Re: Introduction + The missing Atemi
Thank you for your reply Joe,
I agree that there are these two different options (neutralising and the pre-emptive strike) and I feel that both have their place in the martial art training. While the decision to use it should be judged accordingly, there is still the need to learn how to apply it correctly. I don't mean injuring the uke, simply learning to throw a good fist or cut.
It is my understanding that several aspects of aikido have atrophied with the years and the proper teaching of atemi is one of them. Even in dojos with teachers who I appreciated a lot, there was never an emphasis on it. If the quality of the atemi is poor, so is the effect of neutralising, and the same goes for the pre-emptive strike. A poor strike could work to neutralise i.e. a skinny attacker but it wouldn't necessary work with a bodybuilder kind of guy who could receive a much harder strike without getting injured.
Even in the fictional fighting environment of the dojo (i.e. no feedback, no sparring), one does not learn how to throw a proper strike in the air. Someone who has never punched anything in his life, would not know where to start.
You are lucky to have this experience with your sensei, but then again I think it is a bit funny to talk about "luck" in regards to people practicing the same martial art. Some things should either be taught or not. It would be perhaps ok, if I knew that on a higher level, after a Shodan people got to learn how to strike, but not earlier. But this is not the case. But as I said I know some arrogant Shodan's who need to use force to do a technique, or make no practical application of basic concepts like taking someone's balance out and reaching for their centre.
To conclude, my interest in boxing lies not only in learning how to strike properly, if needed and in relation to aiki-do, because it trains one to strike, but also because it combines the immediate feedback of your bad decisions-you just get hit by your partner. In a sense it is a much more real interaction, which brings awareness into the game whereas aikido practice is often associated with oblivion.
Boxing would be a patch, if you like, to one aspect of the many holes that I think Aikido has.