Thanks for writing.
I’ll try to reply, assuming I understand your positions, while noting that it is difficult to get across what one is talking about here – which I why I have made use of video. If you have some video to illustrate your points, that would be very much appreciated – if you could post them. Without the video, if I have failed to understand your positions, please forgive.
Your first question: What does this have to do with Aikido?
Answer: I wasn’t trying to capture all of Aikido via these drills/experiments. So, undoubtedly, there are clearly parts of Aikido that have little or nothing to do with what we are attempting to illustrate in the videos. You are right in that sense. For example, your concerns with weapons and with multiple attackers, but also Aikido’s ethical positions and its spiritual cultivations, have little to nothing to do with these experiments. What these experiments were pertaining to were the more generally practiced waza of modern Aikido as it is practiced in most places all over the world. In particular, we were experimenting with what constituted an “opening” for said waza and thereby what constituted a better opening for other tactics that are not usually part of the general Aikido curriculum. This also led us to ponder over whatever relationship could exist between the two. In that sense, I feel these drills aptly explore when/where, for example, a striking opening presents itself in light of when/where a locking or throwing (as found in general Aikido waza) presents itself. From this perspective, these experiments are very relevant to Aikido practice.
1. I understand that any attacker can be struck under most or even all situations. However, not all situations are the same and thus not all tactical responses should be considered equal. There are places where certain tactics work better than others, etc. For example, if an attacker has 100 lbs on a defender, and said attacker is running in balanced and aggressively, applying an onslaught of offensive pressure, the defender may be able to “hit” the attacker (from wherever on the spectrum of tactical yin and yang) but the effectiveness of such strikes in the end require higher degrees of accuracy, coordination, and timing, which in turn start to take the tactic away from its true tactical opening (i.e. a still target is much easy to hit, must easier to apply power upon, and much easier to measure). In short, the principle of tactical advantage implies that a strike can “never do it both ways.” (Your position in point #2 seems to be suggesting this as well.) There are places and times when strikes work best. Additionally, I would say that knowing or being aware of how much pressure an attacker is employing is not impractical but something that is totally necessary and paramount to both striking and throwing tactics. To understand this point, one is advised to look away from weight class match-ups – looking to mismatches. For example – see the following video and note where and when the striker’s strikes stop and start finding their tactical advantage:
2. It is not that both partners opted not to strike in experiment 2. Actually, the “attacker” opted only to come in “cautiously” without what we can call aggressive pressure. The position of the article was that coming in this way made one more open to strikes than to throws. It’s not that throws cannot be performed in this case, it’s that it’s not as tactically advantageous to opt for throws over strikes. Additionally, experiment 2 dealt with the “coming in” of the attacker, not the final destination of the attacker.
3. I can concede the tactically viability of what you propose here but my agreeing comes less and less when one is not dealing with equally weighted bodies. Additionally, it should be noted that we are not saying that a defender cannot come in with some sort of grappling maneuver, only that under such circumstances the tactical advantageous becomes smaller and smaller, as the tactical advantage of other tactics become larger and larger.
4. Here we are addressing two folks that can both strike, but where one is looking to be the aggressor. We are not just dealing with two folks that can strike that are waiting for a bell to ring (i.e. sit on the outside and exchange blows). The latter could be related but it doesn’t entirely capture the former. An example of this could be taken from your examples, from nearly every Liddell fight – folks get hit coming in, folks start coming in more aggressively. When they don’t, they get hit again, only harder. When they do, Liddell looks to other tactics. Note in the following video where Liddell’s strikes are most effective and least effective in relation to when his opponent is applying aggressive pressure and when he is not. Additionally, note when Liddell opts for other tactics other than striking in the face of his opponent’s aggressive pressure and how these other tactics compare in terms of advantage to his striking tactics that are thrown in similar situations:
5. The first point you make here is our point. The second point is not our point. I think the two videos posted in this reply equally demonstrate that the tactical advantage of striking goes down in relation to how much aggressive pressure an attacker is employing. Other than this, I cannot comment on your “blending” since this is not something I’m practiced in.