View Full Version : Soft Styles

Please visit our sponsor:

Magnus Brown
03-23-2004, 09:47 AM
Hi all,

first post but been lurking for a while now.

I keep hearing and reading about "soft" styles of aikido. What do people mean by this and are there any of you out there who would consider yourself to do a "soft" style of aikido? Also what styles are considered "soft"?

From what I've read/heard so far it seems to imply that the "ki" side of aikido is emphasised to the detriment of the martial side. But this sounds like it could be more of a slight at a different style of aikido.

For your info the style I practise is as taught by Kenshiro Abbe, so a pre-war aikido style which seem to be described as not "soft".


03-23-2004, 11:03 AM

Well I practice under Sensei William's organisation, the Ki Federation of Great Britain and on occasion under Sensei Williams himself. As you will probably know Sensei K Williams took over The Hut when Abbe SEnsei left to teach the Japanese Olympic Judo team.

SEnsei Williams's style has also been heavily influenced by Tohei Sensei and as such I practice what I would consider a 'soft' style. Not that it means its any easier, but the idea of non resistance is more centrally taught than the Aikikai style that I also practice.

I find the main difference is that more 'martial' aspects of AIkido are brought out in the Aikikai, like strong atemi, breaking balance, dead zones and the like. In Ki Aikido, these ideas are brought together through the idea of being light and extending Ki, which seems to me to have the same result.

Magus, where do you practice in Reading? I train with the Ki Federation on Elm Road and the Aikikai on the Reading Uni Campus.....

03-23-2004, 12:23 PM
The hard and soft styles could also be split into the Yoshinkan (and like styles) and the more Western and what I feel to be soft styles.

03-23-2004, 01:05 PM
This is a hard one to verbalize, but seems easy to demonstrate.

All I can think of is that in a Hard Style, you sweat a lot more.

I'd like to see how others who experienced both soft and hard styles verbalize it.

I study a very soft style, and we don't really talk about or study about Ki at all.

Tough question, because everyone might have a different point of view based on there size, age and experiences.

03-23-2004, 01:33 PM
I'm not sure the level of sweat is a good judge. I do 2 days a week of a softer style Sensei (Tohei influence) and 2 days a week from a harder style Sensei (Aikikai).

I sweat my ass off at both classes! But that's just me. There are plenty of others in both classes that don't break a sweat at all. Level of sweat is really based on who your uke/nage is. :p

You're right that it's difficult to verbalize, but there is a distinctly different feel when practicing.


03-23-2004, 01:38 PM
In a hard style (Yoshinkan) you feel the throw - you fall or seperate your shoulder, break your arm, etc.

In a soft style (Ki, Aikikai) the attack and throw is not taken to the same intensity. Sometimes so far away from it that there is red shift!


Peace :ai:

Chris Li
03-23-2004, 03:57 PM
In a hard style (Yoshinkan) you feel the throw - you fall or seperate your shoulder, break your arm, etc.

In a soft style (Ki, Aikikai) the attack and throw is not taken to the same intensity. Sometimes so far away from it that there is red shift!


Peace :ai:
Well, I can think of a few people that you ought to train with before you characterize Aikikai as a "soft" style. In any case, Aikikai is really an umbrella organization, not a style.

Anyway, I would say that the division into "hard" and "soft" schools is primarily illusory - the main difference between most schools is, IMO, teaching methodology and pedagogy.



03-23-2004, 04:08 PM
So name them!!!

I have trained with Aikikai in a number of countries and a number of schools. I train hard and I have come across the soft dojo and Aikikai is soft (non-Iwama - true full-ON! - is soft)!


Chris Li
03-23-2004, 04:14 PM
So name them!!!

I have trained with Aikikai in a number of countries and a number of schools. I train hard and I have come across the soft dojo and Aikikai is soft (non-Iwama - true full-ON! - is soft)!

Well, until recently Iwama was Aikikai - and even now most Iwama is still Aikikai. Further, Morihiro Saito (who was always Aikikai) was asked by Gozo Shioda to be his successor at the Yoshinkan (he turned him down),

How about Isoyama, Fujita, Arikawa (now deceased), etc.?



03-23-2004, 04:23 PM
I've been giving this a little thought, and I believe it's may be what happens at the point when uke is helpless to resist a technique that dictates a hard or soft style.

First of all I would have to say that for a technique to work efficiently, it should take little strength or power.

That being said, after the off balance/redirection/leading or whatever you do, there is a point in time when uke is at a distinct disadvantage.

i.e. balance is broke bad posture, etc. and tori is at a great advantage i.e. wrist lock etc.

after you have uke in this position, you can break his arm, or gently place him on the floor.

maybe this is what makes the style soft or hard, depending on the attitude tori takes.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
03-23-2004, 08:13 PM
Where does this 'hard/soft' notion come from?

To offer my own input...I have noticed two related but arguably distinct central concepts in aikido. On the one hand, muscling or tension, any excess force, is not in the spirit of aikido; the energy is given by the attacker. On the other hand, when nage/tori/shite/whatever needs to move uke, it is done with a relaxed, whole-body feeling. It may feel like you are not exerting yourself at all, but such movement isn't really 'light', it's just relaxed.

So the distinction between subtle redirection and relaxed-but-powerful movement.

03-23-2004, 10:29 PM
Where does this 'hard/soft' notion come from?
it's noticeable when you encounter it.
the division into "hard" and "soft" schools is primarily illusory - the main difference between most schools is, IMO, teaching methodology and pedagogy.
this seems to be true.

03-24-2004, 01:07 AM
I practice what I would call a soft style. Seidokan was founded by Rod Kobayashi after he left the Ki Society. The best way I can think of to explain it is by re-telling and paraphrasing a story told to me by Eli Landau, a Seidokan instructor in Isreal.

My apologies to Landau Sensei for the mistakes I'm about to make in the re-telling.
I was nearly ready to quit aikido. I was frustrated. All my teachers kept telling me that aikido techniques didn't have to hurt, but every time they did one to me it hurt. Not one of them could do the technique without the pain like they claimed it could be done. Then I met Kobayashi sensei. I grabbed his wrist and he touched me here and I fell down. I attacked again and he touched me over here and I fell down. I got up and thought AHA, aikido doesn't have to hurt! That was when I started following his teachings.

Eli Landau
Again, my apologies for the butchering of the story but that's my memory of it.


Magnus Brown
03-24-2004, 03:19 AM
Hmm, some interesting thoughts there, thank you.

The reason I ask is that at training on Monday a 2nd kyu was being told that he had to move away from performing techniques with just strength and move towards doing a more graceful/flowing movement if he wanted to progress upwards, but at the same time told us beginners that we still had to practise "hard" technique. So it seems like as you get better you have to learn to relax more and do better technique rather than force it with strength, which, given the precepts upon which aikido is based is a good thing as your strength will decrease with age.

It does appear to me that there was/is a split between O'Sensei's students, those who follow the earlier styles of aikido which emphasised the martial aspects at a cost to your opponent, and those that follow the later style of trying to reduce harm to your opponent. And these different views permeate down to the teaching of the art from that viewpoint, so that a "soft" style will be taught "soft" from the beginning whereas the hard styles will be taught hard from the beginning. It seems to me very like the split between the Chinese internal and external martial arts. They both lead to the same goalpoint but start from a different point.

Which leads me on to ask do the members here think that doing aikido will necessarily lead to an enlightened view of the world in the way that O'Sensei visualised or is it something that has been developed first by O'Sensei and then taken up by his later students? For me it seems the latter as the pre-war and post-war (to use an often quoted division) techniques apear to be the same, just the application is different. So doing aikido for forty years will not mean you become a compassionate human being, just that you are good at aikido. Your applicaiton of it is still dependent on your personality.


I train in Bracknell at the Ellis school of Traditional Aikido. Been there for about 6 months and am absolutely hooked. I was thinking of coming to some other aikido clubs around Reading to see what they are like, but I think I might wait until I am a litle better (and also have more free time!)

03-24-2004, 07:08 AM
In earlier years I would have described the more linear styles as "hard", the flowing circular styles as soft. But I have come to believe that hard and soft aikido has nothing to do with any particular style, more with how I achieve the technique.

I try to practice soft myself. What I mean by that is that when uke attacks me, he wants me, I try not to be there. I try to move and create a hole or void where I was standing and guide uke into that hole. Once he's falling, technique can be applied simply and effortlessly, sometimes without pain (probably not the likes of nikkyo though;))

If I don't move enough, or if I try to do a technique too soon, or uke stops, whatever, I will become the conflict for uke. In order to make the technique work at that point, I have to apply more effort, energy and strength. This is what makes the technique hard, at least to me.

I don't think that hard or soft is the issue, for me, I want my Aikido to be powerful, this can be achieved many ways, linear or circular, as long as my timing and movement are good.

I wish I could better explain my thoughts in writing.



03-24-2004, 07:45 AM
My experience with soft styles (and the reason I left) had more to do with uke than nage. I saw people taking ukemi before they were thrown, before their balance or center was taken and just because that was what was expected of them. Weak attacks which were anticipating the technique. The general atmosphere from my perspective was one of false security or confidence.

I'm not saying that uke should "feel the throw" becuse that's too late. Uke has given up control of the situation. But as soon as uke's balance or center is taken, he should take ukemi to escape the technique... if that makes any sense.

So for me hard and soft have less to do with technique than with ukemi.


03-24-2004, 09:06 AM
So for me hard and soft have less to do with technique than with ukemi.
Great point Jim.

Being a good uke doesn't mean just being able to fall good, or just blindly running around the mat. Uke has to simulate a real attack and recovery for a particular off balance.

That's what will teach timing, and will show openings for a counter attack.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
03-24-2004, 10:18 AM
In Yoshokai, we are often told to lead "clearly". Terms like "powerful" are often used, in reference to making full-body movements rather than isolated movements. However, the emphasis is certainly not violent. The idea is to make it clear to uke where to go, and be a good leader, just as uke is studying to be a good follower.

From my limited (~1.5 years) experience, some examples of hardness/softness I've seen:

Soemthing that could go either way, being both a large body movement with a lot of power in it and at the same time being very much a matter of timing and 'flow': opening pivots. Sometimes these are just quick 45-degree pivots (95-degree openers seem to be limited mainly to older techniques), but quite often a technique will begin with a full 180 degree pivot. We twirl like crazy, compared to the practice I see at the Iwama-ryu dojo I train at. For instance, if uke runs in to grab, nage/shite/tori will often allow the grab and simultaneously make a large pivot to pull uke along. Although this seems 'soft', it is actually quite 'effective' if timed correctly; it is surprising how easy it is to whirl someone around if they approach with force.

Something else that seems to be 'soft': strike lead-arounds. For instance, from a strong shomen-uchi, we sometimes 'catch' (lightly) and let them continue to fall forward, pivoting at the same time. It seems very 'soft' in feel. That's not to say it's ineffective, just that it relies more on uke's energy than on nage adding energy.

Ron Tisdale
03-24-2004, 11:18 AM
I still don't understand 'hard/soft' after reading this thread, anymore than I did before reading it.

As to yoshinkan, it is a PRECISE style of movement, and a pedagogical method. I wouldn't define it as hard. It does tend to stress the martial aspect, but then so do teachers like Chiba Sensei.

In terms of sweat, the Aikido Kenkyukai group trains harder than most I know (hours at a time, no talking, much suwari waza, lots of sweat), but I'd bet most 'knowledgable' people would describe their technique as 'soft' (right up until the time you hit the mat anyway).

I've heard styles described as





What exactly is this soft? what exactly is hard?


03-24-2004, 12:45 PM
Having trained in a driviative of Ki no Kenkyukai (Shin Shin toitsu) which is Ki Aikido as I stated above and Aikikai. I'd say the differences are just in the feel. I've sparred some very big strong and light Judoka, I would never really say that Judo is a hard style.

I cant think of any martial system that fits into either bracket. Boxing could be considered hard, but then look at all the evasive foot work, not exactly the mark of a hard stylist.

Then again, you look at those Hsing I guys, that can be pretty hardcore training and they are supposedly soft.

And BJJ, where on earth do they fit. Any 70 + year old man (Helio) that can hold down a 21 year old Yoshinkan 1st Dan (Mits Yamashita) seems very Aikido to me, but then those 2 arts could not be more different.

I think a more usful bracket is, B

03-24-2004, 12:47 PM
... silly buttons, posts before I'm ready.


Budo, Bujutsu, Sport and Self-defence brackets are more contriversial but easier for analysis than hard/soft.

Goetz Taubert
03-24-2004, 12:48 PM
@ Ron Tisdale

"hard" is relying mainly on body-mechanics to exert the technique.

"hard" using strenght to exert the technique or control.

"hard" is applying pain to get the technique to the end.

No idea yet, how to define soft.

Ron Tisdale
03-24-2004, 01:27 PM
Hello Goetz, wie geht es einen?
@ Ron Tisdale

"hard" is relying mainly on body-mechanics to exert the technique.
Ok, but some people describe an art like Taiji as being soley about body-mechanics...a specific way to connect to the ground-path and channel that energy through the bones and ligaments to your opponant. Very mechanical descriptions of vectors, the way the body is built, etc. are used. And Taiji is supposedly as 'soft' art. How would your description reconcile this? After all, every art uses body mechanics of some sort...
"hard" using strenght to exert the technique or control.
Well, I use strength just to stand up. Even to tenkan. Does that make aikido hard?
"hard" is applying pain to get the technique to the end.
ok, well, there is a LOT of pain in some styles of aikido that otherwise might be called soft...the afore mentioned Aikido Kenkyukai might be one example. Their nikajo/nikyo can be excrutiating...but when performed shite/nage is very relaxed, and is using their center to affect the control. I might say much the same thing for Hsing-i or Bagua. So where does that leave us?
No idea yet, how to define soft.
Me either.

Auf wiedersehen...


Goetz Taubert
03-24-2004, 03:43 PM
Dear Ron,

just a reply on your comments.

First I did my posting regarding hard and soft concerning aikido not MA as a whole.

If in taichi ki power is directed through bones/ligaments (as physical parts of the body) it just means, that these structures participate. Maybe there are certain requirements for posture to do this the best way. That‘s fine and it’s the same in aikido. My statement referred to applying a technique as nage and there are certain technical approaches, which try to control the center of uke by using the the mechanical constraints of bones/ligaments/joints to move/control uke’s body. One can do this very good with a hard gripping and nonrelaxed attacker. This sort of technique tend to be hard and often give a short „shock“ in the beginning.

Next I‘m really lucky that you too use muscular strength to stand up, otherwise you may have developed a personal „beaming“ technique. But I guess, that you don’t use more strength than you need, although you could apply a much bigger amount of muscular power with the biggest muscle of your body in the leg while standing up. Using strength means using too much of it. Too much is making technique a muscle contest (Who is stronger?). It also means giving an amount of power, that gives uke the feeling, something bad is going on, which automatically gives him/her the wish to resist/counterattack (I‘m thinking to an uke with ongoing attacking spirit). He/she will be able to resist/counterattack exactely at the point, where the unecessary strength was applied. As a result harmony is destroyed. Often strength is used to catch up with a bad performed technique in the end, so it serves only to hide weakness in technical performance.

Third: Pain. Surely you can perfectly malm a not to strong and bendable wrist with nikyo. Or jou can increase pain just to the level, that uke gives in not to risk injury. In a deeper sense of aikido, this is not effective. Why?: Nage hurts although he/she could also do it without pain. So on a technical level this leaves him/her unsufficient. Uke feels pain and by this gains nothing (For uke feeling pain, it’s really not of interest, if nage ist relaxed or unrelaxed whuile exerting pain). If uke is really hurt, nage has damaged his/her training partner, which is a shame on the one hand and silly on the other, because one looses a training partner.

Maybe with this further explanations my statements are better understandable.

03-24-2004, 10:13 PM
My instructor said to us recently that there is no 'soft' style and aikido is not a 'soft' art, it is a compassionate art. This means that we deal with any given situation with the minimum force to resolve it. This may mean nothing more than a tenkan to avoid an attack, right up to a huge guy bearing down on you and you executing a technique swiftly and harshly to end the fight so the guy won't get up again and smash you.

The art allows for compassion, I think this is important. But to call it soft is misleading.

Only my opinion.

03-25-2004, 11:27 AM
Here's a good example of a soft style aikido (http://www.aikidofaq.com/video/vks_taigi2.mpg).

That's from the Virginia Ki Society. As far as I know, it's about as soft as Aikido gets. If you look at the iriminages they barely touch each other. I practiced at that dojo in the video for about a year or so. It's pretty neat, but honestly I'm a little more addicted to Aikikai style. Of course I'm finding out from this thread, that Aikikai is soft compared to some styles! :confused: Haha!

Here are some more videos (http://www.aikidofaq.com/multimedia.html). There are a bunch from the Virginia Ki Society towards the bottom.

Steve Nelson

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
03-25-2004, 02:32 PM
I have to admit...what with all the twirls and the way nage bounces around on his/her (can't tell) tiptoes...okay. I admit. 'Soft' is a real concept. (Not necessarily a bad one, but...yeah. Trying to imagine people in my dojo hopping around on their toes. Style differences clearly exist.)

03-25-2004, 04:00 PM
Aikikai soft? yeah right, tell that to my aching body... (today it even hurts to type this! ow, ow!) To me soft is being focused and relaxed when uke comes charging like a bull, then slamming them silly! :)

Chris Li
03-25-2004, 04:36 PM
I have to admit...what with all the twirls and the way nage bounces around on his/her (can't tell) tiptoes...okay. I admit. 'Soft' is a real concept. (Not necessarily a bad one, but...yeah. Trying to imagine people in my dojo hopping around on their toes. Style differences clearly exist.)
Ah, the Tohei "hop"...

Interestingly, the best Tohei hop I've ever seen was done by a Yoshinkan shihan - a direct student of Gozo Shioda.



03-25-2004, 04:42 PM
Yeah, the ki society Aikido seems kind of bouncy. Although I've been thrown by most of the people in those videos. You still go down.

Steve Nelson

03-25-2004, 06:18 PM
A quick addition to the "soft" concept- it may look "bouncy" or not, that is up to the individual. I've been thrown by Ki Society members and the last thing you can come up with in that moment, is that it was "soft" ;)....in a way it was, But also very decisive and effective.

Soft in the Ki Society is a lead to be “calm & relaxed”, in order to execute a technic in an efficient and non-harming manner

What you have in Steve Nelson’s video link is one (of 30) Taigi arts. That’s a different issue, that emphasizes rhythm timing and harmony, all done “soft” using a sequence of Aikido arts. See also http://toitsu.de/video/video.htm

Ian Williams
03-25-2004, 09:47 PM
I'm studying Jujitsu at the moment, and admittedly most of my knowledge of Aikido comes from the web/forums/books/videos etc, but I would class JJ as being "hard" compared to Aikido. Why? Most of the techniques I am learning result in injury/breakages to resisting opponents and there is not the emphasis on "minimising conflict and hurt" as there seems to be with Aikido.

This is in no way a denegration of Aikido, in fact it's completely the opposite. I love the "safe exit strategies" for Uke that a lot of Aikido techniques seem to have.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
03-25-2004, 11:35 PM
Tohei hop? I would like to know more of this. Perhaps a new thread?

03-25-2004, 11:42 PM
I cant honestly say hard styles rely on pain at all. Payet, my sensei who teaches Yoshinkai, can devlope power and still have no pain in his techinqe. I have had Nikkajo applied by Payet and have had my balence completely taken. We relax all the time. I perfer to think of hard as how the uke reacts to the nage. I mean, that can be different from person to person! someone could be studing a hard style but be a soft stylest, and others could be studing a soft style but be a really deidicated and hard uke or nage. Its up the the person.

David Edwards
03-26-2004, 05:55 AM
I love the "safe exit strategies" for Uke that a lot of Aikido techniques seem to have.
It ought to be borne in mind though that those safe exit strategies only exist if the person takes ukemi properly. Otherwise, they'll end up with bones just as crunched as if a big muscley Jujitsuka had done it.

With regard to Ki Aikido; I have Tohei Sensei's "Aikido: Coordination of mind and body for self-defence" on my MA bookshelf, and consider it an excellent book for learning about the use of ki. I have no doubt that ki aikido can be very powerful if done properly, but "Kolesnikov's School" is a largish ki aikido association in Britain... Let's just say that Mr. Kolesnikov's grade is self-awarded, and his association is often seen as being a money-making thing. I went to one of his dojos, in Wilmslow. £6 for a 1hr30mins lesson (BAF / UKA / KAA average in these parts is £3 for a 2hr lesson), they (including high grades) didn't know _of_ shikko, let alone how to do it, hadn't even seen it before, they do no suwari-waza, they do iriminage in such a way that it's entirely possible to just remain standing and notice how shocked they look that you haven't been knocked flying by the blue lightening coming from their fingertips (no contact is made, and there's no attempt to take uke's balance; the assumption is that there's no need to take uke's balance as the ki will knock them over). The sensei called me up as uke and berate me for being unresponsive and resisting her technique... the truth was, she was barely touching me and I wasn't sure what she was trying to do, so I just stood there holding her wrist while she extended her ki out to god-knows-where. Turns out she was trying to do yonkyo.

I felt so sorry for these students, that they thought that this was Aikido, and knew no better. I gave them some information about forthcoming courses in Macclesfild and other nearby places, with Allan Rowley, Steve Parr, Ken Cottier, Terry Ezra, Minoru Kanetsuka, etc (All Aikikai, 5th - 7th dan)

To reiterate, though, "I have no doubt that ki aikido can be very powerful if done properly".

03-26-2004, 09:05 AM
I always thought the Russian was pretty good?

I train in Ki Aikido (Ki Fed) and under some of the best teachers in the country. I believe that there really is room for alot of BS in Ki styles, however, all things in Aikido MUST be honest. Thats not just some philisophical outlook, but on the mat to. I dont want anyone to fall over for me, and the same applies to them, I dont fall if I have a choice.

When training with the Sensei's and high grades there is no doubt as to my lack of options.

The main thing to remember is to be honest.

03-26-2004, 09:39 AM
I started my aikido career with Sensei Kolesnikov (Polish, if I recall, rather than Russian?). There was without doubt a focus on ki development and not martial effectiveness. That was, however, more than 15 years ago. I have also trained with one of his students more recently. I found him to be very well balanced and difficult to move. Very centred. However I also found his technique very different to mine and could not reconcile it with my understanding of aikido as a martial art. It did, however, fit my understanding of aikido as a way to develop mind and body co-ordination.


03-26-2004, 09:44 AM
to add to my previous note - the best comparison I can think of is comparing tai chi as taught for health to tai chi as a martial art (although this is based on very limited personal experience of tai chi as either).


David Edwards
03-26-2004, 09:57 AM
I'd like to clarify that I've never seen Mr. Kolesnikov in action; just seeing one of his students whom he has given a dan grade and instructor's licence to was what put me off.

With regard to his student whom you found well balanced, well centred, difficult to move; it seems to me that within any style there's always a fair bit of room for individual strengths and weaknesses, and that not everyone is representative purely of the strengths and weaknesses of their style. I realise you understand this already, I'm just sort of thinking out loud in response to your post. And this particular student of his... he could be the exception, or he could be the rule. I've only met the contents of one dojo, and they were all of the kind that I described above.

03-26-2004, 10:13 AM
It was good to see Sensei Steve Parr in your list of instructors! I used to train with Sensei Parr occassionally at annual easter courses, but have not seen him for many years. I was unfortunate to miss a seminar he ran down here in Wokingham a few months back, but some of my friends went and had nothing but praise.

Hope to make it to the next one.


David Edwards
03-26-2004, 10:42 AM
Yeah, I practice with him on Fridays whenever I can get over to Chester. Actually, Ryusuikan dojo (in Chester) and Genbukan (in Macclesfield) have very close links, us and a few other NW England dojos. A number of our students practice at each others' dojos, and sometimes (like last night, in fact) Steve comes over and takes a class here in Macclesfield. (Btw, just realised it might seem disrespectful to just call him "Steve", but a) I consider him a friend and b) he hates to be called "sensei" or "Parr Sensei" etc off the mat).

I find he has a brilliant way of explaining things very simply; he's also one of the best teachers I've seen for explaining things to complete newcomers to Aikido.

But now we're wandering off topic... never mind

Btw, if you feel like getting back in touch with Steve, his dojo's website is http://www.chesteraikido.fsnet.co.uk/ (Or if you PM me, I can drop you his mob number if you prefer)

Actually, his home number is on the website, so I guess you can just use that, unless you specifically wanted to txt him or something

Ian Williams
03-28-2004, 07:20 PM
It ought to be borne in mind though that those safe exit strategies only exist if the person takes ukemi properly. Otherwise, they'll end up with bones just as crunched as if a big muscley Jujitsuka had done it.
Hi David! I guess I was talking about that recent thread on "wrist-twist" techniques (sorry I don't know the Japanese names for the techniques yet), and you Aikido guys were talking about lots of options for providing a relatively safe "extr strategy" for street situations such as putting someone down on their backside, or even letting them roll out gently etc.

In my limited time studying JJ, I have not seen/been taught any sort of wrist/arm lock/take down technique that doesn't result in a LOT of pain/potentially broken limbs/joints if applied at full speed.

This is not a JJ vs Aikido flamefest or anything, just an observation. I'm not trying to infer big muscley JJ'ers are any better/worse what so ever. Just attempting an observation (probably badly worded).

03-29-2004, 07:40 AM
While our Ki Society dojo was closed, a classmate and I were guests at a local Classical Aikido dojo. The bounce versus slide difference was *very* apparent, especially with two of us--you could pick us out instantly among her students.

I feel I learned a lot by trying the moves both ways to see what changed.

My home dojo has a crop of very stubborn junior people. Our seniors don't get away with ineffectual throws. A memorable moment from last weekend's seminar involved me (fifth kyu) trying to stop a koteoroshi from a fourth dan. Chinn sensei, the seminar instructor, adjusted her technique by an amount so small I could hardly see it, and on the next iteration I was on the floor before I could even collect myself to resist.

I think this is going to be a function of the senseis' attitude and the student mix more than what style is taught. If the students and instructors challenge each other and themselves, you'll get throws that work out of any tradition.

During the seminar Chinn sensei did a lot of the no-touch throws, part of a point he was making about how your body language influences uke. The thing I noticed is that when those work, they are not gentle--uke hits the floor like a brick. If you physically grab someone you can be gentler.

They are tricky throws to challenge because uke *can* stop them--by making an uncommitted attack. Chinn sensei also spent a lot of time shaking his head and saying "Why should I throw you if you are not really attacking me?" to the more junior people. Really good practice.

Mary Kaye