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Hagen Seibert
10-01-2005, 12:24 PM
Hello,

I frequently heard the quotation of O-Sensei, that "atemi is 90% of Aikido". Now, without the context oft these words one can interprete a lot into the statement. Does anyone know more about this statement, context, source, etc.....

Thanks for your help !

George S. Ledyard
10-01-2005, 12:38 PM
Hello,

I frequently heard the quotation of O-Sensei, that "atemi is 90% of Aikido". Now, without the context oft these words one can interprete a lot into the statement. Does anyone know more about this statement, context, source, etc.....

Thanks for your help !

My favorite comment on this subject was from Peter Goldsbury Sensei... He said "atemi is 90 % of Aikdio is wrong... atemi is 100% of Aikido."

Now it is readily apparent from watching Aikido that one doesn't see atemi being executed in every technique. But it's there. It's simply implicit rather than explicit.

It is one of the koans of Aikido to solve this in your training and understand what is meant by it.

SeiserL
10-01-2005, 01:31 PM
IMHO, a strike can be a block, can be a lock, can be a throw. Make your movement strike to the center and kuzushi balance point.

IOW, I don't really know either.

samurai_kenshin
10-01-2005, 02:09 PM
My favorite variation on this comes from a senior student at the dojo I train in: "Atemi is 90%, uke's face is the other 10."
Whichever way it goes, I think atemi is immensely important to aikido...or at least mine.

Kevin Leavitt
10-01-2005, 02:15 PM
I really didn't understand aikido and the importance of atemi until I started studying BJJ and Judo. Both arts typcially will isolate this part out of the equation. It becomes very difficult to demonstrate the dynamic of aikido once you eliminate the core of what makes aikido aikido.

(this is not to say that atemi is not apart of the BJJ or Judo curriculm...just not emphasized or as important to things as it is in aikido).

Ron Tisdale
10-01-2005, 02:44 PM
Try getting a copy of Gozo Shioda's autobiography. I think its mentioned in there. If I get a chance, I'll post the relavent phrase.

Best,
Ron

ChrisHein
10-01-2005, 03:18 PM
With out a strike one would be better off using the principle of "ju" and not "aiki". Aiki is (in my opinion) blending with a motion in space. Like a strike coming in. A sword swing, and thrusting jo, a fist or what have you. With out a strike, or something coming at you in space (a body trying to tackle you) there would be nothing to blend with, no intention to connect to, no motion to lead. When purely wrestling one should use the principal of "ju". To move around physical action, when pushed to absorb the force, and flow around it. Judo, and BJJ use pure "ju" to practice their techniques, to flow with someone and find weakness then take advantage of weakness. Aiki is different, aiki seeks to be with your opponents mind long before there is physical action, to read ones intention and use that information advantageously. While aiki can be used in a grappling situation, it is limited in it's application here, it is best suited to dealing with incoming strikes. I believe the quote "aikido is 90% atemi" doesn't have as much to do with nage as it dose with uke, that is to say it's not nage making the "strike" it's uke.

-Chris Hein

aikidoc
10-01-2005, 03:43 PM
"aikido is 90% atemi" doesn't have as much to do with nage as it dose with uke, that is to say it's not nage making the "strike" it's uke.

Sorry, Chris. I've got to agree with George on this one. In my article in Black Belt Magazine, June 2005 I address this issue from the aikido literature. I read everything I could find on atemi in the aikido literature. No where in the literature does it refer to the uke but takes the viewpoint that nage is delivering the atemi, or at least strongly infers it.

ChrisHein
10-01-2005, 05:32 PM
"No where in the literature does it refer to the uke but takes the viewpoint that nage is delivering the atemi, or at least strongly infers it."

Well....
Who's judging what the "inferring" is? What I think something infers, and what you think something infers can be two dramatically different things (depending on our differnt reasoning, and experiences). I also agree with George, it's kind of a koan, and you should ask yourself what it means. That's (that it refers to incoming attacks) just what I think it means. I do however think that this is the dividing line between "aiki" and "ju".

-Chris Hein
p.s. John, I like your web page!

sanskara
10-01-2005, 09:57 PM
I love the Aikido is 90% atemi crowd: lousy command of Aiki bolstered by a theoretical reliance on striking. And since most Aikido schools do little or no striking training, congratulations, you end up with nothing.

mathewjgano
10-01-2005, 10:35 PM
I love the Aikido is 90% atemi crowd: lousy command of Aiki bolstered by a theoretical reliance on striking. And since most Aikido schools do little or no striking training, congratulations, you end up with nothing.

Yeah, but tell us what you really think! ;) So either you're just providing a worst-case, gass is all the way empty, scenario, or you're making a generalization. I of course don't know how many of the "atemi crowd" you've experienced. I think atemi is an important aspect of Aikido though. Even if you don't use it, I think you should be able to pretty much any time. It's kind of like the "4-directions" throw: there's an infinite number of directions (within a finite range) you can throw someone. Maybe in the same way someone could say Aikido is 90% atemi and not be as worthless as you just described? After all, language is awefully interpretive and not everyone speaks it literally, as you yourself just demonstrated.
Just my two bits...er...wooden nickle.
Take care,
Matt

aikidoc
10-01-2005, 11:10 PM
"I love the Aikido is 90% atemi crowd: lousy command of Aiki bolstered by a theoretical reliance on striking. And since most Aikido schools do little or no striking training, congratulations, you end up with nothing."

How does atemi and a lousy command of Aiki get together. If you bother to look at the film and books you'll notice O'Sensei striking regularly which is hardly theoretical. Because it was de-emphasized by Nidai Doshu does not mean that O'Sensei placed less importance on atemi. Initially, in my research I thought atemi was rarely discussed and found otherwise. Your statement makes it look like those who apply atemi do not apply aiki priniciples. I don't think my shihan would agree with that. That would be as accurate as me saying that all who don't apply atemi are more like dancers than martial artists. It is my opinion that: "The failure to use all the weapons available in a conflict situation demonstrates ignorance of the serious implications of violence."

Chris: no where in the literature do I see O'Sensei taking atemi-on the contrary he is delivering it. Our weakness is to not be very specific or scientific about it and the tendency of a lot of people to use it as a distraction rather than the definition by Sandai doshu "strikes to vital points". Also, thanks for the comment on my website.

George S. Ledyard
10-02-2005, 12:42 AM
I love the Aikido is 90% atemi crowd: lousy command of Aiki bolstered by a theoretical reliance on striking. And since most Aikido schools do little or no striking training, congratulations, you end up with nothing.

Well James,
If I didn't know you are far more knowledgeable than this statement would indicate, I'd assume you didn't have a clue. Barring the fact that the Founder actually said this, which makes him part of the "90% atemi crowd", this statement was recounted to me by Saotome Sensei as part of my training. I can't think of anyone who would seriously maintain that he has a lousy command of aiki. Nor do I think I know anyone who would be dumb enough to assume his knowledge of striking is "theoretical".

Anyway, there are enough really fine Aikido teachers around who do believe this statement is true and an understanding of this area is crucial to understanding of Aikido technique that you might consider being a bit less obnoxious with such blanket statements.

While I am not advocating using atemi as a substitute for good technique, I can guarentee you that if I attacked you and you didn't have at least the possibility of atemi at your disposal, you couldn't throw me. Saotome Sensei taught us that, if you know your partner will not strike you, all techniques are stoppable. My experience confirms this so I'll stick with this viewpoint until someone can show me I'm wrong.

kokyu
10-02-2005, 01:32 AM
Try getting a copy of Gozo Shioda's autobiography. I think its mentioned in there. If I get a chance, I'll post the relavent phrase.

Best,
Ron

Shioda Sensei says in his superb book [Aikido Shugyo] that "Atemi are 70% of a real fight". The text also quotes O-Sensei as saying "In a real fight, Aikido is 70 percent atemi and 30 percent throwing". Shioda Sensei continues with "In Aikido, atemi is not limited to punching or kicking".

However, I am curious as to how dojos actually emphasize atemi. From the Sensei that I have seen, atemi is shown in 2 ways:
(1) When we need to off balance uke in techniques such as tsuki kotegaeshi
(2) When uke presents an opening for a punch or kick

In actual practice though, most of the emphasis is getting atemi right in (1). I almost never practice (2) - i.e. doing a mock punch or kick when the opening presents itself. I can't remember using other parts of my body for atemi, although it looks impressive.

Just wonder how other people practice atemi :)

ChrisHein
10-02-2005, 03:28 AM
If you are locked down, atemi is a great way to get things flowing again.

John:
My knowledge of Japanese is pretty limited, but I don't' think the word "atemi" is limited to punches kicks and other unarmed strikes. If you include atemi to mean any strike, including tackles, sword strikes, jo thrusts etc., then I see him "taking on" more of these then I see him actually punching people. I'm not saying that O-sensei didn't advocate striking people (see my above statement) I am however saying that "Aiki" (that which "Aikido" is based) is very involved with strikes (weapons or otherwise), so involved that I would say it takes up about 90% of the idealized attacks.

-Chris Hein

Hagen Seibert
10-02-2005, 03:46 AM
I really enjoyed reading all the contributions to this thread. In a way it seems most people have heard it from somebody else, but not directly from some kind of source.

Thanks Soon-Kian for pointing out Shioda Sensei´s book. Could you perhaps post the full paragraph ? In most styles of Aikido atemi is rather a means than a technique, i.e. a means to break balance, to distract, to win time for entering, ot to make uke move in a certain way like make him do a block which you can use for e.g. ikkyo on this blocking arm. So naturally (2) will be rarely practised as this would be the original meaning of striking: hit an couse trauma or injury. Though in my opinion it´s a thing one should know (even if you don´t want to use it, because it gives a meaning to your way of atemi). I think I agree with most posters on this thread here.

Ron, is this quotation the same you had in mind ?

George, I think James´ post was directed towards people, who have the words on their lips but do not have the experience and knowledge in striking to match it (as indeed it´s rarely part of the regular training, like Soon-Kian said). I think he did not refer to teachers like you or Saotome Sensei.

sanskara
10-02-2005, 04:21 AM
Well James,
If I didn't know you are far more knowledgeable than this statement would indicate, I'd assume you didn't have a clue. Barring the fact that the Founder actually said this, which makes him part of the "90% atemi crowd", this statement was recounted to me by Saotome Sensei as part of my training. I can't think of anyone who would seriously maintain that he has a lousy command of aiki. Nor do I think I know anyone who would be dumb enough to assume his knowledge of striking is "theoretical".

Well, hey, if Saotome said it. Look, like it or not, be it or not, there is a group of people out there with no command of Aiki that would like to rely on strikes to get them through. Ueshiba also said that spirits inhabited his body when he performed Aikido. Have you been praying to them to acquire similar advantage?

Now, atemi is part of Aikido--absolutely. Anyone checking my profile will note that my primary martial art is Karate (no bias against striking there.)

My quam is with the "atemi is 90% of Aikido" bullshit. Yes, that's what it is. Atemi means to hit the body. If you are not hitting the body in 90% of your training in the dojo, you are not practicing what you preach--period. If you are not teaching people to strike with proper alignment and targeting, conditioning their bodies for impact, etc, you are not doing proper atemi, much less at a 90% ratio. How hard is that to understand? Hopefully not very.

Anyway, there are enough really fine Aikido teachers around who do believe this statement is true and an understanding of this area is crucial to understanding of Aikido technique that you might consider being a bit less obnoxious with such blanket statements.

You know what? I'm all for being less obnoxious when it's not important, but this is. You are not practicing Aikido with 90% atemi and neither is anyone else on this board--neither did Ueshiba, nor does Saotome.

Now, if you want to change the definition of atemi from hitting the body to some sort of euphamism for taking a person's mind and/or balance (Ki, if you will), then you've changed the definition to justify the statements of your influences.

While I am not advocating using atemi as a substitute for good technique, I can guarentee you that if I attacked you and you didn't have at least the possibility of atemi at your disposal, you couldn't throw me.

True, because if I'm within reach of your grasp or strike, I do have the possibility of atemi--not a very challenging statement, when you think about it. If I'm too far away to hit, it's difficult to downright impossible to throw even an inanimate object.

Saotome Sensei taught us that, if you know your partner will not strike you, all techniques are stoppable.

True in training. In real application, someone attacks with purpose and that purpose is not to lock up your technique, but to do you harm. That goal changes the whole dynamic of the interaction. Too many people get caught up in dojo technique.

My experience confirms this so I'll stick with this viewpoint until someone can show me I'm wrong.

I think I just did. Obnoxiousness maybe, but no offense intended.

Peter Goldsbury
10-02-2005, 05:08 AM
The closest I can find to a direct statement attributed to the Founder occurs on p.38 of Volume 5 of M Saito's Traditional Aikido.

I quote the English translation:

"Atemi accounts for 99% of aikido." was a remark once uttered by the Founder. (The actual Japanese reads: Aikidou wa sono 99% ga atemi de aru.) However, Saito Sensei goes on to give some explanation. I introduced atemi at some length in Volume 4. Atemi is virtually omitted in aikido training on the grounds that that preliminary blow should not become a matter of dominant concern. However, there are quite a few cases in which the meaning of a technique is incomprehensible if the attendant atemi is left out. I suggest therefore that, after reading Volume 4, study shoud be made as to when atemi should be delivered in the execution of a technique and (of) cases of omission.

Note that atemi is not defined in the Japanese text. It is simply a heading. In the English translation, Body blow, prior to applying technique is given in brackets after the heading.

Tom54
10-02-2005, 06:29 AM
This is a direct quotation from the Japanese version of "Aikido Shubyo" by Shioda sensei. The title of the chapter is "In a real fight 70% is Atemi".

After explaining some real figthing occasion in the previous chapter,
"Maybe you are surprised that I used mostly Atemi in these occasions.... but my teacher Morihei Ueshiba sensei always had stated that in real fighting occasions 70% of aikido is atemi, and 30% is throwing. You may maybe ask about the various locks that we are training. If you are picked uped with a drunk, maybe wrist locks are better choice to control the opponent, but in a life and death matter or if you are facing multiple opponents, speed is the crucial part and you must rely on atemi or throws that can be done in a moment."

After that he explains several principles that can make the atemi in aikido effective (Irimi, timing and the concentration of the power).

kokyu
10-02-2005, 06:46 AM
Thanks Soon-Kian for pointing out Shioda Sensei´s book. Could you perhaps post the full paragraph ?

There is more than one paragraph on this topic from Aikido Shugyo, by Shioda G. (translated by Payet J. and Johnston C.), Shindokan International, (c) 2002, pp 19-20:

"In Aikido, atemi is not limited to punching or kicking. Any part of the body can become a weapon for executing atemi. Some of you may have seen me in demonstrations use my back to repel an opponent rushing at me, or my shoulder to send my opponent flying as we pass each other. The reason these techniques work is that the contact point in itself becomes the atemi."

BTW, you can buy this book at http://www.shindokanbooks.com

Just out of interest, my Japanese dictionary defines atemi 「当て身・中身」 as (my translation):
"In Judo, by the fist/elbow/foot and suchlike, the technique of thrusting [at] or striking partner's vital areas. Because it is a dangerous technique, it is forbidden in randori or competitions."

kokyu
10-02-2005, 09:51 AM
In most styles of Aikido atemi is rather a means than a technique, i.e. a means to break balance, to distract, to win time for entering, ot to make uke move in a certain way like make him do a block which you can use for e.g. ikkyo on this blocking arm. So naturally (2) will be rarely practised as this would be the original meaning of striking: hit an couse trauma or injury. Though in my opinion it´s a thing one should know (even if you don´t want to use it, because it gives a meaning to your way of atemi). I think I agree with most posters on this thread here.

When I mentioned (2) in my post, I was referring to mock punches and kicks. If we really tried to punch or kick, I think we would run out of ukes soon.

However, (2) may have several problems:
(I don't claim to be an expert in this area so this is just what I think)
(a) Punching or kicking may require a sudden change of technique - i.e. when you strike at an opening, the whole nature of the technique will change. The "well-aimed blow" may cause uke to double-over or fall back. This may require a change in technique (or another atemi) because of the difference in uke's position/posture.
(b) The flow of movement may be disturbed because one has gone for a strike - e.g. in the middle of shihonage ura, you stop to give uke a sock in the ribs. I always thought that continuous flow was an important part of Aikido.
(c) Nage may not be able to control his strength and really hurt uke - this may happen with an over-enthusiastic nage or a nage who has training in another martial art that emphasizes striking.

Again, I wonder whether anyone trains by deliberately striking (albeit softly) at every opening when doing an Aikido technique in normal practice. I've seen people do mock punches from time to time, but kicks?

Charlie
10-02-2005, 10:23 AM
This subject comes up so often that I decided to reread some of the training text that I have in my library. The book I started with was Budo - Teachings of the Founder of Aikido by Morihei Ueshiba [Translated by John Stevens/Introduction by Kisshomaru Ueshiba]

My understanding from reading the Translator's Forward, is that this is "as literal as possible" translation of the original text Budo, which was published in 1938 and is the only INSTRUCTION MANUAL that Morihei Ueshiba posed for himself.

That being said...
...Atemi means to hit the body. If you are not hitting the body in 90% of your training in the dojo, you are not practicing what you preach--period. If you are not teaching people to strike with proper alignment and targeting, conditioning their bodies for impact, etc, you are not doing proper atemi, much less at a 90% ratio...

...You are not practicing Aikido with 90% atemi and neither is anyone else on this board--neither did Ueshiba, nor does Saotome...

As your statement is a cut and dry assessment of atemi, I offer:

Page 33

under the heading "The Essence of Technique"

"3. Shomen Training
Striking with the right or left hand
Use of the te-gatana [hand-sword] (or fist): in order to deliver a
devastating blow to an enemy, one must be enlightened to the
principles of heaven and earth;... ...Without offering your
opponent the slightest opening or allowing a break in the flow of
kokyu and ki, you must be enlightened to the
essence of 'striking'"

and further on page 34

"...Regardless of what may arise, one should be prepared to
receive ninety-nine percent of an enemy's attack and stare
death in the face in order to illuminate the path. Strike like
thunder and fly more quickly than lightening-that is the way you
should act. Keep these things in mind as you train and discern
how to avoid entirely the pressure of an enemy's attack."

Most of the techniques found depicted in this publication are full of Osensei applying a whole variety of atemi. Open and closed handed with strikes to the head, body and wrists/arms.

Page 46

"Yokomen
11.
Tori: Fill yourself with ki and invite your opponent to
deliver a yokomen strike.

Uke: Step forward on your right foot and deliver a
yokomen strike with your right te-gatana to the left side of
your opponent's head.

Tori: Advance slightly on your left foot and with your left
te-gatana neutralize your opponent's attack, while
simultaneously striking his face with your right hand (29). Then
enter deeply to his side, and cut down his attacking te-gatana
with your own right te-gatana, while striking his ribs with
your left fist (30). Next use your right arm to down him (31)."


When I read Osensei words it seems to me that there was quite a bit of importance lended to proper striking whether you are Uke or Tori. And at least in these early pictures, you see him applying atemi in almost every technique. Now whether that equates to Aikido is 90% atemi, I don't know.

And for the record, the majority of photos are pre-war. However, "for the sake of comparison", photos where added from Wakayama (1951) when Osensei was 68 yrs. old...and he was applying atemi...

ChrisHein
10-02-2005, 11:02 AM
If you take "atemi" to mean nage is striking uke with a hand of foot or what have you. Then either: O-sensei was bad with percentages, or none of us are doing Aikido, or we have misunderstood his meaning. Western boxing is barely 90% atemi, there are lots of strikes, but there are also a lot of footwork drills, covering technique. Most styles of Karate are probably not "90%" atemi, there are a few throws, and blocks etc. If your direct meaning is 90% of the Aikido syllabus is made up of atemi, then something is wrong, because it's not. If you mean to say that Aikido forms use atemi 90% of the time, (meaning you will see an atemi happen in 90% of the techniques) , and you take 90% to mean only a lot, and not litteraly 90%, this could be correct, because a lot of them do, still not 90%, but quite a few do.

What separates Aikido from other martial arts? Is it simply the technical syllabus? I believe O-sensei's idea of what Aikido went far beyond it's shihonage's, kotegaishi's, and other simply technical aspects. I believe that he was truly interested in studying "Aiki". I think you could have giving O-sensei any technical syllabus, and he still would have formed "Aikido". Weather he had been purely a Karate man, or a kendoka, or what ever, he would have still invented “Aikido”. True Aikido is not attached to the 7 throws, and 6 controls, it is only attached to the idea of "Aiki". Find what Aiki is and I'm sure you'll find the answer to "Aikido is 90% atemi".

-Chris Hein

George S. Ledyard
10-02-2005, 11:04 AM
I think I just did. Obnoxiousness maybe, but no offense intended.

I certainly understand that no offense is intended and since we have had some substantial back and forth over the years and I know you are both serious and knowledgeable, I don't take the "obnoxious" tone of your first statement personally. n fact i agree with you that many, if not most folks out there do not understand atemi, can't do atemi effectively, use atemi to make up for their lack of ability to achieve kuzushi properly. But I am not talking about those people. I am talking about people who do know what they are talking about and are highly skilled.

The whole logic of the paired interaction of Aikido requires atemi. Your narrow definition that there is no atemi until the atemi actually manifests is just wrong. Martial arts is about suki (openings). In Aikido we endeavor to close our suki and expose the partner's. This is the learning process.

If you take the simple training exercise of kokyu dosa as an example, it would be impossible without the possibility of atemi. The uke, sensing that his center is rising, would simply let go and break the connection and stay grounded. It is the knowledge that if he lets go, he is exposed to a double knife edge strike to the neck that causes him to choose to hold on, thereby producing a technique which, to outward appearances has no atemi. But the entire logic of the interaction was based on the possibility of the atemi. The uke CHOOSES to move in such a way as to acknowledge that possibility and the nage does not need to manifest it.

A flowing technique such as yokomen-uchi ikkyo is completely dependent on atemi. Uke attacks with yokomen-uchi... nage receives using the irimi-tenkan entry; one hand receives the strike and nage rests his weight upon the attacking arm (in the same manner one would rest ones sword blade on a kesa giri) while the other hand executes an atemi to the face of the uke.

If there is no atemi to the face of the uke, he can turn that hip inside the arc of the movement and deliver a strike with that hand; it is the atemi which forces him to protect himself by deflecting the blow before he attempts to strike with that hand.

Why doesn't the uke simply pull the arm back once the yokomen uchi has missed its target? In fact he will, unless one has entered properly and rested his weight on that arm as previously described. At that point he cannot take that arm away without exposing himself to the atemi line that exists up the inside of the arm to the face / neck. He must maintain contact as a defense against that line; if he tries to use his opposite hand to protect against that threat, he opens himself up to the original line of atemi to the face. He has no choice but to stay connected which allows the nage to effect his center through the connection created by that attack. If there were no atemi involved, the uke could and would simply disconnect the instant his yokomen did not hit the opponent or he would attack in combination by throwing the yokomen and then instantly delivering a tsuki with the other hand. the only thing that prevents either of these possibilities is the proper alignment and spacing of the nage which puts him in position to strike with either hand while nage can only effectively protect himself from one of the two lines of attack. Understanding this fact, the uke is forced to leave his arm out making it possible for the nage to execute the ikkyo. No atemi, no technique; period. That doesn't mean that every atemi is thrown; the partner is assumed to be smart enough not to open himself up to the atemi because he can feel the intention of the nage to strike if he leaves himself open.

The narrow definition of atemi as a physical strike to the body leaves out some of the most important usage of atemi which involves striking the space the uke needs to be in (in order to effectively complete his attack) before he actually gets there, thereby giving him the chance to break his posture and avoid being hit. In fact, if i can put my Mind into that space and the uke feels it, then he will experience it as being unable to attack himself because he knows he will be struck if he does. O-sensei could do this, I have felt Saotome Sensei do it to me and Ushiro Sensei at Rocky Mountain Summer Camp gave a lengthy description of what is going on when you do this.

Having had some small kensho this summer after that camp I can also do it somewhat (not as skillfully as these teachers though) so I am not talking second hand. I know this to be true from my own practice. But the ability to stop an opponent from even being able to launch an attack, thereby winning without having to fight, is entirely based on the possibility of atemi and an understanding on the part of both parties of timing, spacing, and suki.

Anyway, some of this stuff is so self-evident in Aikido waza that your refusal to acknowledge it seems to me to be based on trying to make some point rather than what you really believe. Your point about adjusting the range to make atemi unnecessary is a good one but it assumes an unlimited amount of room to move. Sure, if one has that, one can use proper movement and spacing alone to unbalance an opponent suing only the energy of the attacker's intention to accomplish the technique. But when there is not that kind of room available, then irimi is the only possibility and any techniques being done in that context will need to function as I have described.

I am open to being shown that this isn't true... but I've got thirty years in now, have trained widely, well outside of my own organization, so no one can say I haven't seen a very wide representation of Aikido approaches and I haven't seen any Aikido which is both effective and contradicts what I am saying here. Even my investigations beyond the boundaries of Aikido with Vladimir Vasiliyev in the Systema and Kenji Ushiro of Shindo Ryu Karate have confirmed this for me.

So until someone can provide me an experience which doesn't fit my model, I am sticking with it. I will continue to stay open to any new experiences... I have trained with many of the old giants of Aikido in Japan before they died, gone to every Expo, attended seminars with both Aikido and non-Aikido teachers alike... I don't think you'll find an Aikido person more open to new ideas. But if they contradict my previous experience, they have to show me they can do it and in this area I haven't experienced that yet.

sanskara
10-02-2005, 05:29 PM
Anyway, some of this stuff is so self-evident in Aikido waza that your refusal to acknowledge it seems to me to be based on trying to make some point rather than what you really believe. .

Yes, I am trying to make a point, and here it is: the statement that atemi is 90% of Aikido is too specific to be taken any other way than literally. To an outside martial artist, it is yet another example of the confused conglomerate of philosophically-driven individuals, looking to hitch their personal ideologies to the star of Ueshiba, that largely make up the vocal culture of Aikido.

It's a martial platitude that allows an insecure Aikidoka to exclaim that no matter what you see on the mat, and no matter how unrealistic and ineffective it may appear, always remember that Aikido is in fact mostly atemi.

The notion that Aikido is mostly atemi, is ridiculous, unless it's some sort of invisible stealth percussion. Even so, basic logic dictates that you don't learn things through osmosis. To simply imply that atemi is possible is not the same thing as actually training to strike an opponent's body. If one extends the definition of atemi to encompass kuzushi, suki, or whatever Japanese term we thow into the mix, that still doesn't effectively justify the explicitness of the claim.

The whole logic of the paired interaction of Aikido requires atemi. Your narrow definition that there is no atemi until the atemi actually manifests is just wrong.

If by narrow definition you mean literal interpretation, then yes. And it is not wrong, you are mixing disruption with atemi--related, but not exactly the same.

Let's say that the statement under scrutiny were this: Aikido relies heavily on the disruption of a person's attacking intent. This application of martial principle not only creates openings, it awakens a practitioner's awareness to the general concept of suki. At advanced levels, this forced loss of an opponent's equilibrium can manifest at range, before physical contact is even made. Such a fundamental is the cornerstone of effective Aiki.

IF that were the claim, you'd get no argument from me. But to say that 90% of Aikido is atemi is sloppy intellectualism in comparison. As Chris Hein pointed out, few if any arts can claim such a high ratio of percussive application. And I might also add, if they were lining up for categorization, Aikido would be at the bottom of the list.

Your point about adjusting the range to make atemi unnecessary is a good one but it assumes an unlimited amount of room to move.

That was not my point. I don't look for reasons to avoid atemi, I prefer it to grappling actually. My point was that if I'm close enough to throw, I'm close enough to hit, so your claim that I could not throw you if I could not hit you is technically accurate, even if it was meant as a quasi-postural challenge.

I am open to being shown that this isn't true...

It is true that if you are not hitting, you are not training to hit. You must hit something to claim competency in strikes (person, makiwara, even the air with full extension and intensity, breeds some competency.) Anything else is just pretend; Aikido has enough of that already.

George S. Ledyard
10-02-2005, 06:12 PM
Yes, I am trying to make a point, and here it is: the statement that atemi is 90% of Aikido is too specific to be taken any other way than literally. To an outside martial artist, it is yet another example of the confused conglomerate of philosophically-driven individuals, looking to hitch their personal ideologies to the star of Ueshiba, that largely make up the vocal culture of Aikido.

It's a martial platitude that allows an insecure Aikidoka to exclaim that no matter what you see on the mat, and no matter how unrealistic and ineffective it may appear, always remember that Aikido is in fact mostly atemi.

The notion that Aikido is mostly atemi, is ridiculous, unless it's some sort of invisible stealth percussion. Even so, basic logic dictates that you don't learn things through osmosis. To simply imply that atemi is possible is not the same thing as actually training to strike an opponent's body. If one extends the definition of atemi to encompass kuzushi, suki, or whatever Japanese term we thow into the mix, that still doesn't effectively justify the explicitness of the claim.



If by narrow definition you mean literal interpretation, then yes. And it is not wrong, you are mixing disruption with atemi--related, but not exactly the same.

Let's say that the statement under scrutiny were this: Aikido relies heavily on the disruption of a person's attacking intent. This application of martial principle not only creates openings, it awakens a practitioner's awareness to the general concept of suki. At advanced levels, this forced loss of an opponent's equilibrium can manifest at range, before physical contact is even made. Such a fundamental is the cornerstone of effective Aiki.

IF that were the claim, you'd get no argument from me. But to say that 90% of Aikido is atemi is sloppy intellectualism in comparison. As Chris Hein pointed out, few if any arts can claim such a high ratio of percussive application. And I might also add, if they were lining up for categorization, Aikido would be at the bottom of the list.



That was not my point. I don't look for reasons to avoid atemi, I prefer it to grappling actually. My point was that if I'm close enough to throw, I'm close enough to hit, so your claim that I could not throw you if I could not hit you is technically accurate, even if it was meant as a quasi-postural challenge.



It is true that if you are not hitting, you are not training to hit. You must hit something to claim competency in strikes (person, makiwara, even the air with full extension and intensity, breeds some competency.) Anything else is just pretend; Aikido has enough of that already.


James,
I always have to laugh after our exchanges... after much back and forth I always end up in the place where I don't feel we are in much disagreement at all, just wedded to using different terminology and perhaps shading our emphasis slightly differently. Time will tell whether our different approaches make any difference at all in the quality of student we turn out or whether the differences were really not that crucial in the long run. Always good to spar with you; you make a worthy opponent.
- George

sanskara
10-02-2005, 06:21 PM
James,
I always have to laugh after our exchanges... after much back and forth I always end up in the place where I don't feel we are in much disagreement at all, just wedded to using different terminology and perhaps shading our emphasis slightly differently. Time will tell whether our different approaches make any difference at all in the quality of student we turn out or whether the differences were really not that crucial in the long run. Always good to spar with you; you make a worthy opponent.
- George

Likewise.

mathewjgano
10-02-2005, 07:44 PM
"Yes, I am trying to make a point, and here it is: the statement that atemi is 90% of Aikido is too specific to be taken any other way than literally."

But lumping everyone who says this into the realm of worthless pseudo-intellectualism, including the founder himself, is not a hyperbole?
I prefer to view atemi (all action, really) like I view a concept of energy described by physics. Both moving objects and objects at rest within a gravitational field can be simply described as having "energy." "Potetial" and "kinetic" are terms used to distinguish between the two, but both are still "energetic." Perhaps i am incorrect in thinking this way, but it has been a working model so far. My understanding of atemi is that if one is shown they are open to a strike, they will respond to the situation which has occured. If they do not, then the potential energy of the strike must manifest into kinetic energy, either relatively gentle (Aikido's ideal), or violently so. So it seems to me the real matter here is over who has the ultimate authority of saying how one ought comunicate an idea. Personally, i'm a big fan of abstract methods as a means of provoking creative thought. Am i obliged to be more specific and describe objects at rest as being "relatively" at rest since no object we know of can be said to be truly at rest? I mean, where does the line get drawn as to how specific one's language must be? By your own reasoning shouldn't you have said, "I don't love those who say atemi is 90% of Aikido but don't actually practice atemi 90% of the time..." to account for those who may indeed take it literally? That so many seem to think you're making an over-generalization seems that this is a reasonable conclusion to me. Or are you saying that the use of numbers is where the proverbial line gets drawn?

"It's a martial platitude that allows an insecure Aikidoka to exclaim that no matter what you see on the mat, and no matter how unrealistic and ineffective it may appear, always remember that Aikido is in fact mostly atemi."

I've been "bopped" several times because i wasn't aware of an atemi while training at my home dojo, so I don't view my actual experience as being heavily theoretical and i've been told by senior students that Aikido is 70% atemi though I've not been hit 70% of the time.
By the way, I understand my experience is relatively slight and, being that human perception is often fallible, I take my own impressions with a large grain of salt. Please don't mistake my thoughts as being held as absolute truth, though I know I often come across that way.

"The notion that Aikido is mostly atemi, is ridiculous, unless it's some sort of invisible stealth percussion."

I disagree in that for it to be invisible/stealthy, it would by nature not be perceived by the attacker and that is the exact opposite of the point of atemi as I understand it.

"...that still doesn't effectively justify the explicitness of the claim."

Ueshiba Sensei was not often explicit, from what I've read of what he's said. Taken into this context, as with the example of "4-direction throw," I think it's safe to say you can't take the literal approach to deciphering some or much of the language used in Aikido. Perhaps to an outside perspective it is meaningless, but in a way that only makes sense given your point about learning through osmosis. Ueshiba Sensei didn't say people could learn by watching, if I remember correctly, but rather that you have to experience it first-hand. Taken into context, remarks like these make perfect sense to me.
Take care,
Matt

pezalinski
10-03-2005, 09:27 AM
"But to say that 90% of Aikido is atemi is sloppy intellectualism in comparison. As Chris Hein pointed out, few if any arts can claim such a high ratio of percussive application."


Question: Does an atemi actually have to manifest as a physical impact on Uke by Nage in order for the atemi to affect Uke?

Answer: NO. Uke can react to the atemi, in as much as he perceives it, before it connects -- And, if that reaction is sufficient to move uke in a direction or manner that Nage intends, Nage can take advanage of that. Uke's Choice : Be hit or move.

Corrollary: Uke can react to a threat he perceives, even if Nage does not intend such a threat...Uke's Choice: Move because you could be hit.

Corrollary: Uke can be trained to move in a way to minimize the number of atemi he is open to when taking ukemi - good posture, safe placement, maintain connection, zanshin, etc.

Corrollary: Nage can be trained to respond to an attack in such a way as to minimize the number of atemi he is open to. (Hence Tenkan, Irimi, etc.).

Conclusion: Your choice, as Uke or as Nage: Be hit or move. Therein lies AIKIDO -- Atemi is required. Not occasionally, but everytime .

Split hairs as to whether atemi is 70% or 99% or 99.99999% of your training (maybe you spend 30% of your training in seiza in meditation); I don't care. The reality is simple:

No atemi = no technique, for either Uke or Nage.

happysod
10-03-2005, 10:43 AM
No atemi = no technique, for either Uke or Nage damn - I knew I've been doing something wrong... the problem with blanket statements is that 90% of the time they're wrong!

Joking aside, I'm with James on this one. Certainly my atemi (= strike in this case, not the notional body versions) are limited, with training generally involved more with blending with what is given than imposing a particular technique. Atemi in a static or "dead" situation/grapple to create movement, fine. Assigning the term atemi to the initial cut/parry e.g. in a tenchi-nage, also fine, but as a straight up I hit then do technique, nope, but that's probably just me.

One of the problems I have with the notion of the single strike then finish is the same one alluded to by James. People can take a hell of a lot more damage than you'd expect and I've known one or two people who can and will quite happily eat a single punch or so to get their grubby little mits on you before tearing you apart like rice paper. Now as I've not seen any ma based on striking claim a 100% success rate with a single punch, the idea that most aikidoka have it is slightly strange.

Hagen Seibert
10-03-2005, 10:49 AM
Many thanks to Peter Goldsbury, Tom Yawata, Soon-Kian Phang and Charles Burmeister for posting their sources.

ChrisHein
10-03-2005, 11:03 AM
I've seen several people who can take tremendously hard blows and not flinch. I've also seen these people spar, taking several shots on the way in so they can grab you and throw you down. These people don't react to actual blows, little lone pretend ones. Dose this mean you can't do Aikido with these people?

I believe the statement(aikido 90% atemi) to be an internal statement and not an external one. It's not about what I can do to him, it's what he is trying to do to me, and how I blend with that action.

-Chris Hein

Kevin Leavitt
10-03-2005, 01:22 PM
My old sensei, Bob Galeone, is a tough dude. (so I am!).

He would state over and over that aikido in practice is an art of cooperation, if someone wants to stop you from doing a technique in the training environment than they can. However, he would also demonstrate that it opens you up in other areas, but that is not the nature or within the confines of the "kata" that the instructor is trying to teach. So what is the point?

Aikido, as practices, is a controlled training methodology designed to convey the lessons and principles of the art. It is not about trading blows or seeing who is tougher.

Atemi against a well balanced opponent unless striking a vital area pretty much will not work, most anyone of substance can withstand the blow. However, when you "open the up" or unbalance them, it is an entirely different matter.

Yup, I am one of those guys that will take several blows/kicks (controlling where you place them mind you!) to allow for my to close the distance and get a hand/grip on you so I can take you down. I do this all the time when doing NHB stuff.

However, in aikido, it is not within the context of the practice to do so since aikido is concerned with principles and theory. While the techniques employed in aikido are sound, don't confuse that with being "real"

So, yes, Chris, I agree with you, it is philosophical in nature to state that aikido is 90% atemi, since by it's nature, aikido is a DO/WAY/philosophical art.

ChrisHein
10-03-2005, 05:51 PM
hat's not where I was going with it, but thanx for agreeing....

I was just talking about the use of atemi as a "faint" vs. its use as an actual blow, has nothing at all to do with the discussion "Aikido is 90% atemi". Both can be effective (weather it is a pretend blow that makes them move, or an actual blow that knocks them a bit silly), but effectiveness is not what's being talked about, neither is the practice of cooperative forms.

We are asking why O-sensei would make a statement like "Aikido is 90% atemi". I believe he was not talking at all about what nage can or would do to uke, but in fact what uke is trying to do to nage, and more so the nature of when one would use the principle of "aiki". When someone is trying to strike you (with anything) aiki is a useful skill to have, thus the way of aiki is most useful (maybe 90% of the time) when someone is trying to strike you.

-Chris Hein

Ron Tisdale
10-04-2005, 06:59 AM
Hi Chris,

Interesting proposition. Do you have any quotes from source material?

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
10-04-2005, 07:49 AM
It is one of the koans of Aikido to solve this in your training and understand what is meant by it. Since when does Aikido have "koans"? If teachers know something that is basic and important, shouldn't they just teach it instead of pretending that Aikido becomes part Zen and obscure whenever they don't know something well enough and factually enough to teach it bluntly and correctly? ;)

Mike

George S. Ledyard
10-04-2005, 10:47 AM
Since when does Aikido have "koans"? If teachers know something that is basic and important, shouldn't they just teach it instead of pretending that Aikido becomes part Zen and obscure whenever they don't know something well enough and factually enough to teach it bluntly and correctly? ;)

Mike
Actually, these things are often stated quite clearly. The atemi issue was made quite clear when I started. The Koan issue is my own, it was not my teachre's. But my understanding of what was meant changed over the years after tens of thousands of hours of practice. That doesn't mean that something was purposely withheld, it just meant that when I had five years in, there was no way my understanding could match a man who had 35 years in.

I think you must have an issue here with something... I don't know what. Anyway, if explaining something clearly and demonstrating something clearly were sufficient to pass on fifty years of experience, a fifty year teacher would be able to create a student of the same ability in a very short time. If anyone in history has managed to do this I am unaware of it...

Frankly, Aikido has lots of "koans". There are all sorts of places in Aikido when things seem contradictory and one has to discover how the resolve those seeming contradictions. These things can't be "taught" although the teacher can model the answers. But getting that answer into ones body at a level where that wisdom is automatic requires much practice and frustration before the "answers" become apparent.

As you can see from the above discussion, various parties have made their points of view eminently clear yet there is no agreement. When I am on the mat, what I do is based on the previously described principles. I can do it, I know I can do it, I can teach it, and my students are on the track of understanding the principles in the manner I do. But I am sure that the teachers who've posted above who disagree with me can say the same. That seems like a pretty good "koan" to me.

Mike Sigman
10-04-2005, 11:05 AM
Actually, these things are often stated quite clearly. The atemi issue was made quite clear when I started. The Koan issue is my own, it was not my teachre's. But my understanding of what was meant changed over the years after tens of thousands of hours of practice. That doesn't mean that something was purposely withheld, it just meant that when I had five years in, there was no way my understanding could match a man who had 35 years in.

I think you must have an issue here with something... I thought I was being reasonably clear about my feeling toward obscurata... I have an issue with it being used as a "stay with it, son, and someday you'll understand what I do" sort of argument. Nothing personal. I'm just saying that there are no "koans" in Aikido (Aikido is not a Zen Buddhist sect or training methodology) and there is no reason to argue on the basis of vagaries and appeal to authority ("I have been teaching x-number years so I win the argument", etc.). I don't know what. Anyway, if explaining something clearly and demonstrating something clearly were sufficient to pass on fifty years of experience, a fifty year teacher would be able to create a student of the same ability in a very short time. If anyone in history has managed to do this I am unaware of it... I think we're moving off topic ... I never said or implied that all the knowledge of a multi-year teacher can be passed on in a short time. My statement has more to do with basic training concepts and how simply they can be stated. "Aikido Shugyo", for example, makes a number of attempts at explaining basic concepts (including atemi) in non-esoteric terminology, while not approaching the implication that someone can bypass years of experience in all concepts in the art. Frankly, Aikido has lots of "koans". There are all sorts of places in Aikido when things seem contradictory and one has to discover how the resolve those seeming contradictions. These things can't be "taught" although the teacher can model the answers. But getting that answer into ones body at a level where that wisdom is automatic requires much practice and frustration before the "answers" become apparent.. OK, that's your opinion, but I would add to your comment that all one has to do is look at the level of Aikido in general to get the idea that "getting the answer" often seems to wind up with "getting the wrong answer, even after years of experience, and then passing it on to trusting students". In other words, these intuitive grasps of concepts that take years to acquire can lead to the wrong answers... and that needs to be recognized. It's sort of in the vein of "do this exotic practice for many years and you will wind up with Ki" ... unfortunately, I know a lot of people that did everything, believed all the "koans" and exotic reasoning, and wound up with nothing but some cooperative training routines and a black skirt. I.e., I think these esoteric quips about "koans" can be disappointingly empty and I suggest that basics can be described without vagaries.

My opinion, FWIW.

Mike

Ron Tisdale
10-04-2005, 11:33 AM
I'm just saying that there are no "koans" in Aikido (Aikido is not a Zen Buddhist sect or training methodology)

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=aikido+zen

seems to show that at least some people draw a connection between aikido and zen. Personally, I think connections between zen and the martial arts in japan are often overstated (in lieu of the connections to mikkyo in classical arts), but hey, if Chiba Shihan uses it for a vehicle, then who am I to quibble? Even though shinto is the obvious historical match for aikido. As for koans:

A puzzling, often paradoxical statement or story, used in Zen Buddhism as an aid to meditation and a means of gaining spiritual awakening.

I'm not sure I buy into the whole spiritual awakening thingy, but I have found many things in aikido (even within the same style) that are paradoxical. I suppose literary license could be used to 'borrow' the term, couldn't it?

and there is no reason to argue on the basis of vagaries and appeal to authority ("I have been teaching x-number years so I win the argument", etc.).

Maybe its just me, but I didn't see that being the thrust of anyone's arguement.

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
10-04-2005, 11:44 AM
I think connections between zen and the martial arts in japan are often overstated I agree.(About "Koans" in Aikido)I suppose literary license could be used to 'borrow' the term, couldn't it? Suits me. I don't think a literary allusion changes the facts about what I said, though. If there are specified "koans" in Aikido, I'm happy to view them and concede my error. The problem with these vague usages of esoteric terms is that they are often presented, without caveat, as fact. That was the gist of my comment. I.e., it's my opinion, just as George has his. (About many years of experience being the raison d'etre for the suggestion of "koans")Maybe its just me, but I didn't see that being the thrust of anyone's arguement. The idea of "years of experience providing the clue to mysteries" wasn't contributed by me to the discussion, though, thrust or not. ;)

Regards,

Mike

Paul D. Smith
10-04-2005, 11:46 AM
In my mind, Ledyard Sensei hit it right on the head. In my mind, a koan is nothing until it is filled with the kiai of the one seeking to solve the answer; and the path is resolved by shugyo.

A purported saying of O'Sensei ("Aikido is 99% atemi"), a doka of Tesshu ("Swordsmanship: I am not struck nor is my opponent hit; unobstructed I move in and attain the ultimate"; or, a talk: "The five components of Muto Ryo Strategy: Marvelous, Exquisite, True, Golden-Winged Garuda King, and Solitary Splendor Swords"), a koan of Takuan. They all share, to me, the characteristic of a fiery anvil, to throw oneself on fully to resolve. Now, are they obscurata? Not from what experience I have had with the effort, however humble. So much in this art can be felt and acknowledged with a knowing nod, one to each other; so much makes simply makes sense. Maybe it is precisely because these sayings or notions cannot be put into words that the danger of falling into obscurata is also so real. But the danger does not negate the reality of their direct experience, does it?

Personally, I draw from the notion of Aikido as 99% atemi, many things. Most immediately, if my aikido is not the entirety of my being, brought to a single point, I am dancing.

I appreciated Ledyard Sensei's early comments, and find good value in equating the saying to an Aikido koan, if you will.

Mike Sigman
10-04-2005, 11:50 AM
Now, are they obscurata? Not from what experience I have had with the effort. Good, then you can explain these things to us in common terms, if they are not obscurata, right? ;)

Mike

Darren
10-04-2005, 11:52 AM
I'd leave it for your lawyers to sort out

Paul D. Smith
10-04-2005, 12:06 PM
I do not see a definition of obscurata in the dictionary.

The meaning is clear.

Mike Sigman
10-04-2005, 12:41 PM
I do not see a definition of obscurata in the dictionary. Hmmmmmm.... it's in my Latin dictionary. ;)

Mike

ChrisHein
10-04-2005, 01:33 PM
Hey Ron,
No I don't, I came up with the idea, and like most of my ideas they came from training, and thinking, and not as much historical reading. I find it's really hard to read O-sensei, because I don't read Japanese, I believe most of the translations of his writings are filled with others opinion, so it's hard to from my own opinions of what he truly said.

Like anything else, this translation (Aikido is 90% atemi) could be way off base from what he said. However it is commonly repeated, and slightly enigmatic, so I have spent some time pondering it.

-Chris Hein

Ron Tisdale
10-04-2005, 01:39 PM
Cool, thanks!

Ron

Darren
10-04-2005, 03:10 PM
I think that this whole topic comes back to the question , does Aikido work on the street, I beleive and know without any atemi or distraction that the moves we learn within Aikido would not work! I know that as restraining moves they're good but when you are being confronted by somebody I beleive to use Aikido you require good atemi to give yourself time, if nothing else .

ChrisHein
10-04-2005, 04:08 PM
Please oh please lets not turn this into anouther "dose aikido work" discussion.

You're welcome Ron.

-Chris Hein

jss
10-04-2005, 04:44 PM
As for koans:A puzzling, often paradoxical statement or story, used in Zen Buddhism as an aid to meditation and a means of gaining spiritual awakening.
I'm not sure I buy into the whole spiritual awakening thingy, but I have found many things in aikido (even within the same style) that are paradoxical. I suppose literary license could be used to 'borrow' the term, couldn't it?

I'd suggest we'd not.
The point of a koan is the gaining of spiritual awakening, not being paradoxical. (And I'm not even going to talk about how broad or narrow one should define 'paradoxical'.) For further reference: Zen and the Brain: Toward an Understanding of Meditation and Consciousness, by James H. Austin, The MIT Press, 1998, 1999 (paperback). No aiki, no aikido; no awakening, no zen.

Secondly, borrowing a term like 'koan' is a dangerous thing. There are at least four Zen-Buddhisms: Chinese, traditional Japanese, modern Japanese and modern Western. So when you use the word 'koan' from which tradition are you speaking? Probably a mix of modern Western Zen and popular Western culture. That's not too impressive, I fear. It's a valid and honest expression, but still...
(Paradoxically, not all of the mentioned zen traditions, emphasise getting enlightened ...)

And this leads to the whole cross-cultural translation problem thingy. I'll solve than one some other time. ;)

eyrie
10-04-2005, 05:34 PM
If aikido is 90% atemi, why would you call it "aikido" instead of atemi-jutsu?

Atemi isn't a feint. It's a strike - be it physical or psychological - designed to "cut down" the enemy.

As to what proportion of aikido is actual striking, it depends on what you are doing and how you are doing it. Also, a strike doesn't necessarily involve the use of the hand or feet - it could be any part of the body.

Personally, everything I do involves some sort of atemi, whether it be an actual strike to a pressure point or a psychological strike to the heart of uke. Since I can't be 100% sure, there is a high probability that 99.99% of what I currently practice is atemi-waza.

As to the "qualitative nature" of such striking....that is a different question and a different answer. Because a punch isn't always a punch and a "block" isn't always a "block" and what looks like a throw isn't always a throw. :)

ChrisHein
10-04-2005, 05:56 PM
Funny how on these boards most people are more interested in talking about: how many years they have in, who their teacher was, how many ancient documents they've read, or what rank they hold, instead of trying to get to the heart of the matter and find out what might be going on for them, right now. If O-sensei had spent so many years thinking about how things were in the past, and thinking about how neat he was because he was trained by Takeda, Aikido would probably never have been founded.

-Chris Hein

mathewjgano
10-04-2005, 06:02 PM
If aikido is 90% atemi, why would you call it "aikido" instead of atemi-jutsu?

That's the prevailing concept within the system. The body is used pretty often...why not call it tai-jutsu?

Saji Jamakin
10-04-2005, 09:22 PM
I would say it's about 10%. I'm not sure where the 90% quote comes from or if it means an actual strike. Or if O'Sensei actually used atemi alot. However, the way aikido is taught today atemi (a strike) is not emphasized while doing a technique. If I have blended with uke and I am about to deliver a throw or lock I am not going to stop the action by delivering a strike. I will only do that in order to change the direction of uke's attack or break kusuzi if uke resists my initial technique or to deliver a finishing blow if I choose to. I'de much rather counter his resistance with another technique

One thing I have learned in my few years of training in aikido is situational. I can never say that I will do the same techique exactly he same way in every situation.

Mike Sigman
10-04-2005, 09:29 PM
Please oh please lets not turn this into anouther "dose aikido work" discussion. In that case, it'd be "Dose-ido"

;)

Mike

ChrisHein
10-04-2005, 10:00 PM
I spell like a drunken sailor.....does....

-Chris Hein

xuzen
10-04-2005, 11:06 PM
Speaking of atemi...

I love atemi, I use a lot of it in jiyu waza. I have found that it WORKS from personal experience. No, not the pub brawl type, the other type of brawl... DOJO BRAWL (aka multiple uke jiyu waza) in a proper dojo setting. :D

The power of my atemi is derived from the irimi and/or tenkan movement that I create. I do not cork my hands back, nor do I show any intent to my strikes. I just strike as I move, completely in accordance with my natural movement.

I do not strike makiwara to harden my knuckles. In fact they are as soft as baby's bottom. Makiwara is hard surface, human body is soft; notice the difference? Makiwara is inanimate, it does not strike back. Your opponent, moves about endlessly, makiwara is a very poor representation of human body.

I train my atemi through weapon practice. Ken suburi is a good way to develop power to your strike. Ken-do type drills are good supplement to developing strikes. Actual strikes and blocks using shinai, IMO is a very good way to develop atemi power as well.

Currently, in my Jo-do class, we actually use jo to hit bokken using full speed. It is a good avenue to learn atemi as well. My tsuki punch is exactly how my jo tsuki is, coming straight in as I irimi.
Once an uke caught my empty hand tsuki and he told me later, he had diarrhoea after-wards. I must had hit some nerve spots that cause bowel movement.

OK, I am off now. Just sharing my thoughts and some method I personally feel is beneficial to developing ATEMI, the aikido way.

Boon.

sanskara
10-05-2005, 01:11 AM
Makiwara is hard surface, human body is soft; notice the difference? Makiwara is inanimate, it does not strike back. Your opponent, moves about endlessly, makiwara is a very poor representation of human body.

I train my atemi through weapon practice. Ken suburi is a good way to develop power to your strike.

Are you serious? A makiwara doesn't meet your high standards, but swinging a bokken around is supposed to make you a master in striking? You've punched someone outside of a dojo, right?

PeterR
10-05-2005, 03:29 AM
I would say that the makiwara would train only a small fraction of the atemi available to an aikidoist. Not sure how swinging a bokken is going to make you a master of striking either but then Boon didn't say that did he? He said he found it a good way to develope the power necessary to deliver aikido atemi. It sure uses a lot of the same mucles.

xuzen
10-05-2005, 03:37 AM
Are you serious? A makiwara doesn't meet your high standards, but swinging a bokken around is supposed to make you a master in striking? You've punched someone outside of a dojo, right?

I am serious. As you stated earlier, you come from a Karate background, your point of view is definitely different from mine, I respect that. A makiwara as I explained is a poor representation of a human body. Perhaps you would like to chip in your thoughts? After all this is a forum, would love to hear yours.

Do I detect a sense of equating punching someone outside dojo as the only legitimate source of forming an opinion? And no, if you must know,,,, I have yet to punch someone outside my dojo. There are legal implication you know.

Simply swinging a bokken does not make you a master in striking, but it sure develop the forearm muscle to effect a powerful strike (uchi). Couple that with actual paired shinai exercise using real human practice partner, I do not see why not it could be use as a good drill to develop uchi power. There is a reason why striking makiwara is absent from a a typical aikido dojo, we have alternative training, James.

Like I said earlier, I value that you come from a different background and I am open to your opinion. Let's hear yours now.

Boon.

M. McPherson
10-05-2005, 06:44 AM
Xu Wenfung:

"A makiwara as I explained is a poor representation of a human body."

Respectfully, might I ask who it was that ever said makiwara were supposed to serve as representations of the human body? It is a training aid to develop one's sense of timing and maai, and as a means of integrating the component aspects of a strike (And, no, as might have been stated earlier, it is *not* a means of conditioning knuckles. Wrists, yes). It is most often a training aid to be used on one's own, and is one of many ways of learning how to commit one's entire body and intent to an attack.

"Do I detect a sense of equating punching someone outside dojo as the only legitimate source of forming an opinion? And no, if you must know,,,, I have yet to punch someone outside my dojo. There are legal implication you know."

Actually, I only read Mr. Bostwick as trying to convince people that the only way to effectively learn how to strike, is to actually strike something, or somebody. Preferably over and over, under capable tutelage, in a variety of environments, and with partners of varying resistance. (The difference he has with Mr. Ledyard as to what constitutes "atemi" is another opinion of his entirely, which I'm not going to touch here...mainly 'cuz I think they're both right)
I'm not really sure where and how you read his argument as trying to validate formation of an opinion, but you may be reading it differently than I am. Also, in the spirit of full disclosure, I punch people outside of the dojo all the time. They're training partners, and we practice together beyond scheduled hours of keiko. We train in both yakusoku and jiyu kumite, and the speed, force, and intent of our strikes (of all manner) are mutually agreed upon beforehand. Sometimes we go light, sometimes we go so far in the other direction that it might seem criminal to onlookers (and, please, I harbor no illusions that I'm some kind of toughie, or that what we do is "the real thing.")
I get the feeling that you see striking in keiko as an either/or proposition - either it's a pro-forma aspect of your waza, or it's actual battery. There's a lot in between, and it depends on your comfort and conditioning level.

I'm pretty much a plebe lurker here who really enjoys the exchange on this site, but if I might add my (probably worthless) opinion of one aspect of this topic/debate/exchange:
I read this "atemi in aikido" topic enough, and it always reminds me of the story of Joseph Campbell attending a lecture of the eminent Judaic scholar, Martin Buber. It was in the early fifties, I believe, at Columbia University. There was Buber, great beard almost as long as he was, lecturing on the idea of the absent God. His audience, Columbia intelligentsia mostly, sat in engaged silence, but Campbell became more and more upset as the talk went on, until finally he raised his hand.
"Excuse me, Professor Buber," he said, "but there's one word you've been using quite a lot that I don't quite understand."
"Yes, Mr. Campbell, " said Buber, "what is that word?"
"God," answered Campbell.
Needless to say, there was a shocked silence. "You don't understand what I mean by the word 'God,' Mr. Campbell?"
"Well, sometimes you seem to be referring to a universal cosmic principle, and other times to the Jehovah of the Old Testament, and still others to someone with whom you have personal conversations. I've just come back from India, where people have constant and daily experience of God. They dance God, sing, play, eat, live with God. God is anything but absent."
Buber drew himself up and glowered at Campbell, holding out his hands as if to ward off the very notion of Campbell's inquiry: "Surely you don't mean to compare..."
At which point the moderator jumped in to thank everyone for their opinions, and could we please just get on with Professor Buber's lecture?

Not to play at comparative religious studies here - my point is that we're all talking about atemi, but what are we defining that as? That seems to be the meat of the issue, and I don't think it's going to be resolved all that neatly. My recommendation would be to learn Japanese, read the original sources, go there to study under the few remaining Sensei who were there way back when, and then study another twenty or thirty years to figure it out. There. That shouldn't be too hard.

Sincerely,
Murray McPherson

SeiserL
10-05-2005, 07:32 AM
It is one of the koans of Aikido to solve this in your training and understand what is meant by it.
Total agreement.

Yes, I know that koans are a teaching tool specific to Zen, and that O'Sensei's Aikido is Shinto/Omoto.

Yet with some literary license, IMHO there is only so much you can be intellectually taught before you just have to find the answers yourself by dropping the question and just enjoy the experience of training.

You cannot experience the answer until you have more training and experience. If you want to see further down the path, you have to be willing to walk it. Trust those who have walked further than you, they can lead you, but not do it for you or give it to you, if you are willing to follow.

I question and criticize less now, trust and train more.

Ron Tisdale
10-05-2005, 08:47 AM
Yet with some literary license, IMHO there is only so much you can be intellectually taught before you just have to find the answers yourself by dropping the question and just enjoy the experience of training.

I think the nature of this medium can be frustrating as well, and the nature of aikido training also. Gozo Shioda's book gives the best explanation of atemi in aikido that I have seen. But if you give that as a source (which is what the original post asked for), people call 'appeal to authority'. Well, they are right. And if that's not good enough, well, just get on the mat and train.

The source quoted talks about what physical things we train in that prepare us for using atemi; keeping the weight forward, bringing the power up from the ground using the big toe, through a flexible knee joint, using focus, etc. It gives the same explanation Boon gave about how stiking the makiwara is not like striking a human body. It talks (I believe) about picking your spots for atemi accordingly, and using your whole body for atemi.

People like Ellis Amdur teach aikido from a perspective of always being able to atemi from where ever you are in your relationship to uke...not necessarily using each atemi, but being aware of how and when and where. Oh, but there's that appeal to authority again, shoot.

I have had no problem holding my own with atemi when free sparring...and I don't train regularly in striking arts anymore. But that's just personal experience, and if you haven't done that with me, why should you believe that aikido training contributed to that? Its just my opinion after all.

Guess some people just won't be happy with the answers. Just gotta live with it.

Hi Murray, I know you trained at the Doshinkan on Saturday. The various kaitenage waza we performed had atemi in most of them. Did you feel like the seniors there were able to express power in their atemi, and had good body mechanics to dieliver that power if needed? Sorry to put you on the spot a bit, but I think your opinion might be usefull for the discussion here. It's fine if you don't think they had that quality.

Just to be up front, I think many of them do. One in particular used to train in boxing...I've been on the end of his atemi...it is very humbling. :) During renzoku waza on my ikkyu test, I was able to block about one out of 4 atemi while taking ukemi. I think that goes to the idea that aikido training is often at its best when someone already has effective skill sets, and wishes to go deeper.

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
10-05-2005, 08:48 AM
Total agreement.

Yes, I know that koans are a teaching tool specific to Zen, and that O'Sensei's Aikido is Shinto/Omoto.

Yet with some literary license,... With some literary license, we could call Aikido practitioners "fighter pilots". Using the term "koan" in a *vague* way usually is just an excuse to teach vaguely and to give some air of "mysterious understanding". Look at this sentence from below and you'll see the same thing where vague "feelings" instead of facts are being pushed: "In my mind, a koan is nothing until it is filled with the kiai of the one seeking to solve the answer; and the path is resolved by shugyo." Teachers can do better and should, IMO. Look in the Doshu's books, or Shioda's books, etc..... how much artificial blending of Aikido and Zen Buddhism do you see? :^) IMHO there is only so much you can be intellectually taught before you just have to find the answers yourself by dropping the question and just enjoy the experience of training.

You cannot experience the answer until you have more training and experience. If you want to see further down the path, you have to be willing to walk it. Trust those who have walked further than you, they can lead you, but not do it for you or give it to you, if you are willing to follow.

I question and criticize less now, trust and train more. Frankly, in my experience, there are far too many people who use their "years of experience" as a credential while ignoring the obvious clues that their basics are still not complete. I can wear the scrub-suit for many years without ever morphing into a doctor. Why it is suggested that anyone should be expected to trust experience is a real question. Given how many people have poor skills after many years, "experience" doesn't necessarily mean a lot.

Regards,

Mike

eyrie
10-05-2005, 08:51 AM
That's the prevailing concept within the system. The body is used pretty often...why not call it tai-jutsu?

It is. There's a school here in Brisbane that calls what they do aiki taiho-jutsu. ;)

Quite frankly, you can call it what you want, atemi is striking, and if you don't train in it overtly or implicitly, then that's up to you.

As to whether 90% (or whatever proportion) of "aikido" is atemi, that's up to you (collective) to work out. No one can (or will) tell you the answer. Call it a "koan" if you like... :)

FWIW, MY aikido (at the moment) is probably 90% atemi. And how I practice atemi may not necessarily gel with other's ideas of what atemi is. Then again, I'm drawing on other knowledge I've gleaned through other practices, in order to arrive at some sort of physical and mental practice that I feel (spiritually) comfortable with.

YMMV.

:D

M. McPherson
10-05-2005, 09:34 AM
Hi, Ron.

No, I would have to say without reservation that the atemi was inherent in those I saw and worked with (again, the word "humbling" comes to mind) at the Doshinkan. No question - I could feel it before I was even totally aware of it. In fact, having Dennis demonstrate (was it kotegaeshi in the first class?) the waza for me, from start to finish, putting emphasis on proper body placement versus "just" striking was illuminating. Great lesson, that, and I was especially looking for what was going on in the koshi as a tie-in to what Mike and I have been working on. And it was there, soup to nuts, in everyone who was kind enough to show me what was going on. Just one of the many things that I was left impressed by at Utada Sensei's!
I hope my post didn't give the impression that I don't view atemi in aikido as inherent, because that's not the case. Nor do I feel that the, uh, more "percussive" arts are superior. But I have had experiences (in my distant aiki past) where people either put absolutely no emphasis on their strikes (without any decent kuzushi), or they thought that the strikes they were throwing would have much of an effect from the angle they were launching them, merely because they were part of the waza (there's that great Ellis Amdur story about his letting a judoka apply some shimewaza on him, or Big Tony Alvarez' saying, "I'd lose that finger to kill you" to underscore some of this). I guess, for me, there's a difference between someone saying, "C'mon! That was an atemi - you have to move!" and Dennis or Chuck having your center locked up from the 'git go - no ifs, ands, or buts.
I wrote that I though that both Messrs. Ledyard and Bostwick were correct, and I meant that. I just think, in overly simplified terms, one is coming at it from the macro level, the other one from a micro level of emphasis. I'm very interested in your thoughts on it all, and if you have the time, pm me.
Also, I'm an unrepentant Uechi guy, and it's slightly annoying when people gloss over the complexities of atemi, itself being only one aspect of what we do. So I hope it didn't seem like my dander was up. I really do believe there are more fundamental similarities between many of these arts than those in the parochial camp might want to believe. Ushiro Sensei, or, say, Mits Yamashita Sensei are exempar of this (thanks, btw, for the great link on him in another post).
I agree about having an external skill set at your disposal...now if I could just get the one I have to work!

Best regards,
Murray McPherson

aikidoc
10-05-2005, 10:28 AM
Saji: "If I have blended with uke and I am about to deliver a throw or lock I am not going to stop the action by delivering a strike."

Saji: I have to disagree with you on this one. It is my contention that you don't need to stop the flow of action to deliver a strike or for that matter blend. Some of the strike opportunities are inherent in the blending action and motion of the technique. For example, I can strike you on pressure points a minimum of two times on a tsuki kotegaeshi blend (tenkan). It won't stop the flow of my movement although your pain may cause you to hiccup your motion. What's important is it will look like any other kotegaeshi blend to the outside (i.e., the strikes won't be obvious to the oberver but will be felt by the uke). Many of the strikes excuting technique can also be delivered while in motion.

John Boswell
10-05-2005, 10:38 AM
I would say it's about 10%. I'm not sure where the 90% quote comes from or if it means an actual strike. Or if O'Sensei actually used atemi alot. However, the way aikido is taught today atemi (a strike) is not emphasized while doing a technique. If I have blended with uke and I am about to deliver a throw or lock I am not going to stop the action by delivering a strike. I will only do that in order to change the direction of uke's attack or break kusuzi if uke resists my initial technique or to deliver a finishing blow if I choose to. I'de much rather counter his resistance with another technique

One thing I have learned in my few years of training in aikido is situational. I can never say that I will do the same techique exactly he same way in every situation.

I feel I have to address this comment about atemi waza because, Saji has a wrong definition of atemi.

You mentioned not wanting to stop your technique in order to atemi the uke. If you are stopping your technique... then your doing something wrong. Aikido is about harmony in motion. All I have ever known of atemi was to strike or threaten the strike while in the motion of the technique.

Now, during demonstration, sometimes an instructor will stop to show "this is where the potential for atemi is," but that's not the same as actually stopping. You atemi and keep on moving!

Some instructors emphasize atemi. Others do not. It is a preference thing or it is what your instructor has leanred and thus YOU are now learning it their way. But just because you have never seen it, or seen it incorrectly, or whatever the case may be... does not negate the fact that the POTENTIAL for atemi is all through Aikido. It is a tool for taking balance, breaking attention and actually moving the uke. Sometimes, it doesn't matter if you touch them or not! The strike isn't the point... the break in balance and attention IS and is a vital tool is aikido.

The source of the 90% quote is Gozo Shioda Shihan. He has a chapter in one of his books titled "Aikido is 90% Atemi" or something... it's been a year since I read it last. Shioda Sensei would know full well about atemi... he went out and practiced it in real life.

Anyhow, I would recommend a little more research on the subject for anyone wanting to shut out the whole concept of using atemiwaza. It DOES have its place in Aikido.

John Boswell
10-05-2005, 10:41 AM
Saji: "If I have blended with uke and I am about to deliver a throw or lock I am not going to stop the action by delivering a strike."

Saji: I have to disagree with you on this one. It is my contention that you don't need to stop the flow of action to deliver a strike or for that matter blend. Some of the strike opportunities are inherent in the blending action and motion of the technique. For example, I can strike you on pressure points a minimum of two times on a tsuki kotegaeshi blend (tenkan). It won't stop the flow of my movement although your pain may cause you to hiccup your motion. What's important is it will look like any other kotegaeshi blend to the outside (i.e., the strikes won't be obvious to the oberver but will be felt by the uke). Many of the strikes excuting technique can also be delivered while in motion.

Can you tell? Riggs Sensei is my instructor. :D

Had I not been interupted while typing my previous message, I would have posted first! :p ;) :D :sorry: :rolleyes:

Ron Tisdale
10-05-2005, 10:43 AM
Hi, Ron.

In fact, having Dennis demonstrate (was it kotegaeshi in the first class?) the waza for me, from start to finish, putting emphasis on proper body placement versus "just" striking was illuminating.

Yep, that was kotegaeshi in the first class...I actually forgot about that one! Its a better example too, probably.

Great lesson, that, and I was especially looking for what was going on in the koshi as a tie-in to what Mike and I have been working on. And it was there, soup to nuts, in everyone who was kind enough to show me what was going on.

What's interesting is that while many people there have had some exposure to other arts, Dennis I believe, is just aikido. But then, he's been training since the Kushida days...make's me look like a young pup! :)

I hope my post didn't give the impression that I don't view atemi in aikido as inherent, because that's not the case. Nor do I feel that the, uh, more "percussive" arts are superior.

No, I didn't get that impression at all.

But I have had experiences (in my distant aiki past) where people either put absolutely no emphasis on their strikes (without any decent kuzushi), or they thought that the strikes they were throwing would have much of an effect from the angle they were launching them ...

I think we have all felt the 'wave the hand in your face' atemi. I was hoping it was pretty clear that wasn't what was being discussed. This medium exposes assumptions, doesn't it? ;)

I'm very interested in your thoughts on it all, and if you have the time, pm me.

Well, I'll try to keep participating in the thread, and send you some other things as well.

Ushiro Sensei, or, say, Mits Yamashita Sensei are exempar of this (thanks, btw, for the great link on him in another post).

You're very welcome! I got to train with one of Yamashita Sensei's students just about a week ago. Good times!

I agree about having an external skill set at your disposal...now if I could just get the one I have to work!

Best regards,
Murray McPherson

Hmph, you and me both! :)

Best,
Ron

jonreading
10-05-2005, 11:08 AM
I don't normally think atemi discussions but here is an observation:
Atemi is like a power hitter in baseball. Whether or not that player will hit the ball, the threat of the damage resulting from a hit is sufficent to alter the other team's pitching strategy. Statistically, a good hitter will only get a hit 1 out of every 3 times they bat, say 33%. But you could easily argue the presence of a hitter can alter a pitching strategy 75-90% of the time.

I think the statement of 90% atemi is not a literal one. It was mentioned earlier that boxers don't land 90% of their punches, let alone a any other martial art that is more conservative in striking. Rather, I think the statement is to be figuratively interpreted as an illustration of the importance atemi has in creating suki. In my analogy, I use a baseball player that can single-handedly alter a game strategy to accomodate their skill. In aikido, wouldn't it be beneficial to training if you could single-handedly alter the attack strategy of your opponent to acommodate your skill?

SeiserL
10-05-2005, 11:36 AM
Frankly, in my experience, there are far too many people who use their "years of experience" as a credential while ignoring the obvious clues that their basics are still not complete.
Then quite frankly and to avoid vagueness, what is your specific experience and training in Aikido?

Mike Sigman
10-05-2005, 11:49 AM
Then quite frankly and to avoid vagueness, what is your specific experience and training in Aikido?I realize this might break a tradition for some discussions in Aikido, but let's see if we can finish a discussion without worrying about me or my personal qualifications (which have been stated before). Let's see if the idea of why esoterica has to be substituted for facts has a rationale, in a logic-supported argument.

The idea that someone has been doing something a long time and therefore they are giving correct answers and information via "koans" is the discussion.... not me. Not you. I asked if people were aware how many "many years of experience" teachers there are who obviously are missing basic information. I think all of us are. Ipso facto, "experience" won't cut it, Lynn. Can you try another, more sustainable argument that doesn't appear to be diversionary?

I realize that there are a number of people claiming rank and experience who feel angered, threatened, whatever, whenever an attempt to pin down actual qualifications arises, but I would think that people who pride themselves on selective "Aikido Speak" would be able to engage the issue.

Regards,


Mike Sigman

John Boswell
10-05-2005, 12:37 PM
Retracted.

SeiserL
10-05-2005, 12:40 PM
IMHO and my personal training and experience, I find that those who argue against atemi in Aikido are those who don't know how to strike. Those who know how to strike (admittedly mostly from other arts) see atemi in their Aikido at least 90% of the time.

Likewise, those who argue against authority, experience and rank, are usually those who don't have any. If experience doesn't mean you just might have something to offer, than neither does inexperience or ignorance. Though I must admit that shoshin (beginner's mind) has often helped me see things better.

Mike Sigman
10-05-2005, 01:06 PM
IMHO and my personal training and experience, I find that those who argue against atemi in Aikido are those who don't know how to strike. Those who know how to strike (admittedly mostly from other arts) see atemi in their Aikido at least 90% of the time. Frankly, I put a little more weight on the quote from Shioda Kancho saying that O-Sensei said Aikido is *70%* atemi and 30% throws. I don't buy the 90% attribution. Likewise, those who argue against authority, experience and rank, are usually those who don't have any. If experience doesn't mean you just might have something to offer, than neither does inexperience or ignorance. Though I must admit that shoshin (beginner's mind) has often helped me see things better.Frankly, I tend to judge what someone knows by what they can do (when I see it) or, in the case of the internet, what they post. Someone relying on "experience", while knowing that there are many people with 'experience' who don't know beans, or "authority", knowing that 'authority' is a mantle assumed by many qvacks, or "rank", knowing how much bogosity there is in rank is assuming that most knowledgeable martial artists can't put two and two together. You can get a pretty good idea of what someone knows by what they post, what they avoid posting about, what they parse, and so on.

Personally, I no longer practice Aikido specifically, although I did for a number of years, and I see strikes and power releases in ways that most people don't even imagine. The question in my mind, when we're talking about what percentage of Aikido is atemi, is more like "how much about atemi skills do most people know?". Reading Shioda's book "Aikido Shugyo" and his comments about how to do atemi, I wonder how many people really think of atemi in the terms which are written in the book or know how to generate the sort of power he is talking about. There are a lot of people with "experience in atemi" who don't appear to even know how to generate power with ki and kokyu skills.... yet ki and kokyu skills are basic to Aikido.

So when someone begins a vague, assuring discussion about how they understand atemi, I'm personally interested (and trust me, there are a number of silent readers who are also interested) in having someone describe more substantively the how's and why's of atemi. When I see something like that, indicating that they indeed do know the subject and have bona fide experience in it, I don't have the least problem in acknowledging it and joining enthusiastically into the discussion. When I get deflections that imply only someone with vague experience and credentials can really understand something, I immediately try to ask more probing questions in order to make sure that I'm not getting a whiff of bull manure disguised as "Aikido Speak". ;)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Ron Tisdale
10-05-2005, 01:24 PM
To further my conversation with Murray a bit:

From James we have:

Well, hey, if Saotome said it. Look, like it or not, be it or not, there is a group of people out there with no command of Aiki that would like to rely on strikes to get them through. Ueshiba also said that spirits inhabited his body when he performed Aikido. Have you been praying to them to acquire similar advantage?

Now, I've had similar conversations with James over at AJ, so I think I understand where he's coming from. I've also trained with people in aikido who know striking up and down, back and forth. I particularly remember one of them embarrasing the hell out of me when I got too cocky in free style. He proceeded to stalk me up and down the dojo, making me look like a fool (well deserved, I might add, I got pretty cocky that day).

Let's get away from the arguement about authorities, and the arguements about Ueshiba's esoteric language [wait a minute...for those who don't like esoterica, what about the founder's penchant for it??] and deal with the meat of what James is saying:

there is a group of people out there with no command of Aiki that would like to rely on strikes to get them through.

This statement is unequivocally true. There are such groups out there. I myself at some point in my training probably could have fit this statement to a capital T. So there is no way to attack this true statement, other than to say that you (or me, or George, yada yada) don't fit in that group, and then to explain why.

My qua[l]m is with the "atemi is 90% of Aikido" bullshit. Yes, that's what it is. Atemi means to hit the body. If you are not hitting the body in 90% of your training in the dojo, you are not practicing what you preach--period.

I don't believe this for a minute. When I trained in karate (watered down though it may have been), we did not hit the body 90% of the time, but we certainly did train in striking.

If you are not teaching people to strike with proper alignment and targeting,

But at least in the aikido I practice, we do teach this. It's taught in the basic stance, it's taught (as Boon suggested) in buki waza, it's taught in recieving your partner's power, its taught (gasp) when we spend up to 20 minutes before technique with the 4th dan working just on our attacks. Of course, we don't do that last one every class (maybe we should). But if you come often enough, you'll hit a class where it happens. It's taught in one form or another in most of our basic techniques (which contain atemi).

conditioning their bodies for impact,

In my opinion, taking hard breakfalls is one of the best ways to condition the body for impact. I think the greatest weakness in our aikido training is in terms of conditioning the wrists for the impact they take delivering strong blows. So I made a point over several years, a little at a time, to work up to harder and harder blows on various striking dummies and makiwara to condition my rather thin wrists to compensate for that. Not really a big deal, and almost anyone can do that. In my opinion, it's not rocket science, and you don't need a 9th dan to do it.

But on top of that, using a bokken in special classes where we were required to do hundreds of bokken strikes every day for four months at a time strengthened the wrists. Hitting the mat during breakfalls strengthened my wrists. Doing pushups strengthened my wrists.

etc, you are not doing proper atemi, much less at a 90% ratio. How hard is that to understand? Hopefully not very.

I think in a lot of ways, James makes a good point. Even all of what I just mentioned, if it's without aiki, doesn't cut it. What if my strikes ARE really all that, but the heart of aikido is missing? What then differentiates what I'm doing from some fancy boxing? There should still be something else going on, even if my striking is reasonable.

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
10-05-2005, 01:39 PM
Let's get away from the arguement about authorities, and the arguements about Ueshiba's esoteric language [wait a minute...for those who don't like esoterica, what about the founder's penchant for it??] Ueshiba also spoke Japanese and used a lot of "esoterica" that he backed up by founding and performing Aikido. Because someone speaks select Japanese words and refers vaguely to "Zen Buddhism", etc., doesn't mean they have a handle on Aikido. Ueshiba's twin brother can pull that off, maybe, but wannabe esoterica simply needs to be questioned in the light of "how good is this for the students?". As I've noted before, concern for the true and viable instructions to students actually overrides the idea of "respect for someone who calls himself a teacher". I've been on the receiving end of teachers who engage in role-playing and deliberate obfuscation. We should eschew obfuscation. ;)

Mike

Ron Tisdale
10-05-2005, 01:44 PM
But unless you get on the mat with the person in question, how could you know their words are empty? Plenty of people have taught me marvelous things in many endevours...but they wouldn't be able to describe what they did for me on the internet. Does that invalidate them as teachers?

;)

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
10-05-2005, 02:10 PM
But unless you get on the mat with the person in question, how could you know their words are empty? ???? Do you mean that you couldn't spot some portion of someone's knowledge in what they say, Ron? Could you get onto a biology forum, for example, and not think your lack of knowledge in the field will give you away?

For example, If I have a lot of experience with hitting and punching (but without claiming to know everything or to be able to do everything), let's say I'm an 8 out of 10 in experience in various types of atemi and someone from an art using atemi claims to be a "knowledgeable teacher", yet his own conversations and lack of knowledge show up in the things that he obviously doesn't know about. Are you saying that I have to get on the mat before I can know generally that there are areas he is lacking in? I don't agree with that, if that's what you're trying to say.... and I hope you're not trying to say that. ;)

Regards,

Mike

M. McPherson
10-05-2005, 02:11 PM
As I've noted before, concern for the true and viable instructions to students actually overrides the idea of "respect for someone who calls himself a teacher".

Ron pretty much summed it up for me, but I would would also argue that, in terms of Japanese culture, and especially Japanese budo, respect for someone who calls himself a teacher (specifically, one who is widely seen as such) is, most often, an equally important part of the socialization process for the Japanese student of the budo. Sure, as Americans we want to deconstruct, re-build it, and try to sell it to the next guy. Maybe print up some t-shirts, or start a website. Does the Japanese process work here? Rarely, from what I've seen. Doesn't mean it doesn't work, or can't.
Anyhow, as Ron alluded to, anything discussed on the web, even if buttressed by lucid, mechanistic vocabulary, is still conceptual. The Appeal to Authority is often trumped by the Appeal to Impressive Expository Skills. Nothing beats the mat...

senshincenter
10-05-2005, 02:17 PM
It is not a fallacy to note that experience plays both a role in meaning and in understanding - especially if one is refering to one's own understanding and meaning (which was clearly the case in what George was saying). This is also why questions like Lynn's find their space in such discussions - btw. Such things are not attempts to silence different points of view and/or to prevent critical questions from arising. However, one does have to then repond in kind by prefacing what they are saying with the phrase, "In my experience..." This, I would suggest, is what most folks don't like to do, what most folks try to denounce as censorship. However, no matter how much they don't like doing it, there is no overt act to censor them and/or to suggest that what they say is without merit simply because their own subjectivity is being revealed.

It is more a fallcy of authority to hold that one has THE TRUTH and that anything that sounds different or appears different is by default unworthy, false, risky, in need of being denounced, half-baked, immature, ignorant, etc. (Which is why Ron's last question is so relevant - btw.) For underneath the fallacy of authority is the universalizing of one's own subjectivity, and this is really what is at issue concerning the attempts to silence others, etc. This taking of one's own subjective experience as the great universal by which to judge all else is what one sees in the latter and what is NOT present in the former example (given above).

For the more mature of us - in our practice, in our minds, and in our spirits - it is never an affront to preface our own points of views with the expression, "In my experience..." For those of us that cannot be or cannot afford to be so mature, it is always more tempting to feel like one is being silenced, or even to shut up altogether, than to have to reveal our own subjectivity to ourselves or even to others.

I suggest that folks try and keep this in mind before this thread degenerates into another repetition of, "You don't know what Kokyu is (and thus atemi, and thus Aikido, etc.) because you talk about it differently than I do." After all, this is a topic worthy of discussion, no matter how many times it has come up - it would be a shame to have it end in that now quite common way.

Mike Sigman
10-05-2005, 02:22 PM
Anyhow, as Ron alluded to, anything discussed on the web, even if buttressed by lucid, mechanistic vocabulary, is still conceptual. The Appeal to Authority is often trumped by the Appeal to Impressive Expository Skills. Nothing beats the mat... I don't have anything against the mat or the parking lot. In fact, I think the old ways of someone showing up at the dojo to check the teacher's oil aren't such a bad idea, if you're really into good martial arts (horrors... throw this guy off the list to show him he MUST conform to peace, love, and harmony! ;) ). However, the idea that you can't get a general idea of what someone knows from what they write, expository skills or not, doesn't make sense. At some point we may not be able to know *exactly* where someone is *in regard to a particular art*, but we can certainly get a general idea.

FWIW

Mike

Mike Sigman
10-05-2005, 02:25 PM
For the more mature of us - in our practice, in our minds, and in our spirits - it is never an affront to preface our own points of views with the expression, "In my experience..."

I see. :)

Ron Tisdale
10-05-2005, 02:36 PM
Ueshiba also spoke Japanese and used a lot of "esoterica" that he backed up by founding and performing Aikido

You said it yourself...he backed it up by founding and performing aikido.

He didn't do that on the internet. He did it in person, on the mat, and off.

Just my opinion.

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
10-05-2005, 03:17 PM
Non sequitur, Ron. The subject, which you slipped into the conversation, was the use of "esoterica" by Ueshiba. Let's don't go off on another tangent if the first one becomes unproductive, please.

Mike

John Boswell
10-05-2005, 03:30 PM
Non sequitur, Ron. The subject, which you slipped into the conversation, was the use of "esoterica" by Ueshiba. Let's don't go off on another tangent if the first one becomes unproductive, please.

Mike

Mike,

Your usage of latin isn't making your argument any stronger. The subject at hand is:

Atemi
90% of Aikido
What is the source and context of said percentage.

The "esoterica" that you so badly want to avoid IS such a source of information regarding atemi. That O'Sensei talked about it via poetry or "esoterica" does not negate the fact that... it is a source of information regarding atemiwaza.

Go back and re-read the orginal poster's question and you'll see Ron is right in line with the subject and you are trying to debate and refute one source given in answer to the original question.

Like the doka... don't like em... I don't care. And frankly, you don't have to either. But the fact remains they exist and they do pertain to the subject at hand.

Alright... let's keep this a clean fight! Remember... keep your gloves up and above the waist. Ready.... BREAK!~

John Boswell
10-05-2005, 03:37 PM
Just as a brief reminder, I present to you: the Original Post.

Enjoy

Hello,

I frequently heard the quotation of O-Sensei, that "atemi is 90% of Aikido". Now, without the context oft these words one can interprete a lot into the statement. Does anyone know more about this statement, context, source, etc.....

Thanks for your help !

Mike Sigman
10-05-2005, 03:42 PM
And the answer is:

It's a koan and you couldn't understand it yet. I get it.


Mike

John Boswell
10-05-2005, 03:48 PM
Doka referencing Atemi: (can you spot the atemi reference? ;) )

Causing the perverted enemy to attack
I must then stand behind his form
And so cut the enemy down

His sword raised to the attack
The enemy flies at the man he thinks before him
But from the very start
I was standing behind him

When you assume chudan
Move the enemy's spirit into the midst
And grasp the rhythm in the same fist


Even through surrounded by a great number of enemy
View them as one person
And so fight on!


Even through surrounded by a great number of enemy
View them as one person
And so fight on!

Though the enemy's spears and buts are before you and behind
With their very weapons as your shield
You must cut in and gain victory.

And one of his more important Doka:

"You must realize this!
Aiki cannot be captured with the brush
Nor can it be expressed with the mouth
And so it is that one must proceed
to realization"

aikidoc
10-05-2005, 04:49 PM
Mike:

I'm curious. Based on your dialogue and "my past experience" with posters using your approach to discussion, I venture to guess, speculate, discern or whatever, that you are:
1. An academic or heavily involved in the topic or subject of debate.
2. A student of logic.
3. Have read the website with all of the argument elements on it and have studied the various methods of poking holes in discussions.

Just asking a question.

akiy
10-05-2005, 05:00 PM
Hi folks,

Could personal discussions be taken off-line into private e-mail or private messages rather than being actively discussed here?

Let's keep the topic of this thread alive.

Thank you,

-- Jun

Mike Sigman
10-05-2005, 07:11 PM
I'm curious. Based on your dialogue and "my past experience" with posters using your approach to discussion, I venture to guess, speculate, discern or whatever, that you are:
1. An academic or heavily involved in the topic or subject of debate.
2. A student of logic.
3. Have read the website with all of the argument elements on it and have studied the various methods of poking holes in discussions.

Just asking a question. I agree with Jun on this one, John. Let's stick to the subject at hand. As I've said, I don't agree with the 90% statistic, but think that the 70% one via Shioda is probably correct. I don't think (my opinion) that cloaking incomplete knowledge in Aikido with quasi-mystical terminology is fair to students. I don't think that this trend in a few hierarchical "names" to attack anyone who questions them is ultimately good for Aikido. I think we should all just lay it on the line. If I have a problem with someone, I will go offline or visit them personally.... and I think that's the way it should be done in martial arts.

FWIW

Mike "Fair to Middlin'; halfway to Odessa" Sigman

mathewjgano
10-05-2005, 08:38 PM
As I've said, I don't agree with the 90% statistic, but think that the 70% one via Shioda is probably correct. I don't think (my opinion) that cloaking incomplete knowledge in Aikido with quasi-mystical terminology is fair to students.

I guess I have a hard time thinking of this issue in any concrete terms. To me, saying Aikido is 70%, 90% or 99% atemi all means the same thing. I might even say it's equal parts atemi, nage, and osae, because to me it seems Aikido is, in a sense, all these things at once. The difference between a pin and a throw, for example, is the direction we exert our force and whether or not we stay connected. Beyond situational qualities, there remains a constant, singular type of action being enacted on uke (or so it seems to me at least). Do you think you could define atemi as the act of entering (softly or harshly) through uke's suki?
What is the distinction in your mind that makes 70% a more true statement than some other percentage?
As for the quasi-mysical (or even entirely mystical) language used, i agree it can be unfair to those who don't like to think abstractly. That's why I think it's important for a teacher (of any subject) to be proficient in as many modes of communication as possible. Simply put, I think teachers have to speak more than one language since even within, say, the english language, different people have differing emphases in conceptual understanding.
All that said, I'm beginning to appreciate more and more the people who have been saying true understanding comes on the mat alone. I agree whole-heartedly that teaching can come through words and the ideas they express, I remember the instant effect when I could feel a student's posture had corrected itself and I pointed it out to them by saying "that's the feeling you should have." That viceral experience seems to lock in a more complete understanding.
Take care,
Matt

Mike Sigman
10-05-2005, 08:51 PM
I guess I have a hard time thinking of this issue in any concrete terms. To me, saying Aikido is 70%, 90% or 99% atemi all means the same thing. I might even say it's equal parts atemi, nage, and osae, because to me it seems Aikido is, in a sense, all these things at once. The difference between a pin and a throw, for example, is the direction we exert our force and whether or not we stay connected. Do you think you could define atemi as the act of entering (softly or harshly) through uke's suki?
What is the distinction in your mind that makes 70% a more true statement than some other percentage? I think that a martial art with 90% atemi should practice mostly atemi... period. Shioda's book "Aikido Shugyo" gives, IMO, the clearest view of what Aikido should be in regard to the atemi/throw dichotomy. As for the quasi-mysical (or even entirely mystical) language used, i agree it can be unfair to those who don't like to think abstractly. That's why I think it's important for a teacher (of any subject) to be proficient in as many modes of communication as possible. Simply put, I think teachers have to speak more than one language since even within, say, the english language, different people have differing emphases in conceptual understanding.
All that said, I'm beginning to appreciate more and more the people who have been saying true understanding comes on the mat alone. I agree whole-heartedly that teaching can come through words and the ideas they express, I remember the instant effect when I could feel a student's posture had corrected itself and I pointed it out to them by saying "that's the feeling you should have." That viceral experience seems to lock in a more complete understanding.
Well, if something "feels" correct, you should be able to say why.... unless you think it's some sort of mystical thing. I can correct someone's posture and tell them why at the same time.... that's why there are all these ancient traditional mandates on "correct posture". It's not something about just "feel".

Insofar as "true understanding comes on the mat alone", I'd disagree with you and I have a lot of friends and acquaintances that would disagree, too. But this is a simple exercise in logic, for those people that understand all these discussions about movement, IMO.

Regards,

Mike

mathewjgano
10-05-2005, 09:01 PM
Well, if something "feels" correct, you should be able to say why.... unless you think it's some sort of mystical thing. ...Insofar as "true understanding comes on the mat alone", I'd disagree with you

I agree you should be able to describe why something feels correct. My point is that you can talk about what is and is not a correct feeling and until they've felt it, it's very difficult for them to understand it and use it consistantly. As for the mystical experience, perhaps my understanding of what the term "mystical" includes is lacking, because I would say one can describe even mystical experiences. It would seem OSensei did too, or I suspect he wouldn't have spoken in mystical terms so often while teaching. Finally, I didn't say true understanding comes on the mat alone. I said I'm appreciating more, those who hold this as truth.
Take care,
Matt

mathewjgano
10-05-2005, 09:18 PM
I think that a martial art with 90% atemi should practice mostly atemi... period. Shioda's book "Aikido Shugyo" gives, IMO, the clearest view of what Aikido should be in regard to the atemi/throw dichotomy.

Are you implying a martial art with 70% ukemi doesn't need to practice mostly atemi? Is the atemi/throw dichotomy too complicated to describe in this forum? I'd love to read Shioda-sensei's book, but I cannot afford it right now...and since this matter is what what this thread is all about I was hoping to learn about it here, even if only in part.
Take care,
Matt

senshincenter
10-05-2005, 09:28 PM
Personally, I do not think we can have problems with anyone here – with anyone on the Internet. What we rub up against each other here is just ideas after all – not real concrete matters, not people themselves, etc. I hope we are always able to tell the difference. We should be able to. Well, I like to think that we can.

When I think of things in these terms, and I hear an idea that is different from my own, or when I hear one that appears to be like my own but also different from mine, my impulse is to ask for more explanation. In requesting more explanation, I am looking to gain more common points of reference – so that I can come to work with and through the wording that someone else has come to make use of - so I can understand what someone is trying to say. Thus, for example, if someone wants to use the term "koan," I am more inclined to see it as a working definition of sorts - since I know we are doing Aikido and not Rinzai Zen, etc. Thus, I believe I can get more out of things by seeking to understand the idea that is being presented – by seeking to understand how it is being presented. This, I feel, is beneficial in terms of gaining the common references I require in order to actually participate in a discussion (which is the only reason for being here). Looking to harp on things because of how they are presented usually gets in the way of this.

When I first read the word "koan," I was not pressured to raise issues of Zen's history in regards to Aikido's history. I was sure that we were not hearing a historical premise. Thus, I was more able to see that George was trying to point toward two things: That the statement could not make sense at a literal or intellectual level, but that it could make “sense” at an experiential level. In agreement with Mike here, if one would say that 90% of Aikido is atemi, and if they meant this in a literal way, I too would say, “No way.” Others have said something similar to this as well. Personally, perhaps going further than others, regarding how Aikido is practiced today around the world, I imagine I would say “no way” even if that percentage was lowered to 50% - maybe still saying “no way” at 30%.

Literally, or intellectually, one simply cannot afford Osensei the accuracy the founder of the art should deserve in regards to this percentage – in my opinion. However, I can see that some have tried. I think we can note this in the attempts to calculate the number of strikes Uke does; the number of strikes one can practice within a given Kihon Waza; the number of basics that could be turned into strikes, etc. For me, these are all attempts to understand intellectually (literally) what simply cannot be understood thusly. In a way, one could say (as one has already said), indeed, that these attempts are like trying to answer a koan literally or intellectually: “Oh, ‘Mu,’ well that just means a kind of non-ness.” Somehow, these kinds of things come up short.

I have heard George offer this opinion for a while now. I have often disagreed with him. Looking back now, I see that it was mainly over his examples – or rather, I seemed to always get stuck on a couple of his examples. However, I think for the first time, today, I have finally been able to see what he is saying – dropping enough of my own subjectivity to understand his’. Personally, I had to get over his examples really – because from my own subjectivity his examples sound very much like what a lot of other folks have been saying when they are trying to tally up enough strikes to reach that magic percentage (which I do not agree with). Having done that, I think I can now even accept his examples. Go figure.

What I am getting now is that the statement “Aikido is 90% atemi” is not a tactical statement – it is a statement regarding strategy. That is to say, in short, this statement points to the fact that Aikido tactics are dependent upon the strategy of atemi. As a strategy, yes, atemi, when manifested, can be understood as a given tactic. However, as a strategy atemi can also be understood as something more. The statement “Aikido is 90% atemi is pointing to more than just “you got to be able to strike at Uke,” etc. In my opinion, we are really talking about an underlying structure to the entire Aikido arsenal (especially as it has come to be practiced today). Now, as an underlying structure, this statement is not open to first glances. However, this does not mean that we are into the realm of esoterica (in the demeaning understanding of the word) either. It just means that we may be more open to understanding it experientially than intellectually (hence, the koan reference). This experience is in fact open to everyone. Moreover, in this case, everyone on the very first try even easily feels it.

Going with my own example here, which speak louder for me than George’s, here is how one can get a handle on this statement immediately – on how someone might say “Aikido is 90% atemi.”

Conduct the following experiments:

1. First Experiment: Have a dojo mate you are close to come charging at you with anything they want to – as long as they are charging at you “balls to the wall.” Of course, I am assuming you have some spontaneous capacity here. If your dojo mate attacks you “balls to the wall,” and you have some skill at spontaneity, you will be able to easily pull off any number of techniques. The techniques you pull off will feel very similar to what you experience in your normal Kihon Waza training.

2. Second Experiment: Have a dojo mate attack you again, but this time have them come in slow and cautiously – more the way that a Roman-Greco wrestlers might bridge the gap from the standing position in overtime at the end of a championship match. If your dojo mate attacks you in the way that a wrestler (noting here that there are no strikes in wrestling) might slowly and cautiously bridge the gap, you will find that you will not pull off any, or near as many, techniques as you did in the first experiment. You will also find that of the techniques you did pull off, they were for the most part reduced to matters of raw leverage, etc. – not very aiki. These techniques will feel very different from what you experience in your normal Kihon Waza.

3. Third Experiment: Now have your dojo mate come in like in the second experiment, but this time as he/she does, beat the living hell out of him/her with any and all strikes you can throw – be sure to aim for the groin, and slap them across the face a lot, etc. Remember, your dojo mate is reduced or rather restricted to bridging the gap slowly/cautiously. When your dojo mate is bombarded like this, he/she should be able to note the urge in them to not come into the kill zone so slowly and/or like a wrestler trying to bridge the gap cautiously, etc.

4. Fourth Experiment: Now have your dojo mate come in any way that he/she would like to, with you doing any technique (Kihon Waza, etc.) you would like to and/or with you striking (when your dojo mate closes the gap in a way more akin to what was being done in the second and third experiment). If you do this, you will start to notice that in an attempt to not be bombarded coming through the kill zone (as in the third experiment), your dojo mate will provide an energy that is much more closely related to that experienced in the first experiment. Meaning, the tactical architectures you manage to pull off in this experiment will feel more akin to those you pulled off in the first experiment AND more distant from those you pulled off in the second experiment.

Admittedly, this is a very simple set of experiments. Moreover, this set does nothing to settle issues of power and/or of nomenclature (regarding what is “atemi,” what is “Aikido,” etc.), etc. However, from the experience gained here – which can immediately be yours (anybody’s) – one can indeed see how the statement “Aikido is 90% atemi” makes sense. This one can do because one can gain firsthand how Aikido tactics do indeed need to be built upon a strategy of atemi if they are going to feel/function as expected/designed.

In other words, somewhat jokingly, if an aikidoka cannot properly execute the strategy of atemi, he/she is most vulnerable to the slow advance, in ways that would make one feel like they only knew about 10% of anything! Lol – it is like the slow blade pierces the shield!


dmv

xuzen
10-05-2005, 10:38 PM
...<snip>...Conduct the following experiments ...<snip>...

Admittedly, this is a very simple set of experiments. Moreover, this set does nothing to settle issues of power and/or of nomenclature (regarding what is "atemi," what is "Aikido," etc.), etc. However, from the experience gained here -- which can immediately be yours (anybody's) -- one can indeed see how the statement "Aikido is 90% atemi" makes sense. This one can do because one can gain firsthand how Aikido tactics do indeed need to be built upon a strategy of atemi if they are going to feel/function as expected/designed.

David, as always, your post is very lengthy but provide a treasure trove of good learning and teaching ideas. My salutation to you.

When I see atemi, I envision sword (ken) or spear (yari/jo) strikes. In the case of having someone comes in slowly and cautiously ala Greco-Roman style... I guess, that strategy would be useless if his opponent is an aikido stylist armed with a jo or ken. (well at least to me, having a jo in hand makes me more comfortable in those engagement).

Just a side note, in his the book The Invincible Warrior by John Steven; there are a couple of wonderful old pictures of M. Ueshiba
performing atemi. Let me describe the movement:

Picture one:
Uke is holding a bokken, and had just finished a shomen strike. Osensei is on the left side of uke, his right hand is resting above the wrist of uke, while his left hands is clenched in a fist with protruding third knuckle aimed at the left temple of uke.

Picture two:
From a right handed shomen strike in suwari waza, Osensei intercepted uke's strike and had him in a ikkyo movement. I see his right hand, again in clenched fist, with protruding third knuckle aimed at the lower left ribs of uke.

From these pictures, I can clearly see two beautiful application of atemi, FWIW.

Boon.

Abasan
10-05-2005, 11:29 PM
Ok, I read with interest on this topic because recently I've involved myself in a particular striking exercise against aikido. I don't have decades of aikido under my belt, but I've been fairly consistent for some 7 years now. Trouble is, once the fast strikers breach my maai, its almost impossible to do any aikido on them. In that I mean be it techniques, or just plain blending. At the end of the day, their strikes (hands, elbows, kicks, shoulder) move faster then my body. So I've tried incorporating strikes before doing anything remotely resembling blending.

Correct me if I'm wrong here ok. But is the ultimate physical aiki being able to blend with opponents no matter the speed? Because I'm not getting there.

Another thing that pops into mind is when Osensei had an encounter with that swordsman from the navy just before he got 'enlightened'. If what he said was true, then osensei just avoided strikes which I assume are fast and of variety. I can't just see Osensei doing an irimi to a shomen strike if the swordsman was any good. Because he would immediately follow up with with a side strike reversal even from the opposite side. And with a blade, his reach and speed will be greatly enhanced.
So aside from running away or actually applying kuzushi to limit the swordsman's movement, I just don't see how.

Can anyone enlighten me on this.

PS: I didn't want to start a new post on such a trivial matter. But awhile back someone posted a link on this french art of body movement that involves building acrobatics ie they scale buildings, jump from floor to floor, etc etc. I've been trying to search for it but to no avail, can someone pls provide a link?

Thanks.

jk
10-06-2005, 01:20 AM
I'd like some enlightenment too, Ahmad. The experiments David outlined above seem like a good way to grope for some answers. At our level, I think we should be less concerned with blending with everything that comes our way and more with just surviving...a mouthguard and a groin protector would be a good idea. Issues regarding power generation aside, these experiments should also be good indicators of the physical fitness levels of the parties involved.

As for the French building-jumping thing, google "Le Parkour."

Back to our regularly scheduled brouhaha...

eyrie
10-06-2005, 05:10 AM
Actually, the quote from Kancho Shioda's Total Aikdo is "In a real battle, atemi is 70%, technique is 30%". It doesn't say what technique. Could be throws, could be joint locks, could be anything. Or it could be that all technique goes out the window and you'll only probably use 30% of what you know. :)

I believe the 70% atemi/30% throws quote comes from Saito. And the 90% atemi quote from Tohei. (But I could be wrong).

It also depends on how you define atemi. In the strictest sense, atemi is striking a pressure or vital point. In a very loose sense, it is simply striking. I tend to use it in an even looser sense. It's more like the intent of striking or cutting through something other than uke's body. If you can touch the person (and you should because you will be standing in the spot they are about to occupy), you can strike.

However, "striking", for me at least, isn't in the sense of "launching" an appendage (although sometimes it could involve that). Usually, it means, touching uke and sensing their energy, and cutting thru their center with my whole body. To me that is "atemi".

So for me, a throw like irimi nage, isn't necessarily the twirly dance where uke simply falls over at the end, but it is an inside elbow strike (actually more like a bounce using uke's head as an orange) against uke's jaw (nice collection of pressure points there), using the entire body by driving the power thru the forward knee. That's only one variation. There are many more like that - all with some sort of striking or cutting action.

Sometimes the strike is not overt, or that some part of uke's body is struck. Sometimes, the strike occurs at an angle into the "dead zone" such that uke's energy is led into the "black hole". E.g. katate tori kokyu nage tenkan, where it looks like you're "punching" forward, but uke is hanging off the punching arm and into a forward ukemi.

So, I don't really see aikido as X% atemi and Y% something else. To me all of aikido involves some sort of a strike or multiple strikes. (Yes, even pins and joint locks too). A good example would be to do the same aikido techniques with a weapon - a short stick, staff or bokken - in your hand - not to use the weapon as a striking implement as such, but to use the extension of the whole body as a striking implement.

George Ledyard posted a response here quoting Peter Goldsbury as saying that it was more like 100% atemi.

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=63425&postcount=22


FWIW.

ChrisHein
10-06-2005, 05:55 AM
Jesus there is so much to read, and so little of it is about the topic...
The reason Aikido has stoped growing is because people keep talking about how they have been doing ikkyo for "X" amont of years. There has not been anouther O-sensei, so apparently we are all doing something wrong! We should be working together instead of being so catty.

-Chris Hein

Ron Tisdale
10-06-2005, 07:27 AM
But is the ultimate physical aiki being able to blend with opponents no matter the speed? Because I'm not getting there.

I don't think we can *tell* you what the ultimate aiki is. I don't even think most of us can *show* you. But my own opinion, for what it's worth, is that the ultimate aiki is that when uke begins their intention to attack, they are unbalanced. The next level down, when they touch you, they are unbalanced. The next level down, when they grab you firmly, they are unbalanced. In the end, to me, it all comes back to kuzushi. How you obtain that, how you establish, maintain, break connection with uke. I think one of the problems with modern aikido is our over arching concern with 'blending'. My own teacher asked "what is this blending", when I used the term once. As he is Japanese, I assume he understands awase just fine. This over arching concept of 'blending' sometimes seems to get in the way of things like atemi. If all you want to do is blend, striking doesn't seem to make sense.

But if you think in terms of connection, unbalancing, displacing uke...these concepts seem to work well with atemi. I think David's experiments are an excellent place to start exploring these ideas on the mat.

Finally, I think most of us have more agreement than we think on these issues. I used the same book as a reference as Mike, as have many others. I have seen very few people talking about X amount of years...go back and count the number of times someone actually said it. Compared to how many times someone *said* someone said it. Mountain out of mole hill.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
10-06-2005, 07:37 AM
And the answer is:

It's a koan and you couldn't understand it yet. I get it.


Mike

That wasn't the answer Mike...that was ONE post, which had many other things in it that WEREN'T koans. The majority of the posts referenced the same book you and I mentioned.

Best,
Ron

happysod
10-06-2005, 07:59 AM
This over arching concept of 'blending' sometimes seems to get in the way of things like atemi. If all you want to do is blend, striking doesn't seem to make sense Coming from the blendy side, this sentence struck my fancy. Striking does make sense, in fact there are times in practice when it's the only thing that makes any sense. Where I have a difficulty (one of many of mine, but then I'm slow like that) is that some posters seem to intimate their aikido is foremost strikes, technique used if necessary for finish.

Perhaps what would help my confusion over this is if people could describe what training they actually use for developing the strikes they use in aikido (such as David has kindly provided) and any specific training they do in the dojo as standard (individual extra training/special seminars neglected for now)

Hoist by my own petard, I'll start. We have four basic "approved" atemis (i.e.those you're supposed to use other than the normal randori flailing helplessly). Straight punch, upward elbow strike, backfist and uppercut. These are deemed the punches you can still execute even if someone is holding or trapping the arm to be used. Neglectful as most of us are, we practice them in isolation I would say at most once a month but are expected to be used in randori and more advanced versions of the technique (basically close and any attack). Otherwise, I would say our aikido practice is fairly standard, emphasizing techniques under various grades of compliance (full to none) with weapon work according to the syllabus (or at the weapons only class).

However, outside their use in a technique, we spend very little time of the art of striking and the subsequent conditioning that goes with it. Now my own experience only covers I would say a dozen or so dojos, but I've yet to be at an aikido dojo where learning how to strike as a discipline in it's own right was a large part of the standard practice (and don't get me started on kicks) such as you'd find in say a jujitsu dojo. So I'd be interested to hear others experiences (sits back and waits for John and Wendy's description of useful striking exercises they commonly do)

yours curiously (but still prepared to be a smart-arse)

OT on koans, I agree, you can't just spoon-feed people and expect them to learn, but if koan-lites are being supplied without any further guidance other than "practice" I'd be hesitant about their effectiveness

Mike Sigman
10-06-2005, 08:11 AM
Are you implying a martial art with 70% ukemi doesn't need to practice mostly atemi? 70 or 90, you should know how to hit. It's not simple and it's not academic... it needs to be practiced. I don't think you need to know how to use the ancient "Phoenix Eye Fist" (with the protruding knuckle of the middle finger), although that configuration is traditional in most Chinese and Japanese martial arts. But you do have to know and practice the body mechanics so that you can hit with most parts of the body. If you can hit with most parts of the body, you can apply atemi pretty much as you wish, thus assisting any throws you make.

FWIW

Mike

Mike Sigman
10-06-2005, 08:17 AM
Actually, the quote from Kancho Shioda's Total Aikdo is "In a real battle, atemi is 70%, technique is 30%". It doesn't say what technique. Could be throws, could be joint locks, could be anything. Or it could be that all technique goes out the window and you'll only probably use 30% of what you know. :)
Heh. I agree with that last. I have "Aikido Shugyu" open in front of me and it says on page 19:

"However, Ueshiba Morihei Sensei himself, who was my master at one point, expressed himself in the following manner. He said, "In a real fight, Aikido is 70 percend atemi and 30 percent throwing." Based on my own experience, I can say this is precisely the case."

Regards,

Mike

Ron Tisdale
10-06-2005, 08:29 AM
Where I have a difficulty (one of many of mine, but then I'm slow like that) is that some posters seem to intimate their aikido is foremost strikes, technique used if necessary for finish.

I'm sorry, I didn't catch that in the thread myself. Could you perhaps point me to an illustration of this in one of the posts?

Perhaps what would help my confusion over this is if people could describe what training they actually use for developing the strikes they use in aikido (such as David has kindly provided) and any specific training they do in the dojo as standard (individual extra training/special seminars neglected for now)

Well, I think I mentioned some of the things here:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=119226#post119226

But I'll try to fill in a bit.

In the basic technique, atemi are part and parcel of most of them. Instructors work on things like taking uke's balance with movement, combined with targeting specifc points of uke's anatomy (the spot between uke's upper lip and nose, the short ribs, the liver), aligning the hips so that there is power in the strike, maintaining the proper ma ai so that the distance is correct for proper application of power, etc. This is combined with different fist configurations (sometimes the first knuckle protruding, sometimes a palm strike [ala shomen ate], sometimes using the knuckles in more of a backfist). Because Yoshinkan aikido tends to place a fair amount of emphasis on the basic technique, you see these types of things in almost every class to one extent or another.

Some people are quick to discount the things we learn from buki waza...but I think that's a mistake. The alignment for the basic stances and strikes (we have kata specifically for that) is very important for learning how to express power.

I do not think that the body mechanics for the aikido I've been learning is seperate from the body mechanics for our strikes. I think that is why I see atemi as being intergrated into aikido. In the case of a side strike, if I block and strike at the same time I pivot on the big toe with the knee, hip and shoulder in alignment, there is a great deal of power in the strike. Even a slashing strike across the eyes. And it doesn't stop uke's power, but it continues it in the direction of the off-balancing. The same body mechanics that allow me to unbalance uke add power to the strike. When I practice 180 degree pivot with partner, I practice the body mechanics I need to deliver atemi in that situation. It's not two or three separate things, it's one thing. Pivot, block [redirect, blend, lead, yada yada] and strike.

I know you excepted special seminars and such, but I will mention that at the branch dojo I used to train at, we did have special seminars taught by yudansha in karate and other striking arts. I see nothing wrong with that, as it makes sense to me to make use of the skills present in the dojo to raise everyone's level.

Hope that answers some of your questions, but if there are specific things you'd like me to elaborate on, please ask.

Best,
Ron

happysod
10-06-2005, 09:54 AM
Hi Ron,I'm sorry, I didn't catch that in the thread myself... it's probably just my poor reading comprehension, but when people enthusiastically embrace a 90% strike rate or even "Piffle, mines up to 100%" I wonder where the technique is.

Thanks for the link, I did miss your mention of a 20 min warm up (skim reading - the curse of reading websites at work), but could I ask you to amplify this and your nice prior post concerning atemi in technique - just how often do you guess the warm-ups are and what do they consist of? For example, are you doing shadow atemi? Hitting pads etc. Similarly, within your basic techniques which you mentioned, what sort of intensity do you normally hit uke with?

I'm just trying to get a feel for the standard intensity of striking that people regularly use when training and what they've found fits best into their regular class (but totally agree with regard to the idea of importing outside experts, we have done so in the past as well)

Ron Tisdale
10-06-2005, 10:32 AM
Hi Ron, it's probably just my poor reading comprehension, but when people enthusiastically embrace a 90% strike rate or even "Piffle, mines up to 100%" I wonder where the technique is.

I think some of that was sarcastic... ;)

Thanks for the link, I did miss your mention of a 20 min warm up (skim reading - the curse of reading websites at work),

Hmm, maybe *my* comprehension is slipping...I'll go back and check, but I don't remember mentioning a 20 minute warm up.

but could I ask you to amplify this and your nice prior post concerning atemi in technique - just how often do you guess the warm-ups are and what do they consist of? For example, are you doing shadow atemi? Hitting pads etc.

The warm ups in yoshinkan are balance oriented and light balastic stretching, in my opinion. I make a point of warming up prior to class, especially my knees. I don't think the warm ups add to striking skills per se. We don't do shadow atemi or use striking pads on a regular basis in class, though there is some of that in some advanced classes (striking pads) and black belt preparation.

In the branch dojo where I practiced for many years, there were striking dummies (Bob, anyone?) and board breaking equipment that we 'borrowed' on occation. I made a point of using these under the supervision of a 3rd dan in shotokan I trained with in aikido.

Similarly, within your basic techniques which you mentioned, what sort of intensity do you normally hit uke with?

It varies depending on your partner. There are some where a casual push to the side is sufficient for the block. There are others where you'd be picking yourself up off the floor if you used a casual push to block the atemi. I personally vary my power and how close I get to contact with uke depending on the day, the uke, the target (body vs face) etc. Pretty much the same as when I trained in karate or kung fu years ago. You didn't push a black belt with more than you could handle in return (learned that real quick, got tired of picking myself up off the floor) and you DIDN'T beat up on beginners. Aikido is no different. I control my strikes so that they are appropriate for the situation.

I remember one class where a brown belt gave the wrong attack (but very strongly), and caught me off guard. I simply evaded, switched stance and did a back fist, then started a variation of the technique. Because I was caught off guard, it was a fast hard strike, and it wasn't blocked. :) Thanks to the time sparring years ago, I stopped it before I broke his nose.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
10-06-2005, 10:37 AM
Ah, I think I've found what you were referring to:

its taught (gasp) when we spend up to 20 minutes before technique with the 4th dan working just on our attacks.

In the instance I'm describing here, the instructor had us practice striking each other with side strike and front strike, and uke blocks the strike. He wanted to ensure that we were striking hard, with good alignment and center, and that we were recieving the power correctly. So one person strikes, the other blocks, both sides, then switch. Kind of like the one step sparring you might see in shotokan, but not.

The block for a side strike was either to enter early before the strike reached its power, and cut out using the power of turning your hips coordinated with turning your palm out, or to pivot and cut down if blocking later in the attack.

For a front strike, later was ukenegaeshi (sp), early was almost like a front strike except you control the elbow with the back hand, the lead hand circles up to absorb the power of the strike.

Best,
Ron

jonreading
10-06-2005, 11:06 AM
An earlier post (106?) queried about the source of striking in aikido. I have found various different karate arts and daito ryu to be the most similar. I am regularly suprised to find similarities in basic karate kata to the body structure and striking in aikido. Nothing fancy...

Also, Ledyard Sensei published some great pieces on attemi in the monthly columns section that includes a definition of atemi and the various implementations of atemi in aikido. That may help clear up some confusion about "defining" atemi, etc...

senshincenter
10-06-2005, 11:39 AM
An interesting part about the koan reference…

These experiments, I feel, can show us how views that at first appeared to be quite opposite to each other are in fact of the same vein. You know, it is like those kind of debates when you ask, “What is moving the flag?” and three folks answer differently: “The wind is moving the flag.” “The mind is moving the flag.” “The flag is moving the mind.” All of these statements are both right and wrong – to some degree – which would mean that eventually, somewhere, they could actually overlap with each other – supporting each other rather than denouncing each other. I feel that is what is going on with, for example, the positions regarding that you can use atemi to set up a throw and that using atemi to set up a throw would interrupt the flow of a throw.

We have this possible interpretation, suggesting “Aikido is 90% atemi” means that “Aikido tactics are grounded upon (or made practical via) a strategy of atemi.” In addition, we have these perfectly legitimate critiques that suggest that it is not possible or practical to see atemi as a cure all for a given throw and pin that is simply being (interpreted as) misapplied. Moreover, we also have the view that it is not always possible to strike in the same place that it is possible to throw or pin. These views, and others like them, have been propounded in a way to (sort of) debunk the statement “Aikido is 90% atemi.”

Interestingly, the experiments I suggested one could perform to gain an understanding regarding the statement “Aikido is 90% atemi” can also actually verify these kinds of critiques as accurate. This would mean that these critiques are actually part of the interpretation “Aikido tactics are based upon a strategy of atemi.” That is to say, when conducting the first experiment, you would see that you would probably find it very difficult to strike, or at least you would see that the greater mechanical advantage would lie in throwing as opposed to in striking. In the same way that one would find throwing difficult in the second experiment, one would find striking difficult in the first experiment. This means that the experiments can prove both the view that Aikido tactics are based upon the strategy of atemi AND that atemi tactics are less likely to be substitutable and/or complimentary to throwing and/or pinning tactics (as some have suggested).

When I come to this conclusion, I tend to embrace atemi training, atemi strategy, and atemi tactics more fully. That is to say, I accept the view that Aikido tactics are based upon a strategy of atemi). However, I also seem to distance myself from positions that long to include strikes in the midst of throws or pins (to injure, distract, or to cause a reaction, etc.), that see strikes as setups (at the beginning of moves), and/or that make an effort to include strikes in their tactical architectures for the sake of meeting some magic percentage and/or to make the “perfect” mixed martial art. This means, I also accept the view that atemi is not a cure all tactic, that atemi tactics are not substitutable and/or complimentary with throwing tactics, etc.

Continuing with this line of thought: Like the flag moving the mind and the mind moving the flag, one can conduct these experiments from the opposite direction, working from the position of these above-mentioned critiques. In doing so, I believe, one will come to see that as Aikido (Aikido tactics – e.g. throwing and pinning in particular) is 90% atemi, Atemi is 90% Aikido (i.e. grappling, throwing, pinning). To a karateka or to a mix martial artist who may not have wrestled with the first part of this idea (i.e. Aikido is 90% atemi), he/she upon hearing this may want to just say, “Duh!” (i.e. “The wind is moving the flag.”) However, for a person that was just told how one thing is 90% of another, and is now being told that that other is 90% of the first thing, a whole different sense of understanding arises. What kind of understanding is that? It is the kind where one can say “yes” to all three kinds of statement (i.e. the wind is moving the flag, the mind is moving the flag, the flag is moving the mind). That is to say, one can say “yes” to “Aikido is 90% atemi,” “Atemi is 90% Aikido,” and “Aikido and atemi have nothing to do with each other.” Go figure. How? Conduct the same experiments mentioned above.

It is my position that such things will only remain as esoteric as our resistance to involve ourselves in these types of trials.

ChrisHein
10-06-2005, 12:30 PM
Perhaps what would help my confusion over this is if people could describe what training they actually use for developing the strikes they use in aikido (such as David has kindly provided) and any specific training they do in the dojo as standard (individual extra training/special seminars neglected for now)



1-10 Kumi jo
1-5 Kumitachi
20 jo saburi
1-7 Ken saburi
31 count kata
13 count kata
San ju ichi no kumi jo

Aikido is filled with atemi practice, weapons atemi. Most of us practice it regularly.......
(I only included the Iwama weapons, because thats what I do)


-Chris

Mike Sigman
10-06-2005, 01:07 PM
Well, I agree with you, Chris, that the foundation for atemi comes from the weapons practice, however that can be as misleading as saying you practice kokyu in every technique in Aikido.... the theory is correct but in actual practice most people are just doing rote movements. It's like the comment I once made about walking into a dojo (with maybe the idea of practicing there on a regular basis), took one look at the way the "Sensei" was swinging his bokken, and walked back out. Yet he would be one of those people that is convinced he is training Aikido because he starts off every class with a lot of bokken swinging.

In my opinion, most people should be working on their atemi via mainly bokken swinging, but just as correct Aikido movement can look like normal movement, correct bokken swinging can be deceptive, too. That being said, I'd then expand into an agreement with you about the rest of weapons practice.

FWIW

Mike

ChrisHein
10-06-2005, 03:11 PM
I'm not sure if I understand you Mike, but if I do get what you are saying, then that's not really what I meant.

Atemi dose NOT mean a strike delivered with the hand or foot or knee or elbow or what ever SPECIFICALLY. An atemi is only a blow to the body, that blow can come from anything, a rock, a frying pan or what ever else. The saying is not "Aikido is 90% punching" or "Aikido is 90% kicking", it's simply "aikido is 90% atemi". Bokken saburi is atemi training (learning to strike a body with a stick), I'm not saying that weapons training makes my punches and kicks better, I'm saying that the weapons practice IS the atemi practice (I'm learning to hit someone with a stick). Aikido does not do a good job of training punches and kicks, and that's not it's goal. Aikido's true goal is to teach "Aiki", Aiki involves moving in relation to something else, generally over distance, something coming at you, coming at your body, to try and knock it down or out or what have you. This something coming at you is trying to hit your body, thus causing an atemi. By looking at it this way it's clear that Aikido is at least 90% atemi (dealing with something coming at you), however Aikido is by no means 90% punching....

-Chris (broken record) Hein

Mike Sigman
10-06-2005, 03:18 PM
Hi Chris:

No, note what I said (I'm fairly precise when I speak): "the foundation for atemi comes from the weapons practice". I did not

An atemi is only a blow to the body, that blow can come from anything, a rock, a frying pan or what ever else. The saying is not "Aikido is 90% punching" or "Aikido is 90% kicking", it's simply "aikido is 90% atemi". Bokken saburi is atemi training (learning to strike a body with a stick), I'm not saying that weapons training makes my punches and kicks better, I'm saying that the weapons practice is the atemi practice. Aikido dose not do a good job of training punches and kicks, that's not it's goal. I agree that atemi is a blow. Where I disagree with you is when you say bokken saburi is atemi training with a stick. I'm saying that suburi training has a much wider application than that and is the basis for just about any type of blow with any type of weapon, including the hand.

Regards,

Mike

ChrisHein
10-06-2005, 03:30 PM
No offence Mike, but if you think unarmed blows (punchs, kicks etc.) are the same as blows with a weapon, I don't think you've done enough training with either. Yes good body use is good body use, and applicable to anything where you are using your body, but a good boxer is not a good fencer, likewise being good with a bokken is not going to make you a good kickboxer. Armed combat and unarmed combat are differnt things.

-Chris

Mike Sigman
10-06-2005, 03:47 PM
No offence Mike, but if you think unarmed blows (punchs, kicks etc.) are the same as blows with a weapon, I don't think you've done enough training with either. I don't think that at all, Chris. Look at precisely what I said. I'm fairly certain you don't understand what I'm saying, but I'm still being factual. Look at it from that perspective. ;)

Mike

Upyu
10-06-2005, 04:01 PM
No offence Mike, but if you think unarmed blows (punchs, kicks etc.) are the same as blows with a weapon, I don't think you've done enough training with either. Yes good body use is good body use, and applicable to anything where you are using your body, but a good boxer is not a good fencer, likewise being good with a bokken is not going to make you a good kickboxer. Armed combat and unarmed combat are differnt things.

-Chris

Chris:
About 4 years ago I would've agreed.
Except the "yari"/"bo" training I've been doing with my teacher here in Tokyo has produced exactly those results. You actually DO strike exactly as you would use the weapon. (And yes he's fought full contact, plus he's used this different kind of striking to dominate kickboxers/ shoot boxers etc)

But you could look at it this way.
The weapons training is only a way to "train" your body correctly.
If you don't realize how to use your training tool correctly then you'll never develop the correct attributes needed to make this stuff work for you.

You're training body principals. Which means that they apply to everything. :)

If you're still using your body differently when you strike and when you "use" a weapon, then I'd have to say you most likely haven't absorbed the principals yet. (Only my opinoin, don't take offense ;) )

eyrie
10-06-2005, 04:53 PM
I have to agree with Mike here:

But you do have to know and practice the body mechanics so that you can hit with most parts of the body. If you can hit with most parts of the body, you can apply atemi pretty much as you wish, thus assisting any throws you make

This is spot on! A strike or blow need not necessarily be done overtly with the fist (punch) or foot (kick). It can be (and usually is!) really subtle use of the "whole" body or other specific body parts.

Unarmed or armed, the fundamental movements are identical. Ask any kali/escrimador...

If I say, katate tori kokyu nage if performed like a jo tsuki and yokomen uchi shiho nage if performed like a sequence of sword "strikes" makes for powerful technique, would it make it clearer? Likewise, doesn't the end movement of hiji ate kokyu nage look like a low forward lunge punch? It's not really a "punch" since you're not "striking" with the fist, but the body mechanics involved are similar, are they not?

Upyu
10-06-2005, 05:39 PM
Likewise, doesn't the end movement of hiji ate kokyu nage look like a low forward lunge punch? It's not really a "punch" since you're not "striking" with the fist, but the body mechanics involved are similar, are they not?

I remember reading in "Hiden" (one of Japan's more popular bugei magazines) that Shioda said grasping the concept of "Tai ju idou" (体重移動 ) or purely being able to move one's mass was extremely important. He said it was of paramount importance whether you were doing strikes/throws what have you.

An idea for those that're willing to experiment.
If you want to see if the strikes are using effecient body movement, (using the same body movement that you use in your throws, joint locks etc) have someone hold an airshield. Perform the same movement against the airshield. Does it dissapate on the surface, or does it go "through" the airshield? (The person on the other side should feel it "in" them)
One important thing to keep in mind is that the "intent" when doing a throw or strike is pretty much the same. All that changes really is the external "shape".

Hint: If your strikes make a huge noise when they connect w/ a bag or airshield, most of the power dissapates on the surface. (This goes for a lot of the Thai kickers out there too ;)

eyrie
10-06-2005, 06:26 PM
Exactly. Strike thru the target. Throw thru the earth. Extend beyond the cosmos. :D

Mike Sigman
10-06-2005, 06:47 PM
Well, that's not exactly what I'd mean by "intent", Ignatius, and I don't think Rob meant that either, IINM. ;)

Mike

eyrie
10-06-2005, 07:16 PM
Which bit are you referring to?

ikkitosennomusha
10-06-2005, 08:35 PM
I was going to refrain from this topic as I do believe this is something one has to discover for their "aiki" self. I will impart a word from experience and the advice given to me from the cirrent head of AAA, Andy Sato, He said, and I agree, that you will not make it through randori unless you use atemi.

Let me say that I agree that one will not last long through randori without atemi or more to the point "unbendable arm". As many of us more seasoned aikidoka know, it is not practical to implement beautiful, drawn out technique during randori. It must be quick and effective.

I know this is not a randori thread but it is the perfect example of atemi.

Mike Sigman
10-06-2005, 08:41 PM
This is a better example.

eyrie
10-06-2005, 08:50 PM
Perhaps it's the way I'm verbalizing it.... :(

I don't mean "strike" as in "strike". "Unbendable arm" perhaps. But I was visualizing "peng", "ji" or "an" more so than "punch". Maybe that's wrong too.

aikidoc
10-06-2005, 09:08 PM
SPECIFICALLY[/B]. An atemi is only a blow to the body, that blow can come from anything, a rock, a frying pan or what ever else.

Sandai doshu defines atemi in Best Aikido as a strike to a vital point.

aikidoc
10-06-2005, 09:09 PM
P.S. Brad. Andy Sato is current head of the Aikido World Alliance, he is the former chief instructor of the AAA. He has not been with AAA for about 11 months.

Mike Sigman
10-06-2005, 09:21 PM
Sandai doshu defines atemi in Best Aikido as a strike to a vital point. How about the founder and the second Do-shu? I don't remember any quotes from them in relation to "vital points" (could someone provide the original quote from the Japanese on this one, please?). Given the amount of film and video out there, I think it's hard to make an exact case that Dim Mak (Din Xue) is the only focus of atemi.... atemi being a fairly general word. Besides, Shioda Kancho (who studied directly under Ueshiba) makes no mention of "vital points"... he even mentions striking with his back for atemi.

"Vital points", IF someone really knows them and how to hit them, can be an interesting study and a good place to focus on during a strike, IF the opportunity presents itself, but it's a bit naive to think that atemi only covers vital points. Instead of the trendy focus on "vital points", that became the de rigeur discussion in the last decade, a la Dillman, perhaps people should remember the old Xingyi axiom of "my opponent can hit me as many times as he can; I only want to hit him once." Good atemi should leave a lasting impression.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

ChrisHein
10-06-2005, 09:31 PM
The word atemi in the Japanese language seems simply to mean a strike to the body. It brakes down like atarue (no idea how to spell it) to strike, and mi, as in body, Atemi. I don't speak Japanese but the kanji brakes down like that. http://users.erols.com/ziring/kanji/atemi.gif

-Chris Hein

akiy
10-06-2005, 09:46 PM
To throw another piece of fodder into the discussion...

Kenji Tomiki sensei called the first five techniques (shomen ate, aigamae ate, gyakugamae ate, gedan ate, and ushiro ate) the "atemi waza" portion of his 17 basic randori techniques. You can see animated versions of these here (http://homepage2.nifty.com/shodokan/en/kyogi10a.html) and here (http://www.shodokan.ch/fr/17hon_01.html).

The times I've received a good shomen ate or any of the other techniques in the atemi waza portion, I can't say any of them were percussive at all; on the contrary, they felt nothing like getting struck.

Just some thoughts.

-- Jun

Mike Sigman
10-06-2005, 10:09 PM
The times I've received a good shomen ate or any of the other techniques in the atemi waza portion, I can't say any of them were percussive at all; on the contrary, they felt nothing like getting struck. Well, the problem is that the clips, as good as they are, are from Tomiki's perspective of what Aikido is.... they're not from mainstream Aikido.

Secondly, even without being "percussive", I can generate fairly large power in each of those techniques, even if I just put my hand on someone before I do the generating. That power can be learned from suburi done correctly, IMO.

FWIW

Mike

PeterR
10-06-2005, 10:33 PM
Well, the problem is that the clips, as good as they are, are from Tomiki's perspective of what Aikido is.... they're not from mainstream Aikido.
Anything I've seen in Tomiki Aikido I've seem in other major styles and vice versa. What's your point Mike - I think Jun's inclusion of them as an example defines exactly what atemi waza means with respect to Aikido.


Secondly, even without being "percussive", I can generate fairly large power in each of those techniques, even if I just put my hand on someone before I do the generating. That power can be learned from suburi done correctly, IMO.

Perhaps its just me but this makes no sense. I can generate power before I generate power - time doesn't work like that. Let's just put that down to typing too quickly.

The key to the techniques shown in the animated gifs isn't percussion but manipulating the body coupled with Ido Ryoko (Power of movement).

SeiserL
10-06-2005, 10:54 PM
Perhaps we have too limited definition of atemi.

In the cited source Total Aikido: The Master Course by Gozo Shioda (Kodansha 1996) on page 24 he states;

"The founder, Ueshiba Sensei, said "In real battle, atemi is seventy percent, technique is thirty percent."

later on the page he continues;

"Strikes as they are used in aikido are not limited to just hitting with the fist or tegatana (side of the hand). If you make contact with the uke with focused power, that is atemi, so it is possible to use your shoulder, your back, or any part of you body to make the atemi."

BTW, I like heavy bags, double end bags, and speed bags for solo practice and focus mitts if I have a partner. While traditionally trained in Isshnryu vertical fist and Wing Chun sun fist, I actually prefer boxing (jab, cross, hook, and uppercut) with the occasional wing Chun straight blast, add in the knees and elbows, along with shins and kicks. Most of the people in class already have a background so we spend very little time directly on striking.

Mike Sigman
10-06-2005, 10:56 PM
Anything I've seen in Tomiki Aikido I've seem in other major styles and vice versa. What's your point Mike - I think Jun's inclusion of them as an example defines exactly what atemi waza means with respect to Aikido. Hi Peter: Can you point me to Hombu Dojo clips/pictures showing that same series of atemi, then? Secondly, even without being "percussive", I can generate fairly large power in each of those techniques, even if I just put my hand on someone before I do the generating. That power can be learned from suburi done correctly, IMO.Perhaps its just me but this makes no sense. I can generate power before I generate power - time doesn't work like that. Let's just put that down to typing too quickly. I realize that it might not make sense to you, but I can do what I said. You may have never seen it. My point being that seeing two people demonstrate stylized versions of "atemi" doesn't tell me a lot, even if it is a video of "Aikido" or "Tomiki Aikido" or whatever. I.e., I can't be certain that the "non-percussive" effect represents anything more than a stylized version, in those clips, so the point Jun was attempting to make gets clouded by "maybe's". That's all I was saying. Jun could have pre-empted my comment by simply making the caveat that these "atemi's" may or may not represent the actual power they are meant to represent.

Regards,

Mike

PeterR
10-06-2005, 11:20 PM
Mike - are you telling me you haven't seen techniques done in a similar way in your Aikido travels. Three of the five are classic iriminage. Shomen-ate (first) and ushiro-ate (last) are less common but not exactly rare. Those clips are part of a kata series developed by Kenji Tomiki (while he was a member of the Aikikai I might add) from techniques that were quite typical.

I use all of these techniques in full resistance randori (I personally think I limit myself to them too much) and they are (as Jun pointed out) non-percussive. Jun is pretty mainstream Aikikai - he had no trouble understanding the relationship. The effect you see in the kata is pretty much what you see when the technique is performed correctly (perfect timing) in randori.

I reread your generation of power statement again. Perhaps you wish to rewrite it at the moment it is contradictory.

ChrisHein
10-06-2005, 11:42 PM
"The founder, Ueshiba Sensei, said "In real battle, atemi is seventy percent, technique is thirty percent."

In real battle, it's probably way over 70% cutting someone up with a sword or spear, I don't think there was a lot of punching kicking or shoulder strokes going on in "real battle". Ask a modern solider how much punching and kicking they do on the battle field, I'm sure it's less then 1%. Soldiers use tools to achieve their goals, tools like guns and bombs of today, or swords and spears of olden times. The translation of "real battle" is interesting, what was the direct statement in Japanese?

"Perhaps we have too limited definition of atemi." -Lynn Seiser

Atemi (当身, thanx Jun) can definatly be more then just the hand, it can be anything on earth that hits you.

I'm sure that in his book Gozo Shioda was talking about punching kicking and other unarmed blows, it's clear this is what he is going for (or at least his translator was, was this book written in english by him?). However what O-sensei ment could be another thing all together, possibly something that Shioda didn't understand. I've always heard "Aikido is 90% atemi", my teacher told me that this was something Saito said came from O-sensei. Now this is a statement handed down 3 times before it got to me, so who knows what O-sensei said directly, however I don't believe that Gozo Shioda is the only one O-Sensei said this too. While Shiodas take on it is as it is, maybe Saito's is different, and maybe Tohei's was different even yet. What I'm saying is the just of the saying is roughly, Aikido is mostly atemi, and I think this is what we should be asking ourselves instead trusting what we have read as gospel.

-Chris Hein

akiy
10-06-2005, 11:54 PM
"The founder, Ueshiba Sensei, said "In real battle, atemi is seventy percent, technique is thirty percent."
[snip]
The translation of "real battle" is interesting, what was the direct statement in Japanese?
Funny -- I was just flipping through Shioda sensei's original Japanese edition of "Aikido Shugyo." He writes:

私の師匠であるところの植芝盛平先生も次のように言っておられました。
「実践における合気道は、当身が七分、投げが三分」

-- Jun

xuzen
10-07-2005, 12:14 AM
"The founder, Ueshiba Sensei, said "In real battle, atemi is seventy percent, technique is thirty percent." In real battle, it's probably way over 70% cutting someone up with a sword or spear, I don't think there was a lot of punching kicking or shoulder strokes going on in "real battle". Ask a modern solider how much punching and kicking they do on the battle field, I'm sure it's less then 1%. Soldiers use tools to achieve their goals, tools like guns and bombs of today, or swords and spears of olden times.

Agree completely. I have always like Japanese type Martial art for its minimalistic approach. Atemi is, in my mind, the shortest and minimalist technique to score a victory/ippon.

Boon.

xuzen
10-07-2005, 03:45 AM
ATEMI = PAIN therefore COMPLIANT UKE which produces a Happy Shite / Nage / Tori.

Ian Thake
10-07-2005, 05:58 AM
Chris:
About 4 years ago I would've agreed.
Except the "yari"/"bo" training I've been doing with my teacher here in Tokyo has produced exactly those results. You actually DO strike exactly as you would use the weapon. (And yes he's fought full contact, plus he's used this different kind of striking to dominate kickboxers/ shoot boxers etc)

I'm not sure, but did you mention elsewhere that your instructor had a CMA background? I've read that Hsing Yi (sp?) has an explicit spear -> fist connection so being taught to move your body to power a punch in the same way that you'd power a spear thrust seems very reasonable.

(Or are you arguing the stronger position that your spear work is tying directly into all strikes - be they roundhouse kicks, elbow strikes etc?)

Jostein P
10-07-2005, 07:29 AM
I've read somewhere that O'sensei said that "atemi does not need to hit physically, but it needs to hit the soul".

I don't know if he really said this, or if it has a different source. Nevertheless, it has a point: Atemi breaks uke's balance, be it physically or mentally. I believe that this is the true point of atemi, not to end the battle.

If the purpose of atemi was to hurt/kill uke and win the battle, aikido would look more like other martial arts like karate, wing chun, tae kwon do or boxing.

Atemi is, in my opinion, the key to open the door to a technique. Nothing more, nothing less.

aikidoc
10-07-2005, 07:54 AM
[QUOTE=Mike Sigman . . "people should remember the old Xingyi axiom of "my opponent can hit me as many times as he can; I only want to hit him once." Good atemi should leave a lasting impression." Regards, Mike Sigman[/QUOTE]

I realize vital or pressure points are popular topics ala Dillman and the Dim Mak mystique, however, given your statement on leaving a last impression it would seem to me that the most effective way to do that is to atemi a pressure or vital point. I use various applications to position uke for a technique or set up a technique. The problem with vital or pressure points is that they don't work well on everyone, although some can be sensitized over time. I guess my point is, if you are going to use atemi then it ought to be used in the most effective way possible. Since pressure/vital points are often near nerves or blood vessels then striking such points is more likely to have the desired effect.

Mike Sigman
10-07-2005, 08:14 AM
Mike - are you telling me you haven't seen techniques done in a similar way in your Aikido travels. Three of the five are classic iriminage. Shomen-ate (first) and ushiro-ate (last) are less common but not exactly rare. Those clips are part of a kata series developed by Kenji Tomiki (while he was a member of the Aikikai I might add) from techniques that were quite typical. I'm not sure what the discussion is about, Peter. You're supporting my comment directly by saying "Those clips are part of a kata series developed by Kenji Tomiki" (they're part of randorii techniques and mainstream Aikido does not have randorii) and yet you're questioning why I haven't seen them commonly in mainstream Aikido. The discussion is about atemi, not the particular "techniques" like "classic iriminage". Jun's comment, to which I was responding, was that in the use of those kata/atemi they did not feel percussive; i.e., as atemi they did not feel like body strikes. My response was that it's hard to say if the "atemi" used in those practice drills actually represent the full atemi, as originally intended, so it's difficult to say much definitively.
I use all of these techniques in full resistance randori (I personally think I limit myself to them too much) and they are (as Jun pointed out) non-percussive. Jun is pretty mainstream Aikikai - he had no trouble understanding the relationship. The effect you see in the kata is pretty much what you see when the technique is performed correctly (perfect timing) in randori. I don't get the point. We could look at clips of Shioda performing atemi and some of those are most certainly "percussive". Whether an atemi is percussive or not (and some of them certainly are, regardless of any kata or randorii performed in Tomiki-style) is not really an important-enough side-issue to dwell on, much less to consider it resolved based on some clips from Tomiki training methods (they're good clips, BTW).I reread your generation of power statement again. Perhaps you wish to rewrite it at the moment it is contradictory.I don't think it's contradictory and neither will anyone else who has a fairly comprehensive grasp of atemi. I can touch someone in a non-percussive way, as shown in some of those clips, and *then* release enough power to send them through the air or damage their body.... so being "non-percussive" isn't definitive in all senses of the word "atemi". This is all part of the greater discussion about how fully people actually understand atemi, atemi-training, etc., and how the limits of it may be outside of the level of some discussions seen on this forum. I.e., the "final word" shouldn't be reached for so quickly. ;)

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
10-07-2005, 08:31 AM
I guess my point is, if you are going to use atemi then it ought to be used in the most effective way possible. Since pressure/vital points are often near nerves or blood vessels then striking such points is more likely to have the desired effect.I agree with that statement in principle and pressure points (vital points, acu-points, meridian-striking, whatever) would indeed be an ideal way of hitting. However, in complete point-striking, as done in the traditional way, you "hit with your ki"... i.e., we're back to discussing ki and kokyu development in your atemi, which supercedes the actual point-striking.

Secondly, as you've noted and as has been demonstrated in test settings, point-striking isn't always effective. There was an embarrassing television documentary showing one of Dillman's fat teachers (Tom Cameron... should still be a file of the Fox News interview, etc., someonewhere on the net) knocking out his students with various point-strikes and "touches" and then the TV people took him over to the local BJJ gym and none of his stuff worked. Getting away from the amateurs, I'm aware of a challenge that took place in Beijing about ten years where a real, not amateur, dim mak expert struck one of Feng Zhi Qiang's students on various points and the "victim" just stood there and looked at him, unphased. Sometimes these things work, sometimes they don't.... you can't always pick your opponent, though. It needs to be strongly emphasized that one of the traditional requirements for real point-striking is that you be able to strike *very hard*. It is the training for striking very hard, using ki/kokyu, that is (IMO) far more important than worrying too much about the points. Although granted some points make great targets of choice, when available.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
10-07-2005, 08:37 AM
I'm not sure, but did you mention elsewhere that your instructor had a CMA background? I've read that Hsing Yi (sp?) has an explicit spear -> fist connection so being taught to move your body to power a punch in the same way that you'd power a spear thrust seems very reasonable.

(Or are you arguing the stronger position that your spear work is tying directly into all strikes - be they roundhouse kicks, elbow strikes etc?) The 5 basic strikes in Xingyi are indeed supposed to derive from various spear strikes, but perhaps a better way to think of those 5 basic strike practices is that they represent 5 different ways in which the dantien is trained to move the body when releasing power. Extrapolating quickly ahead, there could be some confusion in discussing dantien-powered movements in a martial style/forum that mainly uses hip-powered movements and, in reality, a lot of arm-powered techniques.

Regards,

Mike

ChrisHein
10-07-2005, 11:05 AM
Ian,
Yes I have spent some time training in Xing yi, and to the best of my knowledge Xing yi does come from Ji Long Feng, who was a very famous spear fighter. After study I would agree, that the foundation of xing yi came from spear fighting, the way you use your body in a line, and the 3 physical harmonies are ready evidence of this. However as I have told many people many times, xing yi was later developed for empty handed fighting. It's not like a spear fighter set down his spear one day and was a great boxer. It's probably closer to a great spear fighter got board when war time was over, and started getting in local fights, likely he realized that his body use was good from all the spear fighting, and he developed a boxing system on this idea. I've heard that the ideas of western boxing came from european fencing technique also, however it was still developed as an unarmed fighting system. No one (that I have seen) has developed Aikido techniques into an unarmed boxing system. Hitting bags and sparring with gloves are effective ways of becoming a boxer not swinging a stick.

"I've read somewhere that O'sensei said that "atemi does not need to hit physically, but it needs to hit the soul". "-Jostein Pettersen

Not saying that O-sensei didn't say this but the kanji for atemi is 当身, basically strike and body. If he didn't mean to physically hit the body, then adding the mi (身) to ate (当)seems unnessisary.

John,
I think we all need to define the word pressure point. If you mean that the face, solar plexus and the liver are all pressure points, I'm all in, those are great places to punch someone. However if you mean hitting meridian 12 at 6pm (the hour of the rat) with the chunza fist, then I think it's a bunch of malarkey. Boxers get hit everywhere all the time, and we never see them discussing "pressure points". When NHB first hit the seen why didn't Dillmans guys go and clean up?

-Chris Hein

akiy
10-07-2005, 11:36 AM
Not saying that O-sensei didn't say this but the kanji for atemi is 当身, basically strike and body.
Just to add some linguistic fodder to this discussion...

Please note that 当る in Japanese can also be used in many other instances including putting a sticker onto something ( ステッカーを当てる ), shining a light onto something ( 光を当てる ), blowing hot wind upon something ( 熱風を当てる ), and even guessing something I'm thinking ( 考えている事を当てる ).

There are also many compounds using 当 including 当番 ("touban," person on duty), 見当 ("kentou," estimate), 手当 ("te ate", compensation), and 目当て ("me ate", purpose). None of these connote striking the "turn," "vision," "hand," or "eye." (Heck, it's even used in 弁当 ("bento," boxed lunch), and I can't say I've ever felt like hitting my lunch!)

-- Jun

Mike Sigman
10-07-2005, 12:20 PM
Yes I have spent some time training in Xing yi, and to the best of my knowledge Xing yi does come from Ji Long Feng, who was a very famous spear fighter. After study I would agree, that the foundation of xing yi came from spear fighting, the way you use your body in a line, and the 3 physical harmonies are ready evidence of this. Hi Chris:

I think you're using the term 3 physical harmonies to mean the 3 external harmonies; ankle-wrist, elbow-knee, shoulder-hip, right? The 3 external harmonies are meaningless without the 3 internal harmonies: heart leads mind; mind leads qi; qi leads jin. In other words, the saying about the "six harmonies" (which Xingyi, Taiji, Bagua, and some others use) is about using the body in its "natural movement" (the natural winding and unwinding of the body which results in the coordinations of the 3 external harmonies) when it is powered exclusively by what would be called ki and kokyu in a Japanese martial arts forum. The center of the relationship between the 3 harmonies is the dantien, which controls the lengthwise relationship of the 3 external harmonies, so when you say you're using those 3 harmonies to control the spear, you're essentially just saying that the control is purely dantien, ki, and kokyu.

When it's understood that a weapon is simply an extension of the hand and not a separate thing, the training of middle-hand (or whatever part of the body) and middle-weapon becomes very obvious as the same thing(particularly if someone knows how to move using the 6 harmonies). I.e., if someone understands this relationship and is training ki and kokyu with a suburito, they're also training it to the hand, back, elbow, etc.

FWIW

Mike

aikidoc
10-07-2005, 12:24 PM
Chris:

Pressure point is a term often used in the literature interchangeably with vital point, acupuncture point, nerve point, etc.

Not everything has to be hit hard by the way. I have "buzzed" students with light force quite by accident. A lot has to do with the set up points and sequence. Deep nerve locations does make it very difficult on some people and I would never rely on striking them as the only way of setting things up-if they are on drugs they may feel nothing.

ChrisHein
10-07-2005, 06:07 PM
Jun,
You have apparently never had a box lunch made by my mom!! :)

John,
That was basically what I was saying about pressure points, they are not as likely to stop a man as a punch to the face, sturnum, or liver.

Mike,

"The 3 external harmonies are meaningless without the 3 internal harmonies: heart leads mind; mind leads qi; qi leads jin"

If by this you mean that if a person is dead they cannot do Xing Yi, then you are correct, dead people can't move.

It also sounds like you read to many books. In real life a 1d10+2 doesent count for much.

-Chris

Mike Sigman
10-07-2005, 06:19 PM
"The 3 external harmonies are meaningless without the 3 internal harmonies: heart leads mind; mind leads qi; qi leads jin"

If by this you mean that if a person is dead they cannot do Xing Yi, then you are correct, dead people can't move.

It also sounds like you read to many books. In real life a 1d10+2 doesent count for much. I dunno, Chris.... I think a LOT of people know exactly what I mean by the heart leads mind, etc., quote I just made and few of them would accuse me of reading too much. Maybe of explaining too much. ;) I just told you the exact, supportable truth.

Mike

ChrisHein
10-07-2005, 06:31 PM
Oh, I understood what you were saying.

Upyu
10-08-2005, 02:04 AM
I'm not sure, but did you mention elsewhere that your instructor had a CMA background? I've read that Hsing Yi (sp?) has an explicit spear -> fist connection so being taught to move your body to power a punch in the same way that you'd power a spear thrust seems very reasonable.

(Or are you arguing the stronger position that your spear work is tying directly into all strikes - be they roundhouse kicks, elbow strikes etc?)

Actually both.

The Yari work ties indirectly into all strikes. It instills in you the skill of "sending" power "into" the persion. It is NOT percussive at all Ironically the result is much more uncomfortable, or devestating, depending on how you deliver. (Btw, this isn't theoretical, I can do this as well, and have felt the same)

The Yari/Bo training is actually fairly common in JMAs. Its just that many are unaware of it. And I dont think its any coincidence that both the Chinese and Japanese practice them.
To give you a more specific answer, the Yari training comes from Yagyu Shingan Ryu, although you'll find the same training in a lot of Koryu I think ;)

Upyu
10-08-2005, 02:16 AM
"The 3 external harmonies are meaningless without the 3 internal harmonies: heart leads mind; mind leads qi; qi leads jin"

If by this you mean that if a person is dead they cannot do Xing Yi, then you are correct, dead people can't move.

It also sounds like you read to many books. In real life a 1d10+2 doesent count for much.

-Chris

Chris,
I see you goto Shen Wu ;)
Just on an offnote I've been dying to go visit at some point. I've been trying to convince my instructor to come along, since he's always been for the unorthodox uses of neijia. Not to mention that you guys have a fairly open matt policy :p

Anyways, the heart leads minds leads qi leads jin tha Mike is referring to IS concrete I think. Or at least from what I've experienced.
It's not "vague" feelings, or abstract notions.
Just thought I'd put that in there knowing that Tim also takes a very pragmatic approach to Hsing-I ;)

PeterR
10-08-2005, 04:54 AM
I'm not sure what the discussion is about, Peter. You're supporting my comment directly by saying "Those clips are part of a kata series developed by Kenji Tomiki" (they're part of randorii techniques and mainstream Aikido does not have randorii) and yet you're questioning why I haven't seen them commonly in mainstream Aikido.

A fundamental misunderstanding on your part. Those are techniques allowed in randori not specifically developed for randori. All of the techniques are from what Ueshiba M. taught Tomiki K. and at least his other early students. A kata series is just the stringing together of a set of techniques with a comon theme - in this case kihon forms of legal techniques in shiai.

The discussion is about atemi, not the particular "techniques" like "classic iriminage". Jun's comment, to which I was responding, was that in the use of those kata/atemi they did not feel percussive; i.e., as atemi they did not feel like body strikes. My response was that it's hard to say if the "atemi" used in those practice drills actually represent the full atemi, as originally intended, so it's difficult to say much definitively. I don't get the point.

Jun was pointing out that the atemi term is far broader than percussive strikes. Iriminage is an atemi waza. There is plenty of percussive atemi in Shodokan/Tomiki aikido also but again atemi (70 or 90%) is not limited just to percussive atemi. This is true no matter what style of Aikido you perform. Understanding that is key to understanding the percentage value in my and others opinion.

I don't think it's contradictory and neither will anyone else who has a fairly comprehensive grasp of atemi. I can touch someone in a non-percussive way, as shown in some of those clips, and *then* release enough power to send them through the air or damage their body.... so being "non-percussive" isn't definitive in all senses of the word "atemi".

I never said (nor did anyone else) that "non percussive" is definitive in all senses of the word "atemi". Contradictory is the statement that you generate power before you generate power - you either do you do not. No problem with your above statement - that is not what you said previously. I do think that my understanding of atemi is quite comprehensive thank you - albeit in the context of Japanese martial arts.

As an aside - the man who was with Ueshiba M. during the bulk of his stays in China was Kenji Tomiki.

Mike Sigman
10-08-2005, 07:01 AM
Contradictory is the statement that you generate power before you generate power - you either do you do not. No problem with your above statement - that is not what you said previously. I do think that my understanding of atemi is quite comprehensive thank you - albeit in the context of Japanese martial arts. Here's the original quote, Peter. It does not say what you're attributing to it:

"Secondly, even without being "percussive", I can generate fairly large power in each of those techniques, even if I just put my hand on someone before I do the generating. That power can be learned from suburi done correctly, IMO."

Just because the word "atemi" is being used doesn't mean that we're talking about a specific subject that is restricted to "Japanese martial arts". We're getting back into this Japan versus China versus the West, etc., that is really a "my style is best" discussion, at heart. I think an accomplished martial artist (note that word "accomplished"... meaning having more than just a superficial knowledge about limited issues) from Japan or from China or Indonesia or wherever, just looks at these things as being simply all part of the same thing. "Atemi" has to do with striking and the why's and how's of doing so.

Insofar as the discussions about Tomiki Aikido, it gets a little sketchy to pretend that a style which has incorporated judo and randorii is the same thing as traditional Aikido in all respects. I simply don't see any point in arguing the obvious. Certainly if I taught a combination of Aikido and BJJ I would have the grace to acknowledge that it was not the founder's art instead of impeding all discussions with a "no, no they're the same thing" stance. At least acknowledge the *possibility* and show some flexibility in the discussion.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

PeterR
10-08-2005, 09:11 AM
Here's the original quote, Peter. It does not say what you're attributing to it:

"Secondly, even without being "percussive", I can generate fairly large power in each of those techniques, even if I just put my hand on someone before I do the generating. That power can be learned from suburi done correctly, IMO."

The above is a lot more clear after later qualifications - it wasn't then.

Just because the word "atemi" is being used doesn't mean that we're talking about a specific subject that is restricted to "Japanese martial arts". We're getting back into this Japan versus China versus the West, etc., that is really a "my style is best" discussion, at heart. I think an accomplished martial artist (note that word "accomplished"... meaning having more than just a superficial knowledge about limited issues) from Japan or from China or Indonesia or wherever, just looks at these things as being simply all part of the same thing. "Atemi" has to do with striking and the why's and how's of doing so.

Sorry but I thought this thread was about what was meant by Ueshiba M. when he referred to Aikido as 90% atemi. How did Ueshiba M. think about his atemi, what did he refer to as atemi, this is the basis of the discussion. Like it or not Ueshiba's world was the Japanese martial arts and there is nothing to suggest that Ueshiba's view of atemi was altered beyond those boundaries. We could look at his doka, we could look at what long term students of his say on the matter and how they practice it. Gozo Shioda's view has already been mentioned as was Kenji Tomiki's (not initially by me). My contention is that if you look at the broader definition of atemi used within the Japanese Martial Arts (described by others in this thread) 90% becomes easily understandable.


Insofar as the discussions about Tomiki Aikido, it gets a little sketchy to pretend that a style which has incorporated judo and randori is the same thing as traditional Aikido in all respects. I simply don't see any point in arguing the obvious. Certainly if I taught a combination of Aikido and BJJ I would have the grace to acknowledge that it was not the founder's art instead of impeding all discussions with a "no, no they're the same thing" stance. At least acknowledge the *possibility* and show some flexibility in the discussion.

All the techniques studied at Shodokan Honbu were taught to Tomiki by Ueshiba M. Judo specific techniques are not and never were incorporated - there was a conscientious effort not to (Mochizuki took another tack and did incorporate). Since the discussion revolves around technique (specifically what atemi means), Kenji Tomiki's long association with Ueshiba M., is a valuable reference point. What makes it even more valuable is Tomiki's academic bent - he classified and named technique according to function. Relationships are very clear.

Again as an aside since you choose to play keeper of the faith I have yet to have any visitor to Shodokan Honbu or my dojo tell me that the techniques we perform are not Aikido. That includes Shihan level Aikikai, Yoshinkan instructors and Ki Society. Not one of them had any trouble understanding why atemi waza are referred to as such.

Finally, although I don't consider myself an accomplished martial artist, mainly because I have been exposed to some truely greats, one can't blame me for getting a little tired of these constant suggestions that somehow you are and the rest of us heathan are not. Perhaps it true - perhaps not. Its irrelevant to the discussion.

kokyu
10-08-2005, 09:21 AM
Trouble is, once the fast strikers breach my maai, its almost impossible to do any aikido on them. In that I mean be it techniques, or just plain blending. Correct me if I'm wrong here ok. But is the ultimate physical aiki being able to blend with opponents no matter the speed? Because I'm not getting there.

I don't know whether this helps, but with fast strikers, I tend to find ura movements easier. The techniques seem to last a bit longer in ura and give you more time to dissipate uke's energy.

Abasan
10-08-2005, 09:48 AM
Ok thanks John Kuo and Ron for your insights. John, love ya. finally got my clips back on pakour again. Now thats ukemi!

I'll try to the drills david suggested. It looks interesting.

As for Ura movements. Believe me I've tried. If the uke is attacking like No 1 in David's example its dead easy to do anything I like. But with fast strikers, who don't only use their hands, but knees legs and elbows etc, its not that simple. I can't exactly show you what I mean, but if you would like to experiment, ask a friend who's fairly competent in wing chun to assist.

Ask him to initiate the attack and try and go to his ura, if he has one that is.

The reason I first posted was only because I wanted to know how I can use atemi to improve my version of aikido (this very weak type which is not currently effective anymore). It actually makes more sense for me to use it now because with atemi, i can then expose opponents weakpoints and then choose to finalise with an aikido technique.

Only thing is, with the atemi i use now, (not the one prescribed in the earlier posts as being the Aikido type atemi), it is already enough to down the opponent. So why bother doing aikido???

Do you understand what I'm trying to get at here? Simplified...
Currently, aikido against attacker - not working. Get beaten up.
Use fast atemi's just like attacker, then technique. Works. But atemis alone enough. Why do technique?

Mike Sigman
10-08-2005, 09:56 AM
Sorry but I thought this thread was about what was meant by Ueshiba M. when he referred to Aikido as 90% atemi. How did Ueshiba M. think about his atemi, what did he refer to as atemi, this is the basis of the discussion. Like it or not Ueshiba's world was the Japanese martial arts and there is nothing to suggest that Ueshiba's view of atemi was altered beyond those boundaries. We could look at his doka, we could look at what long term students of his say on the matter and how they practice it. Gozo Shioda's view has already been mentioned as was Kenji Tomiki's (not initially by me). My contention is that if you look at the broader definition of atemi used within the Japanese Martial Arts (described by others in this thread) 90% becomes easily understandable. Hi Peter:

Are you suggesting that you know what Ueshiba considered "atemi" and I don't? I haven't pretended to. Yet, I've looked at his doka and other things and I see that Ueshiba's overall view of Aikido is well within the general view of Chinese, Indian, etc., martial arts. If you want to make the case that Japanese martial arts is somehow different and special, that "ki" and "kokyu" in "atemi" are somehow different from the same ki and kokyu in other Asian martial arts, I'd like to hear your reasoning. Frankly, I think you're just being Japan-centered.

And how do we keep getting back to the 90% time after time when the only relevant supporting quote in actuality mentions 70%????????? All the techniques studied at Shodokan Honbu were taught to Tomiki by Ueshiba M. Judo specific techniques are not and never were incorporated - there was a conscientious effort not to (Mochizuki took another tack and did incorporate). Since the discussion revolves around technique (specifically what atemi means), Kenji Tomiki's long association with Ueshiba M., is a valuable reference point. What makes it even more valuable is Tomiki's academic bent - he classified and named technique according to function. Relationships are very clear.

Again as an aside since you choose to play keeper of the faith I have yet to have any visitor to Shodokan Honbu or my dojo tell me that the techniques we perform are not Aikido. Hold it. I'm not any sort of "keeper of the faith" and I couldn't care less about Tomiki-style (why even name it that if it's not different????) other than as a mild objection to your denial that there's any difference between Tomiki style and traditional Aikido... it's not logical and you're using it to avoid potential logic an the debate. I'm resisting your assertions logically, in other words, and you're now responding by going at me personally with "keeper of the faith". That's specious. From: http://www.aikidofaq.com/chiba_interview.html

May I ask a little about Aikido history: O Sensei was once invited to teach at the Kodokan by the founder of Judo, Dr. Jigoro Kano: did he accept?

At the time Kano Sensei was trying to consolidate the traditional Martial Arts of Japan, to help preserve them. That is why he asked O Sensei to come to the Kodokan to teach. But O Sensei refused: he felt that Aikido and Judo were so different that they should not be classed together. So instead Dr. Kano sent three of his senior students to study under O Sensei - Master Mochizuki and Master Murashige, and one other. I can't recall his name. They studied with O Sensei but returned every so often to the Kodokan to meet with Dr. Kano.

Was Tomiki Sensei the other master?

No. Tomiki Sensei came later. He combined Aikido and Judo: he would use Aikido for open distance in combat and judo for a closer Ma-ai (critical distance). I don't altogether agree with this idea, but Tomiki Sensei was a very good Martial Artist... and a real gentleman. Finally, although I don't consider myself an accomplished martial artist, mainly because I have been exposed to some truely greats, one can't blame me for getting a little tired of these constant suggestions that somehow you are and the rest of us heathan are not. Cite, please, on the "constant suggestions" I'm making about my own greatness? All I see is a basic-level conversation of which I know some of the basics, yet so little that I don't even teach a class... yet somehow, despite being an amateur, I get faced with a select-few self-styled "teachers" who know little of these basics and try to dispense with this troubling thought by resorting constantly to personal discussion. Is there a solution to this problem of going for the personal whenever the discussion gets uncomfortable? I'm not sure, given your comments of record on what you think about kokyu, but there's certainly a way to debate a topic without the need to charge me with making statements you can't support with cites.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

L. Camejo
10-08-2005, 11:16 AM
I'm not any sort of "keeper of the faith" and I couldn't care less about Tomiki-style (why even name it that if it's not different????) other than as a mild objection to your denial that there's any difference between Tomiki style and traditional Aikido... it's not logical and you're using it to avoid potential logic an the debate.
Can someone quote where this was said? My impression on Peter's claim was that the atemi waza shown in the links that Jun supplied on Shodokan Aikido were being taught at the Aikikai during the time that Tomiki was an Instructor there. So this type of atemi was part of Ueshiba M.'s atemi paradigm at a certain point in the Aikikai's development, and was also part of the syllabus. There was no mention or claim that Tomiki and Aikikai are exactly the same however.

Was Tomiki Sensei the other master?

No. Tomiki Sensei came later. He combined Aikido and Judo: he would use Aikido for open distance in combat and judo for a closer Ma-ai (critical distance). I don't altogether agree with this idea, but Tomiki Sensei was a very good Martial Artist... and a real gentleman.
I guess all this shows is how little Chiba knew of Tomiki's approach to Aikido. Totally incorrect. What Tomiki himself "would use" is not what he formulated for the Shodokan Aikido system. I've heard that Chiba is an exceptional Aikidoka, but we can't be masters of everything.:)

I think Jun may have put this entire discussion in the right light with his posts towards alternative ways of not only reading the written Japanese regarding the word "atemi", but also providing a technical alternative to the common percussive/vital point atemi concept that comes from Ueshiba M.'s first 8th Dan.

Much of spoken language needs to be taken in their correct context to make any sense and that context often includes the individual's own perspective at the exact point in time. Who is to say that asked on another day the same man would not say that atemi is 70%, 99% or 100% Aikido? And more importantly, does it really matter to us today? Will it change how we train? Will we leave where we are and seek out an instructor who teaches with 90% atemi? For some this may be the case, for others the answer may be an obvious "No Way". We train in the places that we feel best suited to us, it does not mean that we must all the time try to do Ueshiba M.'s Aikido or become him. How many here wake up at 4AM and pray to all the Kami, meditate extensively, search into the secrets of Kotodama or even train the amount of hours daily that Ueshiba M. did when alive? Will we become like him if we do? Does it even matter? Half the time I think the old man will be laughing at all of this analysis and banter we do on something that was probably obvious to him.

I think in the end one has to reconcile how much of what Ueshiba M. said and did is reflected in one's own Aikido and then decide on its overall level of importance. After all, he is not the only one who understood Aiki. If we truly seek to understand Aiki, then Atemi's place and percentage within it, among other things, will become obvious as it must have been for Ueshiba M.

Gambatte.
LC:ai::ki:

Mike Sigman
10-08-2005, 11:31 AM
Can someone quote where this was said? My impression on Peter's claim was that the atemi waza shown in the links that Jun supplied on Shodokan Aikido were being taught at the Aikikai during the time that Tomiki was an Instructor there. So this type of atemi was part of Ueshiba M.'s atemi paradigm at a certain point in the Aikikai's development, and was also part of the syllabus. There was no mention or claim that Tomiki and Aikikai are exactly the same however. The point of my original comment was that there is no indication that the video examples represent Aikido, Aikido atemi, etc., exactly, so to use them to define "atemi" with the added value of "percussion" was being questioned by me. So far, nothing has been said which invalidates that question. Certainly arguing that Shodokan represents the real and traditional Aikido because kata admittedly *made up* by Tomiki is the real goods, just won't fly as anything more than assertion. So let's get back to Atemi. I guess all this shows is how little Chiba knew of Tomiki's approach to Aikido. Totally incorrect. What Tomiki himself "would use" is not what he formulated for the Shodokan Aikido system. I've heard that Chiba is an exceptional Aikidoka, but we can't be masters of everything.:)
I'm just not used to these kinds of debates. On the lists I frequent the most, most people would address Chiba's individual points about Tomiki Aikido rather than selectively trivializing Chiba's comments. If Chiba doesn't know what he's talking about, you should mention that to him directly.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

senshincenter
10-08-2005, 11:33 AM
Mike,

The funny part is that Chiba practices all of those techniques from Tomiki that are in question here - and he certainly never labeled them as "Judo." Peter is correct in saying that those techniques are very common to every Aikido organization and dojo. No one in Aikido is ever going to be surprised to see them, nor will he or she be resistant to understanding them as Aikido (unless you are in one of those new offshoots where they say, "Aikido has no atemi" - but maybe not even then!). Perhaps this is where Lynn's question on Aikido experience does a play a part.

If one is going to go with experience here, as you often suggest one should, one has to drop the book knowledge (gained via Chiba's quote) and go with what folks are actually doing. All over the place, as one would find if he/she actually went all over the place, folks do these techniques and folks understand them as Aikido. Besides, nowhere in that quote does Chiba say that these techniques are Judo, are a combination of Judo and Aikido, or that they are not Aikido - which is what is more needed to address the techniques in question (which is where this all started).

And, Mike, one can't really be that blind - can he? Sooner or later when everyone is making you feel like they are just egocentrically adopting an unsupportable bias and/or selfishly hiding an ignorance from you, a more honest person would maybe take a second glance at what they were doing to cause such a continuous perception - at least an aikidoka would (especially one with decades of training under their belt like you have). I cannot think of one thread I've seen where you have not done what Peter is saying and where you have not interpreted folks' response to it thusly (i.e. inaccurately).

The (obvious) example you can't see here is when you say:

- I understand strikes this way.
- Accomplished martial artists (i.e. folks who know what they are talking about) all understand strikes this way.
- Since I understand strikes this way, I am an accomplished martial artist.
- Since you do not understand strikes this way (i.e. the way I do), you are not an accomplished martial artist.
- Since you are not an accomplished martial artist, your opinion on things is by default different from mine AND incorrect.
- I am right.

There are plenty of ways to make a point as innocently or as objectively as you would like to understand yourself to be doing - but you are not doing that. For example, one could have said what you are saying without any reference to the word "accomplished." I got to go with Peter on this one as well. Believe me, if you can ever figure out what you are doing to have folks respond to you in this way, I would be one of your biggest supporters (i.e. highly advocating your right to speak as a Chinese martial artists that has become accomplished in acquiring and transmitting very important skill-sets, etc.), and I would greatly look forward to hearing anything you might say. However, right now, it is indeed becoming like a broken record - which tends to always sound like: "I know kokyu and you do not."

for what its worth,
dmv

L. Camejo
10-08-2005, 11:49 AM
Certainly arguing that Shodokan represents the real and traditional Aikido because kata admittedly *made up* by Tomiki is the real goods, just won't fly as anything more than assertion.
I think David hit the nail on the head again.

Mike, are you reading the same thread that everyone else is? You were unable to provide a quote to back up your last incorrect assertion and now you make another (see bold text above). No one is saying that Shodokan represents the real and traditional Aikido except yourself.

I agree with something else you said though - Back to atemi.;)

And whenever I see Chiba-san we'll chat a bit about the other thing.

Gambatte.
LC:ai::ki:

Mike Sigman
10-08-2005, 12:58 PM
The funny part is that Chiba practices all of those techniques from Tomiki that are in question here Go back through my posts where I said we were talking about the ATEMI NOT THE TECHNIQUES. Hopefully, after enough repetition, we also have it confirmed that the correct quote is 70%, not 90%. ATEMI!!!!!! Peter is correct in saying that those techniques are very common to every Aikido organization Yes!!!! They are!!!! Go back and read where I was specific in talking about the ATEMI!!!!!!

David.... I was going to ask you what time it is, but I'm afraid my internet cache won't hold enough to capture your full answer.

Regards,

Mike

senshincenter
10-08-2005, 04:15 PM
Mike,

It's not that hard to follow - unless one has a serious case of denial.

The discussion went like this:

You said: "Well, the problem is that the clips, as good as they are, are from Tomiki's perspective of what Aikido is.... they're not from mainstream Aikido."

Peter said: " Anything I've seen in Tomiki Aikido I've seem in other major styles and vice versa."

You said: "Can you point me to Hombu Dojo clips/pictures showing that same series of atemi, then?"

Peter said: "are you telling me you haven't seen techniques done in a similar way in your Aikido travels. Three of the five are classic iriminage. Shomen-ate (first) and ushiro-ate (last) are less common but not exactly rare. Those clips are part of a kata series developed by Kenji Tomiki (while he was a member of the Aikikai I might add) from techniques that were quite typical."

You said: "I'm not sure what the discussion is about, Peter. You're supporting my comment directly by saying "Those clips are part of a kata series developed by Kenji Tomiki" (they're part of randorii techniques and mainstream Aikido does not have randorii) and yet you're questioning why I haven't seen them commonly in mainstream Aikido."

Forgetting the comment about randori for the moment - let's face it Mike, you probably don't have nearly enough exposure to the Aikido world to be making the kind of comments you always seem to make. The idea that one can have some knowledge regarding internal strength development, tying that to something a karateka said regarding kokyu, etc., will probably not even come close to turning some years of Aikido practice into a platform by which one can become THE authority on who is doing what in Aikido and who is not.

For a person claiming to be keen on being against vague conceptualizations, and for a person claiming to be keen on having reasonable discussion, you really should try to be more aware of how you always seem to feel no one is understanding what you are saying - you should also be aware of how your usual flag of "I know kokyu and no one else does" subverts all conversation. You should probably just start all of your posts with that tagline - maybe even seek to change the thread title with that tagline if you can. That way we can better positions ourselves elsewhere if we are more interested in discussion, or at least we could figure out that we are supposed to understand you while we are being restricted to not understanding you - so you can better have the monologue you so desire. Right? That has to be what you really want here? For why else would a person that is continually being reminded (by people that have for years managed to have conversations with others - with major disagreements and everything) that he is being too authoritarian actually tell one more person: "Hey, I know how to post, and you don't post like me, so you don't know how to post"? (i.e. " David.... I was going to ask you what time it is, but I'm afraid my internet cache won't hold enough to capture your full answer.")

Hey man - I wish you well, I'm just not interested in the monologues. Besides, I get what you are saying, every time you are saying it: "I know kokyu and you do not." It's not just that I don't believe it, which might have me participating in further discussions with you. It is more that I just try to live my life and practice my art so that I don't have to act out that way. It's not that big of deal, it's just a choice I make for myself.

It's just like the time - it's one time where you are at, it's another time where I am at. It's not one time for everyone, everywhere, as long as it is your time Mike.

Chiming out.

Charlie
10-08-2005, 04:29 PM
...David.... I was going to ask you what time it is, but I'm afraid my internet cache won't hold enough to capture your full answer...

Was that a personal attack?

Mike Sigman
10-08-2005, 05:14 PM
It's not that hard to follow - unless one has a serious case of denial.

The discussion went like this:

You said: "Well, the problem is that the clips, as good as they are, are from Tomiki's perspective of what Aikido is.... they're not from mainstream Aikido."

Peter said: " Anything I've seen in Tomiki Aikido I've seem in other major styles and vice versa." Anyway you cut that statement, up or down, there is no difference between Tomiki styles and other styles. Larry take note.

You said: "Can you point me to Hombu Dojo clips/pictures showing that same series of atemi, then?"

Peter said: "are you telling me you haven't seen techniques done in a similar way in your Aikido travels. Three of the five are classic iriminage. [[snip]] And there's the error that I keep pointing out... I'm talking about atemi and Peter and you are talking about "technique". About the third time, I give up.

As for the rest of it, I guess we'll always be on opposite sides of the fence, David. You teach Aikido but you don't know what ki and kokyu are, so you'll trivialize them. I don't teach Aikido but I do know what they are, without claiming any great credentials in these absolute BASICS for Aikido.

Mike

senshincenter
10-08-2005, 06:20 PM
Mike - that's hilarious you just did it again - you claim no great credential but fully (though silently) proclaim the right to look at what someone says and state that what they do is not ki or kokyu. Come on - you got to see that one???

I do not trivialize ki or kokyu - though I do not hold it up and qualify a person or his/her practice as meaningful based upon what kind of ki or kokyu tricks they can do.

I see things this way because I accept that there is more than one way to make any practice meaningful and also because, for me, doing a ki or kokyu trick is a far cry from actually employing ki or kokyu under spontaneous or hostile conditions. Having something be part of a skill set is not the same thing as trivializing it in total. It is merely refusing to trivialize everything else that is central to training - which is what you do. There's a clear distinction there.

Back when I actually took you seriously - in the spirit of open conversation - your words inspired me to see what you were doing - to take inventory on what I am doing, etc. In fact, they still do - the words you uttered back then (to the me that could afford you the benefit of the doubt back then). That is what these discussions are all about. So I purchased your video set on internal strength development. First, let me say that I liked them very much - as part of a skill set (which is actually how you presented such internal strength on the tapes). However, second, let me say that you are not doing anything different from what most folks in Aikido are doing who have a direct tie back to the Founder (which is a lot of folks mind you). If you do not know that - it goes back to your lack of experience with actual Aikido. From my lineage - Chiba and Iseri - you are doing the exact same thing (i.e. some of the drills and exercises are the exact same thing), but for any kind of tactical authenticity which is not present in your understanding of ki and kokyu (my opinion) - which in a way makes it very different from what most folks do with ki and kokyu in Aikido. (Folks should buy Mike's tapes, which I recommend, and form their own opinion as to this last remark.) This lack of tactical authenticity is probably what makes you lean toward ki and kokyu tricks and is also what probably makes you lean to a singular centrality of one aspect that has always been part of a larger skill set for anybody that actually wants to use the art in question in real life under real conditions.

I guess that had me chiming back in, but it was too hard to pass up the "You see, you did it again." Now you don't have to ask anyone to point out a specific example of where you do what folks say you do. You just have to see that you cannot seem to speak outside of this model of yours.

deepsoup
10-08-2005, 07:33 PM
I'm talking about atemi and Peter and you are talking about "technique".
The atemi that Peter is talking about *is* technique. Or, if you prefer, the technique that Peter is talking about *is* atemi.

Sean
x

eyrie
10-08-2005, 07:39 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but atemi (percussive or otherwise) is an integral aspect of aikido technique, and not something separate unto itself. i.e. one does not do atemi (percussive or otherwise) in and of itself, independent of aikido-waza.

Secondly, if atemi is X% of aikido (or vice versa), what makes up the other Y%?

rob_liberti
10-08-2005, 08:36 PM
Secondly, if atemi is X% of aikido (or vice versa), what makes up the other Y%?
In my opinion, the rest would be: how you set it up and you how you use their reaction to yours in a way to do the least amount of damage possible while protecting yourself.

Rob

Abasan
10-08-2005, 08:53 PM
Was that a personal attack?

Actually it was mike trying to say that David types a lot in his post. Oblique yes, but funny if wasn't being taken so seriously in this forum. Btw, David does type a lot. But I appreciate it because he's trying to give us some of his ideas and input without forcing anyone to swallow it.

Like someone said earlier, Osensei could be laughing at us for overanalysing this. It makes sense for us to discuss something so that we can learn or understand something. But if just debate because we want to win, I donno, its kinda strange. I don't think Jun hands out prizes to winners of debates like this.

L. Camejo
10-09-2005, 07:52 AM
Anyway you cut that statement, up or down, there is no difference between Tomiki styles and other styles. Larry take note.

Interesting how a person like Mike who admittedly has little Aikido experience and no Shodokan experience can even attempt to debate in this particular area. :rolleyes:

Peter's entire statement was precluded by "Anything I've seen in Tomiki Aikido ...." meaning its from his own personal experience, not an infallible statement of fact that all styles of Aikido are the same.

Everything I've seen in a Ferrari I've seen in a pimped out Nissan Sentra (lights, wheels, bucket seats, engine etc.) does that mean that there is no difference between a Ferrari and a Sentra? I hope you can figure that one out Mike.;)

Have fun with this one folks.
LC:ai::ki:

Upyu
10-09-2005, 10:36 AM
Everything I've seen in a Ferrari I've seen in a pimped out Nissan Sentra (lights, wheels, bucket seats, engine etc.) does that mean that there is no difference between a Ferrari and a Sentra? I hope you can figure that one out Mike.;)

Have fun with this one folks.
LC:ai::ki:

If you want to go the logical route, then your car comparison is kinda flawed.
Everyone has two arms, two legs, and head, and the same muscles/skeleton/tendons.
The engine that drives us is the same ;)
Which means the most effecient configuration from which you deliver power doesn't necessarily change at heart, only in form/shape.
I think that's all he's trying to say.

L. Camejo
10-09-2005, 12:25 PM
Which means the most effecient configuration from which you deliver power doesn't necessarily change at heart, only in form/shape.
I think that's all he's trying to say.

Then he should just say that instead of attempting to misquote others.;)

Of course, even though the fundamental engine that drives me and an olympic athlete is the same, one has something different that enables him to achieve a gold medal.

It is the same reason with the atemi concept. A Kareteka's idea of good atemi and an Aikidoka's concept of quality atemi may be totally different when it comes down to the end result, although the fundamental mechanics are the same. Does that mean that ateemi in Karate and Aikido is exactly the same? Maybe, maybe not. Things are just no that black and white from my experience.

As Jun pointed out, even the translation of the kanji for atemi can yield multiple results. Where does one draw the line to define what it is and what it is not? Context is everything.

LC:ai::ki:

Mike Sigman
10-09-2005, 04:49 PM
Interesting how a person like Mike who admittedly has little Aikido experience and no Shodokan experience can even attempt to debate in this particular area. :rolleyes: I dunno, Larry.... I think I've got more experience in real Aikido that you do. If you're missing any real knowledge of basics, then you don't know Aikido, right? Peter's entire statement was precluded by "Anything I've seen in Tomiki Aikido ...." meaning ... Don't start with the "meaning" stuff, Larry. That's about as Mickey Mouse a rationalization for what Peter said directly, as I've ever seen. And then you go on later to call it a "misquote". Why don't you look up the meaning "misquote" before you use it? And no... I don't think you're man enough to apologize for an obvious error.

You're a Tomiki guy, right? You want to change this into a style war instead of a direct discussion about things you apparently know little about. Try going back to "atemi" and see if you can stick to the topic and show us what you know.

Mike Sigman

L. Camejo
10-09-2005, 05:36 PM
Omg Mike your nostrils are flaring.:D Seems I got your attention.:D

Don't know what u mean about creating a style war, as far as you have said so far, we believe there is no difference between the styles, then it's all Aikido, we are all followiing Ueshiba M.'s path (at least those of us who actually practice Aikido) and we should all be happy. Why are you getting your panties in a bunch? Oh right, you don't practice Aikido so you don't have much of a point of reference for what I am saying. ;) It's ok Mike, you may learn a thing or 2 about Atemi and Aikido from this thread yet.;)

Why is it that many of the CMA folks I come across (mostly Westerners) who think they know something about Chi/Ki or Kokyu have this communication issue? I think I'll follow David V.'s example and chime out. Everything I had to say about Atemi, Aikido and percentages has been said already and Mike now needs to define what "Real" Aikido is, since he claims to have some sort of experience in it.

Don't break the mirror if u don't like the reflection Mike. A Ferrari is not a Sentra, Shodokan is not Aikikai, though they have the same fundamental parts.;)

Gambatte.

Mike Sigman
10-09-2005, 05:43 PM
Gee, Larry... what a surprise. Not a bit of substance, not a single fact about the topic. You'd think someone who calls himself a "teacher" could at least shut down some "upstart" with some facts instead of double-talk, eh? Oh... and show me my "misquote" again, Larry, while you begin digging for facts.

Mike Sigman

L. Camejo
10-09-2005, 06:11 PM
Oh... and show me my "misquote" again/QUOTE]
Ok

Petter Rehse's words - post#136

[QUOTE]Anything I've seen in Tomiki Aikido I've seem in other major styles and vice versa

Misquote aka what Mike sees
there is no difference between Tomiki styles and other styles

rob_liberti
10-09-2005, 07:23 PM
Definition of real aikido and persecution complexes aside, I was actually hoping for someone to discuss good options for chosing atemis in multiple attack as both the ukes or the nage. What would you do if the attacker were a kamikazi that wanted to force you to have to connect? (Or what would you do next?)

Rob

Mike Sigman
10-09-2005, 07:23 PM
[QUOTE=Mike Sigman]Oh... and show me my "misquote" again/QUOTE]
Ok

Petter Rehse's words - post#136



Misquote aka what Mike sees So you don't understand what a "quote" is?

And you still have nothing you can say about the topic of atemi with logical or substantive support? Hey... I'll be glad to put you temporarily on one of the lists where the discussions don't go to bullshit and personalities for a few days if you think you can impress the people who are actually interested in facts and not posturing. Just say the word. I think you'd fold immediately in the bright light of facts. In fact, a lot of the same people read AikiWeb on occasion.... something that probably needs to be understood in the public arena.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
10-09-2005, 07:25 PM
Definition of real aikido and persecution complexes aside, I was actually hoping for someone to discuss good options for chosing atemis in multiple attack as both the ukes or the nage. What would you do if the attacker were a kamikazi that wanted to force you to have to connect? Staying within the framework of Aikido, my suggestion would be to take a look at what Shioda says about atemi and how you can hit with any part of the body.

FWIW

Mike

Ron Tisdale
10-09-2005, 07:43 PM
I had a really good time training in Daito ryu this weekend, practiced a lot of atemi, and came back to this :)

Oh well, glad I spent the time training.

Best,
Ron

aikidoc
10-09-2005, 10:08 PM
My this has deteriorated. And I got chastised for just asking someone's background!

PeterR
10-09-2005, 10:20 PM
And whenever I see Chiba-san we'll chat a bit about the other thing.
I already did - I am pretty sure he already knows he got the sequence of events wrong. It did happen well before his time so he can be excused for a generally minor error.

A few years ago I was at a small memorial seminar given by Chiba at Paul Sylvains old dojo. We had a very good talk in front of this huge fireplace where among other things we discussed my teacher (Nariyama Tetsuro), Tomiki Kenji, the Shodokan method and, because of the latter, my parcity of weapons work at the level I was then. The next day was memorable for two reasons. He put me in the front line during the weapons seminar where I proceeded to accidently hit him with the bokken and lived to tell about it (how fast can you appoligize in Japanese). He also gave me an article about Kenji Tomiki that he just happened to be carrying in his weapons case. For someone he just met he treated me very well and paid a lot of attention. That left as much of an impression on me as the way he moved - the similarity between Nariyama and Chiba in the latter regard is amazing.

PeterR
10-09-2005, 10:28 PM
My this has deteriorated. And I got chastised for just asking someone's background!
Its a sensitive issue with some. I could never understand why.

L. Camejo
10-10-2005, 05:13 AM
Definition of real aikido and persecution complexes aside, I was actually hoping for someone to discuss good options for chosing atemis in multiple attack as both the ukes or the nage.
Hi Rob,

Imho as Tori/Nage atemi in a multi-attack sitation, like other elements of Aikido, need to be utilized in accordance with the rhythm of the particular engagement. It comes down to one's tai sabaki, leading and ma ai skills and how one uses that to set up favourable conditions for atemi waza or other waza.

Generally though I've found the use of linear, quick techniques
e.g. shomen ate, aigamae ate (iriminage), gyaku gamae ate (sokumen) effective for breaking and changing the attack rhythm of multiple attackers while using more circular waza (atemi included) to tweak the rhythm as I would like. The way we apply atemi one has the choice to make impact or do a blow/throw, giving a few options as far as how one moves multiple Ukes around.

As Uke, attacks chosen will be designed to disrupt the rhythm that nage is trying to create in accordance with the attack patterns of the other attacking Uke. The idea would be to use any atemi that aids in cornering and limiting Tori/Nage's movement. Again it depends on the particular situation.

What would you do if the attacker were a kamikazi that wanted to force you to have to connect? (Or what would you do next?)

1. Connect.:)
2. Invite him in, give him an easy target and utilise a timing throw, and let him go on his way. If he is really bearing down on me kamikaze style, I won't want to stop his momentum.

Hope this helps.
LC:ai::ki:

Peter Goldsbury
10-10-2005, 06:09 AM
I would just like to state that I learned shomen-ate from a Tomiki instructor many years ago and it stuck. So I often use it in jiyu-waza (aka randori) and also have used it on the few occasions when I have had to use aikido outside the dojo.

I suspect that Shioda Sensei suggested the 70%/30% atemi/waza dichotomy, because he liked to use techniques also.

In a much earlier post, I quoted Saito Morihiro Sensei, who was a close student of Morihei Ueshiba for far longer than Shioda Sensei, and also gave the reference. Saito Sensei clearly stated the 99%/1% ratio in his book (and also to me in a private conversation). However, some people believe that this is either inaccurate, or does not represent O Sensei' real thinking.

I cannot argue about this, since I never knew O Sensei. However, no member of this forum has ever discussed the issue with O Sensei himself, so the evidence has to be second-hand and evaluated accordingly.

So in my opinion this entire thread is purely speculative and should be treated as such. Good discussion (in parts), but of little relevance to what O Sensei actually stated in his own words.

SeiserL
10-10-2005, 07:40 AM
So in my opinion this entire thread is purely speculative and should be treated as such. Good discussion (in parts), but of little relevance to what O Sensei actually stated in his own words.
Osu Sensei,
IMHO, as always, your background gives depth and insight. Compliments and appreciation. Your atemi (post) has power, focus, and is right on target.

L. Camejo
10-10-2005, 07:53 AM
Very well said Goldsbury san.You clarified what I had been alluding to in an earlier post.

LC:ai::ki:

Mike Sigman
10-10-2005, 08:31 AM
In a much earlier post, I quoted Saito Morihiro Sensei, who was a close student of Morihei Ueshiba for far longer than Shioda Sensei, and also gave the reference. Saito Sensei clearly stated the 99%/1% ratio in his book (and also to me in a private conversation). However, some people believe that this is either inaccurate, or does not represent O Sensei' real thinking. I think I'll dodge the Saito - Shioda part because none of us really know who's who to Ueshiba's Aikido, to a large degree. I.e., think of most classes you walk into. Someone may have been a sensei's "longest term student", but that doesn't tell us the relative skill, understanding, etc.

The comment appears to be in consensus if we leave it at "atemi is the largest part of understanding Aikido". Howzat? I think if atemi was 99% of Aikido, Ueshiba's demo's would have been different, but regardless, both Shioda and Saito stressed the comments about atemi, Shioda wrote some fairly descriptive comments on atemi, and Saito has a couple of really cute tricks tied into his suburi that can only help in respect to atemi.

FWIW

Mike

Mike Sigman
10-10-2005, 09:05 AM
My this has deteriorated. And I got chastised for just asking someone's background!I don't think Jun "chastised" you; he simply tried to get the discussion off the personal and back to atemi. I sent you a PM with the information you wanted and I didn't even get a thank you. :^)

Insofar as someone's "background", I'll bet just about everyone on these lists has a good "background" that they'll share with you. I've mentioned, in response to someone else's comments about it, the "teacher test" thing that I came up with one time... and since it's related to atemi in general, I'll mention it briefly again.

I was at a meeting with a bunch of various martial artists and several of the "teachers" spent a lot of time telling us all about their "background", their lineages, their understanding of the deeper aspects, yada, yada, yada. One guy had 20 years practicing and teaching Xingyi and "internal arts" and dominated the discussions for a few hours. He knew all the secrets of all the 5-Element punches, had written articles for Kung Fu, Black Belt, etc., etc. Trouble is I could tell from some of the things that he said that he didn't really know that much, despite all those years and that "background" and despite having a school full of loyal followers.

So on the spot, I asked him to put his fist or palm against my chest and, without drawing his hand or shoulder back, to hit me as hard as he could. I thought smoke was going to start coming out of his ears... the directions to not move his hand or shoulder completely flummoxed him. Yet if he did "internal arts" he should have easily been able to hit powerfully using his dantien and jin, just because it is basic to the very idea of the internal martial arts. Naturally, he wound up hitting with mostly his shoulder and everyone could see it. That's why it's called the "Teacher Test"... because it's a vague test of someone claiming to be a "teacher".

And failing this simple little "test" is a quite common occurrence, too. If someone has a "background" in the "internal arts" but they can't do something as basic as hit with the dantien, then logically they don't practice with the dantien and jin/kokyu and therefore *everything they do is basically wrong*. It doesn't matter how many forms, techniques, uniforms, jargon-knowledge, "philosophy", etc., that they have. Of course if you get a lot of people who are into "background" and "techniques", they'll vouch for each other, but what does that mean in the real world? The question is not the "background" so much as what they know about the art they're claiming to know. Naturally if they're not claiming to know the art to any great deal, the "background" is sort of beside the point, too.

Just to keep this on topic, John... what can you tell us about the use of the hara in the atemi, as you use it?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

rob_liberti
10-10-2005, 11:04 AM
I had a really good time training in Daito ryu this weekend, practiced a lot of atemi, and came back to this :)

Did you place your palm against anyone's chest and, without drawing your hand or shoulder back, hit people powerfully using your dantien and jin? Or were you just wasting time? Maybe it would have been better for you to stay here and post.

Rob

Mike Sigman
10-10-2005, 11:15 AM
Maybe you could tell us about your "background" and how you use the hara in your atemi, too, Rob? Although I realize that not everyone feels that using the hara in atemi has much to do with Aikido.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

SeiserL
10-10-2005, 12:26 PM
I I asked him to put his fist or palm against my chest and, without drawing his hand or shoulder back, to hit me as hard as he could.
IMHO, you could atemi by (1) moving the hara/hips so the wave snakes or rises vertically into the atemi, (2) pop the weight down and under to uproot as in a WC/JKD 1-3" punch, or (3) pivot horizontally on the toes rotating the hara/hips and extending the arms, similar to a boxer's hook.

All three actions can be added dynamically to Aikido waza through the center and towards the kuzushi balance points or merely to irritate and distract by leading the mind so that the slight of hand and body goes somewhat undetected.

rob_liberti
10-10-2005, 12:54 PM
I strongly agree with you that using the hara in atemi has a lot to do with Aikido.

We could of course talk about my background if you like, but I think it would be better to stick to the topic... So I'll only meet you half way.

As for my atemi practice, Gleason sensei grabs my arms and I attempt to thrust as if I were holding a sword. If it is a whole lot like trying to tickle a cow, then I need to organize my body differently before trying again. If he moves a little, I try to feel the difference between what I just did and my previous attempt. I find the main problem is that if I don't unify myself before he grabs and then with him as he grabs I have a heck of a time recovering. There are all sorts of other aspects to success in that exercise. I have to set a direction, and make space, I have to drop all excess tension except for my fingertips. I find I get more out of focusing just below his center than anywhere else, and then I need to follow the energy out of his center in such a way we are both contributing to the overall movement. I also find that when I non-verbally communicate the feeling of drawing the person in to me as I approach them just before we connect I get much better results. I can't explain that very well, but it seems to help me stay more internally organized.

For thrusting out in that fashion, to keep everything connected I find the most success in a wrist up and fingers down position. I find it a bit difficult to translate that into a typical punching fist.

Rob

Mike Sigman
10-10-2005, 02:11 PM
IMHO, you could atemi by (1) moving the hara/hips so the wave snakes or rises vertically into the atemi, (2) pop the weight down and under to uproot as in a WC/JKD 1-3" punch, or (3) pivot horizontally on the toes rotating the hara/hips and extending the arms, similar to a boxer's hook.

All three actions can be added dynamically to Aikido waza through the center and towards the kuzushi balance points or merely to irritate and distract by leading the mind so that the slight of hand and body goes somewhat undetected. OK, Lynn, good points. I don't actually do things quite the way you described, but you're showing that there are certainly other considerations other than just using the shoulder, etc., which I suggested was not really much of a solution, body-mechanics-wise.

If, as an example, I came up to you can claimed to be an expert in Wing Chun (or JKD) and yet I indicated that I have no knowledge of #2, you would understand the perspective I was originally trying to convey, I think. If I and a few of my buddies all ganged up and said you were making a mountain of a molehill, you'd understand even more clearly. ;) (I'd like to discard for moment any questions of pivoting and twisting on the foot, just to keep the conversation simple).

My real question, though, goes immediately to your #1 and the way you consolidate the terms "hara" and "hips". To me they are two very separate things. Sit in a chair (that will more or less lock your hips into one position) and move your stomach-area from side-to-side. That will give you a *rough* idea of what I move when I move my "hara" as opposed to when I move my hips. I power things from the hara; the hips are secondary. I.e., I can release a lot of power from a sitting position in which the hips are locked.

The point of my question is how is the hara used in atemi, and I meant it in terms of typical or traditional Aikido usage. The description of the Wing Chun technique may or may not be appropriate (that's what the discussion is about and I'm open to listening to this thesis), but Wing Chun is one of the "closed posture" styles of southern Shaolin and would not be 100% compatible with the techniques of atemi in Aikido, **in my opinion** (i.e., I'll debate it, but I could be wrong).

Regards,

Mike

Pauliina Lievonen
10-10-2005, 04:32 PM
A quick language question- what do English-speaking people in general, or the people in this discussion in particular, mean with "hips"? In Finnish, I would make a distiction between pelvis and the hip joint, and Finnish aikido people usually talk about the pelvis, but I mostly hear hips in English.

kvaak
Pauliina

Mike Sigman
10-10-2005, 04:44 PM
A quick language question- what do English-speaking people in general, or the people in this discussion in particular, mean with "hips"? In Finnish, I would make a distiction between pelvis and the hip joint, and Finnish aikido people usually talk about the pelvis, but I mostly hear hips in English.???? I'm lost, Pauliina.... where are you? I thought you were in Holland.

I see your point.... but I think generally the pelvis movement is viewed as accompanied by a twist at the hip joints. So really "hip movement" in English refers to the movement of the pelvis as a result of power applied at the hip joints, though of course there is some power from the torso muscles as well.

The "dantien" is a literal and figurative focus of power within the abdomen/waist area. People who *really* use the dantien for power (even moving the pelvis with it) can develop a muscular ball just below the navel (called a "qi ball") and can articulate that ball at will. This sort of power is considered a nexus of the connective tissue, tendons, muscular power, etc., used in conjunction with jin/kokyu power.

So using "hip" power and using "dantien" power are really different things, even though of course people using dantien power will also integrate hip movements, etc.

FWIW

Mike

the_aikido_hamsta
10-10-2005, 06:49 PM
i guess atemi is important in the early stages of aikido note tt as ppl proceed further into aikido
there's lesser need for it cuz they're more pro

PeterR
10-10-2005, 07:11 PM
Much as I hate anonymous articles.

On Aikido Journal we have Aikido and the Art of Atemi
http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=1239

mathewjgano
10-10-2005, 07:38 PM
Just to keep this on topic... what can you tell us about the use of the hara in the atemi, as you use it?

Per my limited frame of reference, hara is "behind" every movement, so this seems like a vague question to me. If your posture is balanced it can be connected to a hand cutting down (such as in sumi otoshi) while also connected the other hand as it raises and extends/cuts through the shikaku of uke's spine. Stable hara allows for dynamic and potent everything else, so far as I know. Maybe I don't understand your question. Would you answer your own question so I better know what you mean?
Take care,
Matt

mathewjgano
10-10-2005, 08:02 PM
The point of my question is how is the hara used in atemi, and I meant it in terms of typical or traditional Aikido usage.
I think most people say "hips" as a means of getting the whole body into their action. The hara sits upon the hips, after all, and so is dependant upon them to move. Hence, one extends through the ground via whatever their base happens to be, be it suwari-waza; tachi-waza; or sitting in a chair (isu-waza?lol). Then the action proceeds through hara and up along the spine to the arms, etc. So far as I know, everyone I've trained with in Aikido is aware of hara, even if they don't refer to it as such. "Center" is a more common term in America perhaps. And i would argue those who reject "hara" as a concept, if they do indeed exist commonly, simply reject a mystical description of it. Everyone can get behind "center of gravity" I think.
Some people I think prefer to analyze in a linear manner, such as I described just now, and some prefer to analyze in segments, maybe thinking about how to channel power through their shoulder before they analyze how to get power through their hara, for example. What ultimately matters, I think, is that we constantly strive to refine our methods. I'm decent at being strong in my hips/hara, but getting that strength into my arms is something I'm lacking I think.
Anyhoo...
Take care,
Matt

mathewjgano
10-10-2005, 08:34 PM
Much as I hate anonymous articles.

On Aikido Journal we have Aikido and the Art of Atemi
http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=1239

I really enjoyed that article! Thanks!

David Yap
10-11-2005, 04:16 AM
Matt,

Bet you will enjoy this even more:

http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=1239

David Y

PeterR
10-11-2005, 04:26 AM
Um David - its the same article.

Zato Ichi
10-11-2005, 07:11 AM
Peter, I think you'll enjoy this article on Aikido Journal:

http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=1239

Ron Tisdale
10-11-2005, 07:51 AM
I also find that when I non-verbally communicate the feeling of drawing the person in to me as I approach them just before we connect I get much better results.

Hi Rob,

If I read you correctly, you are speaking about connecting before physical contact, right? I have found that usefull as well, especially when unaware of exactly what attack is coming. But I haven't been able to describe it well yet. Thanks for that...
Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
10-11-2005, 08:18 AM
The "dantien" is a literal and figurative focus of power within the abdomen/waist area. People who *really* use the dantien for power (even moving the pelvis with it) can develop a muscular ball just below the navel (called a "qi ball") and can articulate that ball at will. This sort of power is considered a nexus of the connective tissue, tendons, muscular power, etc., used in conjunction with jin/kokyu power.

Hi all,

I have felt this separate dantien (separate from the hips) in some taiji folks, and it is distinctive. I'm not sure if I've felt this in terms of daito ryu or aikido folks...at least not with the same clarity or to the same extent. In taiji folks, it kind of felt like trying to catch ahold of a greasy ball...everytime I thought I had it, it slipped out of my grasp.

I've been told one reason I can't always feel it with Daito ryu or really good aikido folks is that they make a point of hiding it...but I can't really speak to that.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
10-11-2005, 08:20 AM
So I often use it in jiyu-waza (aka randori) and also have used it on the few occasions when I have had to use aikido outside the dojo.

Hi Peter,

I was wondering if you could share one of those 'few occasions'. I think it might reveal something about the nature of atemi.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
10-11-2005, 08:44 AM
Did you place your palm against anyone's chest and, without drawing your hand or shoulder back, hit people powerfully using your dantien and jin?
Rob

Not in this session, no. In a previous seminar with Okabayashi Sensei (Hakkuhokai), we did practice this a bit. Okabayashi Sensei placed his hand against a aikidoka/karateka's chest and pretty much collapsed his structure and sent him flying with a no inch punch.

In this seminar, that same type of energy seemed to be in use in ippondori, on the kick to the downed uke's ribs, followed by pinning the hips with your knee. You could feel the difference on the pin with people who could transfer their energy on the pin.

We also work pretty extensively on the proper tsubo for strikes, correct configuration for various strikes, and whole body movement / stepping into strikes during various ushiro waza. One tsubo that got a lot of attention is about an inch and a half above the solar plexus / suigetsu on the sternum. Both the ipponken and the elbow were used in relation to this tsubo. Tegatana was used in ushiro waza to the short ribs or liver.

Or were you just wasting time?
:) Nope, didn't waste my time...but I have to say that doing these seminars once a year is NOT the best way. I just haven't been able to put aside the time to train in Daito ryu more often. And I won't be leaving aikido to do so.

Maybe it would have been better for you to stay here and post.
Naaaa... :)
Best,
Ron

rob_liberti
10-12-2005, 07:30 AM
Ron, you are a good sport. :)

For me, communicating the feeling of reaching out (especially under their center which tens to make people just a bit uncomfortable but anywhere that gets their attention works for me) and communicating the feeling of taking the person in before physical contact has dramatic effect on the other person. As far as atemi goes, I think that kind of thing centers me a bit for sure, but I think it more centers the target relative to me in a noticable way. I get to work out with lots of people who've never done aikido before and the concept seems to work pretty well in general. I think you would have to train yourself to ignore responding to that feeling. I use the same feeling of gathering into myself when I'm doing katatetori drills where you typically wonder why the uke doesn't just let go. I find they have a much more difficult time wanting to let go when they are experiencing whatever the heck I'm communicating to them through the touch. I don't really have a good releasing/exploding analogy in my head (or in my actual ability). If someone has one, I'd be interested...

Rob

Mike Sigman
10-12-2005, 07:35 AM
I've been told one reason I can't always feel it with Daito ryu or really good aikido folks is that they make a point of hiding it...but I can't really speak to that. I hide my ability to levitate, too. Pish. Tush. ;^)))

Mike