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DustinAcuff
06-12-2005, 06:40 PM
Here is a question/point that was brought up in my dojo the other day by one of the senior students who had attended the Aiki Expo. We were asking what it was like, etc. when he mentioned the atemi that the Daito people were using (they did not follow the Aikido variant people). He was talking about some of the atemi he had seen and felt and the issue came up of are atemi practical. This guy holds a black belt in TKD and works as a prison guard at a max security prison.

The issue was that he was unsure of if atemi were practical/applicable during the average confrontation. (In our dojo atemi are only taught after you are intermediate kyu, and they are mostly taught for damage) His basis for saying that they were not is his experience with the inmates, many of whom frequently do some form or another of body hardening constantly (repeated body punches, punching walls, kicking rails, etc). His point was that in many instances if atemi were used (such as a rib shot) the majority of the prisoners would laugh and likely try to kill him, where as blending in the direction of their energy would bring about the desired response (neutralization) much quicker and easier regardless of the power incorporated.

To illustrate his point he used me as a dummy and put me into gatame with me bent over and showed all his possible options from his officer training and striking background (kicks, punches, elbows, knees, etc) when I gave resistance. Then he put me in the same position, and when I gave resistance (trying to stand back up) he tenkan and tenchi nage while lowering himself into the high-kneeling position (cant remember the Japanese at the moment). The shock was total and I had only a vague idea what had happened.

So the question is this: why should/is atemi (be) used when not only does it allow for your own center to be taken it also creates a liability to the practitioner? and what is the value of atemi in our modern society? I realize that there are no absolutes, but I am curious about other viewpoints from differing levels of experience.

Before someone brings it up, I did read John Riggs' atemi article and a number of threads concerning atemi.

Pankration90
06-12-2005, 07:11 PM
In the average fight, being able to strike and being able to defend against strikes are probably the most important things to know. Before you start thinking I'm biased towards striking arts, I just thought I'd mention I'm a wrestler.

Janet Rosen
06-12-2005, 07:32 PM
My understanding of one use of atemi is as a distraction, not as a balance-taker per se--for instance, if I am aiming to enter to partner's blind space behind him, I might aim a strike at the face, with the intention not actually punch the guy out (unless he doesn't move...) but to cause a momentary flinch during which I do the blending.

Aiki Teacher
06-12-2005, 09:07 PM
Sensei John RIggs 4th degree
Has an article that was recently published in black belt magazine on the lost art of atemi in aikido. Check it out it is a good read. HIs web site is below.

http://members.cox.net/aikidoc1/

L. Camejo
06-12-2005, 10:15 PM
We were asking what it was like, etc. when he mentioned the atemi that the Daito people were using (they did not follow the Aikido variant people). He was talking about some of the atemi he had seen and felt and the issue came up of are atemi practical. This guy holds a black belt in TKD and works as a prison guard at a max security prison.
Firstly I'd have to ask if your sempai had enough experience with the use and application of atemi from the Daito Ryu perspective to truly understand the reasons behind them and why they were applied in certain ways in certain situations, since this would set the perspective for the rest of your question. From my experience, folks from an art such as TKD don't always approach atemi and striking with the same goals in mind as one who does a style of jujutsu (like Daito Ryu or Aikido). Many of Daito Ryu waza for example assumes that the individual is in possession of a short sword during many of the techniques, which will often be the weapon used for the finishing atemi (or cut) imho.

The issue was that he was unsure of if atemi were practical/applicable during the average confrontation.
This depends on whose average you are referring to. The average in a prison is hardly the average one may find out in the rest of the world where a mugging, or other type of assault may be more likely experienced than a "shanking', "blitzkrieg" or "resisting control" sort of situation as may be experienced by a prison guard.

So the question is "practical/applicable for whom, and in what environment?"

His basis for saying that they were not is his experience with the inmates, many of whom frequently do some form or another of body hardening constantly (repeated body punches, punching walls, kicking rails, etc). His point was that in many instances if atemi were used (such as a rib shot) the majority of the prisoners would laugh and likely try to kill him, where as blending in the direction of their energy would bring about the desired response (neutralization) much quicker and easier regardless of the power incorporated. Well, one of our rules is that regardless of how strike hardened a person may be they need to balance to strike you with serious and damaging power. Without balance the power generation structure for a strike becomes very limited. This is where training in kuzushi is important in arts like Aikido and Daito Ryu.

To illustrate his point he used me as a dummy and put me into gatame with me bent over and showed all his possible options from his officer training and striking background (kicks, punches, elbows, knees, etc) when I gave resistance. Then he put me in the same position, and when I gave resistance (trying to stand back up) he tenkan and tenchi nage while lowering himself into the high-kneeling position (cant remember the Japanese at the moment). The shock was total and I had only a vague idea what had happened. The question here is, were you really resisting (based on your strength, knowledge and use of relative body position, striking, intent and desire to escape etc.) in a manner similar to one of his inmates who were really trying to escape and/or hurt him. If not, then the comparison and illustration does not really match the original concept. There are a lot of different types of resistance.

So the question is this: why should/is atemi (be) used when not only does it allow for your own center to be taken it also creates a liability to the practitioner? and what is the value of atemi in our modern society? I realize that there are no absolutes, but I am curious about other viewpoints from differing levels of experience.
Imho if your centre is taken in applying atemi then you are doing something seriously wrong when applying it. Atemi is supposed to be used to take your opponent's centre using the proper timing to apply it in a manner that utilises/exploits the attacker's motion and openings much like any other technique. Imho properly applied atemi takes your attacker's physical and psychological balance initially and actually makes percussive impact as a secondary effect, which is very different to the typical TKD application of atemi or striking.

Atemi also helps us develop the other elements of timing in Aiki such as Sen no Sen (and Sensen no sen), where we start the attack before Uke finishes his own attack. On a psychological level it teaches one to move in powerfully at the right instant and take control of a situation before it overwhelms them imho.

In this situation you were referring to a sempai having this question. Did he ask your sensei about it first? I think that may be the best place to start asking questions in light of the contextual aspects.

Just my thoughts. I reserve the right to be wrong.

Gambatte.
LC:ai::ki:

DustinAcuff
06-12-2005, 11:16 PM
Thanks everyone for your great comments!

I understand that atemi could be used to take balance, aka a light jab. But is it not more efficient to blend than to resort to striking?

LC in response to the first comment on my sempai's aptitude for atemi. Yes, he understood the purpose and reasoning for the atemi. I cannot speak from training but the only atemi I have seen (not been taught) are a bit unfriendly and uke would be lucky to only walk away from one with only a light displacement of balance. Here I admit there could be/are large gaps in my knowledge. But they were all quite amazed at the atemi used. Being officers they tend to not want to hit people b/c of bad publicity, mountians of paperwork, and it just is not nice.

In refrence to the typical confrentation, I am speaking about the average person in a public location.

The resistance was completely natural and as identical as possible in both scenarios, but it could not possibly be perfect.

It is possible, if not probable, that if an atemi were misplaced then uke could use your own extention against you.

I guess my question could be rephrased as what are the value of atemi in kuzushi as opposed to blending and redirecting?

Thanks for the comments and keep them coming!
Gamubate!
Dustin

Ron Tisdale
06-13-2005, 07:34 AM
But is it not more efficient to blend than to resort to striking?

Well, since the atemi in question was from Daito ryu, the shite would probably be more interested in irimi (entering) as opposed to awase (sometimes translated as blending). There are also styles of aikido that might share that pre-disposition. If you are entering into an attack, atemi can be very usefull in terms of kazushi, taking the opponants space, cutting to the center, and/or causing damage.

Law enforcement / corrections officers face special challenges...they don't like to be filmed overtly striking someone, the people they face can be excessively conditioned, some of them even like to be hit or to feel pain because that enables them to psychologically shutdown and go berserk. Often one or both parties are armed. Things can be very situation specific.

I would not assume (I don't think you are necessarily) that what was taught at the aiki-expo was the sum total of Daito ryu, or that it was targeted to a law enforcement perspective. There are aspects of the art that probably could be adapted very well to law enforcement (that's obvious if you look at the history of Daito ryu), but I doubt that's what the focus would be at an open seminar. It hasn't been at the seminars I've attended.

Your friend is wise to evaluate what he saw in light of his experience and job environment.

Best,
Ron

ian
06-13-2005, 09:14 AM
Within aiki-jitsu, as far as I am aware, there used to be 3 levels of training. The first level extensively employed atemis, the second level less so, and the most advanced was just blending. I think being aware of atemis is more useful than practising them extensively - If a technique buggers up, you should still be in a good position to strike them. Ideally though, I believe the technique should be short and sharp (although some techniques can and do employ atemis with no loss of speed - though I believe this is mostly for distraction than for anything serious).

Strikes to jaw, floating ribs, side of neck, back of neck and sternum all seem like pretty serious atemis to me though (if you can strike effectively enough). A strike to the neck can seriously stun someone (or knock them out), although the effectiveness depends on alot of factors. Often though, I think strikes just allow some stunning before applying a more dangerous or controlling technique. e.g. military unamred training tends to focus on strikes to the neck until attacker is a bit dazed and then throwing and choking/breaking neck/kicking head. (nice?)

Lorien Lowe
06-13-2005, 02:29 PM
...is it not more efficient to blend than to resort to striking?

Why does it have to be one or the other?

-LK

Adam Alexander
06-13-2005, 03:02 PM
So the question is this: [1]why should/is atemi (be) used when not only does it allow for your own center to be taken it also creates a liability to the practitioner? [2] and what is the value of atemi in our modern society?

1) it's the same as any other technique, there's a right time and place to apply it. You wouldn't tenkan when it's time to irimi, would you? Neither should you atemi when the situation doesn't call for it.

2)You mean the modern society that still has murder, rape, robbery, abductions, etc.?

As there's a balance in everything, there's a balance between good and evil doers--this "modern society" hasn't done away with the need to defend oneself--nor, will the day soon come when it isn't beneficial to be able to defend one's self.

L. Camejo
06-13-2005, 03:26 PM
I cannot speak from training but the only atemi I have seen (not been taught) are a bit unfriendly and uke would be lucky to only walk away from one with only a light displacement of balance.
Well the displacement of balance is not light, it results in Uke being thrown forcefully. However, this is from an Aikido perspective and I don't know if the DR folks apply atemi as a means of throwing without percussive hitting. Maybe someone else can shed some light here. To understand the application of atemi to disrupt balance and throw check this link for Atemi waza. (http://www.ttac.0catch.com/atemi.htm)

Being officers they tend to not want to hit people b/c of bad publicity, mountians of paperwork, and it just is not nice.
Yep, that makes sense.

The resistance was completely natural and as identical as possible in both scenarios, but it could not possibly be perfect.
Well this is it. Resistance takes on a whole new meaning when your mind is set to seriously and severely destroy your target. Unless you had this sort of mindset in your experiment I'd hazard to say that the degree of resistance was not "as identical as possible" to a possible prison scenario. To get a small idea of this sort of encounter check this thread on an actual Prison attack (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7709).

It is possible, if not probable, that if an atemi were misplaced then uke could use your own extention against you. Possible only for someone not properly trained in executing atemi. One who is trained properly is able to generate enough power without giving away one's balance at all in the event of a miss. If this happens the person needs to work on targetting, centre and balance control imho. It is possible however for the person receiving the strike to disrupt the balance of the person applying the atemi by acting on their body in some way (before the strike actually lands) to create kuzushi. But this is because the Uke has taken the initiative and because the timing used in executing the atemi was poor on Tori's part, leaving an opening, but not because Tori has overextended the strike (and his balance) deliberately.

I guess my question could be rephrased as what are the value of atemi in kuzushi as opposed to blending and redirecting?
I think Lorien said it well above. Atemi and kuzushi are 2 aspects of Aikido's technical and strategic paradigm. In fact I'd doubt it if one could actually throw a non-compliant partner if one "blended" or "redirected" anything without at some point causing a disruption of the attacker's balance (kuzushi). As long as there is a throw or takedown, there is kuzushi, otherwise the person does not fall or roll away. Unless of course they are "taking a dive" of their own volition.;)

LC:ai::ki:

Keith_k
06-13-2005, 04:06 PM
Striking, like any technique applied to self defense, is a tool. Like any tool, it works well for certain applications and poorly for other applications. I feel that it is better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

Proper striking is every bit as nuanced as any joint lock or throw. It often takes a great degree of training to execute truly effective strikes.

DustinAcuff
06-14-2005, 03:58 PM
Again thanks for the comments!

I'd like to adress some things in no particular order:

We all fully understand that the atemi demonstrated were just that > for demonstration.

The only uses I have seen for atemi are ending fights via shattering bones or causing massive skeletal damage. The uses seen at the expo were along the lines of hitting uke 3-5 times then throwing him. I have never even heard of atemi being used to throw, and the concept actually is almost beyond comprehension. If you can touch someone and throw them then why hit them to throw?

I tend to agree with Ian in most areas. If DR was traditionally taught in three parts, which makes sense, then that is all well and good. But, by his own admission, Sensei is teaching us the way he wishes he was taught instead of the way he was. Ian's explination is quite probable.

I happily admit that there are no right or wrong answers to this question. One of the reasons I did not go to sensei is just to see what everyone else thinks and why. I am being trained the way that I am, I am happy with the way I am being trained, and I believe that with Sensei's past experience that he IS teaching us the way he would have liked to have been taught.

I understand that striking is a tool and has a purpose and IS worthy of being trained in. I spent the first 7 1/2 years of my total 8 years of MAs in striking arts in some shape form or fashion. I just wonder why strike when blending is easier and brings about greater affect without hurting uke.


Thanks for the great comments! Just to make sure everyone knows this, I'm not against atemi, just curious.

Dustin

LOL I just looked at the link for the animated atemi. That is a far cry from the atemi I have seen. It looks as if no strike is really even applied, more a movement of center and a appropriatey placed cut.

L. Camejo
06-14-2005, 04:19 PM
LOL I just looked at the link for the animated atemi. That is a far cry from the atemi I have seen. It looks as if no strike is really even applied, more a movement of center and a appropriatey placed cut.

And they all can just as easily be applied as percussive strikes to damage bone, nerve and tissue structures. They are strike throws (which are a lot more powerful than strikes that stop at the point of contact). The point is to show that a strike can be a throw very easily with proper timing, body movement and distance control (all elements of both DR and Aikido).

It sounds like what you are referring to is atemi as finishing strikes rather than as initiating strikes or balance taking strikes (it's good to specify), which, though seen in many DR applications tend not to be as popular in many Aikido applications (except the typical shomen uchi to the face finish for pins). But then this is what one may get when asking DR questions on an Aikido forum. ;)

Gambatte.
LC:ai::ki:

Ron Tisdale
06-15-2005, 07:32 AM
Again thanks for the comments!

I'd like to adress some things in no particular order:

We all fully understand that the atemi demonstrated were just that > for demonstration.

The only uses I have seen for atemi are ending fights via shattering bones or causing massive skeletal damage. The uses seen at the expo were along the lines of hitting uke 3-5 times then throwing him. I have never even heard of atemi being used to throw, and the concept actually is almost beyond comprehension. If you can touch someone and throw them then why hit them to throw?

As Larry has mentioned, atemi are used in many places, in many ways, for different purposes. Kondo Sensei has even refered to atemi as being one form of 'aiki', along with timing, breathing and other things. Which I think is a shocker for some. But I have found it to be something that rings true to me. There is a discussion of this in a thread on AJ that follows a review I did of one of Sensei's seminars.

Some examples would be when using the sokomen (side step) entry and evasion, strike with the raised middle knuckle of each hand under uke's rib cage. When this strike is well coordinated with your entry, it works well to release uke's grip, interupt their breathing and timing, take over their space, and steal the initiative back. Then from that angle (about 40 to 45 degrees to the side of uke) there are many techniques you can use. The object here isn't necessarily to break any bones (the floating ribs are somewhat vulnerable, though), but to accomplish the other things I mentioned. The strike by itself, may or may not work...the body movement by itself may or may not work...the idea is to make the very best conditions for your technique to succeed, so you combine as many elements as possible, given the circumstances.

I tend to agree with Ian in most areas. If DR was traditionally taught in three parts, which makes sense, then that is all well and good. But, by his own admission, Sensei is teaching us the way he wishes he was taught instead of the way he was. Ian's explination is quite probable.

Nothing wrong with that. I personally prefer to have someone delineate the differences from their 'traditional' training and their innovations, but that's just me.

I understand that striking is a tool and has a purpose and IS worthy of being trained in. I spent the first 7 1/2 years of my total 8 years of MAs in striking arts in some shape form or fashion. I just wonder why strike when blending is easier and brings about greater affect without hurting uke.

I think one of the issues people deal with is the difference between striking in arts like Tae Kwan Do or Karate, and striking in generic Japanese Jujutsu or specifically, Daito ryu. The goals and the methods may differ widely...which is why I personally am not in favor of adding strikes from other gendai or modern arts to aikido and then calling this cognate 'aikijutsu/aikijujutsu' etc. It isn't. If you want a model for striking in aikido, my belief is that you go to the source...Daito ryu. As to blending being easier and bringing about greater effect without hurting uke...I have a whole bunch of issues with that statement. Briefly,

I 'm not convinced that just blending works that well against serious attacks.

It may be easier in the short run, but if it doesn't work, Uh Oh...

If you combine your atemi with your body movement, atemi is very easy.

The greater control over uke and the earlier in the engagement that you have it, the more mercifull you can be in the long run.

Thanks for the great comments! Just to make sure everyone knows this, I'm not against atemi, just curious.

Dustin

LOL I just looked at the link for the animated atemi. That is a far cry from the atemi I have seen. It looks as if no strike is really even applied, more a movement of center and a appropriatey placed cut.

The links are good examples of using the entry as atemi, the body for atemi, atemi as displacement of uke's center and body. Yoshinkan aikido uses principles like those illustrated as well.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
06-15-2005, 09:53 AM
Here is the link to the review and thread that I mentioned...

http://www.aikidojournal.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=4864&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

Best,
Ron

Kevin Leavitt
06-15-2005, 02:15 PM
Ron Tisdale wrote: [QUOTE]I 'm not convinced that just blending works that well against serious attacks.

In theory it should, but it doesn't work very well for me! :) Maybe one day down the road!

I think you need to develop a full spectrum game from being able to blend to it not happening for some reason. I work on my long term game (Aikido), while developing my short term game (BJJ).

DustinAcuff
06-15-2005, 10:28 PM
Ron, I am not sure how you intended it when you said that if you want striking in Aikido you believe that it is best to go to Daito, the source. Out of curioscity how did you mean that?

Kevin, we just started training Kito Ryu for a bit for ground. As someone who has practiced BJJ with a number of the major players in the world championship including one of the two time world champions, I can really say that Kito is FAR more effective, very like Daito on the ground. Small circle, pressure points, and a number of other things not allowed in BJJ are encouraged. Find Kito if you can!

Ron Tisdale
06-16-2005, 08:31 AM
Ron, I am not sure how you intended it when you said that if you want striking in Aikido you believe that it is best to go to Daito, the source. Out of curioscity how did you mean that?

Well, here's what I said...

I think one of the issues people deal with is the difference between striking in arts like Tae Kwan Do or Karate, and striking in generic Japanese Jujutsu or specifically, Daito ryu. The goals and the methods may differ widely...which is why I personally am not in favor of adding strikes from other gendai or modern arts to aikido and then calling this cognate 'aikijutsu/aikijujutsu' etc. It isn't. If you want a model for striking in aikido, my belief is that you go to the source...Daito ryu.

I pretty much mean just that. There are a lot of gendai cognate arts out there that use the name Aikijutsu, aikijujutsu to denote aikido like movement with strikes and kicks added in. Personally, I don't buy it. Aikido isn't shotokan, or tae kwon do, or wing tsun. The movement patterns are different, the use of the body is different. If I evade and enter using one body movement style, then have to switch to power a reverse punch ala shotokan, then move to throw ala aikido, I'm switching the mechanics of my movement back and forth...that slows me down and throws off my timing. I believe even teachers like Koroiwa (who was a boxer before he came to aikido) had to make some changes to their movement to make what they did 'fit' the aikido paradigm of movement. Ellis Amdur might be able to speak to this more intelligently...he actually had the opportunity to train with Koroiwa.

Was that any clearer? Oh, Ellis has an excellent thread somewhere where he talks about atemi as irimi that sheds a lot of light on this subject. I can't remember if its here or at AJ. If I stumble across it in my wandering, I'll post the link.

Best,
Ron

DustinAcuff
06-16-2005, 11:38 AM
Yeah that was alot clearer. I was not following your train of thought due to a lack of indepth knowledge on people crossbreeding arts etc, and was a bit confuzed. Thanks for clarifying.

Nick Simpson
06-17-2005, 05:26 AM
Everyones said good stuff already but i'll add my token gesture: More options innit?

Edit: Oh hang on, i just realised I do have something possibly worthwhile to say on this subject! Now I love my atemi, for many reasons: To end a confrontation, to enhance a technique, for kuzushi, for improving reflexes and for toughening up to others strikes.

Now, if your fighting super tough convicts who spend all day sitting in their cell banging themselves off concrete then ok, your atemi probably isnt going to bother them too much. however, the training that you have put into this area will also have conditioned you in some aspect towards others strikes. First defense are reflexes, you will have better reflexes from training with atemi. Second is moving out of the way, if you never practise atemi then you will have a handicap in avoiding them. Third is your response to the strike, if you get hit, what do you do next? If you are conditioned, perhaps not physically, but at least mentally to getting hit then you are in a much better position than the people who believe that they wont get hit and will then floor the other guy.

As a side point, if many people condition themselves against strikes,you can of course also condition your striking parts (hands, knees, elbows, head) as well. But im sure we all know this already.

If any convicts are reading this then I apologise If I offended you with my portrayl of you ;)

Kevin Leavitt
06-17-2005, 01:07 PM
I am trying to integrate the principles of aikido in the stand up fighting I am learning/teaching in the Modern Army Combatives. I find that without the threat of strikes and kicks, things like iriminage, and kaitenage don't really work so well. Once we go "hot" on strikes and kicks, aikido starts having more relevance.

I would submit based on my experiences that without the threat or intent of atemi, that aikido really does not work very well.

L. Camejo
06-17-2005, 01:31 PM
I would submit based on my experiences that without the threat or intent of atemi, that aikido really does not work very well.

Interesting.

In my understanding, for any locking, pinning, takedown or throwing technique to work, there must be a disruption of balance (physical, mental etc.) of some sort. This can be achieved via atemi, movement, distractions and other means.

Since Aikido is an expression of Jujutsu it would make sense that disruption of balance (a la atemi or otherwise) would be necessary for any of the above mentioned categories of techniques to work. The same thing would apply for any other art that involves locking, pinning, takedown and throwing techniques. A person in balance can pretty much shut down any technique if he really wants to, the particular style or method he is practicing is irrelevant imo.

Think about it, are there any styles that apply locks or throws that actually work on a resistant opponent without first taking his balance (physical or otherwise) or distracting him? I haven't found one so far.

For those who drill and train seriously in it, kuzushi utilising positioning and movement is another aspect of Aikido that makes its techniques very viable against skilled resistance. Like atemi however, kuzushi by movement alone has its limitations so it is good to know and study as many ways as possible to disrupt the balance of your attacker.

Just my 2 cents.
LC:ai::ki:

DustinAcuff
06-17-2005, 04:33 PM
I think I see what you are saying LC. When I was doing kickboxing we would have someone stand behind the bag or beside us and if we did not keep our hands up this person would tap our face as we initiated a technique. Just this touch disrupted the act of initiating a kick or punch entirey and caused the gears to stop for a moment. Is that kind of what you are mentioning?

I am not by any means trying to say atemi is useless or not worth knowing, just trying to establish its value in Aiki arts.

Kevin, why do you say that Aikido does not work in reality without atemi? Or am I misreading your response?

Kevin Leavitt
06-18-2005, 04:33 AM
Larry covered it pretty good i think. Mainly I am speaking from the point from about 1 meter into the area of body contact range, sometimes called clinch range. Uke will not grab you "honestly" without the threat of atemi. He can stay centered and lock down on you. you will have a difficult time getting a ikkyo, nikyo, or sankyo if he can come in indiscriminately not having to worry about atemi.

However, with the presence, or hint of atemi, you can affect uke's balance/center and the dynamic changes. Some might call this KI projection :)

L. Camejo
06-19-2005, 08:39 AM
I think I see what you are saying LC. When I was doing kickboxing we would have someone stand behind the bag or beside us and if we did not keep our hands up this person would tap our face as we initiated a technique. Just this touch disrupted the act of initiating a kick or punch entirey and caused the gears to stop for a moment. Is that kind of what you are mentioning?

Hi Dustin,

What you spoke of in the quoted text above is one aspect of using atemi, i.e. as a distraction. Others include balance disruption, pain/injury/shock induced by impact on anatomical weak areas, as finishing techniques and as a psychological disruptor (similar to what Kevin spoke about) where one's intent or hint of applying atemi can affect the attacker's posture, balance, resolve etc. Of course there are probably more ways of applying it than I listed above also.

Uke will not grab you "honestly" without the threat of atemi. He can stay centered and lock down on you. you will have a difficult time getting a ikkyo, nikyo, or sankyo if he can come in indiscriminately not having to worry about atemi.

This is pretty true. Someone who knows that you may be able to seriously hit them when they try to grab you will be very cagey about it and only dedicate when they have found a hole in your defence or a safe way to do so without being hit, or at least where the effect of the atemi is reduced.

However, if they do get a good hold on you there are ways of immediately breaking balance via relaxation, timing and proper body movement in Aikido. It in fact uses the applied force of the grabbing attacker to find the means of disrupting his balance through movement (kuzushi). The chances to apply this though may be limited to the point where the grab is initiated or, in the event that you are already locked down, quickly creating movement by using total body coordination to create another opportunity to re-take the initiative and get off an Aikido throw, lock or pin. If one is unable to capitalize and utilize this sort of timing and movement however (i.e. the exploitation of the attacker's weak lines of posture upon his application of force to grab etc.) then the lock down will mark the beginning of a successful technique by the attacker imho.

At yesterday's Jujutsu session we worked a technique using this same principle, based on a diagonal (yokomen, blade upward) knife slash by the attacker, where the defender evades by entering off line (like in shi ho nage omote) and grabs the attacker's wrist to gain control of the slashing hand while bringing his own knife to bear from his right side near his hip (his left hand is holding off the attacker's knife hand). The attacker sees this and grabs the defender's hand to control it before he can raise the blade. The defender is gripping his knife blade downward, edge outward.

Since his arm is immobilized by the attacker (who is trying to trap the defender's knife hand down against his body), the defender relaxes and goes with the grab and forward, downward push of the attacker by stepping backward with the attacker's movement (tsugi ashi) and sinking his own weight. This draws the attacker's grab beyond it's intended point of control.

Using this momentum, the defender brings his knife arm downwards toward his centre, turns his hips to the left (causing a twisting and unbalancing effect on the attacker's body via his grabbing hand, as in shi ho nage or sokumen) and waves it back towards the neck of the attacker, who has no choice but to go with the kuzushi due to the power of his own grab and the timely disruption of his posture. This movement looks like a variation of sokumen irimi nage in Aikikai terminology, but with a knife held in the hand, the basic entry is seen in number 3 (Gyaku Gamae ate) here (http://www.ttac.0catch.com/atemi.htm). The end result is a sokumen style entry with the blade's edge at the neck of the attacker while the other hand still keeps the attacker's knife at bay, throwing him to the ground with the blade at his neck as you kneel next to him and or slicing the neck as necessary.

This was during the practice of the Aiki waza portion of the Jujutsu class, so we got to play around with the Aikido type waza and some applications a bit.

Just some thoughts. I hope the story helps illustrate the use of correct tai sabaki and kuzushi to disrupt an attacker even if he has a strong and focused grab without overextending his own balance. This is one of the strengths of all the arts that apply Ju no ri and Aiki no ri imho, Aikido being one alongside Judo and Jujutsu etc.

LC:ai::ki:

Nick Simpson
06-19-2005, 09:01 AM
Well, I nearly got my nose broken yesterday by an elbow strike during kotegaeshi. That atemi worked.

DustinAcuff
06-19-2005, 03:54 PM
LC, Kevin, my understanding is quite diffrent. People don't attack when they don't think they can win. Unless you are in a situation, like sparring, someone attacking you is going to give you full energy without any regaurd for if you have atemi or not; they don't know or care because they can kick your butt. The full energy is what is needed to apply a technique. Why would someone attack you harder when they know they can and will be hit?

I agree that if uke grabs you and keeps his center he has not taken his own balance, but why does he have to? If he grabbed you you have been given energy. He is either going to pull his energy back or extend more foward via push or strike. Him grabbing you staying centered means nothing. If he has grabbed you and kept his center, he is harmless until he pushes or pulls, at which point his spine will either elongate or compress, either way you can take him. Granted, a quick strike to his throat and he will be as helpless as a baby if you want to try and kote gaeshi him from static motion, but he MUST apply more energy to you to accomplish his goal.

My argument is not that atemi are worthless, I am just debating where they belong in Aiki arts.

L. Camejo
06-19-2005, 07:52 PM
LC, Kevin, my understanding is quite diffrent. People don't attack when they don't think they can win.
Again, being specific is important. Now it appears that you are referring to an attack as in a self defence situation and not attack as done in the dojo, in which case of course the person attacking will not do so until they have selected you to be an appropriate target, i.e. an easy one.

I agree that if uke grabs you and keeps his center he has not taken his own balance, but why does he have to? If he grabbed you you have been given energy. He is either going to pull his energy back or extend more foward via push or strike.
Read what I said in my last post again, this is exactly what I indicated earlier.

Him grabbing you staying centered means nothing.
In fact, his staying centred is extremely important since it will effectively mean that a vast majority of Aikidoka will not be able to deal with this sort of attack unless their practice includes a deep study of kuzushi. Grabbing and staying centred does not mean grabbing and not attacking. It is knowing how to control one's body so that one is not easily moved or controlled while still maintaining a powerful enough structure to launch an effective attack. This is the difference between folks who really know how to attack effectively and folks who do not. Difficult to describe, easy to feel.;)

My argument is not that atemi are worthless, I am just debating where they belong in Aiki arts.
Where something belongs in an art has more to do with the particular ideas and theories of the founder of the art than anything else imo. I can put a lot of things into my Aikido, it does not mean that it belongs in Aikido. So to answer this question it may be best you read up on Ueshiba M.'s understanding and approach to atemi or whoever the head of the style is that you do. I have already indicated how Shodokan (Tomiki) folks see it (generally) in an earlier post. Things may be seen differently in other places.

Gambatte.
LC:ai::ki:

Ron Tisdale
06-20-2005, 07:43 AM
Him grabbing you staying centered means nothing.

:) Hi Dustin. Have you ever wrestled a college level competitive wrestler? Believe me...they can grab you, stay centered, and make you wish for a .45...very quickly.

Best,
Ron (now THAT'S atemi...) :)

Nick Simpson
06-20-2005, 09:31 AM
Haha, good one!

jennifer paige smith
04-23-2007, 10:45 AM
one of the ways that we approach atemi in a conceptual/practical method is to offer the concept of 'filling space'. Space is available within technique for any practicioner to observe and utilize. The methods by which we fill this space can be hard (strikes of varying measure) or soft (developed 'ki filled' observation that disguards the others balance or opportunity). This principle of 'space filling' allows us to practice physical technique and philosophical concept in the same practice as well as it allows the student to work within the same practice at different levels of refinement.
In my experience, when I am able to view openings appropriately I can respond with whatever means are appropriate to the moment. An always relative engagement.

jennifer paige smith
04-23-2007, 10:50 AM
I am trying to integrate the principles of aikido in the stand up fighting I am learning/teaching in the Modern Army Combatives. I find that without the threat of strikes and kicks, things like iriminage, and kaitenage don't really work so well. Once we go "hot" on strikes and kicks, aikido starts having more relevance.

I would submit based on my experiences that without the threat or intent of atemi, that aikido really does not work very well.

Aikido takes on more relevance whenever we place it in the context of our lives 'other' practices. This is the place where we have a template of effectiveness to our own understanding and we can apply the art in diligent inquiry.

Kevin Leavitt
04-23-2007, 11:38 PM
I think the whole value of aikido is the fact that it can show us applications more so figuratively than literally. That is, we can interpret the meaning through reaching a deeper understanding of the causes, effects, and the options available in resolving conflict.

That said, in order to reach this deeper understanding, we need to honestly and fully explore as much as possible conflict, in aikido we explore the physical causes and attempt to link them to the many other mental and spiritual aspects as well.

What is important in our learning, no matter how we eventually interpret it, is that atemi is real as possible in the parameters in which work with it.

Anything short of that...we are not being honest with ourselves or uke...and that will cause problems in our ability to grasp the messages of aikido honestly.

philippe willaume
04-24-2007, 11:57 AM
Hello
Well, I would say that atemi are the same as if we were fencing with a sword or a knife.
It is of as much use as to do damage than it is to control or opponent movement by restricting it in certain direction and promoting it in other direction as well as creating or increasing our time and distance advantage.

Like Kevin I would say that even if it your aim to reach spiritual fulfilment though aikido as one can develop it through perfecting the tea ceremony, it seems difficult to reach that fulfilment if you leave out the actual tea preparation in the ceremony .
That being said, as we say in France “chacun à son gout” (and not it is not about cooking)

Phil
One Ringeck to bring them all and in darkness bind them,
In the Land of Windsor where phlip phlop live.

Marc Abrams
04-24-2007, 01:00 PM
Dustin:

read George Sensei's article: http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/gledyard/2004_08.html

Atemi is a fundamental aspect of Aikido. Taking a person off balance is a necessity, not an option. Atemi achieves that, whether or not contact has been made. A balanced attacker is a bad beginning in which to execute a technique. A good fighter will not get off balance unless YOU take away the fighter's balance in some manner or form.

marc abrams

Kevin Leavitt
04-24-2007, 03:39 PM
I would go one step further...than necessity to take him off balance...

It is not necessity to do it, but to possess the ability to do it, AND to make your opponent understand that you possess the ability is sometimes all that is necessary.

Then again, sometimes even if you don't have the ability, creating the perception that you do is all that is necessary.

Deception is a viable option that we have. however, we are talking tactically, and not necessarily philosophically.

Philosophically, I think atemi is important as a tool to teach us things. Without it, what we do is very limited.

The important thing about aikido over many other forms of budo is the concept of maái...that is the space that exsist between uke and nage. In BJJ we start with the assumption that the space is gone most of the time. In aikido we always pretty much start with that space present.

With that space presence, both uke and nage have a choice. Choice is an important part of what we are learning in aikido. We can make many choices which affect the outcome of an engagement between uke and nage.

Atemi provides relevance and importance to what happens in that space. Without atemi, bokken, jo...it becomes very limited what we can train physically with respect to choice.

As many philosophers have said, I cannot affect what others do to me, or the choices they make...I can only affect how I react. Atemi is a enabler of this process...it is an option (choice).

As with all choices, we need to be honest with both ourselves and our intentions. That is why it is important to have good atemi when practicing.

jennifer paige smith
05-24-2007, 10:22 AM
Dustin:

read George Sensei's article: http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/gledyard/2004_08.html

Atemi is a fundamental aspect of Aikido. Taking a person off balance is a necessity, not an option. Atemi achieves that, whether or not contact has been made. A balanced attacker is a bad beginning in which to execute a technique. A good fighter will not get off balance unless YOU take away the fighter's balance in some manner or form.

marc abrams

Imbalance is the greatest moment of opportunity for training. The model of aikido being 'restoring balance'. Of course we have to create this construct to work it. It is in the benefit of both uke and nage to witness and learn the elements of imbalance. It is best to take it outside of human fighting dimension and to think of it as structural or universal' pieces'. The atemi is not you hitting him (or her) it is a meteor crashing toward the planet drawn in by a vacume.It may also be a black hole. Etc. This concept will give you more tools to work this game.

Murgen
05-24-2007, 01:59 PM
Probably beating a dead horse but I'll put my 2 cents in.

As far as the higher ranking people in my dojo are concerned, Aikido doesn't work without atemi in a street confrontation and a fully resisting attacker (who more than likely will be bigger than you). I see no reason to disagree. Since I also train in Muay Thai I'm starting to get pretty comfortable with atemi waza. In a real confrontation, I'd go to Muay Thai first and after the guy is softened up, try some Aikido. I'm not gonna try some complex Aikido technique on a guy trying to knock my head off without atemi waza behind it. In a street situation..simple is best.

L. Camejo
05-24-2007, 06:17 PM
It is in the benefit of both uke and nage to witness and learn the elements of imbalance. It is best to take it outside of human fighting dimension and to think of it as structural or universal' pieces'.Why is it "best" to operate this way? Imho human "fighting" is one of the simplest forms of human communication that you can get and it makes things quite clear in a very simple manner. From this simple paradigm one can then apply the distilled kernel of information to a wider system such as structural or universal concepts imho.The atemi is not you hitting him (or her) it is a meteor crashing toward the planet drawn in by a vacume.It may also be a black hole. Etc. This concept will give you more tools to work this game.Not sure how this can give one "more tools" as it appears to be quite the opposite of actual atemi application. In both examples, the meteor crashing towards a planet and a black hole there is the inference that impetus and direction is uncontrolled as the elements involved react to gravity. Imho this is not atemi, which is a very controlled, precise process of applying force. Not to mention the fact that most meteors dissipate through friction against the atmosphere (force on force) before making any impact, which is the antithesis of Aiki imho.

Imho it may be better to create basic linkages that are obvious and easy to repeat and understand and then relate this to the movement of the universe, nature etc. instead of trying it the other way around. I think this is how Ueshiba M. figured out a lot of his Aiki, not by trying to mimic universal motions, but expressing universal patterns naturally and then realizing the linkages to natural macroscopic systems.

Just a thought.
LC:ai::ki:

jennifer paige smith
05-27-2007, 09:55 AM
Dustin:

read George Sensei's article: http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/gledyard/2004_08.html

Atemi is a fundamental aspect of Aikido. Taking a person off balance is a necessity, not an option. Atemi achieves that, whether or not contact has been made. A balanced attacker is a bad beginning in which to execute a technique. A good fighter will not get off balance unless YOU take away the fighter's balance in some manner or form.

marc abrams

Here's a thought. The attacker, by virtue of attacking , is already off balance. We are in the business of early detection and exaggereation. How quickly can you perceive the imbalance, and how centered are you when you do? Then, go from there into the appropriate spiral for magnification.
Ow, says the bug, it's hot under here.

jen

xuzen
05-28-2007, 02:50 AM
Here's a thought. The attacker, by virtue of attacking , is already off balance. We are in the business of early detection and exaggereation. How quickly can you perceive the imbalance, and how centered are you when you do? Then, go from there into the appropriate spiral for magnification.
Ow, says the bug, it's hot under here.jen

Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar De La Hoya, George Foreman, Evander Holyfield et al do not agree. Now go do some push-up or something.

Boon.

jennifer paige smith
05-29-2007, 09:03 AM
Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar De La Hoya, George Foreman, Evander Holyfield et al do not agree. Now go do some push-up or something.

Boon.

I didn't realize you were a contact peron for such an amazing group of athletes.Can I call them and ask, too?
But seriously, they are in an established arena of relative balance to begin the fight. They have a rolling continuance of that balance throughout the fight and when one of them loses balance in engagement, inwardly or outwardly, they are struck down beyond recovery. End of fight.

p.s. I'm pretty sure you don't want me doing any more push-ups. Maybe I could just go back to the kitchen where I belong and not worry my little head about such important matters.:p

xuzen
05-29-2007, 10:40 PM
...<snip>...But seriously, they are in an established arena of relative balance to begin the fight. They have a rolling continuance of that balance throughout the fight and when one of them loses balance in engagement, inwardly or outwardly, they are struck down beyond recovery. End of fight.
Shucks.... shamefully I must ask you to put this in plainer English. HULK no understand. HULK SMASH, HUR HUR <ROARRRRRR!>

p.s. I'm pretty sure you don't want me doing any more push-ups. Maybe I could just go back to the kitchen where I belong and not worry my little head about such important matters.:p
Kitchen GOOD. Kitchen = Food. HULK Happy.

George S. Ledyard
05-30-2007, 12:38 AM
Here's a thought. The attacker, by virtue of attacking , is already off balance. We are in the business of early detection and exaggereation. How quickly can you perceive the imbalance, and how centered are you when you do? Then, go from there into the appropriate spiral for magnification.
Ow, says the bug, it's hot under here.

jen

I don't believe that one can say that an attacker is "off balance" by virtue of his attack. A competent attacker can be quite balanced, in fact a good attack requires being balanced and centered.

It is, however, impossible to attack another without creating a suki or "opening". Using the principle of "irimi" we use that opening to occupy the space which the attacker wishes occupy in order to complete his attack.The action of the irimi will serve to cause the attacker to disrupt his balance.

In other words, you must take the attacker's balance. If he is competent he will not just give it to you. There is nothing inherently "off-balance" about an attack, no matter how erroneous the thinking may be behind the violent action.

xuzen
05-30-2007, 12:46 AM
Strangely HULK understand George's explanation better...

Chuck Clark
05-30-2007, 01:34 AM
I don't believe that one can say that an attacker is "off balance" by virtue of his attack. A competent attacker can be quite balanced, in fact a good attack requires being balanced and centered.

It is, however, impossible to attack another without creating a suki or "opening". Using the principle of "irimi" we use that opening to occupy the space which the attacker wishes occupy in order to complete his attack.The action of the irimi will serve to cause the attacker to disrupt his balance.

In other words, you must take the attacker's balance. If he is competent he will not just give it to you. There is nothing inherently "off-balance" about an attack, no matter how erroneous the thinking may be behind the violent action.

:disgust: that you even had to write this George. I'm glad you did.

Thanks

Edward
05-30-2007, 02:19 AM
I don't believe that one can say that an attacker is "off balance" by virtue of his attack. A competent attacker can be quite balanced, in fact a good attack requires being balanced and centered.


IMHO, an attacker is not off balance by virtue of his attack, but he is off balance because he expected to hit a certain target, and the target vanished at the moment of impact.

grondahl
05-30-2007, 02:51 AM
IMHO, an attacker is not off balance by virtue of his attack, but he is off balance because he expected to hit a certain target, and the target vanished at the moment of impact.

The way I read that comment suggests that the attacker overextends his balance because he expects to hit the target. Is that what you mean?

PeterR
05-30-2007, 06:36 AM
The way I read that comment suggests that the attacker overextends his balance because he expects to hit the target. Is that what you mean?

Hmm - this is tougher to flesh out than appears to be the case.

Two well trained, evenly matched fighters, are not going to easily throw away their balance. However, in maintaining good balance it is very difficult to gain dominance. This is Aiki in the old sense.

At the right moment of attack a good fighter will sacrifice his balance in such away as to (assuming he got the timing right) overwhelm his opponent and still be able to recover that balance quickly.

Larry will know this situation from the Shodokan tsukuri driills.

I suppose that a good Aikidoist will be sensitive to that moment and take advantage of it but I also have to say, if all you have ever done is Aikido, than it is very easy to fool yourself that that attack/response to uke/tori reflects this situation. The training pattern becomes predictable and the value decreases because of this.

jennifer paige smith
05-30-2007, 08:10 AM
I don't believe that one can say that an attacker is "off balance" by virtue of his attack. A competent attacker can be quite balanced, in fact a good attack requires being balanced and centered.

It is, however, impossible to attack another without creating a suki or "opening". Using the principle of "irimi" we use that opening to occupy the space which the attacker wishes occupy in order to complete his attack.The action of the irimi will serve to cause the attacker to disrupt his balance.

In other words, you must take the attacker's balance. If he is competent he will not just give it to you. There is nothing inherently "off-balance" about an attack, no matter how erroneous the thinking may be behind the violent action.

ya sure, i agree. but there is an inherent inbalance in the musubi with natutal principle when one has the mind to attack. you could probably trace this chemically. I happen to perceive it and feel it with my eyes. I simply do. I can read imbalance with a remarkable degree of perception. like reading a book.I can even 'hear the story' .
Boxers entering into a ring are off balance, in a particular sense, but they are both in agreement about their sport, so the playing ground equals again. The imbalance occurs in the psyche or the body or the strategy and then one of them succumbs to the other.
fight over.
I'm a fan of boxing . I'm a fan of sports. I'm a fan of imbalancing games. I'm a fan of natural principles. together my observations have culminated in this process for viewing and understanding balance (or the lack there of) and in my experience and application and spiritual training this observation and process has remained steady and true. It is an experience that many other people have not yet experienced or articulated and that can make translation arduos.
O'Sensei said that to have the mind to attack one is already defeated. To have the mind to attack is to be outside of universal accord. My experiences tend to back this up. That's all.

Erick Mead
05-30-2007, 09:10 AM
I don't believe that one can say that an attacker is "off balance" by virtue of his attack. A competent attacker can be quite balanced, in fact a good attack requires being balanced and centered.
It is, however, impossible to attack another without creating a suki or "opening". Using the principle of "irimi" we use that opening to occupy the space which the attacker wishes occupy in order to complete his attack.The action of the irimi will serve to cause the attacker to disrupt his balance.
...
In other words, you must take the attacker's balance. If he is competent he will not just give it to you. There is nothing inherently "off-balance" about an attack, no matter how erroneous the thinking may be behind the violent actionIMHO, an attacker is not off balance by virtue of his attack, but he is off balance because he expected to hit a certain target, and the target vanished at the moment of impact.
I would put it this way. I have come to this understanding of the relationship between the attack process and the action of aikido. It helps me, so it may help others -- or -- if it is thoroughly and soundly trashed -- it will certainly help me to be corrected in any error of understanding.

So -- here you go.

An attacker with an apparent opening is looking for a certain sequence of physical cues/events.

1) Grounding 2) Launch 3) Connection 4) Resistance/impact

In a well-trained person these blend almost seamlessly (as do the kuzushi-tsukuri-kake progression). Any interruption in the sequence reverts back to the beginning, and commences a secondary attack.

A trained person does not lose balance when they attack, but they do lose their grounding. They are using that stability platform to create their energy, and cannot (without reversing their energy) pull back into ground and increase stability while siumultaneously expending it. Their balance is not actually sacrificed -- but a degree of stability is converted into the strike -- in rough proportion to the amount of power committed to the strike. I would characterize this condition as prior to kuzushi (balance breaking) in the kuzushi-tsukuri-kake progession.

If Grounding is interrupted no effective attack will be launched, -- it will have little power behind it.

If Launch of the attack is interrupted then it will not make connection to the opponents structure.

If Connection is interrupted it will have little or no impact or create much resistance in the opponents structure.

If Resistance/impact is interrupted damage to the target is reduced or eliminated.

Most arts rely on the interruption of these process of at one or stage of the progression. Aikido, it seems to me, does not interrupt any given stage in its functions ( as other arts often do) but can act in ways that defeat the progression as a whole --- by essentially continuing or extending any given stage -- rather than stopping or interrupting it. Stopping an attack at any stage merely resets for a secondary attack. Aikido's goal is to defeat the possibility of attack, and the progression is not stopped -- the attack simply evolves into something impossible and the progression ceases of its own accord.

A most singular way to accomplish this is by defeating the opponent's Grounding. This requires a very coherent structure in order to consistently enter and completely occupy the space in connection to the attacker that he needs to Ground in order to launch an effective attack. It seems to me that most of the erstwhile "internal power" debate is directed to this element (or to the last one -- at the point of impact). My first teacher calls this using "KI on the downside. As I view it, it is more critical to the first and fourth stages, while what he calls "Ki on the up side" is more critical to the middle two.

At the first stage, Grounding, if a person is already grounded, one can remove their groundedness, without necessarily taking their balance, as such. The state of balance is converted from a subcritical stable form to a supercritically stable form, like balancing the ball in the bottom of a bowl versus on the top of another ball. At that point kuzushi can easily be accomplished by moving them just slightly off the top of the ball. Judo tends to elide these two functions into one action of kuzushi, whereas, in my view of aikido they seem more distinct, in part because we are trying to draw out the process, making the distinction more observable.

But Aikido functions at every other stage as well. The critical element is achieving connection at some stage of the attack progression and then maintaining that connection to continue, extend and convert it without actually interrupting the action at the stage at which it occurs. The next step in the progression is at least delayed and may or may not occur, but since the progression is not actually stopped, it does not instinctively reset to another attack.

Unlike the attacker who needs to Ground in order to Launch, the Aikidoka only needs critically coherent structure, (strong internal structure or internal power, in the language of some) to occupy that ground WHILE in connection to an attacker who is seeking to ground at the same time in that place. If he is connecting at the periphery of the attacker's expression of power, (in the middle two stages of Launch and Connection), then mobility and thus supercritical stability (highly responsive) is more important than the grounded coherence of structure, and subcritical stability (innately restoring tendency).

At the stage of Launch, the aikidoka needs to be in the line of the launch to invite it (solving a part of the Grounding stability problem), but not in line at the point of connection. Many describe this as "getting off the line." But the element often missed is the connection that must occur to make this aikido instead of mere evasion. Evasion just interrupts the launch -- and thereby merely resets the attack machine to the secondary attack. Achieving connection WHILE removing oneself from the line of Launch moves the line as much as it moves you, all without stopping its intended progression.

At the stage of Connection, the aikidoka and the attacker can agree on the goal but not on the trajectory in arriving at or departing from that point. Connection can be achieved without resulting impact or resistance to the attack, and without defeating the launch, and as long as the Connection is maintained with perceived possibility of an incipient impact, the sequence of attack is not interrupted and the attack machine does not reset. Most kokyu nage operates well in this area. Because connection is the indispensable part of dealing with attack at every stage -- this stage is fundamental to understanding the root function of the art, and its emphasis on mobility tends to color the perception of the uses of "KI on the downside."

Lastly, there is the Resistance/impact stage, this is where the connection and the body structure skills are simultaneously most critical. The difference of position between effective impact and no effective impact is literally a matter of a finger's breadth or less. Any error of form in receiving the energy in that connection will result in impact felt.

If you allow the Grounding, Launch and Connection to occur without significant disruption one can convert the energy of the attack connecting in irimi-tenkan to his structure, just as he is trying to convert it into the impact resistance in the target's structure. Like the first stage, this requires the most coherent body structure as well high sensitivity to perform, and the results are among the most dramatic displays in this art.

George S. Ledyard
05-30-2007, 10:07 AM
ya sure, i agree. but there is an inherent inbalance in the musubi with natutal principle when one has the mind to attack. you could probably trace this chemically. I happen to perceive it and feel it with my eyes. I simply do. I can read imbalance with a remarkable degree of perception. like reading a book.I can even 'hear the story' .

There are different "balances". One is internal, the other is physical and largely external. No question that someone who is violent is not "in balance" with the flow of change around him. Violence is essentially about trying to force some element of the system to be other than it is. That isn't the same as physical balance which is largely about proper use of the body and physical conditioning.

Boxers entering into a ring are off balance, in a particular sense, but they are both in agreement about their sport, so the playing ground equals again. The imbalance occurs in the psyche or the body or the strategy and then one of them succumbs to the other.
fight over.

Once again, I understand what is being said about there being an "imbalance" in any kind of fighting. The problem is that for most "spiritual" types, their ability to perceive the balance or imbalance is completely disconnected from their ability to manifest that internal balance which they have achieved spiritually in the material realm of physical technique.

I'm a fan of boxing . I'm a fan of sports. I'm a fan of imbalancing games. I'm a fan of natural principles. together my observations have culminated in this process for viewing and understanding balance (or the lack there of) and in my experience and application and spiritual training this observation and process has remained steady and true. It is an experience that many other people have not yet experienced or articulated and that can make translation arduous.
O'Sensei said that to have the mind to attack one is already defeated. To have the mind to attack is to be outside of universal accord. My experiences tend to back this up. That's all.

To have the mind of attack one is only "already defeated" if ones opponent understands "aiki", both in an internal sense and also in the external, physical sense. There are plenty of people who are violent and merely exterminate their opponent. There have been many very spiritually advanced folks who were killed by spiritual dolts.

The concept that one is "already defeated" is dependent on the aggressor being up against an opponent who is in a state of connection with the larger "universal accord" as you put it (i.e. connected to the whole to the point at which they simply have no fear of an encounter and can maintain the sense of connection even when they are threatened.) It also requires that this person has trained and has mastered the techniques of self defense on a level in which these techniques function according to that "accord" and finally, that this same person has done enough physical training that his physical structure can successfully manifest these techniques against an opponent with his own skills and strong intention (Dan Hardin, Mike Sigman, and Rob John posts elsewhere).

Perceiving an imbalance, being able to see how someone is "open" is only one component in a larger whole when it comes to the martial interaction. It's quite possible to perceive all sorts of things about an opponent and still not be able to do anything about it due to ones own lack skill. It is quite possible to be in the highest state of connection with an opponent when he knocks you out.

So the idea that an opponent is defeated in the instant that he forms the intent to attack, while true, is nothing more than an unverifiable theory for most practitioners because they don't have the skills which O-Sensei had to be able to manifest the truth of the theory in reality.

Ron Tisdale
05-30-2007, 10:32 AM
Excellent post George. Very well grounded.

Best,
Ron

Chuck Clark
05-30-2007, 10:45 AM
I agree with Ron. It is easy to theorize and talk about this sort of thing but unless we "test" ourselves/each other appropriately the real thing is often very elusive.

Good job George, very well done.

L. Camejo
05-30-2007, 10:52 AM
I agree with Ron. It is easy to theorize and talk about this sort of thing but unless we "test" ourselves/each other appropriately the real thing is often very elusive.

Good job George, very well done.Hmm.. "test ourselves" what a great and novel idea for some. Getting back to the "Meaning of Competition" thread again.:)

Brilliant post George. It was a pleasure to read.
It is quite possible to be in the highest state of connection with an opponent when he knocks you out.That was a gem.
Domo.
LC:ai::ki:

Edward
05-30-2007, 11:32 AM
Nice Analysis, Erick.

I would say that the attack can be disrupted at the grounding/launching stage by an omote/irimi action, while an ura/tenkan action is more appropriate at the connection/impact stage.

I would put it this way. I have come to this understanding of the relationship between the attack process and the action of aikido. It helps me, so it may help others -- or -- if it is thoroughly and soundly trashed -- it will certainly help me to be corrected in any error of understanding.

Edward
05-30-2007, 11:39 AM
The way I read that comment suggests that the attacker overextends his balance because he expects to hit the target. Is that what you mean?

I mean that every target presents some kind of resistance, be it a wooden door or a human body or a pile of bricks. I believe the amount of power put in a strike is proportional to the amount of resistance the attacker expects to receive. When the encountered resistance is nil, there must be some kind of loss of balance even by the most experienced martial artists.

A Karateka can hit the air while performing a Kata with great power without loosing balance because he did not expect resistance, but the same Karateka if he's trying to break a pile of bricks will surely loose his balance if the bricks were to suddenly disappear just before the moment of impact.

But I could be wrong.

DonMagee
05-30-2007, 11:49 AM
I mean that every target presents some kind of resistance, be it a wooden door or a human body or a pile of bricks. I believe the amount of power put in a strike is proportional to the amount of resistance the attacker expects to receive. When the encountered resistance is nil, there must be some kind of loss of balance even by the most experienced martial artists.

A Karateka can hit the air while performing a Kata with great power without loosing balance because he did not expect resistance, but the same Karateka if he's trying to break a pile of bricks will surely loose his balance if the bricks were to suddenly disappear just before the moment of impact.

But I could be wrong.

It really depends on the attack. Such loss of balance could be useful in a setup. This is why many arts such as mauy thai and boxing throw combos instead of the one shot one kill mentality in many asian arts. For example, I could throw a hard leg kick and miss, but you would be careful to enter because a back fist might be coming your way. Another example is I might throw a less powerful leg kick to setup a punch such as an overhand right. I do not care if the kick lands or not, it has enough power to cause some minor damage, but its real purpose is to allow me to enter into punching range while keeping your strikes at bay.

Another example would be in judo. I grab to pull. Every grab is a pull. I have been told by a few japanese jj guys and aikido guys that grabs are pushes, but I really feel they are pulls. If you move I lose no balance. If you enter I lose no balance, and I am fully prepared to move with you and continue to attempt to take your balance. This is because I am not reaching out to make the grab. I move my body to the proper distance to make the grab work. This is where a good strike could upset my balance. I grab you step in with the pull preventing your loss of balance. As you step in you strike to my face. Had you not struck I would probably adjust with no effort and continue my attempt to break balance and throw. But with the strike I can not continue my grab and protect my face. I have to choose one. My will allow you a chance to break my balance, either though striking my skull, or a technique based on my raising the hands to block and moving my head. Of course you will need to keep moving as I circle out of there.

Again this is chessboard martial arts, a way of working I hate. I prefer to make my points by encouraging sparing. But the main point I want to make is that not every strike is designed or meant to break a brick. A jab doesn't have to knock your block off to be very effective, it just has to make the opening you need for that big shot.

MM
05-30-2007, 01:17 PM
I mean that every target presents some kind of resistance, be it a wooden door or a human body or a pile of bricks. I believe the amount of power put in a strike is proportional to the amount of resistance the attacker expects to receive. When the encountered resistance is nil, there must be some kind of loss of balance even by the most experienced martial artists.

A Karateka can hit the air while performing a Kata with great power without loosing balance because he did not expect resistance, but the same Karateka if he's trying to break a pile of bricks will surely loose his balance if the bricks were to suddenly disappear just before the moment of impact.

But I could be wrong.

I take the opposite view. A good martial artist will have no loss of balance on any atemi, strike or action. When I hear people talk about "no resistance in Aikido", I actually view it as what you define above. That there is no internal resistance inside oneself. Which means, that when you go to hit something, you do not build up resistance inside in proportion to expectations. That's what I take the meaning of "no resistance in Aikido" to mean.

And from personal experience, I have felt what it's like to get hit by someone who doesn't lose their balance whether an object is there or not. On a not so personal experience, I imagine that what Ushiro sensei does in karate is a lot like hitting without losing balance or having resistance built up internally.

I veiw good atemi as a disruption to another person's structure without oneself losing structure.

Mediocre atemi is a disruption to another person's structure but with oneself losing some aspect of structure.

Bad atemi is no disruption to another person's structure and oneself losing some structure.

IMO,
Mark

gdandscompserv
05-30-2007, 01:21 PM
A good martial artist will have no loss of balance on any atemi, strike or action.
Ahh...the perfect martial artist. Haven't met him/her yet.

Budd
05-31-2007, 07:29 AM
Ahh...the perfect martial artist. Haven't met him/her yet.

I don't want to speak for Mark Murray, but I don't think that's at all what he was saying.

For my money, assuming that someone is competent and determined (unless obvious signs point otherwise) is the safest way to go (definitely in a real altercation and for many situations in the dojo).

In any of those instances, I'd much rather expect competence and be proven wrong than the converse . . .

tarik
05-31-2007, 03:58 PM
Ahh...the perfect martial artist. Haven't met him/her yet.

I saw the word 'good', not the word perfect, and I agree with Mr. Murray. A good striker seldom loses their physical balance when striking, however, an opportunity certainly exists for it to be taken; just not when you're playing their game.

Regards,

jennifer paige smith
05-31-2007, 11:07 PM
There are different "balances". One is internal, the other is physical and largely external. No question that someone who is violent is not "in balance" with the flow of change around him. Violence is essentially about trying to force some element of the system to be other than it is. That isn't the same as physical balance which is largely about proper use of the body and physical conditioning.

Once again, I understand what is being said about there being an "imbalance" in any kind of fighting. The problem is that for most "spiritual" types, their ability to perceive the balance or imbalance is completely disconnected from their ability to manifest that internal balance which they have achieved spiritually in the material realm of physical technique.

To have the mind of attack one is only "already defeated" if ones opponent understands "aiki", both in an internal sense and also in the external, physical sense. There are plenty of people who are violent and merely exterminate their opponent. There have been many very spiritually advanced folks who were killed by spiritual dolts.

The concept that one is "already defeated" is dependent on the aggressor being up against an opponent who is in a state of connection with the larger "universal accord" as you put it (i.e. connected to the whole to the point at which they simply have no fear of an encounter and can maintain the sense of connection even when they are threatened.) It also requires that this person has trained and has mastered the techniques of self defense on a level in which these techniques function according to that "accord" and finally, that this same person has done enough physical training that his physical structure can successfully manifest these techniques against an opponent with his own skills and strong intention (Dan Hardin, Mike Sigman, and Rob John posts elsewhere).

Perceiving an imbalance, being able to see how someone is "open" is only one component in a larger whole when it comes to the martial interaction. It's quite possible to perceive all sorts of things about an opponent and still not be able to do anything about it due to ones own lack skill. It is quite possible to be in the highest state of connection with an opponent when he knocks you out.

So the idea that an opponent is defeated in the instant that he forms the intent to attack, while true, is nothing more than an unverifiable theory for most practitioners because they don't have the skills which O-Sensei had to be able to manifest the truth of the theory in reality.

I'm only speaking for myself.

George S. Ledyard
06-01-2007, 12:25 AM
I'm only speaking for myself.

Hi Jennifer,
I don't understand this last comment...
- George

jennifer paige smith
06-08-2007, 08:05 AM
Hi Jennifer,
I don't understand this last comment...
- George

Hi George-

It seems that sometimes words get in the way. For that reason I train in silence and let aikido speak for itself through my training. Here, words can lead down strange paths and it seems to me, in this case, they have. Like aikido at times, the story is in between the lines.

I feel the points you brought up are excellent in a general sense. The points you brought up don't relate to what I need to newly incorporate into my practice, although I understand they were inspired by my post. Along with many amazing teachers, I have been in the process of training in these "key" concepts for my entire life. I've met these lessons in many forms and many voices. Your points are beautiful and good reminders.

Motomichi Anno Shihan (8th Dan Dojo-Cho, Kumano Juku Dojo, Shingu; for those who don't know this incredible human being) my primary teacher, insisted that I lose my form completely 6 years ago when he was certain I had absorbed the above lessons in body, mind, and spirit. He said "You're good now". Since then, it has been free form and an open ability to maintain the lessons within me, through all the amazing and unusual places I roam (including boxing gyms, pubs, and the occassional rodeo). He still says, "You're good now. You be yourself. Aikido is you."

I hope other people are as lucky as I am to have such an amazing instructor and human being in their lives. An instructor who can see when we've crossed the threshold and a person we can witness, love, and respect who has crossed it before us. A person who's shoulders we can stand on.

Thanks for your patience in reply, George.

Namaste

George S. Ledyard
06-08-2007, 08:28 AM
Hi George-

It seems that sometimes words get in the way. For that reason I train in silence and let aikido speak for itself through my training. Here, words can lead down strange paths and it seems to me, in this case, they have. Like aikido at times, the story is in between the lines.

I feel the points you brought up are excellent in a general sense. The points you brought up don't relate to what I need to newly incorporate into my practice, although I understand they were inspired by my post Along with many amazing teachers, I have been in the process of training in these "key" concepts for my entire life. I've met these lessons in many forms and many voices. Your points are beautiful and good reminders.

Motomichi Anno Sensei, my primary teacher, insisted that I lose my form completely 6 years ago when he was certain I had absorbed the above lessons in body, mind, and spirit. He said "You're good now". Since then, it has been free form and an open ability to maintain the lessons within me, through all the amazing and unusual places I roam (including boxing gyms, pubs, and the occassional rodeo). He still says, "You're good now. You can now be yourself. Aikido is you."

I hope other people are as lucky as I am to have such an amazing instructor and human being in their lives. An instructor who can see when we've crossed the threshold and a person we can witness, love, and respect who has crossed it before us. A person who's shoulders we can stand on.

Thanks for your patience in reply, George.

Namaste

Anno Sensei is one of the great gems. The Kami smiled on me and allowed me to prevail at a fund raising auction at Kimberly Richardson Sensei's new dojo. I got a beautiful "Take Musu Aikido" calligraphy done by Anno Sensei which I have had framed and placed at my dojo. It makes me smile every time I look at it. I wish I could get down there to train with him but I have my own frantic schedule...

Anyway, I know what you are saying... it's just important that we not confuse letting go of the form with not being in absolute accordance with the principles involved. The form can be almost infinite at a certain point but only if the principles are so ingrained that they are really a part of you. Too many people try to go formless in imitation of what they perceived O-Sensei doing but they have never understood the principles at work. So you get people whose movement is beautiful, their hearts are open, they love everybody but they can't actually do their waza. Now on some level, that may not matter... what's more important, how your training shapes your life and your relationships for the better, or how well you can hurl somebody who attacks you? That's pretty clear.

But the waza is a true measure of how one really understands the principles and for someone like O-Sensei, who is the model we strive to imitate on some level at least, there was no disconnect between the spiritual and the martial. He manifested the principles both within and without. That's why I always try to keep refining my understanding of the principles at work so that I don't go too far into the stratosphere in my Aikido.

jennifer paige smith
06-08-2007, 08:35 AM
Anno Sensei is one of the great gems. The Kami smiled on me and allowed me to prevail at a fund raising auction at Kimberly Richardson Sensei's new dojo. I got a beautiful "Take Musu Aikido" calligraphy done by Anno Sensei which I have had framed and placed at my dojo. It makes me smile every time I look at it. I wish I could get down there to train with him but I have my own frantic schedule...

Anyway, I know what you are saying... it's just important that we not confuse letting go of the form with not being in absolute accordance with the principles involved. The form can be almost infinite at a certain point but only if the principles are so ingrained that they are really a part of you. Too many people try to go formless in imitation of what they perceived O-Sensei doing but they have never understood the principles at work. So you get people whose movement is beautiful, their hearts are open, they love everybody but they can't actually do their waza. Now on some level, that may not matter... what's more important, how your training shapes your life and your relationships for the better, or how well you can hurl somebody who attacks you? That's pretty clear.

But the waza is a true measure of how one really understands the principles and for someone like O-Sensei, who is the model we strive to imitate on some level at least, there was no disconnect between the spiritual and the martial. He manifested the principles both within and without. That's why I always try to keep refining my understanding of the principles at work so that I don't go too far into the stratosphere in my Aikido.

To me, you and I are in a beautiful and rare boat together. Let's keep rowing and now and again let the sails take the wind.

I'm grateful for your company.