Erick Mead wrote:
Another reason to focus on following the musubi rather attempting to train for tactical sequences in advance and then faster (other than for training to abandon them). Going faster changes more than just energy.
I completely agree. I like to break down training into 3 types:
1. mechanical (usually for beginners, showing how your body can move from a static position to achieve a mechanical advantage)
2. Slow and continuous (what people would call 'soft') where an uke provides a consistant and usually slow force such that Nage can alter technique and adapt to ukes force (training in blending)
3. Hard attacks at speed - to utilise timing and distancing correctly.
Correct timing and distance cannot be achieved through practise of 1 and 2 alone. Indeed, I believe type 3 should be the standard type of training unless body mechanics or blending is starting to suffer.
As a side note, I finally realised what Ueshiba meant when he says when someone attacks with fire, respond with water (in his Budo training manual). Then he goes on about Japan being surrounded by water and that was why it is so well defended (the book is pre WWII). 'Water' is the gap created between you and uke when they miss their target (due to your body movement).
I also believe that this 'victory in an instant' is more than just about one-ness with the attackers thoughts. The reason he said that the outcome is decided when contact is made is because the timing/distancing of the attack has to be disturbed to take advantage (Musashi said the same thing). Watching Christian Tissier as a good example, where uke is unbalanced from the instant contact is made, and never regains their balance - thus there is only one real action in the technique; that specific timing for unbalancing (the rest is just uke falling in the direction you want to take him, and if uke is truly unbalanced, uke cannot resist).
For practical training consideration has to be taken over whether the attacker is doing an initial 1st strike, presuming you to be unprepared (like a lunge); for which current aikido training methods are well suited, OR if the affray has already been met and you are in the melee. In the second case I think it essential to be able to enter and strike and to spar (and to be fit), since the attacker is more prepared for a response to his attack (the yin to the receptive yang response). When they withdraw or pause a disconection is made if you don't attack. Of course, all real self-defence situations are different.
P.S. if training is full contact (without protection) and Ueshiba said treat each strike as if it would kill, training would become very dangerous. I believe in aikido we should learn to strike much for powerfully and effectively to understand the dynamics of the rest of the techniques.
P.P.S. we are intending to introduce occasional scenario based 'sparring' i.e. a selection of simulated situations which are context based (to understand how to deal with situations before the fight comenses) with head and groin guards and light gloves. Of course strikes will be dealt, and throws will be carried out (on mats) with a no holds barred attitude from all parties. The benefit over sparring and competition is that the nage does not even know if a fight will start, what the attack will be etc and it will include multiple attacks (which I am starting to think is more common than one on one for males).