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Kristian Miller-Karlsen 01-15-2006 08:29 PM

Aikido and Target Focus Training
 
Hi Everyone,

I have already posted this material on the "Aikido does not work at all in a fight" thread. But seeing as I believe that Aikido is an effective martial art and would work in a fight, I thought I would re-post it here so as to start a new discussion.

Here goes!

I had an interesting encounter recently, which has changed my Aikido practice forever. I have, for years now, been looking for insights and differing points of view on various aspects of Aikido. I have, as is the case here, often looked outside the Aikido community for answers.

For a long while now the "Is my Aikido effective?" question has been raging in my mind. I was throwing back and forth the value of atemi in Aikido and, after reading a quote from osensei (which I remember reading in ‘Budo' by Stevens):

"The purpose of Aikido is to kill your opponent with a single Blow."

I knew I had to get an answer. I began to feel that I had to know how to seriously injure/kill someone so as to know how not to, so that I would have a choice in a life and death situation. I could not find a sensei anywhere with the ability to adequately explain this quote from osensei to me, or show that he/she even knew how. I believe that it is better to know how to kill someone and never have to do so than to need to be able to and not know how. Aikido in this day and age, in my humble opinion, does not seem to address this quote from osensei.

The answer I found to my question came in the form of a seminar, which an old training friend from my Aikido dojo encouraged me to take part in. It was a seminar on TFT or ‘Target Focus Training'. I'm not trying to promote this training, or sell it to anyone here. I just found it very interesting. I say so because it seemed to answer many of my queries.

Let me try and explain TFT. Put simply it is a method of selecting specific targets on the human body, and by striking them in specific ways, elicit a specific trauma/ spinal reflex in response. Essentially this means that you can hit a target and get a base minimum response/spinal reflex from the person you hit 100% of the time. This is trained in a similar way to which we train Aikido (uke-nage relationship) with each person practicing hitting the other at very slow speeds (so as not to hurt their training partner) while the person being hit practices giving the correct spinal reflex.

I found that this notion of striking/ getting a response fits with Aikido because, once you have struck your attacker and created a spinal reflex, you have then created a window through which you can apply any number of Aikido techniques. This to me is the meaning of atemi.

Has anyone else out there in the Aikido community attended a TFT seminar or something similar?

I hope this post/question makes sense. I humbly look forward to any and all responses from you, my peers.

Regards

Kristian

Edwin Neal 01-15-2006 09:30 PM

Re: Aikido and Target Focus Training
 
osensei's quote is to be taken literally and figuratively... aikido is 99% atemi... so i guess you hit them hard alot and apply technique... perhaps he meant Kill their desire to continue fighting...
i have used my aikido and have faith in its "street" effectiveness... it is less effective in say a combat atheletics situation where there are rules and constraints on atemi, and you don't really want to crank a wristlock on hard and fast after kicking them in the nads... practicing good strong atemi (strikes and kicks) is essential. Unfortunately it is one of the less practiced parts of aikido...
thats my two cents...

Jorx 01-16-2006 01:30 AM

Re: Aikido and Target Focus Training
 
There are only 2 physiologically "most effective" ways to surely end a fight. A choke and major head trauma.

Jorx 01-16-2006 01:35 AM

Re: Aikido and Target Focus Training
 
copypaste from TFT site:

Target-Focus™ Training:

An Amazing New Self-Protection System
You Learn In Less Than 24 Hours
That Makes Even The Most
Vicious Criminals Putty In Your Hands

People! There is HUNDREDS of these kinds of programs in net! Where is your common sense and healthy critisicm? Ever seen Napoelon Dynamite? Rex-Kwon-Do ring a bell?

Kristian Miller-Karlsen 01-16-2006 02:08 PM

Re: Aikido and Target Focus Training
 
Thanks for the response Jorgen,

Part of my question was to find out if anyone, other than myself, in the Aikido community had done anything like TFT. Have you Jorgen?

It's funny that you mention the TFT website Jorgen. I agree with you. It's totally angled toward selling TFT to a mass market. Be that as it may, I had the benefit of doing the TFT seminar prior to ever having seen the website so my judgement of it's true value was based on first hand experience and not what you or I would read on the website.

Thanks again Jorgen for your common sense and healthy criticism. No offense to you but is there anyone else out there with a serious response to my honest question?

Regards

Kristian.

Jorx 01-16-2006 04:09 PM

Re: Aikido and Target Focus Training
 
Let's keep our discussion about TFT here... The other thread is way off... everything:)

Anyway. No I have not practiced TFT.

I'm not only talking about attitude on the website. As you described it and as the website described it - (Let me try and explain TFT. Put simply it is a method of selecting specific targets on the human body, and by striking them in specific ways, elicit a specific trauma/ spinal reflex in response. Essentially this means that you can hit a target and get a base minimum response/spinal reflex from the person you hit 100% of the time. This is trained in a similar way to which we train Aikido (uke-nage relationship) with each person practicing hitting the other at very slow speeds (so as not to hurt their training partner) while the person being hit practices giving the correct spinal reflex.)

This YELLS "fake" to me. We have totally cooperative practice. Which is proved to be non-efficent and with poor convertability to uncooperative situation (a fight). We have some mambo-jambo about spinal reflexes - never seen a pressure point guy pull something on someone who is NOT their student. Also "special spinal reflex" is something that sounds very weird - I'm not a doctor but I've taken some physiology/anatomy courses in uni (studying psychology). THEN we have the 100% killing. This is a world of probability we live in. Any martial artist putting up something like that is a scam.

I feel a little sorry that I'm too tired to be more argumented or polite. But my advice:

Take some lessons in a much despised "sport" art. Wrestling, boxing, muay thai or "the gayest sport there is - BJJ"

Ketsan 01-16-2006 04:53 PM

Re: Aikido and Target Focus Training
 
Ju-jitsu teaches how and where to strike.

Kristian Miller-Karlsen 01-16-2006 06:05 PM

Re: Aikido and Target Focus Training
 
Jorgen,

Just so you know. A 'spinal reflex' is the bodies response to trauma/injury which is not governed by the conscious mind. eg. when you touch something really hot with your hand without knowing and your hand jerks away automatically. Make sense to you?

TFT principles, despite being trained in a co-operative fashion (just like many Aikido dojos practice) are sound and I believe them to be effective.

An experiment you could try is this Jorgen: Ask a friend to kick you in the testicles as hard as they can and get them to document the spinal reflex which occurs. Then, after you have recovered(which might be a few days), get them to do it again and compare the result...... I'm just messing with you. I know you are tired but just humor me!

The issue is not about if TFT principles work (because I know they do). The issue is: Has anyone in the Aikido community got any practical experience in TFT (or something similar) and feel it can be applied to Aikido practice? If there is can they share it here on this forum. *please read my initial post. Is there anyone here with an informed opinion on my original questions.

I'm looking for an honest informed answer to my honest questions.

Regards

Kristian

Edwin Neal 01-16-2006 06:18 PM

Re: Aikido and Target Focus Training
 
i too think this TFT is just more commercialism... in the style of Dillman pressure point stuff... yeah if you hit someone hard in the right spot you will get a physiological response, but that response may not be the same for all people... but "death touches" and such are a little far fetched... my advice learn how to strike from a striker ie boxer or karateka... practice so you have good hard striking skills and hit your opponents hard and often while applying techniques...

mathewjgano 01-16-2006 08:03 PM

Re: Aikido and Target Focus Training
 
I've never trained in that specific program, but from what I've read (I know experiencing things first-hand is always preferable) it seems the system you're describing is essentially already a part of "good" Aikido. That's a rather simplistic way for me to put it perhaps, but from my own perspective that seems correct. I'd say it's probably quite healthy to cross-reference whatever you're learning with other paradigms of training though.
It sounds like an issue being brought up in this thread is what kinds of responses are reasonable to expect. Pressure points, for example are a measurable phenominon, but different people respond differently to pain. Some people feel the pain but retain a considerable amount of self-control in how they react to it. The groin kick will make one man collapse and amp another one up. Similarly, with the idea of making your opponant angry so he becomes less focused: in the past, making me angry has only served to sharpen my focus. Perhaps these ideas don't really address your post, and if that's the case I appologize, but either way I'm curious about your thoughts regarding what I've just written.
Take care,
Matt

Kristian Miller-Karlsen 01-16-2006 09:25 PM

Re: Aikido and Target Focus Training
 
Hello Matt,

Thanks for your response. You train with Barrish sensei? He is a friend of my old Aikido teacher Mclean sensei. Small world (made smaller by the internet)!

As far as someone getting amped up by a kick to the groin....... hmmmm.... He must have nuts of steel!

The notion of a spinal reflex, and the way it is taught in TFT, is that there is a 'base minimum' response. True, some people do have a higher pain threshold than others. All that means is, after the injury has happen and the spinal reflex is over, they are able to cope with the residual pain left behind after the fact better than someone with a low pain threshold. They are still injured. This is moot however because once you get a spinal reflex you don't stop. You keep going on, hitting more targets or doing a technique until the attacker is left non-functional. Esentially the spinal reflex 'takes their centre'.

Edwin. Thanks for your post too. I have already had plenty of training from 'big hitters'. I can throw a punch pretty well. It's more about the targeting. Some people say: "If you hit anything hard enough it dies!" True, but for me thats not really the point.

Thanks guys. Keep it coming.

Regards

Kristian.

mike valentine 01-16-2006 11:18 PM

Re: Aikido and Target Focus Training
 
Jorgen,Jorgen,Jorgen.

I'm still trying to workout if you're stupid,young and naive or just trying to start an argument.I'm hoping it's your age and naivety but have a feeling that you are not real bright.You state:"there are only two physiologically most effective ways to surely end a fight.A choke and a major head trauma.Let's see if i ruptured your testicles then broke your ankle i'm pretty sure the fight would be over.If i struck you with full force to the lateral side of neck(containing the carotid artery,Jugular vein and both the Vagus and Phrenic nerves)and whilst you were lying unconscious smashed your pelvis dislocating both hips,i'm sure the fight would be over.The list is never ending and is only limited by your education of how the body works.

Let's see,next you suggest that there is no merit in wrestling,boxing,muay thai and bjj.Just wondering if you've ever been involved in any of these disciplines or is Aikido the be all and end all in your one dimensional world.Bjj is"the gayest of all",really i'm from a boxing background(one in which you wouldn't have the intestinal fortitude to enter) and haven't studied bjj so won't pass judgement,but please tell, were you seduced in a bjj dojo hence labeling it gay?You know,many people think the same about are beloved Aiki.

I have done TFT and know its effectiveness.There is no "death touch" or secret pressure points,it's simply about learning where effective targets to strike are and destroying them.Aikido techniques work hand in hand with this stuff,It's not about how you get the injury,so long as you do get it.To practice this stuff you have to have cooperative training partners or people get hurt.Is it commercial,yes it is but i personally don't have a problem with people earning money,Jorgen obviously you do.

In closing i would suggest that you spend some time thinking outside the square,sample different styles take what works and disregard the rest this will only help your Aikido practice


Regards
Mike V
Oz

Edwin Neal 01-16-2006 11:36 PM

Re: Aikido and Target Focus Training
 
true mike and kristian, but my advice is save the money you spend on TFT and get a bag and a copy of Bruce Lee's Tao of Jeet Kune Do( if you don't got it already!) practice being able to hit with accuracy as that is more important than power... if you can't hit 'em you can't knock 'em out, no matter how hard you can hit... most of these new and improved fighting systems that offer 100% effectiveness in a ridiculously short amounts of time are spurious... practice practice practice... But remember practice make permanent... perfect practice make perfect...

mike valentine 01-17-2006 02:46 AM

Re: Aikido and Target Focus Training
 
Edwin

I totally agree,tft is all about accuracy hence the name "Target=place to hit Focus=make sure you actually hit the precise point Training=practice,practice,practice".I'm a firm believer in practice does not make perfect rather perfect practice makes perfect.The thing is that no matter how fast you hit unless you cause an injury you may as well be sparring,someone only wins a fight after a injury has been inflicted.Knowing where to strike is more important than doing it quickly.If you saw Bernard Hopkins defeat Oscar Dela Hoya with a single liver shot you will understand what i'm saying,nothing really happened untill the "injury" occurred,then the fight was over.

Thanks for your thoughts.
Regards

Mike V
Oz

P.s i've been hitting a bag and focus mitts since i was 10,have trained with and sparred 2 world champion boxers (Jeff Fenech and Kostya Tsyzu)when it comes to hitting a target i'm more than capable,tft just gave me some new tools to use the same as the 6 years of Aikido has.

ian 01-17-2006 03:29 AM

Re: Aikido and Target Focus Training
 
I'm not sure I'd interpret the saying in exactly the same way. With its roots in swordwork I consider this to relate to the attitude of Nage. The technique is decisive and one single motion. Now, this could just as easily be a strike - and if it is, it is not a combination of strikes but a single, perfectly coordinated and perfectly timed, strike. As in sword work, blows are not 'exchanged'; there is only one chance. Also, it infers this positivity and this desire to enter and dominate - however it is done through a path of least resistance.

I believe this saying also relates to other saying of his e.g. 'the victor is decided from the moment of contact' and 'as soon as the enemy thinks of attacking he is defeated'. It is this immediacy and complete reading of the situation such that, at the point of engagement and simultaneous movement, you attack from the correct location and with perfect timing. I have found practically that the first and most important part of aikido for me is the unbalancing (physically or psychologically) at the first instant of attack - everything else is just there to continue that inital motion and prevent re-establishment of uke.

Unlike the movies, a top martial artist would never be hit because they would realise that one strike could kill.

P.S. no I have not done TFT, but I agree with the principles and think it is very important to understand these to appreciate aikido.

Jorx 01-17-2006 03:40 AM

Re: Aikido and Target Focus Training
 
Let's see a "spinal reflex" I meant does not sound okay to me in this context. However we might agree it's a word game.

Mike - why do you take me as a troll:) I've been around these forums for years and it has witnessed my development as a martial artist.

I said MOST effective to END a fight. I did not say there ARE no OTHER ways to also PROBABLY make most people quit fighting. Broken ankle and ripped off testicles (lol... how many naked men are you planning to fight? maybe if you made some bad choices before that?) might be one of them. Just I think there can be made hierarchy about the effectiveness and how easy something is pulled off. E.g. a broken wrist is superior to a broken finger. A dislocated shoulder is superior to both. A dislocated knee is superior of dislocated shoulder but a leglock might be too risky in SD situation. A knockout result is about the same as RNC but harder to achieve one-on-one. However would I want to go for a RNC in a certain situation? Etc etc...

And I'm sorry but what did you mean by that? "Let's see,next you suggest that there is no merit in wrestling,boxing,muay thai and bjj.Just wondering if you've ever been involved in any of these disciplines or is Aikido the be all and end all in your one dimensional world."

Like WHAT? I practice all of those arts - quit Aikido after 6 years for them. My ADVICE for Kristian was to TRY these and then rethink about TFT. The "despised" was added before "sport" because of the many people's attitudes in this forum and ALSO in the TFT webpage.

I do not have a problem with people earning money, I have a problem with people earning money while lying too much and building false confidence in other people. ("too much" is my personal inner criteria).

As I said I don't have the chance to try out TFT. HOWEVER I am most sure that a system practiced only in cooperative enviroment will take people from zero to nowhere. That's why "Kano's revolution" was so great and that's why Kano's judoka kicked jiu-jitsu guys arses no matter what the rules were. One must sacrifice "deadly" techniques for uncooperative practice for some extent. After one is proficient with uncooperative "sparring" it easy easy to add them again to the "delivery system" that has been built in alive enviroment.

Example (which might go for Kristian as he has practiced boxing):
One can teach a boxer to fingerjab or thumb someone in the eye in like 15 minutes. After couple of hrs practice I'm sure a boxer with 5+ years experience could probably poke my eye.
However take an "ordinary" person, teach him how to fingerjab or thumb someone in the eye, practice it for a couple of days and I am quite sure I could beat him by whatever I want without getting poked in the eye once.

Jorx 01-17-2006 03:56 AM

Re: Aikido and Target Focus Training
 
For reference one police report "story" that is often brought up (no I can't refer to the original source right now) and it goes something like this:
Call on domestic disturbance or the like, cops arrive there is one guy choking another from the front. They break the guys up, the "choked" guy is brought to hospital with injuries to trachea, the other seems okay. However when questioned half an hour later he starts puking and fainting, also taken to the hospital and when examined they discover he has been kneed to the groin multiple times, one testicle smashed the other in ...abdominal loculus (sp?).

HOWEVER good one is. One still might get hit. One's techniques MIGHT not work. If you are not used to that and do not practice this way... then well... your training situation is too different from what might actually happen.

I have some friends who used to try different forms of Wing Chun on different levels. That was also quite much on relying on constantly hitting accurate targets and rendering the opponent uncapable to continue fighting. Strikes to solar plexus, groing, eyes, knees etc... All of them practice boxing, wrestling and bjj now.

Jorx 01-17-2006 04:00 AM

Re: Aikido and Target Focus Training
 
Sh*t what am I doing... this conversation is too emotional already to make any sense. And I should be studying for neuropsychology exam. However if someone wants to ask something specifical or discuss anything I am most willing to. Also if someone happens to wander to Estonia (which is a great place actually) I'd be most happy to hook them up with any training they like - be it Aikido (I still have contacts with most of the clubs); MMA, BJJ or something else. Also if someone cares for a roll or sparring with me and a beer/juice/cider/vodka/milk and a live normal conversation afterwards - it's on:)

mathewjgano 01-17-2006 06:31 AM

Re: Aikido and Target Focus Training
 
Quote:

Hello Matt,
Thanks for your response. You train with Barrish sensei? He is a friend of my old Aikido teacher Mclean sensei. Small world (made smaller by the internet)!
Hi there! Good to meet you!
Quote:

As far as someone getting amped up by a kick to the groin....... hmmmm.... He must have nuts of steel!
Heheheh...I'm just refering to a time where it seemed to only piss off the guy who was kicked, though after the fight he bent over with noticeable pain.
Quote:

The notion of a spinal reflex, and the way it is taught in TFT, is that there is a 'base minimum' response...
Well it sounds interesting. I'll have to check it out some time.
Take care!
Matt

Bronson 01-17-2006 09:02 AM

Re: Aikido and Target Focus Training
 
Quote:

Jorgen Matsi wrote:
...a beer/juice/cider/vodka/milk

Dear Mother of Monkeys that sounds revolting!

Bronson ;)

Ron Tisdale 01-17-2006 10:23 AM

Re: Aikido and Target Focus Training
 
Quote:

As far as someone getting amped up by a kick to the groin....... hmmmm.... He must have nuts of steel!
No, just good focus. Others have already related stories of serious damage done, but no visible stoppage of the violence occurred.

One of my previous instructors spent some time in jail (wrongly, in my opinion). He met guys there who LIKE for you to hurt them. They simply shut down once that happens, they stop feeling pain, and go ballistic. Once that is triggered, you must PHYSICALLY DISABLE them to get them to stop fighting (knockout/choke to unconsciousness/break limbs, neck/kill). They will not quit otherwise. It is a truely frightening level of violence.

Stuff happens in fights. Very few (if any) people can actually target specific points in specific places in specifiic orders to achieve a specific goal while someone is trying to take their head. Arts like aikido and Daito ryu do make use of kyusho, but it's kind of built into the system in multiple levels of defense. Evade, block, strike, grapple (and if possible, grab or cut where kyusho are LIKELY to be). But the kyusho are simply an additional factor that MAY prove usefull. You don't rely on them to win the day.

I have a great deal of trouble with systems that RELY on kyusho to save the day. Just look at skilled boxers...even in the fight mentioned above, how many shots did it take to get the opponant in a weak enough state for the liver shot to work? I'm betting it wasn't a first round knockout. Probably more like fifth round, after a significant amount of body shots.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale 01-17-2006 10:32 AM

Re: Aikido and Target Focus Training
 
Actually, it took eight rounds, and Delahoya looked like he was winning for a time. I remember this fight...

Quote:

Oscar De La Hoya surprised many fans Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins was on the menu and Oscar almost made Hopkins look old while winning three of the first four rounds on my card. But by the fifth round, Hopkins got comfortable and used his advantages in height and power to take over the momentum of the fight. In the eighth round, Hopkins landed a left hook to the liver that put Oscar down. He was out for the count. It was the first time Oscar was knocked out.
http://www.eastsideboxing.com/news.php?p=1811&more=1
Best,
Ron

jonreading 01-17-2006 11:00 AM

Re: Aikido and Target Focus Training
 
I break this thread into 2 topics:
1. Is precision striking effective in fights?
2. Does anyone have feedback on precision striking systems, such as TFT?

I believe precision striking is effective in fighting. I believe that precision striking is similar in concept to the practice of sword cutting. The human body has strengths and weaknesses and to learn to exploit weakness is effective training. Precision striking exists in most martial arts in some fashion, and should also exist in Aikido.

I do not train in a specific striking art. Like previous posts, I think there are many systems that are not legitimate and may cause more harm than good. I think a good boxing school or karate instructor would be more than competent to instruct on the basics of good striking. Don't look for exotic methods or Internet gurus, stick with the basics...

Kristian Miller-Karlsen 01-17-2006 02:21 PM

Re: Aikido and Target Focus Training
 
Ahh! At last! I was fishing for a while. I had a few nibbles, but now I've finally got something. Thanks for your post Jon. That was the kind of response I've been looking for. Much appreciated.

In fact, thanks for all the posts. This thread has given me a lot to think about and even more to train with. I'm sure there is still a lot more info out there. Please, keep it coming.

Regards

Kristian.

Jorx 01-17-2006 03:48 PM

Re: Aikido and Target Focus Training
 
To the sword a whole human body is a weak point. To the fist however it is not so.


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