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Old 06-02-2006, 01:12 PM   #1
Stanley Archacki
Dojo: Shinjitsu Dojo
Location: Chicago
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 21
"Tricky" energy and the committed attack

The interesting discussion going on in the "Punnishing Uke" thread got me thinking about a similar but related topic.

I am very new to Aikido, have only trained for a year. I believe I am beginning to undertand what is meant by uke's responsibility to give a realistic attack with realistic energy behind it, regardless of speed. This means that the attack should be on target, launched with correct mechanics, and enough follow-through as would be needed for the attack to be damaging if landed. I can see how it is cheating and unfair for uke to try to frustrate nage's waza by, for example, throwing a punch that is so fast but so week or with such poor mechanics that if done for real that way, it wouldn't threaten nage. In order to give an effective attack ( and I'm talking about this from an agressor's perspective), the person launching it must "give" a certain amount of himself or herself to it. Just the simple physics of the situation.

However, I'm more confused about the term "committed attack" as it is used in Aikido, and the strategies of feinting or attacking using "tricky" energy taught in arts such as fencing, boxing and Jeet Kune Do. In these arts, the attacker doesn't always start out from a safe ma-ai, close the distance and deliver the "killing blow". Often, distance is slowly covered, with many feints, jabs, etc, setting up the final blow. Nage has fractions of a second to judge whether each strike in a combination is worth responding to, or just setting up something bigger. Now, I would not say that someone who attacks like this is not giving a realistic attack. In many cases, such deceptive attacks can be devistating.

This is frustrating for me personally in trying to overcome previous training and learn the new paradigm of Aikido. Especially in randori, my Sensei often tells me that I am too hesitant in my attacks. At my early stage of development, I know that much of this hesitancy comes from my own fear of taking the ukemi that results from giving an attack with a lot of force behind it. This is something that only continued ukemi practice will overcome.

I also feel hampered though by the training I've had in the past in other arts that tells me it is grossly foolish to rush in and commit all my energy to one "killing blow" attack, without first tryinig to soften up, tie up or confuse nage. I have been trained in a "counter for counter" style that develops its offence off as a counter to an initial attack. In my other style, we often throw out "bait" attacks that purposely draw a response from nage, so that we can gain an advantage in another way, such as through trapping.

What are some thoughts on this. What is the role of the uke who gives realistic but "tricky" attacks?

"Doch das Messer sieht man nicht"
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