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Old 01-04-2013, 05:02 PM   #57
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland Texas
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 1,652
Re: Atemi and Aikido

Several years ago we had a very vibrant thread on the atemi issue. I believe I started it-no matter. I did some research on the issue surveying 5th dan sensei's and above in about 2004/5 culminating in an article in June 2005 Black Belt Magazine. George Ledyard sensei also published one prior to mine in Aikido Today Magazine.

Let me state up front my general opinion: "To fail to use tools available in a combat situation to ensure a favorable and safe outcome is irresponsible and shows and ignorance of the possible implications of violence." Me, Black Belt Magazine, June 2005, p. 126.

Historically, from both an origin of the arts perspective (Daito-ryu, etc.), atemi was frequently displayed by O'Sensei and his senior instructors. One of the sessions I recently attended with Saotome sensei at winter camp was almost entirely atemi.

My research showed a couple of factors eliciting the practitioner's perspective: organization/style-softer styles like Ki Society tended to be less favorable of atemi. Harder styles like Yoshinkan tended to favor it more. Another factor was the training background of the sensei. Some trained with senseis that simply did not teach them any atemi.

Personally, I teach and favor atemi. Aikido is a martial art. Atemi was a part of it historically and in my opinion should be now as well. I think you need to learn to do it properly. It is defined as strikes to vital points by sandai doshu. Therefore, you need to learn not only how to strike properly, but also you need to learn some anatomy of various vital/pressure points. You need to know how to hit them properly to make the atemi effective. Various levels have been bandied about in the literature up to the statement that 100% of aikido is atemi. The choice to throw or lock someone out and pin them is a choice not to deliver an atemi. I also favor other forms of "atemi" such as pressing, pinching, etc. of vital points.

Last edited by aikidoc : 01-04-2013 at 05:04 PM.
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