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Old 10-02-2005, 05:21 AM   #17
sanskara's Avatar
Location: Austin, TX
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 52
Re: atemi is 90% of Aikido

George S. Ledyard wrote:
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.

Last edited by sanskara : 10-02-2005 at 05:28 AM.

James Bostwick
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