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02-15-2005, 05:17 PM

I greatly admire Nishio's aikido and sentiments. I must confess to some confusion after reading the following, though. Is he contradicting himself (did he change his mind in the eight intervening years of the two interviews) or am I just unfamiliar with his way of speaking?

Any light you can shed or anecdotes you can share will be greatly appreciated.


Shoji Nishio (1984), Part 2, Aiki News #61 (May 1984)

"0-Sensei said that it is a crime to fell opponents or hurt them even a bit. I tell students if they have to hit the opponent to.execute a technique when there hands are held, they shouldn't do that technique. If you have to use atemi, entering with a strike, then you shouldn't do that particular technique. Aikido doesn't need that. We never hit the opponent when we do kaitennage, for example, at the beginning of training."

Shoji Nishio (1992), Part 1, by Stanley Pranin
Aiki News #91 (Spring 1992)

"Usually after people throw their opponents and pin them, they make a "yaaaa" sound. But that's not aikido. Properly speaking, before doing the technique, we should execute an atemi. Since we can't do that [for the sake of safe practice], however, we unbalance the opponent with our kokyu and execute the technique in an aikido-like manner using the forms of the throw and pin. In a real situation we use atemi. "

Shoji Nishio (1992), Part 2, by Stanley Pranin
Aiki News #92 (Summer 1992)

"I think that atemi are the soul of Japanese martial arts. Atemi temporarily neutralize the opponent's fighting ability and allow him to correct his attitude and return to his previous condition. "

02-15-2005, 06:02 PM
Atemi doesn't always mean real punching. It could be a very small and subtle motion of your body. If you always use puch-like atemi, you will fail when your opponent notice it. However, small and subtle atemi is very hard to notice. I think nishio sensei means we should try to practice for later. But in real who cares what you do.. every thing is possible... you may spit on attacker's face. :)

02-16-2005, 02:23 AM
I think it makes perfect sense - but then again I've been doing Nishio-style aikido for some years now so I'm probably brainwashed :D

Anyway - Jaemin is on the right track. Atemi is not necessarily an applied punch in my understanding of the Aikido of Nishio Sensei. It's more like the position to strike - or the potential strike which is unleashed in a movement of the body instead of a punch with the fist.It IS a crime to down your opponent if there is any other alternative. Of course you shouldn't put your own safety after that of the opponent, but if possible use the atemi to show the opponent the error of his way.

The way I see it - the really tricky part is to let the atemi be a clear and present option - clear to both parties - without letting it turn into a threat.

To really cook your noodle I might add that I have heard Nishio sensei say that in some situations there is no other options than to cut your opponent. My interpretation is that you might have to use the atemi at hand to render him unconscious or even kill him, but it should be the last resort. The action will always have to match the situation.

Hope this helps.

02-16-2005, 05:32 PM
Thank you, Jaemin Yu and Jorgen for your response.

Judging from what you say, Nishio's take is not as different from what I've gleaned from other teachers. It comes down to proportional response--something we all learned from Teacher the first time we crowned someone with a dictionary for calling us a "coutie" in elementary school.

I just thought I saw a certain contradiction in his words and the way he does aikido. Thanks for comments, more are certainly welcome.

02-17-2005, 01:34 AM
.... It comes down to proportional response

Perhaps the is a difference in each sensei's sense of proportionality... I know some sensei that resort to 'cutting' much faster than others, and I believe Nishio sensei is a realist striving for the high road. This is maybe the reason why the things he is saying seems like such an enigma for quite a while.

I just thought I saw a certain contradiction in his words and the way he does aikido.

You and me both - but the ends are slowly approaching each other. Now and then I get this silly idea that I actually 'get it'. :D

If you ever come to Denmark then drop by. I'm sure our chief instructor can explain this far better than I can. You can even visit us during easter. We have a seminar with all the high ranking Nishio-students of the northern Europe. The visiting sensei will be Arisou sensei - AFAIK the person that has been studying with Nishio sensei for the longest time.

02-17-2005, 03:49 PM
Perhaps the is a difference in each sensei's sense of proportionality.


If you ever come to Denmark then drop by.

Love to. Thanks for the invitation.

I'm sure our chief instructor can explain this far better than I can.

You did a good job.Thanks.