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stern9631
11-11-2004, 03:07 PM
Does anyone practice presence attacks while training?

aikidoc
11-11-2004, 05:08 PM
Define "presence attacks"

mj
11-11-2004, 06:03 PM
Is it like kneeling blindfolded and someone sneaks up behind you to attack you with a sword?

maikerus
11-11-2004, 06:11 PM
I just don't get it. Maybe its when you are sitting there blindfolded contemplating the universe and Santa's elves start pelting you with "presents". ;-)

I did read a *fiction* book once where the main character was learning some Aikido from a father and his daughter and part of the training was they'd hide behind doorways and beat him with a jo if he walked in without his spider sense tingling. But I've never heard of this in real life.

stern9631
11-11-2004, 06:14 PM
I would define a presence attack as some sort of behavior, maybe a kiai, that would strike fear or reason into an opponent. Some form of posturing. You know, like pounding your chest!!

maikerus
11-11-2004, 06:38 PM
I would define a presence attack as some sort of behavior, maybe a kiai, that would strike fear or reason into an opponent. Some form of posturing. You know, like pounding your chest!!

I do know people - and I am not admitting to being part of this - who have gone into the woods to practice kiai's and shouting at the top of their lungs.

We have also practiced kiai's in class and worked on our kamae to making it subtly more "fear inspiring". We usually use Takeno Sensei as the role model to emulate for this.

Part of kamae and doing techniques in a Yoshinkan fashion is to stay straight and appear confident - kind of sticking your chest out a bit. Bending over and slouching the shoulders is heavily frowned upon. This has the effect of improving your presence.

When we do demo training part of the thing we were taught was to make sure that we had a really good, strong kiai right from the start. The idea was that people get bored watching demos and if your kiai was good enough it will shut everyone in the budokan up and snap their attention back to you. Of course...then you have to perform with everyone watching you and not just half or a quarter of them. But it is part of improving your own presence.

As instructor-wannabe's we were taught how the warm-ups are very important in the beginning of class because the warm-ups set the tone for the whole training session. If you lead the warm-ups without any spirit and in a bored fashion...that's the kind of class you'll get. If you can put alot of energy into your warm-ups then you'll get an energetic class. Again...a presence thing.

I don't know if this matches what you were asking, but it is training on one's own presence.

--Michael (who still likes the idea of elves pelting him with presents :) )

Janet Rosen
11-11-2004, 06:49 PM
I would define a presence attack as some sort of behavior, maybe a kiai, that would strike fear or reason into an opponent. Some form of posturing. You know, like pounding your chest!!
I've been known to growl loudly, give the schoolmarm stare of death, orstart at a distance and stalk nage saying "I'm going to hit you now." ...of course, my favorite kiai is one arm straight up and yelling "TAXI!", which never fails to bring my dojo practice partner to his knees, laughing.....

Bridge
11-12-2004, 02:35 AM
How about if practice partner is expecting e.g. tsuki attack, and you haven't actually done anything yet (except very vaguely twitch) and they've gone off into half the taisabaki bit already (usually tenkan).

Does that count? It happens sometimes with the guys I practice with so ocaasionally I do it deliberately for a laugh.

PeterR
11-12-2004, 02:54 AM
I've been known to growl loudly, give the schoolmarm stare of death
Janet you've been told about this more than once. Secret teachings should not be devulged on the net. :grr:

ian
11-12-2004, 06:27 AM
John Stevens book on 'sword or no-sword' - the life of sword master Tessu is an excellent read and one of Tessu's main points is to extend the feeling of presence towards the opponent. I think it is an integral part of aikido to have this feeling of 'domination' over your opponent - to make contact with the uke we have to project forward into them mentally as well (and then once contact is made we can move with them if they respond in an agresive manner). I think paired bokken work is good for developing this feeling since you need to be very positive in order to maintain your posture and not be driven back. However I think 'extending your presence' is only achievable when you have some ability; I think of it as a confidence in your ability to deal with the situation, and if this is a bluff and your bluff is called it is very difficult to maintain that presence.

ian
11-12-2004, 06:32 AM
P.S. saying all this, feigning weakness is also a good strategy if you want to encourage an attack (changing your apparent character is a strategy Musashi seems to have employed regularly). I was reading recently about a swordsman who could disarm people without having to use any weapons (200 yrs ago?) and he used to slouch like a gorrilla to encourage an attack, and then move in very quickly.

- I've also had the experience of using a loud shout to (temporarily) stop a fight; and it is amazing how succesful it can be (I couldn't reach the people 'cos it was a crowded pub). Don't underestimate the ability of shouting to frighten people!

George S. Ledyard
11-12-2004, 07:35 AM
I would define a presence attack as some sort of behavior, maybe a kiai, that would strike fear or reason into an opponent. Some form of posturing. You know, like pounding your chest!!

Your examples are very crude ones (ie. pounding ones chest). I think what you are refrring to would be called "woofing" by Peyton Quinn the writer of self defense books and head of Rocky Mountain Combat Applications.

If we aren't talking about scenarios out of bars, then all interactions between the partners in Aikido should contain this aspect of communication. The idea is to control the interaction before it even starts. I can usually tell if I am going to be able to hit someone before I throw the strike by how they project their "presence" outwards at me.

You can effect your partner before physical contact by changing how you project your focus torwards him.You can shut down an attack for an instant by a well timed and focused ki-ai. This should be part of Aikido training; it's one of the main things you are learning. All attacks are "presence attacks" and all defenses are "presence defenses".

When you take this aspect out of the training you are doing hollow movement with no intention.

PeterR
11-12-2004, 07:51 AM
The idea is to control the interaction before it even starts. I can usually tell if I am going to be able to hit someone before I throw the strike by how they project their "presence" outwards at me.

You can effect your partner before physical contact by changing how you project your focus towards him.
Interesting point George. When I do Judo or Aikido randori I know who will dominate before any contact is made. This cuts in both directions of course, ranging from this suckers mine to I'm going to die.

<esoteric aikido talk alert>

For me this is the core of the Budo I practice. To develop a mindset where the latter happens less and the former more. Personally it seems to work better when I adopt what the French refer to as saig froid. No posturing, no yelling, just doing the business.

Nathan Pereira
11-12-2004, 08:35 AM
Micheal,

Takeno sensei's kamae eh.

which one , "the attack and you'll wish you hadn't" one or the "if you get up and try that again you'll be really sorry" one.
I personally like his "I double dare you to stab me with that knife" kamae.

Jonathan Thielen
11-12-2004, 09:29 AM
...of course, my favorite kiai is one arm straight up and yelling "TAXI!", which never fails to bring my dojo practice partner to his knees, laughing.....

That's great, Janet! I'll have to try that next time...sounds effective. :D

Qatana
11-12-2004, 09:47 AM
Janet, what about that jodo kiai you showed me the other day? "Yiiiip!"

Sensei tells me that sometimes when we are standing, waiting for the attack, we have such presence that he won't attack because he's already been defeated. Considering he's twice my size i must be putting out some kind of confidence i sure ain't feeling!

i make claws at nage sometimes, usually they laugh at me.

kironin
11-12-2004, 10:53 AM
Extend Ki

or better

Ki is extending


that contains it all if you understand the short-hand.

ryujin
11-12-2004, 11:47 AM
I do know people - and I am not admitting to being part of this - who have gone into the woods to practice kiai's and shouting at the top of their lungs.

If you Kiai at the top of your lungs in the woods and noone is around to hear you, do you make a sound?

:D

tedehara
11-12-2004, 12:49 PM
Extend Ki

or better

Ki is extending


that contains it all if you understand the short-hand.Isn't the phrase, "Ki is Extended"?

Luke: "I can't see anything with this blast shield down". Adjusts helmet.

kironin
11-12-2004, 04:35 PM
Isn't the phrase, "Ki is Extended"?


Extended sounds like you are done not doing...

I prefer something that gives the impression that the process is ongoing.

not past tense but a state of being in the this moment NOW.

:cool:

MaryKaye
11-12-2004, 09:33 PM
At a seminar, Clarence Chinn sensei of SoCal Ki Society had us try to make a kata tori attack (grab for the shoulder) in such a way that nage would edge backwards reflexively. This is quite tough, because kata tori is not intrinsically all that scary. It can be done, though. Sensei could do it consistently--lots of puzzled frowns as his partners tried to figure out how.

My observation was that the outcome was decided before uke even moved. Both participants quickly learned to predict whether an attack would make nage back up or not, and if the elusive quality was not present initially, ki-ai, fierce faces, growling, and even stomping on nage's toes were not going to change the outcome.

I couldn't do this consistently, but I thought that when it did work, it didn't have to do with aggression per se, but with a kind of physical intent to move through nage's space rather than just up to it.

("Presence attack," hm? How many points does a die of that cost nowadays?)

Mary Kaye

tedehara
11-13-2004, 06:37 PM
Extended sounds like you are done not doing...

I prefer something that gives the impression that the process is ongoing.

not past tense but a state of being in the this moment NOW.

:cool:Reply posted as new thread
Ki is Extended. (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=86643#post86643) in Spiritual Forum.

maikerus
11-14-2004, 10:53 PM
Micheal,

Takeno sensei's kamae eh.

which one , "the attack and you'll wish you hadn't" one or the "if you get up and try that again you'll be really sorry" one.
I personally like his "I double dare you to stab me with that knife" kamae.

The one I remember most is the "if you even twitch you'll be very, very sorry" kamae." Which is usually followed by the "if you don't attack now you'll be even sorrier" kamae.

Sometimes there are no choices. <grin>

maikerus
11-14-2004, 11:12 PM
You can effect your partner before physical contact by changing how you project your focus torwards him.You can shut down an attack for an instant by a well timed and focused ki-ai. This should be part of Aikido training; it's one of the main things you are learning.

George...very good point. It is one of the most important things we are studying and is, perhaps, the essence of Aikido. It also goes hand in hand with the feeling of awareness we have walking down the street or knowing where the fire exits are in a building. Basically, always finding a way to be in control of a situation or a place.

We often speak of how to take control of the attack away from uke. Often this is done with moving slightly to change balance, or by moving closer or further away to change the strength of uke's strike...or whatever...something physical.

This is the same thing, but on a more subtle level and I am curious as to how you "teach" it as opposed to "discuss" it with people who have already have had the experience and know what to look for and what we're talking about.

Are there any specific drills or exercises anyone does to focus on training this particular skill? I realize that we want to make it prevelant in all our techniques, but I am looking to see if there are specific drills anyone uses for this concept (which goes back to the original postings question, I suppose).

I had one instructor who would demonstrate the shutting down of an attack by a "well timed and focused ki-ai" but to practice that loses it's impact since we knew it was coming and could push through it...or ignore it.

Any thoughts?

--Michael

George S. Ledyard
11-15-2004, 05:29 AM
That's great, Janet! I'll have to try that next time...sounds effective. :D
This is funny but it's a very real concept... One of the things you learn about doing a move like a gun takeaway when confronted on the street is to ask the assailant a nonsense question just as you make your move. Something like "Did you puck up your dry cleaning yet?" This serves to set up a loop in the assailant's mind that goes something like "What?" "What the hell does he mean dry Cleaning?" "I didn't have any dry cleaning..." He doesn't get farther than this because by this time you've made your move. It's a small thing but it serves to slow the assailant's reaction down just a fraction because his "processor" is oeverloading for an instant trying to answer this question that doesn't really have an answer.

George S. Ledyard
11-15-2004, 05:53 AM
Are there any specific drills or exercises anyone does to focus on training this particular skill? I realize that we want to make it prevelant in all our techniques, but I am looking to see if there are specific drills anyone uses for this concept (which goes back to the original postings question, I suppose).

I had one instructor who would demonstrate the shutting down of an attack by a "well timed and focused ki-ai" but to practice that loses it's impact since we knew it was coming and could push through it...or ignore it.


Mostly these skills come from hard training. You have to develop intensity and focus One of the best ways to do this is to really strike something. You can start with punching bags or makiwara etc but eventually you really need to be trying to hit your partner to the best of your ability.

Kiai is also important. This can be done in hand technique and weapons technique. In either case it accompanies explosive, "single beat" technique like sumi otoshi or an omote version of iriminage.

Your partner has to "believe" that your atemi can and will strike him. If you watch Vladimir Vasiliev of the systema doing their energy work, he can completely collapse someone by moving to do several atemi which cause the partner to react in anticipation of the impact. Even though there isn't any real impact, the anticipated impact positions the partner in an unstable postire and he tumbles. I have watched him when he worked with someone who didn't believe the hit was real and wasn't paying attention. The energy technique didn't work because the partner didn't really believe he was going to be hit. So Vlad popped him a couple of times with those energy strike sthey do which look like nothing but hurt like hell. After a couple of those the partner's body responded involuntarily to the energy of the strike makin the phyical strike unnecessary. We do exectly the same thin in Aikido. But it doesn't work if you don't know how to strike with speed and power because you can't make the energy of the atemi seem "real" to the partner.

Yes, some types of energy technique is best practiced by randomly executing it unexpectedly during regular practice. The timed kiai can indeed totally freeze an attacker if delivered at the proper moment. But this type of practice is interesting in that, unlike normal motor skill repetition which improves with repetition, energy techniques like this tend to lose their reality for the uke if they get repeated over and over and they start being able to focus through it and it loses it's efficacy.

willy_lee
11-15-2004, 08:42 PM
Something like "Did you puck up your dry cleaning yet?" This serves to set up a loop in the assailant's mind that goes something like "What?" "What the hell does he mean dry Cleaning?" "I didn't have any dry cleaning..."
He might also be wondering "what the hell is pucking up?"

:)

=wl

George S. Ledyard
11-15-2004, 11:48 PM
He might also be wondering "what the hell is pucking up?"

:)

=wlSee it works...

maikerus
11-16-2004, 12:32 AM
Thanks George,

So...just to clarify for myself.

Your main points in this are to use kiai and intent to give yourself presence and this is best practiced by training hard at these points while doing techniques.

An additional exercise/drill you suggest is to practice hitting something so that you know/learn what it feels like and can show that intent during training.

That makes sense to me and I can see/feel/understand where you are coming from with this.

I'm looking for ways to teach this idea to a novice without saying "you'll understand when you are older".

Can you think of anything else that would be a good drill? Some of the training I do includes faking the attack (ie. shomenuchi) with intent as shite to get a response from uke and then taking and using that response to begin a technique. Do you think this qualifies as "presence training"? Do you see it as being similar to your description of Vladimir Vasiliev (albeit on a smaller scale)?

I still think there should be something in here about the way you stand ready for an attack or in preparation to attack. I don't know how to practice or drill such a thing other than to say "just keep trying and it will come". Any ideas?

We used to just stand in kamae trying to look scary/confident/focused. Maybe thats it...nothing too quick and nothing involving others...just self training in how to stand while instructors and other students watch.

Thanks,

--Michael

Ghost Fox
11-16-2004, 08:57 AM
Personally when I am specifically working on my presence I try to imagine myself as a force of nature as oppose to the traditional bad ass get out of my way or I'll destroy you. It prevents me from being overly aggressive or letting my anger get the better part of me. As Nage I like to imaging myself as the sun, huge, expansive, radiating energy, with a inescapable gravity well and the Uke as a planet in my orbit. At times I also imagine myself as a tidal wave. I think it depends on the waza and what image invoke the psycho-emotive force I'm trying to establish. As Uke I tend to imagine myself as a lighting strike. Anyway it works for me. I think the important thing is generating the psycho-emotive energy without any hostility.



One does not beg the sun for mercy. - Frank Herbert

George S. Ledyard
11-16-2004, 10:01 AM
Can you think of anything else that would be a good drill? Some of the training I do includes faking the attack (ie. shomenuchi) with intent as shite to get a response from uke and then taking and using that response to begin a technique. Do you think this qualifies as "presence training"? Do you see it as being similar to your description of Vladimir Vasiliev (albeit on a smaller scale)?

I learned largely through a bunch of techniques which Saotome Sensei taught from the beginning of my Aikido career. One was a sword technique which I have been able to do adequately since 4th kyu so it's not that this stuff can't be taught fairly easily...

Saotome Sensei is currently teaching some very interesting Kashima derived sword work which involves just this aspect of things but it's a bit difficult to explain vervally. Maybe he'll put it on video.

You really just need to train to be sharp and potentially explosive in your technique. Atemi waza is crucial but also experiment with how sfifts in your focus and a slight change in your hanmi can effect an uke before you have physically touched. Ukes also has to be trained to actually protect themselves for this kind of practice. In some styles of ukemi ukes are not taught to protect themselves from atemi etc.. in fact the students are taught that there are no atemi in Aikido. This often comes as a shock to the student when he trains elsewhere and gets socked in the nose because he didn't react to the atemi. With these folks it is almost impossible to do this kind of energy work because they have been taught to ignore the unput. Often they've actually been taught to be over responsive to movements that did not in actuality require a response and they don't recognize energy which does demand a response. Keeping the practice martialy focused takes care of this issue somewhat.

stern9631
11-16-2004, 04:15 PM
I think that it should be noted that Ledyard Sensei has a VERY startling kiai (along with many more impressive proficiencies) that he demonstrated for us here in San Antonio!! Thank you for coming.

maikerus
11-16-2004, 10:45 PM
I learned largely through a bunch of techniques which Saotome Sensei taught from the beginning of my Aikido career. One was a sword technique which I have been able to do adequately since 4th kyu so it's not that this stuff can't be taught fairly easily.

Okay. Basically you suggest that it is one more thing that we should focus on during training. And because of the fact that this concept is so pervasive in Aikido there are not specific drills that you can think of, but rather all drills should contain an aspect.

It's just practice. And getting skillful enough so that you can see it in others and try and emulate it.

That's what I thought (and part of what I teach and try to do whenever I do a technique), but I was hoping to find some drills that would help beginners (or perhaps beginners who are shy or not outspoken or don't manifest a good presence anyway) can "see" what we are talking about fairly quickly.

Perhaps the fact that you need to get more skillful to see it before you can attempt to emulate it makes sense from a "just practice and it will come" point of view.

Thanks,

--Michael...who should know better than to look for magic pills