Aikido and Target Focus Training
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.
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.