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Colbs
12-29-2004, 11:54 PM
I've been reading (lurking mostly) in the major aikido forums (aikiweb, ebudo, newsgroups et. al.) for over a year, and I've noticed a worrying trend...

A large number of people refer to joint locks and pins as if they're pain submission holds.

Please stick with me while I explain why I have a problem with this (even if it seems just like a difference in language)...

I've only been doing aikido for nearly 2 years (I've changed dojos during that time, so I've experienced some different teaching styles), but I've always seen the following as being the main tenant of aikido:

Centre & Balance

Control yours, take theirs. Now we get to my point - Aikido is about controlling their centre and balance, therefore by definition, joint locks must be about controlling their centre and balance NOT about inflicting pain.

Now for another digression - When wielding a sword, we must think of the bokken or blade as being an extension of our centre, this enables us to 'project' the power of our centre up through our body, through our hands and into our blade. In short, we must connect our weapon to our centre.

In open hand, people talk about connecting one's hand(s) to ones hips - in open hand, the hand is the weapon, so the hand-hip relationship is simply the same weapon-centre relationship.

The logical progression would look something like this:

First I learn to connect my weapon to my centre. Now my weapon is an extension of my centre.
Next I learn to connect my centre to their weapon, through mine.
Finally I must learn to connect my centre to theirs, through my weapon, into theirs then down into their centre.

Obviously all of these are learned together, they just take varying amounts of time to learn.

Given that, lets examine what a joint lock is again. A joint lock is a way of transmitting power from my centre into uke's centre, this is done by locking the hand, then the elbow, then the shoulder, controlling the shoulder gives great control over the centre. The aim of any joint lock applied to the arm is to control the shoulder. A side effect of having our joints locked, is that the body reports the grinding of bones/nerves together as pain, but that's all it is. If your intent is to cause pain, you are likely only controlling a single joint - take nikkyo, if you're so intent on the wrist in order to inflict maximum pain, you are unlikely to be controlling uke's centre, they fall because they're of sound mind and don't really want to put up with the agony or risk of a snapped wrist. On the other hand, if your intent is to take uke's balance and cut their centre (through their wrist) then uke has no choice but to fall, even if it doesn't hurt.

I'm talking a lot about intent here, because there is likely a lot of people who 'intend' to inflict pain, and their focus is the wrist, but have been doing aikido so long they have learned to cut uke's
centre simply through trial-and-error.

But even given all this (which I'm assuming is pretty basic learning, nothing fancy in it), why do you think so many people still refer to locking and pinning as pain submission?

----

Obviously the above reads like a rant (which it is), but what I'm really interested in is have many of you noticed the same trend? what's your take on locking and pinning?

xuzen
12-30-2004, 01:29 AM
Hi Colbs,

I too at one time assume locks as pain submission and the desired outcome is that the uke will tap out due to pain. But then after reading some of the post around the forum, I realised that pain alone is not enough as per discussion in the aikido vs. drunk and druggies thread.

By going back to basics... aikido osae is literally immobilization. This means locking out the joint physiologically such as hyper extension where the uke cannot move the limbs physically and not due to pain alone.

Hence I would agree with you that pain alone is a poor motivator to deter any aggresive intend (if this is what the gist of your post is all about).

To illustrate... just recently in class as we are doing gyaku yokomenuchi (reverse side strike) kuzushi nage. I have done this technique countless times and it was not something new. In my mind, the essential ingredient of the technique is kuzushi (breaking of balance) and some wrist manipulation. It usually work.

However, the adjutant sensei was being nasty that night and he said, "Stop Stop, Not like this". Then he point to the logo of our dojo and said do you understand? What is there to understand, I thought. It is only a plain image of an eagle pearching on a branch. Then he showed me his variation of kuzushi. It was a whole new experience.

His technique included...
1) breaking of balance <checked>
2) wrist twisting <checked>
and...
3) Vice like grip...

Due to the added element of very strong grip, my whole limb was in his control, I could not twist nor turn at all if he did not allow me to. Then I realised what he meant by the image of the eagle. One must have very strong grip like those of an eagle's claws.

This bring me back the thread, immobilization is the key not pain. So much to learn, so little time. Sigh.

Boon.

PeterR
12-30-2004, 01:38 AM
This bring me back the thread, immobilization is the key not pain.
Pain is gravy.

Some people say I'm a little bit sadistic - not true. :D

Bronson
12-30-2004, 01:51 AM
Some people say I'm a little bit sadistic - not true. :D

You're a lot sadistic? ;)

Bronson

PeterR
12-30-2004, 01:53 AM
Moi - glances around with a look of pure innocence.

batemanb
12-30-2004, 02:24 AM
Hi Colbs,

I too at one time assume locks as pain submission and the desired outcome is that the uke will tap out due to pain. But then after reading some of the post around the forum, I realised that pain alone is not enough as per discussion in the aikido vs. drunk and druggies thread.

By going back to basics... aikido osae is literally immobilization. This means locking out the joint physiologically such as hyper extension where the uke cannot move the limbs physically and not due to pain alone.

Hence I would agree with you that pain alone is a poor motivator to deter any aggresive intend (if this is what the gist of your post is all about).

To illustrate... just recently in class as we are doing gyaku yokomenuchi (reverse side strike) kuzushi nage. I have done this technique countless times and it was not something new. In my mind, the essential ingredient of the technique is kuzushi (breaking of balance) and some wrist manipulation. It usually work.

However, the adjutant sensei was being nasty that night and he said, "Stop Stop, Not like this". Then he point to the logo of our dojo and said do you understand? What is there to understand, I thought. It is only a plain image of an eagle pearching on a branch. Then he showed me his variation of kuzushi. It was a whole new experience.

His technique included...
1) breaking of balance <checked>
2) wrist twisting <checked>
and...
3) Vice like grip...

Due to the added element of very strong grip, my whole limb was in his control, I could not twist nor turn at all if he did not allow me to. Then I realised what he meant by the image of the eagle. One must have very strong grip like those of an eagle's claws.

This bring me back the thread, immobilization is the key not pain. So much to learn, so little time. Sigh.

Boon.

Hi Boon,

I`m at odds with the vice like grip :). I don`t disagree that it can be very beneficial in some instances, and indeed required in others, but I think that is largely due to me not having moved well enough in the first instance. My argument being that if you grip hard on uke, it actually gives uke something to resist and fight against, the softer and lighter your touch the less he has to fight with.


Colbs,

For me, the pain in osae and kime waza is a byproduct, it is not required to be effective, but will be there for a lot of people ;). I agree that many people look to apply pain rather than look to apply the technique, which is a large part of why people struggle to apply techniques, their brain gets caught up in a vicious circle - need to apply pain - need twist hard - not working - need to apply more pain - need to twist harder - not working - need to .........

If you work on movement and kuzushi first, the technique will become easier to apply, the pain will be a result of their actions fighting to escape rather than you twisting harder.

Regards

Bryan

ruthmc
12-30-2004, 04:08 AM
Hi Boon,

I'd say "good connection" rather than "vice-like grip". If the eagle gripped the branch that hard, he'd find it difficult to fly away if he had to! Good connection allows for movement, vice-like grip restricts movement. Ask your teacher what he thinks :)

Ruth

L. Camejo
12-30-2004, 07:35 AM
Hi folks,

Ruth has a great point about the grip concept. From my little experience a vice like grip may involve a lot of arm muscle use, which is generally not encouraged where I train as it can start one on the path to "muscling" a technique.

As far as the pain idea goes I agree with Peter (of course ;)). The way I was taught is that there are pins/immobilisations (osae waza) and locks/submission techniques (kime waza???) the only difference being the degree to which one carried the joint in the particular technique - enough to control = pin, enough to cause pain and damage = lock/submission. Both have their purpose and place in training and proper kuzushi or taking of uke's centre as some put it, should actually be an integral part of every effective Aikido technique imo. Kuzushi is not an option, it is necessary.

Just my few cents.

LC:ai::ki:

Colbs
12-30-2004, 03:43 PM
I agree with you all so far...

As for pain being a part of it, I'm not one of those aikifaeries - pain is good, I was merely ranting about some people's _intent_.

The best example of this is probably yonkyo, I've heard lots of people claim that if you don't have the nerve, you aint got yonkyo... However, the nerve is just (as Peter put it) gravy, if you've locked up or pinned the shoulder, it's yonkyo pain or not....

Regarding strong grips, if you grip with your shoulders then yes you're going to screw up your shape, grip from the hips however and you have a good shape and strong grip. Have the intent (or as a lot of people say, 'feeling') of gripping with your hips and eventually your grip will become vice-like - without causing all the arms and shoulders to lock up.

In case you hadn't noticed :P I'm a big fan of intent... It probably comes from the fact I used to train somewhere that I now feel had the wrong intent with a few things, now I've changed dojos and picked up a much better intent I've found my aikido has come along heaps in a relatively short period of time... I guess if you get it right in your mind eventually your body starts to get bits right too.

Because of that, I get worried when I look at threads here on locking and pinning and see quite a few people talking about using pain to get it to work - so I figured I should rant a bit about intent in the hopes that some of them might read it and have a think...

As for why pain is useless, as pointed out earlier the aikido vs druggies thread has some good arguments in this regard.

xuzen
12-30-2004, 10:03 PM
Hi Boon,

I`m at odds with the vice like grip :). I don`t disagree that it can be very beneficial in some instances, and indeed required in others, but I think that is largely due to me not having moved well enough in the first instance. My argument being that if you grip hard on uke, it actually gives uke something to resist and fight against, the softer and lighter your touch the less he has to fight with.
Bryan

Hi Bryan,

Yesterday I took your argument to my sensei. So here goes...

I said: "Sensei, some guy I met over the internet says that strong grip gives uke something to fight against and may actually make the technique more difficult"

Sensei said," Is it true? Lend me your arm, and resist with all your might."

I thought, "Oh Sh@t, why I always get into such trouble. Bryan you owe me a megapint Guiness for this"

He used katatemochin hijiate kokyunage to illustrate. First he used a loose grip, not much of a technique I thought until he atemi the elbow joint, I have to go forward. Then he said, I will now try the strong grip. The same technique, he grip very hard, twist my arm, very tight, and difficult to move and followed by a atemi to the elbow. At the last moment he let go and whew I can flip over...

Loose grip, tight grip, I still flip forward. Insert <Borg voice...>... Resistance is Futile...< end of Borg voice>

So much to learn, so little time. Sigh.

Boon.

batemanb
12-31-2004, 01:51 AM
Hi Bryan,

Yesterday I took your argument to my sensei. So here goes...

I said: "Sensei, some guy I met over the internet says that strong grip gives uke something to fight against and may actually make the technique more difficult"

Sensei said," Is it true? Lend me your arm, and resist with all your might."

I thought, "Oh Sh@t, why I always get into such trouble. Bryan you owe me a megapint Guiness for this"

Hi Boon,

Anytime, hope to share it with you soon. Reminds me of the time someone asked one of my early teachers "what`s nikkyo" :eek: :crazy: Don`t do it my friend, and don`t go and tell your Sensei that some guy on the internet said.......... :rolleyes:

He used katatemochin hijiate kokyunage to illustrate. First he used a loose grip, not much of a technique I thought until he atemi the elbow joint, I have to go forward.

I did say soft grip, not loose ;), there`s a subtle difference. Having said that, I am thinking more as I am writing and maybe there isn`t that much of a difference between my soft grip and your vice grip. The problems with interpretation of written text, my thoughts when I originally read your post had an image of hunched shoulders squeezing hard as he gripped. My image of a soft grip (not loose) is much like that of the old O-Ring test, do you know it? See here (http://www.lightlink.com/bbm/wfinger.html) . This leads me to think that there actually might not be much of a difference between what I am aiming for and what your Sensei is doing. If you are soft and relaxed in your grip it can still be vice like.

Then he said, I will now try the strong grip. The same technique, he grip very hard, twist my arm, very tight, and difficult to move and followed by a atemi to the elbow. At the last moment he let go and whew I can flip over...

I`ve got that original image back reading this text :) I go back to my original statement about giving uke something to fight against, what I didn`t say was that even though you have something to fight against, doesn`t mean you can ;) . If he is stronger than you, and/ or he has moved correctly (I did say that I probably hadn`t at this point), then it is unlikely that you can resist.

Loose grip, tight grip, I still flip forward. Insert <Borg voice...>... Resistance is Futile...< end of Borg voice>

So much to learn, so little time. Sigh.

Boon.

My post didn`t say that it was wrong to have a vice like grip :) , just that I am at odds with it because I feel that it gives uke the possibility to resist, especially if I have not moved or done everything correctly, there becomes a point that the technique may not work or I make it harder for myself to make it work.

I like this internet knowledge base, I can glean a lot of information from it, the hard part is interpreting the info in the context it is given, and even harder to convey ones own thoughts in a way that they are interpreted as intended. So much easier to be in the same room to explain with actions, don`t you think :)?

Hope you have a very happy new year my friend, and best wishes to everyone else reading my babble.

Regards

Bryan

ruthmc
12-31-2004, 03:37 AM
In case you hadn't noticed :P I'm a big fan of intent... It probably comes from the fact I used to train somewhere that I now feel had the wrong intent with a few things, now I've changed dojos and picked up a much better intent I've found my aikido has come along heaps in a relatively short period of time... I guess if you get it right in your mind eventually your body starts to get bits right too.

Because of that, I get worried when I look at threads here on locking and pinning and see quite a few people talking about using pain to get it to work - so I figured I should rant a bit about intent in the hopes that some of them might read it and have a think...
Intent is a whole new subject on its own :). Some folk say that intent doesn't matter - just shut up and train. This has never worked for me, because if somebody intends to do me damage, they usually can. Then I can't train until I've healed. Some folk say that this is part of training, but I have yet to understand what I should learn from being deliberately damaged and left unable to train! (I don't mean accidental damage such as bruises and scrapes - that is a part of training which I totally accept, and it doesn't keep me off the mat :D ).

There are basically two types of people training - those who are in it for themselves, and those who are in it for the group. The first set of students are very concerned with learning techniques and the application thereof as hard as possible. They don't understand the concept of blending and they are not smooth. For them, good Aikido is getting uke to fall down any way they can. If they damage you, it's your fault and they are not going to change anything about the way they train, thank you very much.

The second group of students understand that learning Aikido is a co-operative exercise, and they enjoy the interaction between themselves and their training partners. They take care of their fellow students because they enjoy learning and want to have partners to train with! They are capable of adjusting the intensity of their training up and down, so they are equally at home training with a 9 year old kid beginner, or an athletic adult 5th dan.

I agree with you that intent is important, because it enables somebody to develop into a well-rounded Aikido student, if they choose to.

Ruth

Charles Hill
12-31-2004, 08:17 AM
A couple of comments;

I agree that overemphazing the pain aspect will lead to crappy technique. In my opinion, at the beginning stage pain in the joint techs should be a kind of stretch. A person's wrists will get a lot stronger through joint tech practice.

Past the beginner stage, I feel that working with fear is extremely important. Pain is an excellent way to start to deal with it. I just watched a tv program on a martial art they are calling chanbara, working with padded swords and a helmet. The point is that one can practice really hard and no one gets hurt. I think it is excellent but the lack of pain means the lack of fear which is detrimental to progression in the MAs.

I completely agree with Bryan on a soft grip. I just think that it is important for beginners to overdo the grip in the beginning and then soften up. They learn the feeling of a relaxed powerful grip better this way than the opposite. Also, at a higher level, giving your partner a strong grip to resist is a good way to set up henka waza. The late Tohei Akira Shihan often showed techniques from nikkyo.

Charles

David Yap
12-31-2004, 10:27 AM
...<snip>...His technique included...
1) breaking of balance <checked>
2) wrist twisting <checked>
and...
3) Vice like grip...

Due to the added element of very strong grip, my whole limb was in his control, I could not twist nor turn at all if he did not allow me to. Then I realised what he meant by the image of the eagle. One must have very strong grip like those of an eagle's claws.

Sorry mate, this, I do not agree with you. It is not so much due to the vice like grip that you couldn't twist nor turn. It is more due to your unbalanced state and his extension. You assume that it was his vice like grip because you felt his grip and got your mind attached to it similar to the time when you first started training aikido and a strong or experienced uke give you a vice like grip in katate-dori. I believe in a firm but not a vice grip. A vice like grip will definitely hinder the flow of "ki".


This bring me back the thread, immobilization is the key not pain. So much to learn, so little time. Sigh.

Boon.

Immobilization - taking away the opponent's will to fight is definitely the key. Agreed absolutely.

Regards and happy new year (with lots of wonderful and rewarding trainings).

David Y

P.S. As for the symbol (the eagle) for your dojo/organization's crest - I think your dojo-cho or soke would have the real explanation.

Chris Birke
01-03-2005, 02:01 AM
I think that taking someone's center is not a physics problem. Nor is it acheived by any strategy other than "taking someones center". If the path to taking someones center is through pain, then you have correctly taken their center. If the path to taking someones center is though leverage, then it is correct as well. Same for just looking at someone in the right way and getting what you want. I think this understanding is most useful.

Aikilove
01-03-2005, 04:24 AM
Wasn't it stated by more than one shihan that O-sensei had a vise-like grip or that his grip was like a vise. And yes he also had the ability to drain your power by being relaxed, but that does not take away the account of the people (Saito, Shioda and Stevens comes to mind) who said that the founder would demonstrate proper grip (vise!!) when he felt the students didn't hold properly.
I think it is safe to say that there are differences in grips and grips. There are also more than one dimension to holding correctly within the framework of attacking within aikido and defending within aikido.
Both (all) aspects needs to be trained separately and disected, but they need to be present at all times.

eyrie
01-03-2005, 05:15 AM
Hi Boon,

I`m at odds with the vice like grip :). I don`t disagree that it can be very beneficial in some instances, and indeed required in others, but I think that is largely due to me not having moved well enough in the first instance. My argument being that if you grip hard on uke, it actually gives uke something to resist and fight against, the softer and lighter your touch the less he has to fight with.


Colbs,

For me, the pain in osae and kime waza is a byproduct, it is not required to be effective, but will be there for a lot of people ;). I agree that many people look to apply pain rather than look to apply the technique, which is a large part of why people struggle to apply techniques, their brain gets caught up in a vicious circle - need to apply pain - need twist hard - not working - need to apply more pain - need to twist harder - not working - need to .........

If you work on movement and kuzushi first, the technique will become easier to apply, the pain will be a result of their actions fighting to escape rather than you twisting harder.

Regards

Bryan


Interestingly enough, in jujitsu, the focus is on firstly causing pain, then taking kuzushi. Without the pain, you ain't gonna get kuzushi - simply coz uke is in a position to resist. However, when they're in pain, they sure ain't gonna resist - well, it's hurting coz they're resisting :D

Whilst it is true that you may not always get the pain factor happening, you should try to work on getting their kuzushi at the same time.

tedehara
01-03-2005, 11:51 AM
From The Art of Aikido by K. Ueshiba, pg 70
...In Aikido we never start from a static position. Applying the principle of circular movement, the response to an attack is immediate, and the opponent never has a chance to get a firm grip. One movement flows into another until an attack is completely neutralized, and there are no fixed patterns to adhere to. Hence, in Aikido there are no complicated ground grappling techniques, no unusual chokes and holds, and no fancy kicks.

Similar to Jujutsu, in Aikido we have controlling pinning techniques, but in Aikido, unlike Jujutsu, the pins are never applied in a forced reverse direction. The holds and pins of Aikido are always applied towards the natural bend of the joint, using just enough pressure to render resistance futile. This use of a normal bend prevents unnecessary injury, and in fact works better than harsh, bone-breaking holds, which are difficult to apply.

...Solid ki breath-power, combined with an open mind and a strong body, will improve your character, the main goal of Aikido. This attitude is what most distinguishes Aikido from Jujutsu.

A useful definition of the difference between kiai-jutsu and aiki-jutsu would be: "in kiai-jutsu the mind follows the power of the body, and the force is expressed externally; in aiki-jutsu the body follows the power of the mind, and the opponent is controlled internally."

senshincenter
01-03-2005, 07:43 PM
K. Ueshiba said (quoted by Ted):

"The holds and pins of Aikido are always applied towards the natural bend of the joint..."

I have read this too. And I remember folks trying to say it to me a long time ago as well. It's a fairly common view I think - even if it is not shared by every aikidoka. However, I can't imagine that any person specializing in biomechanics would agree with it. I would have to say that by scientific standards this is simply NOT true. From my own training perspective, actually, it's a crazy proposition, and it is thus one of the reasons why I personally feel that Kisshomaru Ueshiba is a watershed in Aikido history - that he did a lot of inventing and reinventing when it comes to Aikido (stuff we are all tied to today) but that he tried to give all props to Osensei (or to "Aikido") for cultural and/or political reasons.

I'm not out to say that all "invention" is a bad thing, but I think it should be based in some sort of reason and/or some sort of awareness of the greater historical and cultural context. And I just don't see that awareness, for example, when it come to stating a position that posits that Aikido's waza are somehow so structurally different from the waza of other Japanese martial arts that the latter can be considered antithetical to the former. The truth is, even when allowing for the huge amount of variation that we must when it comes to addressing the influence of personal perspectives, Aikido has no monopoly on kote-gaeshi, nikyo, sankyo, etc., nor over the manner in which they are executed.

Personally, I don't think we should go around spouting this view that Kisshomaru tries to present in his book. I think we are all more aware of other arts now, and thus of Aikido as well. In short, Aikido joint manipulations DO NOT go with the natural bend of the joint and other Japanese martial arts DO have the same tactical architectures as Aikido (allowing for instructor variation of both Aikido and non-Aikido arts).

tedehara
01-04-2005, 12:44 AM
My instructor was watching a Steven Seagal seminar tape and saw that the first four techniques were from Wally Jay's Small Circle Jujutsu. Like most people, Seagal didn't mention where he learned those techniques from, so almost anyone who didn't know about Wally Jay, could assume those were Aikido techniques. I've been thinking this might be how Jujutsu techniques are picked-up and end up being shown as an Aikido technique.

I've seen locking/pinning techniques that used levers or went against the joint. Even though these techniques were shown in an Aikido dojo, I'm unconvinced they are Aikido in origin. They might be Aiki-jitsu in origin, but probably not Aikido.

To "prove" that Aikido techniques do go against the joint, you would have to document a technique that went against the joint. Ideally the documentation would include Budo or other early works on Aikido. Off hand, I can't think of such a technique.

Like Kisshomaru Ueshiba noted, the real difference is the attitude of the practitioner. However everybody isn't in Aikido for character development. Some people just want to kick ass and take names later. People like that are really bad candidates to spend years pondering over the exact way to lead an uke.

BTW the quote was from a section titled Differences between Jujutsu and Aikido

kironin
01-04-2005, 01:51 AM
I've seen locking/pinning techniques that used levers or went against the joint. Even though these techniques were shown in an Aikido dojo, I'm unconvinced they are Aikido in origin. They might be Aiki-jitsu in origin, but probably not Aikido.

To "prove" that Aikido techniques do go against the joint, you would have to document a technique that went against the joint. Ideally the documentation would include Budo or other early works on Aikido. Off hand, I can't think of such a technique.

Like Kisshomaru Ueshiba noted, the real difference is the attitude of the practitioner.



on both points for Aikido, not going against the joint and attitude, Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei are in complete aggreement.
Maybe it's not shared by every "aikidoka", but that these two men agree
on this perhaps should make those who practice aikido consider how they
practice and what their goals are in practice.

The only problem with biomechanics I see is the ways some I have seen practice ikkyo,nikkyo,sankyo that does go against the joint even though there exits just as or more effective methods that go with the joint. Certainly some displays of kotegaeshi or shihonage crank the joints against their natural direction forcing ukes to be highly trained to avoid injury. And what some call rokkyo seems to be effectively operating on hyperextension of the elbow joint in a form of an arm bar (not part of our syllabus but some Aikikai teachers do it). The open question in my mind is whether these practices are a legitimate path for Aikido or just misunderstandings about taking up slack or people introducing alterations/techniques for various reasons. Personally, it's not the path I am interested in but may be why some have trouble seeing distinctions between aikido and jujutsu.

L. Camejo
01-04-2005, 05:48 AM
on both points for Aikido, not going against the joint and attitude, Kisshomaru Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei are in complete aggreement.
Maybe it's not shared by every "aikidoka", but that these two men agree
on this perhaps should make those who practice aikido consider how they
practice and what their goals are in practice.

And the fact that other "students turned teachers" of the founder of Aikido (just like in the above case of K. Tohei and K. Ueshiba) may agree that going against the joint is part of the technical repertoire of Aikido "this perhaps should make those who practice aikido consider how they practice and what their goals are in practice" as well.:)

Of course another question is whose technical model do we want to take for a definition of "Aikido"tm and then at what point during the person's training/teaching do we want to use as the example of what constitutes "Aikido"tm technique.

Imho there is no better example or definition of what Aikido "is" or "is not" other than its Founder. I mean, he is the one who did the defining of the philosophical and technical basis of the art to begin with. Everyone else learned what he taught and put their own spin on things based on personal perceptions, previous training and realities. I don't think the "observer effect" can be totally removed from any sort of transmission system that involves the passing on of physical movements and thinking, as we all do so in slightly different ways whether we realise or not.

As such, what K. Ueshiba and K. Tohei may show (or agree on) regarding "what is Aikido" and what folks like R. Shirata, G. Shioda, M. Mochizuki or K. Tomiki may agree on as "what is Aikido" based on what they personally experienced to be "Aikido"tm as shown by the Founder at the point in his life that they trained, will both be correct as far as these students are concerned, but will both be very different in expression in many ways as well from each other.

Before we can go labelling what is and is not Aikido we have to precisely define Aikido. Not "our" Aikido, but Aikido. If we see Aikido as a collection of principles and philosophies and not a collection of techniques, then "what is Aikido" becomes a concept of much speculation and interpretation based on the principles it claims to adhere to.

Since Aikido had evolved from Jujutsu (of which Judo is another evolution) there are students of Ueshiba M. who placed the technical repertoire of Aikido precisely within a certain sector in the scheme of all Jujutsu techniques which consisted of Nage, Katame, Kansetsu and Atemi Waza as we can see here - http://homepage2.nifty.com/shodokan/en/kyogi4.html . In this categorisation, there are joint techniques that go "against" the movement of the joint.

As far as "legitimate paths" go, well it all depends on where you sit imo.

LC:ai::ki:

senshincenter
01-04-2005, 09:03 AM
I think Larry has made a very good point regarding the nature of "our Aikido" and "Aikido." But I still think we can talk about the mechanics of something without having to address the definition of "Aikido" and thus the legitimacy of any one type of "Aikido."

Though I have seen Kisshomaru and K. Tohei do techniques like Rokkyo, I don't think we even have to go into this type of "non-pillar" waza in order to realize that Aikido waza do not go with the "natural bend" of the joint. We can simply take kote-gaeshi, nikyo, sankyo, yonkyo, gokyo, etc. - which I'm sure we all practice as well. Because there is no true ball and socket joint involved biomechanically, movement engaged at the joint will at some point travel against the structure of the joint and/or go beyond the joint's range of movement (hyper-extension). It is precisely because this happens that a nage can "connect" with uke's center via a limb (as was mentioned earlier in this thread). If the structural architecture of the joint is not in some way "locked" (i.e. falling outside of the natural bend of the point of articulation) energy would stay in the joint - not traveling anywhere. It's basic science - regardless of what Kisshomaru might say, he's wrong.

In light of the science, I think we should understand Kisshomaru's point as being akin to every such point made by a Japanese founder or doshu when asked to explain his art to the general public. Going back hundreds of years, one can read these same type of statements - where a martial artist over-generalizes (inaccurately) his art in order to contrast it against other arts (which are also over generalized) in order to legitimate his own art through difference (only the difference doesn't really exist).

CarlRylander
01-14-2005, 06:01 AM
I think some people are getting a little too soft. Obviously, you can't infilct pain when training, but in a real fight situation,(which is what Aikido is supposed to be preparing you for), it would be essential.

I haven't started training yet.

philipsmith
01-14-2005, 06:19 AM
Interesting discussion. Maybe the fault (as so often) lies in the translation. I prefer to think of "working with the natural" as unforced movement. Sure the joint locks eventually but it doesn't have to be through a movement against the joint, joints will always lock at the end of natural range of motion and perhaps that is whats meant by working with rather than against the joint.

P.S. To talk about Ueshiba K. being "soft" is also lost in the translation I think. The last time I received Nikkyo from him (late 1980's) it certainly was not pain-free.

justinm
01-14-2005, 06:33 AM
I think some people are getting a little too soft. Obviously, you can't infilct pain when training
Yes you can, and I'd argue you should.
but in a real fight situation,(which is what Aikido is supposed to be preparing you for)
A lot of people would disagree.
it would be essential.
No it would not.


So it seems we disagree, Carl :)

rob_liberti
01-14-2005, 07:33 AM
What are you trying to achieve? To define "good aikido" as "anything that works to dominate the uke" is a bit low level in my opinion. Any time you can get your techniques working effectively without pain, you have just made yourself MUCH more effective against people who are bigger, stronger, and have high pain tolerances. (Which, I guess is what I'm trying to achieve.)

There are some teachers out there that basically figured out how to tear your arms off if you don't comply with them, but this isn't my cup of tea and while I have to respect their ability (or at least the danger they impose) I'm not all that impressed with them.

I find that Gleason sensei is able to throw me effortlessly against my best resistance - especially against the typical wrist turning techniques. When he does, he has a fairly loose grip, there is no pain, and I cannot stop him. To me, anyone who can do that is approaching the ideal and is a lot more inspirational.

Don't get me wrong; there is nothing wrong with knowing how to force a technique, but I personally wouldn't be very interested in a teacher who could not express such power in a soft way - for very long.

As far as pinning goes - I think you should be able to do it without TOO much pain to the uke (which I suppose has a bit to do with their flexibility) - and if you need pain you can generally just apply more pressure against the joint. I guess I'm having trouble imagining when you _need_ to add more pain? Are you trying to torture information out of the uke? It would probably be easier and more effective to tie them up and use hot plyers. But this seems to be going against the "protect my aggressor" theme...

Rob

csinca
01-14-2005, 09:39 AM
Rob,

You're talking about proper techniques that use skeletal locks rather than pain compliance. It's a beautiful thing isn't it!

Chris

Ron Tisdale
01-14-2005, 10:35 AM
To "prove" that Aikido techniques do go against the joint, you would have to document a technique that went against the joint. Ideally the documentation would include Budo or other early works on Aikido. Off hand, I can't think of such a technique.
[/b]

Hijiate nage, hijishime nage...

As far as 'aiki-jutsu' ... I think we should be carefull in using that term to represent techniques that 'go against the joint' or 'bonebreaking' techniques. The most qualified use of the term 'aiki-jutsu' that I've seen seems to represent just the opposite. Perhaps the term 'aiki-jujutsu' would be more appropriate...

RT

rob_liberti
01-14-2005, 11:47 AM
Hi Chris.

You know, I'm not really sure. I'd say that they don't use pain compliance primarily for sure; and I suppose if I tried to resist with only one or two joints many of those techniques could eventually result in a skeletal lock situation. But, I think the best resistance is to involve as many joints as I can to distribute the power of the technique so it doesn't really feel like a skeletal lock to me. Also, I kind of have the idea (based on some experimentation) that he'd just switch what he was doing and continue messing up my balance in a new way.

As far as pinning goes, I find the yonkyo pin to be extremely difficult. The people who can pin me that way could just as easily pin me with one finger - so they don't really count. My opinion is that the yonkyo pin is never really your best bet.

Rob

senshincenter
01-14-2005, 12:34 PM
Phillip Smith said: "Interesting discussion. Maybe the fault (as so often) lies in the translation. I prefer to think of "working with the natural" as unforced movement. Sure the joint locks eventually but it doesn't have to be through a movement against the joint, joints will always lock at the end of natural range of motion and perhaps that is what is meant by working with rather than against the joint."

I do not really want to comment against Mr. Smith, especially since I think he is advocating a very common (wide-spread) view of Aikido waza. I would like to refer to this view in general, not personally.

Firstly, I do not feel Kisshomaru's statement is in need of such tweaking and/or spin in order for it to make sense. What he is saying is not so mysterious. If it appears to be it is for another reason. The need for such tweaking or spin comes not from the esoteric nature of what is being said but rather from the pressure of making something that is utterly false appear to be true or appear to be true in most circumstances.

Also: Movement on Nage's part does not have to be forced in order for an Uke's joint to travel beyond its range of motion.


Secondly, if one wants to say that Aikido moves joints naturally to the limit of their range of motion, one isn't going to fulfill the second part of Kisshomaru's statement -- which goes to Aikido's uniqueness. Nearly every other art -- Japanese and non-Japanes alike - manipulate joints naturally beyond their limited range of motion.

Thirdly, any healthy joint is going to experience a locked sensation and/or even pain (i.e. nerve sensation) whenever it is moved beyond its natural range of motion. That is not a translation issue; it is just science. If someone is being thrown, say with Kote Gaeshi, and the joint is staying within it's natural range of motion, then they are not really being thrown with Kote-Gaeshi as much as they are by some other Kokyu-Nage and/or as much as they are throwing themselves (which is always more common that one would like to admit). Again, other martial arts do these very things as well (even the throwing of oneself part).

In my opinion, if you are going to look for Aikido's uniqueness, it is in its spirituality (Osensei's and not Kisshomaru's) and in how that spirituality might effect one's waza and state of being.

A while ago, another post inspired me to write the following on where I would say Aikido's uniqueness truly lies -- from our web site:

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/writs/aikipers/theuniquenessofaikido.html

rob_liberti
01-14-2005, 02:14 PM
I'd like to share some alternative perspective to that last post...

I heard that Yamaguchi sensei used to say (often) that kotegaeshi was probably a bad name for it. Considering the sheer number of shihans who were actively attending his classes for instruction, I'm going to go with his view point as much more authoritative than almost anyone elses on what kotegaeshi is/should be. From the perspective of his lineage, people who are cranking the wrist against the joints are _not really doing kotegaeshi_.

Rob

senshincenter
01-14-2005, 05:42 PM
Yes, fine, but not even Yamaguchi's position speaks to the uniqueness of Aikido's kote gaeshi since there are many arts that do it without "cranking" anything.

rob_liberti
01-14-2005, 08:43 PM
fair enough..

csinca
01-14-2005, 11:02 PM
Rob,

I was refering to your experience with Sensei Gleason and the "wrist turning" techniques. If someone has a relaxed grip, is controlling your center by only touching your hand or wrist, and there is no pain then they are doing proper skeletal locks. If you can't feel it then the nage is good enough to know that "you can't resist what you can't feel". Or you have suffered nerve damage.

Don't get me wrong, I know that aikido can hurt, but it shouldn't have to. Of course the landings are up the the uke.

Chris

Alvin H. Nagasawa
01-14-2005, 11:56 PM
Re: Locking/Pinning as Pain Submission...
Quote:/ Philip Smith mentioned it maybe the fault (as often) lies in the translation.
I agree the joints do lock at "the end of a natural range of motion".and been "soft is also lost in the translation.
As for the other that posted there comments "translation is lost", for everyone has there own concept. One has to just go with the flow you might say. not to have conflicts and just glide thought the Translations.
For what's it worth, My concept is as a uke for instance. His job is to execute the proper attack and protect himself in the process. As for receiving a painful reaction to the technique been done to ones own self (Uke). You are resisting and the nage is only restraining your attack. You are causing this reaction to the submission. If the Nage is centered and weight is underside,posture and execution of the technique. it is difficult but not impossible to counter, But its in the translation of what is asked to determine the question.What if?, Why doesn't it work? and etc. There is the hard way and soft way of submission or application of a technique. It is different for each Dojo and Instructor. But look at it this way, can you continue training Aikido. if you are injured to a point where one cannot continue to train Aikido into your 70's or later. Boxer, Extreme MA Fighters, Professional all retire after sustaining physical injury's in there careers. In Aikido the ones that leave the art for personnel reason, Family, work, Commitments and so on. Do so, But there are a few of us left that will carry on. Because we have been injured in the pass, But got smarter and learned not to resist the attack, and learned to be a good Uke. So to continue and learn in our later years in Aikido. The younger and stronger students just need to flex there physical power. And are lost in "The translation" of what your teachers were trying to teach you all these years. Remember, Where there is a action , there is always a reaction.food for thought!.. Aloha.

rob_liberti
01-16-2005, 12:21 PM
If someone has a relaxed grip, is controlling your center by only touching your hand or wrist, and there is no pain then they are doing proper skeletal locks.

I honestly don't know if that is true - Maybe?! The only way it makes sense to me is that it seems he's figured out how to pull my ligaments and tendons from outside of my body in just the right way to make me into a puppet, and he seems to do automatically. I can't explain it from the nage point of view - yet. (But I have high hopes!)

--
As far as uke's job being to execute a proper attack and keep safe in the process - I think there are varing levels of this - and the main thing is to stay appropriate for you and your partner's maximum learning. I definately risk my safety a bit more now than I used to. That makes it fun!

Rob

Don_Modesto
01-16-2005, 01:51 PM
(1)....I do not feel Kisshomaru's statement is in need of such tweaking and/or spin in order for it to make sense. What he is saying is not so mysterious. If it appears to be it is for another reason. The need for such tweaking or spin comes not from the esoteric nature of what is being said but rather from the pressure of making something that is utterly false appear to be true or appear to be true in most circumstances. ...

....any healthy joint is going to experience a locked sensation and/or even pain (i.e. nerve sensation) whenever it is moved beyond its natural range of motion.

(2)....In my opinion, if you are going to look for Aikido's uniqueness, it is in its spirituality (Osensei's and not Kisshomaru's) and in how that spirituality might effect one's waza and state of being.

Hi, David,

1) Thanks for your comments here. I hadn't really thought through this aspect of technique. I just assumed that "going with the joint" (e.g. KOTE GAESHI) meant stretching soft tissue; "going against it" (ROKKYO), compressing bone. I like your reasoning here.

2) Yes. Absolutely. It was interesting to hear people's reaction to Kuroda Tetsuzan--Hark! other arts have heard of softness!

CNYMike
01-16-2005, 10:08 PM
..... But even given all this (which I'm assuming is pretty basic learning, nothing fancy in it), why do you think so many people still refer to locking and pinning as pain submission?


Because they're painful. ;) And because in other systems, like Lacoste Inosanto Kali, joint locks and pins are used for submissions.

Oddly enough, a few weeks ago, one of our sempais (who's also a newly minted shodan somewhere between Upstate New York and the dojo in Ashland Oregon where he'll be an uchi deischi) explained the Aikdio theory of joint locking as described above within the context of nikkyo. When he stopped thinking about the lock as pain and focused on controling my center, that made the lock WORSE. It felt like a welder's arc was being driven through my wrist!

Just food for thought.

stuartjvnorton
01-16-2005, 10:20 PM
"The holds and pins of Aikido are always applied towards the natural bend of the joint..."

Ok, now I'm confused.
Where are hiji ate kokyu nage or hiji shime applied, if not against the natural motion of the elbow?

Colbs
01-16-2005, 11:12 PM
Perhaps that's why the Aikikai folk often won't acknowledge Rokkyo...

Personally I have no problem inflicting (and recieving) pain during training - my original point was directed more towards the intent.

Here's how I view it:

If I lock someone's body up and control them, I'm happy.
If I lock someone's body up, control them, and inflict agony - SCORE.
If I just inflict agony - I screwed up.


As for all this "natural motion of the wrist" crap - you guys are WAY overanalysing things (seems kinda common around here). He knew what he was trying to say, but may not have been able to put it in writing properly - who knows. Fact is, all joint locks, by the laws of physics (and therefore biomechanics) work in the same way, by moving joints beyond the normal range of motion and either hyperextending, or compressing the bone structure. This is indisputable fact. I'll even challenge anyone to think of a joint lock which doesn't involve hyperextension or compression from _any_ martial art.

Also, it's important to note that just cos someone wrote something in a book once, does not make it true. Look at O-Sensei, he claimed he could dodge bullets - a blatantly false statement - and probably not what he meant (more something along the lines of he thought he could blend well enough with the shooter to be able to move before the trigger is pulled, but after the shooter has comitted to the shot - very highly unlikely, but I suppose not physically impossible - depending on range and target).

The overanalysis of things is pretty common, just take any religious text from just about any faith and you'll find the same thing, a bunch of dedicated people who have made the study of something their hobby/life's work and through their eagerness to get every last bit of information out of something begin to lose perspective. Language cannot transfer an idea from one person to another perfectly, it can only transfer an approximation of an idea. Sometimes the approximation is close, other's it's hardly similar at all. Language is best known to fall over when dealing with complex, abstract ideas.

In other words, if someone says something that is clearly ambiguous or wrong, chances are they're either flat out wrong, or trying to express something abstract that doesn't quit fit into words and they've picked the next closest thing.

In summary (for those who can't be bothered reading all that), regarding the "natural motion of the wrist" fiasco, I believe that it was meant in either the abstract, or was a miscommunication/misunderstanding.

Colbs
01-16-2005, 11:24 PM
Oh, and Michael,

You've hit my exact point - when someone concentrates on causing pain, they invariably screw the lock up, when they concentrate on taking the centre they are way more likely to get the lock right, and when it's right it usually hurts like a bastard.

Try to cause pain, you'll get the angles and torsion on the joint wrong and cause way less pain than if you concentrate on locking the centre. Focus (Intent) is key.

The crazy good Aikidoka out there who can control uke without inflicting pain can do so because they have such good sensitivity and control they can apply just enough force to control, the rest of us tend to use either way too much (pain, but it works) or way too little (no pain and it doesn't work).

maikerus
01-17-2005, 07:11 PM
"The holds and pins of Aikido are always applied towards the natural bend of the joint..."

Ok, now I'm confused.
Where are hiji ate kokyu nage or hiji shime applied, if not against the natural motion of the elbow?

Hijishime and Hijiate are (or so I am told) the exceptions in Aikido, since movements on the joints in Aikido usually move with the natural movement of the joint but further or in a slightly different direction than one normally sees them moving.

When I first ran down the list of techniques after being told this I was surprised that they were the only two (as well as the ikkajo pin) which hyperextend the elbow. Everything else works with the joints in the way they were designed to move (sorta :) )

maikerus
01-17-2005, 07:20 PM
Regarding the death grip thing.

I think you can do a good, powerful technique while holding on for dear life, but its going to take a lot out of you, your balance is going to be up and your shoulders will be sticking out around your ears.

I think you can do a BETTER and MORE powerful technique if you can hold firmly (but not so strong that uke feels bones crushing) and instead work on using the grip to take uke to the edge of his/her balance.

I have always been told that uke shouldn't really feel anything until the last devastating part of the technique where they turn into a puddle on the mat or get thrown through a wall. A vice-like grip would be something uke would immediately try to escape from. A gentle, but firm grip may evoke some feeling of discomfort but not enough to make them fight to get away from it.

Especially if you are hitting them in the head at the same time.

Just a thought,

--Michael

Don_Modesto
01-17-2005, 09:40 PM
Hijishime and Hijiate....When I first ran down the list of techniques after being told this I was surprised that they were the only two (as well as the ikkajo pin) which hyperextend the elbow. Everything else works with the joints in the way they were designed to move (sorta :) )

I've had people bend my fingers backwards (very effectively, thank you) as prelude to SANKYO--watch Steven Seagal do this to UKEs' thumbs--and there's a tough variation of the IKKYO pin which braces the arm above the elbow and extends and lifts the wrist--Ouch! The arm bar principle works well on knees, too. It's a cinch to get it too; people who do that confident throw down before IRIMI NAGE expect you to come up compliantly into their clothesline. "Bah!" I say. "I'm down there, I'm turning in and taking out their knee!"

Colbs
01-17-2005, 10:32 PM
People intentionally 'throw-down' before irimi nage? yikes. I have no idea how they expect to pick uke up, pull them over their own centreline then dump them again...

I thought you only did that in training as practice for when an attacker follows too far and drops, in which case irimi becomes a neck-throw (buggered if I can remember the name).

Bending people's thumbs/fingers back is quite common and is known as "small joint manipulation" - It can work wonders on a person in a sound(ish) state of mind. Get someone who's 'enraged' or psychotic and they'll often sacrifice the small joint just to smash you one - they just don't care that you snapped three of their fingers. Having said that they're very useful for standard defense and restraint (not that I'm any good at them though :P)

rob_liberti
01-18-2005, 09:31 AM
people who do that confident throw down before IRIMI NAGE expect you to come up compliantly into their clothesline. "Bah!" I say. "I'm down there, I'm turning in and taking out their knee!"

Now, that's interesting! Is the nage directly pulling you backwards to get you down. If so, I think that's a fair reaction (assuming you have a good enough relationship set up with your partner for that to be mutually productive).

Maybe this is a topic for a new thread, but I'd love to hear what other people normally do as uke when nage tries to force something very low level. Lot's of time, the nage tries to salvage their technique with some atemi(s) that they'll do to basically punish you for not artifically following their terrible set-up. I usually just try to take the best ukemi I can; and if nage starts attacking me, I see if I can use that to throw them (but I err on the side of rolling away if it starts degenerating).

Rob
PS. By the way, please consider joining "www.newdream.org" asa member and vote for my hybrid slogan "Hybrid:Electricity kicks Gas!" -- if you feel it is a good slogan of course. The voting starts in 9 days and you have to be a member of their "community" before that to vote. If I win a new Prius, I promise to use it primarily to get to more aikido seminars!!!

maikerus
01-18-2005, 04:21 PM
I've had people bend my fingers backwards (very effectively, thank you) as prelude to SANKYO

No argument from me since that is the way we practice it :), but the sankyo/sankajo control itself is moving the elbow and shoulder with the joint, not against it.

What I meant to emphasize in my previous post was that if we look at the actual controls themselves, and not the way we get to them then only hijishime and hijiate hyperextend the joint. I agree that there are lots of manipulations go against a joint and that Aikido principles can be applied against many joints and not just those we talk about within basic techniques.

cheers,

--Michael

Don_Modesto
01-18-2005, 04:24 PM
Now, that's interesting! Is the nage directly pulling you backwards to get you down.

They fling UKE into his rear SHIKAKU. You end up on all fours. The convention is to come up blithely "unaware" that NAGE is about to cream you. That's just too unrealistic, even for aikido conventions.

Colbs
01-18-2005, 05:36 PM
Yeah, often they pretend like they're controlling you by holding your neck with one of their hands... Can anyone say single/double leg takedown?

If an attacker is a bit silly/drunk and you cut their attack to take balance, often they may fall forwards, leading to the situation of them being on all fours. My understanding was that as they fall forwards, it's the perfect opertunity for a neck throw (read neck snap).... Assuming of course you don't mind snapping their neck - if you don't you're better off doing something else - but once's uke's weight is forwards and down, irimi is impossible.

rob_liberti
01-19-2005, 06:43 AM
I agree that starting iriminage is darn difficult once's uke's weight is forwards and down. That shikaku (blind side position) is important but not enough by itself. From there, I find I have to lead their head up and forward by rotating around my thumb (like a low punch) and that only really extends the arc of their initial attack. I have found it very hard to use that hand behind their neck to move their body sideways at all (I know some can do it, but when I try it's just pulling). I use my other hand between their shoulder and elbow to make the cut that sets their direction to start rotating around me - but the power of that technique - in my opinion - is stepping back when the arm (that's connected totheir neck) is about 90-95% extended. When that void feeling does the work, it's darn difficult to counter the technique. And I suppose that's what my point (and several others I've agreed with here have been getting to ) - that if you do things directly in a low level way people will have many opportunities to counter you, but if you come up with a more sophistocated way to control their center then counter/reversal is much more difficult. I agree that calling things "pain submissions" is not the ideal way to express the idea because it seems to point a bit too directly at the surface level. (That'd be akin to calling iriminage the "pull'em down from the blind side" technique which would do more harm to aikido then anything else.) I'd say calling it a "pin" or a "control" is a more useful expression.

Rob

rob_liberti
01-19-2005, 08:59 AM
(like a low punch)

Sorry, I meant: like a SLOW punch

pezalinski
01-19-2005, 10:12 AM
I've had people bend my fingers backwards (very effectively, thank you) as prelude to SANKYO--watch Steven Seagal do this to UKEs' thumbs--and there's a tough variation of the IKKYO pin which braces the arm above the elbow and extends and lifts the wrist--Ouch! The arm bar principle works well on knees, too. It's a cinch to get it too; people who do that confident throw down before IRIMI NAGE expect you to come up compliantly into their clothesline. "Bah!" I say. "I'm down there, I'm turning in and taking out their knee!"

IMHO, that "confident throw down" is more a result of the ukemi than the throw. During a dynamic iriminage, Uke was not able to stay close enough to nage to minimize the rotational force, completely loses his balance, and falls forward onto all fours.

If you control uke's head, and "attach" it to your shoulder as you turn, it's possible to turn faster than uke can adjust for - rather than breaking his neck, you stay in control, but allow the uke to recover his center a bit so you can complete the throw. If you are not in control of uke throughout the "throw-down," he can counter or escape, though. If uke decides to stay low and try to take out my knees :confused: , I'll glady drop my weight onto him and end the attack then and there (aiki-jitsu style) :p ; if he pops up, we can play some more - and finish the iriminage, perhaps. :D