Mark Murray wrote:
I watched the clips. Very interesting. And yes, they did help with reading your article. Thanks for taking the time to include them.
There is one thing that sticks out in my mind, though, as being an error of sorts. Maybe error isn't the right word, but it's close. Watching the clips, there is one aspect of that kind of training that you didn't account for in any of your discussions. There were no committed attacks in your videos. Yes, you had attacks, but none that I would classify as committed. Some of them I would say were jabs or jab-like strikes, some grappling, some clinching, but overall, no committed attacks. And there wouldn't be, otherwise you would have some sort of injury.
Outside the dojo, when someone decides to throw a punch, it isn't going to be half a strike, it isn't going to be pulled at the last moment. There may be a jab or two, but when the "committed" attack comes, it'll have a good bit of force behind it. I never saw anything like that in the clips. The punches or jabs that landed produced no effect like one would get with a full force blow. Least it didn't look like it.
That's really the sharpest thing that struck me as I read and watched the video. Not the idea and/or theory behind the writing, nor the training in the video, but just that solid, powerful strikes weren't taken into account.
You are right, there are no committed attacks being performed in the clips where Sean is the attacker. That is the problem being addressed: How the level of commitment affects the relationship between striking/ground fighting tactics and throwing tactics.
The training environment that day was "do whatever you want." Sean, my deshi, felt his advantage would rely in not committing in his attack. Out of habit, he was trying not to get thrown. This is a result of how subconsciously we as aikidoka are trained to believe that commitment leads to defeat. To unlearn this wrong subconscious view, other crude tactics, tactics that take advantage of the non-committed attacks, were used.
Like Pauliina said, after a while, a person learns he's no better off by de-committing and/or by "attacking" without commitment. Thus, he starts to attack with commitment again (inside of these training environments) and this prompts the energy prints for Aikido's nage-waza to show up - making him prime for throwing.
When we first enter spontaneous training environments, it is like we know nothing. This is because we cannot access what we know. We are stuck dealing with our small self. Thus, we are more reactionary to our delusions of reality than we are aware of reality. This means, for example, we may first come in and attack hard, then we get thrown (in a way totally different from kihon waza - at least as it is subjectively experienced). As a result, we habitually react to the feeling we had when we were thrown - this means we try not to be thrown (i.e. we resist being thrown) and thus we try not to commit in our attack (i.e. the delusion that all we have to worry about is what our training culture has led us to believe is of concern). We wrongly feel safe here - in not committing.
Then we get the heck pummeled out of us or we end up in a ground fight - for example. Of course, the person new to this type of training is forced by their small self to either take a beating (which they work hard to deny that a beating is taking place - which one can often do in the dojo) and/or to charge in again balls to the wall. Of course they either get beat harder or they get thrown harder and this brings them back to quandary: What do I do? This is the "I" you want brought to the surface, because it is the "I" of "Why can't 'I' do x?" or "Why am 'I" doing y?" When training reaches this level, you aren't dealing with pure technical matters any longer. You are dealing with the underlying character/being issues. This, in my opinion, is where Budo training belongs.