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carpeviam
10-12-2015, 10:51 AM
I've always found ushiro to be an unwieldy, unnatural attack, and I've heard a lot of other people complain about it as well. It makes me wonder, what is its purpose in the aikido curriculum? Is it related to a for-real attack? What are the lessons inherent in this set of techniques? Is there a particular historical reason for its being there?

PeterR
10-12-2015, 11:07 AM
I am sorry what is ushiro - for me it just means backwards/behind.

Cliff Judge
10-12-2015, 11:39 AM
The way it was put into combative context for me is essentially: uke is trying to seize you so his friend can come up and stab you.

PeterR
10-12-2015, 11:41 AM
If you are talking about a cross-lapel choke from behind its quite an effective controlling attack - what makes it feel cumbersome is if it is instigated from the front starting with a hand-grab. Certainly there is a lot of travel time but name one standard aikido attack that doesn't suffer some sort of problem. Try the same attack approaching from behind and to the side. Counters are still pretty much the same.

PeterR
10-12-2015, 11:47 AM
The way it was put into combative context for me is essentially: uke is trying to seize you so his friend can come up and stab you.

Yes - a controlling attack.

Cliff Judge
10-12-2015, 11:55 AM
If you are talking about a cross-lapel choke from behind its quite an effective controlling attack - what makes it feel cumbersome is if it is instigated from the front starting with a hand-grab. Certainly there is a lot of travel time but name one standard aikido attack that doesn't suffer some sort of problem. Try the same attack approaching from behind and to the side. Counters are still pretty much the same.

In the Aikikai and related groups, ushiro techniques are a family that involve attacks that start with the type of wrist grab you describe, or one of those "cloth of the shoulder" grabs - and uke is going around for the other hand, the other shoulder, or a choke.

FWIW, interesting to me, Daito ryu has sets of "actual" ushiro kata, where uke starts off directly behind you and takes a couple of steps forward before making a specific attack.

PeterR
10-12-2015, 01:52 PM
In the Aikikai and related groups, ushiro techniques are a family that involve attacks that start with the type of wrist grab you describe, or one of those "cloth of the shoulder" grabs - and uke is going around for the other hand, the other shoulder, or a choke.

FWIW, interesting to me, Daito ryu has sets of "actual" ushiro kata, where uke starts off directly behind you and takes a couple of steps forward before making a specific attack.

Shodokan has a number of those in their formal kata also and the particular attack you describe.

If you look at my gif in the upper left you see one of my favourite techniques - the ushiro-ate - which is why I was a bit confused with the original question.

rugwithlegs
10-12-2015, 04:06 PM
All martial arts seem to have some form of practice for someone grabbing them from behind.

Some groups will start from static, and I find this is a good feedback mechanism. I can check my alignment pretty easily. It's not more martial, as anytime someone does grab you from behind it's quickly turning into a throw.

The larger more flowing stuff, I make it a series of exercises to see if I can stop someone from getting behind me. It's worthwhile for me to have this intention as I shift, step, or turn.

I've played either one with my eyes closed.

Some of the reversals for throws like Iriminage do come out of Ushiro ryotedori, Ushiro ryokata Dori, Ushiro kubishime, or Eri Dori. (Trying to keep it clear). Peter gives a great example, Ushiro Ryokata Dori very probably is Ushiro Ate done full out.

PeterR
10-13-2015, 03:44 AM
Ushiro Ryokata Dori very probably is Ushiro Ate done full out.
Now that has me a bit curious.

Ushiro-ate is part of the randori no kata which as the name implies is a core technique (variations also allowed) of the full-resistance randori Shodokan is known for. I surprised a very strong judo player (beefy Japanese sandan) using it as a counter to what could have been a life flashing before my eyes throw. In that case it was a more static variation but I am in love with the faster more dynamic variations which when done right are unbeatable. As usual timing is everything but the combination of spinal manipulation and kuzushi make this technique special in my eyes. Hmmm - topic of next Saturdays class.

Anyhow - it's a little hard for me to envision a more full out version especially form the clips and images I found for Ushiro Ryokata Dori. I am prepared to be corrected since I am aware of the limitations of images and clips.

rugwithlegs
10-13-2015, 04:38 AM
Now that has me a bit curious.

Anyhow - it's a little hard for me to envision a more full out version especially form the clips and images I found for Ushiro Ryokata Dori. I am prepared to be corrected since I am aware of the limitations of images and clips.

I was interrupted while writing. You haven't any need to be corrected. I meant the exact opposite; that our attack, ushiro ryokatadori when done full out is Ushiro-ate. You're in an interesting position to test my theory on that, whether or not our practice is a representation of a means to reverse ushiro-ate.

I was shown versions using kubishime, or ushiro ryotekubidori and doing much the same leading down motion. I assume these are still Ushiro-ate variations?

I find it interesting that this movement is one of the atemiwaza, but any strikes are less obvious than with the other variations (at least to my eyes).

PeterR
10-13-2015, 05:07 AM
I was interrupted while writing. You haven't any need to be corrected. I meant the exact opposite; that our attack, ushiro ryokatadori when done full out is Ushiro-ate.

Got it.

I was shown versions using kubishime, or ushiro ryotekubidori and doing much the same leading down motion. I assume these are still Ushiro-ate variations?

Well interestingly part of last Saturday's lesson focused on the elbow control as a transition point for four techniques. Mae-otoshi (forward throw), Shihonage, Ushiro-ate and a non-standard variation of the latter which was a kubishime. In that case the atemi was very clear with the upper arm making good contact with the neck before completing the choke.

I find it interesting that this movement is one of the atemiwaza, but any strikes are less obvious than with the other variations (at least to my eyes).

Well in Shodokan parlance any irimi technique could be classed as an atemi waza - usually much more clear for the omote versions. Still to address your point for the ushiro-ate the shote makes contact with the soft point just in front of collar bone and applies a downward push along with the backwards pull. The end result is a collapsing of the spine. As you know atemi in Japanese martial arts is not necessarily percussive and in aikido is more likely to affect the spine rather than bloody a nose.

jonreading
10-13-2015, 06:38 AM
1. Rear control attacks should be devastating. Across a variety of arts, rear control attacks are desirable and difficult to defend. I would advocate that aikido rear attacks should be effective.
2. O Sensei used rear attacks starting from the rear - several of his techniques in Budo Renshustart from a rear control (not starting from the front). This is different than how we typically initiate ushiro waza.

The extended front initiation was something added in later, more like a movie-style handcuffing experience. Sometimes we cheat and never really let our partner "get behind" us to begin with... We make them start in front and run around to our rear and we simply turn and never let them get a rear position. While a good intention, I think this is probably not technically a rear defense, since your partner is never really behind you. It may be good movement, but different than a rear-initiated attack.

As an observation that helped me with my perspective of ushiro waza... If I am using aiki to affect my patner on contact, then regardless of where she touches me, I should be able to unbalance her without moving. This would allow me to apply aiki from any point of contact, even the rear. I believe this is very difficult to actually do.

JP3
10-18-2015, 09:04 PM
Typically, when you are looking at a kata technique and you say to yourself, "Nobody would ever really attack someone that way." What you should probably do is think about if the attacker is merely the first, or initial attacker, merely meant to immobilize you while another bad guy is coming up from another direction to do something very nasty to you, e.g. stab you in the belly/chest, cut your head off, put a rope around you to do something less immediately painful but probably more long-term horrible to you and so forth. The idea of these is to render the initial attack ineffectual while still being ready for the other guy.

Tim Ruijs
10-21-2015, 04:22 AM
Not all techniques in Aikido have martial/fighting purpose.
Ushiro waza is to improve posture/shisei and work with the 'backside' of your center.

PeterR
10-21-2015, 05:54 AM
Not all techniques in Aikido have martial/fighting purpose.
Ushiro waza is to improve posture/shisei and work with the 'backside' of your center.

Not sure I can agree with the bold face of this statement.

By techniques I imagine something that can be applied in our martial art - with some being more effective than others. Drills and exercises are a different matter.

Some attacks (ushiro is considered an attack) do have other benefits I suppose but it really is a stretch to consider those benefits the main purpose. Of course I consider aikido a martial art.

Back in the day (when I was a young and impressionable 35 years old) I was told that much of aikido is defending against a lightly armed attacker. More specifically a lot of the wrist grabs are to prevent the drawing of a knife. Knives being much more of an issue in those days than swords, guns and pepper spray. Itinerant traders used to wrap their bellies is stiff cloth for a reason. Anyhow - if I was of the nasty persuasion grabbing a hand trying to draw a knife and then whipping around back for a choke so my partner in crime can do his bit is not that far out of the realm of possibility. It makes even more sense if my victim tries to get away rather than confront me - the back could become more accessible. Ushiro, as I now understand, is a stylised form of that.

Tim Ruijs
10-21-2015, 06:09 AM
Why would you practise for a situation that should not happen in the first place?

Why would you allow someone to 'reach' your back when he initially attacks from the front? Like your knife example... When that happens you made a few mistakes already...

Nikkyo was developed to free your wrist/arm to draw your sword (the opponent tried to block you from drawing it by grapping your wrist).

different angle: you really want to fight in suwari waza...hanmi handachi...these training techniques serve a purpose, but they are not (directly) martial...

PeterR
10-21-2015, 06:49 AM
Why would you practise for a situation that should not happen in the first place?

Why would you allow someone to 'reach' your back when he initially attacks from the front? Like your knife example... When that happens you made a few mistakes already...

Nikkyo was developed to free your wrist/arm to draw your sword (the opponent tried to block you from drawing it by grapping your wrist).

different angle: you really want to fight in suwari waza...hanmi handachi...these training techniques serve a purpose, but they are not (directly) martial...

As part of the discussion. All that you mention above have a martial origin - it really is up to you if you want to continue training in them. I am pretty sure I will never be attacked by a rabid knife wielding attacker but its fun and the lessons learnt permeate to all my aikido. Hence I would make the same point if you wished to train for that.

Suwariwaza is an interesting case which I had been reviewing recently. Oshitaoshi (ikkyu) from suwariwaza allows one to perform safely a far more brutal version (straight down) then would be possible from standing. I don't have to refer to palace etiquette to justify that training mode.

Back to ushiro - there are may reasons for turning away not all of them good but we are talking about an attacker trying to gain control of your arm and back. I was just mentioning that there are circumstances (ie. more than one attacker) that things could go south very quickly with the turning away more the attackers hope than the victims incorrect action.

phitruong
10-21-2015, 07:00 AM
Why would you allow someone to 'reach' your back when he initially attacks from the front? Like your knife example... When that happens you made a few mistakes already...


someone tried to handcuff you, perhaps? someone bumps into you, while his/her partner pick your pockets from the other side as you turn around to face the one who bumped into you? in the universe if infinite possibility, lots of things can happen.

different angle: you really want to fight in suwari waza...hanmi handachi...these training techniques serve a purpose, but they are not (directly) martial...

saw a bunch of bjj and ufc fights where one person on his/her knees, the other on his/her back in a compromised position, suwari waza, anyone? i have always wondered if folks who practice bjj would automatically go into guard mode with their spouses? :D

we were practice weapons outside (which we usually do), in the grass, last week. it was morning and the grass was still wet. i took too long a step, slip, fell, then roll onto my knees, while my partner still came at me with a weapon. i am thinking hanmi handachi? i am also thinking about ham-n-cheese sandwich, with a side of sweet potato fries, for lunch; oddest thoughts came to mind in moment of stress.

Cliff Judge
10-21-2015, 11:08 AM
I am not saying ushiro techniques were meant to have anything to do with this, but I have noticed that untrained people, when you put an ikkyo on them, will tend to pivot at their waist and give you their back, turning your technique into an ushiro attack.

jonreading
10-21-2015, 11:10 AM
I would advocate that achieving a rear position in grappling and striking is desirable in most open-ended sparring/fighting situations. The effectiveness of the position makes it desirable and this is evidenced in any number of sport fight clips in which fighters work pretty hard to get that position. I think rear attacks are not only a desirable attack, but it is something most grapplers find themselves defending quite often.

I think we should not confuse "want" with "can"; there are a lot of things I want to do, but I can't. I don't want a fighter take my back, but sometimes I can't stop her. Whether I lose that position because I made a mistake or my partner gave me a good attack, I don't think we should dismiss defending the position. Rather, that they are good attacks should give us something concrete to resolve through our best management. Like Cliff pointed out, we often see inexperienced partners poorly manage their body movement, which results in degenerating their position - evidence what they did was not the best decision, given the situation...

kewms
10-21-2015, 01:22 PM
Are we really arguing about whether an attacker would want to grab someone from behind? What's next, the blueness of the sky?

Now, I'll agree that the way ushiro attacks are generally taught is often not all that realistic, but how realistic is it to always expect to confront an attacker face-to-face, from approximately one or two steps away?

As an exercise, try this:

Uke attacks, starting with a prescribed attack, and adding complexity from there. Nage can do any appropriate technique. After throwing, nage doesn't move, just stops in whatever the finish position for the throw was. Uke attacks again from wherever they ended up. Repeat.

Next, add multiple attackers. Still sequentially, not all at once, but they can come from wherever they happen to be, toward whatever part of nage happens to be exposed.

Katherine

Cliff Judge
10-21-2015, 02:53 PM
I think the criticism is that ushiro techniques are "training for a failure scenario." To which the obvious reply is, stuff happens, why not be prepared for it on general principle? Though we don't do much ground fighting in Aikido and that's a highly celebrated failure scenario, so it seems a bit off in that respect.

I think there might be a similar criticism, to wit, "why are we training to allow uke to grab one hand and then run around behind us before we execute a technique?" Which I think was the original question of this thread, and I don't think we've really had a good answer in this thread.

PeterR
10-21-2015, 03:40 PM
I think there might be a similar criticism, to wit, "why are we training to allow uke to grab one hand and then run around behind us before we execute a technique?" Which I think was the original question of this thread, and I don't think we've really had a good answer in this thread.
I would have thought we execute the technique while they are running around.

kewms
10-21-2015, 05:39 PM
I think the criticism is that ushiro techniques are "training for a failure scenario." To which the obvious reply is, stuff happens, why not be prepared for it on general principle? Though we don't do much ground fighting in Aikido and that's a highly celebrated failure scenario, so it seems a bit off in that respect.

I think there might be a similar criticism, to wit, "why are we training to allow uke to grab one hand and then run around behind us before we execute a technique?" Which I think was the original question of this thread, and I don't think we've really had a good answer in this thread.

As I see it, multiple attackers (or at least the possibility thereof) are one of aikido's fundamental assumptions. As such, one would want to avoid going to the ground at all costs, and the likelihood of at least one attacker being able to get behind you is quite high.

As for the "why train to allow uke to run behind" question, I think that's a (valid) criticism of specific ushiro training methods, not of ushiro technique generally. And so the only reasonable answer is "so don't train that way." There are plenty of much more plausible ways to create a ushiro attack scenario.

Katherine

Tim Ruijs
10-22-2015, 02:47 AM
I think there might be a similar criticism, to wit, "why are we training to allow uke to grab one hand and then run around behind us before we execute a technique?" Which I think was the original question of this thread, and I don't think we've really had a good answer in this thread.

Exactly.
Aite does not run around tori. The initial attack is to grab the arm and go for the center line of tori (i.e. frontal attack) with the other arm. Tori however moves slightly to the side and turns so aite cannot reach the center line anymore. When (and only when) tori decides to aite can enter the back to attack with choke (kubeshime etc).
Aite has to adapt his/her initial attack because tori starts changing the situation by moving. During that change aite's strategy becomes attack the side or back of tori.
Kuzushi: aite's mind is off balance...

BTW martial arts training cannot prevent the freak attack. Like someone using a firearm in a train, explosives in marathon...bla bla
When you are not aware of being attacked, you initially are victim of the situation. Martial arts, traditionally, is about learning to fight....
at least fo me, before everybody attacks me on that one too ;-(

PeterR
10-22-2015, 07:50 AM
at least fo me, before everybody attacks me on that one too ;-(

Nahhh - just trying to get behind you.

Cliff Judge
10-22-2015, 09:38 AM
As I see it, multiple attackers (or at least the possibility thereof) are one of aikido's fundamental assumptions. As such, one would want to avoid going to the ground at all costs, and the likelihood of at least one attacker being able to get behind you is quite high.

As for the "why train to allow uke to run behind" question, I think that's a (valid) criticism of specific ushiro training methods, not of ushiro technique generally. And so the only reasonable answer is "so don't train that way." There are plenty of much more plausible ways to create a ushiro attack scenario.

Katherine

I tend to think the way we do things in Daito ryu is better, particularly for the way we practice randori in Aikido (which we don't do in Daito ryu).

But last time I checked the ASU manual in Shobukan's office it had the typical Aikikai "let uke grab your wrist and run around behind you rather than executing a kosadori technique" type ushiro techniques listed as testing requirements for third kyu.

So I mean, these things are part of some of our kihon waza.

kewms
10-22-2015, 10:19 AM
But last time I checked the ASU manual in Shobukan's office it had the typical Aikikai "let uke grab your wrist and run around behind you rather than executing a kosadori technique" type ushiro techniques listed as testing requirements for third kyu.

I don't remember the last time I looked at the ASU manual, so I'm not going to comment on it.

But this would not be an accurate description of the ushiro attack in ASU dojos where I've trained. If you *can* do a kosadori response without allowing uke to get behind you, then yes, you absolutely should.

Katherine

phitruong
10-22-2015, 11:09 AM
i have done the run around things before and always thought it was kinda silly.

take kosadori iriminage for example, uke grabs you, you take uke balance, open the space and enter right behind uke. so for ushiro, instead of uke grabs you, you (as uke) grab nage and execute kosadori iriminage on nage, which put you behind nage. so now, nage has to deal with the ushiro situation.

jonreading
10-22-2015, 11:13 AM
I don't remember the last time I looked at the ASU manual, so I'm not going to comment on it.

But this would not be an accurate description of the ushiro attack in ASU dojos where I've trained. If you *can* do a kosadori response without allowing uke to get behind you, then yes, you absolutely should.

Katherine

The thought of George sensei grabbing your hand and "running around behind you" just made me snort at my desk. Out loud.

I don't think on paper anyone in aikido would claim to promote an ineffective attack. However, in practice I understand that our attacks may have strayed from "effective," and this is not unique to ushiro attacks. Nor is excusing ineffective attacks for some reason. I think it is surprising how quickly someone who knows how to attack can get to your back. I think part of why we start from the front is to give nage some time to process and deal with the attack. If the training wheels are off... uke should also...Making someone attack like a tool so you can trash 'em is not cool.

We know "attacks" are supposed to work. If your attack does not work, I am betting on user error. If your attack works and your partner just has a great response, everyone wins. Why else would my punch not land like Mike Tyson's? Both attacks are just punches... Also, I don't own a tiger. Yet.

Cliff Judge
10-22-2015, 11:19 AM
I don't remember the last time I looked at the ASU manual, so I'm not going to comment on it.

But this would not be an accurate description of the ushiro attack in ASU dojos where I've trained. If you *can* do a kosadori response without allowing uke to get behind you, then yes, you absolutely should.

Katherine

Well that must be fun when people go up for their sankyu tests!

You really HAVE to allow uke to grab you and run around behind you or you don't get a chance to practice the ushiro techniques we have in mainstream Aikido.

kewms
10-22-2015, 11:28 AM
The thought of George sensei grabbing your hand and "running around behind you" just made me snort at my desk. Out loud.

Heh. As it happens, we just worked on ushiro attacks last night. He doesn't run (anywhere) much, but he's really good at grabbing your hand and putting you in front of him. Presto, ushiro!

I think it is surprising how quickly someone who knows how to attack can get to your back. I think part of why we start from the front is to give nage some time to process and deal with the attack. If the training wheels are off... uke should also...Making someone attack like a tool so you can trash 'em is not cool.

Yep. This whole assumption that no one will ever get behind a competent aikidoka unless allowed to do so? Really? You must not train with the same people I do.

Katherine

kewms
10-22-2015, 11:31 AM
Well that must be fun when people go up for their sankyu tests!

You really HAVE to allow uke to grab you and run around behind you or you don't get a chance to practice the ushiro techniques we have in mainstream Aikido.

I don't think there's much point in discussing this via internet. I'll just agree with Jon's observation that it's remarkably easy for a good attacker to get to your back, whether you're "allowing" him to or not.

Are people at the sankyu level good attackers? Maybe not, but they should at least be capable of challenging a sankyu-level defender.

Katherine

Cliff Judge
10-22-2015, 12:13 PM
If we are saying that one of these ushiro attacks happens when you've failed to pull off a kosadori technique, and otherwise they should not happen, I think that's really problematic. (Though it may be entirely accurate).

First of all, its difficult. Just because George can ignore your kosadori technique and your attempts to keep your front to him, doesn't mean people who at or beneath your level are going to pull it off most times. So you are structuring your training such that 90% of the time uke fails to get around there and create the ushiro scenario. (And it's gonna be kosadori nikkyo most of the time...OWW).

Secondly...isn't this a bit fighty and competitive? (Nage, you want to try your best to do a kosa technique. But uke's, you want to shut that technique down if you can and take 'em in the rear.) YMMV on that. But for white belts, do you or don't you want them to practice ushiro techniques? Does that or doesn't it require nage NOT taking their balance on first contact but instead letting them come around behind? Otherwise they'll spend years fretting about how they don't get this first part right and will tend to not get to the next part. Or you just flat out confuse them because you are telling them to do two different things.

I think my overall agenda on this thing is that these techniques are part of the "Aikido is kind of like dancing" and "uke should never resist technique but should flow with it" side of Aikido that few people on these forums like very much.

Cliff Judge
10-22-2015, 12:32 PM
(And they should probably be ditched from kihon waza, maybe replaced by having uke walk straight up to you from behind and try to do something).

kewms
10-22-2015, 12:50 PM
I did not say that ushiro attacks only happen when a kosadori technique fails. See upthread, where I pointed out that uke could potentially be initiating their attack from any direction, or that there could be multiple attackers. But on the other hand, there are lots of ways to mess up a kosadori technique, and maybe one way to learn what they are and how to avoid them is to have them result in a ushiro-based reversal. I think your assumption that kosadori technique is 90% successful against a comparably skilled attacker is ... optimistic.

Yes, of course pulling off a ushiro attack from a frontal approach against a skillful defender is difficult. That's why people need to be taught to do it properly, so that their partners can train against people who know what they're doing.

Yes, of course there needs to be some cooperative element at the white belt level. I wouldn't attack a brand new beginner the same way I would attack a peer. Duh. But if I'm still attacking them the same way five, ten, or fifteen years later, is anyone actually learning anything?

Finally, I never said anything about resisting the technique. Going with the flow of nage's movement is often an *excellent* way to get behind them, because very often people have enormous openings to the back side.

Katherine

Janet Rosen
10-22-2015, 05:52 PM
I don't think there's much point in discussing this via internet. I'll just agree with Jon's observation that it's remarkably easy for a good attacker to get to your back, whether you're "allowing" him to or not.

Are people at the sankyu level good attackers? Maybe not, but they should at least be capable of challenging a sankyu-level defender.

Katherine

At our dojo, at junior levels ushiro attacks are done from static. Students get to focus on proper defensive body movement, forward projection rather than backing out, etc. instead of "running around nage", which is how I was taught it originally and always found silly. We first ramp up the static attack to trying to take arms back and take balance backwards, then transition to slowly dynamic attacks once they are successfully dealing with the static version.

Tim Ruijs
10-23-2015, 01:59 AM
Interesting comments...

Ever looked closely at higher ranked Aikidoka's doing ushiro?
How much time does aite really spent behind tori?
(go tai is not what I am addressing here,I refer to ryu tai/ki tai)

In Aikido you practise to withstand an attacker that is just little better than you are. That makes you think, search and try to solve the issues that arise.
An attacker that can get behind you is simply a little better than you are; try and find a way to prevent that! Why is it that George can enter and others cannot?
Study! You should have this mindset at all times!

but still your comments make me think about it, so thanx and keep 'em coming :D

rugwithlegs
10-23-2015, 05:40 AM
I do like the static grabs for some types of practice, but if I'm on the move that type of attack is unlikely.

A shihan in Delaware had us practicing an interesting version of ushiro ryotekubidori. In low rank practice, we either grab or someone runs around and doesn't transmit movement into nage. The USAF Iriminage is entering behind and doing something I think related to Peter's GIF, Uke's spine is given a half twist so that they hit the floor face first if they don't react. Anyway, long lead into the story - we attacked by grabbing both wrists behind someone, but we kept moving in the same direction and uke falls face down with both hands secured behind. We had to do it slowly, and my sternum took a bit of a beating.

There are good structural lessons from a static grab, but the handful of times someone got behind me outside the dojo they didn't lightly hold my shoulder and wait. One bear hug had me picked up and dumped hard on the ground. Learning to respond to the feel of the movement coming on, not waiting until the grab is complete and locked down - these things are actually valid martial ideas.

The full choreography - I break it down to shift, step, or turn and the little dance does seem to usually involve some or all of these three movements in any particular order. Practice stuffing/reversing Iriminage.

I also borrow an idea I see in other practices - we are not going to do a whole kata in randori or a real situation. Each single movement is an opportunity to stop the interaction. I practiced tsuki uchi kaitenage many times; in randori making all the various movements real, I end up doing udekimenage or Shomenate or something less than the whole practice form. I like to approach it as someone wants to outflank me, and I try several things to stop this first.

jonreading
10-23-2015, 09:07 AM
From my perspective, ushiro attacks are, by their nature, an attack from the rear. That attack may follow a failed attack from any other direction, but it is not limited to that scenario. In fact, a failed preliminary movement may be a bait or distraction to facilitate taking the back; you see this all the time in wrestling arts. I think we confuse extending the attack with extra movement for the actual attack.

I tend to think of most of our attacks as starting with deliberate aspects built in to allow learning. Maybe its timing, maybe its distance, maybe its prohibiting movement, maybe its assumptions of intent. Whatever. I am adding room to let my partner figure things out. As we improve, we should remove the aspects that gave us the space and perspective to learn what to do. I would not grab a 6 kyu the same way I would grab a shodan. The attack should match the level of learning, understanding that we really can't handle some attacks at elevated levels of skill.

When you speak of defending rear attacks with impunity, it tarnishes what we do. There are good fighters who work very hard to attack and defend the rear who have the personal experience to understand it is actually very difficult to do both things. Ushiro is a trick - a tool that makes us work with something other than how we move our bodies from the front. My arms don't rotate the same way. My muscle bunches don't have the same strength. I can't see. These variables should drive us to better use the one thing that should work for us, aiki.

kewms
10-23-2015, 11:35 AM
At our dojo, at junior levels ushiro attacks are done from static. Students get to focus on proper defensive body movement, forward projection rather than backing out, etc. instead of "running around nage", which is how I was taught it originally and always found silly. We first ramp up the static attack to trying to take arms back and take balance backwards, then transition to slowly dynamic attacks once they are successfully dealing with the static version.

Yep, here too. But by sankyu, all test techniques are done dynamically.

Katherine

kewms
10-23-2015, 11:47 AM
I also borrow an idea I see in other practices - we are not going to do a whole kata in randori or a real situation. Each single movement is an opportunity to stop the interaction. I practiced tsuki uchi kaitenage many times; in randori making all the various movements real, I end up doing udekimenage or Shomenate or something less than the whole practice form. I like to approach it as someone wants to outflank me, and I try several things to stop this first.

Yep. The best technique is the one you never have to use, because you covered the opening before a potential attacker even saw it, and he decided to go bother someone else. Next best is to see his potential attack coming, move to prevent it, and force him to change plans (or go bother someone else). Next best is kuzushi on contact, rendering the rest of whatever he was planning to do ineffective. And so on.

To actually complete a dojo-style technique, you need an attacker who is skillful enough to *not* fail at any of the points between the initial attack and the final takedown: they keep attacking, no matter what you throw at them, until you are ultimately forced to complete the technique. (Of course, such an attacker will also be looking for reversal opportunities.)

This is generally more explicit in weapons forms. The way we are taught, each cut and each block is a potential finishing blow. The form happens only when each of these is successfully defended against. (And variations spring from other possible responses.)

Katherine

rugwithlegs
10-23-2015, 04:53 PM
[QUOTE=Katherine Derbyshire;345574
This is generally more explicit in weapons forms. The way we are taught, each cut and each block is a potential finishing blow. The form happens only when each of these is successfully defended against. (And variations spring from other possible responses.)

Katherine[/QUOTE]

I completely agree, and yet I wonder why that is so. Each sword cut is a potential lethal fight ending move, but when we say Aikido comes from the sword, each hand movement is not thought of as a fight ending move.

Ushiro katatedori starts I guess as a strike to the abdomen that presses the hand down. Then, kosadori which could lead to a take down or pull into an atemi, then grabbing me from behind where I am less effective and finishing off with a number of strikes (Kawahara sensei showed kicks to the back of the knees sometimes).

Go around in a silly dance is not martial. Going around, gaining momentum and locking the shoulder and spine and throwing with some centrifugal force, fine in martial. The problem isn't the going around.

Keith Larman
10-24-2015, 07:34 AM
I get kinda baffled by parts of these discussions. I see many techniques as simply additional ways to pressure test my ability to do my thing (aikido) regardless of what's going on. So if someone figures out a way to drop from the sky upside down flipping into position as they grab me, I'd be happily trying it out just to see what I could do and how I might adjust.

Every technique adds experience and allows more development. Yeah, I tend to focus on attacks I feel are more likely, but as the old expression goes, I'd pee on a spark plug if I thought it would help.

Heck, back when I was competing in high levels in tennis as a teen, I'd spend hours hitting a ball against the wall. Just to practice my strokes. I never planned on taking the wall on in a tournament.

So big shrug. Whatever.

Mary Eastland
10-24-2015, 11:45 AM
I do like it when uke attacks logically and does not just run around me mindlessly. Ushiro attacks offer great opportunities to get moving.

I agree with Keith on this one. My goal is to never to be attacked in real life. Traditional aikido attacks allow me to move in kata with another allowing me to get to know me and them and how we interact together.

Mary Eastland
10-25-2015, 06:11 PM
ooops

Cliff Judge
10-26-2015, 08:08 AM
I spent some time looking for a video I have seen of Osensei performing Ushiro techniques, but couldn't find anything. Does anybody happen to have a link to something?

I think these techniques, as they exist in the kihon waza of mainstream Aikido, probably came about when Tokyo Hombu people tried to imitate a thing they saw Osensei doing.

But there is a movement he makes with the first hand that suggests to me that he has captured uke on that initial contact anyways.

jonreading
10-26-2015, 10:36 AM
I don't know of any videos of ushiro waza featuring O Sensei. In Budo Renshu, there are several techniques from a rear attack. While not O Sensei, here is a video (https://youtu.be/WExYtTUhg24) that includes some of the illustrations found in Budo Renshu; there are a couple of ushiro attacks at the end of the video. Budo Renshu was authored by O Sensei, so you get some perspective from him.

I make no assumptions about the video or the participants, but the illustrations clearly show a rear attack... from the rear (not a front attack that moves to the rear). The video does not represent the entirety of the ushiro waza, if I remember. Also, the book has a section which discusses the role of ushiro in training. Now, whether you want to consider Budo Renshu an aikido curriculum, not a daito ryu curriculum...

As a comment about the role of the our hands... There are people who can seriously injure you with their hands. We sometimes mistakes saying, "I could punch you and kill you," with people who can actually do that (but maybe don't say it). Most of the way we practice does not teach that type of power or predatory behavior anymore. We don't have "fight-ending" power in our movement anymore, so we need to either work those techniques out of the system or get that power back into the system. This is relegated to individuals and dojos. Ushiro waza is a good footing for that dialog because when you talk about a rear attack with a good number of other fighting systems they salivate, literally. That aikido is having the dialog about whether the attack works is probably pretty instructive about where we sit in applied fighting.

rugwithlegs
10-26-2015, 11:43 AM
I believe the 1937 black and white does have some Ushiro ryokatadori hamni handachi on a randori. O Sensei is definitely moving, Uke's flying everywhere but not necessarily running around in a full circle.

Shadowfax
10-26-2015, 06:15 PM
As it has been explained and demonstrated to me... ukes choice to run around behind nage and attack from behind, having first grabbed from in front, is not his choice. It is nage's choice.

Janet Rosen
10-26-2015, 06:21 PM
As it has been explained and demonstrated to me... ukes choice to run around behind nage and attack from behind, having first grabbed from in front, is not his choice. It is nage's choice.

From a martial point of view this has never made sense to me.
As a training exercise, maybe. But I'm unconvinced when it is LITERALLY, as I've seen, uke running around nage versus attacking and redirecting the grab from close range to contact and attack.

JP3
10-26-2015, 06:34 PM
Not all techniques in Aikido have martial/fighting purpose.
Ushiro waza is to improve posture/shisei and work with the 'backside' of your center.

Can't say I agree with this, at least the initial statement. I would say that all techniques in aikido DO have a "martial/fighting purpose," though it may not be clearly evident on its face, e.g. kneewalking and suwari-waza in a western society, but the point of learning it was pointed out by Phi above. Can you say banana peel, or oil spill, or ice on the street, anyone?

I would say that the ushiro-waza kata techniques do improve ones center work while an opponent is behind you... it's not training you for a specifically, targeting uke doing that, but as was stated before, "stuff" happens and people end up all over, i.e. see Katherine's practice outlined above and go slow to watch how it develops (the body positioning).
I'd say it does indeed HELP to have good backwards center control, when doing ushiro techniques, not that the techniques actually help that... but the practice of the kata certainly does do so or the techniques will fail, hey?

Janet Rosen
10-26-2015, 11:16 PM
From a martial point of view this has never made sense to me.
As a training exercise, maybe. But I'm unconvinced when it is LITERALLY, as I've seen, uke running around nage versus attacking and redirecting the grab from close range to contact and attack.

I think my sentence lacks the clarity I aimed for. Still in response to Cherie's post.
As near as I can tell, it is a training convention, or perhaps uke totally giving up her center and falling forward and pitching after nage, but I don't see how it would be a matter of necessity.
If I am uke and I have successfully grabbed one of nage's hand, and nage starting turning/leading, why would I not change target and zero in on her center.
I think a more sensible attack is uke making a tight, inward turning movement around nage's back, aiming an attack at nage's center. Not arms swinging and running around nage like a pony running around a mill....

Tim Ruijs
10-27-2015, 03:53 AM
If I am uke and I have successfully grabbed one of nage's hand, and nage starting turning/leading, why would I not change target and zero in on her center.
I think a more sensible attack is uke making a tight, inward turning movement around nage's back, aiming an attack at nage's center. Not arms swinging and running around nage like a pony running around a mill....
As an attacker you would ALWAYS go for the center. Atemi posed by tori will prevent you to this in this scenario and the attacker will change strategy and try to grab from behind. As long as tori maintains rotation/distance aite cannot attack.

for others: I do not practise Aikido for more than 25 years to prevent a slip over a banana. come on :crazy:

Janet Rosen
10-27-2015, 09:51 AM
As an attacker you would ALWAYS go for the center. Atemi posed by tori will prevent you to this in this scenario and the attacker will change strategy and try to grab from behind. As long as tori maintains rotation/distance aite cannot attack.

Sure uke can attack. Uke can decide not to try to match tori's rotation/distance. Uke can maintain her integrity and attack the center via a more logical target.
I write this as a short and slow person who was told (at about 4th kyu) my job was to do just that and keep aiming to attack NOT the center but the other hand....of a black belt 8 inches taller than me, long limbed and fast. It was only the "training convention" that dictated I run like a witless, out of control, unbalanced greyhound after the fake rabbit of his hand. It was in no way an attack and in no way had anything to do with his center. And in much of the practice I have observed in a variety of dojo of different styles, even experienced and fit uke are chosing to surrender their own structure in order to go diving after the tantalizing second hand.
There should be no need for nage/tori to do that kind of prolonged rotation. Keeping uke in, economically getting uke to where you can deal with her as directly as possible seems more martially appropriate.

kewms
10-27-2015, 10:26 AM
It was in no way an attack and in no way had anything to do with his center. And in much of the practice I have observed in a variety of dojo of different styles, even experienced and fit uke are chosing to surrender their own structure in order to go diving after the tantalizing second hand.
There should be no need for nage/tori to do that kind of prolonged rotation. Keeping uke in, economically getting uke to where you can deal with her as directly as possible seems more martially appropriate.

I think this raises an important point. There are two participants in the encounter, and a situation like this shows that neither of them is being taught correctly.

We've already talked, at length, about uke's role. (I'll get back to it in a minute.) But what about nage? What is nage trying to accomplish by holding uke at arm's length while turning in a circle? That doesn't look like any kosadori technique I'm familiar with. To pull off a kosadori response, he would need to change the angle -- stepping toward or away from uke instead of turning, maybe -- and he'll probably need to relax that arm a bit: if uke is too far away to get behind nage's back, then he's probably also too far away for nage to take his center effectively.

Now, if nage is just turning in a circle, there are lots of options for uke. She can seek to reverse the (attempted) kosadori technique, for instance by rotating her core to create an irimi nage-like relationship. She can try to either drop nage's arm down or take nage's balance through it. Lots of choices. And maybe if she does that enough times, nage will figure out that turning around in a circle with arm extended isn't actually all that useful.

But if the teaching paradigm is that uke runs around in a circle trying to grab the other hand, while nage tries to prevent them from doing so, neither person is learning anything martially relevant. They're just generating more video that people can use to point out aikido's flaws.

Katherine

Janet Rosen
10-27-2015, 11:32 AM
think this raises an important point. There are two participants in the encounter, and a situation like this shows that neither of them is being taught correctly.

We've already talked, at length, about uke's role. (I'll get back to it in a minute.) But what about nage? What is nage trying to accomplish by holding uke at arm's length while turning in a circle? That doesn't look like any kosadori technique I'm familiar with. To pull off a kosadori response, he would need to change the angle -- stepping toward or away from uke instead of turning, maybe -- and he'll probably need to relax that arm a bit: if uke is too far away to get behind nage's back, then he's probably also too far away for nage to take his center effectively.

Now, if nage is just turning in a circle, there are lots of options for uke. She can seek to reverse the (attempted) kosadori technique, for instance by rotating her core to create an irimi nage-like relationship. She can try to either drop nage's arm down or take nage's balance through it. Lots of choices. And maybe if she does that enough times, nage will figure out that turning around in a circle with arm extended isn't actually all that useful.

But if the teaching paradigm is that uke runs around in a circle trying to grab the other hand, while nage tries to prevent them from doing so, neither person is learning anything martially relevant. They're just generating more video that people can use to point out aikido's flaws.

Katherine

Thank you :)

Tim Ruijs
10-28-2015, 02:10 AM
I am not sure where the idea came from to have aite literally circle around tori. It what certainly not what I meant.
The way I practise it, is to move sideways and back (kimusubi) and 'draw' aite in. This potentially invites aite to attack my center, hence atemi. That in turn would aite make rethink his attack and go for the side/back. The motion is more spirally or tangentially (good word?), not perfect arc of a circle: that would make me and aite move at the same speed, which is not good.

Janet Rosen
10-28-2015, 05:51 AM
I am not sure where the idea came from to have aite literally circle around tori. It what certainly not what I meant.
The way I practise it, is to move sideways and back (kimusubi) and 'draw' aite in. This potentially invites aite to attack my center, hence atemi. That in turn would aite make rethink his attack and go for the side/back. The motion is more spirally or tangentially (good word?), not perfect arc of a circle: that would make me and aite move at the same speed, which is not good.

Then we are on the same page; alas, many are not :-)

Demetrio Cereijo
10-28-2015, 06:48 AM
Real life ushiro:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zs4zCwxfo_4

Cliff Judge
10-28-2015, 10:39 AM
I am not sure where the idea came from to have aite literally circle around tori. It what certainly not what I meant.
The way I practise it, is to move sideways and back (kimusubi) and 'draw' aite in. This potentially invites aite to attack my center, hence atemi. That in turn would aite make rethink his attack and go for the side/back. The motion is more spirally or tangentially (good word?), not perfect arc of a circle: that would make me and aite move at the same speed, which is not good.

That sure seems like a complex sequence of things that need to happen first before it's appropriate to pull off an ushiro technique. The attack has to be kosadori. then uke has to fade to invite uke in, uke has to take that bait and attack center, nage has to atemi, uke then has to choose to go around it and get behind. So we are not asking uke to run around foolishly anymore, but we are giving them a script of three moves they must take in sequence. Before we can "martially" practice techniques that are (for some of us) on the testing syllabus for people who have possibly been on the mat for less than a year.

Still seems a bit weird to me.

rugwithlegs
10-28-2015, 10:58 AM
The extended form is true for other attacks - i.e. When does kata menuchi start? When Uke reaches for my shoulder, when he grabs my shoulder, when he prepares his hand to strike, or when he strikes? All are valid ways of practicing this, but I don't wait for the grab.

For a beginner, there is a benefit to practicing Ushiro tekubidori for structure, kata Dori for body movement. This feeds into other practices.

jonreading
10-28-2015, 12:29 PM
That sure seems like a complex sequence of things that need to happen first before it's appropriate to pull off an ushiro technique. The attack has to be kosadori. then uke has to fade to invite uke in, uke has to take that bait and attack center, nage has to atemi, uke then has to choose to go around it and get behind. So we are not asking uke to run around foolishly anymore, but we are giving them a script of three moves they must take in sequence. Before we can "martially" practice techniques that are (for some of us) on the testing syllabus for people who have possibly been on the mat for less than a year.

Still seems a bit weird to me.

I think there is something to this. As I see a little more of the world, there are some aikido things that stand out. I have posted before about my perspective that sometimes we introduce concepts into aikido far too early in our training to functionally understand and that warps our consumption. Similarly, if you bundle ushiro to include a front attack and rear attack you are increasing the complexity of the attack. If you cannot successfully attack kosadori, you cannot successfully attack kosadori ushiro (ryotedori, shime, whatever).

Part of the "running around" stuff is because uke does not let go. This is mostly a courtesy of uke; if you are one of the people from whom uke cannot let go, you are not even reading this thread because we're idiots. If I attack and the attack fails I am going to disengage and look to re-engage with a new attack. In our training we generally do not disengage because we want to give our partner the opportunity to figure out what's going on. Yes, we can excuse requiring uke to hold on with "if you let go I would punch you," blah blah blah. When I feel good nage waza, I am usually compelled to remain connected because disengaging puts me at greater risk than staying engaged.

kewms
10-28-2015, 12:44 PM
That sure seems like a complex sequence of things that need to happen first before it's appropriate to pull off an ushiro technique. The attack has to be kosadori. then uke has to fade to invite uke in, uke has to take that bait and attack center, nage has to atemi, uke then has to choose to go around it and get behind. So we are not asking uke to run around foolishly anymore, but we are giving them a script of three moves they must take in sequence. Before we can "martially" practice techniques that are (for some of us) on the testing syllabus for people who have possibly been on the mat for less than a year.

Where do you get that number? Looking at the ASU requirements, sankyu (plus the preceding tests) requires a minimum 15 months of training.

But yes, attacking competently is difficult. Learning the uke role requires as much time and effort as learning the nage role.

That this is in any way surprising points to a major flaw in much aikido training, IMO. We don't have enough respect for attackers. Too often, uke is trained to be a throwing dummy, not an independent agent with his own capabilities and goals. And so when we encounter people from other arts who haven't been taught "correct" ukemi, we tend to dismiss what they know how to do. How much trouble do you think karateka and judoka with a year of experience have with the idea of continuing to attack toward the center?

Katherine

Mary Eastland
10-28-2015, 03:12 PM
When I use ushiro as a teaching tool I have various goals.

Sometimes I want uke to really follow and move. Sometimes I want nage to establish their position with a strong base and to move into the void. Sometimes I want uke to resist and sometimes I want uke to be totally complaint. I may give different directions to different ukes on any given day.

A set of ideas about how uke must move to be "martial" is not always applicable. Self-defense skills appropriate to today's challenges can be developed using the principles and techniques of aikido.

Being attacked from behind in a dojo setting from standing or from motion helps students learn timing, centering and movement in the flow with others. Uke can learn to follow and to attack in a logical manner. When nage moves, uke should continue their attack if it is warranted. If nage moves too fast or too slow or in an illogical way the connection will be broken and then must be forced. For this kind of training uke and nage must learn to be adaptable and to take instruction so that the exercise of the moment can be accomplished.

Aikido is a live practice that can utilize all types of attacks for the development of different and varied skills.

kewms
10-28-2015, 03:18 PM
Aikido is a live practice that can utilize all types of attacks for the development of different and varied skills.

No argument there.

I think the discussion is primarily about what it means for uke to "attack in a logical manner," and the fact that, often, they don't.

Katherine

Janet Rosen
10-28-2015, 05:53 PM
That sure seems like a complex sequence of things that need to happen first before it's appropriate to pull off an ushiro technique. The attack has to be kosadori. then uke has to fade to invite uke in, uke has to take that bait and attack center, nage has to atemi, uke then has to choose to go around it and get behind. So we are not asking uke to run around foolishly anymore, but we are giving them a script of three moves they must take in sequence. Before we can "martially" practice techniques that are (for some of us) on the testing syllabus for people who have possibly been on the mat for less than a year.

Still seems a bit weird to me.

That's why at our dojo rear attacks are taught from static at first.
And the parsing out you describe really isn't complex. It's nage reacting to the first grab with a small gathering movement and letting uke come just far around enough so that nage's in position to do ikkyo, nikkyo, etc to the first hand proactively OR wait a moment longer for the second hand to engage so that kotegaishe or shihonage etc can be easily eaccessed.

Tim Ruijs
10-29-2015, 02:03 AM
Real life ushiro:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zs4zCwxfo_4
:confused: really?
You consider this a real ushiro attack? This guy is completely unaware what is going on around him. His situational awareness is ZERO. If you consider this appropriate, please visit me and train with us for you have not been practising Aikido AT ALL.

No argument there.

I think the discussion is primarily about what it means for uke to "attack in a logical manner," and the fact that, often, they don't.
Katherine+1

@others.
Sure there are different levels of practise with different points of attention. But ultimately, when things finally come together, this is what happens.
I think you should expose your students to this type of training early.


kata dori menuchi:
The initial attack is a shoulder grab and a strike with the other hand. (Anybody still thinks the shoulder grab alone is the attack?)
The moment aite grabs your shoulder you do atemi (with the inside arm) in a shomen like manner. This prevents aite to execute the strike and must use that arm to protect himself (from your atemi).

Demetrio Cereijo
10-29-2015, 07:07 AM
:confused: really?
You consider this a real ushiro attack? This guy is completely unaware what is going on around him. His situational awareness is ZERO. If you consider this appropriate, please visit me and train with us for you have not been practising Aikido AT ALL.


Dude, chill a bit. You do not need to shout to me in all caps.

Regarding your invitation, I respectfully decline. Someone could get hurt.

jonreading
10-29-2015, 08:12 AM
:confused: really?
You consider this a real ushiro attack? This guy is completely unaware what is going on around him. His situational awareness is ZERO. If you consider this appropriate, please visit me and train with us for you have not been practising Aikido AT ALL.

+1

@others.
Sure there are different levels of practise with different points of attention. But ultimately, when things finally come together, this is what happens.
I think you should expose your students to this type of training early.

kata dori menuchi:
The initial attack is a shoulder grab and a strike with the other hand. (Anybody still thinks the shoulder grab alone is the attack?)
The moment aite grabs your shoulder you do atemi (with the inside arm) in a shomen like manner. This prevents aite to execute the strike and must use that arm to protect himself (from your atemi).

First, I think I would still say that defending your rear is not an easy task. You can YouTube any number of rear submission fights as evidence that good fighters, paying attention to their partners, still cannot defend their rear all of the time. I understand we tweak our attacks, but rear attacks should be successful and yield strong avandtage for partners who achieve rear position. After all, this is what we do with our irimi tenkan position, enter and achieve strong rear position. Kosa dori ushiro menuchi or ushiro kata dori menuchi are irimi nage techniques, just from the perspective of the attacker. If we claim irimi nage is a functional technique, then we should also claim these as functional attacks.

When things finally come together, your attacks should be successful most of the time. if you set out to achieve a rear position, you should accomplish that goal most of the time. If you don't... you are doing it wrong. Dialing back from success, you create parity with your partner by creating opportunity for your partner to figure out how to defend you attack. Dialing forward beyond ability, you can work with partners who are more skilled than you and you simply cannot successfully attack, creating opportunity for you to improve your skill.

Cliff Judge
10-29-2015, 09:18 AM
Aikido has no attacking syllabus. We do not work to develop skills in mugging, murdering, dueling to the death with, restraining or incapacitating people. (Maybe Tomiki guys learn the proper way to cut a resisting victim, I don't know.) But the cross hand grab to run around behind attack is probably always going to seem awkward. It might have always been a contrived, unrealistic / non-martial situation-setter....Jon has pointed out that Aikido Renshu has ushiro kata that resemble more what's in Daito ryu, where the attacker advanced straight in from behind.

NagaBaba
10-29-2015, 09:54 AM
Dude, chill a bit. You do not need to shout to me in all caps.

Regarding your invitation, I respectfully decline. Someone could get hurt.
Where are these times when Spanish invaded Netherlands :)

Demetrio Cereijo
10-29-2015, 10:28 AM
Someone thought switching from German kings to French kings would be a good idea...

kewms
10-29-2015, 10:34 AM
Aikido has no attacking syllabus. We do not work to develop skills in mugging, murdering, dueling to the death with, restraining or incapacitating people.

See what I said up above about not respecting attackers? This is an example of exactly what I mean. Everyone who can attack competently is a mugger or murderer? Really?

It is true that aikido does not have a formal attacking syllabus. At best, test requirements will call for "ukemi appropriate for these techniques." But how is nage supposed to get better if uke is a clueless bozo?

Katherine

PeterR
10-29-2015, 11:04 AM
See what I said up above about not respecting attackers? This is an example of exactly what I mean. Everyone who can attack competently is a mugger or murderer? Really?

It is true that aikido does not have a formal attacking syllabus. At best, test requirements will call for "ukemi appropriate for these techniques." But how is nage supposed to get better if uke is a clueless bozo?

Katherine

This is a whole new can of worms and for sure I don't want to get into a "Well in my style" argument but ...

across styles training uke means not just ability to take falls but also to provide a good attack. Granted that attack does not have murder or mayhem directly in mind but there is no reason that we can't play with the scenario. Further, and just to mess with things a little bit, we do have a formal attacking syllabus just that in many cases it is too stylized to satisfy those who need to explore the mayhem.

I will say that the most effective street attacks that I can think of (my fevered brain) are if not impossible to train for damm difficult.

jonreading
10-29-2015, 11:31 AM
Conan, what is best in life?

I started training aikido because I was promised pillaging and plundering. Joking aside, I think we are playfully wrestling with the [polite] observation that we can't properly attack. We can excuse that incompetency all we want without changing that fact. It's not "dojo attacks" that are the problem - it's our inability to do them correctly.

Cliff Judge
10-29-2015, 11:51 AM
Aikido has no attacking syllabus. We do not work to develop skills in mugging, murdering, dueling to the death with, restraining or incapacitating people.

See what I said up above about not respecting attackers? This is an example of exactly what I mean. Everyone who can attack competently is a mugger or murderer? Really?

You stumped me on which logical fallacies you've committed here. I listed five examples of reasons why one might wish to train how to attack someone effectively, which was clearly not implied to be an exhaustive list, and you pick two and infer that I meant only those two. Well, strawman, at least. :D

Cherry-picking? No True Scotsman? :) :) :)


It is true that aikido does not have a formal attacking syllabus. At best, test requirements will call for "ukemi appropriate for these techniques." But how is nage supposed to get better if uke is a clueless bozo?

Katherine

I'd like to hear your opinion on that.

I don't know if we can ever solve this problem in Aikido, at least not the modern mainstream stuff we do in ASU. You just have to leave it up to people to find their own ways to increase their control over the intensity of their ukemi.

It's been solved two ways in other traditions, as I see it:

A) by sticking to formal kata where the attack and technique is exactly prescribed as you do in Daito ryu and koryu jujutsu systems.

A couple of ryuha, like Tenshin Shinyo ryu for example, actually have sets of mugging kata, where nage just grabs uke and does nasty stuff to him. Some lines of Araki ryu have straight-up murder kata. But in general, the attack is strictly prescribed, such that you can do it poorly or incorrectly and still wind up with something that would work on the street, but is incorrect for the kata.

Difficulty level: attacks involving imaginary trays of sake and/or tea; feeling of guilt when you sneakily try to practice kata on the left side.

B) By instituting rules-bound playtime.

Difficulty level: your first eye gouge is a real bitch.

Sometime back in May-June there was a facebook thread - I can't remember if you (Katherine) were on it, but I think it was something George posted. And Kevin Leavitt was talking about how what he and his folks with the US Army had found out was that your best bet for developing your trainees' fighting skills is somewhere in between my A) and B). Basically, that at the end of the day you need people to figure out for themselves how to fight effectively. So strict kata like in koryu don't get you there because the opportunities for exploration and synthesis don't happen until way down the line. Conversely, if you throw people into a ring and make them fight it out, their incentive is going to be to win the bout, and they will focus on specific techniques that do that for them, as opposed to developing the general skills they need to be an effective fighter in a real situation.

In the middle you have what seem more like drills, a couple steps more complicated than push-hands type stuff, where both partners have a set of things they can do, and a goal, and its designed to work in a continual loop where they can each go back and forth. I think I've seen Systema training do this kind of thing. One that was described to me was where two partners basically try to out-hug the other....I'm trying to get my arms wrapped around yours, you are trying to get yours wrapped around mine. Unless one of us has a serious physical or skill advantage we can go back and forth forever.

I have tried to think up ways to train this way but I haven't really come up with anything that I think is actually going to improve anybody's Aikido. The problem you run into is, how many traditional Aikido techniques are you willing to throw away? Because a lot of them are out the window if you want to do a back-and-forth practice like this...because the traditional techniques of Aikido come from a syllabus of kata.

To backtrack a bunch....if your goal is to improve Aikidokas' skill in throwing the traditional attacks that set up the traditional techniques, you need to basically spend more of your Aikido time practicing something that isn't Aikido. That's the essential problem with a "defensive martial art" that is derived from the "holy s**t I've just been pulled off my horse and lost my weapon and I am on my feet but this guy is coming at me with a sword" sections of old sogo bujutsu.

Cliff Judge
10-29-2015, 12:01 PM
This is a whole new can of worms and for sure I don't want to get into a "Well in my style" argument but ...

across styles training uke means not just ability to take falls but also to provide a good attack. Granted that attack does not have murder or mayhem directly in mind but there is no reason that we can't play with the scenario. Further, and just to mess with things a little bit, we do have a formal attacking syllabus just that in many cases it is too stylized to satisfy those who need to explore the mayhem.

I will say that the most effective street attacks that I can think of (my fevered brain) are if not impossible to train for damm difficult.

Peter, what amount of time do you guys spend training how to attack with the knife? And what all do you do? Really curious about that.

kewms
10-29-2015, 12:03 PM
Speaking of straw men...

I'm not trying to turn aikidoka into MMA champions. I just think we ought to know how to strike and grab in ways that aren't embarrassingly awful. How does that require throwing out large chunks of aikido?

(Or rather, how do you even *define* aikido if competent strikes and grabs aren't part of it already?)

Katherine

PeterR
10-29-2015, 12:36 PM
Peter, what amount of time do you guys spend training how to attack with the knife? And what all do you do? Really curious about that.

Pretty hard to describe and give an actual percentage but generally.

If you consider the tanto side of randori - half of all randori training which varies from dojo to dojo and the age and interest of the students. However, although the speed and accuracy you develop could have application, I would not consider these knife attacks in the truest sense. It certainly is not about learning to fight with knives.

However, in the Shodokan system, between Shodan and Nidan the only new techniques are tanto dori and for these there is as much emphasis on learning proper attacks as the defence. There is quite a degree of variation in the type of stabbing including hiding the knife and the type of strikes that have been used in assassinations (famous picture of a Japanese minister being done by a right wing student).

In my mind if I was so inclined an attack would involve a crowd and really only one of those strikes. You would not see it coming, hopefully not who did you, and as I mentioned (in my fevered mind) impossible to train against.

Cliff Judge
10-29-2015, 01:01 PM
Speaking of straw men...

I'm not trying to turn aikidoka into MMA champions. I just think we ought to know how to strike and grab in ways that aren't embarrassingly awful. How does that require throwing out large chunks of aikido?

(Or rather, how do you even *define* aikido if competent strikes and grabs aren't part of it already?)

Katherine

Touche. :)

Well first of all you need to clearly state the problem. "I will dedicate myself to making my strikes and grabs not embarrasingly awful!" is not by itself a concrete goal. So what is the point of the grabs and strikes? I think that's the meat of the issue. The surface-level answer is that you are trying to facilitate nage's technique by providing the "right" energy and form, at an intensity level that is appropriate to yourself and nage.

But this is actually what seems to get us in trouble, because at the end of the day that's nothing like a real attack, and since half of your time on the mat is being uke, it calls into question the value of all of this training time spent on learning how to deliver an attack that is designed to help the target throw you.

In koryu, the attacks always have a precise form and generally have some story; in a sport fighting art there is always a purpose and it is imminently testable. But in Aikido...what are we trying to do to when we grab someone's wrist or try to chop their heads with our hands? Why the heck are we trying to go head-on with someone and try to get both of their hands behind them?

That's what I was getting at with murder/mugging/incapacitation up there - since the real story is that we are attacking to take a fall, that is always going to come out, unless we are *training to attack for some actual purpose.* Such as mugging someone, or taking them down in a hurry like the guy in the video a page back.

I.e. if we don't train to attack for an actual purpose, then when we train our traditional techniques, we are training them to defend against someone who is not attacking us for an actual purpose.

But having said that I don't like it one bit.

kewms
10-29-2015, 04:52 PM
See, where I have the problem is with your equivalence between "facilitate nage's technique" and "an attack designed to help the target throw you."

I would say that the goal is to facilitate nage's *learning.* That would include learning how to respond to attacks that are *not* designed to facilitate a throw. Or, more broadly, learning how to respond to progressively more effective attacks.

This becomes very difficult to talk about without actual in-person demonstrations. But as an example, let's look at the basic wrist grab leading to tenkan: katate tori tenkan ho, in our terminology. One of the most basic exercises in aikido, taught to beginners from the first day they step on the mat.

So why is uke grabbing in the first place? Does he just want to hold nage's hand? Or does he want to restrain her so that he can execute a takedown or a punch with the other hand? And if that goal is still within reach after the turn, can we say that the tenkan has failed?

Again, this is one of the most basic exercises in aikido. Anyone who walks into any dojo in the world is likely to see it. A few days ago, I had a ten year-old kid ask me "but who attacks like that?" It seems to me that if we're going to even pretend to be studying a martial art, we need to have a decent answer. Uke's attack has to have a reason behind it, and nage's response has to prevent uke from achieving that goal.

Katherine

Demetrio Cereijo
10-29-2015, 06:28 PM
. A few days ago, I had a ten year-old kid ask me "but who attacks like that?" It seems to me that if we're going to even pretend to be studying a martial art, we need to have a decent answer.

Nex time try this answer: MMA fighters when facing kiai masters.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEDaCIDvj6I (around 2:49)

Another angle:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncfSWTPE0E4 (around 1:57)

mathewjgano
10-29-2015, 07:25 PM
Nex time try this answer: MMA fighters when facing kiai masters.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEDaCIDvj6I (around 2:49)

Another angle:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncfSWTPE0E4 (around 1:57)

You can imagine his embarrassment. :p

JW
10-30-2015, 01:23 AM
since the real story is that we are attacking to take a fall, that is always going to come out, unless we are *training to attack for some actual purpose.* Such as mugging someone, or taking them down in a hurry like the guy in the video a page back.

Well the attacks should have a purpose. And they don't need to be elaborate mugging kata to have some initial, immediately observable goal-- like successfully reaching the defender's jaw with a punch, successfully getting a choke, or successfully taking his balance, or even a simple throw. Then we can have the attacker succeed sometimes, and both partners would know the defender failed. We can get better with normal training even in the absence of competition, and without us all spending lots of time becoming specialists in the ins and outs of muggings, assassinations, etc.

"Uke always loses" is such a bad training method in my opinion.

This change alone could do wonders for aikido I think. I know lots of people try to train this way a bit... but imagine if something like (for example) 60% failure rate for nage was considered normal and desireable.

Advanced students just slow down etc to allow beginners to get down to 60% failure, and then turn it up with more advanced partners.

Tim Ruijs
10-30-2015, 02:36 AM
Nex time try this answer: MMA fighters when facing kiai masters.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEDaCIDvj6I (around 2:49)

Another angle:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncfSWTPE0E4 (around 1:57)

Seriously? You honestly think this guy is legit?
Check Master Sam F.S. Chin, I Liq Chuan.

This is a whole new can of worms and for sure I don't want to get into a "Well in my style" argument but ...

across styles training uke means not just ability to take falls but also to provide a good attack. Granted that attack does not have murder or mayhem directly in mind but there is no reason that we can't play with the scenario. Further, and just to mess with things a little bit, we do have a formal attacking syllabus just that in many cases it is too stylized to satisfy those who need to explore the mayhem.

I will say that the most effective street attacks that I can think of (my fevered brain) are if not impossible to train for damm difficult.
This is exactly why we have stylized attacks to control the risk and still be able to practise 'something'. Considering the responses here, not everyone is on the same page and thinks/assumes these stylized attacks represent real life attacks. Degradation of Aikido...so sad.

Tim Ruijs
10-30-2015, 02:41 AM
double post...

rugwithlegs
10-30-2015, 06:18 AM
Well the attacks should have a purpose. And they don't need to be elaborate mugging kata to have some initial, immediately observable goal-- like successfully reaching the defender's jaw with a punch, successfully getting a choke, or successfully taking his balance, or even a simple throw. Then we can have the attacker succeed sometimes, and both partners would know the defender failed. We can get better with normal training even in the absence of competition, and without us all spending lots of time becoming specialists in the ins and outs of muggings, assassinations, etc.

"Uke always loses" is such a bad training method in my opinion.

This change alone could do wonders for aikido I think. I know lots of people try to train this way a bit... but imagine if something like (for example) 60% failure rate for nage was considered normal and desireable.

Advanced students just slow down etc to allow beginners to get down to 60% failure, and then turn it up with more advanced partners.

It is an interesting idea. I went to a jodo class a few weeks ago to study the jo, the first thing they did was tell me I needed to know more about the sword to be a good and useful training partner for a jo student. They taught me sword, and they were right about the gaps in my knowledge - I've never done Iaido or played with a live blade, I've only used bokken in my training.

Is there a combat system that clearly uses and trains our empty hand attacks?

Demetrio Cereijo
10-30-2015, 06:47 AM
Seriously? You honestly think this guy is legit?
Well, I'd say the guy is more a Karate guy than a MMA guy, but he looks legit enough.

Check Master Sam F.S. Chin, I Liq Chuan
I think Sam Chin could have easily kicked the rear end of the Kiai master too. But hey, this is not about what Sam Chin can do to deluded Kiai masters but what Aikido people can or can't do.

Tim Ruijs
10-30-2015, 06:56 AM
Well, I'd say the guy is more a Karate guy than a MMA guy, but he looks legit enough.

I think Sam Chin could have easily kicked the rear end of the Kiai master too. But hey, this is not about what Sam Chin can do to deluded Kiai masters but what Aikido people can or can't do.

I meant the 'lost' Kiai master...What is he thinking? He probably has very complacent students and starts to believe he can actually keep people at distance doing 'his stuff'. You do not take these guys serious, now do you?
In actuality, there are Aikido teachers (high ranked) out there that do, teach and sell the same s**t. :yuck:

Present day Aikido gets watered down rapidly. Eye on the ball and try to get what O Sensei did.
Talking about form is interesting, but limited. There is more depth to Aikido than its outer form.

To find that requires hard work, sincere attacks and proper technique.

Demetrio Cereijo
10-30-2015, 07:10 AM
I meant the 'lost' Kiai master...What is he thinking? He probably has very complacent students and starts to believe he can actually keep people at distance doing 'his stuff'. You do not take these guys serious, now do you?
There's very few people in this business I take seriously.

Talking about form is interesting, but limited. There is more depth to Aikido than its outer form.

To find that requires hard work, sincere attacks and proper technique.
No doubt about it.

The problem is "hard work", "sincere attacks" and "proper technique" mean different things to different people.

Demetrio Cereijo
10-30-2015, 07:24 AM
Conan, what is best in life?.

Everybody knows it is hot water, good dentishtry and shoft lavatory paper (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYHFMuvCsr0)

jonreading
10-30-2015, 07:26 AM
For me, ability and purpose are not equal. That I can throw a baseball is not the same as saying I am a pitcher. In the conversation of escalating attacks and "street" fighting, I hold a similar opinion. If I cannot effectively control you with a dojo attack, then what would switching to a "street" tactic accomplish? Presumably, "street" defense tactics are designed to be easier to implement and present a greater risk to the target (so as be be a greater deterrent to fighting). That I can gouge out your eye is no indication of my martial skill, only an indication of an attack I [believe] I can implement with greater success. If I choose to move away from an attack that I am not competent to perform, I would ask, Why? There are real scenarios where survival is the purpose and I need to use what works. That is not dojo training.

I boil down my responsibility as uke to be the exact same as nage. I have a responsibility to make a movement that, if unchecked, succeeds in controlling my partner. When I am nage, I have a responsibility to move, successfully, in such a way as to control my partner. For me, "appropriate ukemi" is a reflection of creating the proper relationship that if nage does want she is supposed to, it will be reflected in my body. This distillation gives me clarity that has no influence about hurting someone or protecting myself or stigmatizing my interaction. It also illustrates how silly we sound when we say bad things about fighting... within a fighting community.

To call out Cliff a little:
mugging, murdering, dueling to the death with, restraining or incapacitating people
While not an extensive list, I don't think anyone would contend that this list is not negatively biased. I have a lot of friends who fight and I cannot think of a single one who fights for any of these reasons, with the possible exception of "restraining". Think about how a BJJ player or a judo player, or a wrestler, or a boxer or law enforcement or military personnel would read this statement... But I also think this is the majority perspective of attacking in aikido - Attack=bad, nage=good. We give ourselves permission to be bad attackers because attackers are bad. It's the distasteful side of training that we take like bad medicine because we have to, not because we want to

To thread a needle in conversation, I think my ability to attack is framed within the purpose of education. I think aikido is far too permissive to allow nage to "do whatever" under the guise of "flowing" technique. Kata is there to give us a problem to solve until we get it right. Some time back I was working out with a partner at a seminar. Having difficulty with a katate dori technique, he attempted to kick my inside thigh to illustrate that I needed to be less "rooted" and give him some advantage to moving my body. To this, I asked, "oh, we can kick now?" Kata gives us parity and expectation and I am a strong proponent of advocating that what I get to do, my partner gets to do. I think introducing another type of attack usually only distracts us from the real problem, that I cannot correctly attack...

Tim Ruijs
10-30-2015, 07:30 AM
For what it is worth: glad to see we are on the same page :-)

Walking the Path is not easy. You should have some idea of what you are looking for, but alas for most beginners that take on Aikido that is already lost. And for more advanced/experienced too.

In Europe Nobuyoshi Tamura always said: "one millimeter to either side and you are not doing Aikido anymore". ...most advanced uchideshis of O Sensei said similar things: "the only one doing Aikido was Ueshiba, we do not know what we did, but it was not Aikido".

So when these guys had a hard time 'getting it', why so much debat on form like in this thread Ushiro?

Everyone tries to come up with valid points, some actually are, but most are simply not.

Someone said: oh that sounds quite complex...yes it actually is!
Why do people think Aikido (at higher level) is any different from sport (at higher level) or any other art?
Take drawing, photography, cycling, running, whatever. Not everyone will be on the same level. But strangely enough in Aikido, everyone thinks they are....

For me, I am searching, have been for more than 25 years and probably will be for a bit longer.
Polish, refine...


I think aikido is far too permissive to allow nage to "do whatever" under the guise of "flowing" technique.
EXACTLY! Aikido gets watered down right here!

Cliff Judge
10-30-2015, 09:57 AM
See, where I have the problem is with your equivalence between "facilitate nage's technique" and "an attack designed to help the target throw you."

I would say that the goal is to facilitate nage's *learning.* That would include learning how to respond to attacks that are *not* designed to facilitate a throw. Or, more broadly, learning how to respond to progressively more effective attacks.

This becomes very difficult to talk about without actual in-person demonstrations. But as an example, let's look at the basic wrist grab leading to tenkan: katate tori tenkan ho, in our terminology. One of the most basic exercises in aikido, taught to beginners from the first day they step on the mat.

So why is uke grabbing in the first place? Does he just want to hold nage's hand? Or does he want to restrain her so that he can execute a takedown or a punch with the other hand? And if that goal is still within reach after the turn, can we say that the tenkan has failed?

Again, this is one of the most basic exercises in aikido. Anyone who walks into any dojo in the world is likely to see it. A few days ago, I had a ten year-old kid ask me "but who attacks like that?" It seems to me that if we're going to even pretend to be studying a martial art, we need to have a decent answer. Uke's attack has to have a reason behind it, and nage's response has to prevent uke from achieving that goal.

Katherine

So what's the success criteria for facilitating nage's learns? We're not talking about giving beginners broken faces, or doing our 100% best to shut down their technique here, we're talking about a carefully measured, progressive increase in intensity of attack and resistance to force nage to improve. At the end of the day, we're calling our ukemi a success if we are thrown "properly." Also, at the end of the day, these are never "real" attacks.

The basic Aikido syllabus seems to assume that attacks are unprovoked and made with the intent to kill or incapacitate. That's why it looks sad when you see an Aikido guy try to receive a minimal-commitment jab from a boxer with a kotegaeshi, or get flustered when a Judo guy just walks up and takes grips, or a BJJ guy grabs your sleeve, lays down, and spreads his legs....

Cliff Judge
10-30-2015, 10:08 AM
While not an extensive list, I don't think anyone would contend that this list is not negatively biased. I have a lot of friends who fight and I cannot think of a single one who fights for any of these reasons, with the possible exception of "restraining". Think about how a BJJ player or a judo player, or a wrestler, or a boxer or law enforcement or military personnel would read this statement... But I also think this is the majority perspective of attacking in aikido - Attack=bad, nage=good. We give ourselves permission to be bad attackers because attackers are bad. It's the distasteful side of training that we take like bad medicine because we have to, not because we want to

General reply here - I think training for attacks coming with the intent to kill, by people who want to do you serious and lasting harm, is the greater "respect for the attacker" than to assume you are in a ring playing a fighting game. That's what my Aikido teacher constantly and consistently has said is the most important thing.

Demetrio Cereijo
10-30-2015, 10:52 AM
General reply here - I think training for attacks coming with the intent to kill, by people who want to do you serious and lasting harm, is the greater "respect for the attacker"

As long as the attacker has the required skill to do what he intends.

kewms
10-30-2015, 12:31 PM
General reply here - I think training for attacks coming with the intent to kill, by people who want to do you serious and lasting harm, is the greater "respect for the attacker" than to assume you are in a ring playing a fighting game. That's what my Aikido teacher constantly and consistently has said is the most important thing.

That's what your teacher says, but you've spent half the thread trying to justify ushiro attacks where the attacker runs around behind nage? Okay...

Katherine

jurasketu
10-30-2015, 01:12 PM
It is kind of amusing when you realize that we don't seem to know/agree on what a dynamic ushiro attack actually is supposed to represent.

Static ushiro attacks (wrists, elbows, bear hug, shoulders, choke) are perfectly reasonable - someone restrains you so someone else can clobber you.

Could a ushiro result from the attacker making a frontal attack and then when meeting resistance decide move to around behind nage? It is hard to argue that being BEHIND someone is bad for the attacker. Just like a lot of Aikido attacks, sometimes we get too stylized and so a real attack intention becomes a silly looking running attack.

Just a thought...

Cliff Judge
10-30-2015, 02:14 PM
That's what your teacher says, but you've spent half the thread trying to justify ushiro attacks where the attacker runs around behind nage? Okay...

Katherine

Own it, or drop it.

Cliff Judge
10-30-2015, 02:17 PM
It is kind of amusing when you realize that we don't seem to know/agree on what a dynamic ushiro attack actually is supposed to represent.

Static ushiro attacks (wrists, elbows, bear hug, shoulders, choke) are perfectly reasonable - someone restrains you so someone else can clobber you.

Could a ushiro result from the attacker making a frontal attack and then when meeting resistance decide move to around behind nage? It is hard to argue that being BEHIND someone is bad for the attacker. Just like a lot of Aikido attacks, sometimes we get too stylized and so a real attack intention becomes a silly looking running attack.

Just a thought...

Right, so you've got a basic, kihon waza level technique that involves an attack, a certain response to the attack, then a certain response to the response. Just to get to practice a fundamental movement.

mathewjgano
10-30-2015, 05:27 PM
I meant the 'lost' Kiai master...What is he thinking? He probably has very complacent students and starts to believe he can actually keep people at distance doing 'his stuff'. You do not take these guys serious, now do you?
In actuality, there are Aikido teachers (high ranked) out there that do, teach and sell the same s**t. :yuck:

Present day Aikido gets watered down rapidly. Eye on the ball and try to get what O Sensei did.
Talking about form is interesting, but limited. There is more depth to Aikido than its outer form.

To find that requires hard work, sincere attacks and proper technique.

I may be mistaken, but I took Demetrio as simply pointing to a famous case which displays a wrist grab (per Katherine's comment) by a fighter who is more or less competent, something commonly described as "never happens."
More to your point, I think the problem is probably people seeing what they want to see. As it relates to Ushiro waza where aite runs around tori, as with most things, I think making assumptions is always a mistake. Explore and learn what we can while we can, is my motto; assume nothing where ever possible. I've not seen a lot of real fights, but from the few I have, I've seen some things that went against "correct," and they worked just fine.

rugwithlegs
10-31-2015, 10:52 AM
It is kind of amusing when you realize that we don't seem to know/agree on what a dynamic ushiro attack actually is supposed to represent....

Probably not what you meant, but there is a small pet peeve of mine hinted at. It probably does not represent one thing but hints at a dozen possibilities. I've had a few students look for "the one answer," and there won't be one.

It might be for team work, but we don't train to work in teams in any other way.

jurasketu
10-31-2015, 12:08 PM
Probably not what you meant, but there is a small pet peeve of mine hinted at. It probably does not represent one thing but hints at a dozen possibilities. I've had a few students look for "the one answer," and there won't be one.

It might be for team work, but we don't train to work in teams in any other way.

I'm a firm believer in the following statement: "Everything anyone knows is either wrong or incomplete." And the corollary is that everything we think we know is mostly completely wrong. That means I don't believe that there is necessarily a "right" way to do anything.

So, for the most part, when I don't understand something, I play along with the not-so-wrong belief that I might "get" what is going on one day. Or not. I'm comfortable never understanding. I've studied too much advanced physics and math to believe that I can actually understand everything or really anything. In other words, I'm comfortable being continually uncomfortable.

I'm also comfortable with "explorations" of technique and of human physiology and psychology. So if that is all that "ushiro" represents - then I'm good with that. Most of what we do in Aikido practice is just a way to learn about the physics and psychology of conflict.

On the other hand, I've been studying and creating software for 35+ years. I can explain *why* just about anything is done in software engineering. Show me a software technique, and I'll tell you what problem or problems the technique is trying to solve, whether it is good solution or not and what the various expert opinions are about that particular technique.

So, for me, I'm thinking: "Are 'ushiro' techniques really solving a martial problem(s) or is it just an 'exploration' or just an exercise to train other important skills?" And then I'm thinking: "Shouldn't the experts at least be able to articulate the various schools of thought on the purpose?"

Ushiro doesn't seem to have that. I find that amusing. I find them fun to do even if I suck at doing them...

mathewjgano
11-01-2015, 10:58 AM
So, for me, I'm thinking: "Are 'ushiro' techniques really solving a martial problem(s) or is it just an 'exploration' or just an exercise to train other important skills?"

My non-expert thinking is that it can be all of these things; so it's less "or" than "and." I think a hard part to a lot of these discussions is that the intent behind an activity can vary so widely (e.g. we're all at different places in our understanding). Then there's the added issue of different semantics/terms we use and conveying those over the internet. My general suspicion in life is that folks agree more than they often realize.
Related to the idea of solving martial problems, I think of my first impression of kokyu ho and remember how I thought it was just a strange, completely unrealistic thing. Now I find it to be quite applicable...although again, to be fair, I'm not an expert. Still, I would say that is a very martially applicable thing because it works on some very important skills related to maintaining balance in exerting power. I think it can be very hard to make clear distinctions, consider things like this, so I generally don't try very hard to do it.
I can see how the ushiro waza I'm thinking about from this thread might be similar to the kokyu ho issue I had. Since I believe everything we do ideally translates into winding/unwinding of the body parts to strengthen whole-body cohesion and issue balanced power, I think the issue of form is somewhat moot. However, I remember having "battle royales" with my friends as a kid (I know, that's hardly a highly trained scenario, but it is one which is relatively organic/natural) in which something very similar happened: my attention was on one friend while another grabbed my arm and brought it behind my back. It didn't look exactly like what I've seen of the form I think people are talking about here, but it was pretty close.
So why allow aite to get around on you? I can only think of an example I've seen where someone let another person get them in an arm bar in order to demonstrate that what appears to be a bad situation, isn't always a bad situation...or at least, that by maintaining intra- and inter-body connection, we might still have options. Perhaps this is related. Aite cuts the arm toward the rear corner, tori lets them up to a point and then creates kaeshi. I would guess it looks the way it does for the same reason a lot of Aikido is so big and flowy compared to others, which I assume is to create opportunity for the body to open up and relax...and maybe that isn't so martially representative compared to more direct routes/flows of movement, but I still see applicability and problem solving potential.
...I dunno...my non-expert two bits, for whatever it's worth.
Take care,
Matt

MrIggy
01-19-2016, 06:17 PM
I've always found ushiro to be an unwieldy, unnatural attack, and I've heard a lot of other people complain about it as well. It makes me wonder, what is its purpose in the aikido curriculum? Is it related to a for-real attack? What are the lessons inherent in this set of techniques? Is there a particular historical reason for its being there?

Ushiro Waza serves the purpose of not letting your opponent get behind you so he can choke you out or simply restrain you so his buddy or buddies can come in and kick, punch or even attack you with a weapon. The wrist grab isn't essentially a wrist grab (this again depends on Dojo to Dojo, Shihan to Shihan and Sensei to Sensei teaching the techniques) he is basically trying to break your gard so he can pass it easier. His whole agenda is to get to your back and your whole agenda is to not let him. Even if he manages to get behind your back you should not remain static but moving using the footwork maeshi tenshin, or maeshi tenshin returning straight out and off course atemi (uraken or elbow) and then going for a tehcnique. The again a Dojo that hosts seminars with my Dojo does this differently (the movements and with no atemi). It all depends on the way you are taught in your Dojo.