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Tubig
06-27-2005, 11:48 PM
I started aikido in the Tomiki Style. I was 16 it was fun and sporty. The first five techniques of the basic seventeen was called atemi waza, the rest incorporated the other pilars of aikido. Dai yon and the ancient techniques in Tomiki Aikido becomes less competative and sporty and more traditional.

14 years later I am now a son of Iwama Ryu (my old Tomiki ryu sensei sent us to Iwama Ryu because he going to live interstate). But why Iwama Ryu we asked him? His reply was: Aikido does not work without atemi; and you will learn proper traditional aikido (which is more than 50% atemi) in Iwama Ryu. The rest was history.

After practicing with hundreds of bodies throughout these years, I have seen aikidokas that do their techniques well without atemi, and I have equally practiced with aikidokas that depend on atemi alone to have a good technique.

The million dollar question is:

Is Atemi Necessary to Good Aikido?

xuzen
06-28-2005, 12:28 AM
Yes, absolutely... especially when uke is trying to be non-conpliant.

But then maybe it is just that I am an ATEMI Kind of GUY.

Personally of the different waza that is available to me, I find atemi type of waza to be the simplest, easiest, most direct, least complicated waza to use. And when you are facing with 3 or 4 ukes coming fast at you duting jiyu waza / randori... you probably will not see me doing nikajo or yonkajo...

Boon.

Tubig
06-28-2005, 12:40 AM
Can one do koshinage without atemi? Yes

Can one do iriminage without atemi? Yes

Can one do shihonage without atemi? Yes

Can one do Hamni Handachi without atemi? Yes

Can one do kotegaeshi without atemi? Yes

* So is Atemi Necesssary for each of these pillars then?*

Chuck.Gordon
06-28-2005, 01:27 AM
Can one do koshinage without atemi? Yes ...

In the dojo, yes, probably every time.

However, I'd amend the statement to read: Can one do XYZ waza on a non-cooperative person without atemi? Sometimes.

So, in the dojo setting, atemi is not necessary at all to apply valid technique, as long as your partner is cooperative and participating in the kata.

However, since the founder and most of his students DID use atemi and have incorporated atemi into the waza/kata practiced in aikido (remember the infamous 99% statement?), then in those dojo of those lineages, atemi is strictly necessary, because it is part of the system part of the theory, and part of the practice.

On the other hand, how can you practice anything resembling effective technique if you don't understand the attacks (atemi and others), how can you learn what you're supposed to be doing to counter them? In this case, it is essential to learn atemi to be a good uke, whether or not your flavor of aikido has nage/tori using strikes.

Chuck

JJF
06-28-2005, 01:55 AM
This topic pops up ever so often, but I always feel that this discussion is without meaning unless we first agree on what constitutes the term 'atemi'. In some styles it is a strike/punch to the face of your uke, in the style I practice it is something different. Bear this in mind when reading my reply to the question:

Atemi is essential... not as a strike but as a potential strike. Without awareness of the possible atemis throughout the many steps of a technique it is likely nage/tori will use excessive power rather than movement of the body. Understanding atemi is - in my opinion - the basis of understanding irimi, body movement, cutting, maai and much more.

I seldom strike uke with my hand but I always strive to be in a position where I could strike him if need be. That is - the way I see it - atemi. In short: Without atemi - it's not aikido the way I see it.

Just my point of view.

Joe Bowen
06-28-2005, 02:04 AM
Jorgen's point should be well taken. In any debate or discussion you have to get the right semantic background in order to facilitate the communication. Given, Jorgen's definition of Atemi, I would find myself in agreement with his position.

Charlie
06-28-2005, 03:10 AM
Atemi is always there - it will always BE there! The only question is does the practitioner utilize it. Just because a person chooses to not "throw" an atemi doesn't mean that it isn't contained in the technique.

I also have to agree with others...which definition of atemi? Because there is a lot more than strikes/punches that constitute an "atemi".

Amir Krause
06-28-2005, 03:33 AM
However, I'd amend the statement to read: Can one do XYZ waza on a non-cooperative person without atemi? Sometimes.



I think you have answered the question here. It is possible to apply several techniques without atemi, even against a resisting person, given the person does not know what is coming, and Tori does everything very well - takes great position at exact timing and succeeds in gaining good Kuzushi.

However, one can not trust on being perfect every time, the atemi grants you some "error margin". Further, at least the way I am taught, some techniques use atemi in the first contact to facilitate the kuzushi, since the attacker is unlikely to loose his balance without it. Naturally, in these later cases the atemi in inherent in the technique, and in most cases, it is not a strike to the face rather some other move.

Amir

Paul Kerr
06-28-2005, 03:41 AM
Is Atemi Necessary to Good Aikido?

Yes.

Nick Simpson
06-28-2005, 07:04 AM
Id say Yes.

But not everyones idea of good aikido is the same...

seank
06-28-2005, 07:18 AM
Very interesting question, and I think a lot depends on your personal perspective.

Coming from a Kyokushin Karate background, I turned to Aikido because I wanted to practice a martial art where you don't need to depend on actually hitting someone. It's very easy to kick/punch/etc. indiscriminately, but much harder to effectively use these as a deterrent or incentive to move an opponent.

That said, our practice of atemi is very much as some of the posts described; an incentive for uke to move where/how you want, whilst giving you a margin of error.

Personally I think the answer to this question lying in that atemi is a necessary part of Aikido, but at the same time it is how you use atemi that makes the difference. Using this to off-balance uke and to put yourself in a good position without physically hitting them is not a bad place to be ;)

aikidoc
06-28-2005, 10:52 AM
Sandai Doshu defines atemi as strikes to vital points. I discuss this issue in the June 2005 Black Belt Magazine article. I have included survey results and a fairly comprehensive review of the literature.

John

Kevin Leavitt
06-28-2005, 01:19 PM
Yes it is.

L. Camejo
06-28-2005, 01:24 PM
Good replies so far.

I like Jorgen's approach regarding what one's definition of atemi is, since this is very important to one's understanding and the resulting tactical application of it in Aikido.

From the perspective of Cromwell's Tomiki (Shodokan??) training I can understand why he asks this question, since one learns to apply waza very effectively in the face of serious resistance without using or needing percussive atemi.

From my take and experience, atemi is not necessary for the application of effective Aikido waza against a resisting and serious opponent whether inside the dojo or out. As Amir indicated, one needs to have a thorough understanding of kuzushi, timing and positioning principles. However, training in Atemi waza is necessary for holistic and complete Aikido training imho. So it is necessary for good Aikido training.

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

Adam Alexander
06-28-2005, 01:35 PM
Atemi is always there - it will always BE there! The only question is does the practitioner utilize it. Just because a person chooses to not "throw" an atemi doesn't mean that it isn't contained in the technique.

Here, here.:)

Drew Scott
06-28-2005, 03:27 PM
Atemi is always there - it will always BE there! The only question is does the practitioner utilize it. Just because a person chooses to not "throw" an atemi doesn't mean that it isn't contained in the technique.

It seems to me that the *opportunity* for atemi is instrinsic to the techniques, but that atemi is only present if you understand and choose to use that potential. To paraphrase (poorly) something I heard in a class a while back: "Aikido is NOT passive. You continuously create opportunities to do harm, but you choose to be merciful." If you train in an environment where the atemi is never mentioned, nor understanding of it encouraged, your perception of those openings, and consequently your ability/willingness to utilize them could very well be nil. Where then would the atemi be in your Aikido?

Just my $.02

Regards,
Drew

Philippe Cox
06-28-2005, 03:51 PM
Atemi is essential, in daily training.

Without it, you're missing one of the pillars of aikido.

maikerus
06-28-2005, 06:28 PM
Atemi is essential, in daily training.

Without it, you're missing one of the pillars of aikido.

Very true.

One thing to think about is that if the Atemi takes the uke out for the count then you don't need the rest of the technique.

However...you should still practice the rest of the technique for when that atemi doesn't take uke out.

Then again...if you use atemi all the way through the technique then you probably won't need the last pin...except when you need it because your uke shrugged off the atemi.

So...sometimes it might be useful to really practice atemi strongly and try and finish a technique with that. Other times it might be worthwhile to add the atemi more for muscle memory and not as strong so you can practice the rest of the technique. And maybe other times don't use it at all and work on how to move uke through whatever contact you have.

In any event...having atemi as a tool to use is important. How you train for it is up to the instructor...and what you are working on within any particular technique.

To echo Larry's point...atemi is important for good holistic Aikido training and may or may not be used in the application of a technique.

Just some random thoughts...

--Michael

Tubig
06-28-2005, 06:44 PM
I was training last nite and co-incidentally we were doing kinonagare and Ju te techniques. The Ju-te techniques needs a lot of intention as it is the next level from kihon static which is full power, 100% intention on the grip and resistance.

I have noticed that with the full power grip (strength), I used an atemi to remove the intention from the grip and unto him regaining his balance. With Ju-te the atemi is to bring out his intention, when it came to kinonagare the atemi is no longer an atemi (as per definition; to hit vital points), but a punch a kick and a jab, to disturb his intention. At the end when we were doing Juiwaza (against three attackers) especially when the pace is quick to fast, the atemis became more cumbersome and too much involvement (like doing shihonage; when to other people are about to attack). I found kokyu nage and irimi nage without atemis more effective in this case.

I guess what I am trying to suggest is on fast pace multiple attackers when we have no time to think, atemi is perhaps not as necessary. Timing, maai, and angles are the tools that I used in this instance. Also I am only 5'6" and 85 kg compared to the average Aussie or Maori for that matter a punch, jab or kick in this situation needs to be calculated and be lucky to be effective on the same mulitple attacks.

One of the typical aikido cliches that I hear is aikido does not have to be painful to be effective. having heard this a million times and based on Jui waza maybe atemi is essential to good aikido, however not necessary all the time.

Jiraiya
06-28-2005, 06:51 PM
Atemi is should be added your arsenal of aikido throws and locks. I saw a steven segal documentary (which I beleive many people have seen), and he does incorporate atemi and randori in his aikido. (He is from aikikai and they don't normally do randori). The more you know, the better equipped for the streets you are. Atemi is good for practise against an attacker and learning how to attack yourself. It sounds contradictory to the spirit of aikido but its really about better self defense and as long as you don't go picking fights, I guess its ok.

*Hey, as a sideline, I am fascinated with Yoshinkan even though I am from Aikikai. In fact I plan to take lessons next month. Can anybody tell me a bit more ?*

wxyzabc
06-28-2005, 07:33 PM
Depends on where you're going to be using your aikido...in a dojo atemi is not necessary...in Japan one of the best guys I've ever seen never used atemi...yet his technique was as smooth as silk and totally effective. I would say in a real situation he would have been ok without it as he could easily put down 5 bigger guys and get behind anyone ....of cause it all depends on the location thats why imho questions like these are essentially unanswerable...sorry if that sounds harsh.

Anyway I train usually in the Nishio style...here we use atemi alot...yet is it effective atemi?...not so sure..all depens on the individual...most of the time people with no background in other MA dont know how to attack imho..I sometimes think a more fluid get em on the ground quicker is usually more beneficial with that in mind.

Check out Tohei in the Aikido Classics video clip on Aikido Journal....very much like the first guy I was on about...flawless technique...executed blindingly fast yet smoothly...no need to go punching anyone maybe??

Tubig
06-28-2005, 08:10 PM
Also I have seen a lot of Osensei's black and white videos and he has done some hard core techniques on multiple attackers without atemi, punches or kicks. Just pure technique, angles, irimi, maai. I am not saying he doesn't do it all, what I am saying is he can do excellent aikido without the necessary atemi.

L. Camejo
06-28-2005, 08:18 PM
At the end when we were doing Juiwaza (against three attackers) especially when the pace is quick to fast, the atemis became more cumbersome and too much involvement (like doing shihonage; when to other people are about to attack). I found kokyu nage and irimi nage without atemis more effective in this case.
Interesting.

When doing multiple attacker randori, atemi waza the way we do it (also using sen timing) is often a preferred technique where a quick response is required. Shomen ate and Aigamae ate are obvious good examples as seen here - http://www.ttac.0catch.com/atemi.htm . This relates to Mike's point above about doing the atemi in such a way that you don't need a follow up technique also.

Just a few cents.
LC:ai::ki:

wxyzabc
06-28-2005, 08:34 PM
Also I have seen a lot of Osensei's black and white videos and he has done some hard core techniques on multiple attackers without atemi, punches or kicks. Just pure technique, angles, irimi, maai. I am not saying he doesn't do it all, what I am saying is he can do excellent aikido without the necessary atemi.

So you have answered your own question....enough said :)

xuzen
06-28-2005, 09:03 PM
Speaking of atemi... I have a related story to share:

I was at an aikido demo last weekend and was called up to be a volunteer for the demonstrator who happens to be a pretty Japanese lass who happens to be one of the sewanin (asst instructor) at Yoshinkan Hombu Dojo in Tokyo.

She asked me to hug her, and she asked me to hug her tight. I did... I was being very obedient. When she felt it was tight enough... she stomped on my foot and then executed a beautiful shihonage on me in a split second; the foot atemi caused me to lose my focus on the grip.

So there... is atemi necessary? In this case... atemi on my foot just did the job.

Boon.

Tubig
06-28-2005, 10:38 PM
Youre right Lee bingo.:)

Tubig
06-28-2005, 11:14 PM
Larry, you have a very good point. I think that is why tomiki sensei had atemi waza as the first five techniques of the basic seventeen. Atemi waza is so efficient, using just those five techniques in randori dojo training for five minute rounds between change partners can give one a blissfull cardio workout. During comps atemi waza used by uke with tanto can win one round after the other, just on stab points. Hiki-toashi, ude-garame (kaiten nage), and waki-gatame (hiji-jimi) are my other favourites plus atemi wazas oon tori are my favourite in randori and comps.

In Iwama ryu when we do randori, the above techniques are still my favourite with tachi dori, jo dori and tanto dori. Hiji-jimi can be done without the necessary atemi for it is a trapping technique. Perhaps the closest thing to an atemi in hiji is the pressure on the elbow joint. One can really press hard on that and I've seen huge blokes jump and then kneel down on that technique.

Jiraiya
06-29-2005, 12:04 AM
isn't it a little boring without Atemi waza ?

JamesDavid
06-29-2005, 12:45 AM
Hey Rick,

I practice yoshinkan (only a few months). I haven’t seen any other styles so I don’t know if what I say is different from them, but where I train, in general atemi is used in most techniques. As a beginner, many techniques are explained to me by senior students in terms of atemi. Say you ask a question like, but in a pub the guy will do this….the answer to such a question is often atemi. This is both in terms of how to avoid atemi during application of a technique and how a technique can be “recovered/ initiated” with the aid of atemi. If you have the lead on uke you are in a superior strategic position. One of the ways this can be expressed is atemi. And as easily as a shionage turns into a sankajo, atemi is applied as a method of redirecting. If a technique is failing you should at least be in position to deliver atemi. At least this is my understanding . The founder of yoshinkan said that in a real battle atemi is 70% and technique is 30% (Source: “Total aikido: the master course”, Gozo Shioda). As a side note many of the students in our dojo have come from backgrounds in striking arts. They see the openings, and lack of, for atemi. So there are no illusions where I train…..

rogueenergy
06-29-2005, 12:45 AM
According to my Shihan and 4 sensei : (Thankfully I've heard them all say it at one time or another so I can quote them all on this)
"...the atemi is not necessary. You should know where the atemi could be. The key to Aikido is that we know where the atemi is and choose not to use it..."

One of my sensei, after returning from a recent seminar in MN, said that it was useful to know what the original intention of a technique would have been, then to see the direction we take that results in little to no lasting damage to uke.

We rarely train using atemi. We do, however, train to know where the atemi would be so we can choose for ourselves.

My question is this, even if it is a little rhetorical:
By the very name of Aikido, is it not our responsibility to choose not to use atemi if at all possible unless that atemi would lead to a more harmonious resolution?

More to the point of this thread, I have seen my sensei use atemi twice in the 10 months I have been taking Aikido. But, their techniques, even in randori with multiple attackers is very persuasive and effective (even when the unexpected happens). Based on all of this, yes atemi is necessary to good Aikido, without it we wouldn't know what we were choosing not to do. :D

Jiraiya
06-29-2005, 12:56 AM
You know I checked some of the atemi's that were taught in my dojo back home in Singapore- Surprisingly, there were very few . Tsuki- punch to stomach, front kick, grabbing collar and punching the face. Punching the face. And that's about it. But one thing I don't understand, how can we in the Aikikai better improve our Aikido techniques without adding on to the Atemi list. A hundred and one things could happen in a real situation. How can we improve if we just stick to tradition and discount the presence of Atemi waza ?

I'm beginning to feel that Yoshinkan and Tomiki styles have the answer to this issue since both incoporate and emphasize randori and Atemi. I'm not saying that Aikikai is ineffective but perhaps it does pay to add some Atemi to our techniques rather than just getting stuck with just grabbing. It would be more beneficial for self defense but at the same time without neccessarily compromsing the non-violent ideals of Aikido as a whole, Aikikai or other styles.

Also, Atemi would give an alternative in the streets. But if we don't do it in dojos, how can we hope to be prepared for what's to come outside the dojo ? And atemi is only the beginning when you hit the streets. There are other attacks that are simply not covered in Atemi waza. Like a right hook to the face. A round house kick. Couldn't we Aikikai practioners just add more into Atemi and incorporate waza's that prepare its students for more real situations ?

I agree that we must all start with hand grabs to train our sensitivity to our uke's physical or otherwise. But only grabs without Atemi waza is kind of extreme. Why dont we have both ? (I would feel more prepared when training in the Aikikai style.)

Jiraiya
06-29-2005, 01:01 AM
Hey Rick,

I practice yoshinkan (only a few months). I haven't seen any other styles so I don't know if what I say is different from them, but where I train, in general atemi is used in most techniques. As a beginner, many techniques are explained to me by senior students in terms of atemi. Say you ask a question like, but in a pub the guy will do this….the answer to such a question is often atemi. This is both in terms of how to avoid atemi during application of a technique and how a technique can be "recovered/ initiated" with the aid of atemi. If you have the lead on uke you are in a superior strategic position. One of the ways this can be expressed is atemi. And as easily as a shionage turns into a sankajo, atemi is applied as a method of redirecting. If a technique is failing you should at least be in position to deliver atemi. At least this is my understanding . The founder of yoshinkan said that in a real battle atemi is 70% and technique is 30% (Source: "Total aikido: the master course", Gozo Shioda). As a side note many of the students in our dojo have come from backgrounds in striking arts. They see the openings, and lack of, for atemi. So there are no illusions where I train…..

Hey James, are you under Mori Sensei ? Wow, I'm fascinated by Yoshinkan . I saw the Brisbane website. Thinking of switching from Aikikai to Yoshinkan man !! But you know, they don;t have Yoshinkan in Singapore. Sigh... could they just send 1 guy to set up a Yoshinkan dojo in Singapore ? Hey, could you help me inquire ? Hee... >

Jiraiya
06-29-2005, 01:04 AM
Some how, I'm agreeing more and more with Yoshinkan aikido. Atemi is the answer to what happens with uncompliant ukes or novel situations in the pub to help recover the technique. I like that James ! Man, they got to start Yoshinkan in Singapore soon

JamesDavid
06-29-2005, 01:23 AM
Hey don’t quote me too much I am just a beginner. I think, as stated many times in response to many issues on this site, it depends on the individual dojo, and the student makeup of the dojo. There is an interesting way of learning in a traditional art like aikido, that you must at once give over to the teachings in trust as you cannot understand the full ramifications of what you are taught until a latter date, and in doing so you sacrifice the immediacy of you personal desires and understanding. Yoshinkan is a martial art that gives the skilled practitioner a martial advantage. and that to my understanding is the first goal on its list of things to do!! I have a punching bag and I practice the atemi taught to me on it…just the simple stuff like a back hand atemi (this could be a uppercut) yokoman block combo…I want my aikido to be effective and I think it will be if I train hard enough at my dojo….atemi is part of that

batemanb
06-29-2005, 01:26 AM
Rick,

I'm not sure where you get the idea that aikikai don't do randori or use much atemi? I've seen and done plenty in the dojo's that I've trained in, both in the UK and in Japan.

I don't want to discourage you from having a look at Yoshinkan Aikido, but don't get wrapped up in thinking that it's a style thing. If anything, it's an instructor (dojo) thing :).

Do you by any chance train at the shinjukai with Philip Lee?

rgds

Bryan

Jiraiya
06-29-2005, 01:31 AM
Rick,

I'm not sure where you get the idea that aikikai don't do randori or use much atemi? I've seen and done plenty in the dojo's that I've trained in, both in the UK and in Japan.

I don't want to discourage you from having a look at Yoshinkan Aikido, but don't get wrapped up in thinking that it's a style thing. If anything, it's an instructor (dojo) thing :).

Do you by any chance train at the shinjukai with Philip Lee?

rgds

Bryan

Yup I used to train at Shinjukai. Oops Sorry I'm not well informed enough. Hey tell me more..I mean I'm keen to learn more. Actually Ive seen Sensei Segal do randori and Atemi too in the documentary.

xuzen
06-29-2005, 01:37 AM
Hi Rick,

Although aikikai standard may not explicitly do atemi... no harm experimenting outside dojo times. Get a few seniors and play around.

You may feel that aikikai do not do enough randori... no harm getting a few of your dojo mates and try it out.

I used to do the aikikai syllabus... I also have some doubts about the same issues you are addressing, Rick. The point is, if in doubt, experiment around...

However, having said that... Rick, would all these issues wrt punches and kicks be rendered useless if you have a bokken or jo?
What I am saying is... if, say you have a weapon in your hand (e.g., a stick or umbrella)... would you feel more comfortable to deal you with all these possible attacks relative to being empty handed?

If you think yes, could it be the aikikai people tend to see things more from a weapon art perspective? I don't know the answer myself... but I am kind of throwing some ideas for folks here to debate.

Boon, an ex-aikikai practitioner.

Jiraiya
06-29-2005, 01:48 AM
Hi Rick,

Although aikikai standard may not explicitly do atemi... no harm experimenting outside dojo times. Get a few seniors and play around.

You may feel that aikikai do not do enough randori... no harm getting a few of your dojo mates and try it out.

I used to do the aikikai syllabus... I also have some doubts about the same issues you are addressing, Rick. The point is, if in doubt, experiment around...

However, having said that... Rick, would all these issues wrt punches and kicks be rendered useless if you have a bokken or jo?
What I am saying is... if, say you have a weapon in your hand (e.g., a stick or umbrella)... would you feel more comfortable to deal you with all these possible attacks relative to being empty handed?

If you think yes, could it be the aikikai people tend to see things more from a weapon art perspective? I don't know the answer myself... but I am kind of throwing some ideas for folks here to debate.

Boon, an ex-aikikai practitioner.

Weapon in hand does create more security. But its impractical to carry a stick outdoors whenever you go out. So we have to be prepared empy handed or otherwise. But i'll definitely pop over the yoshinkan dojo to have a feel for myself sometime soon

Anyway, I'm open to discussion about the Aikikai style, randori and atemi. I need pointers and...answers I guess which of course, is attributed to the lack of sufficient experience in Aikikai. In general, how often do we use randori and atemi ? And how much emphasis do we put on them ? ( Anyone from Shinjukai ?)

happysod
06-29-2005, 02:31 AM
Is Atemi Necessary to Good Aikido? atemi is not necessary, but can be the most efficient (harmonious?) means of achieving your goal. The only problems I ever have with the proponents of atemi every time is that often the technique's flow can be disrupted by that need to "land one on 'em". If atemi fits naturally into the the technique, use it, but just as you shouldn't pre-determine the technique you're going to use, don't decide there's always an atemi in there.

Jorgen, very nice post.

Jiraiya
06-29-2005, 02:38 AM
If atemi fits naturally into the the technique, use it, but just as you shouldn't pre-determine the technique you're going to use, don't decide there's always an atemi in there.

Jorgen, very nice post.

I agree on this one. I guess it just depends very much on the situation right ? But still, I'd feel more secure if dojo does frequent practice using atemi and randori

eyrie
06-29-2005, 02:42 AM
I think we need to define "atemi" (See Jorgen's post#5). To me atemi is not simply a feint or even an arbitrary strike (i.e. "punch to face", or "step on foot"). Atemi (for me) is a strike (with whatever convenient body part that so happens to come in play), to a vital or kyusho point to effect a specific physical response from uke. i.e. to evoke a physical response from uke in order to create movement into a technique. A feint is sometimes insufficient to evoke the necessary response, because some people simply won't move until you physically cause them to (i.e. hit them).

Having said that, whilst atemi is an integral aspect of aikido, it isn't absolutely necessary in most situations, being that you are either already moving and joining with the attack. Unless of course, they stop in mid flight, then you have to either move or hit them to get them to move where you want them to go. :D

JJF
06-29-2005, 03:28 AM
...However...you should still practice the rest of the technique for when that atemi doesn't take uke out.

Then again...if you use atemi all the way through the technique then you probably won't need the last pin...except when you need it because your uke shrugged off the atemi.
...

This is really interesting - I see it the exact opposite way. In my opinion one should do the technique (lock or throw) if possible, and as gentle as it may be done under the circumstances. The power in the technique should come from the underlying possible atemi. However in a 'real' situation it will most likely not be possible to execute proper technique and it will therefore be necessary to use atemi to a far greater extend. As Nishio sensei once put it "Sometimes you just have to cut the opponent". I understand this as "Sometimes there is not the time neither the possibility to take care and educate the attacker and if it is down to hit or get hit, then its quite okay to let go of the principles and just plain and simple punch the bad guy..." Of course the 'cut' should be no more than necessary.

However - I concur that an atemi can also be a distraction to unset the attackers balance. A small jab or a wave with the hand - but that is very hard to control.

I'll get down from my soapbox now.... :D

Nick Simpson
06-29-2005, 04:37 AM
We use a lot of atemi and we do a lot of randori. But were not a typical aikikai style.

There are dozens of ways to perform atemi, like hitting uke in the chest/stomach with your elbow as you do ushiro ryote dori.Cutting down ukes head in kaitennage is also an atemi. Just experiment and find the strikes yourself.

Robert Rumpf
06-29-2005, 06:49 AM
I don't think atemi is necessary for the successful application of Aikido, if the meaning of atemi is held to be a strike or feint of some sort. Judo seems to get by just fine without atemi (I'm sure I'll get corrected if this statement is wrong). Aikido techniques from ryote dori (both mae and ushiro) almost never involve any sort of atemi but can work just fine. Likewise, one of the most common basic Aikido techniques, kokyu-tanden ho, doesn't require atemi.

People can say that those techniques are "not martial"... but I wouldn't say that.

What IS necessary for Aikido is connection between uke and nage. This connection is fairly easily achieved off a two-handed grab with any but the most disinterested uke for the obvious reasons. That is why the above listed techniques even in their most basic forms don't require atemi. Off less all-encompassing attacks such as a munetsuki, with a less aware uke, atemi is often useful in order to help gain connection.

I've been trying for some time to stop using atemi so much in my techniques, but unfortunately, I keep having to use it to make uke aware that they should react and connect. Still, I'm trying to work away from it, but it is an aspect of basic training that I'm having a hard time letting go of.

Atemi is a tool, and it is certainly one of the most useful tools and underutilized tools in Aikido, especially in multiple randori. Still, I don't think is necessary for good Aikido simply because a lot of good Aikido happens without it.

I also think that is it is possible to become overly reliant on atemi, which can lead to severe problems in those cases when atemi doesn't produce that desired connection.

Rob

maikerus
06-29-2005, 06:59 PM
This is really interesting - I see it the exact opposite way. In my opinion one should do the technique (lock or throw) if possible, and as gentle as it may be done under the circumstances. The power in the technique should come from the underlying possible atemi. However in a 'real' situation it will most likely not be possible to execute proper technique and it will therefore be necessary to use atemi to a far greater extend.

Hi Jørgen,

I'm sorry but I wasn't really clear in my rambling what my preference was.

I prefer to focus on the technique rather than the atemi. I think that the idea of taking balance and leading the mind and making uke always think they are about to get you right up to the point when you splat 'em is the way to go. And the way to train most of the time.

However I do feel that in those cases where the atemi is not meant to be "only" a distraction then it should be recognized as a place where you can finish the technique with a single blow. My concern is that if you focus on this blow during all training periods then you won't focus on the technique itself which is the more important part *(to my mind) of training.

In a "real" situation I would advocate using the atemi to try and finish the technique because even if it only distracts (uke shrugs it off) it will help you do the technique part and if it finishes the technique then then so much the better.

In a perfect world I can see trying to do the minimum amount of force in order to control your opponent into a pin, but I am not willing to bet my "winning a confrontation" on that. I would rather add in the atemi and hopefully be able to use that as a distraction if it doesn't end the "confrontation".

Hopefully a little clearer rambling...

--Michael

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maikerus
06-29-2005, 07:02 PM
I've been trying for some time to stop using atemi so much in my techniques, but unfortunately, I keep having to use it to make uke aware that they should react and connect. Still, I'm trying to work away from it, but it is an aspect of basic training that I'm having a hard time letting go of.

Robert...nice post. I agree that atemi is one way to make the connection and is basically the "easy" way.

I, too, try and get uke to where I want them to be without atemi and find that this is the most interesting part of controlling your uke. This is why I really like working with beginners...if I can get them to move where I want them to without telling them to "step here" then I have a lot more confidence in my technique.

cheers,

--Michael

theflyingheadbuttsuplex
06-29-2005, 10:14 PM
I don't think atemi are absoulutely necessary if you're really good. But It is a quick convenient way to startle, off balance, and cause distracting pain in order to throw them easier. So why not?

Tubig
06-29-2005, 10:23 PM
That is what I noticed. Atemi is essential but not necessary.

There are a lot aikido techniques that does not require a strike to a vital point.

Osensei's old videos showed that he did a lot of good aikido techniques without the aid of atemis.

Tubig
06-29-2005, 11:56 PM
Has anyone head of Osensei's kyusho for aikido book? I heard it was top secret, but it is now available for general and non japanese aikidokas.

Chuck.Gordon
06-30-2005, 05:35 AM
Has anyone head of Osensei's kyusho for aikido book? I heard it was top secret, but it is now available for general and non japanese aikidokas.

I don't know about Ueshiba's 'top secret' kyusho, but many of the classical and even gendai arts use a fairly simple chart describing several kyusho. I've seen copies of the chart (or at least very similar renderings that represent much the same things) in the scrolls of a couple of ryuha and in several modern budo books.

There are no 'kyusho secrets', there are spots on the body that are more sensitive than others. No secret to 'using' kyusho either. Whack anybody hard enough on a kyusho spot and they're gonna hurt. Whack 'em hard enough just about anywhere, and they're gonna hurt. Hit 'em hard enough and they're gonna fall down.

Hmm. Where's old Bruce and his secret kyusho knowledge threads these days?

Chuck

Bunzel
06-30-2005, 07:13 AM
Very often when the talk falls on atemi it seems like people are discussing flow versus atemi ie. like atemi by definition ends the flow of the technique.

In Nishio sensei's Aikido the atemi supports the flow of the technique and it is "inherent" in all his Aikido movements - it is always there though it sometimes are hidden very well within the flow/movements.

Nishio sensei used to say that Aikido without atemi becomes a dance.....

:D

Ron Tisdale
06-30-2005, 07:29 AM
Hmm. Where's old Bruce and his secret kyusho knowledge threads these days?

:) www.budoseek.com. Just for a moment though...he got himself banned...again...

Ron (sigh)

happysod
06-30-2005, 08:00 AM
like atemi by definition ends the flow of the technique. no one has said this, what some of us have said is that inappropriate use of atemi (i.e. it's not actually contained within that bit of the technique) can disrupt flow, as can an over-emphasis on using an explicit atemi (e.g. a strike). These problems are not unique to atemi by any means, but are an easier trap to fall into as atemi are just so intrinsically satisfying to use.Nishio sensei used to say that Aikido without atemi becomes a dance..... and a decent dancing partner leads very effectively thank you.

Ron, Chuck, leave it! Please do not disturb the ether with mention of the demons name

Ron Tisdale
06-30-2005, 09:05 AM
:) Sorry...sometimes I just loose it... :) I'm back now...

I never understood why people thought atemi *must* interupt the flow of the technique...sometimes it adds to the flow. Yoshinkan kihon waza shomenuchi iriminage ni uses atemi after a pivot and body change to get uke going the other way (amoung other things) and done fast it really can plow uke under, with very little 'interuption'. Early timing is another way to use atemi as a throw. The space between intention and movement on uke's part is the best place for effortless atemi that make the throw.

Best,
Ron

PeterR
06-30-2005, 06:26 PM
:) www.budoseek.com. Just for a moment though...he got himself banned...again...

Ron (sigh)
and by me no less - Bruce is the only person I have ever banned.

Kevin Leavitt
07-01-2005, 02:07 AM
what is aikido without an attack? a wrist grab is not an attack. It is an imobilizing technique used to restrain. Without the intent of bodily injury from uke, we have no reason to do aikido, hence why I feel you cannot do aikido without an attack. To me atemi is defined as any attack. does not have to be relegated to punches and kicks.

Also, unless nage as the abiilty to use atemi or at least the threat, then uke has no reason to enter in a reserved manner, or nor can nage interrupt the balance or speed really.

While atemi may not be used in every situation like irimi nage, or koshi nage, the premise of the uke/nage relationship requires the threat of some sort of violent action which would be an attack (atemi).

Nick Simpson
07-01-2005, 04:23 AM
A while ago I had a kohai tell me that I wasnt doing iriminage correctly because when I collected his face/chin I was using atemi. I politely asked what he meant and he showed me. I was left thinking, thats not atemi: THIS is atemi! Was absolutely bizaare, especially considering that this person could not execute an effective iriminage himself. Chalk it up to 5th kyu shihan syndrome I spose...

Robert Rumpf
07-01-2005, 07:06 AM
what is aikido without an attack? a wrist grab is not an attack. It is an immobilizing technique used to restrain. Without the intent of bodily injury from uke, we have no reason to do aikido, hence why I feel you cannot do aikido without an attack.

A wrist grab can certainly be an attack.

Are you saying that when my arms are being pinned behind my back, or there is some attempt to restrain in some other esoteric lock which begins with a grab, I shouldn't react because an immobilization is not an attack..? I should react only when the fist or knife is proceeding towards my now restrained body...? I'll have a lot of luck doing that when I'm already immobilized.

Likewise, if I'm holding a knife or gun pointed at at an adversary, and they or someone else decide they don't like the situation, and tries to pin my arm to my side so I can't stab and/or shoot either of them, than that is an attack and it is kosa dori or katate dori they will be using. Yes, grabs will likely be followed up with a strikes after I am restrained, but if I am already pinned in place, there isn't much that I can do about those. Likewise, they could as easily handcuff me or apply some other lasting form of restraint, which I may have no desire to want done to me.

I would try to use Aikido at the point where I feel threatened, and hopefully before I feel threatened.

Grabs are attacks. If you start treating every hand you grab as potentially having a knife, then their uses and dangers become more clear.

Rob

Kevin Leavitt
07-01-2005, 02:00 PM
Grabs are attacks. If you start treating every hand you grab as potentially having a knife, then their uses and dangers become more clear.

This is the point I was trying to make, but probably didn't do it so well. Although I did say that "without the THREAT of atemi (atemi as defined as a potentially injurious attack...whatever that may be from fist, knife, stick etc, the repositioning into a wrist lock or arm bar, ikkyo or something.).

The wrist grab would be the start of the attack...yes for sure.

you are correct, of course...you wouldn't wait for uke to get to the "point of no return".

My point is, that what matters is the threat of atemi, or injurious technique. Without it, you have a nice way to dance.

L. Camejo
07-01-2005, 06:30 PM
My point is, that what matters is the threat of atemi, or injurious technique. Without it, you have a nice way to dance.
I think this is an incorrect oversimplification of Aikido waza as it omits other tactical elements of the execution of effective waza such as kuzushi, which does make technique very martially usable and viable without resorting to atemi. In fact, good application of kuzushi often becomes necessary in situations where atemi fails or is limited in its ability to cause the degree of disruption required e.g. against body armor.

In this case, the absence of atemi does not automatically allow serious martial practice to degenerate into a dance. If the above were true then the same "nice way to dance" idea would also apply to Judo and other methods that may not employ much atemi, but utilise other methods of disrupting balance, body alignment and structure.

Just my take. I reserve the right to be wrong.
LC:ai::ki:

eyrie
07-02-2005, 12:27 AM
So far the discussion has been centered around use of atemi by tori in waza. Let me postulate another perspective. Let us suppose that the clichéd reference to "aikido is 90% atemi" is reversed. i.e from uke's perspective. i.e. If there is no atemi (from uke), there is no necessity for aikido? Let us assume for the moment, that a grab (or other restraint) is a prelude to an intended atemi.

Kevin Leavitt
07-02-2005, 05:28 PM
I agree ignatius.

pezalinski
07-06-2005, 09:46 AM
Short answer: YES

An awareness of Atemi on the part of nage and uke is required for good Aikido, even if an atemi is never manifested in the technique. An atemi temi has a distinct probability of occuring, at any given time and space in a technique, depending on what uke and nage are each observing and reacting to.

That is to say, an atemi can be used in the same way as a riding crop is used on a horse by it's rider -- to encourage desired behavior:
1) With a well-trained horse, the crop never has to strike the animal, it only has to be carried by the rider -- they both know it's there.
2) With a less-trained horse, a light tap can get the horse's attention and redirect it's efforts.
3) And, with a violent, unbroken horse, a riding crop is almost completely useless -- you're just going to have to hang on for the ride, and deal with it once it's calmed down. Then see #2 or #1

And yes, this interpretation applies well from either nage's or uke's perspective -- sometimes you're the horse, sometimes the rider.

:)

samurai_kenshin
07-19-2005, 04:37 PM
I like to think that atemi sort of completes the technique for me. This week, sensei is asking us not to atemi on tsuki kotegaishi,a nd it totally threw off my technique! I'm now having to recalibrate myself to an atemi-less kotegaishi. It's really interesting because now I have more opportunity to corect other problems with my technique. I've also noticed that since I've been gone, my randori has been destroyed...