Thread: Value of atemi
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Old 06-12-2005, 10:15 PM   #5
L. Camejo
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Dojo: Ontario Martial Arts
Location: Mississauga, Ontario
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Re: Value of atemi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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