View Full Version : How best to deliver a striking attack?
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02-09-2004, 02:11 PM
I've recently noticed that there are 2 broadly categorised ways of how uke delivers striking attacks ( Shomenuchi, Yokomenuchi, Tsuki ).
1. Uke puts all body weight behind the attack, kind of steps forward to follow through the attack.
2. Uke strikes solidly and plants feet firmly on the ground. I notice that fewer ukes attack this way, and that most who do have some training in striking arts. Several tsuki and withdraw their fist as well.
I suppose both are not wrong and it would be good for nage to experience both. I'm just wondering whats everyone's opinion about this. I attack the first way since I don't have any other MA training. I do notice that I find it more difficult to handle ukes who go with (2).
02-09-2004, 02:36 PM
1. ...follow through the attack.
2. Uke strikes solidly and plants feet firmly on the ground.
....whats everyone's opinion about this.
I generally associate greater resistance with progress, both during class and over time.
In class, with beginners especially, I want them to get the footwork and timing right so I ask folk to go through the motions for the first few reps, ie, "follow through the attack". After they know the pattern of movement, we begin working on vectors for taking balance more carefully. Here resistance is valuable as diagnostic.
As one becomes more skillful, s/he should expect/demand more resistance from his training partners in general.
(As to planting, karate folk do root rather well. A snappy backfist to their nose would loosen them up, of course, indeed prevent them from planting in the first place. But this makes for a pretty inhospitable training environment and thus an aikido dilemma: How to calibrate the effect of this smacking of UKE (ATEMI) without actually smacking him (also analyzed as "aikido demands cooperation and thus is fake")? On the one hand your technique isn't working, on the other, you don't want to brutalize your training partner. A certain faith is called for. I've seen more than one karate player--who was unwilling to extend this faith--leave aikido in frustration because aikido "didn't work".)
02-09-2004, 03:51 PM
another way to go is to adjust your timing...if you wait for them to plant, and then hit them and try to do the technique, they often just hit me back. :)
But if I do my entry as they begin to solidify their mental attack, I can often physically enter before the plant, and the technique becomes doable. Its really weird when you start to really get 'inside' their head...
02-10-2004, 01:54 PM
Last night, I received "Aikido Shugyo" by Gozo Shioda in the mail and started reading it. It is an incredible account of initial study of aikido and I really gathered (only half way through the book) that Timing... is everything.
Sensei Shioda addresses how people attack, whether they plant their feet or not, and gives ideas on how to use such an attack to your advantage.
Like I said, I'm only half way through the book and I have no intention of relaying the whole book in a message here. Suffice to say, timing is very critical but no matter how they attack, committed or not... planted or not, he addresses it well and gives the reader much to think about.
Very recommended reading, imho.
02-10-2004, 01:59 PM
I agree John, excellent training reading.
02-10-2004, 02:28 PM
I agree with your analysis that people who have done striking arts usually "plant" much better when attacking than "Aikido only" types. An exception to this is people who have done heavily sparring oriented styles that emphasize speed to the complete detriment of power. They don't root much into anything.
Interestingly, I find this dichotomy within myself, and it's kind of amusing. In my old style, where striking was considered a vital skill, we attacked almost exclusively with what are usually called "reverse" punches, where the attacking hand is on the opposite side of the leading leg. In Aikido, we attack almost exclusively with the same arm as the forward leg. When I reverse punch, I plant pretty darn well. With an Aikido punch, I'm much lighter and easier to throw.
I also wonder why neither of my styles "mixed it up", and taught throws for both kinds of attacks, since it changes the relation between the attacking arm and the "3rd point" that we usually throw towards. While the principles should remain the same, a little practice would be helpful... *shrug* Perhaps I'll figure it out one of these years.
02-12-2004, 07:04 PM
Hey John and Ron!!!
I'm looking for some good Aikido literature and from what I'm hearing from you guys, "Aikido Shugyo" sounds good.
Is this book something I can pick up at Barnes and Noble or is it a book you have to buy online. If its online, what site?
02-13-2004, 08:19 AM
I run into this problem too sometimes. I have trouble doing technique on people that have a strong karate background and are very rigid as uke. Personally I like to be loose and not plant when I am uke because I feel that it is a more committed attack. I think when somebody plants their feet and doesn't move when they tsuki, it may not be committed because all nage has to do is back up an inch out of their reach. I may be totally wrong on this which is why I'm posting. Now, I can say that when somebody throws a munetsuki and is within range and plants their feet that it is not nearly as much of a problem. Maybe the problem is that when people plant their feet and are not deep enough for a good attack that the techniques are hard to make work. Maybe somebody can shed some better light on this for me.
02-13-2004, 08:46 AM
I think the question you are raising all comes back to range. When I was studying a striking style, there was very explicit instruction that punching was reserved for a certain distance. Farther away than where you could reach was far enough away not to attack.
When I first joined Aikido, I was amazed to see how far away people stood before attacking. It is no wonder people sometimes seem like they're throwing themselves, because they attack starting at such a long range that they have to be HUGELY off balance to connect at the end of their strike.
I don't know much about anything, but I would suggest that if you ever feel even slightly unbalanced at the end of a strike, you're doing it wrong. Try throwing a punch in the air, then stop at the end of it. Then sink into your stance. If your fist has to move back because of it, your hips and torso are probably over-rotated (common Aikido problem from what I have seen...) and slightly off balance.
I used to hear that at the end of a strike you should have about 70% of your weight on the front foot. This allows you to put sufficient power into the strike without making yourself ridiculously easy to push over.
Once you are down in your stance, look at how far you have moved. Then make sure that you don't attack starting farther away than it would take to move your front fist a few inches into nage.
While most untrained people probably attack in a totally un-grounded and non-planted way (strike type 1), it is always good to train for the worst, so that everything else is way too easy.
Sorry for the ramble, but I hope it helps someone become a better uke.
02-13-2004, 10:09 AM
You should also be able to order from Jaques Payet's dojo...he is one of the translaters. Excellent book.
If you don't mind a different perspective on techinque, any of Gozo Shioda's technical books would also be a good choice (I'm assuming you don't do yoshinkan aikido).
02-13-2004, 12:22 PM
we attacked almost exclusively with what are usually called "reverse" punches, where the attacking hand is on the opposite side of the leading leg.
By your description, isn't your groin area open to strikes/counter-strikes?
02-13-2004, 02:37 PM
By your description, isn't your groin area open to strikes/counter-strikes?
Uh, I'm not Ted, but why would your groin area be open to strikes for a reverse punch but not a same-side punch?
02-23-2004, 04:56 AM
I meant, more specifically, a kick, to the groin. From the outside of course.
02-23-2004, 08:18 AM
Fun- there is ALWAYS something "open" in any position you are in. Otherwise self defense would be quickly summarized by "assume that position where you cannot be hurt and stay there"
But in response, no matter which leg is forward, the other side is more open to a kick. Only the fact that Aikido usually has really structured ways of standing when attacking and being attacked lead people to think that they are "more closed" one way than the other.
Actually, the "groin kick" question kind of demonstrates something about our stance in Aikido... I think that our stance is a good deal longer (and somewhat wider) than most simply -because- we don't have to worry about below-the-waist strikes. For other styles, they have to keep their legs much closer together. That way, it takes less time to shift all their weight to one leg so that they can lift the other one into position to block an incoming kick.
02-23-2004, 10:31 AM
Kashiwaya Sensei from the Seattle Ki Society visited my first dojo...many many years ago.
Ron...no old age jokes please!!!!
This very question was raised. When one has a partner in class that has a Karate type background and snaps the punch back after a strike, how does an Aikido sudent deal with that.
Kashiwaya Sensei gave two very good answers. One said stay put...one said enter. Ya...we were all confused!! But he detailed what he meant after he were all looking at him with blank faces...
Ted (range) and Ron(timing) made both of Kashiwaya Sensei's points. If you keep good distance Uke must step in deeply enough to reach you. And by doing so, Uke enters your universe and most times will leave an opening that can be exploited.
And Ron mentioned timing. Kashiwaya Sensei demonstrated that if one is relaxed enough,
(No Ron...I do not mean taking a snooze relaxed!!! :-)) Nage can see Uke's intent and be waiting for the return of the strike already at Uke's side. He demonstrated both techniques wonderfully. And as it was back in the mid 1990's.....of course I forget!! But it helped me to understand that both keeping correct range and having timing(and I do not mean REACTION timimg....I mean PROACTION timing) are very important as one studies Aikido.
02-23-2004, 11:19 AM
Don M. wrote: "(As to planting, karate folk do root rather well. A snappy backfist to their nose would loosen them up, of course, indeed prevent them from planting in the first place. But this makes for a pretty inhospitable training environment and thus an aikido dilemma: How to calibrate the effect of this smacking of UKE (ATEMI) without actually smacking him (also analyzed as "aikido demands cooperation and thus is fake")? On the one hand your technique isn't working, on the other, you don't want to brutalize your training partner. A certain faith is called for. I've seen more than one karate player--who was unwilling to extend this faith--leave aikido in frustration because aikido "didn't work".)"
Is heavy rooting of the feet/stance realistic or is it more of a 'dojo reality'? Does such a solid stance happen in real life or is it a dojo fabrication? Would those that attack in such a manner in the dojo really attack the same way in real life?
From my experience in tournements and real situations I can't say I have ever really seen the heavy set rooting that is common in practice of many striking arts. While it is taught continuously with students moving back and forth across the dojo floor it seems that when the floor changes to pavement (reality) it doesn't really work that way. Check out Peyton Quinn's BulletMan program. He has tons of video of high ranking striking art people getting confronted by the Bullet Man. I'm not sure if he has a single video of one that does a rooted foot motion. Heck most of them spaz out from the adrenaline dump and throw some really wild punches.
The point is if uke is attacking in that strong, flat footed striking motion it probably isn't an honest or real attack. If you disagree check out boxing and see how many of them assume anything like a traditional karate stance and throw punches from that stance on a continuous basis. When it is appropriate they will very quickly plant and throw a punch, but that is only when everything is perfect for such an attack. The majority of the punches in a boxing match are far more fluid.
Suggestion: If/when your uke is planting in a solid stance to throw a punch simply move away. Do not reach for them or attempt a specific technique. Simply move out of their limited range and make them chase you. In order to move they can't stay in a traditional karate stance, there is no mobility in such a stance. If they can't reach you they aren't a threat, hence you have no need to defend yourself.
Drill: For those that believe in the solid karate stance and feel that they have mobility I offer the following drill. #1 assumes the karate stance and must stay in said stance as he/she attacks #2, i.e. all motions must be in accordance with the solid karate movement philosophy as demonstrated in the katas. #2 begins the drill about 8 or 9 feet away from #1 and has a whip.
#1 moves in to attack #2 while trying to avoid the whip, but must stay in a solid stance/motion like in their training.
Most folks learn fairly quickly that they have extremely limited mobility while in their solid stance. Very quickly they will break their stance to avoid the whip, yell at them to stay in their stance and shuffle forward like they have been taught. I have found this generally causes a light bulb to turn on, although some folks need more than one demonstration. Note to #2, you are not limited in your range of motion, i.e. move around freely to avoid #1 but stay in whipping range. If/when you get a hard headed #1 that simply thinks he can ignore the whip, hit as hard as necessary to help #1 understand the danger in such a foolhardy approach.
After #1's light bulb goes off repeat the drill but allow #1 to move however they like to avoid the whip. Note how much more fluid and natural they move. Note how much harder #2 has to work to stay away from #1. Enjoy.
Truth is found in motion.
02-23-2004, 12:47 PM
Mark, the point you are trying to make is not lost on me, I know that the "rooted" punches do loose something with regards to mobility.
If the striking arts were meant for confronting armed individuals, they might move differently to cover the larger amounts of space between combatants. But they're not. Consider that any armed combatant is probably wearing armor too, which makes the idea of trying to punch them more than a little silly. By their very nature, karate and such are designed for unarmed and unarmored combat.
On the other hand, throwing arts are usually indirectly descended from arts meant to help disarmed troops deal with other armored foes trying to beat them up. Armor doesn't keep you from getting thrown or a joint broken.
So, the ma'ai for striking is significantly closer than anything that happens in Aikido. Aikido practitioners try to keep greater distances in order to force attackers to throw the kinds of attacks that are easy to throw. And that's just peachy keen. Controlling ma'ai is a very important thing to practice and learn how to do.
So perhaps it makes sense to have some of those people around who stand way back and try to hit you with punches that leave them half falling over. However, we should not mistakenly say that that is a good or correct way of punching to generate power. And, since it is harder to throw someone who is punching like that, then we should practice that way at least part of the time to try to better ourselves.
I can understand your frustration with some people who have done strictly kata-based striking arts, though, since I have seen a number of them who put no power, weight, or momentum into their strikes beyond what is neccessary to put their fist forward. These people may be really really tough to throw, but their punches also wouldn't do more than sting a little.
02-23-2004, 02:41 PM
IMHO, uke should always strike with focus and intent. That would be more the #2 type you mentioned.
One of the biggest criticism of Aikido is that we don't know how to strike so we train very unrealistically.
02-23-2004, 02:59 PM
Is heavy rooting of the feet/stance realistic or is it more of a 'dojo reality'? Does such a solid stance happen in real life or is it a dojo fabrication?
It's a potential. If you try to lead a karateka, say ala KOTE GAESHI, he will simply drop into a stance and suddenly you're both struggling. He's not married to it, though, as you might see in a bad movie, and he will move as needed.
Of course while he's waiting out the leading, he's also punching/elbowing/kicking.
02-23-2004, 03:58 PM
Fun- there is ALWAYS something "open" in any position you are in.
But in response, no matter which leg is forward, the other side is more open to a kick.
Exactly my point. Why would you assume that kicks to the groin could only come from the outside? If anything, kicking the groin from the inside is easier.
02-23-2004, 04:05 PM
It's a potential. If you try to lead a karateka, say ala KOTE GAESHI, he will simply drop into a stance and suddenly you're both struggling.
And if you try this on a judoka, he'll do the same, except he'll be throwing you. :)
Nothing special about dropping your weight and resisting a force. People do that daily on the bus or subway. When I've seen aikidoka resist throws in a non-structured situation, they do the same thing.
I think I'm agreeing with Mark -- I don't see that karate people have any special advantage due to practicing "rooted" strong stances. It *looks* strong, but it's like a Maginot line.
02-23-2004, 04:11 PM
Willy- you seem to have missed my point. I'm not assuming that kicks are coming from any place in particular. I'm saying that I don't understand why we only practice one way, given that neither way provides any particular advantage.
And I don't think that Don was saying that Karate's rooted stances provide any inherent benefit over and above what anyone does when they're trying not to be thrown. They're just better than the alternative of punching by throwing the top half of your body forward in a way that just says "throw me now!"
02-23-2004, 04:13 PM
oops, misread your post Willy- my error. Silly me, I thought you were disagreeing with me *grin*
02-23-2004, 04:19 PM
oops, misread your post Willy- my error. Silly me, I thought you were disagreeing with me *grin*
Haha, no worries.
And I too have seen (nay, even DONE *blush*) the "throw me now" punch! :)
02-23-2004, 05:10 PM
Actually I don't think you understood my point but that is my fault for not being more clear. Personally I don't like the wild throw all your weight and balance behind the punch. While this really does happen in real life folks that attack like this are very easy to deal with IF you see the attack coming. Sucker punches well...just suck, hence the name. Really no technique is needed for the unbalanced attacker, simply move out of the way and they will most likely fall or stumble.
While I have seen the unbalanced overly committed attacker in real life I have only seen one heavily rooted fully karate style fighter. It didn't last long before he got his arse handed to him. He just couldn't move out of the way, nor could he attack with any type of speed or commitment. Having discussed this with a number of others with LEO, prison guards, prisoners, bouncers, street fighters, etc I found their experiences to be similar. While that is not a scientific research project its enough for me.
While I am not a huge fan of competitions (I was in my younger days) they do play a role in training. I not that when watching sparring in the various striking schools I have visited that no one moves like the kata once the sparring gets real. No one plants heavily and attempts to punch. How many of you have heard from striking art students that their sparring doesn't look like their kata? I have many times.
In Aikido, striking art folks will root and plant, simply because they can. They aren't getting hit, nor do they have a fear of being hit by their partner because that isn't part of the technique being practiced. Secondly the majority of Aikido practice is done at a slow enough speed and intensity level that allows the uke to be relatively immobile. Add in the fear of being hit and your attacker will move differently, especially if they have been trained in a striking art that used sparring as a training method.
The answer, and I believe reality lies, in between the overly committed attacker and the grow roots kata attacker. Furthermore I believe you will see the former in real life but not the later. A review of real or sport fighters shows, to me at least, that one needs to be fluid and continuous. One can't be unbalanced, nor can we afford to sit in one place.
As for your comments on distance, I agree striking arts against armored opponents is silly. That was not the direction I was thinking from, nor do I believe that is where striking arts came from. Let a striker that roots close to his distance, once he settles to strike simply move backwards or sideways. This causes them to unroot, maneuver and re-root, before they can launch their attack. Do this enough and eventually they will simply stop rooting and start moving to attack. (Side note: Your hand/arm placement can also dictact whether they throw a straight punch or a hook.)
You wrote: "If you try to lead a karateka, say ala KOTE GAESHI, he will simply drop into a stance and suddenly you're both struggling. "
I totally agree and that is one of the reasons I am not a big fan of the leading version of kote gaeshi. While this is probably an unpopular opinion I feel the leading version, so frequently seen, is really a sensitivity drill, not a technique for real application.
Kote gaeshi works off the principle of rear posture distrubance. In the training hall if uke isn't retracting his/her punching arm after the strike and/or they are overly committing their posture forward, then a leading motion can work nicely to cause a backward reaction leading to the rear posture distrubance and wham kote gaeshi works nicely.
However, in the altercations I have seen or been involved in most folks tend to retract their arms as soon as they realize they have missed their intended target. Trying to pull this arm after it has been retracted or as it is retracted generally ends in the wrestling match you described. However, leading in this case is not needed, as the attacker is retracting his arm he is disturbing his own rear posture (on a minimum of half of his body) and vulnerable to kote gaeshi without the leading motion as a preparatory set-up. Simply apply the kote gaeshi in harmony with uke's retraction. However if one attempts to do the large circular kote gaeshi that seems popular they will be in for a rude surprise. By making the large circular motion they will actually bring uke up and forward thereby eliminating the rear posture disturbance. Now they are back to the wrestling match or worse, uke is smacking them with the other hand. Kote gaeshi works on rear posture - motions down and back, kote hineri works on forward posture - motions down and forward, nikyo will work on either forward or rear posture but not on a person in good posture and balance.
I think I have gone rather far afield with this post. My appologies.
02-23-2004, 07:40 PM
I think I have gone rather far afield with this post. My appologies.
Thanks for elaborating.
02-23-2004, 08:50 PM
Ted: Ok, maybe you are right about counter-strikes coming in from the inside and outside, but how do you actually strike with the reverse punch? The opposite foot of your striking fist slides forward too, like how we attack in Aikido practice?
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