Re: Atemi and Aikido
The step back with the right foot was mentioned because of the suggested right elbow, if left elbow used then step back with left foot. I use the spearhand (nukite) for attacks to the eyes. Spearhand is your longest range hand weapon. However, it takes many years IMO to develop a good spearhand and I practise on the canvas bag filled with lead shot for this. It's imperative that the groin kick be preceded by a feint to the face so that it is unexpected and the attacker does not catch it with his inner thighs. I now use the toe kick to the groin and lower abdomen, but it takes many years to develop. As you mentioned, attacks to the knees can be devastating, but I believe that a high skill level is required to get them to work, and I haven't been shown the exact angle and pressure point target above the knee by someone who is highly competent at them. Strangles (as I think you are referring to) are also effective, but aikido does not usually devote much time to their practice. I have been training since I was 10 years old, but I have cross-trained heavily in other martial arts and added knowledge from these other martial arts to my aikido base. For example, for the last 10 years I have also trained in BJJ as I found aikido did not adequately address the situation of when an attacker takes you down to the ground. This isn't a fault in aikido, it is a fault in the training methodologies. There are plenty of aikido techniques which can be employed/modified when defending yourself on the ground.