I'm in Yoshinkan, and we definately do practice with this in mind. However, one of the things we are harped on is the metsuki maai concept. We need to have situational awareness and keep our distance. As a martial artist you can never be caught off guard and always assume someone is going to attack you, unless you know for sure that person will not. In this case, a co-worker is hard to judge, so I don't blame you, but if it was a stranger, I would definately consider being more alert.
Well, he was acting friendly and interested, but he came at me pretty fast and I threw him without intending to at all. I was going to put him into an arm lock, I think. It was only later that I suspected that his "friendly" approach actually masked very bad intentions. He had me "trapped" in a narrow space, but I would have had no problem moving behind him with tai sabaki. Of course, if my first and only move hadn't totally blown him away, then possibly my tai sabaki wouldn't have been effective, either. He would have tried to pen me in and start wresting or boxing and tried to wear me down with strength and weight.
Part of my point here is that aikido training must be oriented to an instant, decisive end, with the attack fully destroyed or controlled. I don't think this can come from training in such a way that you don't actually intend to take full control. The slight movement of my hand threw this guy so profoundly because it was just the beginning. If he hadn't flown onto the conveyor belt, he was going into ikkyo, nikkyo or something like that. I was going to take him very firmly under control in the blink of an eye. But the combination of his force and my small movement sent him flying. It was quite a shock, really.
So I'm saying that even when someone seems friendly, they may well just be trying to get your guard down. I didn't worry about it because I had my own dojo and I was training so hard in those days that people around the mill asked me to slow down and work easier because I was making them look bad--even though I was skinny and didn't look like anything at all. I had always been the last chosen for any sport in school and I still looked the part.
Once, the supervisor sent me to clean up a big scrap yard full of big pieces of wood--I think they were 4" X 4" and about 4 or 5 feet long. It would normally take a man two or three hours to clean up all that wood and stack it because he would have walked to where each piece was, picked it up and carried it back to the stacking point, then walked to another piece and carried it back--or maybe two or three pieces at a time, but I did the whole thing in about 20 minutes. I went around the yard and used rotational body movment to pick up a piece of wood and throw it with the same motion, sort of like the "hammer throw" in track and field competition, pulling the weight off the ground with the turning of the body and letting it fly. I threw all these pieces across the yard and they landed in a small space. Then I just stacked them quickly and I was done. And then I was idle again. But the whole point of the task was that they didn't want someone idle. They wanted them slowly walking around the yard, slowly carrying pieces of wood and "looking busy" for a couple of hours. That kind of thing never occurred to me in those days. If they sent me to the commisary for something, I ran
through the mill yard, wearing steel-toed boots. If I was just standing around, I did head-high side-kicks with those steel-toed boots on, twenty or thirty in a row, just to pass the time.
So when the guy approached me down in that narrow, isolated tunnel, I was so confident that it never occurred to me that he was doing anything other than several other guys had done, asking me to show them something because they were interested. Its only now that I look back and see how isolated I was and realize that he probably had very bad intentions.
So, #1, you never know what another person is really thinking--especially if they are a pscyopathic or sociopathic type, who can present a charming front with seriously bad intentions behind it.
And #2, aikido technique is technique
, meant to accomplish an end, and the devolution of that intent into such confusion that people really don't know in practice whether they should intend to control the attacker....is not an improvement and is not likely to produce the ability to handle a situation such as I have described.
The word randori
comes from the terms ran
, meaning chaos
, and tori
, meaning seizing
. So randori
means the practice of seizing chaos
, or taking control of chaos
. It's also funny, thinking of the earlier thread concerning whether we're actually supposed to intend to throw in aikido technique. Most aikido styles call the "defender" nage
, meaning "throwing". So why would we question whether nage
should intend to throw? It's who and what he (or she) is. In yoseikan
, we called the defender tori
as in both judo
. It is only with the intent to develop the ability to seize pure chaos that aikido
can be highly reliable for self-defense. From that can emerge the ability to do unexpected things, but we always learned that such things were a mere by-product of very serious training.
Less than that, it seems that "unintentional" aikido can only be effective "by accident" and that the accidents are more likely to come upon the "unintentional" practitioner than to a serious attacker.