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Bridge
07-22-2004, 03:25 AM
Just curious...

All the aikido attacks I've seen so far have been obverse. That is using the hand on the same side as your leading foot.

I've never seen any of the guys at my dojo defend from a gyaku tsuki (punching opposite hand out) or anything similar before. And I've not known sensei to teach this.

Does anyone else do gyaku techniques in aikido? And why is it so rare?

Ian Upstone
07-22-2004, 04:59 AM
Hi Bridget

Like you, I trained in karate for a few years before starting aikido. I haven't done any karate for well over ten years so excuse me if I'm a bit out of it here, but I'll go and chuck in my opinion anyway!

As far as I know, a powerful gyaku zuki must be punched from the hip. If the opposite foot is forward as you punch (it must be, or else it wouldn't be gyaku zuki!) then the puncher must be 'planted' to use the hips properly. It is impossible to step right in (covering that distance) and punch with the other side effectively and simultaneously (try it!). With this in mind, the puncher would need to be sufficiently close to begin with. (i.e. punching range) before being able to do this effectively. Aikido waza nearly always begin beyond this range.

The obverse punching you mention (typical aikido tsuki) is the only way of reaching nage with the initial punch - as (like shomen and yokomen uchi) you can do it as you step forward. It means you can go from out-of-reach range (where you always start) to make contact in one punch.

A hyperthetical (and very over simplified!) confrontation between a karateka and an aikidoka would consist of the karateka trying to close to efficient striking range - without giving an opening the aikidoka could use against them. Stepping in to attack without giving such an opening is not easy, but whether or not it is taken advantage of is another matter!

Apologies if it's not explained very well or just reads like a load of rubbish!

Steven Scott
07-22-2004, 08:27 AM
Hi Bridget,

Generally, I teach students from all forms of basic hanmi as a precursor to dealing with attacks from both the leading and the rear hand. Being derived from weapons arts, these postures are more readily dealt with for the beginning student. For the more advanced students , however, I occasionally break from tradition to teach the more obscure movements against less conventional attack methods, one of these is Gyaku-tsuki. How and why I have no definite idea but I always try to give students 'the whole picture' of Aikido as a Budo. I personally studied and taught Shukokai (Shito Ryu) Karate from 1984 to 1998 during which my transition into Aikido began around 1990 and it is possible that my working with the attacks of Karate is a throwback to how I was first taught when I began my early Karate training. My sensei always told me that it was necessary to practice with and learn to adapt to as many styles and forms as possible to become a complete practitioner of any art. I have grown now to believe that this adage applies equally well if not more so to aikido than any other art, due to the complexity and precision required. Only by recognition of an attack and repetition of the movement best suited for use against it can any techniques be effective.

I agree with Ian in that the power generated in Gyaku-tsuki comes from the hip which creates a very solid, powerful punch. However a good Karateka will never attempt two Gyaku-tsuki one immediately after another, as it takes about a half second to reset the hips etc (kinda like working a bolt action rifle - an analogy my old Karate sensei used to like very much) and generally does not feel right to perform. Therefore, chaining attacks together will generally be followed on by a punch from the lead hand, producing the obtuse attack (obviously depending upon distance a kick may be the next attack).

Again agreeing with Ian, it is difficult to do much against a good Gyaku-tsuki. it is fast, strong and extremely dangerous to get on the end of. It is unlikely that you would be able to do much with it at the point where the punch is traveling out.

What I teach is that on the punch's return to the hip, enter triangularly and deeply to that side, keeping wary for the follow-up obtuse punch or same-side mae/sokuto/mawashi-geri and use the lead hand to take their arm and lead posture from the inside of the elbow, preventing a further punch occurring and also staying clear of their offside attacks at the same time. From here, a multitude of techniques can and do become available.

On a personal note, it is not an attack I would expect to come up against very often, even in the hard-nosed, large-ego world of Karate (no flames please, remember I've been there and done it and also worn that particular t-shirt I'm ashamed to confess!!!), any Karateka who is confident about his abilities would have no need to test them either on the street or by barging into a dojo and demanding a fight (my worldly-wise Sempai always reminds me that if such were to happen then Aikido is derived from weapons work and the Riai system, and any such Karateka or otherwise unfortunate enough to do so would be facing a Bokken-wielding Aikidoka. Fair?, probably not but thats life for you!!! maybe next time they will do their homework first.).

Be warned though, since Gyaku-tsuki is so fast, it is generally been and gone before you realise you were to follow through. It is fun trying though and makes for some very interesting practice opportunities.

I wish you well in your endeavors.

willy_lee
07-22-2004, 05:38 PM
If you need another reason to practice these, you might consider that a rear-hand thrust is a very common knife attack.

=wl

xuzen
07-22-2004, 10:09 PM
Dear Bridget,

In my practice, we commence our aikido respond from neither migi nor hidari position (Except when we are doing kihon drills, then we do the formal migi and hidari). We start from neutral position. My guess is if it is gyaku, then just do the same but from the reverse hand.

If the argument is that any karateka would snap his punch and return his fist to his waist and aikidoka have no wrist to work with then, my guess is to perform irimi technique (irimi tsuki, sokumen irimi nage etc).

If the argument is that the karateka's punch is very strong and solid, then don't go for his outward wrist. Avoid and go for his soft target, ushiro and knees for example.

If the argument is that the karateka would throw successive punch, the avoid, avoid and when there is opening, irimi and go for the soft targets.

Boon.

Bridge
07-23-2004, 01:48 AM
Thanks for the replies :0)

Seems that the common thread through all of these is that an attack is more than just one technique and that gyaku tsuki/zuki is strong but can't be used consecutively due to it's range and slowness. But a real attack would involve a follow-up of some kind which you may use to your advantage?

I was asking because a friend of mine once attacked me with a gyaku zuki (she also did aikido at the time) for a giggle in a class once. Faced with this awkward technique in isolation, I was totally stumped!

Which led me to wonder about attacks (of any kind; punch, hand grab etc.,) off the back foot.

The prospect of a knife too, just seems impossibly nasty.

Bronson
07-23-2004, 01:56 AM
I was asking because a friend of mine once attacked me with a gyaku zuki (she also did aikido at the time) for a giggle in a class once. Faced with this awkward technique in isolation, I was totally stumped!


Really freak her out by going to the non-punching side and doing a technique on her non-punching hand :D

Bronson

willy_lee
07-25-2004, 08:31 PM
Really freak her out by going to the non-punching side and doing a technique on her non-punching hand :D to Bridget's friend: really freak Bridget out by grabbing her with the non-punching hand so she can't attack the non-punching hand! :) Extra points for grabbing her by the back of the neck.

Now Bridget, if you can deal with that, well then you got something :)

=wl

Lyle Laizure
07-25-2004, 09:07 PM
I see this reverse style punch from students new to Aikido. As Ian mentioned earlier an effective punch from this stance requires a good solid base and since in Aikido we are working with a distance (presumably) that requires an attacker to step in, in order to make contact it would not be an effective punch. However, this doesn't mean you should not be able to defend against it or be able to perform an adequate technique. While a reverse foot attack may not lend to much follow through if one can get off the center line there is plenty that can be done.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
07-26-2004, 01:58 AM
Gyaku-tsuki is a frequent point of emphasis at Hikari Dojo, in part I think because the instructor there has studied karate. Although we don't explicitly practice it much in Yoshokai, it's implicitly dealt with - whenever we're in that position, just about, there's an atemi to keep them busy.

Personally, I think one answer is to switch to ura when the gyaku-tsuki comes. Take ikkajo for example. If their weight is forward, they can punch, and ura is appropriate. For a while, I believed omote was incorrect in this instance, but sensei demonstrated (with me as uke, actually) that the shuffle-to-the-side in the case of omote ikkyo takes you off the line.

As always with aikido, I think timing and balance are key.

ian
07-26-2004, 05:27 AM
Hmm... I would agree with Ian Upstone. However I am dubious about some of the replies; I am not convinced that anyone can react quick enough to change technique depending on whether someone was striking from the front or back foot.

Ian

Lyle Laizure
07-26-2004, 08:05 AM
I am not convinced that anyone can react quick enough to change technique depending on whether someone was striking from the front or back foot.

I am sure there are folks that can do this. (Not to say that I am one of them.) You do have to train for it though.

Ian Upstone
07-26-2004, 08:53 AM
I am not convinced that anyone can react quick enough to change technique depending on whether someone was striking from the front or back foot.
Me neither! I think this is why nage should do all they can to deal with uke before they can close the distance and set up for such things as gyaku zuki.
I am sure there are folks that can do this. (Not to say that I am one of them.) You do have to train for it though.
If I understand this, (and I may not here :)) you mean starting from within punching range, where uke has any strike available, and nage can respond with standard techniques (ikkyo etc)?

Hmm. If nage has such tremendous (and IMO frankly superhuman) skill and speed to change technique as strikes are being delivered - they should certainly have enough skill to take advantage of the easier option - using uke's opening as they are moving in to close the distance in the first place! :D

I think there's some good use in training from opposite side strikes. May be even fun to experment with - interesting balance issues, lots of technique variations etc, but dynamically, I think it is unrealistic.