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Old 02-22-2006, 11:33 AM   #21
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Join Date: Feb 2002
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Re: Sunadomari Quote - Opinions Please

Hi Mark,

Thanks for writing.

Well I'm only guessing as well - I am not at all sure I understand what he is saying. However, when I'm guessing, I am using as a clue his reference to boxing and to kick boxing. When I do that, I noticed something in relation to my own training. When we do our spontaneous training environments, because of how we train folks, they tend to come in like boxers and kick boxers (etc.) would. As a result, something happens, some kind of translation issue rises up. It's an issue that does not tend to come up at all in Kihon Waza. So - here it is...

These folks come at you very skillfully, in a "cautious" manner but one completely capable of capitalizing upon any opening and leeway in one's defense - one even capable of creating openings. In other words, they are not needing to blow you over to find the opening and/or to create one, but they get their openings just the same and when they do they are very ready to take equal advantage of them. At this point, however, they are open to the same tactics being utilized against them (countering striking with striking, etc.). This is a product of how such "caution" approaches and/or attacks do not really force the defender out of an offensive strategy. I've written on this for Aikiweb here: There are videos along with this article (click on the links "clip one" etc.) that show how even crude counter tactics can work to address such "offenses."

When first coming to these translation problems, I think that one is very prone to say that folks in the street don't fight like this - so cautious, so calculating, in so cultivated a manner, etc. However, I don't think that settles the issue of what works with what and what doesn't. For me, this line of reasoning only seeks to hide the issue.

If you allow me to digress for a bit... Tenkan is a strategy used against a pushing energy - it is yin to yang. Etc. We all know this. Yet, boxing and kick boxing tactics never commit to Yang in the same way that folks of old did with a sword and/or some other weapon and/or even the way striking may have. It's not that they don't have a Yang energy to their advance - you know it is there once they hit you, etc. But while they penetrate the target just fine to get the job done, they never penetrate the target in the way that folks might have in the past and/or that Aikido tenkan was meant to address in the past. As I see this, there is only two ways of addressing this tactical issue (which any one can feel for themselves - all you have to do is get in the ring with a boxer/kick boxer and try and tenkan against him/her):

1. You can work on strategies and tactics that work to pull out more from the boxer/kick boxer - getting more yang or the particular yang that tenkan requires/expects. (all the while knowing that good boxers and kick boxers are trained not to be pulled out of their offense)


2. You adapt tenkan to meet the different yang that is presented in the boxer/kick boxer's strikes.

To me, Sunadomari looks like he is choosing number 2. For me, I tended to first say, "I just suck at pulling the attacker out more." But when I looked at my tapes, I see that I'm doing number 2 just the same. So the issue is not settled for me because I'm wondering if I'm doing the second option because I'm still too unskilled to do the first option.

Like I said, I'm still undecided - mainly because sometimes I can pull out the attack just fine. Here's a video of what that might look like: (please note the final entry and kuzushi are made mandatory in the drill,so as to measure how complete one's irimi was). However, this is usually when the attacker is not concerned at all with being struck in a counter-like fashion - which usually happens in the beginner's attack and/or in drills when we assign offense to the attacker only. So there is this whole other issue that mucks up things even more - the tainting of training cultures. Either way, Sunadomari has me thinking - as do you all.


David M. Valadez
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