View Full Version : Poll: Which of these "instincts" have you had to work through the most in your aikido trai

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02-09-2003, 01:22 AM
AikiWeb Poll for the week of February 9, 2003:

Which of these "instincts" have you had to work through the most in your aikido training?


Here are the current results (http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=152).

ze'ev erlich
02-10-2003, 03:45 AM
can anyone explain this question?

02-10-2003, 07:26 AM
When faced with a sudden encounter, most people react without thinking in one of several different ways. To elaborate, if a Bad Guy suddenly decides he wants to beat a person up, that person may automatically:

1) Throw him/herself at the attacker and fight him.

2) Attempt to run away or duck into a ball.

3) Freeze like a deer caught in headlights.

These are not - as Jun implied by putting 'instincts' in single quotes - true instincts; in other words, they're not hard-wired into the Human brain. They are learned responses, picked up from our environment as we grow up. I personally have a hunch, based on my own experience, that the third possibility; 'freeze', is a result of having no real learned response - the body freezes in place while the brain tries to sort out the new situation.

Hope that answers your question. :)


ze'ev erlich
02-10-2003, 02:49 PM
Thanks Dave for the quick and clear reply.


02-10-2003, 08:38 PM
But they are all fake, right?

02-10-2003, 10:24 PM

Sorry, Mark, I don't understand the question - could you please elaborate a bit? :)

02-11-2003, 12:27 AM

as mentioned before: unable to process a suitable reaction based on lack of learned response. brain meltdown.

i think it's conditioning. plus i've never been a hitter. (on account of not liking being hit back.)

having defensive skills is slowly changing the way i react though.

mike lee
02-11-2003, 07:18 AM
I used to occassionally practice at a private, family-run dojo in Asia. After practice, everyone would go out onto a large deck to drink tea. I was often the last one out because I like to take a shower immediately after practice.

Sometimes the owner's young children would kick their shoes off and come in and run around in the dojo. I would often chase them around until we tired each other out. One day, there was just a 3-year old girl and her mother in the dojo after practice.

When I came out of the changing room, the child was at one end of the room and her mother was at the other end. I slowly started to walk toward the child and she froze with terror. I stopped moving for a few seconds, giving her enough time to collect her wits, and then she immediately ran to her mother and smiled.

She was safe, and she learned how to overcome her fear and move without a word being spoken. From that day forward, she was able to react and move immediately if I ever showed the slightest sign of moving toward her in a meanacing manner. (Just a game we played with each other. When the game was over she would often bring me a snack and sit on my knee.)

Knowing how to react is far better than freezing. Remaining calm, still and motionless is not the same as freezing. It's another kind of reaction, athough more sophisticated than moving immediately. Children above seven can usually instinctively learn to use stillness to their advantage.

The game of dodge-ball is great for teaching such reactions. I highly recommend the game at the end of children's aikido classes. The adults might even have some fun by joining in too!

02-12-2003, 12:32 PM
I think the main purpose of self-defence is over-coming this freeze instinct. I think the freeze instinct is the first one that develops (I've experienced it a few times when I was younger). However I think even with very simple training (even just on your own) you can adapt this to a response) - before doing aikido I used to just do some boxing style striking practise on my own. This response was the first thing I did when I was attacked at school and it was suprisingly effective even though I had done very little.

I think the flight response is maybe a secondary response when you have already been attacked and you have a moment for your subconcious to consider that you are not going to survive the situation - I've never experienced that response.

Now I have a 'fight' response, but unlike the striking response I had when I was young it tends to be a avoid/'technique'/pacify response which I think is far better for both parties. (When I say technique, in reality many of these have been half techniques in that I've utilised a standing pin or just held someone from behind after a frontal attack).

For me our responses are what we are training because it is very difficult to think through techniques in real situations. Luckily as aikidoka we are training in minimally damaging responses so we can have confidence in defending ourselves whatever the situation (whether it is a friend or stranger).


02-12-2003, 12:37 PM
P.S. for those of you that are interested - a different part of the brain is triggered when we see harrowing situations on film compared to the normal stuff. It is thought that our brain is actually processing this information in a special way so we can react when we get into certain situations. Therefore to say what a 'natural' reaction is is difficult - also it suggests that many people may try to react in a similar way to what they would have seen as 'succesful' in other situations (I'll have to try that Bruce Lee sumersaulting kick).

02-14-2003, 07:53 AM
When I first faced fear as a child/man my instinct was to fight hard and fast. I have several brothers and it may be that I had to learn this reponse from the cradle in order to get a second pork chop.

It was in Viet Nam that I first encounterd the flight response - incoming mortars... and the need to run is amazing. It was there that I learned the response that Chris refers to - to be calm and evaluate, clearly not the same as freezing. The only time I have ever frozen was when my first wife told me we were getting a divorce.

These are human responses and training in Aikido gives us the option to overcome instinct and transcend the normal human condition. After 20 or 30 years and thousands of punches aimed at your head you should be able to calmly evaluate a threat instantly.

02-14-2003, 12:29 PM
It was in Viet Nam that I first encounterd the flight response - incoming mortars... and the need to run is amazing. It was there that I learned the response that Chris refers to - to be calm and evaluate, clearly not the same as freezing.
Lol - That sounds familiar. Mortars are nasty, from a psychological as well as physical aspect. My first real flight response was very similar - my first sniper. 2 years in, 3 weeks in-country, my 1st thought was "Damn; big bees.....SH**************T!!!!! I would've beaten Donovan Bailey the few meters to the nearest cover.

Hell; i'dve beaten an F-18; I think I did most of it in mid-air.

5 months later found me moving quickly but calmly to a safe position, lighting a smoke and flipping the A-H an annoyed finger before calling it in.

02-14-2003, 03:34 PM
A perfect image; and a good example.

02-15-2003, 02:47 PM
Got to admit, coming from Detroit, the military, and the bashing arts, the fight response was the hardest for me to work through. Well actually, I am still working through it because I still keep it as a very real option.

Until again,