View Full Version : Layered training vs Linear training

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08-11-2004, 04:03 PM
This is the only way I can think of to characterize my question. Does anyone have an opinion on learning in a layered manner (Meaning: learning Techniques A through G and then adding H through K in order to combine techniques into a logical sequence) or learning in linear fashion (Meaning: learning techniques in the sequence they would actually occur in a confrontation)? I hope that makes sense.

08-11-2004, 04:59 PM
I think O Sensei already combined both approaches.

First "typical" confrontation technique being ikkyo, if it fails, nikkyo, if it fails, sankyo, if sankyo fails, reverse into shihonage, if shihonage fails, kaitennage or sumi-otoshi or whatever ...

Robert Cheshire
08-12-2004, 10:26 AM
I have found that, with my students, you teach a core of basics first. Then you show how they connect to each other and/or follow-up if one technique falls or they resist. Then I have them show me ways they connect and flow together. This has helped my students get a better understanding of the techniques and how they fit together.

I, personally, don't like the approach of do "this" then if that doesn't work do "that." Mostly becuase it is too controled in a dojo. If any of my students ever have to defend themself I want them to flow through the techniques on what presents itself rather than "I can only do x to y to z" rather than y to x to z (or whatever).

This of course is my opinion and what has worked in our class. I'd be interested in hearing from others too!

Charles Hill
08-12-2004, 02:14 PM

Do you mean "techniques" as Aleksey has interpreted or do you mean the various points in a singular technique? For example, in ikkyo/ikkajo: inviting an attack, meeting the attack, blending with the attack, redirecting the attack, and finally pinning the attacker. This would change my answer to your question.

Charles Hill

08-12-2004, 03:51 PM
I was speaking of full techniques within Aikido, but I guess I am comparing the longer techniques in Aikido to shorter techniqes in other arts. These other techniques would include passing, destructions, punching and trapping. So, your input on the smaller components of Aikido would be great!!!

08-16-2004, 08:28 AM
Here is the root of my question. Does Aikido have what may be considered empty handed kata?

Ron Tisdale
08-16-2004, 10:31 AM
Depends on the style and on how you define kata. Shodokan and Yoshinkan aikido both have empty hand kata, and in the yoshinkan, the core 150 basic technques were looked upon as kata by Gozo Shioda Sensei (founder of yoshinkan aikido). He speaks about this in some of his books. There is also a kata which incorporates the kihon dosa (basic movements) and certain aikido techniques (sokomen iriminage, hijiate, kokyu nage, kotegaishi, shihonage [ichi/ni -- omote/ura]).

Now some might not like the application of the word 'kata' in aikido. Ueshiba Sensei was known to have not liked classical kata at least, but for us mortals we often find it necessary. There probably should be a distinction made between the classical kata in the japanese arts, kata as is seen and used in aikido, and one man kata that you see in karate and similar arts. Three different things in my opinion. Here is one very experienced person's opinion on kata in aikido...good place to start:


You can also do searches on aikido journal and e-budo, as well as here to find other perspectives. It's an interesting subject...

Best of Luck,

Sharon Seymour
08-16-2004, 01:31 PM
Hmmm .... longer techniques? My experience of Aikido is the immediacy of kuzushi (balance breaking, or, as Jun so helpfully pointed out, undermining the structure). Once this is done various techniques become available to complete the neutralization of the attack, but the effectiveness of the attack is finished.

These thoughts were stimulated by a seminar at our dojo last week in which the instructor (a professional bodyguard with dan rank in karate as well as Aikido) emphasized kuzushi as the critical element of any technique.

Once kihon waza are clear, perhaps henka waza could be introduced in combinations to teach awareness of openings and resistance, leading eventually to the student's ability to spontaneously respond with the technique most suited to the situation.

Thought-provoking questions. Thanks for bringing it up.

"There is only one technique. I just don't get it yet."

Charles Hill
08-16-2004, 01:38 PM
I think that when it is said that Morihei Ueshiba didn't like kata or thought that Aikido doesn't have kata, we in the West think of kata in terms of what we know as karate kata, a prearranged set of techniques. However, it seems that what the Founder meant by kata was any movement prearranged. Of course, it is through kata training that we overcome the problems of kata. In one of Trevor Leggert's books, he writes of a martial artist years ago who was attacked in a kitchen and successfully fended off the attack with a lid from a pot. Mr. Leggert writes that the ryuha that developed around this individual still includes a kata where the defender uses a pot lid. The point was that the person acted spontaneously but his students fossilized it by making another form. I think this is what the Founder meant, true Aikido is spontaneous and perfect in response to that specific situation.

Does aikido have emptyhand kata? Of course, yes. Ikkajo, shihonage, iriminage, and so on.
Does aikido have emptyhand kata? Of course, no. Aikido is Takemusu Aiki, martial responses that happen creatively and spontaneously.


08-17-2004, 08:56 AM
What about paired empty handed kata with offensive and defensive components? It seems some of the weapons kata (ex: jo) have a series of movements with offensive and defensive elements involved.

Ron Tisdale
08-17-2004, 10:11 AM
Kihon dosa to kanren waza (the one I mentioned above) has both offense (in terms of grabs to the wrists) and defense (techniques). Obviously, the kihon waza (150 basic techs) have many more attacks.