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Old 02-20-2011, 08:53 PM   #52
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,508
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
A wrist grab, when used as a means to control someone is a transitory position. If I want to pull you into my car, then I may grab your wrist, if it's the most expedient part of you for me to grab, but I do not have any specific need to hold the wrist. Hair, your arm, your purse, your leg, your neck are all good things for me to grab, if I simply want to control you. But I grab them so I can pull you into a better holding position, like a bear hug. The wrist grab is simply a quick start position from which I will soon transition into a better hold.
Now you're thinking sensibly. A weapon is not part of the equation here.

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
This lack of commitment, is not what we see in Aikido techniques.
It's not what you see in bad or confused aikido tecniques but it's the only thing you see in good aikido. In Mochizuki Sensei's yoseikan, any wrist grab was simply to set the defender up for a punch or a throw. The attack could be karate, judo, jujutsu, sumo or simple manhandling but no one ever simply grabbed and held on. And if nage didn't apply an effective aikido technique in the first instant, uke would continue to follow through with any kind of attack he was good at. It wasn't a theoretical concept.

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
In Aikido techniques we see Uke having a need to hold the wrist quite specifically.
Again, "we" see that only in the most superficial kind of aikido practice with an inexperienced teacher. It's an attack with no meaning, which has no place in aikido training.

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
If I have a weapon in my hand, you cannot let go of my hand unless you want to be struck by my weapon. This gives the attacker (uke) a real need to hold your wrist specifically. In Aikido wrist grabs are not a transitory position, they are the attack, because if you can hold my weapon hand, you can stop me from inflicting life ending damage to you.
That only applies to aikido if "you" are the uke and you're attacking with a knife. And then the point is not to hold the wrist but to use that grip to apply a technique. And that's the same as I've seen in karate and jujutsu self-defense applications: control the weapon hand for the 1/4 second required to implement kuzushi and a disarming technique.

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
Further, the common Aikido syllabus doesn't have escape techniques for the most common unarmed holds (e.g. bear hugs, waist locks, headlocks, other common core control techniques), but has a multitude of escape techniques from wrist controls. Why would this be?
Because it's not?

Bear hugs, waist locks, headlocks and other kinds of general controling attacks were part of the aikido syllabus I learned from day one and I've seen them taught elsewhere, as well. I can't imagine serious aikido training without that range of basics.

But the real reason for teaching wrist grabs is that they're the easiest way to teach the kihon technique and the movements apply with little modification to straight punches, hooks, yokomen uchi, shomen uchi, etc., as well as weapon attacks. And wrist grabs are the most likely attacks to be encountered by women and children.

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
If we understand Aikido as a weapon based system the answer is clear. If you don't control my weapon hand, I will simply cut you down. If you try a side headlock on an armed person, there is no need for them to have a means of escape, they can simply cut themselves out. If we can keep our weapon free, common holds offer us little problem. This is why there is a premium put on freeing the wrist, and not on escaping common holds.
You mentioned somewhere that you've been a black belt in aikido for ten years or so. I've been a black belt for 29 years and in that time, I've seen the thing you describe (nage holding a weapon) maybe five times. Minoru Mochizuki referred to it once (and only tangentially) out of thousands of times I practiced wrist grabs in his dojo. He pointed out that if someone grabs you in jun katate dori (single-hand same-side grab), the escape is as simple as raising your arm as if you were raising a sword: the attacker's grip in easily broken in that way. He never addressed the idea of the aikidoka's being armed with a knife. There may have been some mention, once or twice, of some ancient roots in preventing a swordsman from drawing a sword, but that was mostly theoretical and in day-to-day training, the scenario was always of an unarmed civilian, walking along when he (or she) is suddenly grabbed and pulled into some bad situation. Of course, the grab could be a wrist grab, a choke, a headlock, escort hold, shoulder hold, two hands from the rear, bear hug, etc., etc., etc. The only person armed was the uke--never nage.

Besides this, even if someone grabs my wrist when I'm holding a knife, I can cut their arm with no problem. And if I have a drawn sword in my hand, a wrist grab will not deter me in the least from cutting the attacker in half. That whole idea is completely mistaken.

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
As far as the "I don't carry weapons" argument goes, it's a moot point. First and foremost the samurai did carry weapons, lots of them, always. So from the stand point of a system inspired by the Samurai perspective, they were people who always carried weapons. A Samurai wasn't going to "ground and pound", he was going to cut you down, the only way you might possibly stop him (if you were not armed yourself) would be to gain wrist control. These techniques (Aikido techniques) come from a weapon culture, that's what they work for.
Although Sokaku Takeda was known to carry a dagger and sometimes a sword cane, the prime weapon of Daito Ryu was the iron fan: good for smacking and smashing, but not sharp and not a cutting instrument. Ueshiba was never known to carry a knife or sword in daily life, though he did often carry a fan. Also, many other Daito Ryu men carried fans--some of them iron. None is noted for having carried knives or other blades as a matter of course. So this line of speculation seems to have no grounding in fact and only leads to some bad thinking, bad imagination and bad spiritual influence in general.

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
Second, if you are serious about self defense you do carry weapons. Anyone who seriously considers the need to protect themselves will carry weapons. Aikido is a perfect system of study for these people.
Again, after all these years walking alone in one of the most dangerous cities in the US, with over 36 years of aikido training (and karate before that), I wonder why I have never felt the need to carry a weapon? I've faced multiple attackers more than once, some of them armed, and I've never had to actually fight any of them. I only actually touched another person once and it didn't go any further than that.

I do remember a student, once, who was fascinated by guns and double-edged knives. He wanted me to teach him the techniques from Mike Echanis' book on knife fighting since it looked exactly like what I do except with a knife in each hand. He wanted to go to the military and go kill people in South America. I declined to teach him any further. Years later, after a stint in the Army, he was approached at an ATM by a guy with a gun. He drew his 9mm and shot the fellow in the leg. The robber dropped to the ground and shot upward, shooting my old student through the heart. The guy who had built his life around weapons ran several yards before falling dead.

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
Third, if you are an aware person, you are almost never unarmed. Bottles, sticks, rocks, fire extinguishers, kitchen knives, car keys, brooms, wrenches, screwdrivers, etc all make expedient weapons. If you are aware of the need for a weapon, you can almost always find one rather quickly. Once you are armed, the only real chance someone stands in a fight with you is to eliminate your use of the weapon, wrist grabs are a good way to do this.
I do teach my students that a car key or door key is effectively the equivalent of a knife. And even if they grab the hand I'm holding the key in, I can easily continue to use the key per my methods even while applying aikido technique.

Real aikido has ancient roots in sword methods but they are generally indirect and rather conceptual at that. Mochizuki Sensei created a wonderful kata (ken tai iichi) to show the relationship, based on his training in katori shinto ryu. But he also developed several other katas explaining tai sabaki, the principles of technique, principles of omote and ura and others. None featured nage holding a weapon.

That line of thinking is mistaken and misguided and it's best abandoned before it leads you into worse mistakes.

Good luck on that.

David

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

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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