View Full Version : Aikido as Street Defence, Part 2

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09-15-2002, 11:28 PM
Howdy, Gang!
During Sunday's informal practice, our Sensei gave me the floor again in an effeort to further refine my training techniques for the 'Aikido as Street defence' course I'm designing.
One of the things I discussed in last class was the sharp contrast between open and closed environments - that is, aikido in a wide-open space (such as the dojo) and a closed, constricted area, such as a parking lot, a phone booth, between the barstools, etc. (The areas you're likely to require aikido as self defence.)
To illustrate the point, today I used the following drill: I took one of the big poofy gymnastics mats (the foot-thick ones) and placed it upright against the wall. I then took a single floor mat (2 feet by 4 feet) and laid it on the floor against the wall-mat. Drill: Nage stands on the floor-mat and executes against uke. (The rest of the class attacking in line format.) Rules: Nage must remain on the mat. Stepping off renders the technique invalid. Attack intensity was low at first, gradually building to not-quite-full.
It was an absolute blast - all of us were virtually clamouring for our chance as nage. The most immediate difference noted (and this was the point), was that the sweeping footwork and wide circular movement that characterizes Aikido is useless here - nage must concentrate on maintaining one-point and redirecting uke from a stationary position. Several of our students are kokyunage-happy; it was interesting to see them 1st; attempt to use kokyunage (and fail; can't step off the mat) and 2nd; start developing new techniques - Ikkyo and Nikkyo (tenkan) were most often used, by far.
Another thing I was expecting (because this is similar to a training technique used in the Army) was nage's tendency to lean against the wall-mat - against the rules, and bad for Aikido, but until actually doing it for a bit, one doesn't realize its happening.
Things got really interesting when I changed the rules again: Once everyone had had his chance in 'the box' a couple of times, I made sending uke into the wall-mat invalid - nage had to redirect uke back where he came from. Things got real creative in a hurry; tenshinage and kote-oroshi became dominant.
Anyway, after we were done; I went over the drill with my Sensei; she liked the drill and agreed to add it to the curriculum; she also told me this course should be offered only to those who have reached a certain level (and in this, she agreed with many of you; not with me. OK, I stand corrected. :D At the moment, we're looking at starting this at 4th kyu.)
Anyway, it was a fun drill; and safely done. It taught a lot about what you can do with aikido without having to worry about telling an assailant 'OK, grab my left wrist; just wait a sec while I get my feet right...' ;)

09-16-2002, 06:02 AM
How about using Geoff Thompson's system called "The Fence" to hide the normal on-guard posture ? Basically the hands are at the same height but with the palms facing the opponent, done when you are saying words like "calm down mate" it looks like a completely normal reaction to a situation but still offers the protection of the normal guard. Plus It doesn't look as silly and keeps the knowledge of your MA advantage from the attacker.

:triangle: :square: :circle:

09-16-2002, 08:14 AM
just interested in the result...

Did you find the physical aspect of nage play a crucial role in his/her ability to perform a successful defence this time around?

All in all, good drill!

09-16-2002, 09:03 AM
Hi, Abasan - I'm not completely sure what you mean by 'physical aspect'; I take it you mean nage's size/strength? If so, no, I didn't really see any difference as per body size; the most important aspects among the students participating seemed to be confidence and willingness to commit to uke's attack. By that I mean, not necessarily those with the best skills, but those students who showed obvious confidence in their skills and their ability to deal with uke's attack - not an unexpected outcome. One of our students is very good on the mat; knows Aikido to his level inside and out, and is getting much better at teaching it. But, he lacks confidence in his ability to use it; covers up or stalls and thinks about the defence more often than not.

While I was discussing it with the group, he was standing in nage's spot, I was telling the class; "I don't care about techinque right now. We're not worried about technique in this drill, we're worried about uke! Don't think about what to do next, don't think about what techniques work with which attacks. Don't think about anything during the attack, it's too late to think. just...REACT!! I shot my hand out and grabbed the front of his gi. He reacted with an extremely fast kote-oroshi, and I wound up on the ground before I knew it. He wasn't able to repeat that performance in line, but that's the kind of reaction I'm looking for.

Thanks for the question, Abasan!


09-20-2002, 12:33 PM
Hey, cool drill! If/when I start, I hope we can do some things like it, since no one wants to spend years training and then get the snot beat out of them because they didn't know how to respond in an unfamiliar setting. (hey, just a question...could you do much with Aikido if you were on something really narrow, like a beam, narrow walkway, etc.?)

Jermaine Alley
09-29-2002, 10:09 AM

hows it going so far?

Yeah, there are a host of different techniques to be used if you are in a hall or somewhere restricted.

I am trying to think of aikido as "unlimited" when it comes to defenses and the such. Some folks say that certain techniques aren't practical..but i say that all techniques don't work on everyone all of the time. Keeping that in mind you won't be focused on trying to make this udae osai work when you can switch off into something else.

take it easy..


Jermaine Alley
09-29-2002, 10:15 AM

I like that drill alot. "Aikido in a box" huh. We might have to incorporate that in some of our classes..

take care..

09-29-2002, 10:36 AM
Thanks, Jermaine; I firmly believe that for a drill to be valuable, it has to be both effective and fun, this one seemed to be both.

Veers - Aikido is excellent for restricted spaces. You used the example of a beam or walkway. Aikido works (in part) by taking uke's balance and maintaining your own, so it would be very effective in those situations. Try another scenario, one more realistic: being mugged between 2 parked cars. It happens every day. Now think about the drill I described and how it would be applied - you can see the restricted environment is less of a hazard to the trained aikidoka, it is in fact an advantage, in my opinion nd experience, at least. :)


Brian Crowley
09-29-2002, 10:42 AM

Sounds like a good drill.
Another thing I was expecting (because this is similar to a training technique used in the Army) was nage's tendency to lean against the wall-mat - against the rules, and bad for Aikido, but until actually doing it for a bit, one doesn't realize its happening.
I see the value in having nage not lean on the wall as a particluar form of the drill. Have you given any thought to incorporating leaning against the wall - perhaps as a separate version of the same drill - or do you feel it is too contrary to the Aikido and shouldn't be mixed ?


09-29-2002, 01:47 PM

Thanks for the reply! :)

IMO, leaning against a wall should be avoided at all costs in real life - if you're leaning, 2 things are happening: 1) your balance is gone; you're no longer over your one-point and therefore won't be able to use Aikido to best effect and 2) by being in contact with the wall, you're reducing your own mobility by at least half. I could mention too that you're leaving your legs exposed to attack. It's far better to stay on your feet, stay mobile and stay balanced.



09-29-2002, 03:32 PM
'Course, now I think about it, it might be a good idea to try the drill while leaning against the wall, due the probability that an attacker would try to force you into the wall in the first place.


09-29-2002, 11:21 PM
Lets hear about that result then. Might resemble the thread that was discussing aikido ne-waza as well. (since nage is on the mat, he wouldn't be exactly in full control of his center too right?)

09-30-2002, 07:19 AM
Jermaine and Dave, cool. I figured there had to be something that would be affective in a situation like that, but was just cusrious since all I've seen and read of shows/talks of sweeping, pushing, etc. Also, I see why you should not depend on a wall (it or its being there), but why not learn to use both settings? If you're pinned against a wall you may be in for a world of hurt and being able to use it probably would come in handy. But what do I know, I've never done aikido. :]

Bruce Baker
09-30-2002, 07:31 AM
Think ... small circles in small places.

Yep. You do the same techniques but with more pain submission, and small circles.

I know I am going to get a lot of static about this, but to generate energy in a small space you need to acquire small intensive movements.

If creating pain is the way to take away an attackers strength, balance, and ability to do you harm, then that is what you do.

For Aikido, it is not wise to do it quickly without having the sensitivity to give or respond to pain, so you must lower the level of intensity of attack until that sensitivity is brought out in the practitioners.

Otherwise, I think that was a really good idea for practice ... even though it reminds me of the Karate practice where we had to stay in the circle to protect our space drill?