View Full Version : Any attack Video clip

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Mark Bilson
08-09-2004, 12:16 AM
For anyone interested in looking at spontaneous Aiki created within the natural flow of movement without prior knowledge of what the attack would be we have added a new clip to our website. The new clip is called "Mushin".



Mark Bilson

Chris Birke
08-09-2004, 12:54 AM
I'm sorry, but to me it does not look as though there is any actual attack or intent here. If I'm not understanding, please explain.

Mark Bilson
08-09-2004, 01:07 AM
There is no Suki for him to exploit...........Kuzushi on the moment of contact.........to focus on an attack is to engage in fighting and this is not Aikido :)

Mark Bilson

Chris Birke
08-09-2004, 01:30 AM
All I see is the attacker repeatedly run in with his arms held high. He does this, only this, and only at consistent speed. If this "attack" were successfully continued it looks as though the attacker would bump harmlessly into the thrower and then fall down on his own.

Moreover, it seems very much expected that this is what the "attack" would consist of.

Therefore the thrower does have prior knowledge.

I do see unexploited always openings. He could, for example, kick to the leg, or (as a more esoteric definition of opening) feign with a jab.

My options in consideration are:

A. That this is not in the least bit "Aiki created within the natural flow of movement without prior knowledge of what the attack" as I understand that sentence (for there is prior knowledge, and nothing that really constitutes an attack.)

B. You have moved into some higher plane of understanding that I cannot perceive.


C. I misunderstand your description.

So, again I am sorry, but you can see why I have questions?

To me this looks like "A demonstration of aikido technique on a willing and compliant feeder predicated on a prior arrangement of how he would enter." Such demonstrations are very artful, in my opinion.

I would ABSOLUTELY love to see "spontaneous Aiki created within the natural flow of movement without prior knowledge of what the attack" by a literal understanding of those words, and if this is truely that, I am sorry for being too blind to have seen it.

You understand how, because of my expectations and ideas of what an "attack" is, videos like this leave me very dissapointed.

08-09-2004, 01:41 AM
Although nage's skill cannot be denied, it would be more interesting to see the clip from the beginning, where, I assume, the uke was still fresh, not out of breath, and gave centered attacks which actually resembled shomen uchi, yokomen uchi and mune tsuki, in random order.

I know that when I did this type of thing with a very skilled practitioner, he wasn't even _attempting_ to finish with a throw every time.
His first priority was to evade and redirect (and when neither works, block, recover distance, etc), and somewhere between these redirects he managed to throw me several times. Actually, many times.

But every single attack "predestined" to be finished with an elegant throw, that just wasnt possible..
He was smart enough to feel when his attempt at a throw would fail, or when a throw needed a longer set-up, riding around my resistance, etc...

Mark Bilson
08-09-2004, 01:44 AM



Mark Bilson

Chris Birke
08-09-2004, 01:50 AM

Mark Bilson
08-09-2004, 02:03 AM
IRIMI...........MUSHIN..........KAZUSHI.....If you understand these concepts you will see what Is happening........ :)


Mark Bilson

08-09-2004, 02:21 AM
I'm no expert in aikido or any other martial art, but it does seem rather silly that he turns his back to his opponent an awful lot. In at least one occasion, tori turns 270degrees when he could just as easily turn 90 the other way and keep his eye on his opponent. This is illogical and bad form in almost any athletic activity ranging from soccer to swimming - I can't imagine a good reason here either. It also doesn't seem as though he is doing this under the pretense that there might be other attackers, as when the throw place uke before him, he looks down (seemingly, as he moves his head and not just his eyes) only at uke. Perhaps all this is just part of the general aikido acknowledgement that there wont be kicks and such, but it doesn't quite seem as described as 'any attack.' I understand you didn't quite state that, but your lack of qualifying any rules for this taped engagement implies such.

Also, I'm curious to hear a further explaination for your answer that 'he has obtained a higher level of understanding.' Though I can guess at the meaning of choosing this statement to describe the video, it does not clarify who has achieved a higher state, nor how this higher state, if not describing uke, changes the intent and quality of uke's attack. I have good faith that you can describe it at least slightly better than what you have if you try.

Domo arigato gozaimashita,

Chris Birke
08-09-2004, 02:46 AM
I thought I understood these concepts! I know I have heard them discussed.

Let me see:

Irimi - entering, both in the physical sense, and the mental sense with regard to intent

Mushin - a sense of no mind, (the part about no predefined technique), often referred to as "flowing" or having techniques come to you, rather than seeking them out - more, having no technique but Mushin

Kazushi - the exploitation of unbalance in attack

All of these elements can be involved in the resolution of a conflict.

As a demonstration of these concepts in a controlled situation as a metaphor for how they would work in an actual conflict, this video is a good example. I maintain that it is very artful (and valuable as demonstration).

Still, because of what I explained before, it seems to be a very contrived situation. The limitations and planning involved undermine the integrity of the example, and draw conclusions of "this may not work in reality."

Attack can have many definitions. To define attack as only that in the realm of "proper aikido attack" is fine for some purposes, but not entirely comprehensive except as a metaphor. The same goes for the definition of intent. I could see little of either in the video. A wrist grab, and some charging in with the knifehand as a flag.

I (perhaps mistakenly) believe I have seen spontaneous examples of all these principles in reality, however it has always looked very different, especially for the part of the attacker.

I am, however, afraid that people are often mislead in thinking that these demonstrations are truely spontanious or real, and are thus invested with a false sense of confidence that keeps them from doing the training required to actually internalize concepts mushin, kazushi, and irimi.

I think that much better examples exist which show both the tenacious difficulty of reality, and the beauty of resolution despite true conflict.

In short, this situation has many limitations and very low energy and yet it masquerades as high energy spontaniety. Examples with less rules, and more energy, would be better.

I feel this is a legitimate concern (and though reflections of this discussion already exist at legnth) I feel it is valuable to contiune, so I appreciate any thoughtful response. Either for my enlightenment, or for yours. You could start by correcting my understanding of the three concepts.

Mark Bilson
08-09-2004, 02:51 AM
In reality there is no opponent nor is there an attack to be focused on............to do so would not be Aikido but fighting...........The only fight is the one within yourself......

Aiki - (its mysteries)
can never be encompassed by the
Brush or by the mouth.
Do not rely on words to grasp it
Attain enlightenment through practice.

If you do not link yourself to true
emptiness, you will never fully
comprehend the path of Aiki
( O' Sensei)


Mark Bilson

Mark Bilson
08-09-2004, 03:10 AM
Iam not talking about the intellectual meaning of Irimi, Kazushi and Mushin..............But........can you combine these three concepts in your training to create technique? If you do how does it look?............To achieve Mushin you cannot engage your partner to do so would mean that Mushin is lost.........To try and "do something" to your partner (ie technique) would result in resistance and therefore lack of kazushi and Mushin. If you have not already entered with Irimi then flowing technique is not possible as you are engaging in fighting which has lost Irimi, Mushin and Kazushi........ :eek:

If you are totaly in harmony with your partners flow of movement how would technique look?...........It would look fake.......as there is no longer a "me" and a "you" but "oneness"................. :)


Mark Bilson

08-09-2004, 03:32 AM
Iam not talking about the intellectual meaning of Irimi, Kazushi and Mushin..............But........can you combine these three concepts in your training to create technique? If you do how does it look?............To achieve Mushin you cannot engage your partner to do so would mean that Mushin is lost.........To try and "do something" to your partner (ie technique) would result in resistance and therefore lack of kazushi and Mushin. If you have not already entered with Irimi then flowing technique is not possible as you are engaging in fighting which has lost Irimi, Mushin and Kazushi........ :eek:

If you are totaly in harmony with your partners flow of movement how would technique look?...........It would look fake.......as there is no longer a "me" and a "you" but "oneness"................. :)


Mark Bilson

I can see these principles manifested in the movement of nage, but , at the risk of putting words in Chris's mouth, I believe the point we are both trying to make is that the uke is making it quite easy for nage to manifest these principles, by not providing honest attack.

Uke seems to be expecting to be thrown, and doesn't even have semblance of balance during his attack.
This is usually what happens to me (as uke) during such a drill when I run out of breath after a few of minutes of being continuously thrown and start losing my center.
Thats why I was wondering about the very beginning of the sequence, which is not on video. The first few attacks.

Chris Birke
08-09-2004, 03:37 AM
No, it looks real. It is preceeded by instantly recognisable reality, emotion. It is preceeded by failure and struggle.

It feels like walking through a brick wall might, or (on the reverse) like fighting against an impossible force. It looks very smooth, and unstoppable. It happens on occasion, and usually leaves someone looking very surprised.

This break between the struggle and sudden fluidity is what really points out when those things are all present at once.

It looks nothing like what happens in that video. That video looks like someone playing attacker for a demonstration. (Been there too.) It is entirely fluid without struggle for quite a long duration. It is therefore the most amazing example of these techniques, or simply a mutual delusion. Expirence leans heavily towards the latter.

With your quoting of the poem (and this argument), I am lead to believe that you see these concepts as inherently manifest in the thrower in the video, and thus the other content of the video is irrelavant. If that be true, the video may as well be of the man meditating, or perhaps even a still picture of o-sensei would do the same.

This is to assert that there is no possible understanding in discussion, nor seeing, thus posting the poem and video is rather ironic. I am aware of the inherent paradox of using words (divisions) to discuss the ending of duality, but until I acheive a timeless omnipotence, it is the best I can do.

You are mistaken if you think this is a discussion between "someone who believes in spirit and someone who does not."

Chris Birke
08-09-2004, 04:21 AM
To help explain what I mean, here (http://body-of-art.org/AikiWeb/FabricioPereira,CristobalGarcia.mpg) is a good example with BJJ technique. The energy is very visible, and there are fewer limits to the demonstration. Sadly it is not cannon Aikido technique; I'm still looking for a good Aikido example on video.

Look at how the final arm bar is achieved. The uke clearly and literally gives nage his arm. For quite a while too. Not because he intended to lose nor because the nage forced him to (although what we would call atemi certainly encouraged it). It was an attack to push him off. The situation existed, and nage recognized it and flowed into it. Kazushi, irimi, mushin.

In a breif moment there is a perfect example that breaks the surface of our misunderstanding and becomes clear. From it, we can begin to see how all things contain these priciples. From martial technique, from a fight, we can discover the principles leading to peace.

The fact that this technique is real gives integrity to the lesson. Not only can you see it in the video, if you had been in the situation you could have felt it. That unstoppable force, or the magic of having the technique handed to you. These little examples make the great big picture coherent to us.

If the technique is fake, or if the intent is not there, then there is no real example. It is like drawing random designs in an attempt to imitate the written word, or making random noises as an attempt to speak. It is not the same, and it does not serve the same function

The link again:

Mark Bilson
08-09-2004, 05:07 AM
Emotion, no mushin
Struggle, no kazushi or Irimi

As to the attacks in the clip 1 Riyote tori, 2 attempted Yokomen, 3 Katate Tori, 4 Riyote Tori then he attemts a right cross in the 5th encounter, attempted Shomen in 6 and 7. Then 8 Riyote tori, 9 attempted Shomen/Riyote Tori, it's just that he was never able to finish what he had started as his "intention" was interrupted.......with Irimi.

By the way, I don't think "I" am deluded :D ..... I also fully understand what an attack is as I am a Yudansha in Karate as well........ and was heavily involved in full contact sparring.

What you are seeing is very hard to explain and yes it's even harder to understand. The Uke is this video was attacking, in the true sense and what you see is all of the video, he had not been previously "exhausted". I used to "do" things to Uke, now it is a harmonious blending and the spiral movement creates a void/vacumn into which Uke is guided. The Uke in the video stated that he had no idea what had occurred, but that I was always there and that he kept falling over.

None of what I am saying is easy to believe from an outside perspective and is very easy to brush off on ego, delusion and many other negative possibilities and by putting "it" out there I must accept that this will occur. I can't control any of that but appreciate your comments and hope that my explanation is taken for what it is.......it has taken a huge amount of time and effort to get to the point I believe I am at and in hindsight my whole life has gone in some way to prepare me for even getting this far and it's not over yet.


Mark Bilson

08-09-2004, 06:30 AM
Get one of your karate buddies to deliver random Aikido attacks.
Then post the video. I am sure it will be a lot more interesting.

Greg Jennings
08-09-2004, 07:12 AM
The attacks are, frankly, very amateurish looking. Nage looks pretty decent. I'd encourage him to bend his knees more and display more focus, particularly zanshin.

If I were you, before I proclaimed forth on aikido attacks and principles, I would learn how to spell the romanji correctly...


08-09-2004, 08:25 AM
I watched both clips offered here and would like to comment on them.

It would be very difficult to compare too much of the BJJ clip to Aikido. The first thing the two combatants did was rush to collide with each other. That is about as anti-Aikido as you get, so naturally the look and feel is totally different. From there on it was a struggle to overpower, again very anti-Aikido. However if the intention of providing the link was to demonstrate good dedicated attacks then yes it serves that purpose.

As for the Aikido video that launched this thread, I agree that nage puts himself in the flow of the uke’s attacks, which is the point of the exercise. I have participated in this training technique on countless occasions and the goal is to find that flow of energy, blend with it, and thereby dominate it so that you are in control of the situation in terms of timing, position, etc. Once this is achieved, any number of techniques can be applied since nage is now in charge.

It must be recognized, however that this is a training technique and a far cry from actual fighting. In “reality” (I am risking opening a can of worms here, aren’t I?) no attacker is going to continually bum-rush his intended victim. From my observations, the inexperienced attacker does rush in but instead of attempting to grab, their arms, legs, teeth, and claws are flailing in a chaotic maelstrom, hoping at least one will land effectively or create openings. The goal is to overwhelm and can be quite effective! The trained opponent, who is much more dangerous, will more typically hang back and square off. This person will bide his time, wait for, and take advantage of openings. When this type of individual does attack, he is much more likely to hit you due to skill and precision not to mention practice!

Since I have participated in the Aikido exercise both as nage and uke I can see that the spirit of the attack is genuine. The energy and intent is real! I must, however, agree with others who are pointing out that the attacker’s “technique” is both repetitive and stylized.

So…the Aikido video is what it is: a very good demonstration of blending with flowing, sustained, and continual energy from both uke and nage. It would be a mistake, however, to say it was more than that just as it would be a mistake to look at the video and criticize Aikido based on a training exercise.

L. Camejo
08-09-2004, 01:13 PM
...spontaneous Aiki created within the natural flow of movement without prior knowledge of what the attack would be...

I think the above pretty much describes what the videos show. In no part of the above statement was it said that "effective technique" would be created without prior knowledge of "effective attacks."

After watching the videos on Mr. Bilson's site I realised that at no point did that Uke really "attack" Tori. Or at least not by the dictionary definition of the word "attack" here (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?key=4703&dict=CALD) .

It appeared more like Uke running or bumping into Tori (which actually happened once in the "Takemusu Aiki" vid) with a limb outstretched with Uke diving or dropping in whatever direction he got pointed in first.

At no point during either video did Uke seem to want to control his own momentum, balance, ma ai or attempt to attack in such a manner that any of his "attacks" would have been successful in making contact with their intended target (if there was any). In ALL of the strikes Uke dutifully exposed his elbow as a gift to Tori to do technique. In the grabs he kept moving at the same speed in the same direction after Tori had already started moving into an advantageous position - looks like a programmed reaction to me from too much Aikido dojo training. When the average joe grabs someone's hand to control them and the person moves, he would tend to move to re-establish control and negate their movement, one does not deliberately place himself in a disadvantageous position.

I'm not saying that the Tori did not show some degree of connectivity to the actions of the Uke, and I think he did have good timing based on what he had to work with, but I would not qualify this sort of thing as effective technique against effective attack. More like "sensei flinches - uke dives" imho.

As for the BJJ/Shotokan guy (poor sap :hypno: ) blowout video. I can see the irimi and the kuzushi, the mushin... I dunno.:) The taking of the arm to apply juji after it was given is more of an application of the principles of "Ju" than mushin imo. But what do I know. :crazy:

Imho it's easy to be harmonious and practice mushin when you're not being seriously threatened by someone with the skill to make good on the attack. Now if we can see that same degree of form and control from the vids with an uke doing serious (though controlled), skilled, tracked and targeted, accurate attacks and with some knowledge of countering kuzushi - then we have a gem.:) It ain't so easy when Uke uses a bit of free will.

Train hard, train honest, train conscious folks.
My 2 cents.

08-09-2004, 06:44 PM
Both videos (Aikido teacher & student and the BJJ & Karateka) are setups each in their own way. Because of that, neither is particularly interesting. Neither is an example of mushin as being described.
Such examples are not likely to be caught on film but if you train honestly long enough it might happen to you.

Chris Birke
08-09-2004, 06:46 PM
You're possibly right about mushin; I can't really say it's very strong (if it's there at all? ;D) but it's damned close ok?

What I see as a moment of mushin: the move to the armbar is instinctive for a moment and a blankness crosses his mind as it executes (but he quickly drops out of the mindset as it doesn't go perfectly). It's just the moment where he finds it, and begins to apply it.

So, if that's wrong then I can't really say what else. What do you mean by Ju? I have never heard it explained as a concept in and of itself.

The reason I show the thing is the clarity, though. The proper technique stands out in stark contrast to the struggle, and the struggle is the unbalance that creates the path for the technique. With true attack, there can be true kazushi, and true irimi.

I know I've seen much cleaner examples, but sadly they are copyrighted video. Video like this is hard to come by still. It's not needed that they be trying to bash each other, that just makes the example clearer for the reasons above. A video without attacks makes it difficult to see the integrity of the principles.

This whole thing has been about what an attack is, again. I really would love to see an cannon Aikido example with similar energy levels - just one blend, maybe off of "cops" or something? *sigh* But too, do you think I am right with the idea that true attack creates true kazushi? For me, the attack almost IS the kazushi.

By the way, Mr. Bilson, your technique is much better than mine. This has all been about the attacks (or lack), and how (in my opinion) they degrade the expression of principle. When you say "any attack" I get all excited.

L. Camejo
08-09-2004, 07:44 PM
Hey Chris,

I agree with you all the way. In fact that BJJ/Karateka clip is one I refer to every now and then to play with ideas on the dynamism of ground work.

As far as the kuzushi part goes, I learnt that there are generally three parts to any Aikido technique (and it applies to some other styles like Jujutsu too). These are - tai sabaki (body avoidance/handling), kuzushi (balance disruption) and kake (the ending technique). There are situations where these three parts become one, especially when Tori uses Sen timing (some of which is shown in Mr. Bilson's vids).

I agree with you, the attack itself can be the kuzushi. In fact I may have an example here - http://ttac.0catch.com/techvids/Tanto%20Gyakumen%20Uchi%20Gedan%20Ate.wmv , though its done at reduced speed for illustration and a little sloppy in my personal opinion. At the point where the kuzushi starts (lifting and pushing of Uke with the body and hips), the end technique itself (the throw) is also manifested, so one does not see the clear line between kuzushi and attack or technique.

What I meant by his reaction being an expresion of Ju has a bit to do with how I try to clarify certain budo concepts like Ju, Aiki and Mushin. In Mushin, one naturally does the technique without so much "realisation" or thought that he is doing it, it just happens as a natural result of the flow of the engagement. Sort of like placing one foot in front the other while walking. Imho, this is only part of the whole "mushin" thing though. The empty mind state exists before the actual engagement and pervades all the way through, past the end of the technique imho.

The reason why I used the Ju or supplenes principle to describe what the grappler did was because it took him a few seconds to realise that he had the arm bar opportunity and was able to successfully apply it once he had made that realisation. However, he was very interested in punching the karateka a few seconds before he realised the arm bar was already available. Now, in my little understanding of mushin, the fixation of punching would not have let all that time pass before the arm bar opening was used. Mushin, an empty mind would have allowed him to get into the arm bar as soon as it presented itself, almost with the fluidity as if it were a cooperative practice. The karateka would not know what hit him, or even feel the transition from punch to arm bar as the grappler would have been in total harmony with him, merely doing which technique presented itself at the interval. The grappler's mind was flexible (ju) however, as he did not stay fixed on punching the guy when the easy arm bar presented itself. It's just that it took him a while to get out of the punch mindset and move to the arm bar.

This is hard to describe with words, hence I like Craig's idea about training to the point where these things can be experienced. Then there will be no need for words.:)

Just my thoughts.

08-09-2004, 09:59 PM
For anyone interested in looking at spontaneous Aiki created within the natural flow of movement without prior knowledge of what the attack would be we have added a new clip to our website. The new clip is called "Mushin".



Mark Bilson

Don't take it personally.You have asked.

Nice dancing movements, but not martial spirit inside, sorry. Attacks and attackers are sloppy, probably 4 kyu level, very weak 4 kyu. Against such attacks one doesn't need to know any martial techniques, it is enough to put a foot between the legs of attackers and they will kill themselves at the end of their "run for gold".

Tori will not handle even 10 seconds against skilled opponent.

"spontaneous Aiki"???? there is no aiki at all. Only cooperative practice of healty gimnastic, where uke is tanking for tori to pretend to do aikido.

Mark Bilson
08-09-2004, 11:38 PM
As you would say "Keep training".


Mark Bilson