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justinm 11-13-2003 07:37 AM

The other hand...
 
All this talk about soft breakfalls got me thinking - how often do you worry about your uke's 'other hand' ie the one that did not initially attack you? If your uke can touch you with the other hand, they could cut/stab you. This is very apparent in lots of the breakfall type ukemi where uke turns in to breakfall, for instance kotegaeshi or shihonage, and can often slap tori on the back or neck as they go over for the fall. Not nice if they had a weapon in it.

I think I'll look at this next practice - see if I can touch or slap my partner during the final ukemi and get that knife in :))

Justin

Kevin Wilbanks 11-13-2003 07:50 AM

It's a good point about grappling and street defense in general. It's very easy for someone to have a knife, utility razor-blade, or even small pistol concealed and available to be pulled out quickly. If someone has such a weapon, wrestling or throwing them might not be such a good idea.

However, in the context of my Aikido practice, speculating about what my partner could do with the addition of a hypothetical weapon is a bit too hypothetical to be of any importance. Most Aikido training is like a science experiment: zillions of possible variables are taken to be constant in order to focus on dealing with a specific situation/problem/principle. If you get too caught up in what-ifs, training devolves into a bunch of standing around and talking.

jimbaker 11-13-2003 08:05 AM

The way I teach it is that in every single attack, the guy has a knife in his other hand. If you've been touched by his other hand, you've been stabbed. It does focus one's attention!

Jim Baker

Tim Griffiths 11-13-2003 08:27 AM

I'm with Jim on this - "Be aware of your ukes weapons". If he can touch you with the other hand, without making it immediately much worse for himself, then there is a problem.

Uke shouldn't be about to touch you at all in kotegeishi or shihonage. IMHO, if he can, then its not a 'variation', its just plain wrong.

Wrong is not always bad, though.

Tim

Bronson 11-13-2003 10:30 AM

As I understand it that's one of the reasons Rod Kobayashi Sensei changed the kotegeashi in Seidokan. With the way he had learned it uke would slap nage on the back as they went over. He felt that if uke could slap your back they could hit your face. He changed the "standard" kotegeashi in our style to a variation I've seen written about here on AikiWeb. Instead of twisting ukes wrist to the side we kind of roll their arm up. Bringing the elbow under the hand and taking the whole thing straight down. It results in uke sitting down instead of flipping over.

Again, that's how I heard it but I wasn't there so take it for what it's worth ;)

Bronson

Nick Simpson 11-13-2003 01:36 PM

Sitting Uke down with Kotegaeshi seems to be a lot more controlled to me, if tori isnt aware it is sometimes possible for uke to kick them in the head as they flip over, whether by accident or design.

Thalib 11-13-2003 01:57 PM

Quote:

Bronson Diffin (Bronson) wrote:
He changed the "standard" kotegeashi in our style to a variation I've seen written about here on AikiWeb. Instead of twisting ukes wrist to the side we kind of roll their arm up. Bringing the elbow under the hand and taking the whole thing straight down. It results in uke sitting down instead of flipping over.

Actually, Diffin-san, what you've described here as "change" is actually the original and basic kote-gaeshi. When one does this, it actually does not give uke the chance to do "fancy" ukemi. Instead it could result in uke falling flat on their face.

The "twisting-arm" kote-gaeshi is a misconception of the original which is: After kote-gaeshi, the skillful uke falls into a sitting position, even seiza if the uke is sensitive to the nage. This gives the uke another chance of attacking. The nage then do a movement keeping distance and position from the uke, usually in a form of a tenkan.

If the above is done as one flowing continuous motion, for the people who only look for form, it will look like that kote-gaeshi is directly twisting the arm. This actually is controversial to the kaeshi part, which is to return. Kote-gaeshi, return the hand, not throw away the hand.

Here in Indonesia, there are many "rubber-men", in other words: very flexible. If one tries twisting the arm out in kote-gaeshi here, the person would just stand there and stare at you. Twisting the arm could injure those who are not flexible, but it is pointless for those who are. Why take the chance?

The more one learns, the more one returns to the basics.

sanosuke 11-13-2003 06:48 PM

Quote:

If one tries twisting the arm out in kote-gaeshi here, the person would just stand there and stare at you. Twisting the arm could injure those who are not flexible, but it is pointless for those who are. Why take the chance?
reminds me of a happening in the dojo not long time ago, when someone have to push his uke's head to fall him down, you know him right?? :D:D

PhilJ 11-13-2003 08:31 PM

With respect, Bronson, even that kind of kotegaeshi can be done and still you get hit. I did it that way for about 10 years (Seidokan), and realized I could be slapped.

What changed was where my body was in relation to uke. I found that if I folded uke in to me, it worked, but brought him towards me even if I was off the line.

To me, body position made the difference, but I still do the technique as you described.

*Phil

aubrey bannah 11-13-2003 09:19 PM

With the kotegaeski technique the first normal method is practiceing Aikido, while the second method is the martial application of the technique.

Thalib 11-13-2003 11:02 PM

Bannah-san... which one is the first and which one is the second?

Kevin Wilbanks 11-13-2003 11:02 PM

Quote:

Jim Baker (jimbaker) wrote:
The way I teach it is that in every single attack, the guy has a knife in his other hand. If you've been touched by his other hand, you've been stabbed. It does focus one's attention!

Jim Baker

This seems like silly talk to me. Adding this arbitrary assumption to practice in earnest would distort and limit Aikido training in a massive way. A razor blade or sharp knife can cause serious damage with almost no pressure, where an open hand cannot. The options available to nage are reduced considerably with the introduction of a serious blade threat.

Practically speaking, if I think you have a box cutter or Bowie Knife in your non-attacking hand, Aikido techniques are going to be pretty low on the list of options, whereas running for the exit or grabbing a nearby object and pummeling you are going to be my primary thoughts.


Even in a hypothetical training context, taking this assumption seriously makes no sense. What is the purpose of tanto training - isn't it redundant? If uke has a knife in his free hand, why did he commit his balance to a strike or grab with the weaponless hand in the first place? In general, it would greatly reduce and narrow the possible responses to most attacks, and practically eliminate them all for ushiro attacks of any kind.

Also, I don't see how you could expect beginners to cope with this assumption: "Yes, just assume that every technique you attempt for the next five to ten years will be a failure that would result in your death. Happy training!... Oh yeah, and don't forget to relax!"

happysod 11-14-2003 05:42 AM

Kevin, agree with you on this. Also, if every attack can be considered just a faint for the second more dangerous attack (the weapon), the initial attack becomes either floppy or the one to be ignored.

However, I do agree with using the non-involved hand as a test of body position/distance when you're working on this area. Also, in developing an awareness of feinting attacks and how to prevent yourself form overcomitting in defence.

justinm 11-14-2003 05:48 AM

Hi Kevin, I'm with Jim on this, especially where a grab is concerned - if someone grabs you I think you would be crazy NOT to assume there is a bottle, knife, glass in the other hand.

To train for years to defend against a grab with an assumption that there is not a weapon in the other hand simply 'makes no sense' (to use your words).

We always train with the assumption that the attacker might have a weapon, and it might not be in the hand they hit/grab you with, beginners included. They seem to cope somehow :)

If you want aikido to be martially effective, how could you do otherwise without kidding yourself?

ian 11-14-2003 07:11 AM

Quote:

Iriawan Kamal Thalib (Thalib) wrote:
Actually, Diffin-san, what you've described here as "change" is actually the original and basic kote-gaeshi. When one does this, it actually does not give uke the chance to do "fancy" ukemi.

I find this hard to believe when I look at Ueshiba on video and in his two manuals. Are you referring to pre-aikido? ven so, I've never seen any ju-jitsu people do it with the 'roll-up' version.

It is true the hand 'roll-up' kote-gaeshi stops uke touching you with your other hand. However it seems far easier to resist. Also, uke has the potential to drop his elbow to the outside, so that the technique won't work. Admittedly they'd have to have the presence of mind to do this. Although I'm still undecided which is best, I tend to either ensure uke is extended (therefore they have no balance to strike with the other hand), or one hand goes towards the face (so they tend to fall on their back more).

I would be very grateful if you could clarify your statement (I never saw anyone doing the roll-up form 14 years ago, though I have seen it more recently) e.g. when and who did this?

Cheers,

Ian

ian 11-14-2003 07:14 AM

P.S. I don't agree that this issue is not important. Most trained knife attackers will strike or push with their non-knife hand before stabbing. Also, most of aikido puts you in a position to avoid attacks from the other limbs (and head) whilst enabling a good counter strike - so why should kote-gaeshi be different?

Ian

Kevin Wilbanks 11-14-2003 07:54 AM

Quote:

Justin McCarthy (justinm) wrote:
Hi Kevin, I'm with Jim on this, especially where a grab is concerned - if someone grabs you I think you would be crazy NOT to assume there is a bottle, knife, glass in the other hand.

To train for years to defend against a grab with an assumption that there is not a weapon in the other hand simply 'makes no sense' (to use your words).

We always train with the assumption that the attacker might have a weapon, and it might not be in the hand they hit/grab you with, beginners included. They seem to cope somehow :)

If you want aikido to be martially effective, how could you do otherwise without kidding yourself?

1) You are being vastly oversimplistic. There are a nearely infinite number of situations in which one might use Aikido movement in relation to a grab where the probability of them wanting to kill you with a concealed weapon in the off hand is about as remote as having to dodge a falling meteor during your tenkan. Think about it statistically: how many times have you or anyone you know been grabbed, and how many of those was followed by a thrust to the abdomen with a stilleto?

If you are going to use the kind of hyperbolic paranoid logic you use in this post, where does it end? Why not assume uke arrives at the dojo with a handgun and snipe them with a high-powered rifle on their way in? After all, in the real world, people do come to kill other people with guns, so not keeping 24-hour sniper sentry on your front door is just "kidding yourself".

2) I did not say that one should never train the situation where there is a weapon in the off hand, but to advocate training that way all the time is to introduce an arbitrary assumption into practice that would distort the art considerably.

3) I hate to say challengesque things on an internet forum where the possibility of backing it up is remote, but have to say I find it hard to believe that y'all really train to the standard that uke has a razor sharp blade in the off hand at all times. It seems doubtful to me that ANYONE is good enough to consistently train the entire compendium of Aikido techniques to that standard - especially from ushiro attacks, since in most instances you'd be fatally wounded before you even got started. Multi-attacker randori becomes just plain silly. Are you saying that if you put on a white body suit and give uke a magic marker that you could just train away normally and not be marked?

L. Camejo 11-14-2003 09:02 AM

Interesting arguments :)

I think though that regardless of what attack is being done and the Aikido respones offered, total awareness of the attacker's entire body and the surrounding environment is very important to make sure that things may work in a martial sense. Even if it is unknown whether there is a weapon in the other hand or not, one should be always aware of where each part of the attacker's body is during any part of a technique. Basic spatial awareness in my book. This same concept is applied when Uke lands on his back after the kotegaeshi ukemi and may be able to kick you in the head (from the ground) as you try to pin or turn him over - I train my students to let them kick and apply yonko on their ankle, then turn em over. I guess it's the goal of the training that would decide what one does.

This "grab into a follow up knife attack" argument is very interesting, since this very thing is an integral part of the Shodokan's Kyu grade syllabus as a tool for understanding timing, kuzushi, awareness and hand placing/grasping techinques. Not sure where the idea came from, may be a historical thing. But the fact is that kuzushi and technique from 4 different variations of this grab and knife attack make up part of the grading requirement for every test from 5th Kyu to 2nd Kyu, one of which is kotegaeshi from a gedan level kuzushi.

Very interesting.

L.C.:ai::ki:

Thalib 11-14-2003 09:15 AM

Quote:

Ian Dodkins (ian) wrote:
I would be very grateful if you could clarify your statement (I never saw anyone doing the roll-up form 14 years ago, though I have seen it more recently) e.g. when and who did this?

First it was actually the book "The Structure of Aikido" by Homma Gaku. In the book he mentioned that it was the original jujutsu way and it was difficult to take ukemi for it. The difficult ukemi was the reason why it was changed in Aikido.

Then I noticed Tohei Koichi did it the same way also.

My sensei then told me that Tada-shihan did it the same way.

Then a student of Chiba-shihan, showed the same way of doing kotegaeshi. Which was rolling it up.

The last one I saw a video of 8 Aikikai shihan. One of them, I forgot who, showed the same way of doing kotegaeshi. A student actually asked him, "Sensei, [when do you do this]?" The shihan answered, "itsumo," which means, "everytime".

If it goes back to the students of O-sensei (Tohei, Tada, Chiba, and one of that 8 shihan which I forgot the name) that actually showed how the kotegaeshi was done, then I would believe that it was the basic and not a modification. Even Homma of Iwama said that it was the original way it was done.

I've been doing it ever since, not just because of the form, but because of the principle behind it. Kotegaeshi - return the small hand.

Doug Mathieu 11-14-2003 12:40 PM

Hi

We don't train with the idea of being prepared for the other hand.

What we do watch for is whether you have ukes center/balance all the way through the technique.

Perhaps its just a difference in how you visualize it. Being worried about the other hand might make you train so your partner is off balance and can't follow up their attack with their other hand or foot, etc.

Focusing on having our partners balance also helps us avoid clinches and any other counter movement they might try too.

I also might add I have been surprised to find some things can be done even when uke has poor balance. Some kicks can be fired off even when a good kicker is wobbly.

The impact might be less though if not delivered from a good base and you could perhaps survive a hit or two like that.

There is a sub context to the thread re: kotegaeshi. Our Shihan teaches us Kotegaeshi and Kotegaeshi Nage. From my understanding the basic Kotegaeshi won't cause uke to go flying over a distance rather its the rolling of the hand/forearm pretty much so uke falls in front of you. He might go head over heels or not depending on the force. If you want some distance you then apply a nage version of kotegaeshi and that is when uke might land feet away from you. The body motion for nage feels different and is connected to the handwork.

When I first started I thought Kotegaeshi was just Kotegaeshi. It wan't until later that I found there was a difference.

Jim ashby 11-14-2003 06:18 PM

I feel that you should be aware of Uke as a whole, not just the arm you happen to be working on. If the technique that your mind has chosen does leave you open, change it.

Bronson 11-18-2003 08:55 AM

Quote:

Phillip Johnson (PhilJ) wrote:
With respect, Bronson, even that kind of kotegaeshi can be done and still you get hit. I did it that way for about 10 years (Seidokan), and realized I could be slapped.

What changed was where my body was in relation to uke. I found that if I folded uke in to me, it worked, but brought him towards me even if I was off the line.

To me, body position made the difference, but I still do the technique as you described.

Hey Phil,

I think we agree a lot more than we disagree on this :D Poor positioning can screw up even the best technique. I've found the same as you and have been noticing it more and more.

I have also found that there's a big difference, in this type of kotegeashi, between putting uke's hand over their elbow or bringing their elbow under their hand. The former leaves them standing too upright for my taste :D

Ultimately it all comes down to having them off balance. We kind of work with the idea that uke should be off balance almost to the point of falling when the technique gets applied. If you are relying on the technique itself to take their balance then you didn't get it quite right...pretty much what everybody else here says too.

Bronson

Abasan 11-20-2003 09:30 AM

i always thought you would apply kotegaishi on the hand holding the weapon. and something else like ikkyo/sankyo if it isn't and the other hand is.

maybe i'm wrong, but i learned the rolling one from my first dojo - a ki society splinter group... ie tohei lineage. My current dojo does the what i presume you call kotegaishi nage type. The way we are suppose to do it, uke has no balance to launch a powerful strike before having his face splatted ont he ground.... but with a sharp weapon he will have a chance to cut us.

ian 11-21-2003 06:25 AM

Quote:

Iriawan Kamal Thalib (Thalib) wrote:
First it was actually the book "The Structure of Aikido" by Homma Gaku. In the book he mentioned that it was the original jujutsu way and it was difficult to take ukemi for it. The difficult ukemi was the reason why it was changed in Aikido.

Thankyou Iriawan. Sensei Ruddock (who teaches on the Isle of Man) also does it this way, and he trained under O'sensei and his son. I shall give serious consideration to altering my technique (but will that mean another dozen years before getting it right!)

Ian

justinm 11-23-2003 05:37 AM

Quote:

Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
...as remote as having to dodge a falling meteor.......arrives at the dojo with a handgun ......snipe them with a high-powered rifle.....

Nice extremes Kevin - nearly enough to convince me that you are right. But then again, maybe we are learning a martial art, so perhaps the likelyhood of an attacker having a knife/bottle/stick in the hand that you are not holding is a remote possibility that we should consider.

By the way, on your question about being grabbed by someone with a stiletto? Never.

Have I been grabbed by someone aggressively enough to make me throw them with kotegaeshi? Never. So I guess statistically that's pretty even.

How many times have I been grabbed by someone with a potential weapon in the other hand? Many. Usually glass or bottle. In fact, I'd be suprised if they grabbed me with the loaded hand, since they would have to drop the weapon.

If my uke had a magic marker? I'd look like a Jackson Pollock painting. That's why I keep training. How about you - would it only count as aikido if they held it in their right hand and made sure you knew that?


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