Re: Poll: How important is the notion of "gaining advantage over your partner" in your aikido training?
Wow - this is the most interesting poll that's been. I really didn't know how to answer this. I always look at aikido as being completely domineering; you have to dominate your attacker completely. But 'gaining advantage' seems somewhat inappropriate, as if you have to be stronger, faster or technically better, or as if there is competition. Two of Uehsiba's phrases come to mind (I forget the exact translations):
1. handle your uke as if you are handling a baby
2. as soon as the attack has started the attacker has lost
In my mind, the stages of the attack are as follows:
1. agressor thinks of attack
2. defender encourages the initiation of the attack or 'opens' themselves for the attack (controls timing of the attack)
3. attacker attacks, and in doing so directs his centre towards nage
4. Nage uses this displaced centre, by moving himself, and blending with the attack to continue (slightly over extend or subtely redirect attack)
5. Uke is unbalanced by this action
6. Nage continues the unbalance and effectively executes and controls the fall of uke (in one of a variety of techniques) (ensuring uke is always unbalanced).
7. completion of the fall/pin zanshin etc.
Thus, the advantage must be there at the instant of contact. If not 'gaining advantage' applies a struggle, unecessary use of force, and thus is not our ideal in aikido.