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Hagen Seibert
10-19-2002, 09:53 AM
Iīd like to raise a question, which is likely to stir controversial discussion, and itīs maybe a queer idea, but nevertheless:

Observing attacks in our Aikido training, one may notice that our usual attacks are of a cooperative nature. I.e. they are designed to let the partner train a certain technique. Yokomen-Uchi is a strike which can be spotted hours before it would actually hit the target, and can be smoothly taken into a technique. Itīs designed for good training. And this applies to all other attack forms, gyaku-hanmi-katate-tori, ryote-tori, mune-tori.......

Now, in reality, no attacker will ever use any of these forms to attack. Instead, they will use a straight punch or leg kicks, which are virtually unknown to aikido people. (In most styles, I know there are styles which adopt a few techniques on those attack forms. Punching and kicking for itself is n e v e r trained in any style.) Of course it is much more difficult to deal with those kind of attacks in an aikido way, which makes it perhaps awkward for normal training.

So here comes my question: As O-Sensei wanted to create a martial art of harmony and kindness, did he also had in mind to leave his students incompetent of performing realistic attacks by themselves ? Maybe because he thought they would not need it, maybe because he thought that if they donīt know they wonīt misuse ....

Let me know your thoughts.

TomanGaidin
10-19-2002, 11:20 AM
I'm new to Aikido (exceedingly so), so if I say something wrong (I'm bound to), feel free to correct me.

With some of the few techniques I've practiced so far, I've noticed they can be adapted easily enough to punches - shomen uchi can be changed to a straight punch, then leading to a blend and hold, ikkyo, say, in much the same fashion, even if the attacker's arm is a bit lower ;p. The technique then theoretically can continue. At least, it seems this way. Feel free to jump on me and correct ;). Any corrections would be appreciated :).

As for deliberately not teaching 'proper' attacks so as for the ideal of peacefulness and non-aggression to be maintained... that's a good question. Giving them the art of defending themselves, of teaching them a 'peaceful' martial art, taking away the ability to attack (properly, anyway ;p) would only seem fitting in promoting a more peaceful environment. I've seen a few posts around that noted in original aikido atemi were more in focus than in most styles taught now, but I have no idea myself.

Hagen Seibert
10-19-2002, 11:46 AM
Hi Christian,

to deal with a straight punch just like shomen uchi, thatīs what I used to believe myself time ago, until I tried it out....

A punch is so fast, you can hardly step off the line. You have to move the whole body, the attacker only the fist...guess whoīs quicker. Ikkyo ura does no way work against a straight punch.

Ikkyo omote, well, trying to deflect a straight punch upwards like for shomen uchi Iīd call at least risky...(youīve opened your guard in case it was a feint)

Please also keep in mind that a proper straight punch is drawn back immediatly, he wonīt wait for you to grab the wrist.

At least thatīs my experience.

(Although this is not the point I wanted to discuss..)

opherdonchin
10-19-2002, 12:15 PM
So, two separate questions rolled into one:

1) Is our training ineffective against real attacks?

This has been discussed at great length in a number of threads. The only thing I will repeat here is that I personally believe that it's the responsiblity of each student to find opportunities to challenge themselves at the level of training they feel is appropriate. I don't know how it is in your dojo, but my dojo has people who can hit well enough to make me 'believe.'

2) Does our training inculcate habits that are innapropriate if we actually want to hit someone.

I think the answer to this is simply 'no.' A lot of how you feel about this will connect to how you feel about AiKiDo in general, though. I have come to honestly believe that AiKiDo is not done with the arms (although, of course, I still try to do it that way) but with the hips and with the mind. Similarly, what you learn when performing your attacks in AiKiDo is that it is not the speed or the force of the arm muscles that makes an attack succesful.

A succesful attack disrupts nage's center and their focus. If you train for this, rather than training to 'hit hard' or 'hit fast,' you will be able to succesfully initiate attacks without depending on being so much stronger or faster than the other person. It also gives you the flexibility to appropriately calibrate the energy in the attack to the person you have chosen to hit. It's not always true that you want to hit everyone as hard as you can.

I'll say again, as I've said on other threads, that I have (thankfully) no experience with fighting. My insights come from reflection, from my experiences with different people who have come into the dojo with different kinds of training, and from the occasional pleasure of wrestling with a friend.

Chuck.Gordon
10-19-2002, 12:17 PM
Observing attacks in our Aikido training, one may notice that our usual attacks are of a cooperative nature.
Depends on what dojo, what style of aikido, who's teaching and what the poitn of the particular training exercise is. I know some aikido folks who will very cleanly clock you if you don't react properly. Know some who couldn't atemi a wet paper sack, too.
I.e. they are designed to let the partner train a certain technique.
Quite often, yes. Nothing wrong with that. Sometimes folks need to train simple stuff, later, they can get rough and tumble.

In my system (not aikido, by the way, not at all), we start simple and slow, then progress as folks mature and develop finesse and control. Same in many of the koryu.
Yokomen-Uchi is a strike which can be spotted hours before it would actually hit the target
Again, it depends. How is the strike done? Is it done with intent? Is it done as if cutting??? Who's striking? Why? Too many variables to make a blanket statement.

I won't strike a beginner the same way I'll go after someone who's trained with my for 10 years ...
... gyaku-hanmi-katate-tori, ryote-tori, mune-tori.......
Most grabbing atacks are relics of elder days. Most folks don't really even realize what they're doing or teaching. Katate dori, kosa dori, kata dori, morote dori, et alia, are supposed to be uke trying to take nage/tori/shite's weaposn or stop that individual from drawing a weapon. All are valid and effetive within the context of the budo from whence aikido sprang.
Now, in reality, no attacker will ever use any of these forms to attack.
Not necessarily. Scenario: A polic officer is dealing with a suspect. Said suspect decides to grab police officer's handgun.

Scenario II: I'm in the street and a fellow lurches into my path. I raise a hand to steady him and he suddenly ceases lurching and grabs at me ...

Most people only realize what they're doing thru the filter of what they're taught. If the teacher fails to recognie the antecedents of what he or she is trying to convey (or if they decide they know better than the teacher), the meaning and truth of it can be, um, displaced.
Instead, they will use a straight punch or leg kicks, which are virtually unknown to aikido people. (In most styles, I know there are styles which adopt a few techniques on those attack forms.
Sigh. AGAIN: It depends. There are many aikido variants out there. Not all discount kicks or jabs/uppercuts/etc ...
Punching and kicking for itself is n e v e r trained in any style.)
Once MORE. Wrong. It depends. I know of a few aikido dojo who preface their taijutsu training with atemi practice. I know aikido yudansha who hold dan grade in karate or other striking arts.

Sweeping generalizations are usually wrong.
Of course it is much more difficult to deal with those kind of attacks in an aikido way,
No, it's not.
So here comes my question: As O-Sensei wanted to create a martial art of harmony and kindness,
Who says? He also said "First, smash uke's face." and "Move like lightning, strike like thunder." And he routinely punched his uke silly.

Chikako Bryner is known to say: "First, learn to kick butt, then everything peace and harmony ..."

Just because YOUR limited experience with aikido is, um, lacking, don't imagine that ALL aikido is similar. Let me introduce you to some folks I know!
Let me know your thoughts.
You got it!

Chuck

Chuck.Gordon
10-19-2002, 12:24 PM
to deal with a straight punch just like shomen uchi, thatīs what I used to believe myself time ago, until I tried it out....
Nope. You deal with choku tsuki like a choku tsuki. You deal with shomen uchi like shomen uchi. If you're taught properly, train well and pay attention, you know the difference and respond accordingly.
A punch is so fast, you can hardly step off the line.
Then don't step off line. A Seidokan Aikido teacher I know in Texas quote an old joke:

Admiral in battleship says, "I'm an admiral in a battleship! Move out of the way!"

Seaman in the lighthouse reponds, "I'm a seaman in a lighthouse, YOU move."

Brendan calls this lighthouse aikido ...

You don't always have to get offline. And punches aren't as fast as most folks think they are. Or want you to think they are.

And ... you can always punch back! Great fun.
You have to move the whole body, the attacker only the fist...guess whoīs quicker.
The person who's quicker, more alert, better prepared?
Ikkyo ura does no way work against a straight punch.
YOU need to get to a better aikido dojo.

Favorite aikido quote: "Aikido works. YOUR aikido doesn't" (Ikeda Sensei, I think ...)
Please also keep in mind that a proper straight punch is drawn back immediatly, he wonīt wait for you to grab the wrist.
Define proper. Said re-chambering can also provide a great opening to change the attempted ikkyo to a kote gaeshi ...
At least thatīs my experience.
Exactly.

Chuck

Bud
10-19-2002, 12:26 PM
Hi Christian,

to deal with a straight punch just like shomen uchi, thatīs what I used to believe myself time ago, until I tried it out....

A punch is so fast, you can hardly step off the line. You have to move the whole body, the attacker only the fist...guess whoīs quicker. Ikkyo ura does no way work against a straight punch.

Ikkyo omote, well, trying to deflect a straight punch upwards like for shomen uchi Iīd call at least risky...(youīve opened your guard in case it was a feint)

Please also keep in mind that a proper straight punch is drawn back immediatly, he wonīt wait for you to grab the wrist.

At least thatīs my experience.

(Although this is not the point I wanted to discuss..)
Ok, I'm going to presume that this is concering an actual attack on the street..

IMHO, dealing with a punch like shomen uchi will only work if you are able to train for very fast tai sabaki to get off the line of attack. I'm not that fast so I'd deal with it by first moving as fast and as far offline as I can manage given the circumstances and apply atemi or two as I move. even if you move a little out of the path of the punch, at least it doesn't land with 100% of its power. just be ready for the opening your need for your second response.

But the crucial element is the atemi. I suggest training with a heavy bag to get the feel of landing blows to the body. Learn to land a solid punch or two of your own is important.

Only when I've evaded, applied atemi and see that I'm in a good position to apply something will I then proceed to using a technique. I would caution against focusing on catching the punch and applying a technique to it. better to try to get into a position that opens up the attacker to a wider range of responses from me.

Edward
10-19-2002, 12:51 PM
So here comes my question: As O-Sensei wanted to create a martial art of harmony and kindness, did he also had in mind to leave his students incompetent of performing realistic attacks by themselves ? Maybe because he thought they would not need it, maybe because he thought that if they donīt know they wonīt misuse ....

Let me know your thoughts.
Well, actually punching and kicking do not need special classes to be learned. I know guys who never set foot in a dojo who can punch and kick the s**t out of most. As for aikido, we spend half of the time being uke, attacking and being thrown. What better training do you need for attacking? Do you think Munetsuki or Mentsuki are not effective attacking tools? Did you ever try a Shomen or Yokomenuchi with a beer bottle in hand? (I have never attacked anyone before, and if I ever decide to do it, it won't be with a punch but rather with a choke or a throw)

G DiPierro
10-19-2002, 02:15 PM
Yokomen-Uchi is a strike which can be spotted hours before it would actually hit the target, and can be smoothly taken into a technique.Not if you do it correctly. I was actually able to connect on a yokomenuchi whilst attacking a very senior American Aikido teacher in front of an entire seminar class. I won't say who it was. It is, however, true that many people in modern Aikido don't know how to attack correctly.Now, in reality, no attacker will ever use any of these forms to attack.If you truly study the attacks used in Aikido, you will see that every unarmed attack, except for kicks, is contained within them. The question of kicks is an issue in itself, but once I learned a few techniques for these attacks, I realized that they are fairly straightforward and uninteresting compared to the attacks we normally use. If you are interested in real attacks then you will need to figure out for yourself to how adapt the everyday, low-energy training-level attacks to their more realistic, high-energy counterparts.So here comes my question: As O-Sensei wanted to create a martial art of harmony and kindness, did he also had in mind to leave his students incompetent of performing realistic attacks by themselves ?I think that in those days the practice was more martial and people just knew how to attack hard. Maybe it was assumed that they had learned this in other arts. The reality today is that not everyone can handle hard attacks. If people always came in hard without properly understanding their own abilities and those their partners, a lot of people would be getting hurt.

ChristianBoddum
10-19-2002, 02:45 PM
Hi there !

I would just like to add one thing regarding yokomen-uchi,in our dojo we have been corrected to make yokomen-uchi (when done with tegatana)almost straight and not in a big swing as you sometimes see,it makes a big difference and less visible.

Also I been corrected when done with ken,

when done with ken your aim is not to strike/cut the side of the head but actually to cut from the top of the head in a slight angle - makes a lot of sense and much more powerful.

A good night to y'all - Chr.B.:)

JPT
10-19-2002, 03:14 PM
One of my instructors was once attacked in the street by a guy swinging a baseball bat, he said it was very similiar to yokomen uchi.

Personally I would recommend some sparing sessions using some 16oz boxing gloves, basically because the entry into any technique in much harder when somebody is continually attacking (& hitting) with speed.

:triangle: :square: :circle:

JPT
10-19-2002, 03:29 PM
One of my instructors was once attacked in the street by a guy swinging a baseball bat, he said it was very similiar to yokomen uchi.

Personally I would recommend some sparing sessions using some 16oz boxing gloves, basically because the entry into any technique in much harder when somebody is continually attacking (& hitting) with speed.

:triangle: :square: :circle:

aubrey bannah
10-19-2002, 05:59 PM
I work as a security guard, I would have to say most attacks are sneak attacks, so in the first instance there is a need to protect yourself & then counter attack ie first movment is into a safe zone. Then the choice is yours either to continue or run away. Everybody has one or two good punches in them (fueled by all the emotions held in by them)but it's the last one standing that gets to go home.

It is a MA of harmony and compassion, your training regulary builds on all the best emotions within yourself every day. What hope has some fool on the street's that pick's fight's against a honest and sencere person who trains purposefully.

Cheers Aubrey

Frp
10-19-2002, 11:30 PM
I've trained with 'real' attacks all the time. I throw full speed punches at everyone but very fresh newbies, and so does everyone else. We practice kicks and 'sucker' attacks, too.

I've realised that one of the things I've learned from my training is to throw a punch that will leave a mark.

I observed a diffrent style from my own last night, aikikai, and an advanced class too. The throws were amazing and you'd better know how to fall or your arm will get broken. But their attacks did seem rather slow. And some of the students didn't seem to extend to well to make the throws work, not that they wont break your arm, but they wont break your arm and drill you into the ground. I will not be throwing any punches at even the slowest of them anytime soon. Fast twitch would likely kick in and I'd be going to the hospital.

With us (kokikai), from the other side of aikido, the attack is the fast part and the throw is slow, if it needs to be, so you can feel out how it works, extend, one point all that stuff. More ki less aiki. So, I suppose, in ki styles you learn the ki part first and learn to break arms later, and aiki styles you break arms first and extend later, and, therefore learn to attack fast and fall fast only once you know you can get though the fall intact.

Bruce Baker
10-20-2002, 09:07 AM
Well, that is a broad subject that covers more than one martial style, and encompasses many variations in training to make the mind aware so that you react automatically, instead of thinking about what you will do.

Some of your speed is from repetition, physical training, but on the whole, if you can't find the holes in defense, or create openings for whatever you are doing offensively or defensively in a practice or fight situation, then the assertion of having a fighting art that does not work is reasserted, once again.

Within the terms of awakening the sleeping giant, I sometimes need a reason to awaken. A punch, a kick, maybe?

Considering practice, attacks are usually the awakening call, with punches or kicks being the the payment for my own ignorance or slovenlyness during practice. Although, these days, simple touches of the foot, hand, elbow, or other strikes are enough to enlighten our practice, the fact that we appreciate the openings or closure of openings does keep practice lively.

As far as the theory of Breakage verses Ki study ... that is so much rubbish.

The experience of the student, the training by the teacher,and the students ability to piece together the puzzle of martial arts is not a standard of practice.

Most interpretations of students is to actively work on their weak points, and the teachers part in training is the understanding of what becomes important in connecting or interconnecting techniques into a flawless flow of continuity is the personal goal of each student, teacher, and shihan too.

I have yet to see where practice ever ends, where learning stops, or where even the most experienced practitioner does not seek to add to their education of Aikido by studying other martial arts.

Sorry, Mr. David Wade, but the concept of fast or slow is merely the perception of the observor.

The goal of becoming proficient, controled will lead to the attack seeming slower ... even if it is faster than safety allows.

This state of mind, the centeredness of body, mind, self ... this is the key to overcoming the spirit of others and making you their equal. (Practice doesn't hurt either.)

The very commitment to throw a punch that leaves a mark is the prime opportunity to apply aikido. Question is .... does fear slow your body, grip your soul, or can you accept death, injury, whatever may come as a natural part of your actions, your decisions to act?

Maybe it is the care in which the locks are applied to prove their worth in defensive posture that is unapproachable, and the throws are performed to the level of the uke that seem to be different, but the perception of what is most important is the students own lessons in their ability to understand.

There are very few people who can react with quickness to a fast attack, but then how fast is safe, and how fast is not?

Depends on your partner, doesn't it?

Sorry to diverge, but state of mind, being able to react within a timeframe of opportunity, and having the skills to defend yourself are all part of defense beyond static starts.

Maybe there should be some more face to face drills where we slap aside punches and defend from kicks, some of the Chinese temple boxer's drills, but that is up to the individual teachers and shihans as we aikido continues to progress.

Hagen Seibert
10-20-2002, 03:33 PM
Hi folks,

I appreciate your replies. Though this thread is somehow drifting off ...

Chuck, if your Aikido is more to self-defence than what I observe around me, than better for you.

Iīm talking about the styles I have seen which are the most popular in this region, and I can imagine there are styles or teachers out there which are differnt. I have not met them so far. I shall come back to your offer.

I have read other threads where effectiveness of Aikido has been discussed. Folks have differnt opinions depending where they train. So we will not find an answer to that and I did not want to discuss this matter in this thread !!!!

There are styles which do not put primary emphasis on effectiveness (actually most of them), and itīs all right if they decide to do so. Which is the `real` Aikido? The strongest, most effective? Or the one practised by the majority ? I donīt know. I donīt need to know, because I believe that something like the `real` Aikido is a very subjective point of view. I just wonder: If we decide to emphasize realistic combat in Aikido, do we put something in it ? Or is it merely the intention of Aikido to create an atmospere of cooperation and sympathy ? Is it the intention to avoid the ability of attacking or beating up other people even through not teaching the most effective attack techniques ?

Hagen Seibert
10-20-2002, 03:45 PM
Hi folks,

Is it the intention to avoid the ability of attacking or beating up other people even through not teaching the most effective attack techniques ?
Of course I mean the styles which do not empasize effectiveness, which I suppose are most near to the original as they are the mainstream.

Not to teach the most effective attacks means that obviosly the self-defence-value will reduce in consequence.

So if your style belongs to the other branch then you will find this an obsolete question...

opherdonchin
10-20-2002, 04:38 PM
So, I also feel that another 'Is AiKiDo effective' thread is probably unnecessary. On the other hand, I think the question of 'How well does AiKiDo teach us to attack' is a new and interesting question and I'd love to hear more views about it.

I put my views early on in post #4.

Frp
10-20-2002, 09:03 PM
I don't think any one style of Aikido is better than another. If anyone thought that was what I was saying I am sorry. As I've been told by many high ranked people, once your a black belt its all the same. Some of us take diffrent routes than others, and it is quite possable some things are stressed more in one style than another. We all end up looking at the same moon once we've reached the summit.

I wanted to highlight something I'd observed. The black belts there were plenty fast, by the way. And we are not not speaking of quantum theory, speed in Aikido is observable by an outsider.



And, on another subject, I can strike people far better than I could before I started training. Its far easer to see openings you have and the time you have to take advantage of them once you've done this stuff for awhile. I think (and happly don't know) that an Aikidoist could thrash an untrained person using using just the knowledge of striking picked up being a good uke.

Back to lurking.

G DiPierro
10-20-2002, 09:43 PM
Back to lurking.David, if you were concerned about Bruce's reply to your post, please don't let him intimidate you. He is very vocal about his opinions but this does not mean that he speaks for everyone. I, for one, enjoyed your first post and I agree that in the USAF we tend to "break arms first and extend later, and, therefore learn to attack fast and fall fast only once you know you can get though the fall intact." In fact, that's the perspective I was coming from in my initial post. I'm glad you offered a different one.

Incidentally, the preference for big, complex, spectacular-looking throws is not nearly as strong in the ASU. They seem to focus more on relaxation and sensitivity and less on explicit form than the Federation does, though I don't know that this means they attack hard from the get-go. I'll try to find out next time I practice with them. As far as the Kokikai goes, we recently had a yudansha from that organization in our dojo, though I believe he stopped coming because our style, which is much, much softer than mainstream USAF, was still too strange for him. If I see him again, I will test your theory and be sure to attack him hard.

aubrey bannah
10-21-2002, 02:49 AM
Opherdonchin, I found that after a few yrs taking throws I began to see the openings of the other person.(This general awareness is there even just walking down the street. It's just a small exercise to continue to do in every day life.)

If it's a trained proficent person it just become's a matter waiting ie strategy.

Bruce Baker
10-21-2002, 05:19 AM
Mr. Giancarlo DiPierro is quite correct in my vocal emphasis, but I figure that with crossing over middle age it gives me some leeway in trying to be honest about what I think.

Like most posts, I accept that with the percentage of people posting the broad spectrum of opinions pretty much balance out by the end of most discussions.

I guess the journey of experience is an interesting forcast as to the bumps ahead in the road of life, as well as what to expect.

Just as you may get advice for a trip, there is no experience for experience. You can think, study, listen, talk, but when it comes to physically doing what you want to do, using aikido against other styles of aikido, you will either adapt and change to meet the situation, or you will not.

So, don't take Bruce so seriously that it is the word of god, or your teacher talking ... it is only my own experience, and a few things I have on my mind as we pass the time of day with a few stories.

On the other hand, if you do find my advice helpful, and proved by your own experience, then it was prophetic, but then that is for you to prove or disprove with your own experience.

Got it?

I hope so.

Now ... you get the same advice I give to children when they go out ...

"...When they let you out of jail, I will be there to pick you up ... so stay out of trouble when you are out with your friends."

Any more questions about breaking bones before or after?

MattRice
10-21-2002, 07:56 AM
So, I also feel that another 'Is AiKiDo effective' thread is probably unnecessary. On the other hand, I think the question of 'How well does AiKiDo teach us to attack' is a new and interesting question and I'd love to hear more views about it.

I put my views early on in post #4.
If I pay attention it teaches pretty well, I think. It teaches me where not to be when I'm striking. It teaches me how (physically) to get where I need to be to strike. In other words, I think I see more openings because I've moved to the correct position to access them.

With a good nage, the attack has to be on target and with some energy for aikido to happen, this develops good habits for uke's striking.

stuff like that...

paw
10-21-2002, 08:21 AM
This will probably be too long, and a bit of a divergence. Well, here goes:

There seem to be some topics that come up in aikido that rarely come up in other martial arts, or are understood differently in other martial arts. Attacking seems one of them. If I were to ask "what is an effective attack?" The answer would be one that works. In boxing that would mean my punch landed. In muay thai, that would mean my punch, kick, elbow or knee landed. In judo it would mean I threw my partner/opponent onto their back with a good amount of force. In bjj it would mean that I was successful in choking or joint locking my partner/opponent.

Yet, for aikido, the question of "effectiveness" is often asked in the context (or explained in the context) of "would someone do that outside of the dojo?". Which appears to me what the original question was when Hagen started this thread, and what some people mentioned in their reply. I'm not sure why there's a unique twist on attacks for aikido, but I honestly believe it's there. (Perhaps another issue?)

If an effective attack is one that works, then my answer to Opher's question:
'How well does AiKiDo teach us to attack' is a new and interesting question and I'd love to hear more views about it.
I guess I would answer poorly....The grabs, strikes, chokes, etc... begun by uke nearly always end with uke being thrown or pinned, which isn't successful (the grabs do not control nage, the punches no not land, etc...) Sure, there are exceptions, we've all gotten stuck by a grab, or hit by a punch, but the majority of the time, we stumble our way through the technique and uke is thrown, pinned or both. (Maybe that's the point?)

*dons flame retardant suit*

Regards,

Paul

G DiPierro
10-21-2002, 10:03 AM
I guess I would answer poorly....The grabs, strikes, chokes, etc... begun by uke nearly always end with uke being thrown or pinned, which isn't successful (the grabs do not control nage, the punches no not land, etc...) Sure, there are exceptions, we've all gotten stuck by a grab, or hit by a punch, but the majority of the time, we stumble our way through the technique and uke is thrown, pinned or both.That's an interesting point. The problem with your comparision between Aikido and other martial arts is that the practice of Aikido consists completely of defensive techniques. In any art, an attack that "works," as you define it, neccesarily means that a corresponding defense did not work. In other arts, attacking and defending are both considered parts of the art, but in Aikido this is not the case. That is to say, the practice of Aikido explicitly focuses only on successfully defending and not on successfully attacking.

What this often comes down to is that a successful attack can pose problems in Aikido practice. Some people will consider it to be uncooperative or otherwise get upset. Personally, I think that there is balance that needs to be struck between challenging the nage enough to overcome previous limitations and not attacking so well as to prevent the nage from successfully executing a defensive technique. This is one of the reasons why I indicated that a correct understanding of both partners' limitations is important when attacking hard. For the most part, this kind of practice relationship is something that is built over time, as each partner learns how to sense the other's boundries and gently push beyond them. Sometimes, to outsiders, this kind of practice may look hard or rough, but the reality is that it actually requires a great deal of softness and sensitivity.

To respond to your original point, I think that effective attacks can be developed through this kind of practice, even though in partner practice the uke chooses to attack at a level that is just marginally below that of what you would define as "successful." In fact, I feel that this kind of practice actually requires developing the ability to attack in a manner that is much harder and more effective than the ones that are actually used in practice. If one doesn't have such a margin of comfort, the practice cannot intensify but must remain at the level defined by the uke's current level of attack. So in my opinion, learning to attack in a truly effective manner is very important in attaining a high level of Aikido practice.

Bronson
10-21-2002, 01:28 PM
Incidentally, the preference for big, complex, spectacular-looking throws is not nearly as strong in the ASU. They seem to focus more on relaxation and sensitivity and less on explicit form than the Federation does...

Same thing in seidokan, at least at our dojo. A lot of the aikido we do looks like uke attacks trips and falls while nage is helping him to the ground (at least that's how it's supposed to look :D )

Bronson

Hagen Seibert
10-21-2002, 03:32 PM
Hi Bronson,

I very much like your quotation:

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."

This is at the point. The mainstream of Aikido seems to follow a different line: Excluding violence right from the start. Eliminating all which can be regarded as aggression. The ability to destroy is not wanted by many people.

aikigreg
10-23-2002, 12:41 PM
the preference for big, complex, spectacular-looking throws is not nearly as strong in the ASU. They seem to focus more on relaxation and sensitivity and less on explicit form than the Federation does, though I don't know that this means they attack hard from the get-go. I'll try to find out next time I practice with them. As far as the Kokikai goes, we recently had a yudansha from that organization in our dojo, though I believe he stopped coming because our style, which is much, much softer than mainstream USAF, was still too strange for him. If I see him again, I will test your theory and be sure to attack him hard.
I trained in ASU for many years, only recently changing styles when I moved to a new city. My sensei always taught us to give strong centered attacks, regardless of speed. The more you train, the faster you can attack. We always focused on atemi, reversals, and the like, and we spent loads of time learing how to strike. Therefore our yokomen strikes looked more like quick sharp shomenuchis that curved at the last second to be sneaky. :D

And my new dojo has given me the bruises to prove how THEY think about atemi :freaky:

ronmar
10-26-2002, 04:29 AM
I agree with Paul Watt about aikido striking. Its poor because the object of the strike is to let yourself be thrown or controlled. Everything is pre-planned in aikido, the exact opposite of a real fight. Going to an aikido class is like being an actor in a play. The only difference is that the actor knows his scripted fight isn’t real, whereas the aikido guy leaves thinking he can really do the things he just pretended to do.

I know that the object of aikido is to defend rather than attack, but you are cheating yourselves by attacking while expecting to be thrown. This is equivalent to a boxer going into the ring with an unconscious opponent propped up against the ropes, and then comes out saying how great boxing is because he really beat the crap out of the other guy.

Why do aikido players never take the next step and try out the techniques against a resisting opponent who doesn't know how he is supposed to react (ie doesn't throw himself on the floor).

It could be done by going down to a good mixed martial arts gym and sparring. One of the blackbelts on this forum could do it as an interesting experiment. I am not suggesting challenge matches, just a few friendly sparring sessions. It would really answer some questions and stop the constant arguments. I would really like to see this but think that it will probably not happen due to fear amongst the aikido community. After all when you have said for so long that you have all the answers, it would be embarrassing to lose.

What bothers me is that the same answers always come up on aikido effectiveness threads started by people relatively new to aikido, ie "MY aikido club teaches great strikes, YOU are the one with the problem (even though all the clubs you have been to are the same). Its YOUR fault you are not getting the best out of your aikido".

Aikido is unique among martial arts in having this attitude. No other arts are so touchy or claim to have so many answers to everything. I think it comes about because the higher grades just don't know whether aikido really is effective. Please don't give a long story about how aikido saved your life from a drunk at the bus stop etc. I need real evidence to the contrary.

Ron

SeiserL
10-26-2002, 08:08 AM
IMHO, giving a very competent and committed attack is necesary in advanced training. Its part of being a good Uke or training partner. We do not help our friends if we do not cooperate and give our best.

Until again,

Lynn

shihonage
10-26-2002, 01:43 PM
ronmar,

There's two sides to that story.

the opponent doesn't throw himself on the floor, but he also doesn't know in which direction to resist because he has no clue which technique is coming.

I recently had a friendly wrestling match with an individual who's about 30% heavier than me (my bicep is like his forearm), and I found out that I didn't have time to think about techniques, and I wasn't able to resist, but I followed his movements (more like his yanks and jerks), and he was always the one who ended up stumbling forward, while I still had some semblance of center at the time.

This took place in a very limited space, so I really had no space for big rounded movements, and I didn't even think of setting up a throw.

I was just getting myself clear of his power all the time.

Needless to say, we slammed into walls and bookshelves and made a lot of noise :)

Oh yeah and he kept trying to do an armbar on me, I think.

It all started with me doing a really slow, telegraphed punch to his stomach, which he took more seriously than intended, and he grabbed my arm, which is when I realized he was going for a semblance of ikkyo (trying to get my arm behind my back).

So I didn't let him do it, kept my arm in front of me, and instead started getting him into sankyo. That's when the pushing and pulling started :)

Note: he doesnt study Aikido or anything else.

DrGazebo
10-29-2002, 08:09 PM
I find that the aikido attacks are kind of worthless. Nobody hits like that. It is so frustrating to go to train do Yoko strikes. I want to know, what if they stiffen up, and throw a hook at your head during the encounter. How do you use technique against a double leg takedown, against a head butt, or a fast boxing combination? This should be taught at the basic level, safely. But it is a turn off to go into the dojo and deal with totally unrealistic attacks.

Kevin Leavitt
10-29-2002, 08:24 PM
Attacks should be realistic in balance, trajectory, and should be tactically sound and correct. It should no matter whether you are studying boxing, karate, or aikido, a good attack is a good attack.

The only real difference should be the speed in which it is performed.

Having trained in "hard styles" for many years I learned how to attack. I also developed some pretty bad affects from always practicing full speed. It wasn't until the attacks were slowed down that I was able to improve not only my ability to deal with them, but also I saw some big flaws in my punches.

The result...after 6 years of aiki training, when I hit, I hit good, solid, and hard...not some point sparring "love tap".

If your dojo does not practice decent atemi (to include shomen/yokomen attacks) you are missing out on quite a bit.

ian
10-30-2002, 03:28 AM
I think there is a major difference between attacks on the street and attacks in a boxing ring or karate competition. Here are the ways I've been attacked on the street (that I can remember):

1. wild round-house type swing

2. throat grab combined with two arm grabs (3 person attack)

3. wild tsuki thrust with a knife

4. wild jodan tsuki thrust

5. rear choke

6. wrist grab

As you may realise, the attacks ARE very similar to the attacks in aikido. Most attackers (in my experience) are trying to utilise the element of suprise and damage you with a hard 1st blow, or at least get you in a lethal situation instantly.

Aikidoka should never be squaring off against an opponent, since their aim would be to diffuse the situation. Attacks come when they think you are weakest. Ueshiba did say to train as if each blow could kill. Admittedly some people do unbalance themseleves, but training with resistance and without full commitment to an attack I believe is unrealistic and more remeniscent of sparring and competition.

Ian

ian
10-30-2002, 03:32 AM
P.S. I think as aikidoka we get too used to the idea that people can move their whole body. Most attackers think they'll just use strength to pound through your defences. Therefore I wouldn't loose track of the fact that fast movement off the line of attack is an extremely effective defence (and it saved my life).

Ian

Creature_of_the_id
10-30-2002, 04:30 AM
I would say that, not until you become dan grade do you start dealing with realistic attacks. Dan grade is the beggining, you have learned the techniques by going through kyu grades. At dan grade you learn to actually apply them, really start to learn how to deal with a situation.

Or that is how I see it anyway.

as for people saying things like punches are too fast to do technique on?

So what if the punch is moving fast, I bet the attackers head isn't moving to fast for you to take hodl of.

you don't have to do technique on the part of the body that is attacking you. You just have to make sure you dont get hit by it ;)

ronmar
10-30-2002, 03:45 PM
I find that the aikido attacks are kind of worthless. Nobody hits like that.

Got to agree with that. Why do the majority of you not see this.
It should no matter whether you are studying boxing, karate, or aikido, a good attack is a good attack.

Not true. Really really not true. Something like karate attacks in a narrowly defined way (when punching) and so is predictable. Its due to all the bogus master/student respect thing they have going on that no-one questions this. Boxing has no limits on attack using punches and so the most effective types of attacks and training methods have evolved and become commonplace. If you don't believe me go and karate punch your way to the title.
The result...after 6 years of aiki training, when I hit, I hit good, solid, and hard...not some point sparring "love tap".

So you're saying it would be better for fighters to go and do aikido?? to improve their punching skills than regular boxing training and sparring. Remember boxers don't point spar either.You get points but the object is KO.

Here are the ways I've been attacked on the street (that I can remember):

1. wild round-house type swing

2. throat grab combined with two arm grabs (3 person attack)

3. wild tsuki thrust with a knife

4. wild jodan tsuki thrust

5. rear choke

So you have been attacked by three people at once, rear choked, AND attacked with a knife. How come you are still alive. Were your attackers little girls ( or students)? I think you might not be telling the whole truth.

You lot need to cross train urgently before you all develop pot bellies and start giving aiki street survival seminars

bcole23
10-30-2002, 04:21 PM
Aikido "attacks" in themselves are not uneffective. There technically are none. Thus, there is no emphasis put on learning them. It takes a long long time for most people to learn to be a good uke. If you watch, "The Path Beyond Thought, Steven Segal", you'll notice that all the nages who are taking their dan tests are finding out how crazy really getting attacked is. The dan test is where you stop getting "uke help" and have to do this stuff for real.

Part of the problem with how Aikido is perceived is that there are a relatively small number of people at the dan rank as compared to kyu ranks. Combine this with the western view that a black belt is a "master" and higher ranks are "uber masters" or whatever and Aikido is suddenly seen as fake. I've seen the truth in aikido. I came from the bad part of town etc etc and have fought many many battles. I can pick apart bad aikido easily. I've actually tried with great intent on succeeding in my attacks against really good nages and it just seems impossible. You just can't fight them. There is no fight, no matter how much you want to.

So to sum up:

Comparing perceptions of other MA's and Aikido is like comparing apples and baboon butts.

Don't take sub dan attacks as a serious intent to harm.

Most dojo's need more emphasis on ukeing.

ronmar
10-30-2002, 05:03 PM
Comparing perceptions of other MA's and Aikido is like comparing apples and baboon butts.
Thats a bit patronising. Why are you so sure aikido has it all right and everyone has it wrong?
The dan test is where you stop getting "uke help" and have to do this stuff for real

Aikido doesn't come close to real. I've watched aikido black belts "attacking" each other many times. And they have it all wrong. As a real test take the aikido to a full contact boxing or wrestling place. Until you do this you don't know if it works. I am crap at aikido but wish I was better because I can see good stuff in it. However I am good at wrestling/judo and know that they are (i) easier to learn

(ii) more effective

They are only more effective due to the training methods, not the intrinsic technical details. Your aikido will not have been tested under the pressure of someone trying to really hurt you without letting up. Until it is pressure tested, the knowledge will disintegrate under stress.

Hagen Seibert
10-30-2002, 05:18 PM
Another thought to highlight the Self-defence-and-Aikido-Dilemma:

In normal training, as Uke you frequently could resist a technique if youīve set your mind to do so, because you know whatīs going to come. In Randori this wont work any more, because you donīt know which technique is up and youīre very busy getting after it.

In Randori, as Nage, you can deal with Uke because there ist a limited, predictable number of techniques. In realistic wild all-allowed Randori, the siuation turns against you (Just like in normal Randori with Uke). The attacks are no longer predictable and youīre all busy to avoid getting hit.

At least thatīs where Iīm getting at my limits presently.

bcole23
10-30-2002, 05:28 PM
Comparing perceptions of other MA's and Aikido is like comparing apples and baboon butts. Thats a bit patronising. Why are you so sure aikido has it all right and everyone has it wrong?

How is that patronizing? What I'm saying is that Aikido is not the same as other MA's and direct comparisons between how both are implemented is pure folley.

Judo/wrestling are easier to learn. However, more effective does not depend on whether it's Judo/Aikdo/wrestling or what have you, but on the persons skills. I agree that for the most part, you really don't see hard as hell training sessions anymore unless someone is preparing for their dan grade. That's not a fault of Aikido, but of the practitioner. "Flowing" and "internal" arts attract a great many people who care more for the benefits you get from practicing the art than for the self defense aspect. Trust me, there are people out there that practice budo and are real warriors, though they don't have to prove it like some others. There's quite a few Judoka and wrestlers who do not embody the things you are speaking of. However, Judo throws sure seem more effective cuz you can kill with them and people go splat a lot. Guess what, you can kill with Aikido also, but the Aikidoist makes a concious choice not to follow that path. (at least some do)

I understand that there is a feeling that Aikido is not as "Street Effective" as other MA's, but it always comes back to the fact that it's the person, not the art.

bcole23
10-30-2002, 05:30 PM
Yes, I agree. Aikido is training, randori is where you try to enact the tenets of that training. Please go watch an all out randori and tell me it never gets "real" in Aikido.

Hagen Seibert
10-30-2002, 05:31 PM
I feel somewhat responsible for this thread, because I started it. So let me point out:

I do understand your frustraition of lacking effectiveness in Aikido.

But please donīt let it take you to forget keeping respect for those who have a different opinion on the subject.

Especially with Ian I have not trained with, but Iīd reckon he knows what heīs talking about.

shihonage
10-30-2002, 05:32 PM
Yes, I agree. Aikido is training, randori is where you try to enact the tenets of that training. Please go watch an all out randori and tell me it never gets "real" in Aikido.
Unfortunately, that all-out randori can only be seen on Steven Seagal's tape.

ronmar
10-30-2002, 05:37 PM
Yeah, they don't seem to proper randori where I live. More of a "you do this I'll do that" sort of scenario in aikido training.

When someone sets boundaries they have something to hide and are not confident in their own ability.

Detective Dobbs
10-30-2002, 08:48 PM
How`s it going?Just as aikido is a skill in itself,attacking properly with a friend,Ie.mutiple attacks is also a skill in itself.Three tough people may be easier to fight as one or together since timing is a major factor in executing devastating attacks.I was {lucky} enough to work at a bar in University and getting attacked by three people at once was an {easy} day.I don`t know who or how tough or skilled they were but,my aikido worked.The principles of aikido work,it is up to you to let them work for you.I`ve been to the wrestling dojos and they get tired of palms to the face every time they move.My question is;Why are you practicing aikido,where aikido isn`t practiced.Sounds from your writing that the people in your dojo are paying slapsies,do you pay for this?No offensebut,you may want to find a new place to study.Peace

So you have been attacked by three people at once, rear choked, AND attacked with a knife. How come you are still alive. Were your attackers little girls ( or students)? I think you might not be telling the whole truth.

You lot need to cross train urgently before you all develop pot bellies and start giving aiki street survival seminars[/QUOTE]

creinig
10-31-2002, 05:49 AM
I understand that there is a feeling that Aikido is not as "Street Effective" as other MA's, but it always comes back to the fact that it's the person, not the art.
That "Street effective" caught my eye. Thing is I recently bought "Taking It to the Street : Making Your Martial Art Street Effective" by Marc McYoung (http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/158160050X/

Reading it I often (!) thought "cool, he's just describing Aikido". He has one chapter dedicated to explaining the virtues of a "stance" that's effectively the Yoshinkan kamae, he seems to love iriminage, getting off the line and other aikido stuff. IMHO most of the things he describes is covered really well by standard aikido training (as I know it). Of course only of you train with self-defense ability as one of your goals :)

So IMHO Aikido, if trained with the right intent, is definitely very useful for "real" situations. It's a bit lacking in the closer ranges I think, but that's about it.

ian
10-31-2002, 06:14 AM
So you have been attacked by three people at once, rear choked, AND attacked with a knife. How come you are still alive. Were your attackers little girls ( or students)? I think you might not be telling the whole truth.
I have mentioned most of these attacks in posts a year or so ago. I grew up in quite a rough area, and I also used to quite a bit of travelling when I was younger - both practices conducive to being attacked. I had missed one event as well, when a bloke I knew used to be a boxer attacked me. He was extremely fast and hit me twice before I knew what I was doing - the bouncers in the club grabbed him, and I didn't even have a bruise the next day.

I am very fit and relatively strong (for my height). This may have had something to do with my success so far. However I do believe that aikido DID save my life in the knife attack and has actually stopped several fights from occuring. I don't know what makes you think an aikidoka could only defend themselves from students or little girls. What experience are you talking from?

Ian

ian
10-31-2002, 06:23 AM
P.S. although we always get this repeated question, "is aikido street effective?", I think it is something we should always be asking ourselves as aikidoka/ists.

Most martial arts have the ability to compete so they can see that they have 'beaten' someone else. These competitions have certain rules and are in predicatable setting, with a (relatively) predictable (single) opponent. Aikidoka train differently, we constantly ask what if? - to me that's a good thing, and that is what preparing for self defence is all about.

Ian

Bruce Baker
10-31-2002, 06:42 AM
I guess the speed and velocity of attack that is rationalized to reality is modified to the ability of your training partner.

This becomes the unreal attack where we hold back, or find the disparity of practice to reality.

Often, when practice is sped up to the point of reality, there is still some holding back to have a small margin of safety, this is the question of committed attack verses half hearted practice attacks.

It does not matter what martial art it is applied to ... the give in is the ability to work safely within the practice while adapting to the reality of a situation.

More often than not, if a practitioner is ready, I will provide modified resistence in order to simulate a more real training condition, but then my awarness must be heightened to provide a type of shadow movement, found within 'sticky hands' practice that allows for fluidity.

In a few posts, I have been called a troll. Well, imagine a having the body of a troll that trys to be an aikidoka? It sure ain't easy, and you need to learn some tricks.

Train at the level that is your highest level, and it will show you the answer you seek.

bcole23
10-31-2002, 08:51 AM
Just as a point:

I feel that message board and discussions on the internet lack so much feedback from the discussees, that many people feel that everything is an arguement.

This thread is called a constructive dialog. People share their views and listen to one another and hopefully, if they have an open mind, gain a deeper understanding.

opherdonchin
10-31-2002, 09:11 PM
Often, when practice is sped up to the point of reality, there is still some holding back to have a small margin of safety, this is the question of committed attack verses half hearted practice attacks.Actually, this is one thing that strikes me as 'more realistic' in AiKiDo relative to other arts. Because we learn to apply techniques that don't have to 'hurt' or 'injure,' we are free to move much more quickly and to attack with much more commitment. This has to do with the way we do techniques, but it also has to do with attitude. The cooperative attitude allows us to come much closer to a 'real' situation without fear of injury.

DrGazebo
11-01-2002, 12:34 AM
As a karateka, I trained against some aikido strikes after reviewing this discussion. I think you take for granted how difficult these strikes can be to deal with. A very committed overhand attack, done quickly and unexpectedly, is very powerful. In karate, we would block, redirect, step back or enter into the zone. In aikido, you have a wealth of techniques. I reconsider, I think that atemi delivered with intention would certainly cross train you to deal with all types of attack. After all, its the energy of the attack, its intention we need to learn to feel, and not be fooled by appearances, which sets us up for fakes.

I think so many of you are well trained, that you easily deal with attacks which would cause considerable damage of simply blocked. And there is no way I would square off against one of you with a jo, now that would just be foolish.

Aikodoka have nothing to apologize for with respect to atemi. Without aikido principles, in fact, karate is wooden and unrealistic iteslf. So I can't help but think a unified practice of both would be beneficial. Japanese cross training?

DrGazebo
11-01-2002, 12:35 AM
Apologies for the typos, its late and just heading to bed.

Ta Kung
11-01-2002, 02:06 AM
Hi!

I recently began practising "full" attacks with another guy at my dojo. When we practise together, we really do give a 100% comitted attack. So far, my Aikido has worked well. But since I'm pretty new to it, I'd probably get hurt if I didn't know what attack he was going to deliver...

Many of the other students are not willing to give an attack as sincere as we do. Most of theme haven't practised any other art before Aikido (hence their attacks are lacking). Therefore, I only get to practise this way a few times per class (when I'm paired with this othe guy). It's really good training!

/Patrik

SmallFry
11-01-2002, 09:29 AM
I wish to reply to the comments about aikido attacks not being representative of real world attacks.

I tend to view a lot of the attacks in terms of "angles of attack" rather than focus merely on the type of attack itself. For example with tsuki, it is a thrust to the chest/torso. So if you look at a fist, knife, spear, jo, sidekick or flying side kick that target the torso, all the angles of these attacks would approximate the same path as tsuki. Of course, the type of attack or weapon used will change the dynamics of what exact technique can or should be used. But the general principles of dealing with a tsuki attack should still be applicable.

I picked up the "angle of attack" thing from arnis/escrima and it has somewhat helped me in understanding the principles of dealing with an attack.

I also find it helpful when I keep in mind the principles of getting off the line, centering, and keeping uke off balance. Because these can help in dealing with attacks not normally practiced.

For example, after one practice some of us simulated a mugging with the attacker applying a choke from behind while the other hand has a knife pointed at the back.

By using the principles mentioned, we were able to think up some ways to reasonably get out of such a predicament using aikido moves.

Committed attacks are of course important but I believe it's dependent on a) how much nage already knows the technique so that he's aware of the attack instead of focusing on which foot goes where and what hand should grab which, and b) uke's confidence in taking ukemi for such a full force attack.

Anyway, that's just how I look at it. Hope it helps.

ronmar
11-02-2002, 09:05 AM
I think the problem is that aikido doesn't have attacks as such. It is a defensive art. The attacks used are stylised and done in a way such as to make a given response more easy to select and apply.

If aikido was modernised to include an array of effective attacks (eg some simple throws, a few standing holds, some punching and kicking)then uke would have an incentive not to get thrown so that they could continue to attack. This would be a lot more effective training for nage (who would apply only aikido moves)than single stylised attacks with no resistance, follow through, or intent.