Re: Atemi and Aikido
Hi Gary and a happy new year to you, expect to see you soon, I will pass on your greetings to sensei. We are not so much training at full speed these days (we are starting to get a little a older), though we regularly utilize continuous attacks. My attacks particularly during Jiyu Waza are unexpected and more varied than most. Typically I will let nage know that there will be a little razzle dazzle in their near future; hauling off with a flurry when the exercise calls for a single step in strike, is just rude and disrespectful of sensei as well.
We recently worked with a straight punch with a follow up elbow strike, guess what the elbow is handled the same as a right hook only closer. But now all who enjoyed that class now see the potential elbow strike against them a little more clearly and move accordingly. We did get a new student with substantial boxing and kung fu experience and look forward to doing some reaction drills and such. I think I will be washing off my mouthpiece and dig out my head gear for some full speed drill work. Just parrying combos and allowing uke to enter at speed, not sparring, very different those two.
Cliff - I can throw a decent jab starting with my hands in my pockets, leaning against a wall, and step in with the cross & hook. I can throw a face level vertical thrust punch from folded arms (old Black Belt article on the "Manly Art of Sucker Punching", worth a read if you can find it). A jab is very close to Aikido atemi in that it is designed to move/setup your opponent, not finish them; if it powerful enough to do damage it is a bonus. And given that MMA is all the rage expect to see MMA tech thrown at people for the foreseeable future.
I want to be clear I am not advocating every one start boxing around the dojo all the time, but if you have never trained with someone throwing an upper cut you will likely get hit, because you have never been hit from that direction and all those years of muscle memory have a blind spot. I understand (what I think is) your concern about getting off track and playing to the martial art de jour. We are studying Aikido and that is our focus and our strength, but if we ignore the basic hand and foot strikes thrown by close to 100% of the world's striking arts, we are intentionally leaving out the lingua franca of the majority of the world's martial arts. In that context, purity is a vice not a virtue.
As an aside on poor attacks, last year had a hombu trained (so he claimed) dan show up at a seminar I was attending (last year's memorial workout - Gary). His attack was to hold his elbow at his rib so his torso punch extended at solar plexus level, he would then run at me, arm fixed. He almost hit me because I was flabbergasted at the "punch" (I doubt this was a mind lead). Somewhere some instructor taught him that this was a good way to train, my head still tilts sideways (as in a quizzical pug) whenever I think about it.