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tedehara
02-18-2004, 01:37 AM
Ki Aikido practices without atemi (strikes). I've always thought that was done because of Koichi Tohei, the founder of the Ki Society and former Chief Instructor for O Sensei.

While reading an article about Bernie Lau (http://www.ejmas.com/jcs/jcsart_svinth_1101.htm) by Joseph Svinth, I came across the following:
Lau’s interest in karate was sparked by two separate incidents in which properly applied aikido joint locks failed to subdue the people he was trying to arrest. "I tried traditional aikido techniques," he says, "and they simply pulled out of them. We’re talking big guys who knew how to street fight." He himself did not get hurt as a result, but both suspects and a partner did. This bothered him. "I felt that if I could have better controlled the situation, then things might have turned out differently." When he mentioned the problem to Sadao Yoshioka, a former aikido instructor from Honolulu, Yoshioka replied that strikes could provide openings for locking techniques that were otherwise impossible to obtain. "But there are no strikes in aikido," protested Lau. "True," replied Yoshioka, "but that is because Ueshiba was working on spiritual development rather than fighting, and so he took them out. Look at old photos and you’ll see what I mean."

Does that mean atemi was taken out originally by O Sensei and reinstated later by Aikikai? I have film footage of O Sensei before his death. I never noticed it before, but he never did atemi in them.

Of course, I know that O Sensei did practice atemi, at least earlier in his career. But does anyone have something to refute this quote that it was Morihei Ueshiba rather than Koichi Tohei, who took atemi out of aikido?

akiy
02-18-2004, 09:49 AM
Ki Aikido practices without atemi (strikes).
Not even in taigi number 19?

-- Jun

John Boswell
02-18-2004, 09:50 AM
According to the book,"Aikido Shugyo: Harmony in Confrontation", Shioda Sensei relays that O'Sensei taught,"In a real fight, Aikido is 70 percent atemi and 30 percent throwing."

This ratio is often tossed around at seminars and in the dojo. You'll find it at various places on the internet, etc. but now I have a written source to refer to regarding it.

Instead of thinking that O'Sensei took out atemi from aikido, I'd ask where it was written or taught that he did? Who said it? Did they have the authority to say that? Do they have a resource backing up that idea?

In my dojo, we learn atemi. There are various definitions of it, but I think the complete absence of it is a HUGE mistake and that ANYONES aikido will fail in a true fight without the use of atemi.

1) Figure out the true definition of atemi.
2) Realize the purpose behind it.
3) Look for source materials (O'Sensei, Doshu, etc.) that clarify and do not listen to verbal communication on it unless it is your immediate sensei. Then follow up with questions if you have them.

I'm not rude if I have a question, I just wanna know stuff. Don't argue... ask and then listen. Good luck!

That's my 2 cents.

aikidoc
02-18-2004, 12:02 PM
This is the first comment I have ever found on atemi being taken out by O'Sensei. I have read the aikido literature specifically looking for atemi references. On the contrary, most of the reference with pictures of O'Sensei show him delivering atemi to suki. The question I have is whether Yoshioka stated an opinion or was directly quoting O'Sensei. If the message came through Tohei shihan with his ki emphasis I would wonder if the distinctions as to the source were becoming blurred. O'Sensei may have relied on less atemi in later years but keep in mind the dojo is not a real combat situation.

Nafis Zahir
02-18-2004, 12:32 PM
I was recently told by a sempai, that at a recent seminar with Kanai Sensei, he stated that O'Sensei band atemi strikes on his death bed. Kanai Sensei seems to be a reliable source. He then proceeded to show some of the ones they use to do and a couple of them would probaly knock you out or cause severe pain. I've always thought atemi was more of a set up than a strike. I'd be interested in hearing more about this subject.

Ted Marr
02-18-2004, 12:38 PM
Perhaps O Sensei took the strikes out of (his own) aikido. Which is to say that he got good enough that they weren't a strictly neccessary component of his technique, so he stopped using them. The rest of us shmoes, however, can still benefit from knowing a bit about atemi.

About that last post, my understanding is that "atemi" as we use it in Aikido isn't neccessarily the same as it is used in other arts. I have heard other people say that atemi (at least in their style) refers specifically to pressure point striking, rather than striking in general. If this is true (and I'm not entirely sure that it is), then O Sensei may have banned pressure point striking (a potentially very dangerous practice), without forbidding the use of a well placed fist to distract someone.

Joe Jutsu
02-18-2004, 02:25 PM
Kashiwaya Sensei is coming to our dojo tomorrow for a three day workshop, and I will be sure to ask him about this question.

-Joe

Don_Modesto
02-18-2004, 02:44 PM
Does that mean atemi was taken out originally by O Sensei and reinstated later by Aikikai?
Don't know anything about the death-bed stuff, but close students--Shioda, Saito, Kisshomaru, Saotome, Kuroiwa--all taught/teach ATEMI and in the only texts bearing the founder's name, ATEMI figures prominently (punches, elbows, kicks, chin into ribs, etc.)

aikidoc
02-18-2004, 04:58 PM
Best Aikido the Masters Course or Best Aikido, I'm not sure which (don't have it in front of me) defines atemi as strikes to vital points (pressure points). If anyone took some of the atemi out (at least in his books) it would be nidai doshu in my opinion. I don't recall Aikido showing one atemi strike and only mentioning it briefly. Yet, the new books show atemi regularly and discuss it as well. Although we may all aspire to O'Sensei's level, we lowly students may have to rely on atemi.

Most of what I've heard is so far word of mouth which changes with time in most cases.

aikidoc
02-18-2004, 05:00 PM
P.S. I'm a strong proponent of atemi to pressure or vital points as being the transition between art and combat. My article on the topic is supposedly scheduled by Black Belt Magazine to come out in the August issue.

Nafis Zahir
02-18-2004, 05:34 PM
P.S. I'm a strong proponent of atemi to pressure or vital points as being the transition between art and combat. My article on the topic is supposedly scheduled by Black Belt Magazine to come out in the August issue.
I agree. Pressure points are a good transition between art and combat. I learned pressure points (and still study them) when I use to do Kung Fu. I've also been in classes where a white belt, unknowingly, was doing ikkyo, and happend to place there thumb on a pressure point on my hand and really got me moving. Keep in mind that they did not realize it and their grip was not even strong, but when it comes to pressure points, you don't need much strength, unless you plan to do some serious damage. I was also once told that Aikido did have strikes, but that they were severe and could only be taught after reaching shodan.

Greg Jennings
02-18-2004, 08:54 PM
..."He said, "But there is no striking in aikido!", so I hit him again"....

- T.K. Chiba

Best regards,

tedehara
02-19-2004, 08:46 AM
Not even in taigi number 19?

-- JunI'm sorry. I don't understand your comment. Could you please clarify?

tedehara
02-19-2004, 09:23 AM
The question is "Did O Sensei ban the use of atemi in aikido?" From Nafis' response, the indication is "Yes".

As indicated from other responses, atemi has long been taught in aikido. Using atemi with technique makes for effective aikido. But this has no relevance to the initial question.

With all the people practicing atemi with technique, I really don't think that K. Tohei had enough authority to ban its practice. Personally, I will look forward to reading John Riggs' article.

akiy
02-19-2004, 09:25 AM
I'm sorry. I don't understand your comment. Could you please clarify?
Would you say that taigi number 19 does not contain any atemi?

-- Jun

tedehara
02-19-2004, 09:37 AM
Would you say that taigi number 19 does not contain any atemi?

-- JunIf you're indicating that the attacker strikes, then yes - the Ki Society teaches atemi for the attacker. However the person doing the aikido technique - the nage - is not suppose to be striking.

In techniques when atemi was used, it might be indicated with an open hand. But in any taigi situation nage is not expected to "bop" their partner.

ian
02-19-2004, 09:54 AM
Hi Ted - It is just plain wrong that Uehsiba is not seen to be doing atemi when he was older. I'm not sure about the photos, but definately in video footage I have seen several atemi and even a kick! (though he never made contact).

Within traditinal aikijitsu there are 3 stages of progression, where atemi tends to be focussed on early, and later almost entirely removed. In my mind aikido is a structure of body movement in which you do whatever you want. The aikido techniques are so well set up for delivering vital point combination strikes that I'm suprised that there is this idea that striking is not part of aikido.

I think failure in real situations is partly down to a lack of understanding of the word 'blending' and thus someone tries to force a joint lock on, as well as an inability to see openings for atemi.

An interesting story is when Uehsiba was challenged by a high ranking Judoka, and did a shuto to the jodokas hip, permanently damaging it. Ueshiba developed a TRAINING METHOD. If it is to be used for self-defence I think the openings and atemi opportunities are an essential part of the instruction. However these are rarely integrated directly into the paired training as we are mostly trying to learn the hard bit (blending). Aikido can be adapted from a situation where you need to b gentle, to a situation where you can kill. The standard training is just the core tool box.

Ian

akiy
02-19-2004, 11:26 AM
If you're indicating that the attacker strikes, then yes - the Ki Society teaches atemi for the attacker. However the person doing the aikido technique - the nage - is not suppose to be striking.
OK. I was under the impression that in taigi 19 with such techniques as "Munetsuki Kokyunage Uchiwanage Kubikiri (neck cut)," "Munetsuki Kokyunage Zempo Nage Yokomenuchi," "Munetsuki Kokyunage Uchiwanage Menuchi," and "Munetsuki Kokyunage Shomenuchi" being included that they would be considered atemiwaza.
In techniques when atemi was used, it might be indicated with an open hand. But in any taigi situation nage is not expected to "bop" their partner.
What if the same techniques that I listed above were practiced outside of a taigi situation?

-- Jun

Joe Jutsu
02-19-2004, 12:00 PM
In response to that Jun, if you're tired after a day of work and you get one of those sprung on you as uke, you get wacked in the face, and still fall afterword. And in my case, your glasses get stuck in your dreadlocks. But I no longer practice with my glasses on, so its all good.:)

Joe

Ted Marr
02-19-2004, 02:16 PM
(first part of the post directed towards Ian's comment)

Please refer to the later bit of my post where I talk about the possibility of the word "atemi" meaning different things to different people.

If there are videos of O Sensei punching and kicking people in later life, this is not neccessarily an indication that he was still practicing "atemi" when you define that word to be the striking of pressure points. It is one thing to hit someone, and quite another to hit someone in such a way as to activate pressure points.

Usually, pressure points require a very specific direction of application, and to achieve any of the really impressive results (knockouts, etc), the strike must generally activate three or more points either at the same time or in rapid succession.

Perhaps we also need to draw a distinction between atemi (defined as pressure point striking), and use of pressure points to augment technique (which I have heard referred to as tuite, but that word might have other meanings, so let's keep our discussion in english).

I have heard that the former can result in training fatalities if someone hits too many points at once, or if someone knocked unconcious does not recieve immediate attention, or if they are practiced too much. This seems like ample reason for O Sensei to want to ban their practice both on practical and philosophical grounds.

However, the second kind can be really quite neat to learn, and very helpful in augmenting technique. In fact, the way that many people do yonkyo is such an application.

I'm not sure I entirely agree with saying that these are a "good way to bridge" between practice of a martial ART and a self defense, but that is simply because not all people have all the same pressure points, and they are never in exactly the same place. I for one would never want to rest my personal safety on being able to accurately locate multiple nickel-sized points on my attacker's body with any kind of speed. But if you train to have these points as an added "bonus" to any technique you do, that's just gravy.

kironin
02-19-2004, 05:40 PM
If you're indicating that the attacker strikes, then yes - the Ki Society teaches atemi for the attacker. However the person doing the aikido technique - the nage - is not suppose to be striking.

In techniques when atemi was used, it might be indicated with an open hand. But in any taigi situation nage is not expected to "bop" their partner.
I guess we have different experiences of Taigi 19. When uke attempts to punch me and I as nage side step to the outside and sweep his punching arm past and strike at his head with shomenuchi, I personally would call that using an atemi whether or not I actually struck him, but I guess that is just me.

I can think of any number of atemi that I have been taught by senior Ki Society teachers over the years.

My take on it is we simply don't do atemi when it would upset the rhythm of the throw and generally in my experience we are moving to a position relative the uke that makes a counter strike impossible (at least very hard). When we move inside we definitely do atemi.

But you post about the quote from Bernie Lau was interesting and I would still be interested in what anyone knows.

YMMV,

Craig

George S. Ledyard
02-21-2004, 06:09 AM
This discussion could be resolved fairly easily. Take out the atemi and practice with a partner who has no intention of cooperating.

Saotome Sensei, who had fifteen years training under the Founder, stated that "if you know that your partner will not strike you, then all techniques are stoppable".

All techniques need to be appropriate to the specific energy given by an attacker. If the attacker knows there can be no atemi, he can shift his energy to make the aplication of any technique impossible. Normally, if the nage has moved correctly and is in the proper position doing this would create a suki and leave the attacker "open". But with no atemi the question would be: open for what?

I remember, one of the last times we had this discussion, Goldsbury Sensei corrected those that had maintained that Aikido was 70% or 90% atemi by pointing out that it was, in reality, 100% atemi.

Saotome Sensei taught us that "every throw you do is a strike which you are choosing not to do." In other words, in Aikido practice, atemi can be implicit rather than explicit. What forces an opponent to keep his energy dispersed so that you can apply a given technique is the possibility at any instant that nage can throw an atemi.

If you make some artifial "rule" that there is no atemi then Aikido is simply a dance like contact improvisation (also where there is no atemi). There would simply be no possibility of application of technique against a trained attacker. If you don't believe this then try it out. This isn't mysticism requiring many years of esoteric training. Just get an experienced partner, preferably one who doesn't share your own predisposition, and try it out.

As for some teacher or other banning atemi... I have hundreds of hours of video in my collection. I have video of Koichi Tohei using atemi, Kisshomaru Ueshiba using atemi, O-Sensei using atemi. Perhaps Tohei Sensei decided, for his own reasons to deemphasize the use of atemi in Aikido practice, but it was there in his technique.

Just look at the people whom O-sensei trained directly... certainly no one from the pre-war era maintained there was no atemi in Aikido. Of the post war era teachers some of the most notable would be teachers like Saito Sensei, Nishio sensei, Hikistuchi Sensei, Saotome Sensei, Chiba Sensei, etc. For every one of these men, atemi is an integral part of their Aikido technique. Is anyone out there maintaining that they all got it wrong? Somehow the whole bunch of them failed to understand the Founder and that a particular individual who may have chosen a different path was the only one who did get it right? I am sorry, I just can't buy it. But once again I say, don't take their word for it. Just practice with ukes who will throw combination attacks, who will resist your throws, who will tighten up when you try to apply a lock, or will slip any attept to grab them... then see.

Mel Barker
02-21-2004, 09:02 AM
Excellent post Ledyard Sensei! Your explanation is dead on.

My experience is that the people who are able to throw me with either magical ease or no touch at all are the ones that would best be able to have destroyed me with an atemi.

After following your suggestion to train without possibility of atemi I would suggest trying to opposite. Let uke know that you intend to strike them with as much power as you can muster before throwing them. You will be amazed at how easy these throws will become without need to actually strike.

This of course will only work if uke behaves like he believes you, and has the requisite ukemi skills to prevent you from hurting him.

Mel Barker
http://aikido.nowright.com

Mel Barker
02-21-2004, 09:05 AM
Excellent post Ledyard Sensei! Your explanation is dead on.

My experience is that the people who are able to throw me with either magical ease or no touch at all are the ones that would best be able to have destroyed me with an atemi.

After following your suggestion to train without possibility of atemi I would suggest trying to opposite. Let uke know that you intend to strike them with as much power as you can muster before throwing them. You will be amazed at how easy these throws will become without need to actually strike.

This of course will only work if uke behaves like he believes you, and has the requisite ukemi skills to prevent you from hurting him.

Mel Barker

George S. Ledyard
02-21-2004, 10:37 AM
Excellent post Ledyard Sensei! Your explanation is dead on.

My experience is that the people who are able to throw me with either magical ease or no touch at all are the ones that would best be able to have destroyed me with an atemi.

After following your suggestion to train without possibility of atemi I would suggest trying to opposite. Let uke know that you intend to strike them with as much power as you can muster before throwing them. You will be amazed at how easy these throws will become without need to actually strike.

This of course will only work if uke behaves like he believes you, and has the requisite ukemi skills to prevent you from hurting him.

Mel Barker
I was at a Systema workshop with Vladimir Vasiliev two weekends ago in Longmont, CO. He did a whole class on working with resistant opponents. He talked about how atemi is used to effect the opponent and position him for the takedown. He pointed out that sometimes you have a partner who initially wants to be a tough guy and he ignores the threat of the atemi (he demonstrated on one of his students with an atemi that didn't make contact; the student didn't flinch). He pointed out that "belief" was a crucial component in the use of atemi (he gave the student a real whack and you could see that it was painful and that he had to do the breathing exercises they are taught to disipate the energy of the strike). After the student had taken a real hit or two, when Vlad went to deliver an atemi the students whole body responded even though Vlad hadn't made contact. The Systema guys can deliver several of these strikes, often not even making contact and in doing so they can get the attacker to position his body in such a way as to make it unnecessary to use any more than finger tip pressure to dump him. It was amazing to watch.

Don_Modesto
02-21-2004, 11:48 AM
....sometimes you have a partner who initially wants to be a tough guy and he ignores the threat of the atemi (he demonstrated on one of his students with an atemi that didn't make contact; the student didn't flinch....he gave the student a real whack...). After the student had taken a real hit or two, when Vlad went to deliver an atemi the students whole body responded even though Vlad hadn't made contact.
How do you suppose that would go over at a seminar with an unknown partner?

(Sorry. ;) I love the point, it's one I make myself, but there's just this little devil sitting up on my shoulder...next to my good ear...)

George S. Ledyard
02-21-2004, 01:07 PM
How do you suppose that would go over at a seminar with an unknown partner?

(Sorry. ;) I love the point, it's one I make myself, but there's just this little devil sitting up on my shoulder...next to my good ear...)
Happens all the time. I was recently at a seminar in which Saotome Sensei was meeting a ryote tori attack by simutaneously deflecting the two grabs outswrds and grabbing the head. My partner, who is senior to me insisted on pulling her arms away and jumping back. The problem from her standpoint was that when she did so she drew me right into her unprotected center. She had already committed to the attack. It wasn't possible to escape without being struck by the atemi. I, of course showed the atemi but didn't land it. She looked at me as if there was something wrong with my technique. Whether she understood what had happened wasn't my problem. I knew I had her. That was enough.

There are occasions in which you simply have to do the atemi. I had a student do a nidan test in which an uke refused to acknowledge an atemi that was literally in his face. My student was trying to be kind by not landing the atemi but that required that the uke would acknowledge it. When he didn't he put the students whole randori at risk. I had warned my student that this might happen and that if it did he needed to nail the uke in order to get an honest response but the student wouldn't do it and consequently his randori was ruined by this uke.

In general when you have a partner who doesn't get it, you simply move on to another partner. It's not your job to correct someone else's problems unless that person is your student. It's their teacher;s job to fix it. It's your job to train and understand what is happening in order to grow. Sometimes it is the restraint that is the best education.

aikidoc
02-21-2004, 04:37 PM
Excellent post George-san. I recently started reading Shioda's Shugyo and he basically states that in a combat situation you need to use atemi and quick throws.

Chad Sloman
02-22-2004, 07:43 AM
In general when you have a partner who doesn't get it, you simply move on to another partner. It's not your job to correct someone else's problems unless that person is your student. It's their teacher;s job to fix it. It's your job to train and understand what is happening in order to grow. Sometimes it is the restraint that is the best education.
Ledyard Sensei, is it wrong to just go ahead and apply the atemi? In the past I had problems with some techniques because I was told that I was being "too nice", i.e. I was applying atemi but missing the target on purpose because my partner wasn't moving. So I was taught to just go ahead and land the atemi, if they didn't move out of the way then it was their problem. Now I don't mean to say that I strike my partner's head as fast and as hard as I can but I put real intent behind the atemi which seems to really help my technique.

tedehara
02-22-2004, 01:41 PM
Almost all these comments and I include myself among these respondents, are irrelevant to the original question. "Did the founder take out atemi in Aikido?"

In response to Jun and Craig, there are some "strong leads" in the taigi, which I would call atemi. In particular there is a back fist strike, which I have been told is a "lead" because you roll your fist, rather than just letting it drive through the other person's face. Of course you pull back your fist before you actually hit.

I am assuming that a nage would use an open hand to indicate a strike during the execution of a technique. This would indicate an atemi and help maintain correct ma-ai. However most people just do the technique and don't indicate the atemi. Many times, doing the strike breaks up the motion of the technique. In some techniques, the atemi has evolved into a stylized movement.

I'm going to start asking around. Perhaps I'll find something worth reporting.

George S. Ledyard
02-22-2004, 03:17 PM
Almost all these comments and I include myself among these respondents, are irrelevant to the original question. "Did the founder take out atemi in Aikido?"

In response to Jun and Craig, there are some "strong leads" in the taigi, which I would call atemi. In particular there is a back fist strike, which I have been told is a "lead" because you roll your fist, rather than just letting it drive through the other person's face. Of course you pull back your fist before you actually hit.

I am assuming that a nage would use an open hand to indicate a strike during the execution of a technique. This would indicate an atemi and help maintain correct ma-ai. However most people just do the technique and don't indicate the atemi. Many times, doing the strike breaks up the motion of the technique. In some techniques, the atemi has evolved into a stylized movement.

I'm going to start asking around. Perhaps I'll find something worth reporting.
When I talk about atemi being intrinsic to Aikido I mean a number of things:

Striking:

a) the possibility of a physical atemi at any instant b) a strike that has the juice to catch an attacker's attention but may not actually be intended to physically land (you know this but the uke doesn't c) a strike which would land if the uke didn't block it and d) a strike which does land causing pain and / or physical dysfunction

Non-Striking:

The wider sense of atemi includes anything designed to capture the attention of the uke for an instant or momentarily effect his will to resist: a) kiai as an audible form of sonic atemi b) the "silent kiai", an energetic form of kiai by projecting a sharp intense mental focus outwards at the uke c) anything unexpected which can capture the uke's mind for a second (Joanne Veneziano Sensei in Seattle would sometimes plant a kiss on the cheek of the uke just before she threw him in irimi nage)

All of this comes under the general heading of atemi they way I was taught. If atemi only means the striking of vital points to cause physical pain and dysfunction then one is looking at only the very narrowest of the meanings of atemi. There would certainly be teachers whose Aikido was sophisticated enough that this type of atemi would only account for a relatively small anmount of their practice.

senshincenter
02-23-2004, 02:45 PM
I understand the original question, and do not wish to stray too much from that topic set by it, but I wonder if there is not a subtopic here that is much more relative to the broader Aikido community – one that could be settled outside of the respective camps of the individual believer.

Before I get what that might be, I would like to state here that I think we are dealing with a historical question – that is to say, we are dealing with matters of historical accuracy. In that light, we are going to have to accept, on the one hand, that the practicality of striking may not lend as much credence to what is being asked as one may believe, while on the other hand, as in all matters dealing with historical questions, second party accounts (hearsay), and deathbed statements have to be treated with a healthy dose of skepticism. This skepticism has to be of such a nature to allow things to be suspended in doubt, long enough for other types of evidence to be considered. It’s a healthy dose of skepticism that not only allows for but makes necessary the raising of other topics like those brought up by Mr. Ledyard, however relative they may or may not appear to be to the original question being asked. My position is that they are relative, but perhaps most strongly at an individual level (i.e. “Will you strike in your Aikido practice or not?”). However, that aside, I think an equally interesting thing to consider is what is being "unsaid" in the original question.

No one can doubt the martial viability of striking, especially not within those situations or circumstances that are deemed ideal toward striking. Thus, no one can doubt the practical space striking may find within any kind of martial application of Aikido. And yet such obviousness works little to satisfy the original question (and its many forms). Why? Because of what is going unsaid in the original question. What is going unsaid here is that somehow striking falls firmly, or more commonly, on the side of immoral action whereas throwing, locking, and/or pinning does not. Aikido, thought to be, or considered to be a “moral” art among a sea of immoral arts, therefore, does not strike. Osensei being the founder of this “moral” art, must have been against striking, therefore. This is how the logic is supposed to work, in my opinion, at the heart of question first posted in this thread. Let’s dig a bit deeper.

The most common element for this division has to do with some sort of intuitive level of harm. Such that strikes are considered to be immoral because they cause more harm, and/or more harm than necessary, and/or, at least more harm than throwing, pinning, locking, etc. The argument is of course circular, such that throwing, etc., is considered to be more moral than striking because it causes less harm than striking, etc.

But how is such a position truly upheld? It seems to me it is all a matter of big egos in small wells looking up at the sky and thinking they see the whole of it. There appear to be some incorrect assumptions here and I’m wondering if someone, someone who is a strong proponent of aikido having no strikes, and/or aikido being a moral art (among immoral arts), and/or strikes causing more harm than throws, etc., could speak up and address some of the following, briefly stated, points:

1. (As to what demarcations can and cannot be used to define Aikido) Is not the art defined more accurately by the implementation of the tactic of ‘aiki,’ or lack thereof, as opposed to the superficial and relative elements of waza and/or the basics found within waza? If so, cannot one strike via the tactic of ‘aiki,’ and if so, cannot one strike and be practicing Aikido?

2. (As to striking causing less harm than throwing, etc.) Is not a large part of the harm being generated caused by the amount of force being delivered or manifested upon a given point of the human body? If that is true, is not more force being generated at a given point on the body when that body is being thrown (and hitting the ground) than when it is being struck? (Due to more mass being present at impact.) Was not this the whole tactical point of choosing to throw armored adversaries, along with addressing the likely hood of multiple opponents, over striking them, and/or of having throwing as a choice among striking them? In short, isn’t this why throwing was seen as a viable alternative, if not a preferred one, when addressing battlefield possibilities?

3. (As to Aikido being unique morally to other arts) Are not all of Aikido’s waza, once allowing for the individual interpretations of any given practitioner, found in nearly any other martial art (in and outside of Japanese origins)? Why don’t all these other arts make such claims to their uniqueness? Why is aikido, armed with the same arsenal, under the impression that said arsenal can and does allow for non-injurious forms of fighting when no other art makes such claims? Why does Aikido assume that other martial arts seek violence and do not also equally idealize peace over war, etc.?

4. (As to the uniqueness of Aikido’s “interpretation” of the same arsenal that is present in countless other arts) Is not the spiral Aikido’s main geometric pattern? Does not the spiral contain all of the energies found in every other art: horizontal energy (centripetal and centrifugal), vertical energy (gravity), and linear energy (thrusting)? Is not harm the likely outcome of anyone of these energies when applied to the human body within a martial situation? And, can anyone of these energies truly be produced in and of themselves when manifested bio-mechanically? Can a movement ever truly be totally circular for example? Will it not always have gravitational energies working on it, as well as thrusting energies? And if so, once allowing for the possibility of the ground being present, are we not looking still at great deals of force at impact once that ground is met? Isn’t the real lack of harm coming from a reduction in force at impact brought about by (in training situations) a learned cooperation on the one hand and (in non-training situations) a decrease in acceleration within one’s technique on the other hand? Can’t any basic from any art reduce force at impact, and thus injury, by reducing one’s acceleration and/or by relying on a leaned cooperation? Can’t any type of movement be done slowly, and thus gently?

To be sure there are more things that make it difficult, for me at least, to adopt the position that underlies the original question, but this seems to be as good a start as any.

Thank you,

Dmv

Ted Marr
02-23-2004, 03:06 PM
Wow, and I thought -I- tended to the lengthy posts *grin*

In any case, DMV, you've got some interesting points that need addressing. I agree that many people might have some kind of opposition to striking due to some percieved aggression that is inherent in a strike, and not in a throw... although I think they would categorize it as disharmony, rather than agression.

I don't entirely agree with throws being inherently more deadly, though. More likely they were favored on the feudal battlefield due to considerations of armor. If you punch a heavily armored man, you will accomplish not much other than hurting your hand. If you apply a joint lock, it will probably still work.

As for the "can't any kind of technique be done softly", well, no, they can't. You simply cannot subdue someone by punching and/or kicking them softly. If you're really skillful, you may be able to subdue them by throwing them softly, then pinning them.

However, this may be a false dichotomy. I believe (and this one is going to cause some uproar) that when O Sensei was talking about not harming your opponent, he was talking about not killing them, or doing any -permanent- damage. Given how hard he was known to throw people, they may have found it to be more merciful to be knocked out with a quick fist to the jaw.

George S. Ledyard
02-23-2004, 03:22 PM
David,

Send me an e-mail. I lost your address. Mine is aikigeorge@aikieast.com

- George

PeterKelly
02-23-2004, 04:05 PM
Many times within my dojo the subject of atemi is raised. I believe that the use of atemi is critical in the application of Aikido technique, but the question is what do we mean by atemi? O'Sensei spoke of taking the centre of an opponant before the conflict has begun. This I believe takes a great deal of spiratual discipline. In his latter years O'Sensei is seen Kiai-ing and entering, his Kiai was so powerful, it became his attemi-I think what you are really searching for is the word intent - if your opponant truely believes that you are commited to the attemi 100% he will move to escape what he believes is the devistating blow - one that will never come. He will, I assure you be off balanced enough to complete any technique on. When you learn or teach atemi, dont let it deteriorate into a boby movent that is part of the technique, a hand here, a fist there, but rather let the intent of your action penetrate to the soul of your opponant, strong Zanshin will overcome even the strongest of attackers. A point of interest, you said that Lau had applied joint locks properly - this point is rather mute as corrctness is in the eye of the beholder, obviously the techniques were not applied properly, or the outcome may have been different - but once again this is just my humble opinion - control the situation by controling the energy and spirit of the situation, not the physical situation - the bigger man will most likley win the physical confrontation.

senshincenter
02-23-2004, 07:15 PM
Thanks for addressing the post Ted.

Not necessarily to disagree, but to elaborate my original point: I was trying to keep things as scientific as possible, in order to stay away from hard to define terms like “harmony” or “disharmony”. Those kind of terms are too loaded, or rather too embedded by the unsaid issue I am trying to raise as an alternate method of dealing with the question of striking in Aikido. This is why I made the jump as quickly as possible from “harm” to “injury” to “force at impact”, and why I left “foggy” terms that I could not get away from in their original Japanese – for example, ‘aiki’.

If one would allow me to not have to go too deeply into the various historical understandings of both the ura and omote takes on what ‘aiki’ is and/or is not, I would like to say here that ‘aiki’ could be understood as the use of the opponent’s energy against him/herself (that is to say, using their energy toward our own designs which we can say are at the moment not in total agreement with that of the attacker). This, I think, is the closest I came to terms like “harmony” in my original post. But even by this definition one can strike, as my first rhetorical post suggested, with ‘aiki’, such as in the case of using the opponent’s oppositional energy to generate more force at impact or at contact - a force which is then usually applied to a given “corner” of the body for purposes of kuzushi, and/or throwing, etc. Aikido would not look the same at all if we did not allow the use of an oppositional energy to generate more force at impact/contact. By using that force in this way, we are using the opponent’s energy for our own designs, designs that are not currently his/her own, and thereby we are applying aiki, and hence practicing Aikido - as this small deduction process has laid it out here.

So here, addressing your suggestion that this is a matter of ‘disharmony’, rather than a matter of aggression, etc., I would say that we are going to either have to count a lot of Aikido as disharmonious or a lot of striking as ‘aiki’, and leave matters of “aggression” to the psychological fields it is so rightly allocated to.

On your other point: I did not mean to suggest that one thing is more “deadly” than another. The true mortality rate of something, even caliber size in fire arm ammunitions, is too highly dependent on any given set of circumstances such that it would never behoove us to talk about such matters outside of very specific examples. I was only saying that a throw would product more force at impact, over a strike, because more mass would be present at the point of impact (e.g. the mass of the ground, and the mass of the body being thrown), as opposed to a strike which would have less force at impact due to the decrease in mass (e.g. the mass of the weapon used, the mass of the target being struck) – allowing for acceleration to remain reasonably equal of course. I then went on to say: More force, more chance of injury, more chance of harm, more chance of acting harmful toward another human being. This last line is of course riddled with jumps in logic, but I do feel they are reasonable, or at least reasonable enough to have us doubt the position that striking is more immoral than throwing because it causes more harm.

I agree with your point over the practicality of striking concerning an armored adversary, but I would like to suggest that throwing such an adversary would be the option of choice, that it would not be the selected default tactic ‘because striking wouldn’t work’. Allowing for the viability of throwing over striking in a multiple attacker situation (i.e. battlefield warfare), throwing an armored opponent would cause a lot more harm than both striking and than throwing an unarmored opponent. This is of course made possible due to the increase in mass caused by the added material and weight of the armor – armor that did not have the luxury of today’s absorbent technologies or materials. In short, I would say that there definitely was a time in Aikido’s history (the history of the arts that preceded it) where it was fully understood that if you wanted to injure someone, truly injure him, throw him, don’t try and hit him – throw him. What happened?!

On your final point, I would still hold the position that any basic could be done slowly,in order to reduce acceleration at impact, in order to reduce force at impact, in order to reduce the likelihood of causing injury, in order to reduce the likelihood of acting harmful toward another human being. I do not at all suggest that the application of speed plays no part in a single or in any given martial tactic – it does and always will. So I was not trying to say that striking could be done slowly and remain martially viable in one or all situations. I would not say this about throwing, pinning, or locking either. The speed of one’s movement, or rather the need for speed in one’s movement, is entirely relative to the skill the practitioner hold in matters of timing and also to the lack of said skill in the opponent. What cannot be attributed to this skill, or lack thereof, can in extreme cases be relegated to elements of strength or lack thereof. Which is why I can in fact use slow strikes (understood culturally to be pushes) on a person much less skilled than I or on folks a lot weaker than I. The same goes for throws as well – if we are wishing to talk about martial viability. In short, I would have to disagree at the embedded suggestion that one can do a slow throw on anybody at any time to achieve any end.

Your last point is very interesting on how one might understand what Osensei meant by “not harming.” It may point to some problems in translation, problems that we without access to the original sources, and/or without access to the original language, will have to suffer through for some time to come - I would imagine. It may very well be like the original commandment that reads “thou shall not commit MURDER” and NOT “thou shall not kill.”

Again, thank you,

dmv

George S. Ledyard
02-23-2004, 09:28 PM
Ledyard Sensei, is it wrong to just go ahead and apply the atemi? In the past I had problems with some techniques because I was told that I was being "too nice", i.e. I was applying atemi but missing the target on purpose because my partner wasn't moving. So I was taught to just go ahead and land the atemi, if they didn't move out of the way then it was their problem. Now I don't mean to say that I strike my partner's head as fast and as hard as I can but I put real intent behind the atemi which seems to really help my technique.
Hi Chad,

When my peers and I trained together we would actually land the atemi but we would adjust the focus to the surface rather than through the target as one would normally do. This let you bop someone in the face if necessary without actually causing any real injury. I had my nose flattened a couple of times, enough to recognize that I had been grievously open, but never enough that I was really hurt. You really do need to be careful, the more junior you are the more slack you need to put in for safety. Later you can get to the point where you are making contact but controlling how hard it hits.

This also goes for the uke as well. You can adjust where an attack is focused and give your partner a 100% commited attack which won't actually injure him if he blows his move simply by aiming at the surface of the target rather than through it. This is much better than lowering the force involved because it feels the same to the nage so he isn't being mislead about what an attack feels like. Also, up to the point of impact it actually does carry the right energy so that if he tries to block or catch the strike he will feel the impact that comes with opposing the incoming attack rather than blending with it.

tedehara
02-24-2004, 02:29 AM
I had a chance to talk to my chief instructor Eley Sensei about the Ki Society tagi. He noted that the strikes in the taigi were large, observable strikes designed to get a reaction from the uke. Actual atemi is shorter and should not be noticed until it lands. So perhaps that is why tagi "atemi" can be called "strong leads".

He also noted that there was a definite change from Aiki Budo to Aikido. The pre-WWII art had atemi while the post-WWII art didn't emphasize atemi and took it out of the teaching curriculum. You might assume that this was the founder's doing. Since K. Tohei mentioned that atemi got in the way with learning a technique's movement, you might also assume that this was a reflection of the founder's thoughts.

In the above case, I am using atemi as a physical strike. It is not a kiai or extension of ki or focusing your energy, although I can see how it can be interpeted that way.

Peter Goldsbury
02-24-2004, 06:45 AM
He also noted that there was a definite change from Aiki Budo to Aikido. The pre-WWII art had atemi while the post-WWII art didn't emphasize atemi and took it out of the teaching curriculum. You might assume that this was the founder's doing. Since K. Tohei mentioned that atemi got in the way with learning a technique's movement, you might also assume that this was a reflection of the founder's thoughts.

In the above case, I am using atemi as a physical strike. It is not a kiai or extension of ki or focusing your energy, although I can see how it can be interpeted that way.
My own view is that this is a matter of degree, rather than a sharp change. In Kisshomaru Ueshiba's "Aikido", published in English in 1975, six years after Morihei Ueshiba's death, there are plenty of references to atemi. The explanations of kata-dori techniques are similar to those given in "Budo Renshu" (1938), though there are fewer techniques shown in Kisshomaru's book.

I would certainly agree that there were plenty of atemi in prewar aiki-budo; I would disagree that these disappeared in post-1942 aikido. Virtually all of my own teachers joined the Hombu after this date and they all taught atemi.

I suspect that postwar aikido spent much more time making more explicit what was implicit in Morihei Ueshiba's own training methods (I do not say 'teaching methods' because all his disciples I have ever talked to denied that he 'taught' aikido in any recognized sense).

Thus, there has been more attention to breaking down techniques and kata into teachable segments and emphasizing basic movements. Thus, I can see a way of teaching, say, kaiten nage without atemi, though I would say that atemi got in the way only if the technique is taught purely as a complex movement. I can also see a value to teaching this same technique with atemi included, or at least emphasized (in about six places) as the technique is executed.

Best regards,

senshincenter
02-24-2004, 11:50 AM
I would have to agree with Mr. Goldsbury - as I have had the same experiences when it comes to my post-war sensei and atemi: it is always taught. But for those that don't, perhaps it might helpful to point out some historical tendencies that are usually relative to any historiography.

While history is indeed discontinuous, it does tend to act this way slowly and by degrees - as Mr. Goldbury has suggested. It would almost be a historical anomaly if we could look into the lives of so many people and say, "Bam! Here is where it stopped (assuming it did)." So rarely does this kind of discontinuity hold up to actual historical data that when one does take up this position one almost always has to rely upon "extraordinary" events - such as the ones seen in this case: the enlightenment experience of Osensei; the profound trauma of waging and being defeated in WWII; etc.

Even then, these types of historical interpretations simply do not hold up (9 times out of 10) to the slightest bit of research. Which is why on the one hand you got an offered position that atemi was banned following WWII (or at least during the lifetime of Osensei), and the fact that we can find no current shihan that trained during that time (not even K. Tohei, who had his statements entered as evidence supporting the original position) who did not strike as part of their art and training during that time.

Osensei’s extraordinary experiences aside, which is where any sincere historian would put them for the time being, we are nevertheless left with the fact that today atemi is not only rarely taught in the art, or poorly taught, we are also facing the fact that striking is seen as some kind of degradation and/or regression of the art itself. So, if I were to advise someone taking on this heavily politicized history, where Aikido’ economic niche in the martial arts world is at stake, I would suggest that we are indeed looking at a discontinuity, one that happened by degrees, but one that is attempting to legitimate itself by tracing it’s origin to an abrupt moment that can only be crafted via the cult of personality. In other words, we are looking at a shift in practice, but it’s a shift that happened much later than the late 40’s, only proponents, or agents of this shift, are claiming otherwise in order to address their own sense of investment. Connecting one’s current position it to a founder, and putting it further back in time than their own time period, is the oldest way of gaining legitimacy for that position, especially in the martial arts, and particularly in Japan. In all likelihood, as it has been my experience with these types of “truth games,” as Foucault calls them, the real discontinuity probably didn’t start taking place until Osensei’s life had passed or at least until he was well out of the picture of deciding what will make up the Aikido curriculum and why. This take on things, of course, will be shocking for those who have invested in the aforementioned position concerning striking, but to those looking at the historical data, and willing to accept what it says “as is”, it will be heard as something obvious and barely worth mentioning.

dmv

kironin
02-24-2004, 03:30 PM
I had a chance to talk to my chief instructor Eley Sensei about the Ki Society tagi. He noted that the strikes in the taigi were large, observable strikes designed to get a reaction from the uke. Actual atemi is shorter and should not be noticed until it lands. So perhaps that is why tagi "atemi" can be called "strong leads".

He also noted that there was a definite change from Aiki Budo to Aikido. The pre-WWII art had atemi while the post-WWII art didn't emphasize atemi and took it out of the teaching curriculum. You might assume that this was the founder's doing. Since K. Tohei mentioned that atemi got in the way with learning a technique's movement, you might also assume that this was a reflection of the founder's thoughts.
I have the utmost respect for Eley Sensei, but since he started Aikido in the 1960's, he really hasn't any way of knowing this other than by second-hand stories.

Taigi wasn't created till the late 1970's and has certainly undergone some evolution since then.

I have been taught variations of taigi that would meet Eley Sensei's definition of atemi (unnoticed until it lands) by Ki Society teachers more senior than him. They may not be the current form that would give you a high score in a taigi competition but they do (did) exist. Taigi itself actually is not considered self-defense or martial art so much as

the filtered pure core essence of aikido where Shin Shin Toistu Do is expressed.

An obvious example of atemi that comes to mind is a short quick thrust inserting the second joint of the middle finger between two ribs as you pass through on technique 5 of taigi 3 (Yokomenuchi Kokyunage Sudori Nage) giving uke a sharp jolt create weight upperside.

Tohei Sensei over the last thirty years has been constantly evolving his ideas. I am not sure that you could ever make the assumption that what Tohei Sensei says is necessarily a reflection of the founder's thoughts. Tohei Sensei very much has his own ideas about aikido.

Craig

tedehara
02-24-2004, 08:41 PM
I've given the source of my understanding and I've given my reasoning. The response is obvious:

Ted,

You are so full of it...AGAIN!

I spoke with Shihan ___ and he assured me that the founder did not implicitly or explicitly discourage atemi. In fact, he assured me that he was continually struck by the founder from 195_ until O Sensei's death, everytime he took ukemi for him.

It seems that the guy who spoke to Lau was just as mistaken as you. However you've proven yourself to be more consistent!

:D Just fill in the blanks, folks.

Actually, I would be interested in hearing reports about this from those who might know. It doesn't matter to which side of the hill their opinions fall on. "Just the facts Mame"

Peter Goldsbury
02-24-2004, 09:47 PM
Mr Ehara,

What would count as facts here?

My own post offered some evidence that Mr Koichi Tohei did not take atemi out of aikido, which is what you asked in your original post. Or if he did in his own classes in the Hombu, this did not extend to the whole Aikikai. As for Mr Sadao Yoshioka, the quoted discussion with Mr Lau does not make clear whether he himself had any conversations about atemi with Morihei Ueshiba. If not, the question then arises whether videos, possibly of demonstrations, are a reliable indication of daily training.

Of course, as with any of the other intriguing questions about Morhei Ueshiba's life and practice, the best thing would be to ask him directly. Failing this, we have to ask those who knew him and were taught by him. In this latter case, it seems very much to depend on whom you talk to.

Then there is the question whether Morihei Ueshiba's own training, up till the end of his life, is a reliable indication of what I should do, for example, in my own training. For example, I understand from talking to those who knew him that towards the end of his life, Morihei Ueshiba stopped using weapons and performng kata, but this is no reason for anyone to abandon the training they received in Iwama.

I, too, am interested in discovering facts about Morihei Ueshiba and have been searching for several years. Unfortunately, those who possess evidence strong enough to count as fact here are diminishing in number and unfortunately are not in the habit of posting on web discussion boards.

Best regards,

Ted Marr
02-25-2004, 08:49 AM
Ted Ehara-

Perhaps you misunderstand me. I wasn't claiming to know anything about what O Sensei did or did not do as part of his training regimen. I can't claim first hand knowledge of it, so I just leave it be. Instead, I was trying to account for a way that two conflicting viewpoints could be reconciled, since each had some vague support.

That, and you totally missed my point.

One of my major points was that just hitting someone might not be the "atemi" that O Sensei, or Tohei wasn't so keen on. Now, if you were to say that either of these people routinely hit people with multiple pressure point strikes in such a way as to cause knockouts before throwing thier ukes, then you would be justified in telling me that I am full of it. Until then, it'd be nice to keep the discussion down to the level of point and counterpoint without personal attacks.

Ted Marr
02-25-2004, 09:09 AM
Mr. Ehara-

We need to get different names. I didn't realize your post was (presumably) aimed at yourself until I looked and saw that you had started this thread. It's kind of ambiguous as posted.

Remind me never to post in haste again, OK? *grin*

John Boswell
02-25-2004, 10:20 AM
Pssst!

Hey, Ted!

*snicker*

Don't post in haste anymore... okay? :D

Have a good day! ;)

aikidoc
02-25-2004, 01:56 PM
". . routinely hit people with multiple pressure point strikes in such a way as to cause knockouts before throwing thier ukes". That might, however, explain why some of O'Sensei's ukes claimed to see "lights" when he touched them. He may have lit them up with a pressure point. I would be surprised if O'Sensei delivered atemi without a purposeful intent given his martial arts background-especially given the aikikai defines atemi (see Best Aikido) as strikes to vital points (aka pressure points, nerve points, etc.).

tedehara
02-25-2004, 02:16 PM
I know it's unusual for someone to flame themselves, but if it will bring up any facts it would be worth it. However as Dr. Goldsbury pointed out, reports by people who were there, are harder to come by as the years go on.

People look at atemi as a division of martial and spiritual training. The person who does atemi is more martially oriented than someone who practices techniques with no atemi. The person who doesn't atemi does Aikido because of spiritual development. This is a delusional way of looking at people.

A person who does atemi in training could be more spiritually developed than someone who doesn't. A person who practices technique with no atemi could have a stronger martial spirit than someone who always does atemi. To judge a person you have to look at an individual, not make assumptions from the training techniques that they use.

-- the other Ted

Keith Morgan
03-02-2004, 09:43 AM
Some really interesting comments on the use of atemi in the aiki arts.I choose the phrase Aiki arts as opposed to Aikido,because I believe that Aikido aspires to be more than a martial way,and in trying to achieve that goal,the effectiveness of the techniques in what some may deem a "real" situation are somewhat diluted,and could leave the defender in a more exposed precarious situation.I am not saying Aikido is ineffective,just more the way it is taught and practised.The originator of this whole discussion was concerned about their aggressors ability to pull away from a lock.That doesn't surprise me.A lock was originally designed for one thing only,to break.Many of the more complex hold downs and pins,could only be achieved once a dislocation or break had been applied.It is only modern training that seems to portray locks as some sort of control and restraint technique.Have you ever seen how many police officers it takes to "escort" someone who doesn't want to go,even with a 'control and restraint' lock on?

Students of the arts should really look into the history of their arts,not always the individuals who have expounded the system,but the history of the techniques,how and why they were developed,and what were they designed for.It would then help to put what most practise today into perspective.Also the use of pressure points,or kyusho jutsu,was not that extant in Japan as it was in China.The reasons for this being numerous,and perhaps open for debate at a later time.

kironin
03-02-2004, 10:35 AM
I am not saying Aikido is ineffective,just more the way it is taught and practised.The originator of this whole discussion was concerned about their aggressors ability to pull away from a lock.That doesn't surprise me.A lock was originally designed for one thing only,to break.Many of the more complex hold downs and pins,could only be achieved once a dislocation or break had been applied.It is only modern training that seems to portray locks as some sort of control and restraint technique.Have you ever seen how many police officers it takes to "escort" someone who doesn't want to go,even with a 'control and restraint' lock on?
Sorry but to me this just comes across as simply theorizing in effort to convince yourself or your students of this.

I have trained police officers and prison guards and pretty soon in my experience they find that their partners and other officers start asking them or deferring to them to escort the perp. In my experience, police officers training in locks is usually as superficial as their fire arm training.

They need a lot more training than they get and

because of that you see the problems. Sometimes very tragic.

In Aikido, there are formal finishes and then many variations more appropriate to practical situations rather than the dojo. It's a simple matter to make the student aware of this in their training.

IIRC what Ted said about the aggressor pulling away from a lock, it sounded to me like a classic situation that can be solved by a little training to be open to going with the aggressor's ki at that moment. More of an issue of training in freestyle where the ki is constantly changing. Not an issue of needing to add atemi. Not being on the mat with him and seeing exactly the situation he had in mind I was loath to offer internet solutions, but I am reminded of my late teacher's reminder to "unstick your feet".

Craig

HKS

senshincenter
03-02-2004, 01:30 PM
These last two posts said some interesting things. Thanks for sharing.

However, it should be pointed out that the original post was merely asking if Osensei took out strikes or not, etc. - a point he repeated later in the thread when people got off his stated topic. The point of a person pulling out of a lock was made by Lau, which was quoted in the original post in order to have us focus on the last line he spoke in an interview (i.e. about Osensei taking strikes out of Aikido proper).

I would not say that Mr. Morgan is merely theorizing. Obviously there is some research here - some historical and some practical. And even some cross-cultural studies can lend some perspective here if we look at the biomechanical make-up of locks vs. holds (say, from Roman-Greco wrestling): Undoubtedly the majority of locks in the aiki arts do rely on one or more points of articulation being brought to a point of excess or near excess – if not in practice then definitely in potential. If one were just trying to “hold” a person, why would such excess be necessary? I think that is a fair question to ask, and that is all I see Mr. Morgan doing.

I can also see that what Mr. Hocker is saying is also true. As a trainer of law enforcement personnel myself, I have experienced this fact lots of times - folks stepping aside to have my men come in and put the situation under control with a lock/hold they have practiced under me. And, I can also agree with the point that law enforcement personnel are highly under trained and that that under training has a lot to do with the overall (in)effectiveness of whatever it is they are applying – more so than any other aspect.

However, in such cases, I would like to say that what I see going on is not so much that the lock is holding, but that the subject being detained has stopped resisting - that he/she is allowing for a tactical opportunity for the lock to hold. This means, for me, that though the lock is holding, I would not dismiss Mr. Morgan's perspective outright, because I can admit that the lock is only holding because the subject has allowed or is allowing it to hold.

In my own training experience, with these same officers, situations where we deal with the extremes of arrest and control (and by "extreme" I am noting that we are dealing with cases that while possible are less probable in the line of duty), locks that "work" in the field are overloaded time and time again on the mat simply because in the practice session the "suspect" is told not to surrender no matter what. This experience too would lend credence to what Mr. Morgan is suggesting.

If you, Mr. Hocker, have undergone this type of training in your own setting, I would really like to know what your experiences have led to. Sincerely interested. Do the locks hold for you? If so, which ones? (Note: This setting is reached most efficiently when one is not training with folks of low pain tolerance. I say that, yes, because pain is present, which is when most folks in a dojo "quit", and which is also when most folks in the field may "quit", but I’m referring to a training environment that is set upon the question of: "What if they don't quit?") Have you trained under these conditions and if so, what did you find?

With that said, I do have one point of clarification to make, perhaps even a point of disagreement, concerning Mr. Morgan’s position. I would say that a bigger obstacle to applying locks in the field than expecting them merely to “hold” is that of consciously searching to apply a lock or hold. I would say that locks are more something one falls into – something stemming from traps, which stem from proper positioning, which stems from proper timing, which allows one to capitalize upon a specific tactical environment that allows for a lock to be placed. This is obviously consistent with the tactic of aiki, but it is also the only sure way of making sure a lock is applicable – something which the addition of strikes will not do nor the completion of an excess on particular point of articulation will do either. If you want the lock to work, you may have to force a joint or two, should the opponent or the suspect not submit to the “hold,” but you cannot force the lock itself. As the opponent falls into the lock, we ourselves must also fall into the application of the lock. In my experience it is the fail to do this that makes most applications of locks/holds fallible – not striking, not breaking, and not holding, or their opposites.

Thank you,

dmv

Ron Tisdale
03-02-2004, 02:13 PM
Dear DMV,

That last paragraph of your last post is pure gold. We should frame that and hang it on the wall.

Ron

aikidoc
03-02-2004, 04:49 PM
DMV. I would disagree with the statement that strikes cannot set up a lock-by hitting a pressure point you can release a resistant joint via pain compliance making the lock easier to put on. It is hard for the brain to provide resistance when it is dealing with pain. For example, kotegaeshi is easier to apply with pressure on Lung 10 (median nerve)-hurts like hell (even causes the shoulder to drop making the kotegaeshi easier to apply. Triple Warmer 3 can also be used to release the wrist as well. Obviously, the lock is an opportunistic move and proper positioning, etc., must be present. IMHO.

senshincenter
03-02-2004, 06:11 PM
Thank you for reply Mr. Riggs.

Well that is the basic assumption of pressure points and of pain compliance, isn’t it? I mean, without that notion the whole idea of touching (or striking) someone for the purposes of “guaranteeing” a particular tactic but touching them in a way that is not directly assisting the particular mechanical advantage that is being produced by a particular set of levers and fulcrums, etc., would fall apart. In other words, it’s an assumption that one has to accept from the “get go” or not. So, you are right, we may have to just disagree on this point.

In my experience, it is best not to accept that assumption, or to at least not to depend upon it being “true”. Your position does – at least at some point it will have to. While I would answer “no” to the following questions, I would imagine that your position requires an answer of “yes” in each case: “Does pain make someone inoperative or at least tactically inoperative?” “Do all people tactically fail at the same pain tolerance level?” “Can pain tolerance failure be objectively predicted and applied universally?”

For me, though I have been exposed to pressure point training and/or pain compliance strategies (as well), have seen it successfully applied and have applied it successfully myself (as well), I have had to place my opinion on the side of the numerous and various bodies (e.g. some intoxicated and some not) and situations (e.g. some over-weight and some not, some dressed in thick clothing and some not) that have convinced me not so much that pressure point attacks and/or pain compliance doesn’t work, but that is a luxury of strategy that one should not depend upon. To the case: I would not rely on pain compliance in order to have kote gaeshi work, I would rely on aiki. And if aiki could not be present with kote gaeshi, I would not attempt kote gaeshi. .

Point of fact: I believe that this last assumption that I just made is at the heart of the tactical difference that lies between aiki and pain compliance. In aiki, I don’t need an opponent or a suspect to want go where I want them to go; in pain compliance I need the opponent or suspect to want to go where I want them to go. The former captures my whole point of “falling into locks;” the latter, at least psychological speaking, captures the tactic of pain compliance.

We all must choose, and we would be wise to have that choice rest on a mountain of research and experience – especially when lives may be on the line as in the last couple of cases that were brought up (i.e. law enforcement). So we may be choosing differently. And that may be the end of that: agreeing to disagree.

Still, I think there is a bit of room here to question, or to at least begin to question, the thinking (often associated with the “pro-striking” segment of Aikido practitioners) or suggestion that we can achieve aiki by opting not to use aiki, which is what I would say is going on when we need to hit or touch Lung 10 in order for kote-gaeshi to be applied.

In short, I pose the following question: It may be true (by which I mean it may be something that we can all point to in our personal realm of individual experience, that we may even be able to repeat and predict under objective circumstances on the training mat, and that we may even be able to kinesiologically define) that our “throws” don’t work, but being practitioners set to employ the tactic of aiki, do we so easily satisfy both requirements of having throws that work and employing aiki by merely adding atemi to our kihon waza?

I would say “no”. I think the matter is much more complicated and cannot be so easily solved by the mere practice of eclecticism and/or of producing more accurate histories regarding the founder’s life. I would suggest that the true answer may lie more in our (mis)understanding of locking, pinning, and throwing, and of aiki than in our (re)growing wisdom in atemi (or pressure points, etc.). If that is the case, then we would all do well to enter into this dialog on striking since we will probably end up learning a lot more about locking, pinning, throwing, and aiki than if we outright rejected discussion as “absurd” (which I do not).

Thank you,

dmv

kironin
03-02-2004, 11:55 PM
"What if they don't quit?") Have you trained under these conditions and if so, what did you find?

I would say that locks are more something one falls into – something stemming from traps, which stem from proper positioning, which stems from proper timing, which allows one to capitalize upon a specific tactical environment that allows for a lock to be placed. This is obviously consistent with the tactic of aiki, but it is also the only sure way of making sure a lock is applicable –

but you cannot force the lock itself. As the opponent falls into the lock, we ourselves must also fall into the application of the lock. In my experience it is the fail to do this that makes most applications of locks/holds fallible – not striking, not breaking, and not holding, or their opposites.

Thank you,

dmv
A lot of good points. I guess one thing I have been thinking about when training under those conditions is the to play with making them feel safe where they are and to make it scary to attempt to break free. This tends to take the fight out of them even when they are trying not to stop till they break free. Using a bit of behavioral psychology.

If you want to hold a lock a long time you have to be very sensitive to controlling the trunk of the body and aware enough to move. A lot of nonverbal communication going on.

I liked very much the way you put that last bit about a forcing a lock but falling into or letting it happen.

Very well said.

Craig

HKS

aikidoc
03-03-2004, 12:08 PM
“Does pain make someone inoperative or at least tactically inoperative?” “Do all people tactically fail at the same pain tolerance level?” “Can pain tolerance failure be objectively predicted and applied universally?”

It can make someone inoperative but does not always. Vaso-vagal faints for example. It often however makes them more cooperative as the body tends to move away from pain.

No not all people have the same tolerance to pain and it cannot be objectively predicted or applied universally. Some people simply do not respond to pressure points. Some authors have suggested this is about 10% or less.

My position is that atemi to pressure/vital points is:

1. They are a useful adjunct to the aiki principles.

2. They are part of the martial aspect of the art (this is the opinion of several high ranking aikidoka as well).

3. They do not always work on everyone-those with high pain tolerances, deeper nerve structures, on drugs (PCP for example), etc.

4. They can be applied without interruption the flow of the technique or the "aiki". This can be a bit challenging.

5. They are not for everyone-some chose to simply not apply them. I for one believe they are important as an element of the overall technique.

Doka
03-03-2004, 03:03 PM
Atemi is not about pain! It is a sudden, shock inducing, distracting action. There may be pain there, but that is not the result that is sought.

aikidoc
03-03-2004, 03:11 PM
Pain is only if it lands. Vital point strikes though are generally painful.

John Boswell
03-03-2004, 03:16 PM
Mark,

There are various definitions of atemi. I hope we can agree there are at least more than one, yes?

Though atemi, to you, is not about pain... it was not always so. In fact, Shioda Sensei has a very strict definition of atemi which was specifically geared TOWARD pain and potential k.o.'s. In his Aikido Shugyo book, he gives specific examples of leaving a class that O'Sensei had just been teaching ... and going out into the roughest parts of town to execute what he had just been studying. Shioda Sensei describes atemi usage that didn't just make contact, but put his opponents out of the fight upon one single hit!

SHOULD atemi be about pain alone? No. Absolutly not. But Aikido IS a martial art and I completely believe that proper use of atemi should be taught not just for training with other aikidoka, but also for the purpose of street fighting... god forbid we need to use it, but wouldn't you like to know it just in case?

Pain does not mean something is non-aiki.

That's my 2 cents.

Doka
03-03-2004, 03:38 PM
Having trained in Yoshinkan for quite a few years, I know Kancho's definition.

Atemi - strikes to vunerable parts!

Like I said, pain is not the goal. A KO can be the goal and whether the recipient feels pain or not is irelevant - they are KO'd!

Don't get caught up in pain from atemi. It is analagous to treating the symptom, not the cause - looking for a side effect, not the result!

aikidoc
03-03-2004, 04:40 PM
Mark:

What do you mean by side effect vs. result- are they not the same? And what would cause that side effect besides the use of pain compliance. A KO would definitely hurt. I agree with your statement that the goal or intent is not pain but rather one of facilitating the technique-from my perspective by either making the attacker more cooperative or positioning them for the easier application of a technique. It can also be used to shut down resistance or body systems (now you are getting into the deep stuff).

Doka
03-03-2004, 05:04 PM
It's not deep. Atemi does not need weight in all circumstances.

EG: Touch the eyelid of your Uke. Don't warn them! Watch their reaction. That's Atemi! No pain but reaction.

Strike the ribs! Sudden pain and then reaction! That's Atemi!

Strike full power to the side of the neck (please don't do this to anyone unless you are under threat of harm). They can pass out, but not feel anything, as it is instantaneous. That's Atemi.

So KO does not necessarily hurt. Pain is a side effect, if it is felt at all!

There are people who will not react to pain. Shock is what you need to induce!

Remember, we don't have inflicting pain as our goal, so it is unimportant.

jimvance
03-03-2004, 06:02 PM
Atemi does not need weight in all circumstances.

...Touch the eyelid of your Uke. Don't warn them!.... That's Atemi!

Strike the ribs! ...That's Atemi!

Strike full power to the side of the neck.... That's Atemi.

...Shock is what you need to induce!
I really enjoyed reading everyone's responses in this thread so far, but I would like to add my two cents worth.

To begin with, the term atemi may be referred by some as striking vital organs or causing a distraction in the opponent. I think this is a less than complete view of the term, as there are other terms to describe the above two situations, such as kyushojutsu or creating suki. The word atemi means something akin to "fortuitous happening" and one of my Japanese dictionaries calls it a "knockdown blow". I like to think of it as a "scoring blow", one that would take the opponent out of the fight more than just momentarily (if they respond to the creation of atemi through ukemi, then it might be a "distraction" between a striking technique and a throwing technique) and my first intent would have been the striking technique designed to put the opponent out of the fight with a single blow.

Perhaps another way to look at it, since most aikidoists claim that their art is the unarmed version of swordsmanship, is through the eyes of an armed engagement. Cutting a man down with any sort of wielded weapon requires stability, structure, target, awareness of distance and timing. Translating this into unarmed fighting is how I equate atemi. If you could cut someone down for real, you have the opportunity to delivery real atemi (either softly and overwhelmingly or smashing or punishing or....).

Have to get back to work....

Jim Vance

senshincenter
03-03-2004, 08:28 PM
These takes on what atemi is or is not are of course interesting – topics in themselves really. But they seem to be addressing the issue of “What is the relationship between striking and throws (or other regularly agreed upon Aikido waza)?” And not the issue of “What is the relationship between striking and aiki?”

I tried to raise the latter issue by questioning the common answer, which is, “Strikes are adjunctive to other Aikido waza like throws, etc.” I of course saw no reason for drawing a distinction between striking and pressure point tactics of a different nature, or between making contact and causing pain, and/or between psychologically affecting the opponent or not. Call atemi what you will, and it has been defined as many things throughout this thread – fine, let’s accept them all – what is the relationship between striking and the tactic of “aiki”? This is a question I pose because it simply is not answered by saying “I need to do strikes to throw an unwilling opponent?” I mean, that statement alone begs the question doesn’t it? Because it is really saying nothing more than, “I need to force my opponent in one way in order to force them in another way.” Plain and simple, that cannot cover even the basest understanding of what aiki means or is.

I am not against striking, nor do I disagree that strikes lend themselves to making certain throws more viable, under certain conditions, particularly within the training environment, but that alone does not satisfy all of the needs of practicing an art that claims to be “The Way of Aiki.”

Nor do I believe that “striking” to distract is any more viable as a solution to this “dilemma”. Distraction is, like pain, an unpredictable element of hand-to-hand combat – one that is best chalked up as a strategic luxury. In short: Putting a fist in someone’s face, may get your opponent to blink, to flinch, to become fettered, but it also simply may provide him/her with the opening they needed to stick a knife into your lower ribs/lung, or the opportunity to trap your main line of defense in order to close the gap to your other vital targets more safely, etc. Personally, I think if we are training in an attempt to “unfetter” our minds, we should not so quickly expect our attacker or necessitate our attacker to become fettered simply because I cause them pain or say “boo” or put a fist in their face.

Another way of looking at this question I’m posing is like this: “How do strikes operate in an aiki manner?”

I believe they can, I just don’t believe that using them to set up throws is always going to achieve that.

What do you think?

Thank you,

dmv

aikidoc
03-04-2004, 09:38 AM
"what is the relationship between striking and the tactic of “aiki?"

dmv Please define aiki for me. As this too is open to different points of view, I would like to know what you mean by aiki before I even venture a comment.

Doka
03-04-2004, 01:50 PM
DMV

WHy worry about throwing???

Yes there are throws, but there are also restraints, locks, controls, pins, evations, strikes! Aikido is not throws.

So now I will ask a question. What do people think the difference is between "atemi" and "ate"?

I am not a linguist (I struggle with English), so I would like to hear the definitions from those who are.

:ai: - Booyakasha! Respect! :)

senshincenter
03-04-2004, 03:10 PM
Thank you for your replies.

Mr. Dobro: I didn't mean to suggest that Aikido is throws - that I feel was clearly established in earlier posts made by me and by others. Even in the last post I made I used the expression, "regularly agreed upon Aikido waza." So pick your choice, even among what you suggest (i.e. restraints, licks, controls, pins, evasions, strikes), it matters not. The question I raised is a simple one and one that cannot be glossed over by simply saying Aikido is many things. This question is forced upon us because while it may be true that Aikido is many things, it is not all things. Strikes were used as an example here solely because that is the tactic brought up in the thread the most and/or thus far. It should not be taken in a limiting way.

If you would like to have a more abstract version of the question - here it is: "How can you maintain aiki by violating aiki?" It's a trick question, to be sure, but one no one seems to be seeing nonetheless.

Mr. Riggs: Since I wrote it in an earlier post of mine within this thread - I can just stick with that in answer to your question. Here is what I said then concerning how we can understand aiki in this case: "If one would allow me to not have to go too deeply into the various historical understandings of both the ura and omote takes on what ‘aiki’ is and/or is not, I would like to say here that ‘aiki’ could be understood as the use of the opponent’s energy against him/herself (that is to say, using their energy toward our own designs which we can say are at the moment not in total agreement with that of the attacker)."

Please let me know if that suffices or not.

Thank you,

dmv

aikidoc
03-04-2004, 04:01 PM
‘aiki’ could be understood as the use of the opponent’s energy against him/herself (that is to say, using their energy toward our own designs which we can say are at the moment not in total agreement with that of the attacker)."

I would probably describe it differently. However, based on the above definition and in response to your question on "what is the relationship between striking and the tactic of “aiki?" A real simple answer would be to use the energy of the attack towards our own design I could simply stick out my tegatana at the moment of an attack thereby using the energy of the attack to creat a strike so to speak. For example, on a munetsuki strike I could energy off like with my tegatana extended causing the uke to strike himself against my tegatana (using his energy). If I'm accurate enough uke will strike his own pressure point against my tegatana thereby creating an atemi and likely pain compliance resulting in a dropping of the shoulder.

I'm using your definitions here as I understand them.

To me, however, the use of aiki would involve blending with the energy of the attack and redirecting it in a relaxed and purposeful fashion. A strike or atemi here would have to involve timing in such a fashion to not disrupt the energy which is necessary for the smooth blend while still causing the pain compliance. This requires timing and appropriate direction to keep from stopping the energy. Hard to explain but not too bad to do.

senshincenter
03-04-2004, 06:33 PM
Thank you Mr. Riggs.

Well there you have it: If aiki can be understood as involving the blending with the energy of a given attack and redirecting it in a relaxed and purposeful fashion, how much "aiki" was there in my attempt to throw (or whatever) if it requires strikes or pressure point attacks, etc., in order to be able to fulfill itself? Answer: Not very much.

Again, I hold that one can strike with aiki, its just that this last point seems to be missed by most folks altogether who talk about striking (atemi) and its relation to other Aikido martial tactics. The problem, in my opinon, is that the "will to throw" is the very thing which separates one from aiki, right from the get go, and when I strike in order to throw, or in order to be able to throw, my strikes only perpetuate my separation from aiki as it reinforces my original (and mistaken) will to throw.

Summarizing: Doing one thing in order to be able to do another shows a preference and a predetermined planning that illuminates a dissatisfaction (for whatever reason) with whatever energy and/or openings an attacker or a combative situation is providing. That dissactisfaction (for lack of a better word) a priori makes aiki beyond our reach. Why? Because being able to use an energy (however we would like) requires that we first of all accept it as it is.

Again, thank you,

dmv

George S. Ledyard
03-05-2004, 01:39 PM
‘To me, however, the use of aiki would involve blending with the energy of the attack and redirecting it in a relaxed and purposeful fashion. A strike or atemi here would have to involve timing in such a fashion to not disrupt the energy which is necessary for the smooth blend while still causing the pain compliance. This requires timing and appropriate direction to keep from stopping the energy. Hard to explain but not too bad to do.
I think this is part of it... but if an atemi works because of it's pain component it will not be effctive against someone who is skilled enough to close the opening by blocking the atemi.

If the idea of an atemi is expanded to include a strike which touches or grabs the "attention" of the attacker, allowing some other movement or action to take place in that instant, then I think we are getting somewhere.

For example, take what I would call katatetori sumiotoshi... I think that most people are in agreement that on the ura version in which we turn, lead the partner out, then turn again to stretch the partner's arm out so that we can drop our weight on it in his balance point, we need an atemi just before we place our hand on his elbow to throw. With no atemi, you can be struck every time. However, the normal Aikido response by uke is usually simply to protect their face against the strike and then take the fall.

If you ask your partner to take a more martially real response by deflecting the atemi and then entering and striking you, it becomes a different kettle of fish. Then you find that what most Aikido folks were doing with their atemi was simply holding their arm out, pointed at the uke's center until he protected his face and then they executed the throw. The uke will be able to deflect this and counterstrike every time. This isn't a real atemi and has no hope of ever striking a partner who doesn't wish to be struck. A real atemi is an explosive outward movement to the focus point and then an equally rapid return to the starting place (making it ready to fire again if necessary).

If you execute you atemi in this fashion you find that by placing the focus point of the blow just in front of the actual target, say the attacker's nose, it is impossible for the attacker to discern the difference between an atemi which is going to make contact and one that will not. So the attacker is forced to make a defensive move to deal with that atemi. In that instant you can execute the throw without being struck by the uke. This is true even if the uke tried to deflect the atemi and launch a counterstrike.

I am a very large guy. I don't move very quickly compared to the lighter, smaller folks on the mat. By uilizing atemi in this fashion I can redirect my partner's attention to create the temporal gap that I require to move into position for the throw without him tracking me and striking me.

So there is no pain component in this instance as it is not actually designed to physically hit but is rather designed to "catch the attacker's attention".

aikidoc
03-05-2004, 01:51 PM
George. Agree totally. Not all atemi have to land. What I was trying to convey is that atemi that do land can be integrated in the flow or blend of the movement in such a way as to not disrupt the energy of the attack. I was responding to previous comments and perhaps I did not make myself clear.

George S. Ledyard
03-05-2004, 03:15 PM
George. Agree totally. Not all atemi have to land. What I was trying to convey is that atemi that do land can be integrated in the flow or blend of the movement in such a way as to not disrupt the energy of the attack. I was responding to previous comments and perhaps I did not make myself clear.
Sure, I figured, just using your post as a launch pad for another thought...

Think I'll do so again.

If atemi isn't going to disrupt the "energy" of the attack, I think the key is the rhythym... (you mentioned "timing" a while back I believe) Every attack has a "beat" so to speak. For beginners the notes are all whole notes, but as we progress the beat gets faster and the elements of the technique take place as half notes, quarter notes, 32nd notes, etc. But no matter how quickly we are moving, the atemi, in order not to disrupt the flow, takes place on a "half beat". So a technique which has three movements could be said to take three beats. The atemi, if it is the type we are talking about now, will not disrupt the three beats but will fit in between... 1 - 2-atemi-3.

Anyway, this is just one type of atemi. There are certainly atemi that are designed to strike and are designed to "cut the ki" of the opponent so as to prevent him from blending with your technique to produce a kaeshiwaza.

aikidoc
03-05-2004, 04:15 PM
I agree on the rhythm aspect and it is what I mean with timing I think. You have to understand I'm musically challenged:). I wouldn't know a half note if it atemied me upside the head. I get accused of delivering atemi to my students all the time even when I'm not trying. I guess it is becoming a part of the rhythm of my response to an attack.

Lan Powers
03-06-2004, 06:18 PM
Just an aside, but this thread is SO much mo?re civil than several other "atemi oriented" threads have been.

Does just talking about hitting folks make people seem more aggressive to you too?

:)

Hard not to want to "stick" somebody when it is for "real"

Lan

0

chris wright
03-09-2004, 06:18 AM
This is a good subject to discuss, imho i think there are many atemi 'hidden' within our aikido techniques.

Similar to the applications (bunkai) with karate kata.

I was recently shown a kaiten nage, which included an atemi strike to the back of the neck (shuto uchi) and when the hip was brought through for the projection a knee strike to the face.

I had never seen these atemi before.

aikidoc
03-09-2004, 08:15 AM
Chris:

On the uchi version of kaitennage there is also atemi suki to the ribs on entering.

chris wright
03-11-2004, 05:15 AM
Thanks john,

I suppose thats the beauty of Aikido techniques,it dosen't matter how long you do them theres always something new to find in them.

Thanks Again.

Chris.

Don_Modesto
03-11-2004, 02:12 PM
...imho i think there are many atemi 'hidden' within our aikido techniques....I was recently shown a kaiten nage, which included an atemi strike to the back of the neck (shuto uchi) and when the hip was brought through for the projection a knee strike to the face.
Free associating here, I've been reflecting on ATEMI after a seminar with William Gleason in Tallahassee. Heretofore I have used ATEMI to pre-empt UKE from hitting me or to distract him/her. Gleason used it rather more elegantly to direct UKE.

He did a very uncomfortable, for UKE, SHOMEN UCHI IKKYO where he allowed the attack to come down on one side of his body (right arm attack coming down onto his left shoulder--I usually like to take the arm quickly into forward SHIKAKU immediately.) His left arm braced UKE's elbow and his right arm bent sticking the elbow very threateningly into UKE's face. This had the effect of turning UKE right where you want him to go.

Now I'm reexaming how I use and conceive ATEMI.

(There were other very interesting things to come out of the Gleason seminar, too. I highly recommend taking him in if you have the chance.)

Kensai
03-12-2004, 07:20 AM
I personally think that Atemi in all its forms, not just hands but using the whole body, hips, shoulders, head, foot whatever really faciliate leading the Uke for a smooth and powerful conclusion.

From my rather limited experience, I find that striking Uke actually disturbs the power of the finish. If I had to put someone 'down' for real, I believe that they'd stay down from my shiho-nage rather than my atempt to be a Karateka.

Regards,

Chris

Ron Tisdale
03-12-2004, 09:40 AM
I'm not sure aikido atemi at their best mirror what karateka do. The use of the hips seems very different to me. Which is not to say that learning to strike as they do is not beneficial. I just don't think it is the best way to deliver atemi in an aikido technique. Whole body delivery of power through knee movement and body movement as opposed to using the hip snap. Gozo Shioda talks about transfering the energy from the ground using the knees in his autobiography, not using the snapping of the hip forward and back as is often taught in karate. But then, I was never very far along in karate. And I still need to work on this, as my understanding is still incomplete.

I do notice that many of the atemi in yoshinkan basic kata seem designed to hit, not just distract, and they generally do not interupt the flow of the technique, as demonstrated by the top instructors. The atemi often seem to be as the foot plants and the body turns (as in yokomenuchi shihonage), or in a body change (as in shomenuchi iriminage ichi), so that the atemi is flowing out of the movement of the whole body. In my experience, etc. etc.

Ron

Michael Bravo
03-12-2004, 03:16 PM
I do notice that many of the atemi in yoshinkan basic kata seem designed to hit, not just distract, and they generally do not interupt the flow of the technique, as demonstrated by the top instructors. The atemi often seem to be as the foot plants and the body turns (as in yokomenuchi shihonage), or in a body change (as in shomenuchi iriminage ichi), so that the atemi is flowing out of the movement of the whole body. In my experience, etc. etc.

Ron
From my limited experience I can somewhat confirm this - over the last two or three years our dojo have had the privilege to see Terada Sensei and some aikidokas of his "following". I understand that Terada Sensei has a special fondness of the atemi techniques, and, in fact, he never missed the chance to indicate where the atemi happens "naturally" in the flow of a technique. We just have had a seminar (in February) led by Kenji Nakazawa Sensei, 5th dan from Yokosuka, and the whole 2-day seminar was dedicated to use of atemi in several basic techniques.

senshincenter
03-12-2004, 03:54 PM
Well, speaking of flow in a technique and using the previously given example of potential (or realized) atemi in uchi kaiten-nage – every one of those strikes would definitely interrupt the throw and/or have the potential to interrupt the throw. And this they would do whether they are actually hitting or merely distracting. This lends one to believe that atemi in Aikido cannot merely be a matter of "seeing the hidden strikes" within a given waza. Real research has to go into such a process. Saying, “Oh, look, I can hit you here, and here, and here.”, in my opinion, should not count as real research.

In other words, yes, if I "distract" with the first strike to uke's face, and uke parries with the free hand toward the inside, this would lend itself clearly to the passing on the inside/under of the grabbing arm. BUT, if uke parries to the outside, which he/she may very well do as I cannot presume to dictate the way in which uke’s “distraction” manifests itself, then such a parry would lead to a loss in directional harmony if I were to still attempt to pass inside/under the grabbing arm. Or, if uke weaves to the inside of said strike, this too would interrupt the flow of the technique. So too would uke bobbing under the strike since this would greatly lower the arm I would be intent upon passing under. Now, if uke, in his/her “distraction” actually used the grabbing arm with which to deal with this first atemi the whole technique would be nullified as well.

On the other hand, if this first strike actually made contact, anatomical positioning from such a strike would actually cause parts of uke’s mass to either halt in its forward progress and/or to actually reverse from its forward progress – assuming it is not I that would bounce off of the target (which is totally possible as well). Either way, the end result is that I would either be attempting to pass under an arm that is moving away from me, or I would be attempting to pass under an arm that I am moving away from. This would greatly negate the flow of the technique, if not make it impossible. Certainly, it would make uchi kaiten-nage not the best tactical option to choose.

On the next strike, the next one mentioned in the thread (i.e. the elbow to the ribs when passing under), again we have a similar problem. Anatomical positioning from such a strike would make passing under the arm more difficult since said strike would either have the body of uke moving away from me (should I hit high the ribs) or leaning toward me (should I hit low on the ribs) – thus lowing the arm I am trying to pass under. Again, the flow of the technique would be hindered, and the technique may end up actually being prevented by my own actions. Positioning uke to bend over at the ribs also lends itself to uke being able to counter my movement as I pass under his/her arm – as in a grappling situation.

On the last two strikes mentioned, the handsword to the back of the neck and/or the knee strike to the head – both at the completion of the first kuzushi: Again, said strikes would nullify the technique. If I strike the back of someone’s neck, anatomical positioning would work to ground their base more – making throwing highly difficult. Such a strike would be working directly against my intention of having uke’s feet and head establish a reversed relationship. The knee strike as well would have uke moving in a direction different from the one required by throwing. On a further note, both of these strikes represent a very effective way of rendering another human being unconscious and/or immobile. If delivered efficiently, which is not all that difficult to do here, the likely outcome is that one would be trying to throw something more akin to a sack of potatoes than a body that is filled with an energy that can be redirected into a throw.

These strikes are all very commonly demonstrated all over the world for this technique. Yes, they flow within the movement of uchi kaiten-nage. Yes, they happen or can happen within the rhythm of uchi kaiten-nage. Yes, they can be thought of as happening on the half or quarter beats of a given technique. But, no, in my opinion, they do not lend themselves to the throw itself. They actually negate the throw, or, in the case of the first “distracting” atemi, have the potential to negate the throw depending upon the myriad of ways that uke can actually be “distracted”.

This, to me, is a loss of aiki. And it is every much an error as is trying to force a throw or force a lock. There is a gap here between one’s intent and the actual physical outcome of that intent. I hold that this gap comes from some basic assumptions, that are hardly ever questions, and that underlie this entire thread – assumptions that span across the morality of combat, the path to spontaneity, and even the heart of Aikido itself – both in terms of its pedagogy and its architecture.

My two cents, thanks so much,

dmv

Ron Tisdale
03-15-2004, 08:18 AM
Hi David,

I'd have to politely disagree with most of that last post. In the first instance with uke blocking to a different side or moving a different way than the 'standard' block...do a different technique. Simple. The kaiten nage kata are set up **assuming** a certain reaction...but this does not mean that shite should **assume** any particular reaction **outside of the performance of the kata**.

All of the other points you made simply do not make any sense to me relative to my practice of this technique on the mat. Take for instance using an elbow as I pass under uke's arm. Every time I 'missed' and actually hit uke in the ribs with my elbow, it has facilitated the throw, by uke bending over and following me as I pivoted and crosstepped back. When I strike to the neck as they are now bent over the strike simply get their head down if its not already, or keeps it down. The knee to the face is in the same direction as the movement for the final throw. So I see absolutely no problems with any of the atemi. I guess we just have different experiences in this case.

Ron

senshincenter
03-15-2004, 02:26 PM
Hi Ron,

Thanks for posting.

I can understand your point about changing technique should uke do one thing and not another. My experience totally agrees with that as well. But that experience, or the experience of what it is you are sharing, is, in my opinion, the problematic at hand – isn’t it?

My reasoning goes like this:

If I understand atemi as distraction, as in this case we might, but then I go on to objectively determine what that distraction has to be, am I not going to in the end ultimately contradict my own reasoning? I would say "yes," and here's why.

Distraction, as far as it can be manifested, we can say, is at the minimum a mental preoccupation and at most an actual physical reaction. But how distraction actually manifests itself, both along that spectrum and in its actual individuality, cannot be predetermined. It is this lack of predetermination that actually makes something an element of a distraction. Isn’t it?

If I know what manifestation a distraction is going to take, and/or if I require it to be something in specific, one is not, in my opinion, throwing atemi as distraction. Rather, I am simply multiplying the various requirements of a given two man form. I think that what you are describing in your post is not so much the throwing of an atemi as an attempt to distract, but rather throwing a fist (or putting your hand up) that is then parried to the outside. It's kind of like dealing with a combination move and/or a two man form that is more akin to a two-man set than it is to a one-step sparring situation (for those that have crossed train or do weapons training): e.g. You do this AND that, and uke does this AND THEN that, etc.

For me, the positing of jiyu waza does not solve the issue that holds that distractions cannot and should not be predetermined. Nor does jiyu waza solve the issue that incorrectly claims a priori that atemi as distraction allows atemi to be utilized without interrupting the flow of a given technique. Too much is being assumed here, in my opinion.

Of course, I would agree with the position that holds that striking is a part of Aikido. I also agree with the position that strikes can precede throws, locks, pins, etc. And I agree with the position that strikes can indeed be thrown in full compliance with the tactic of aiki. It's just that I don't believe that anyone thus far has been able to address these things via the usual positions of seeing strikes as distractions, and/or understanding atemi as part of technique that is asking the overly simplistic question of "Where can I hit the guy now...?"

Admitting that I sense we are talking about similar things but with different words, in order to bring us all on the same page, please allow me to suggest the following practical experiment. It is an easily reproducible experiment that clearly points to a vital tactical truth: Strikes and Throws (sticking with that example) do not tactically overlap in a perfect and complete way. That is to say that there are more situations where one can throw but not strike, or strike but not throw, than there are situations where one can throw and strike within the same energy field being delineated by a given combative environment.

Some background:

Arts come to train themselves through basics. But another way of saying this is that arts come to train themselves by not training in or for every possible situation. As such, arts make use of an ideal, and therefore realistically distant (in that not every situation is addressed), training environment. This all made sense and was perfectly fine when the Shu-Ha-Ri models were not only well in place but were being passed on by folks that actually achieved such a path of training. What happens in this absence, speaking generally, is that ideal phases come to be reified by practitioners that have not yet transcended or reconciled form. That is to say, people come to mistake ideal phases for all the possible situations reality may have to offer. Practitioners come to no longer see such phases as the blinders they in fact are, if and when one’s practice remains at the level of Shu.

Related to this, there is the socialization process by which every art comes to both know and rely upon in order to determine both practice and practitioner. Thus Aikido folks attack like Aikido folks. Karate folks like Karate folks, etc. Every ideal assumption, now no longer totally conscious at this socialization processing level, both marks and limits the practitioner within a system of truth games that provides them with the delusion of versatility but is in reality just another example of a frog at the bottom of the well looking up and believing himself to see the whole of the sky.

Of course personalities must be accounted for, in particular as those personalities fluctuate through the common ego elements of fear, pride, and ignorance. That is to say that, for most of us, these three elements also come to define our practice along with previously mentioned institutional sets of assumptions. Combined, it is my opinion, it is these things more than anything else that is governing this thread and even our experiences we are sharing via this thread.

Having trained in both a striking art and a throwing art, I can share with you that fear plays a great role in free-style training or jiyu waza in both arts. On the one hand you have the person (nage) trying to stay within the supposed universality of his/her system, but on the other hand you have the other folks (uke) facing those same artistic assumptions plus the fear of the unknown – one of the greatest fears Man will ever face. – or the fear of getting hurt, or the fear of “losing”, etc. As a result, motivated by fear, but unknowingly governed by his/her art’s assumptions one thing almost always take place: Attackers come to subvert their art’s own training assumptions for the achievement or maintenance of something that is egocentrically motivated.

Here is how I came to experience this via my own training environments:

In the striking arts, folks, not wanting to get hit, or folks wanting to “win”, or folks not understanding the specific restrictions of one’s own art, stopped attacking with a range and energy that had up until then been pre-suited to the responses being practiced. That is to say, for example, rather than stopping themselves in their penetration of target at a range more suited to being struck, they always rushed through the defender in attempt to close the gap quickly, jam any and all defenses, and nullify any chance of being hurt and/or defeated. In short, they were able to take advantage of the one thing the art had been assuming all along within its ideal phases: People, as targets, will accommodate a degree of penetration and a velocity of closure that suits to striking them defensively.

Without an arsenal equipped with throwing and/or ground fighting, such a subversive attack in free-style not only seemed self-serving, it was accepted as a type of “wisdom” that was actually passed along from practitioner to practitioner – thereby generating a whole new set of reified assumptions and ideal phases. This of course completely ignored the fact that such “wisdom” was only produced via an initial ignorance that reified an initial artistic assumption and definition. (Note: The Gracie’s have proven this hands down.)

In the throwing arts you see the exact reverse response – though it is there for all the same reason: The combination of Fear, Pride, and Ignorance in the face of Jiyu waza plus the reified assumptions of an art’s ideal phases. In the throwing arts, come Jiyu waza, attackers facing the unknown, not wishing to be hurt, preoccupied with “not losing”, etc., come in with an energy more partial to being struck than to being thrown. Again, “victory” is achieved on their part due to a lack of knowledge concerning striking on the part of the person defending. It is not a real victory – its merely a matter of taking advantage of an art’s ideal phases, and/or its training assumptions. It’s not wisdom, it’s only a training subversion.

Of course, one can in the happening of such training get an attacker to change his/her energy field. For example, there’s no better way of getting an uke to commit to a given vector of attack fully than by peppering him with strikes (taking advantage of the striking energy field he/she is presenting – the suki that are present). Strike him/her enough times and believe me, forcing them to address their fear, their ignorance, and/or their pride in that way and believe me they will start closing that gap in a hurry just like the striking art folks did when they believed that no throw or grappling situation is lying on the other side of that “all or nothing” charge. I believe that Mr. Ledyard described something similar to this in a post listed above. However, I see this only as a re-subversion of a subversion of a training situation that is plagued by reified ideal phases. This does not in and of itself tell me something about the relationship between strikes and throws. This only tells me something about the state of self in my uke and the training assumptions of my own art.

So I would say to try this experiment. Have your students and/or peers rush you as hard and as fast as they can while you try and strike them. Kicks, knees, elbows, punches, handswords, etc. – anything. However, make sure their assumptions about ukemi do not get in the way of having them commit fully and to do so for the duration of their onrush. Try and strike, them and you may find, like countless of striking artists all over the world have found, that the best way to counter strikes is by rushing them, jamming them, getting on the inside of them – that the worse thing you can do is stay in striking range and exchange blows. You will find that such an energy field does not at all lend itself to striking. One’s base is easily compromised; one’s follow-up strikes are easily nullified, one’s penetration of target is easily miscalculated; one’s accuracy is greatly reduced; etc. And that’s what happens if you happen to be the same size as your attacker or bigger. If you happen to be smaller, forget about it. You’re toast. If a person cannot run this experiment himself or herself, one only as to look at how past professional ground-fighters capitalized upon this training loophole time and time again until strikes learned to deviate and/or first counter the onrush before striking. One can, of course, also look kinesiologically at Aikido tactics and strategies and through a process of reverse engineering come to the same conclusion.

Now, take this same attacking energy field and try and throw your uke. Be sure that do not again return to a “gun-shy” state but that they commit with the same veracity that they were using to counter your strikes. Wow! You will find, I suggest, just how easy it is to throw someone. And now, do this experiment in reverse. Have your uke come in very calculating, and/or hesitant, and try and throw them then. It will be nearly impossible but for the element of size (yours being much greater than theirs), and/or the element of social pressure that cause folks to fly when they have not been thrown. Now, try and strike them. It will be like shooting fish in a barrel.

Again, I am not suggesting that this is telling us much more than this: Striking and Throwing do not tactically overlap in a perfect way. I’m not saying that someone can’t be hit in one drill but not in the other, or that one can’t be thrown in one drill but not the other, etc. However, by understanding this phenomenon, which I imagine takes places all over the world but not at a conscious level, we can come to see that there is indeed a type of gap that exists between the tactical parameters of striking and of throwing: If a combative situation has primed me for a throw, chances are that opting to strike in such a case, or the vice versa, will more often than not lead to my own strategic demise.

Specifically, I am suggesting, that the commonly applied atemi of katate-dori uchi kaiten-nage has to be considered, at least, suspect. If one has experienced this lack of tactical overlap, I believe that they will not so easily be satisfied with the questions and answers that surround the positions of “atemi as distraction” and/or “atemi hidden within the movements of throw.”

Other than that, I’m not sure I can disagree with you still. I imagine we are just talking about different things but using the same words – particularly concerning the handsword to the back of the neck and the knee to the face of uke. Perhaps you are using them in a way that they are thrown earlier than I am imagining, or perhaps you are not penetrating the target as fully as I am imagining for strategic reasons. This I am suggesting because I am of the position that it does not take much to force a person who is already bent over and knock them out, or at least knock them to the ground, with a handsword to the back of the neck or a knee strike to the temple area. In my scenario, as I am imagining it, both strikes would render an opponent flat down, or flat “out” in the prone position.

Again – thank your post. I most enjoyed it.

Yours,

dmv

Ron Tisdale
03-17-2004, 09:36 AM
Dear David,

Wow. I have rarely seen such a well written and thought out post on such a complicated topic. I'm going to read it again to see what else I can glean from it.

Myself, I would not focus too strongly on 'atemi as distraction.' If I give an atemi, I may not actually strike my partner if they do not block, but I pretty much always get a reaction as if THEY believe I *might* strike them. Now, do that same atemi to a boxer, as opposed to an aikidoka, and you are correct...you are likely to get a different response due to 'reified ideal phases', and the fact that boxers get hit all the time...and just hit back.

Which is why outside of that 'reified ideal phase' you must at least strongly consider almost always actually making contact, and not hoping for a distraction. And that contact must be mechanically sound...otherwise your wrist breaks, and/or they smile and hit you back :)

I think the best counter to 'reified ideal phases' is cross training. Working with different arts, working with people from different arts in your art, etc. And even when dealing with karateka who are also trained in aikido, you must be aware that they know you are going for a throw...and that there may be a certain degree of 'tanking' for their own safety (or maybe yours).

I'm not sure how this awareness affects my previous post...but it is an important one, and one I probably do not physically practice under enough.

As to the atemi in some of the typical kaiten nage examples...yes, I would modify the severity of the strike so as not to preclude my end objective...which may change precipitously depending on the responses of a particular attacker. Sometimes the atemi is the throw, sometimes the throw is the atemi, sometimes the technique is the atemi...and on and on and on...

Ron

George S. Ledyard
03-17-2004, 10:44 AM
One of the things to remember about atemi which strike and atemi which don't actually make contact is that they are extremely difficult to tell apart until the end result has occurred. Our eyes are made up of receptors. The movement receptors fire when they register changes against the background. Anything moving across the field of vision is easy to spot and track. That's why irimi can't be done properly by simply jumping out of the way, a motion like that actually draws the attention to it.

But movement that comes straight at the face has the least amount of change in the field of vision from one instant to the next. Something moving straight at the eyes stays the same except that it gets larger as it gets closer. So the minimum number of receptors are firing and the brain gets the minimum amount of information to base its decisions on.

So a full speed, full power strike (I favor the Wing Chun type pulse strike) going straight at the face, but focused a half inch in front of the target instead of several inches through the target, is almost indistinguishable from the real strike. If the partner is open at this point he will be forced to respond.

Aikido people who do atemi waza often are taught to block the atemi. They simply protect their faces and the nage continues through the technique. It is imperative to understand how atemi works and if you are doing it correctly to have the partner act more intelligently. In any other art the opponent would not only deflect the atemi but would instantly counter strike.

If you are doing atemi waza as a distraction it should make no difference whatever if the uke simply blocks or he blocks and counterstrikes. If your execution of the atemi was done properly and didn't break the flow of your movement, his counter strike will miss. You are catching his Mind for an instant; his physical movement will be too slow because it is re-action to your movement.

Ron Tisdale
03-17-2004, 10:55 AM
Nice addition George! thanks,

Ron

senshincenter
03-17-2004, 06:03 PM
Again, thank you for these last few posts. I found them to be very informative. There is much to consider and re-consider within. I can also say that the things you are both laying out do capture much of my own experience as well.

Not wishing to mention names or ranks here, because I feel forums are about an exchange of ideas and not an allegiance to authorization, I was once told something relative by a teacher who was asked a similar question concerning distractions with weapons - jo vs. jo to be specific. He was asked whether a particular move in the set we were doing was a distraction (or a feint, a fake, etc.) or a real strike. To this the teacher answered (paraphrasing): “No – it’s a real strike. Combat is difficult enough as it is in regards to staying focused and staying in the dominant position. To throw a strike that has no true intention of hitting is to open oneself up spiritually and physically to a counter. It is automatically a type of suki. You should not see your opponent has having a fettered mind such that he will not take advantage of this suki. Your opponent should be understood to have an unfettered mind – so he will not fall nor ever for your distractions. Only your true will to strike him as target will get him to move.”

Of course, we can play with semantics here regarding exactly what is a “true will to strike,” and we can debate over how one should for all practical purposes be able to possess this will even if it is just up to an inch away from the target, but being there I can say that this is not what this teacher meant. Again, I have mentioned this past experience not to say, “There you have it, an authority has spoken..,,” but rather to discuss this idea of whether or not we should assume an opponent to have a fettered mind or not, and how such an assumption may indeed a priori provides us with a suki in our own collections of tactics.

Of course, the more you think about what this teacher said, there more you will be able to find – I suggest. I mean it really is quite profound and certainly goes way beyond the common notions that have plagued such discussions similar to the one we are now having. Nevertheless, I would like to focus in on just a couple of points.

George rightly points out a biological tendency made possible by the physiology of the eye. No doubt - if all of those factors were to occur I think the eye and the mind would in fact respond as described, and for those very physiological reasons. However, and on the contrary, I think Ron also marks out a very significant point. Ron, in talking about what a boxer would do, describes something that is very commonplace or should be very commonplace – meaning we’ve seen this or have experienced this quite a lot: “Now, do that same atemi to a boxer, as opposed to an aikidoka, and you are correct...you are likely to get a different response due to 'reified ideal phases', and the fact that boxers get hit all the time...and just hit back. “

That is to say that some folks, and probably a lot more of these kind of folks exist than we would like to believe or come to believe through our training, just hit back when they are about to be struck and/or are being struck. Just because we may flinch within our own ideal phases does not mean that they will or that even we will again within a truly established jiyu waza training environment. Boxers, and others, are either used to being hit and thus not mentally prevented from taking action if or when something is in their face or on it, or they are not even aware that they are being hit or about to be hit – in which case they would simply continue striking through our “distraction”. I think this is one very good reason why or by which we do not and should not assume that our opponent has a fettered mind – even if we aren’t assuming that he/she is an unfettered warrior (or what have you). In short, physiology aside, both an awareness of (almost) being struck, and an absence of training or experience that would predispose one to merely striking back through such an awareness, are required for the distraction to work as intended. Wouldn’t you agree? And if that is the case, how and when are you going to tell the difference concerning which type of person you are dealing with? I think this is what that earlier quote is trying to address: You can’t tell the difference. So strike to hit because if you do you will be able to address both kinds of folks, or at least the training or lack thereof in both kinds of folks. Hmmm?

This brings us to two other related points: 1) Again, to be distracted by a strike in the physiological way suggested presumes that I will indeed be aware of the strike you are about to have me face. Now I can either be unaware of said strike because I’m so totally focused on my own offense (which a poorly trained fighter will do), as mentioned above, or I can be “less aware” of said strike because I do not, through my training, come to stare at the strikes that are flying at me (which a highly trained fighter will do) - nor thus am I fettered by such things. I think Ron’s boxer example can include both of these responses as well but we should also open it up to anyone that has brought their training to a descent level of commitment and investment. Not staring at strikes coming at you is to be sure difficult but also a required skill. In short, I think we have to be cautious concerning how much “distraction effect” we can actually attribute to physiology versus how much we should actually be attributing to our own reified ideal phases and/or underdeveloped training.

And, 2) More related to the latter case (since a trained fighter will watch the body more than the strike of an opponent that is heading toward him/her), while an eye and perhaps a mind can react in the physiological manner suggested, the body, quite early (by which I mean less than 10 years of training) does indeed come to know which amounts of penetration are dangerous and which are not. Striking to distract would require that one’s body be in a range that is capable of full penetration of target - as nothing short of this would at all preoccupy the intermediate to advanced practitioner.

I have to point out that whenever I have seen this type of atemi employed, it is rarely at a range that has a full potential to penetrate the target properly. Mudansha, yudansha, and shihan alike all throw this type of atemi from well outside a range of proper penetration. For a person trained to watch the body (e.g. its distance, timing, angle, velocity, etc.) and who does not so crudely become fixated on the individual strikes themselves, attempting to distract this kind of person with this kind of atemi will not find any aid by the physiology of the eye – in my opinion.

Rather, as the teacher I quoted said, this does in fact leave a suki (either inside, under, on top, outside the extended limb, or the limb itself) or create a suki in one’s ongoing tactical employment. On the other hand, throwing this type of atemi from within a range of full penetration only makes these suki bigger.

In the end, I still think we will have to demarcate a difference between atemi thrown in kihon waza, atemi thrown in a jiyu waza that is being plagued by reified ideal phases, and atemi in jiyu waza proper. Perhaps, if we can do this, through things like Ron suggested (e.g. cross training) but also through a whole lot of self-discipline aiming at self-honesty and self-reflection, we may come to understand atemi in all of these cases and thereby determine what it can be and cannot be, or even what it should be and should not be. Having no final answer, and of course no final solution, what began by hearing an answer to similar question a long time ago has led me to this discussion, among other things, and for that I am thankful.

Yours,

dmv

creinig
03-18-2004, 05:42 AM
Just commenting on an isolated aspect, as the finer points are still over my head...:
Ron, in talking about what a boxer would do, describes something that is very commonplace or should be very commonplace – meaning we’ve seen this or have experienced this quite a lot: “Now, do that same atemi to a boxer, as opposed to an aikidoka, and you are correct...you are likely to get a different response due to 'reified ideal phases', and the fact that boxers get hit all the time...and just hit back.
If the boxer (uke) can hit back, he can also just "hit". So there's IMHO nothing won by leaving out the atemi. On the contrary -- by launching an atemi at uke I (1) reduce the propability that he'll hit me and (2) move his attention (partially) away from what I *really* want to do - breaking his balance. And once his balance is broken, he'll have problems hitting (back or not) anyway.

So the atemi covers up an opening during a (very short) critical phase of the technique in a way that keeps the initiative with sh'te (nage).

Ron Tisdale
03-18-2004, 08:28 AM
Good points all. I think one reason yoshinkan technique (kihon waza, in any case) uses atemi where uke must often block and move is because of the very factors you and I are speaking of, David. Otherwise, by being out of range, not only do you create a suki, but a big, ugly, whopping one. :) I do think, however, that George addressed that very point...by saying that he must be in range to actually place the atemi for the physiological responses he speaks of to work.

Christian, your statement is a textbook definition of yoshinkan atemi...where there is an opening in the technique (such as in kotegaeshi), use atemi to fill it. I'm not so sure the finer points are over your head...you seem to understand the topic just fine.

As for final answers...I'm sure there cannot be any...but this kind of discussion is exactly why I find this site so rewarding.

Thank you,

Ron