Thread: Do You Block?
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Old 01-29-2008, 09:07 AM   #55
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
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Re: Do You Block?

Xu Wenfung wrote: View Post
Goju-ryu karatedo clip

Look at 1' 38" to 1' 58" of the clip. Look at how the karate sensei blocks the punches.

Do you block like this in your aikido practice?

I have seen my aikido teacher blocks as such. I have seen even Kancho Shioda blocks like this against tanto yokomen-uchi attacks in his videos.

Do you think it is good to develop this skill in your aikido practice. If not, why not?

Thanks for your opinion.

The way I was taught, blocking represents a failure to "join" properly. It happens when you have been attacked when mentally "open".

Every technique has to involve an instant when you "accept" the attack. It is impossible to do a technique with "aiki" without this. Blocking is, according to my definition, a rejection of the attack. It involves a "stoppage" of the incoming energy. It may be necessary if one is surprised by an attack but the goal is to not block but rather to join. That doesn't mean that we don't movement which one might mistakenly take for a block. The difference is that our movement would entail effecting the entire body of the attacker, not just his arm or leg. Most people would call these movements deflections.

The goal of Aikido is "katsu hayabi" or instant victory. There is a spiritual meaning to this term but in terms of technique it means that the instant you touch, you have the attacker's center. Blocking is a movement that stops particular movement in a larger flow of attack. A deflection on the other hand not only protects you from the incoming blow but positions the attacker in such a way that any further blows are more difficult or impossible. A deflection catches the whole body not just the attacking limb.

Generally, one should try to avoid blocking and strive for movement which always effects the fundamental alignment of the attacker. That's what makes it "aiki" rather than what I learned in my Shotokan classes which involved a lot of power blocking to disable the attacking limb but not much center to center connection.

If you look at what Ushiro Sensei is doing with the movements that appear to be "blocking movements". He is really using the energy of the physical movement to move the mind of the attacker. They call this concept "zero power" in that there is no physical power focused at the point of physical contact. So, to an outsider it would appear to be a block but in reality it didn't "block" anything. Body movement made him safe, the "blocking movement" was a way of connecting rather than stopping the attack. This is "aiki". This is what we are striving for, I think.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 01-29-2008 at 09:16 AM.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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