A couple thoughts on pain** that may add to the conversation:
I believe that pain can be instructive on the mat.
Take an example from last week. My husband and I were doing a technique that involved atemi, and I (accidentally) punched him in the face.
"I think I jogged him a little too hard."
Thing is, it was actually a good learning experience for both of us.
Let me 'splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.
For me: I was giving a good atemi that had some energy to it. My attacks as Uke are halfway decent, but my atemi are anemic. I never feel comfortable with them and I'm worried about, well, hitting someone. In this case, I actually had some oomph to the atemi, which gave the training a bit more aliveness. I also got a lot less worried about hitting someone. No lasting harm done, the pain was temporary. He didn't even get a bloody nose.
For him: It gave him motivation to get out of the way. He and I are not as dynamic in our training as we could be, and it was a visceral reminder for him to look out!
On the other hand, to rely on pain to do a technique is, IMHO, missing the deeper understanding of the technique. A visiting Sensei did a great demo last week. He demonstrated nikkyo in several different ways. First, with a wrist pin, with the wrist braced on his shoulder (our "basic" nikkyo). second, with the wrist on his forehead. Third, with no wrist pin at all.
During that class, he also said to us, something along these lines:
Sure, using pain** helps with techniques. It gets a person to move where you want them to. Sometimes. Pain can work in taking someone down, but you will eventually run into a person on whom pain doesn't work. They just don't care. And in that case, being able to take the person's balance, with your center, and move them where you want to go, regardless of whether or not you are applying pain, is important.
**Pain in this case meaning the result of applied force to the body/joints, with the possibility of, but not the intent to, seriously injure someone. Not chronic pain, and not pain that is likely to cause serious injury (bone breakage, major muscle/ligament).
Last edited by CarrieP : 12-21-2009 at 11:34 AM.