-by-ellis-amdur/) by Ellis Amdur on the AikidoJournal.com site outlines Ellis's thoughts on the concept of irimi.

From the article: "I recently read a post which includes an oft-used phrase—“get off the line and enter.” Not only does this phrase not do full justice to the concept of irimi (I confess I’ve used it myself), it leads to a mistaken understanding of aikido technique. This mistake is not only intellectual, but expressed physically, probably lies at the root of the technical deficiencies that are, allegedly, so rife in aikido."

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Hanna B
11-30-2011, 02:28 PM
That text isn't new. It can still be found at the old url as well http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=686 how funny.

Ellis Amdur
11-30-2011, 04:28 PM
For those interested, please note my comment (up soon) where I update the article a little.

SteveTrinkle
11-30-2011, 04:54 PM
I think this is a really good explanation of irimi. This is how I was always taught and I appreciate the clarity of your description.

akiy
12-01-2011, 12:20 AM
A follow-up blog entry from Ellis on the topic is available here:

http://blog.aikidojournal.com/2011/11/30/ellis-amdur-more-on-irimi/

-- Jun

Kevin Leavitt
12-01-2011, 01:03 AM
Good sound analysis as usual.

Shadowfax
12-04-2011, 09:34 PM
Enjoyed the article. And then went to class tonight and discovered that Sensei had put together a class based on it. :)

SeiserL
12-05-2011, 05:29 AM
Admur Sensei always makes me think.

Compliments and appreciation.

graham christian
12-05-2011, 12:54 PM
For me Irimi is always off line. Those actions you describe where Godo Shioda or whoever remained on line were not irimi.

However, the rest I agree with to a large extent apart from being a sword equals forged body. However, that's for another time maybe.

Regards.G.

Kevin Leavitt
12-05-2011, 02:51 PM
Graham, of course you are entitled to your own decision and opinions on the subject for sure.

In my experiences dealing with real people and real scenarios that are hell bent on really harming you, I have to say I have found that Ellis' analysis on irimi to be spot on with current military teachings on the subject for both the U.S. Army and the Marine Corps.

To be honest, I am actually fascinated that just about everything I have studied that is founded on good, solid koryu to be as relevant today as it was hundreds of years ago.

Of course, tactics aside as they constantly change and adapt based on the application of technology.

However, and the fundamentals, they are the same.

You can continue to move off line as you wish if you have found that works for you....maybe it is semantics and we would be able to get together and see we are looking at the same thing though using different words/paradigms to describe.

For me though, moving off line does nothing to affect uke, it does not disrupt his movement or motion...it only delays and when you consider how the brain works, looking at the concepts of Hicks law especially you simply do not have in reality much time to make a choice and hope that it is correct. the law of this process of movement dictates that you are not in control of the situation and nage is. that in and of itself means that nage can process movement and choices faster than you. So you may get lucky on occasion and move off line correctly.

The odds are based on the relationship between uke and nage that nage will move more correctly than you can ever move. So you have one chance to change the situation and that is to irimi as Ellis has described. For me it is about Odds and I have found when I move as Ellis has described against a bad guy either in reality or training that I fair much better than moving off the line.

Chuck Clark
12-05-2011, 03:18 PM
There was a time when it was highly regarded to use a strategy called 'aiuchi' that entailed mutual striking or striking at the same time on the same line and if you died at the same time your opponent did it was thought to be very auspicious. Sometime later some smart fellow figured out 'ainuke' which meant striking at the same time while evading, getting off-line, and killing the other guy while you survive... I've kinda always preferred that survival stuff myself. However, you do not need to get off line to survive and be successful. Entering (irimi) with an unexpected change in the timing so that you get to the target at the right time to cut before being cut is quite possible. Sen sen no sen timing is very useful for this strategy but difficult to do, sen no sen can also be done and be successful, still without getting off line. Getting off-line is great if that's fits the situation and solves the problem. Irimi can be done while seeming to go backwards or away from the target. A skillful person can touch, connect, strike, cut, etc. in many ways that are very difficult to read whether they're on-line, off-line, forward, backward, straight or turning as they go from toimaai to uchimaai.

As my dad used to say, "there's more than one way to skin a cat..."

graham christian
12-05-2011, 04:54 PM
Graham, of course you are entitled to your own decision and opinions on the subject for sure.

In my experiences dealing with real people and real scenarios that are hell bent on really harming you, I have to say I have found that Ellis' analysis on irimi to be spot on with current military teachings on the subject for both the U.S. Army and the Marine Corps.

To be honest, I am actually fascinated that just about everything I have studied that is founded on good, solid koryu to be as relevant today as it was hundreds of years ago.

Of course, tactics aside as they constantly change and adapt based on the application of technology.

However, and the fundamentals, they are the same.

You can continue to move off line as you wish if you have found that works for you....maybe it is semantics and we would be able to get together and see we are looking at the same thing though using different words/paradigms to describe.

For me though, moving off line does nothing to affect uke, it does not disrupt his movement or motion...it only delays and when you consider how the brain works, looking at the concepts of Hicks law especially you simply do not have in reality much time to make a choice and hope that it is correct. the law of this process of movement dictates that you are not in control of the situation and nage is. that in and of itself means that nage can process movement and choices faster than you. So you may get lucky on occasion and move off line correctly.

The odds are based on the relationship between uke and nage that nage will move more correctly than you can ever move. So you have one chance to change the situation and that is to irimi as Ellis has described. For me it is about Odds and I have found when I move as Ellis has described against a bad guy either in reality or training that I fair much better than moving off the line.

I think is partly semantics. If you want to stay on line and via timing or sen no sen beat the other person to the strike then that's one thing but it's not irimi. The word itself is to do with passing or passing behind in fact.

I could explain irimi from the viewpoint of energy, natural paths of energy thus natural motion, or from geometric viewpoint. However, as soon as someone says you don't have to move off line then I know they are mixing it with something else. Samurai wise I'd call this sacrifice.

Anyway, to see my point clearly all you have to do is think of a bus coming at you or if you like a raging bull. Irimi may save your life but staying on line gets you killed, flattened.

Now we come to the next point inherent in my view. Contrary to what many may think entering off line for me is not to do with evasion or avoidance but purely to do with 'being with' ie:joining.

Now if you do so and as you pointed out above thus allowing the attacker to remain on his course without disruption then the result is not as you describe or envisage. For to him you have 'dissappeared' and yet you are there with him and in control. The surprise it'self takes his center let alone his mind and stability.

In fact sen no sen etc. is all part of entering properly off line and is not at all reactive.

Tai-sabaki by the way for me has nothing to do with irimi either as irimi is entering on a straight line and tai-sabaki is entering on a curve. Moving out in order to cut on the same line is yet another thing, not the same thing.

So basically, so as not to be misunderstood, I am saying irimi, entering off line correctly is meant to not disrupt the opponent for its purpose is to put you in a position where you can now disrupt and cannot be disrupted.

Regards.G.

Kevin Leavitt
12-05-2011, 05:37 PM
Probably more semantics than anything else. I think off the line is a troublesome wording. Entering, closing, or what not can be done and you can change the angle of attack.

To use the bus analogy....if you can get off the line of the bus, then it was never really a threat anyway was it....the problem with empty handed arts is like the bus, it is coming at you and you must engage it...unavoidable, otherwise...by all means get out of the way.

Fred Little
12-05-2011, 05:47 PM
I think is partly semantics. If you want to stay on line and via timing or sen no sen beat the other person to the strike then that's one thing but it's not irimi. The word itself is to do with passing or passing behind in fact..

Not really. Though I don't have my Japanese wordprocessor here to input the kanji, "irimi" is a compund of the verb "iru" to enter and "mi" or body.

It doesn't necessarily mean passing or passing behind. Not at all.

Sorry.

FL

Fred Little
12-05-2011, 05:51 PM
I think is partly semantics. If you want to stay on line and via timing or sen no sen beat the other person to the strike then that's one thing but it's not irimi. The word itself is to do with passing or passing behind in fact..

Not really. Though I don't have my Japanese wordprocessor here to input the kanji, "irimi" is a compund of the verb "iru" to enter and "mi" or body.

It doesn't necessarily mean passing or passing behind. Not at all.

Sorry.

FL

graham christian
12-05-2011, 05:58 PM
Not really. Though I don't have my Japanese wordprocessor here to input the kanji, "irimi" is a compund of the verb "iru" to enter and "mi" or body.

It doesn't necessarily mean passing or passing behind. Not at all.

Sorry.

FL

O.K. Don't have to repeat yourself, stay on line. Ha, ha. However, you can enter off line, (irimi) or in an arc(tai-sabaki) or walk straight into (sacrifice) (whatever that is in japanese martial lingo).

'When they attack I am already standing behind them' [QUOTE]

Regards.G.

Carsten Möllering
12-06-2011, 05:53 AM
In my experience being able to stay on the line of attack and do irimi is neither a question of sen no sen. Nor is it a sacrifice. It is just a question of technical skills or possibilities. And a question of how you understand aikido in a wider sense.
Cutting through the attacker instead of letting him by are just different "images" of aikido, I think.

This is a video of the swordwork we do. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Vs8miUVQ_2Y#t=35s) You may notice that shidachi doesn't move off line. But he cut's through the sword of uchidachi anyway.
This can be seen as a kind of paradigm of the tai jutsu we practice.

Completely different setting but identical scheme when entering yokomen uchi. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=zatc9tmE_d8#t=55s) Irimi on the line of attack.

shomen uchi ikkyo omote. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=sKmzBh3NZVY#t=11s)Please notice that tori here also doesn't leave the line.

phitruong
12-06-2011, 07:26 AM
'When they attack I am already standing behind them'


you can get behind them by going through them. i have practiced with folks whose training involved staying on the line and taking the center as well as folks who always getting off line. i found that folks who trained to stay on the line didn't have problem getting off line; that's just another option for them. however, folks who always trained with getting off the line, had a hard time stay on the line when required, i.e. put them on a log bridge exercise.

Kevin Leavitt
12-06-2011, 08:20 AM
'When they attack I am already standing behind them'


I'd love to be that good. I'm not. The level of preception and knowledge that is required for this to happen are beyond my abilities as a human being.

In my experiences in dealling with real threats and effective attacks (real threats), I simply cannot do this and it requires me to interupt and change the situation by dealing with the core of the threat.

If I could be behind them before they could attack, then I would not need to ever carry weapons and could go into combat empty handed. A nice thing to be able to do.

graham christian
12-06-2011, 09:23 AM
In my experience being able to stay on the line of attack and do irimi is neither a question of sen no sen. Nor is it a sacrifice. It is just a question of technical skills or possibilities. And a question of how you understand aikido in a wider sense.
Cutting through the attacker instead of letting him by are just different "images" of aikido, I think.

This is a video of the swordwork we do. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Vs8miUVQ_2Y#t=35s) You may notice that shidachi doesn't move off line. But he cut's through the sword of uchidachi anyway.
This can be seen as a kind of paradigm of the tai jutsu we practice.

Completely different setting but identical scheme when entering yokomen uchi. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=zatc9tmE_d8#t=55s) Irimi on the line of attack.

shomen uchi ikkyo omote. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=sKmzBh3NZVY#t=11s)Please notice that tori here also doesn't leave the line.

O.K. Nice video. I don't call this irimi. I see no irimi there. Entering and staying on line yes. You must be 'tuned in' to do this effectively thus it is in the end a matter of sen no sen etc. As in the o/p it can't be done as a reaction.

If in your Aikido you class this as part of irimi then fair enough, thus I may understand how some may be using the term so thanks for that. However, for me I would never use irimi to mean staying on line.

Regards.G.

graham christian
12-06-2011, 09:34 AM
you can get behind them by going through them. i have practiced with folks whose training involved staying on the line and taking the center as well as folks who always getting off line. i found that folks who trained to stay on the line didn't have problem getting off line; that's just another option for them. however, folks who always trained with getting off the line, had a hard time stay on the line when required, i.e. put them on a log bridge exercise.

I can see your point there but I would expect that those who trained with getting off line that you mention were probably taught that it was to evade or escape.

Both should be done as completely separate disciplines in my mind.

Without excess terminology I would demonstrate the two and in so doing show the difference.

One I would show as enter, finish. Or enter,cut, finish. As one motion.

The other (irimi) I would show as enter, allow others cut to complete, finish.

Two different skills with totally different effects on uke.

Regards.G.

graham christian
12-06-2011, 09:55 AM
I'd love to be that good. I'm not. The level of preception and knowledge that is required for this to happen are beyond my abilities as a human being.

In my experiences in dealling with real threats and effective attacks (real threats), I simply cannot do this and it requires me to interupt and change the situation by dealing with the core of the threat.

If I could be behind them before they could attack, then I would not need to ever carry weapons and could go into combat empty handed. A nice thing to be able to do.

Hi. I'm glad you said that Kevin. For that statement leads to the core of irimi, the secret of irimi.

In practice I prefer, in fact by far prefer, facing a sword (bokken) empty handed. This is where you learn the core of irimi.

This is where you learn irimi for you definitely don't stay on line yet you do have to enter to join, to take control, to be with. Of course the practice would be from a shomen attack.

From a yokomen attack you would learn the core of tai sabaki used for turning inside too.

But back to the point. Empty handed against shomen doing irimi done expertly leaves you standing behind or at worst part next to and part behind. It's a scary discipline for to get it right the off line is very close to the actual line, therefore not as much as 45 degrees, more like 10 or 20.

It feels very 'sacrificial' until you are used to it at which point it feels the safest thing to do. Hence the need for calm mind and the complete awareness of center line.

Of course in real situations the first thought is to interrupt or parry and move etc. but hence my view that beyond that, you can learn to move in such a way that it becomes more effective than interfering and thus my view of aiki motion.

Both work, both disciplines.

Regards.G.

Carsten Möllering
12-06-2011, 10:06 AM
If in your Aikido you class this as part of irimi then fair enough, thus I may understand how some may be using the term so thanks for that. However, for me I would never use irimi to mean staying on line.

Would this movement (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=rsMemmqLyqA) be irimi in your eyes?

入る - i ru: It means to go in/into, to get in, to enter, to break into
身 - mi: body, one's place, one's position

Yes true, we always use irimi to describe "going into" aite. Even when leaving the line and letting aite pass through not this is called irimi but maybe tori nuke or something like that. irimi is the coming back, the stepping in onto aite or his place.

Irimi nage (at us!) is called this way because for throwing we step into and through aite. (As shown in the video.) It is not called irimi nage because of the iniating steps. If we throw directly it maybe called irimi nage omote. If we let aite pass through and turn around it maybe called irimi nage ura.

Here examples of tori nuke (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=MkmwMzF1zD4#t=70s), letting aite pass through. Even if sensei sometimes gets behind aite I wouldn't call this or think of this as irimi.

graham christian
12-06-2011, 10:19 AM
Would this movement (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=rsMemmqLyqA) be irimi in your eyes?

入る - i ru: It means to go in/into, to get in, to enter, to break into
身 - mi: body, one's place, one's position

Yes true, we always use irimi to describe "going into" aite. Even when leaving the line and letting aite pass through not this is called irimi but maybe tori nuke or something like that. irimi is the coming back, the stepping in onto aite or his place.

Irimi nage (at us!) is called this way because for throwing we step into and through aite. (As shown in the video.) It is not called irimi nage because of the iniating steps. If we throw directly it maybe called irimi nage omote. If we let aite pass through and turn around it maybe called irimi nage ura.

Here examples of tori nuke (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=MkmwMzF1zD4#t=70s), letting aite pass through. Even if sensei sometimes gets behind aite I wouldn't call this or think of this as irimi.

Another nice video, thank you.

Yes I see a technique called iriminage.

Technically speaking no, as it was done using tai-sabaki. The right foot moved first in order to allow him to enter on a curve thus using tai-sabaki. Thus the difference for me is what the motion is and that motion can be seen by the left leg and foot, apart from hip and body. If the left foot had simply moved straight in off line, without the need to move right foot, I would then say technical irimi as well as the technique iriminage.

That's the first video. Now I'll check the second.

Regards.G.

Chuck Clark
12-06-2011, 10:28 AM
Endo Sensei's clip of tori nuke is a masterful example of irimi. I hadn't seen this video before but it is certainly a keeper. Of course, Tissier's iriminage is something to be studied also.

(Thanks Carsten for bringing attention to these video examples.)

And an additional note with regard to terminology. I understand that we tend to use terms as we learned from our teachers, etc. Often, unless we've made a thorough study of the language as it's used in budo context, we can get in the habit of using terms in narrow ways to express what we're accustomed to. The basic meaning of 'tai sabaki' for instance is "body management"... it doesn't necessarily have a turning or curved aspect included.

graham christian
12-06-2011, 11:05 AM
Would this movement (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=rsMemmqLyqA) be irimi in your eyes?

入る - i ru: It means to go in/into, to get in, to enter, to break into
身 - mi: body, one's place, one's position

Yes true, we always use irimi to describe "going into" aite. Even when leaving the line and letting aite pass through not this is called irimi but maybe tori nuke or something like that. irimi is the coming back, the stepping in onto aite or his place.

Irimi nage (at us!) is called this way because for throwing we step into and through aite. (As shown in the video.) It is not called irimi nage because of the iniating steps. If we throw directly it maybe called irimi nage omote. If we let aite pass through and turn around it maybe called irimi nage ura.

Here examples of tori nuke (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=MkmwMzF1zD4#t=70s), letting aite pass through. Even if sensei sometimes gets behind aite I wouldn't call this or think of this as irimi.

Hi again. That second video. I love it. Just by viewing I can say in my opinion that ther is a man who understands irimi in it's fullness. I say this because from my view there is one other part of irimi as a natural motion which I haven't mentioned and which I see he knows. I can but smile in appreciation.

When the person enters in the first part and stops and thus can be hit I would say Endo Sensei was showing how just entering off line is not the whole of irimi.

He then proceeds to do two very good examples or irimi motion, excellent.

The rest of the video shows more, albeit I can see the basic principle of irmi in most of the moves there is also much more to admire. But sticking to lines and moving off lines then we would have to go into the awareness of and use of eight directions in this video. He seems to be a master of it.

So yes I would say that shows irimi motion in it's fullness and now I will have to explain why I say this. Oh dear, well allow me to try.

First I will ask you to look at something if you will have the patience to bare with me. I ask you to look at a ship moving along in a calm sea. The front of the ship, the bough, cutting through the water.

Notice the energy patterns of the water displacement. 'V' shaped. Now whether it's a crocodile swimming along or whatever this shows the natural path of energy. This is irmi motion.

Now notice that the thing moving foreward draws energy in behind it also. Thus we have irimi in it's fullness which means if you follow this path you will in fact be doing more of a zig zag and that is what I call complete irimi.

Now if I am approaching a lamp post standing there in my path then I can take one step off line to pass it (zig) and the second step back to the original path (zag) and carry on walking on my path. Irimi. Or as I say complete irimi. In this way I have passed behind, like a skier does going down the mountain weaving in and out through those poles. Irimi.

I noticed Endo Senseis energy was not only passing but was then entering behind as if joining with the ship. Excellent.

Now in my Aikido I could demonstrate what I call a short cut iriminage and that looks like basically I'm doing a clothes line like you may see in wrestling or something.

That is not one for the beginner to focus on in my mind for it looks like I am going straight for the opponent and thus others would see it as such and copy it from that view. However, energy wise it is no different from a complete irimi motion and that cannot be seen so until someone is used to and good at and understands that energy motion then I defer them from trying it.

That's how I see it and use it. Thanks for the comparisons.

Regards.G.

Kevin Leavitt
12-06-2011, 02:54 PM
Hi. I'm glad you said that Kevin. For that statement leads to the core of irimi, the secret of irimi.

In practice I prefer, in fact by far prefer, facing a sword (bokken) empty handed. This is where you learn the core of irimi.

This is where you learn irimi for you definitely don't stay on line yet you do have to enter to join, to take control, to be with. Of course the practice would be from a shomen attack.

From a yokomen attack you would learn the core of tai sabaki used for turning inside too.

But back to the point. Empty handed against shomen doing irimi done expertly leaves you standing behind or at worst part next to and part behind. It's a scary discipline for to get it right the off line is very close to the actual line, therefore not as much as 45 degrees, more like 10 or 20.

It feels very 'sacrificial' until you are used to it at which point it feels the safest thing to do. Hence the need for calm mind and the complete awareness of center line.

Of course in real situations the first thought is to interrupt or parry and move etc. but hence my view that beyond that, you can learn to move in such a way that it becomes more effective than interfering and thus my view of aiki motion.

Both work, both disciplines.

Regards.G.

I think I could change your opinion on this very quickly if we got together, and I mean that in the most sincere way Graham. In my work with Soldiers we go through drills that teach them to deal with the decision cycle under stress.

One good example is the use of tactical folders as a back up weapon for self defense. I am not a fan. Many guys are. Alot of military guys are, especially the Automatic Benchmade Knifes. Very nice knife...I have one myself and they work good to cut stuff with when you only have one hand in an awkard position.

As a weapon of self defense though, I have found they don't work so well. How is this related to the discussion?

Well, all the guys that have them and believe in them as a CQB back up weapon have never really tried to deploy them under stress. They have this vision of clinching and then reaching for the weapon and using it.

In my experiences...i'd say 9 out of 10 times it becomes a liability trying to deploy it. you drop it, you are understress trying to get it out, it gets out of your control......

What we found is that you cannot deploy it under stress MOST of the time until you have gained control of the situation. Therefore, you need to gain structural control over your opponent as the primary means of choice rather than drawing the weapon first.

I think this is related to our discussion. Yes, with lots of knowledge of what is going to happen, you can MOVE off the line to a position of advantage. In reality, this luxury is never afforded to you. We have this vision about what we'd like to see happen, and then we have reality.

So, yes, if I had time and knowledge that someone was attacking me, then i'd move off the line behind them...or in the case of the tactical folder...I'd already have it out and drawn.

This is the real problem with things and why moving off the line is not a "bad" thing do to. It just isn't what we CAN do in most cases.

Going back to the fast moving bus analogy. Yes, of course we'd jump out of the way of the bus if we had time and knowledge that it was coming at us. Alas, if we don't have that knowledge...then we must deal with the actual bus! Of course we can't move into the Bus effectively and deal with it as it will kill us...but it is the same logic. Dealing with people though...they aren't buses and if we have the "goods" we can deal with them.

Hope this makes sense.

Chuck Clark
12-06-2011, 03:41 PM
Kevin, I started to quote something in this post, but it's pretty much the whole thing that should be in the marks... This is one of the best posts I've seen in a long time. Truth from those that have been there and done that. One of those truths is that if you produce a knife, someone's most likely going to get cut in the struggle. It often isn't the original attacker. I carry a Benchmade and sometimes teach "special students" that have reached a level of ability where they can really do what's necessary structurally speaking how to use this as a tool to help them rather than the opponent. As you've been "preaching" for a long time now, of doing what we "can" do given the circumstances and taking the best control position possible while gaining the advantage. It's not "fun" practicing this if it's done properly and most people in a dojo don't want to do it. This level of practice isn't done during regular practice in our dojo. There are practices that can build posture, distance, timing, etc. under stress that can lead up to this though. Most aikidoka don't train that way. Thanks for telling it straight.

Kevin Leavitt
12-06-2011, 04:40 PM
Thanks Chuck. Means a lot coming from you. Yes, as you know training this way requires some build up. I had a group of guys last year in Afghanistan that wanted to train under stress. I spent about a month helping them develop the basic skills necessary to provide them the basic structure necessary to make the stress training meaningful and safe. This 46 second video demonstrates the culmination of this process working on some basic "ground and pound" MMA skills.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-rZAR6DH20&feature=g-upl

Keep in mind these guys had no formal training and no skill prior to training with me and this represents about 25 hours of training. The things I was looking for is the guy on his back is able to manage the fight from his back from the guard, create distance, and minimize the damage. It is only at the end of the video that the guy on his back is able to sweep and reverse the situation and begin to achieve dominance.

Sorry this is not really related to the post about irimi, but I think it speaks to methodology in general and is relevant to what Chuck mentions as an example of what I believe is "decent" stress training that actually leads to a constructive learning process.

And correct..you can't do this every day it is the culmination of a training cycle, and is done for very specific reasons that are really beyond the focuses of most dojos.

graham christian
12-06-2011, 05:22 PM
Ah, I see where you're going with this or rather where you're coming from. Granted, not to do with irimi.

I don't see what you mean by disabusing me of my ideas though. I do understand 'training specific' some of which lies outside of Aikido and some of which lies within the parameters of Aikido.

Regards.G.

jonreading
12-06-2011, 07:31 PM
I was leery to post, but since I referenced Amdur Sensei's article in another post, I thought I should.

As best as I can tell, irrimi is one of those screwy things in aikido where we have a physical technique as well as a philosophical principle. We learn one to understand the other and I think there are already some good posts on this thread about that, including the article itself.

My understanding of irrimi is similar to Fred's definition. In this sense, "irrimi" is the concept of entering into our opponent's body in order to connect and control her center. Physically, this concept can be executed in a number of ways. In any case, the spirit of irrimi is to confront the attack not evade it. The technical achievement of irrimi is to displace the attack and dissolve its power.

I have included a Friendship demo of Sunadomari Sensei. He was a big fan of this "greeting" irrimi and you can see the entering movement in many of his techniques. You'll also notice he spends time talking about removing power:
http://youtu.be/uOKRlgUYlsM

We talk about marubashi, the concept of your partner abandoning the line of attack while you maintain a direct line [of attack] into your partner. Amdur Sensei talks about occupying space and that is a key concept of irrimi for me (I am trying to get Ledyard sensei to write a piece on this topic). I don't care where you put your feet, if you don't enter into your partner's space and take their center you are not doing irrimi.

Mark Mueller
12-06-2011, 08:09 PM
There are very few unique ideas...just a re-iteration of a lot of good ones. Kevin and I share an Aikido teacher....one of the rules of the dojo was "if you have time to block, you have time to hit". It really is a change in mindset...I wrote an article for our dojo newsletter called "Re-defining the Line of attack" based on Galeone Sensei's premise mentioned earlier. Control the situation through superior tactical advantage before deploying "technique".

Mark Mueller
12-06-2011, 08:24 PM
I would add that Kevin has had the experience of training and applying the concept of Irimi directly in a true martial application...mine is in theory only.

Kevin Leavitt
12-07-2011, 12:32 AM
Mark, it may be theory, but it came from a guy that understands the essence of what is important. I am constantly hit over with the head and find myself saying "that is what Bob said!" Good to hear from you brother!

Kevin Leavitt
12-07-2011, 12:46 AM
Jon Reading wrote:

My understanding of irrimi is similar to Fred's definition. In this sense, "irrimi" is the concept of entering into our opponent's body in order to connect and control her center. Physically, this concept can be executed in a number of ways. In any case, the spirit of irrimi is to confront the attack not evade it. The technical achievement of irrimi is to displace the attack and dissolve its power.



It is my definition too.

You made me think of something that has not been addressed. The concept of "pre-emptive strike".

Really I think this is a very related issue and one that centers heavily around ethics and the ethical employment of force.

For me, irimi is not pre-emptive. pre-emptive means you are attacking uke before he attacks you. As most of us know the doctrine of pre-emptive strike employed by the U.S. in Iraq has been a source of controversy.

So, if I enter into nage and disrupt him (attack) before he attacks I think it is one set of ethics. If I respond when he attacks another....I think this concept is covered well in the Oscar O'ratti book dealing with the four possible scenarios of attack.

When Graham discusses moving behind uke by moving off the line before uke attacks...I see this as pre-emptive. Of course, what you do once you achieve this position affects the ethics of the situation, but the fact is...you have done SOMETHING that uke must now react to in some way. I would say, for most situations in which he felt threatened and exposed, it will serve to escalate the situation.

Is that good or bad? I think it depends, but at the base level YOU did something that caused Uke to respond.

On the other hand, if Uke moves first and attacks, and I respond...well then it might be different even though the outcome ends up the same.

I am not saying what is right or wrong...only that we need to consider all the factors that go into the situations we might find ourselves in.

raul rodrigo
12-07-2011, 04:58 AM
One of the Japanese teachers I know says regarding irimi and not trying to preempt uke: "Let uke feel as if he has been able to complete his strike. But now you are behind him, and all his power is gone."

Chris Knight
12-07-2011, 07:51 AM
excellent post kevin!


One good example is the use of tactical folders as a back up weapon for self defense. I am not a fan. Many guys are. Alot of military guys are, especially the Automatic Benchmade Knifes. Very nice knife...I have one myself and they work good to cut stuff with when you only have one hand in an awkard position.

As a weapon of self defense though, I have found they don't work so well. How is this related to the discussion?

Well, all the guys that have them and believe in them as a CQB back up weapon have never really tried to deploy them under stress. They have this vision of clinching and then reaching for the weapon and using it.

In my experiences...i'd say 9 out of 10 times it becomes a liability trying to deploy it. you drop it, you are understress trying to get it out, it gets out of your control......

What we found is that you cannot deploy it under stress MOST of the time until you have gained control of the situation. Therefore, you need to gain structural control over your opponent as the primary means of choice rather than drawing the weapon first.

I think this is related to our discussion. Yes, with lots of knowledge of what is going to happen, you can MOVE off the line to a position of advantage. In reality, this luxury is never afforded to you. We have this vision about what we'd like to see happen, and then we have reality.

So, yes, if I had time and knowledge that someone was attacking me, then i'd move off the line behind them...or in the case of the tactical folder...I'd already have it out and drawn.

This is the real problem with things and why moving off the line is not a "bad" thing do to. It just isn't what we CAN do in most cases.

Going back to the fast moving bus analogy. Yes, of course we'd jump out of the way of the bus if we had time and knowledge that it was coming at us. Alas, if we don't have that knowledge...then we must deal with the actual bus! Of course we can't move into the Bus effectively and deal with it as it will kill us...but it is the same logic. Dealing with people though...they aren't buses and if we have the "goods" we can deal with them.

Hope this makes sense.

Mark Mueller
12-07-2011, 08:00 AM
Mark, it may be theory, but it came from a guy that understands the essence of what is important. I am constantly hit over with the head and find myself saying "that is what Bob said!" Good to hear from you brother!

You too Amigo! Hope you are safe and well!

Mark

Chuck Clark
12-07-2011, 10:14 AM
One of the Japanese teachers I know says regarding irimi and not trying to preempt uke: "Let uke feel as if he has been able to complete his strike. But now you are behind him, and all his power is gone."

This is important. In this timing, tori should wait until the attacker feels they have succeeded... and then enter, in whatever direction you decide. This is sen no sen timing done really well, in my opinion.

Of course, go no sen is evasion of some kind letting the attack spend it's energy and making your attack using tori's energy as it's finishing the attack cycle. When the timing is really fine, you can enter (irimi) tori's power structure while going backwards interrupting tori's back muscles firing to recover. This often is felt by tori as a small explosion or even the muscles seeming to "seize up" for an instant.

However, there is another timing, sen sen no sen, where tori is just deciding to attack and just as the signal is going on it's path to move into the attack, you move, which forces the attack just before it starts, or just as it starts but very little power has come into the attack. This is not really the common idea of a preemptive strike, but it's extremely powerful and upsetting to tori's mind. When done properly, tori is trapped into a recovery cycle before they can attack again.

phitruong
12-07-2011, 10:30 AM
This is important. In this timing, tori should wait until the attacker feels they have succeeded... and then enter, in whatever direction you decide. This is sen no sen timing done really well, in my opinion.

Of course, go no sen is evasion of some kind letting the attack spend it's energy and making your attack using tori's energy as it's finishing the attack cycle. When the timing is really fine, you can enter (irimi) tori's power structure while going backwards interrupting tori's back muscles firing to recover. This often is felt by tori as a small explosion or even the muscles seeming to "seize up" for an instant.

However, there is another timing, sen sen no sen, where tori is just deciding to attack and just as the signal is going on it's path to move into the attack, you move, which forces the attack just before it starts, or just as it starts but very little power has come into the attack. This is not really the common idea of a preemptive strike, but it's extremely powerful and upsetting to tori's mind. When done properly, tori is trapped into a recovery cycle before they can attack again.

in dojo practice, it's hard to use one timing over and over, because uke tends to anticipate and hold back on the attack. methink, if nage/tori randomized the timings: go no sen, sen no sen, sen sen no sen, i don't make sense, then uke would have a hard time to anticipate.

Demetrio Cereijo
12-07-2011, 10:37 AM
in dojo practice, it's hard to use one timing over and over, because uke tends to anticipate and hold back on the attack. methink, if nage/tori randomized the timings: go no sen, sen no sen, sen sen no sen, i don't make sense, then uke would have a hard time to anticipate.

Aliveness solves this problem.

NagaBaba
12-07-2011, 10:45 AM
Jon Reading wrote:

It is my definition too.

You made me think of something that has not been addressed. The concept of "pre-emptive strike".

Really I think this is a very related issue and one that centers heavily around ethics and the ethical employment of force.

For me, irimi is not pre-emptive. pre-emptive means you are attacking uke before he attacks you. As most of us know the doctrine of pre-emptive strike employed by the U.S. in Iraq has been a source of controversy.

So, if I enter into nage and disrupt him (attack) before he attacks I think it is one set of ethics. If I respond when he attacks another....I think this concept is covered well in the Oscar O'ratti book dealing with the four possible scenarios of attack.

When Graham discusses moving behind uke by moving off the line before uke attacks...I see this as pre-emptive. Of course, what you do once you achieve this position affects the ethics of the situation, but the fact is...you have done SOMETHING that uke must now react to in some way. I would say, for most situations in which he felt threatened and exposed, it will serve to escalate the situation.

Is that good or bad? I think it depends, but at the base level YOU did something that caused Uke to respond.

On the other hand, if Uke moves first and attacks, and I respond...well then it might be different even though the outcome ends up the same.

I am not saying what is right or wrong...only that we need to consider all the factors that go into the situations we might find ourselves in.

I think Kevin it is not so simple.
I believe that that it is not an attack itself that is so important and it has nothing to do with ethics. It is enough that an attacker creates an important threat for you. I.e. you are walking on the street and you see that group of ppl start to surround you. It is not yet an attack but it is clearly dangerous for you. You have to enter immediately otherwise it will be too late. Of course your judgment must be right; you have to clearly perceive bad intent.

The perception of the intent of attacker is one of most important elements in aikido training I believe.

phitruong
12-07-2011, 11:26 AM
Aliveness solves this problem.

depends on folks' definition of aliveness. as long as the training doesn't imprint bad habits and does prevent uke from anticipation.

Chuck Clark
12-07-2011, 11:28 AM
The perception of the intent of attacker is one of most important elements in aikido training I believe.

I agree with you. In fact, over the years, I've agreed with you quite a lot. Not always in method of delivery... :) but, content, yes. I think it's not only perceiving the intent, but joining it... not in social values, etc., but in (this is difficult to put in words) energy quantities. Kind of like walking with your special someone holding hands, equalizing the feeling in both directions without squeezing too hard or being "less than..."

Best regards,

Janet Rosen
12-07-2011, 12:30 PM
EXCELLENT series of posts on irimi.

graham christian
12-07-2011, 01:18 PM
Jon Reading wrote:

It is my definition too.

You made me think of something that has not been addressed. The concept of "pre-emptive strike".

Really I think this is a very related issue and one that centers heavily around ethics and the ethical employment of force.

For me, irimi is not pre-emptive. pre-emptive means you are attacking uke before he attacks you. As most of us know the doctrine of pre-emptive strike employed by the U.S. in Iraq has been a source of controversy.

So, if I enter into nage and disrupt him (attack) before he attacks I think it is one set of ethics. If I respond when he attacks another....I think this concept is covered well in the Oscar O'ratti book dealing with the four possible scenarios of attack.

When Graham discusses moving behind uke by moving off the line before uke attacks...I see this as pre-emptive. Of course, what you do once you achieve this position affects the ethics of the situation, but the fact is...you have done SOMETHING that uke must now react to in some way. I would say, for most situations in which he felt threatened and exposed, it will serve to escalate the situation.

Is that good or bad? I think it depends, but at the base level YOU did something that caused Uke to respond.

On the other hand, if Uke moves first and attacks, and I respond...well then it might be different even though the outcome ends up the same.

I am not saying what is right or wrong...only that we need to consider all the factors that go into the situations we might find ourselves in.

When you pre-emptively move off line and arrive 'behind' it cannot actually escalate the situation. You would have to feel it to know why but I'll put it this way. You would have to imagine yourself as the attacker and just as your committing the opponent is there close but 'behind' you, possibly with a knife to your throat. End of play.

Now if I remove the knife to throat bit the same applies. You automatically know you're done for. You have already lost. The nage is in total control by position ready to end it and boy you know it. You know it's finished, over, done. No escalation is possible. That's the whole point of irimi in the first place.

Regards.G.

Demetrio Cereijo
12-07-2011, 01:39 PM
depends on folks' definition of aliveness. as long as the training doesn't imprint bad habits and does prevent uke from anticipation.

I think the training regime Mochizuki Sensei describes here (http://books.google.es/books?id=SdYDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA34#v=onepage&q&f=false) (forms, drills, freestyle weapons randori and sumo wrestling) was alive enough and didn't imprinted bad habits.

graham christian
12-07-2011, 01:48 PM
Thanks Chuck. Means a lot coming from you. Yes, as you know training this way requires some build up. I had a group of guys last year in Afghanistan that wanted to train under stress. I spent about a month helping them develop the basic skills necessary to provide them the basic structure necessary to make the stress training meaningful and safe. This 46 second video demonstrates the culmination of this process working on some basic "ground and pound" MMA skills.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-rZAR6DH20&feature=g-upl

Keep in mind these guys had no formal training and no skill prior to training with me and this represents about 25 hours of training. The things I was looking for is the guy on his back is able to manage the fight from his back from the guard, create distance, and minimize the damage. It is only at the end of the video that the guy on his back is able to sweep and reverse the situation and begin to achieve dominance.

Sorry this is not really related to the post about irimi, but I think it speaks to methodology in general and is relevant to what Chuck mentions as an example of what I believe is "decent" stress training that actually leads to a constructive learning process.

And correct..you can't do this every day it is the culmination of a training cycle, and is done for very specific reasons that are really beyond the focuses of most dojos.

Hi Kevin. Training under stress. Nice video, so now I see what you mean by stress training. Not Aikido but more to do with not giving up and keeping going, with some technical something no doubt.

This is where I feel differentiation is needed because I hear many talk about under stress and under pressure and lack of it or need for more of it etc. It produces the keep going factor and over time the acclimatization to such pressure so that you can still think on you feet so to speak. That's all well and good but is separate to the disciplined calm continued practice of individual techniques and motions needed to perfect skills. One does not mean the other is wrong, I think you'll agree.

Now back to Irimi. Just to let you see another viewpoint and how training specific for combat etc. doesn't HAVE to be pressure training.

A few years ago my friend asked for some private lessons as he works undercover in the police force and deals with quite a few violent and scary situations. His friend said what I teach wouldn't suit him so he went elsewhere.

Anyway, due to his communication and seeing what he was after I had him practicing remaining calm and the purpose and uses of irimi motion as I described above. He came only twice a week for a few weeks but my aim was to get him to see how that motion worked for real and how it was inherent in other aikido 'techniques' as well. His favourite being Tenshinage. Thus I showed and had him doing over and over Tenshinage from the viewpoint of it being first the irimi motion and the rst being the result of.

He had to keep at it until he saw and could demonstrate that principle. In other words connect it all up.

Anyway to cut a long story short he turns up a few weeks later like a cat that's got the cream. He had handled a gunman with that exact same thing he had been practicing disarming and apprehending someone turning a gun on him at close range trying to kill him. He actually got honoured for that later.

So all ways are useful if taught or practiced well and really that's the bottom line.

Now, I'm off to training.

Regards.G.

Chuck Clark
12-07-2011, 02:03 PM
When you pre-emptively move off line and arrive 'behind' it cannot actually escalate the situation. You would have to feel it to know why but I'll put it this way. You would have to imagine yourself as the attacker and just as your committing the opponent is there close but 'behind' you, possibly with a knife to your throat. End of play.

Now if I remove the knife to throat bit the same applies. You automatically know you're done for. You have already lost. The nage is in total control by position ready to end it and boy you know it. You know it's finished, over, done. No escalation is possible. That's the whole point of irimi in the first place.

Regards.G.

I guess I, and some others taking part in this discussion that have, it appears, somewhat different experiences outside the dojo, would have a disagreement with you about this point. :straightf

NagaBaba
12-07-2011, 02:14 PM
I agree with you. In fact, over the years, I've agreed with you quite a lot. Not always in method of delivery... :) but, content, yes.
Hi Chuck,
It will be very scary to practice with you personally one day... :)
Kind regards

jonreading
12-07-2011, 02:31 PM
Jon Reading wrote:

It is my definition too.

You made me think of something that has not been addressed. The concept of "pre-emptive strike".

Really I think this is a very related issue and one that centers heavily around ethics and the ethical employment of force.

For me, irimi is not pre-emptive. pre-emptive means you are attacking uke before he attacks you. As most of us know the doctrine of pre-emptive strike employed by the U.S. in Iraq has been a source of controversy.

So, if I enter into nage and disrupt him (attack) before he attacks I think it is one set of ethics. If I respond when he attacks another....I think this concept is covered well in the Oscar O'ratti book dealing with the four possible scenarios of attack.

When Graham discusses moving behind uke by moving off the line before uke attacks...I see this as pre-emptive. Of course, what you do once you achieve this position affects the ethics of the situation, but the fact is...you have done SOMETHING that uke must now react to in some way. I would say, for most situations in which he felt threatened and exposed, it will serve to escalate the situation.

Is that good or bad? I think it depends, but at the base level YOU did something that caused Uke to respond.

On the other hand, if Uke moves first and attacks, and I respond...well then it might be different even though the outcome ends up the same.

I am not saying what is right or wrong...only that we need to consider all the factors that go into the situations we might find ourselves in.

I go back to my word-problems... If 2 trains leave the same location at the same time, traveling the same speed and the destination is the same distance...

Practically speaking, the shortest distance between your [fist] and your partner is a straight line. Presumably, his attack will be on that straight line. You simply cannot move a longer distance than your partner without changing the equation. For either partner, you can change distance, speed, and duration.

If my irrimi abdicates the line, then I necessarily must either negatively affect my partner or speed up my movement. If my irrimi closes the critical distance while establishing a new line of attack, I will actually reach my target first without altering the remainder of the equation.

While it may look the same, starting my movement sooner than my partner is not sen sen no sen timing, it is compensatory timing. Here's what gets me... Clark Sensei said it... sometimes the timing is evasion. I have been racking my brains for several years now to reconcile that little gem. I think there is a difference between the defined timing of combat and the observation of compensatory timing. Best I can describe it... Nolan Ryan (best pitcher, ever) could throw a fastball 95 mph+. As a non-professional hitter, I could hit a fastball if I started my swing mechanics timing sooner. As a professional hitter, I could hit a fastball without the need to start my swing earlier. Things get tricky as soon as I need to first determine whether to swing or not, then figure out where the ball is going to be. Sometimes we need evasion to buy us time to act... That's OK, but I am not sure that timing actually is combat timing.

I think this is why in the pressure cooker of intensity, irrimi is is tough to do. I think many of us mask our bad combat timing with compensatory timing. As soon as our partner speeds up though we cannot match him. Take away the foreknowledge of what is going to happen... Well, our partners obviously have bad energy, or didn't do something right, or aren't "committing" to the act. or whatever.

As a wrap-up to kevin's question, I think that sen sen no sen timing is performed under the intention to supersede the attack and encourage an alternate cognitive thought process. I think simply moving into a new position that your partner can [still] attack has nothing to do with the timing of combat (or distance).

Rupert Atkinson
12-07-2011, 03:31 PM
I have thought this for years - irimi is direct and tenkan is a waste of time - it is only what happens when irimi fails - and yet, you are already dead yourself. I have often been looked at in disbelief. Great article.

Janet Rosen
12-07-2011, 03:51 PM
I have thought this for years - irimi is direct and tenkan is a waste of time - it is only what happens when irimi fails - and yet, you are already dead yourself. I have often been looked at in disbelief. Great article.

Rupert, maybe you and I are defining tenkan differently - if by tenkan you mean a circular dance I agree with you. But I am a firm proponent of the belief that every tenkan is essentially an irimi.
The example I use is when I see a parking spot open up across the street and I make a fast uturn to grab it before anybody else can. It is a tenkan but it is 100% direct irimi.
So to me, on the mat, my tenkan is a movement FROM irimi in order to deal with something like a tactical need to get my attacker moving in a particular direction due to the presence of obstacles or other attackers.

graham christian
12-07-2011, 06:19 PM
I guess I, and some others taking part in this discussion that have, it appears, somewhat different experiences outside the dojo, would have a disagreement with you about this point. :straightf

I would like to know why? Sincerely.

Regards.G.

Rupert Atkinson
12-07-2011, 06:20 PM
Rupert, maybe you and I are defining tenkan differently - if by tenkan you mean a circular dance I agree with you. But I am a firm proponent of the belief that every tenkan is essentially an irimi.
The example I use is when I see a parking spot open up across the street and I make a fast uturn to grab it before anybody else can. It is a tenkan but it is 100% direct irimi.
So to me, on the mat, my tenkan is a movement FROM irimi in order to deal with something like a tactical need to get my attacker moving in a particular direction due to the presence of obstacles or other attackers.

Hi Janet, I am thinking of sword attack, which is what Aikido is supposed to be based on (not parking my car). If the irimi is good, the tenkan will kill you. That's the way I see it. I know we all usually start Aikido from avoidance, take balance, make technique, etc. etc. but as you hone your skill you need less and less avoidance until you can just walk straight through your uke regardless.

With that in mind, I personally think the two irimi and two tenkan practice method of most dojos to be a huge mistake. Or perhaps, it only makes sense once you realise it to be a mistake.

graham christian
12-07-2011, 06:26 PM
So to me, on the mat, my tenkan is a movement FROM irimi in order to deal with something like a tactical need to get my attacker moving in a particular direction due to the presence of obstacles or other attackers.

This I agree with.

Regards.G.

graham christian
12-07-2011, 06:37 PM
Hi Janet, I am thinking of sword attack, which is what Aikido is supposed to be based on (not parking my car). If the irimi is good, the tenkan will kill you. That's the way I see it. I know we all usually start Aikido from avoidance, take balance, make technique, etc. etc. but as you hone your skill you need less and less avoidance until you can just walk straight through your uke regardless.

With that in mind, I personally think the two irimi and two tenkan practice method of most dojos to be a huge mistake. Or perhaps, it only makes sense once you realise it to be a mistake.

I would say when is it useful in Sword rather than it will get you killed.

Using irimi empty hands against a shomen type cut is an example. If you irmi and tenkan then your hand drops down on the attackers wrist behind their hold of the sword or even onto the handle if you are good enough.

If you raise your sword in alignment with the attacker and enter, like a mirror image, like ikkyo with the sword, and enter irimi and tenkan then you will find yourself facing the same way as the attacker but your sword is now ready to cut down his back or even arms if you wish or shoulder take your pick depending how deep your irimi was.

Irimi tenkan is a matter of when rather than doesn't work.

Regards.G.

Janet Rosen
12-07-2011, 07:52 PM
Hi Janet, I am thinking of sword attack, which is what Aikido is supposed to be based on (not parking my car). If the irimi is good, the tenkan will kill you. That's the way I see it. I know we all usually start Aikido from avoidance, take balance, make technique, etc. etc. but as you hone your skill you need less and less avoidance until you can just walk straight through your uke regardless.

With that in mind, I personally think the two irimi and two tenkan practice method of most dojos to be a huge mistake. Or perhaps, it only makes sense once you realise it to be a mistake.

Rupert, thank you for your reply. I have also heard it said that aikido is meant to deal with multiple attackers or to be able to take down someone with least harm (the latter say for a drunk fool or out if control large child or if you just don't feel like putting your attacker through a window or into a beam) and hence my examples of choosing, following direct irimi, to tenkan and bring my attacker along a different vector. Options are good.

I also find, personally, due to some combination being short and very hippy and maybe some psychological factor I'm not aware of that for me there are simply times, once I have uke off balanced and controlled, it just feels right for us to turn.

Janet Rosen
12-07-2011, 07:53 PM
Adding: I do not see my tenkan as evasion or avoidance.
Adding further: I am not devaluing your post or reply - I think this is a really interesting conversation!

David Yap
12-07-2011, 08:28 PM
I have included a Friendship demo of Sunadomari Sensei. He was a big fan of this "greeting" irrimi and you can see the entering movement in many of his techniques. You'll also notice he spends time talking about removing power:
http://youtu.be/uOKRlgUYlsM

It is about time Jun adds a "Like" button.:)

Yes, I can see a lot of aiki-age and aiki-sage movements when he entered.;)

graham christian
12-07-2011, 10:02 PM
I go back to my word-problems... If 2 trains leave the same location at the same time, traveling the same speed and the destination is the same distance...

Practically speaking, the shortest distance between your [fist] and your partner is a straight line. Presumably, his attack will be on that straight line. You simply cannot move a longer distance than your partner without changing the equation. For either partner, you can change distance, speed, and duration.

If my irrimi abdicates the line, then I necessarily must either negatively affect my partner or speed up my movement. If my irrimi closes the critical distance while establishing a new line of attack, I will actually reach my target first without altering the remainder of the equation.

While it may look the same, starting my movement sooner than my partner is not sen sen no sen timing, it is compensatory timing. Here's what gets me... Clark Sensei said it... sometimes the timing is evasion. I have been racking my brains for several years now to reconcile that little gem. I think there is a difference between the defined timing of combat and the observation of compensatory timing. Best I can describe it... Nolan Ryan (best pitcher, ever) could throw a fastball 95 mph+. As a non-professional hitter, I could hit a fastball if I started my swing mechanics timing sooner. As a professional hitter, I could hit a fastball without the need to start my swing earlier. Things get tricky as soon as I need to first determine whether to swing or not, then figure out where the ball is going to be. Sometimes we need evasion to buy us time to act... That's OK, but I am not sure that timing actually is combat timing.

I think this is why in the pressure cooker of intensity, irrimi is is tough to do. I think many of us mask our bad combat timing with compensatory timing. As soon as our partner speeds up though we cannot match him. Take away the foreknowledge of what is going to happen... Well, our partners obviously have bad energy, or didn't do something right, or aren't "committing" to the act. or whatever.

As a wrap-up to kevin's question, I think that sen sen no sen timing is performed under the intention to supersede the attack and encourage an alternate cognitive thought process. I think simply moving into a new position that your partner can [still] attack has nothing to do with the timing of combat (or distance).

Hi Jon.
This may be just word definition differences but the point of starting movement before the partner not being sen sen no sen to me obviously is. As I said, it may be differences of definitions.

Another point I would like to make is that good irimi is also a matter of sen no sen.

The compensatory timing as you call it I would say comes under go no sen, moving after the attack has started.

Simply put I would say sen no sen is moving before and sen sen no sen is presenting a target which makes the other attack, thus you are controlling the whole situation.

As you used a baseball example I'd like to use a tennis one, professional tennis, the top boys especially.

When you think how fast the balls are moving and how far away from the opponent they are heading at speed then you can see that mechanically trying to work it out and move is far too slow. Thus as I've said before when on form they are considered to be in the zone. They are tuned into each other and going with feeling rather than analytical thought. They feel and 'instictively' know where that ball is about to be hit and are already on their way there. This is an example of sen no sen in tennis as I see it.

Irimi is a path the way I describe it and thus if you use sen no sen and move on that path then you have closed the space down and taken over before the opponent has finished what he was trying to do. That's high level of course but nonetheless real.

Now not that that is high enough O'Sensei said that you can go even beyond that and seemed to imply that there lay true Aikido. Small steps long journey ha, ha.

Regards.G.

Rupert Atkinson
12-08-2011, 02:38 AM
Rupert, thank you for your reply. I have also heard it said that aikido is meant to deal with multiple attackers or to be able to take down someone with least harm Options are good.

You only have options if you can destroy your attacker. The better you can destroy (go through) him, the more options you have (i.e. not to). If you can't destroy him, then you have no options at all, and he will destroy you.

Rupert Atkinson
12-08-2011, 02:39 AM
...once I have uke off balanced and controlled, it just feels right for us to turn.

Once you have him, you can do with him as you please, and turning may be your choice.

Rupert Atkinson
12-08-2011, 02:44 AM
I have also heard it said that aikido is meant to deal with multiple attackers.

Yes, maybe.

Basically, you position yourself to deal with them one at a time and, what I think, is that you aim to go right through them, just like Ellis was explaining with the sword = irimi. Think about it. If you are surrounded by ten mad samurai like in the movies the only thing you can do is cut them all - one at a time. You won't have much time to avoid anything at all. In fact, even the tiniest avoidance will be the death of you - you have no time at all for defence. And as Musashi would say, they way you fight 1 on 1 is no different to the way you fight 1 on 10, or 1000 against 10,000. Anyway, what do I know. Just read Ellis's article again - it is excellent, in my opinion.

Rupert Atkinson
12-08-2011, 02:53 AM
Adding: I do not see my tenkan as evasion or avoidance.
Adding further: I am not devaluing your post or reply - I think this is a really interesting conversation!

For most people, tenkan = avoidance.

For me, I like to approach in irimi no matter what, and then go thru them with irimi mind. And tenkan is for when I can't go thru or when I feel uke has too much power (in a real situation, you might find him going thru you - so not smart to train this way too much). But it should be the tiniest tenkan (not a ridiculously large sweep) and then back into irimi ASAP. If you have good control, you could choose to do a bigger tenkan - but it is the irimi-ness of the encounter that makes the control possible.

That is the way I train. I have no interest in the standard 'syllabus' anymore. I think it is full of 'errors' and once you think that there's no going back.

Rupert Atkinson
12-08-2011, 03:00 AM
If you raise your sword in alignment with the attacker and enter, like a mirror image, like ikkyo with the sword, and enter irimi and tenkan then you will find yourself facing the same way as the attacker but your sword is now ready to cut down his back or even arms if you wish or shoulder take your pick depending how deep your irimi was.
Regards.G.

I know exactly what you mean as we have all done that to death. But is it a sensible way to train? I agree with Ellis. Train more irimi to go right thru him. The enigma is, that by practicing more irimi you will actually find your self getting better at the movement you described above, but then, having practiced irimi more, you will find yourself doing less of that technique explained above because you will have less need for it.

graham christian
12-08-2011, 05:41 AM
I know exactly what you mean as we have all done that to death. But is it a sensible way to train? I agree with Ellis. Train more irimi to go right thru him. The enigma is, that by practicing more irimi you will actually find your self getting better at the movement you described above, but then, having practiced irimi more, you will find yourself doing less of that technique explained above because you will have less need for it.

Put that way I agree.

Regards.G.

Ellis Amdur
12-08-2011, 10:58 AM
In Dueling with Osensei (http://www.edgework.info/buy-martial-arts-book-Dueling-with-O-sensei.html), I have a chapter entitled "There is no such thing as Tenkan . . . without Irimi" There, I make the point that I've seen no writings whatsoever of Osensei referring to Tenkan, Instead, he referred to IRIMI and IRIMI-TENKAN. (What Rupert has been writing above). This is a jujutsu response (that's not bad - I just mean it as phenomenology) - where the opponent is powerfully/skilled/lucky enough to neutralize your irimi, resulting in a tsuki (opening). In other words, the initial irimi was still successful by unbalancing the attacker, and tenkan is the method in which one defeats them.

For example, one thrusts at the opponent's throat, and has they forcefully bring their weapon upwards to deflect, you cut under their arms.

But: if you think about this in a one-two sequence, it will still not work, at least not against an equally skilled opponent for the following reasons:
1. Your initial attack will have been too weak, so that the defender will take the initiative
2. Your initial attack will be forceful, but unbalanced, so that you will never be able to "reboot" in time for a "2nd" cut. Instead, you will end of in a clash of strength. (grappling for position)

Which leads, full circle to my addendum on the Aikido Journal site, about the need to forge one's body as a sword. That being accomplished through tanren to develop the "aiki body" - (yes, here we are again), one has the ability to thrust with full power, without any over extension, and with one's musculature and nervous system so "aligned" that when the initial move is neutralized, one flows into the next cut. In other words, irimi-tenkan is one movement, not two.

If, for the sake of an image, one thinks of irimi as a line, then irimi-tenkan is a loop.

Ellis Amdur

Janet Rosen
12-08-2011, 11:21 AM
Thank you. I have read the columns and the book and see no contradiction w/ what I've been apparently unsuccessfully trying to say.

hughrbeyer
12-08-2011, 09:40 PM
Basically, you position yourself to deal with them one at a time and, what I think, is that you aim to go right through them, just like Ellis was explaining with the sword = irimi. Think about it. If you are surrounded by ten mad samurai like in the movies the only thing you can do is cut them all - one at a time. You won't have much time to avoid anything at all. In fact, even the tiniest avoidance will be the death of you - you have no time at all for defence.

Sounds okay... but what about those videos of O-Sensei where he's surrounded by a bunch of guys with swords who all strike him at once? Certainly he's not dealing with them one at a time. Is the movement he makes irimi or tenkan? How do you irimi ten guys on all sides of you?

Ellis Amdur
12-08-2011, 10:57 PM
I've participated in those demo with several top shihan. I'm sorry - there is not a human being alive who could do that. One appreciates that one has to cut in such a way that contact is not made.

Or as Kuroiwa sensei said to me, "Of course, you couldn't hit Osensei." I asked, "You mean, you couldn't hit him?" He replied, "That's what I said. No student of Osensei could hit Osensei."

Ellis Amdur

Mark Mueller
12-09-2011, 08:35 AM
I've participated in those demo with several top shihan. I'm sorry - there is not a human being alive who could do that. One appreciates that one has to cut in such a way that contact is not made.

Or as Kuroiwa sensei said to me, "Of course, you couldn't hit Osensei." I asked, "You mean, you couldn't hit him?" He replied, "That's what I said. No student of Osensei could hit Osensei."

Ellis Amdur

Well I would love to hear your take on "the jo trick".... ;)

graham christian
12-09-2011, 09:04 AM
Sounds okay... but what about those videos of O-Sensei where he's surrounded by a bunch of guys with swords who all strike him at once? Certainly he's not dealing with them one at a time. Is the movement he makes irimi or tenkan? How do you irimi ten guys on all sides of you?

Different thing. It's more to do with zanshin and eight direction awareness. (And sen no sen or as I say 'being with all of them)

The foot movement depends on which path you take but is not something you analytically consider. One thing in common with the o/p is that whichever path you take will be as a motion irimi.

Irimi and carry on would be you leaving them behind. Irimi and tenkan would be you turning to do something. (although it may also be irimi taisabaki).

Regards.G.

Demetrio Cereijo
12-09-2011, 09:23 AM
Well I would love to hear your take on "the jo trick".... ;)

While we wait, I suggest to read this (http://www.nippon-kan.org/abroad/scotland/sensei_ki_scotland.html).

Walker
12-09-2011, 11:22 AM
One of the few times I find myself in sympathy with Homma.

Just the other day I was having dinner with an old timer from another art who was there in Hawaii to watch it all unfold. Interestingly, and too his credit, Tohei saw what he was training, told him to keep it up and not bother with aikido.

Anyway, as he was complaining that no one (especially the nanadans coming over from Japan) understands the training and the proper roll of teacher and student, I flat out asked him, "So what went wrong?" And he said (badly paraphrased) it was the 60s and that we (us. everyone) were looking for the guru so we, ourselves, created the monster and threw the traditions out. He watched it happen. Is routinely ignored because he doesn't play that game. And now he sees the home grown version stepping into positions of leadership. People prefer the imitation over the original.

niall
12-09-2011, 11:56 AM
This is the reply I put on Aikido Journal.

Ellis as an aikidoka I have a lot of problems with this article.

1. The article is from a koryu perspective. But it's not at all realistic for aikido and taijutsu and tachidori. If I have a sword and you don't - and I'm determined to strike you - if you don't get off the line or run away you die. Simple. You can try it 100 times. You will be hit 100 times. I have no doubt about it. The only way an entry works on the line of a weapon strike - sword strike, spear thrust or bottle or brick swing - is if the uke is inexperienced. Or fake.

2. Irimi in aikido isn't getting out of the way and then doing something. It's a sen no sen entry simultaneously getting off the line. That's why we say sokumen irimi. It's a straight line entry to the flank. Try that 100 times against an opponent with a sword. You won't be hit 100 times. In some years you won't be hit at all. That's a pretty simple comparison. Enter straight - certain death. Enter to the flank - possible life - probable life - certain life. What budoka wouldn't choose that?

3. That kenjutsu sword strike is a go no sen strike within a kata. You have to wait for the attacker to strike and then rely on experience and timing. In aikido we don't wait for anything.

4. I wouldn't recommend your irimi with the body to a 50kg woman against a big guy like you. Aikido isn't just a budo for big guys. It's for anyone.

5. I don't agree about the place to occupy in irimi. You think that we should take the space the opponent is trying to occupy. Not in aikido we don't. We let the opponent take the space they want. What we do is give them no choice. So that they want to take the space that we want them to take. I think this is a fundamental difference in philosophy.

6. Aikido is training in principles. If we can enter against a sword we can enter against a punch or a spear or anything else. Your theory of entry might work if you have a sword yourself to use against your opponent's sword. Might. But it certainly won't if you don't. So your model doesn't seem to have any internal coherence.

7. Your article was interesting and it's helping people to think about irimi more deeply. So thanks for that. Although I don't agree with you about a lot of things I respect your work and I always read it with interest.

Best regards,

Niall

Mark Mueller
12-09-2011, 12:25 PM
While we wait, I suggest to read this (http://www.nippon-kan.org/abroad/scotland/sensei_ki_scotland.html).

Excellent! Thanks for sharing that....

hughrbeyer
12-09-2011, 08:57 PM
Yes, interesting article, thanks for posting it. I wish he had published the result of his researches tho.

WRT the unbendable arm: That was introduced to me not as some mighty secret that the high-level practitioners knew, but just as something that you could teach a noob in about five minutes. The point was not how hard ki was to use, but how a different mental focus created a totally different physical result.

Although (obligatory IS reference coming up) somebody asked me to show it to them recently and I was shocked at how totally different doing it feels now...

Niall: if you're arguing with Ellis I should stay the hell out of the way, but I was surprised by your "straight line entry to the flank" in (2). I'd think moving straight to the flank would signal your intention in great big letters and your attacker would just follow you. I've been taught to move in on line, avoiding the strike at the last minute with tenkan.

And I don't think you're waiting for the strike to start in (3). We spent some time recently practicing how to respond to the intent to strike, before any movement actually starts. That's what I read into Ellis' post.

hughrbeyer
12-09-2011, 09:02 PM
Oh, and Ellis, about the multiple-sword attack...

http://icanhascheezburger.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/funny-pictures-bunny-is-sad.jpg

niall
12-10-2011, 01:39 AM
Hugh a straight line is always faster than a straight line plus something else. And an omote technique is a fast and decisive tactic against this kind of strike and if you are committed to always making a tenkan you've already eliminated some of your options.

phitruong
12-10-2011, 03:00 AM
1. The article is from a koryu perspective. But it's not at all realistic for aikido and taijutsu and tachidori. If I have a sword and you don't - and I'm determined to strike you - if you don't get off the line or run away you die. Simple. You can try it 100 times. You will be hit 100 times. I have no doubt about it. The only way an entry works on the line of a weapon strike - sword strike, spear thrust or bottle or brick swing - is if the uke is inexperienced. Or fake.


isn't one of the aikido sensei said that we shouldn't demonstrate tachidori, because there are real swordmen in the audience and we would be the laughing stock. if i have a sword and you don't, you can get off the line all days and i can still cut you, even when i go all out in shomen. from shomen to yokomen cut is just a slight rotation of the hips, no even that.


2. Irimi in aikido isn't getting out of the way and then doing something. It's a sen no sen entry simultaneously getting off the line. That's why we say sokumen irimi. It's a straight line entry to the flank. Try that 100 times against an opponent with a sword. You won't be hit 100 times. In some years you won't be hit at all. That's a pretty simple comparison. Enter straight - certain death. Enter to the flank - possible life - probable life - certain life. What budoka wouldn't choose that?


from my point of view, enter straight, you might have a chance. you aren't going to flank me if my attention is to cut you. this remind me of the movie Red October, with Sean Connery as Capt Ramius. in the movie, Capt Ramius ordered the Red October submarine to head straight into the path of the torpedo. the other Capt thought he was crazy, until the submarine and the torpedo collided where the torpedo broke apart. the torpedo didn't explode because Capt Ramius closed the distance before it could armed the warhead. same in this case, head straight in. must willing to die in order to live.


3. That kenjutsu sword strike is a go no sen strike within a kata. You have to wait for the attacker to strike and then rely on experience and timing. In aikido we don't wait for anything.


just as above, can't wait. head straight in, and force the other person to strike before they are ready. it's a guerrilla warfare tactic, hit and run and be sneaky. and guerrilla warfare is about disadvantage force against superior force; in this case, the other person armed and you are not. it's the unexpected thing.


4. I wouldn't recommend your irimi with the body to a 50kg woman against a big guy like you. Aikido isn't just a budo for big guys. It's for anyone.


and here i thought aikido is for big people, since i saw lots of big folks in aikido. :) the invention of gun gave the 50kg woman an equalizer to big guys. as i said, when you are in a disadvantage, do the unexpected. most folks don't expect small person attacking a big person.


5. I don't agree about the place to occupy in irimi. You think that we should take the space the opponent is trying to occupy. Not in aikido we don't. We let the opponent take the space they want. What we do is give them no choice. So that they want to take the space that we want them to take. I think this is a fundamental difference in philosophy.


if you move to strike me, your body, for example your head, has to be in a certain location. if as you fully committed in the movement, and found a fist occupied the space where your head need to be, what you think you would do next? i just want to put my fist and/or my foot first where your body need to be in order to strike me, whether you want to continue to occupy the same space with my body weapons is up to you. the bold highlighted should be changed to "Not in my aikido we don't". other people's aikido might do differently.

an old video of Saotome sensei http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsZk7Eha1Us he did quite a bit of irimi. i can almost hear some folks said "that's not aikido!" :)

graham christian
12-10-2011, 04:42 AM
Irimi is off line. Sen sen no sen means you can't hit me. Sen no sen means you're too late. Any other thoughts means you have more to learn in my opinion.

Regards.G.

Janet Rosen
12-10-2011, 06:59 AM
Irimi is off line. Sen sen no sen means you can't hit me. Sen no sen means you're too late. Any other thoughts means you have more to learn in my opinion.

Regards.G.

Irimi as I have learned it is enter. Pure and simple. Enter. No specific path is implied other than that which allows me to control the center which varies a bit depending on situation. In eight basics as I was taught it sometimes it means directly entering ON centerline as for shomenuchi kokyunage, sometimes it means entering alongside as on tsuki kotegaishe. Where or from whom comes your belief it means off the line?

Janet Rosen
12-10-2011, 07:19 AM
4. I wouldn't recommend your irimi with the body to a 50kg woman against a big guy like you. Aikido isn't just a budo for big guys. It's for anyone.

5. I don't agree about the place to occupy in irimi. You think that we should take the space the opponent is trying to occupy. Not in aikido we don't. We let the opponent take the space they want. What we do is give them no choice. So that they want to take the space that we want them to take.

Best regards,

Niall

Niall, with respect, addressing #4 :this very short and....ok think metric! 55 kg woman always entered directly as a young woman with no m.a. training doing street patrol and concert security and it stood me in good stead. In aikido I had to be taught to go offline and to this day remain closer to centerline than many training partners expect.
re #5 I would say in my relatively limited experience it seems to me that in practice most teachers will teach and demonstrate both approaches so I wonder if it is truly philosophical or more either tradition or tactics or both. For example the most common responses I've seen as standard to shomenuchi for ikkyo is very much entering under the sword to occupy where uke is wanting to be. The few instructors I've seen who allow the shomenuchi to come to full fruition stand out by their rarity. Meanwhile in most of those dojos that agree on not allowing shomenuchi to fully manifest it is very common to allow a tsuki to do so while nage gets offline and a yokomenuchi may receive either treatment depending on what technique nage is supposed to do (enter directly into attack for gokyo vs let attack fully manifest for shihonage).
My two cents. Maybe worth less in today's economy!

graham christian
12-10-2011, 09:38 AM
Irimi as I have learned it is enter. Pure and simple. Enter. No specific path is implied other than that which allows me to control the center which varies a bit depending on situation. In eight basics as I was taught it sometimes it means directly entering ON centerline as for shomenuchi kokyunage, sometimes it means entering alongside as on tsuki kotegaishe. Where or from whom comes your belief it means off the line?

From the same place as you. Teacher. Then plus common sense. In order to blend with, thus Aikido.

Defined as passing behind.

Now if you also want to use it as passing straight through then so be it but in Aikido that would lead to confusions in communication and people doing irimi straight into a spear.

I don't believe you or anyone does move straight into anyway unless you're hitting someone with your chest or belly. Or maybe a head butt.

Regards.G.

gregstec
12-10-2011, 10:17 AM
One of the few times I find myself in sympathy with Homma.

Just the other day I was having dinner with an old timer from another art who was there in Hawaii to watch it all unfold. Interestingly, and too his credit, Tohei saw what he was training, told him to keep it up and not bother with aikido.

Anyway, as he was complaining that no one (especially the nanadans coming over from Japan) understands the training and the proper roll of teacher and student, I flat out asked him, "So what went wrong?" And he said (badly paraphrased) it was the 60s and that we (us. everyone) were looking for the guru so we, ourselves, created the monster and threw the traditions out. He watched it happen. Is routinely ignored because he doesn't play that game. And now he sees the home grown version stepping into positions of leadership. People prefer the imitation over the original.

I know what you mean - I am from that era and a lot of people were ripe for the mystical teachings of ki, and there were those that exploited that for their own benefit. Unfortunately, that gave Ki a bad name and turned people away from understanding how true ki is an integral part of developing a coordinated mind and body; which is a core requirement for establishing soft power in the internal arts.

Just my opinion...

Greg

graham christian
12-10-2011, 10:40 AM
I know what you mean - I am from that era and a lot of people were ripe for the mystical teachings of ki, and there were those that exploited that for their own benefit. Unfortunately, that gave Ki a bad name and turned people away from understanding how true ki is an integral part of developing a coordinated mind and body; which is a core requirement for establishing soft power in the internal arts.

Just my opinion...

Greg

Ahh, come on, be fair, a lot of people were also ripe for machokido. Come to think of it, a lot of people are always ripe for something......

Regards.G.

gregstec
12-10-2011, 11:21 AM
Ahh, come on, be fair, a lot of people were also ripe for machokido. Come to think of it, a lot of people are always ripe for something......

Regards.G.

Yeah, that was going on too - I guess it was just a ripe time in the west for anything mystical and from the far east...

Greg

hughrbeyer
12-10-2011, 09:20 PM
Hugh a straight line is always faster than a straight line plus something else. And an omote technique is a fast and decisive tactic against this kind of strike and if you are committed to always making a tenkan you've already eliminated some of your options.

I'll buy that the straight line is faster if you're measuring from point A to point B, but I don't think you want to do that here. I'm measuring from the time my attacker realizes I'm not going to be where he's striking to point B. If I can keep him focused on his strike by moving in, it's a very short and quick motion to turn out from under the strike. And I'm not committed to anything until I've done that.

Rupert Atkinson
12-10-2011, 11:50 PM
Ellis as an aikidoka I have a lot of problems with this article.
Niall

Sorry Niall, I'd say you are quite wrong. Read Ellis' articld again. He is spot on. And if you still don't see it, read it again a bit later. It makes perfect sense to me.

niall
12-11-2011, 12:25 AM
Phi yes that was Kuroiwa Sensei. I had coffee with him once. That was actually my point. Perhaps you can enter straight if the uke does the inexperienced - or fake - cut that ends up striking with the hands and sword grip near tori instead of the sharp end. That's the type of strike you often see in demonstrations. That's what gets the people who know about swords to shake their heads sadly. But most people I know don't want to train in the expectation of a poor attack. And if the uke means business you get cut if you come in straight. I'm not talking about changing the direction - a sincere strike with a normal straight shomen cut. Nice video of Saotome Sensei. He was already known for his excellent sword and jo techniques before he left Japan. In the video the uke isn't striking with a sword but Saotome Sensei gets off the line except when the uke overcommits. I like the handshake.

Janet staying close to the centre line is a great way to enter. A sword is not very thick. 5 degrees is good.

Janet Rosen
12-11-2011, 12:53 AM
From the same place as you. Teacher. Then plus common sense. In order to blend with, thus Aikido.

Defined as passing behind.

Now if you also want to use it as passing straight through then so be it but in Aikido that would lead to confusions in communication and people doing irimi straight into a spear.

I don't believe you or anyone does move straight into anyway unless you're hitting someone with your chest or belly. Or maybe a head butt.

Regards.G.
Believe what you like. We explicitly aim on shomenuchi to not move off the centerline but to meet the strike on centerline, deflecting it just enough to make it safe for nage to then slide in to position for technique - as opposed to letting uke have centerline while nage darts or slips past it. Our goal is a straight centerline entry.

Carsten Möllering
12-11-2011, 08:58 AM
I don't believe you or anyone does move straight into ...
As Janet says: Believe or not. We do.

graham christian
12-11-2011, 10:38 AM
As Janet says: Believe or not. We do.

Don't worry, I believe it. I don't disagree with it as workable either. I just don't say that is Irimi. I would say it's deflecting the attack off of center line followed by.........

To me that is doing then entering rather than entering. Anyway, that doesn't mean I don't do it too but I don't call that irimi.

I would even say that apart from the sword that principle is used in other arts too, that of staying on line, just look at some of the wing chun moves.

However even in such moves the hips turn or open slightly off line first before returning to on line.

None of this means right or wrong it means differentiate and see the difference in purpose.

Regards.G.

Ellis Amdur
12-12-2011, 01:32 AM
There is a story, I believe in one of Shioda's books, where he describes a pre-war Osensei teaching at a military academy, and challenged, stretches his arm with just his pinky resting on the edge of a table and has a number of men lie across his extended arm. Either a fantasy or it happened.

More directly, there is a wonderful photograph I:ve only seen once - with Osensei standing with his arm outstretched, with an obi or cloth looped around his extended arm and one or two guys hauling at the rope - Osensei unmoved. That picture looks very believable.

I believe that the Jo-trick is an *extension* of that level of power, coupled with "I cannot move my teacher" - BUT, Terry Dobson tells the story of never believing this trick, and jumping up and slamming into the guys pushing and simply bouncing off.

So what do I think? I truly think Ueshiba, due to his far greater level of training, has abilities beyond such "tricksters" as Tohei, for example. (Oh, please, don"t get upset. I put " " around the word). So either he could do it, just as it appears, or, as is more probable to me, he had a level of skills and power that were, in this demonstration, enhanced by the support of his students.

Ellis Amdur

Chris Li
12-12-2011, 01:48 AM
There is a story, I believe in one of Shioda's books, where he describes a pre-war Osensei teaching at a military academy, and challenged, stretches his arm with just his pinky resting on the edge of a table and has a number of men lie across his extended arm. Either a fantasy or it happened.

The bullet story and the tree story both came from Shioda as well. I always thought that was interesting because he always struck me as a no bullshit kind of guy.

In "Aikido Ichiro" Minoru Mochizuki, another no bullshit kind of guy, talks about Ueshiba's psychic powers.

Whether these things happened or not, I have no idea, but it does seem that Ueshiba was sufficiently convincing to make those guys believers.

Tohei, on the other hand, tended to discount those stories - but he did talk about his own psychic healing powers, and his ability to stun chickens with his Ki, so I guess YMMV.

Best,

Chris

Ellis Amdur
12-12-2011, 01:57 AM
Sorry, been off line - of all things, teaching an aikido seminar at a fine dojo in central Cali - the Akkan Dojo. (taught two days of irimi)

Niall - <sigh> You didn't read the article very carefully. I NOWHERE mention tachi-dori, which is a total absurdity. Your assertion that irimi, by what ever definition you choose, would be possible against a skilled swordsman - it just will not happen. Your description of how you would move to defeat a swordsman - that won't happen either. Your imagined possibility was exactly what Kuroiwa sensei was criticizing. (the funniest thing about that story was this. Kuroiwa brought it up during an all shihan movie. He said that afterwards, you couldn't hear a pin drop. And afterwards, he said, Saito sensei came up to him and said, "Yoku itte kureta" ("good on you. Thanks for saying it") - Kuroiwa said to me, "Saito sensei was a great man, but he didn't realize I meant him too."

That kenjutsu strike I mentioned is not necessarily go no sen. Itto-tachi can be executed sen sen no sen, sen no sen OR Go no sen.

You somehow read what I wrote as direct line against direct line. In other words, if someone punches me, I punch him in the fist with my fist. Irimi is a cutting ACROSS a line to the enemy's center. In xinyi, it is, in particular, pi ch'uan - called "splitting." One cuts across the opponent's line of attack. This can be from any angle. It is not a collision. For example, a double leg takedown is irimi. It is not a collision It is "diving" into the tsuki that is INSIDE the attack.

Please forgive me for making the following individual involved anonymous. I'm not telling this story for self-agrandizement - it's to illustrate a point, not score a point on a particular person. I used to train under a number of shihan in aikido, before I went to Japan. There was one in particular whose sword skills I was in awe of. I went to Japan, and started training in Araki-ryu. WE trained kata, we broke kata, we practiced freestyle. We cut at the body and if the person moved, we cut where they moved. We tried to anticipate where they moved and cut them before they got there. After training one year, I returned for a visit to the states and visited that particular shihan where he was teaching a seminar. He called me out, and handed me a shinai, held one himself and told me to attack him. He moved much as you describe Niall, and I tracked him. I could see him moving, and cut at his body, and slashed him across the back - hard. Based on what would have happened in my Araki-ryu training, this surprised the heck out of me, because such a simplistic sequence would be countered by my teacher. We were training at a lot higher level. The shihan in question, arched his back in pain, and whispered to me, "Nani shiteru no? Shinken shinai de kurei." - (What are you doing. Don't do it for real") I very carefully forced myself to return to what I was unfamiliar. Aikido style cutting, where, theoretically, once you begin a cut, you cannot alter the direction of your move and from that point on, his "irimi" was impeccable. . . . . .looking.

Anyway, irimi is simply cutting across/through their line, and having enough physical integrity and structure to make that possible (body as a sword) to the tsuki. You dive through and under like a seal coming up to grab a fish, or from above like a falcon dropping on prey, or slashing through like a cougar cutting the angle and grabbing the throat.

But again, this has nothing to do with a fantasy of an unarmed man, no matter how much aikido he knows, being able to defeat a skilled swordsman.

Ellis Amdur

phitruong
12-12-2011, 07:31 AM
I would say it's deflecting the attack off of center line followed by.........
Regards.G.

yup, we called it irimi for short, i.e. no point on wasting time describing the thing with a whole paragraph when a word would do. :)

sorokod
12-12-2011, 08:37 AM
Perhaps the following quote from Saito Morihiro sensei is relevant:

Aikido is generally believed to represent circular movments. Contrary to such belief,
however, Aikido, in its true Ki form, is a fierce art piercing straight through the
center of opposition. The nature of the art being such that you are not supposed to
adapt yourself to your partner by making a wide oblique turn of your body but are
called upon to find your way onward while twisting your hips."

Traditional Aikido Vol. 5

jonreading
12-12-2011, 09:06 AM
In my earlier post I alluded to the difference between irrimi the physical movement and irrimi the philosophical concept. After reading posts subsequent to mine, I would like to elaborate on that point.

I believe that irrimi in its philosophical and physical forms have evolved and digressed from one another. The result of this digression is that the modern notion of irrimi cannot be physically realized. So, we have changed the physical irrimi to comply within the philosophical notion of irrimi. Trouble is, this new irrimi doesn't work outside of aikido. Niall is correct in the sense that Ellis is coming from a koryu perspective. However, I believe the problem is not that the "irrimi" for the koryu arts is wrong, but rather the "new" irrimi may have serious flaws outside of its constructed rules of conduct within aikido. We have freedom here to do whatever irrimi we want. If your philosophy dictates how you perform your technique then be bold and proclaim your commitment, but don't excuse the techniques for what they are - philosophical exercise.

Second, my understanding of proper combat timing is that we must be prepared to perform any technique on any level of timing. While overly simplistic, I think I take issue with any claim that a given technique can only be performed at one point of time. I think is OK to acknowledge if we only know one timing in which to enter, but I have had too many good aikido people do technique to me in so many different ways my head spun.

What's worse... Those aikido people who understand irrimi as nage are also able to attack with irrimi. Elllis' comments about being able to cut aikido people by attacking with this same sense of irrimi is one of my logical proofs of aikido. Aikido is about parity - uke is just a mirror of nage, right? So if nage can move with irrimi, so can uke. I cannot resolve uke moving with the irrimi that is evasive, it just doesn't work. But, if I apply irrimi as the article discusses you get something that makes sense on both sides of the engagement, and will actually empower uke to succeed if nage incorrectly moves.

Anyway, those are some things I am working on now...

Demetrio Cereijo
12-12-2011, 09:19 AM
In my earlier post I alluded to the difference between irrimi the physical movement and irrimi the philosophical concept. After reading posts subsequent to mine, I would like to elaborate on that point.

I believe that irrimi in its philosophical and physical forms have evolved and digressed from one another. The result of this digression is that the modern notion of irrimi cannot be physically realized. So, we have changed the physical irrimi to comply within the philosophical notion of irrimi.

Very interesting.

Wondering if the change in the physical irimi had something to do with not getting right the philosophical notion of irimi.

graham christian
12-12-2011, 09:57 AM
I would say the physical change has everything to do with not being able to translate the philosophical into practice.

Simplicity: It is based on the attacker commanding and using that straight line of attack. Irimi says let him have it in more ways than one ha, ha.

Just because someone has never met someone who could do it doesn't mean it's not so. To me it means they need more training until they can.

They would have to know the principles of non-resistance, non-interference and pathways to do so. Until then they don't know and thus change it to suit.

If your purpose is to defeat the attacker then you will have a hard time understanding irimi in it's essence.

All 'tricks' by the way are seen as tricks for only one of two reasons in my mind. One is that they are beyond the observers understanding and looked at dismissively. The other is that the observer understands yet sees it as not true to the purpose of the activity and thus with a purpose of looking impressive or some such. However, all 'tricks' are principles in action.

I've been to a demonstration by Shioda Sensei and anyone who has would know it's full of 'tricks' and has the audience laughing. Good fun but also shows a measure of understanding and application of certain principles. Isn't I/P full of 'tricks'? Therefore it's using certain principles. Whether they align with the purpose of Aikido is open to debate.

Just like the principle of irimi, you don't know until you can do it rather than being an expert on how it can't be done.

Regards.G.

jonreading
12-12-2011, 10:31 AM
Demetrio-

I dunno. Honestly speaking, I do not have a solid answer that I would assert. However, we do have the concept of irrimi [better] preserved in other arts and we could look to those arts to reconstruct what we are doing. But, I think that would mean some reconstructing of the philosophical side too...

My gut tells me that there has been some "altering" on both sides. My gut feeling also tells me that we are missing the philosophy and our physical irrimi has been [more] twisted to suit the current notion we hold. Phi said it before, only in aikido do we need a small novella to express a concept that is covered in a chapter in every other martial art.

My face, your hand. If my hand gets there first, who is conflicting with whom?

niall
12-12-2011, 05:38 PM
Thanks Ellis. I thought I did read your article carefully. When you said ON THE SAME PATH in capital letters I assumed that you meant on the same path.

I mentioned tachidori in one of my seven points because it's a clear way to see the weak points in irimi. It's one method of training. It's nothing to do with fantasy. It's stylized like many aspects of martial arts. Not many people attack in real life with shomen uchi or ryote dori but we can learn something from them too. Tachidori is on many promotion tests in aikido. As I said in aikido we train in principles. The basic irimi is the same against any attack.

That's enough for words. Let me just illustrate what I mean by irimi. This is my late teacher Sadateru Arikawa Sensei (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adBPocxNWQ8) doing irimi (from 1.30). It's a beautiful, pure and effective movement. A sen no sen entry simultaneously getting off the line - as I already explained. It's the way I do irimi. It's the way I teach irimi.

And I'm not sure how to write to you through the authors mail so I'll do it here - welcome to the columns Ellis. Looking forward to reading your articles.

Regards,

Niall

Kevin Leavitt
12-12-2011, 11:26 PM
Actually most people intent on hurting you attack off your line. They tend to come in from behind or on the flank and NOT straight in on your line the way we tend to practice it. So it is even MORE important to turn your line toward theirs by entering. Moving any other direction only creates more space for them to continue their line of attack and improve it.

Ellis Amdur
12-12-2011, 11:39 PM
Just so there is no am ambiguity. I'm suggesting cutting not "off-line" or "in-line." "On the line, " the phrase i used, perhaps could more accurately be termed, "cutting through their line." Irimi creates space and allows us to occupy a space where one is not (or at least less) vulnerable, while making the enemy more vulnerable.
For an example of the relative as opposed to the absolute:
It is situational (specific) rather than general. For example, an individual lunges forward to tackle another, but is too high, and is choked in a "guillotine." But if he has a knife in his hand and has minimal skills in neutralizing such a choke (delaying his unconsciousness), this would be irimi.

Best
Ellis Amdur

Demetrio Cereijo
12-13-2011, 06:42 AM
My gut tells me that there has been some "altering" on both sides. My gut feeling also tells me that we are missing the philosophy and our physical irrimi has been [more] twisted to suit the current notion we hold.

It would be an interesting exercice to look for the unaltered versions and check if there are discordances between the physical form and the philosophical explanations, don't you think?

Kevin Leavitt
12-13-2011, 06:52 AM
I agree with Jon. Of course my view tends to be fairly abrubt and very direct and could use a little more skill. It has kept me alive though so i am okay with it.

jonreading
12-13-2011, 10:48 AM
Demetrio-

I think this is actually a fascinating subject and one I started looking into a little while back. Amdur Sensei has a background in both aikido and koryu systems and the article touches on what I have experienced when working in sword stuff and good empty-hand (especially a karate person or striker). That is maybe why I liked the article... as for the explanations of irrimi in other arts, I am still checking into them...

Also, I am starting to get the notion that aikido=irrimi. I am a big fan of the occupy movement.... The occupy space movement, that is.

Janet Rosen
12-13-2011, 04:49 PM
Also, I am starting to get the notion that aikido=irrimi. I am a big fan of the occupy movement.... The occupy space movement, that is.

Being a good Brooklyn girl I always subscribed to the Ratso Rizzi irimi occupation of space characterized by the kiai "I'm walkin' here!" :)

Budd
12-14-2011, 12:38 PM
So if aikido = irimi and is also 90 something percent atemi and you factor in someone like Kuroiwa's views on aikido technique related to boxing strikes as a method of fixing someone in place such that they have to reset and add on this whole newfangled internal strength resurgence/resurrection/rennaisance . . . sounds like a pretty intriguing type of study before you ever get to actually applying a specific waza.

Hrm.

graham christian
12-14-2011, 02:15 PM
So if aikido = irimi and is also 90 something percent atemi and you factor in someone like Kuroiwa's views on aikido technique related to boxing strikes as a method of fixing someone in place such that they have to reset and add on this whole newfangled internal strength resurgence/resurrection/rennaisance . . . sounds like a pretty intriguing type of study before you ever get to actually applying a specific waza.

Hrm.

If is a big word......ha,ha.

Budd
12-14-2011, 02:59 PM
If is a big word......ha,ha.

Dude, it's two letters

Demetrio Cereijo
12-14-2011, 03:09 PM
If is a big castle.....ha,ha.
Fixed.

jonreading
12-14-2011, 07:35 PM
You ain't kidding... of course, Kuriowa, as well as some other shihan, advocated that "waza" (kata no kihon waza, that is) was less important than "kihon" (which was the whole irrimi connecton). In any case, I am starting to be seriously convinced about this get your house in order stuff before I started tripping over technique.

Don't even get me started on the whole atemi is used to take and occupy space thing. Atemi=irrimi=aikido. Damn.

Chuck Clark
12-14-2011, 07:56 PM
Atemi=irrimi=aikido. Damn.

:) , :straightf

Add kiai with a / in front of atemi and I wholeheartedly agree... and damned straight... right on!

A Peaceful, Safe, and Joyful Holiday Season To All,

Chuck Clark

graham christian
12-14-2011, 09:47 PM
Dude, it's two letters

But is even bigger....

graham christian
12-14-2011, 09:52 PM
Fixed.

Hold on, a new level here. How did you change the words of a quote? Do you work for hombu? ha,ha.

Regards.G.

Ellis Amdur
01-02-2012, 01:18 AM
Just to go full "circle" on this thread, here is a quotation from Fujita Masatake:

The body movement used in aikido is summarized in the expression “enter in one step, and apply the principle of circularity.” (irimi issoku, enten no ri). You use your center to enter and displace the opponent’s center as much as possible. This is irimi. So the “Fujita theory” means training in a way that thoroughly explores this use of irimi.

Ellis Amdur

Ellis Amdur
01-27-2012, 07:44 PM
Still revisiting this somewhat old, but still interesting subject.

Here is Nishio Sensei's take on irimi (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mt4ts-rOpyM).

Ellis Amdur

Takahama
01-28-2012, 04:52 AM
For me, a clip in the following video demonstrates my understanding of the irimi principle.

It's a nine minute video but the relevant section I'm referring to occurs only in the first 1.5 seconds. Blink and you'll miss it! You'll certainly have to replay it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmSnb-Es2vI

(Notice the 'shita kara ue' nature of the movement).

c walker
01-29-2012, 03:59 PM
Thanks for posting the video Ellis, I especially liked the comment " In Aikido, victory is decided at the moment of contact".
Its so interesting to read the different concepts of what irimi is and is not to different aikidoka`s. In our practise we work from the foundation that,

"Aikido is the physical manifestation (irimi / tenkan) of a universal law (yin / yang)".

Everything we do when practising with our partner/attacker is to try and create irimi. Without irimi there is no Aikido. When we say irimi / tenkan we mean
Irimi -- to enter and control.
Tenkan -- to receive and control.
"It is often said that they are different sides of the same coin" - Tamura Shihan.
I would be interested in your thoughts on this and from the guys who are from a Tamura background, as we work from his foundations,

cheers.
Chris.

Ellis Amdur
01-29-2012, 06:14 PM
Chris - Tamura sensei is someone I never met. So I don't know exactly what he meant by that statement. For my part, as I've written, in various forms in both Dueling with O-sensei and HIPS, irimi is engagement and is required in any and all moves, and tenkan is a controlled <permutation> when the opponent is also executing irimi. As if, two spear tips meet - and the victor is the one who, without retracting, avoiding or pulling back, <spirals around> the other's irimi.

In other words, tenkan is an accentuation of the spiral inherent in any irimi.

Best
Ellis Amdur

Janet Rosen
01-29-2012, 07:33 PM
and the victor is the one who, without retracting, avoiding or pulling back, <spirals around> the other's irimi.
In other words, tenkan is an accentuation of the spiral inherent in any irimi.


without retracting, avoiding or pulling back = to me the essence of correct tenkan.

Henrypsim
04-04-2012, 11:15 AM
you can get behind them by going through them. i have practiced with folks whose training involved staying on the line and taking the center as well as folks who always getting off line. i found that folks who trained to stay on the line didn't have problem getting off line; that's just another option for them. however, folks who always trained with getting off the line, had a hard time stay on the line when required, i.e. put them on a log bridge exercise.

Great comment. "Once off line, Uke have more time to continue/mount another attack. Please consider staying on line and use yin and yang. Demonstrated by videos of Yamashima sensei, Bill Gleason sensei and many others who uses ground path and yin and yang or Bruce Lee's movies. One of Bruce Lee's favorite is to "dissolve the attach and attach (enter) at he same time". Again, yin and yang (O-sensei's secret).