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Old 09-30-2006, 07:01 PM   #53
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,511
Re: What is "Aikido"?

Erick Mead wrote:
First, non-contact aiki against an untrained opponent looks A LOT like full contact atemi. So much so, in fact, that it is.
Yeah, one form can be, but I'm talking about the kind of thing where, by moving slightly out of the way, you make an overcommitted attacker come off his feet--such as when he kicks and you simply open with taisabaki so that he misses and loses his balance. Or as I once saw in a kyokushin karate tournament: one guy simply ducked slightly as the opponent threw a mawashi geri. It would have knocked him out if it had connected, but when the defender just slightly ducked, the kicker came off his feet and did a sort of barrel roll in the air, landing on his back on the opposite side of the defender. And this was in kumite. It was the guy "doing" the atemi who flew--not the other guy.

What I'm saying is that it is a mistake to construe aiki as using one's own strong structure to break down the opponent's strong structure. That is strength-against-strength and aiki uses the ura of the attacker's strength. Aiki can work with no contact at all. The structural displacement idea is really much closer to "ju" or "yawara," the core of sumo than to aiki.

Erick Mead wrote:
"No touch" throws are, to my mind, distguishable only by uke's awareness of his own imminent peril.
Or here's another example. A military officer once told about attacking Capt. Sadayuki Demizu, who introduced yoseikan aikido to the United States. This Army man and another officer were training with Demizu and wound up one in front of him, the other behind him. The guy behind Demizu caught the other guy's eye and signalled him to make a simultaneous attack, so they did. But Demizu sidestepped and the two attackers collided with each other.

In my own experience, I attacked Kyoichi Murai from behind and grabbed both his shoulders, intending to snatch him off his feet, but using only my own grip, he threw me over his head. I had no sense of "peril" and he couldn't even see me. So I'm talking about a different thing when I say aikinage.

Erick Mead wrote:
]As to distinguishing sumo, jujutsu, and aikido, I would, say that in practice they often look similar in result, but their principles in achieving that result are very different. All of them involve tanren to temper and strengthen the maintenance of and manipulation of dynamic balance. Their respective focus on the means used to display these effects are quite divergent, however.
My point exactly. They are different arts and they express different concepts and methods. And I think people are making a mistake on this thread in trying to reduce aikido to the same as those other arts.

Erick Mead wrote:
I have also become critically aware of how little the physical mechnisms of human three diminsional balance are understood by scientists and scholars. There is much we now know NOT to be true, but much that still defies our closest approximate explanations.
That's why I don't like to take a "scientific" approach to "explaining" things that I learned mostly without words.

Erick Mead wrote:
Sumo principle is summed up for me in that deep kibadachi, leg lift and stomp that the sumo boys do at the beginning of each match. Sumo, as evidenced by the typical physique, is about manipulation of critically grounded inertia....the same physical principle as walking a refrigerator on its corners....

Judo/jujutsu seems to me more intrerested in the manipulation of force couple principles -- the rotary push-pull combinations that isolate and manipulate planar momentum ( i.e --directly altering angular velocity) at critical junctures, in combination with eccentric shifts of existing rotation in the plane for the same purpose.
I don't know. I see sumo and judo as very similar, both basically using the principle of yawara or ju. Judo is a derivation from sumo after all, but the core principle is ju. And that does require tanren development, but I think both arts develop tanren naturally as one continues training.

Erick Mead wrote:
Aikido is much more about manipulations of constant acceleration potential moment (gravity), in conjunction with intermittent induced moments (attacks and techniques) to reorient the system of moments in its entirety, three dimensionally -- as opposed to adding to or diminishing from angular momentum (velocity) in what ever reference plane has been established by an attacking motion.
I think that limits the idea of aiki, actually. There is the kind of aiki that comes from aiki age, where you drive the attacker back into himself and the kind I have described in which you don't interfere with him at all, but because he is trying to place effort on something that is not there, he falls through.

I will have a look at your references, but I'm not sure they are critical to being able to actually perform aiki. And the six direction stuff sounds interesting as a way to refine power generation, but I'd like to see some of the proponents rise to rokudan in judo over the next few years (as a means of demonstrating its effectiveness against a control group, more or less) to prove it.

Erick Mead wrote:
I am not sure that "pressures" or "springs" are good choices of physical or metaphorical models of aiki action.
It seems to have some relevance to what Mochizuki Sensei called "yang" aiki, as expressed in aiki age techniques, which drive uke back on himself, but good aikido practice will develop that ability without words and without anyone's ever necessarily using such terms to describe it.

Erick Mead wrote:
There is some real room for aikido to make a useful addition to this body of knowledge for the benefit of more than just aikidoka. The rate of death of people over 80 from falls is NINE times that of their rate of death from car accidents. If we can contribute something to the understanding of the maintenance and recovery of good balance, or to aid in improving it where it is impaired, we can literally help save lives. If we aikidoka could get everyone we know, before the age of fifty, to learn proper ukemi, aikido would have been singularly worthwhile for that reason alone...
From what I've seen of "standard" or "mainstream" aikido ukemi, I wonder about that. Judo ukemi, on the other hand, seem really able to develop excellent control and limit injury in falling.

Thanks for the comments.

Best wishes.


"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"
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