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Old 07-27-2013, 05:59 AM   #47
Bernd Lehnen
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 140
Re: Aikido's Attacks -- Reality and Effectiveness

Greg Sinclair wrote: View Post
Alright, against every gut instinct in my body I am going to add my two cents...

I am going to do this because for over a decade of toiling through the Aikido dojos in my area I struggled to find a form I thought would not get me killed in a fight. It was a very lonely and discouraging journey that I had begged, in vain, for help on.

So anyone seeking a more practical Aikido, this post is intended for you. I have nothing against the spiritual side of Aikido and do not mean to offend if I accidently do so.

Now, let me start off by saying I don't have all the answers. However, I would like to share what I have learned so far:

The first thing learned when seeking a more practical Aikido was different attacks. So yes, IF you are seeking a more practical Aikido, in my experience, the attacks need to change.

In our dojo, kicks, combos and quick punches to the face are far more prevalent than grabs, and performed like you would punch a real opponent (especially the recoil after the strike).

Deflections are used to control the line and keep from eating an attack when the opponent's strikes are faster than your feet can move you off the line.

We still use the standard Shomen, Yokomen, and all the grabs (it is afterall still aikido), but the strikes are executed a bit differently. In fact, Shomen and Yokomen are performed in our dojo as deflections and counterstrikes. This does not matter whether attacking or defending. The motion is the same, so Uke should not be just throwing his arm out there, he should be practicing a very tight and precise strike that can also be a counter attack.

Hard to explain, but at about the 10 second mark on this video ( is a demonstration of a Yokomen counter strike used in defense of a roundhouse punch.

Good striking opens other doors as well, like learning to use your opponent's defenses against them. The first 3:50 of this video demonstrates that:

This is just my take on Aikido and the importance of attacks.
Great start.
The only question I have is, why do the uke still take their final ukemi the usual way aikido is demonstrated? Do they still try to make the whole ensemble look good or is it already ingrained in them as a dojo habit? Of course, this is a common way to attract people to aikido and it shows how beauty and aesthetic was brought into budo after the fundamental need for effectivity was historically lost, but when it's about adaption to reality ..

So, I'd be happier to see them react with a little more counterattacking intent and only go down when they have to, that is on their back or their stomach after they really have lost their balance and can't withstand any longer. Actually, more like a beginner, who is very often a more accomplished challenge to any longtime nage. Who on earth would want to take those free wheeling falls on concrete.

So to my mind, for more practical aikido, changing attacks is a very good start but the ukemi ought to change accordingly, too.

Perhaps, this is what Tomiki may have had in mind with his approach to randori? And, to a certain measure, wouldn't that also be in line with Corky' s approach?


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