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Old 10-28-2000, 05:23 AM   #25
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Atemis and Blocking

ian wrote:
But the instructor had a point. He said that it 'closed' the Uke (and it also prevents uke seeing what Nage is doing in many cases).
If the point here is some Aikido personal transformation thing he may be right. But if we're talking martial arts you'd better be blocking or the nage will break something. As for seeing what uke is doing... Once you are at contact range seeing is over rated. Feel is faster. Blocking isn't really done in response to something you "see" coming but rather at the line of attack that you know is open. You feel the commitment of the attack rather than "see" it.

If you don't believe this try a simple exercise. Stand across from a partner. Have him hold both hands up as if to guard his chest. Inform him that you will hit him (using your finger tips of course). From a relaxed postion flick your fingers between his guard to tap his chest before he can move to stop you. I can do this on a partner who is well trained and hit him five out of six times from my hands in my pockets.

Then allow your partner to lightly touch your wrist. Try to strike him now. You should have trouble. The messages your brain gets from touch process differently from the information that goes in through the eyes, even with "soft" focus. It is much harder to hit your partner once he is touching you.

As for the idea that "seeing" what is coming is more important than blocking... I assume that the person meant that you should see what is coming and move yourself out of the way rather than focus on blocking. The problem here is just a matter of physics. Your body has a lot more mass than my fist. I can accelerate my strike alot faster than you can accelerate your body. Without a protective "deflection" (notice I didn't say block because you shouldn't be blocking) you don't have time to move your body once you are at touching range.

On another point, is it realistic to expect that someone could block an atemi in a real situation. (My view is yes).

Once we get over the idea that we are "blocking" as opposed to "deflecting" we must say yes here. Virtually every martial art is about this, not just Aikido. This is precisely the type of discussion only Aikido people have. Try to deliver an atemi to a partner who is from any other martial art and you will find out if it is realistic.

The real difference is that the well trained Aikidoka or practitioner of any other art won't just protect against the atemi. They will attempt to simultaneously deflect and strike. If you aspire to having technique that is martially valid you must train with this in mind. There are no "defensive" movements in real martial arts. Everything is a strike. Have your partner stop doing those ridiculous blocks that he does by putting his hand in front of his face (hit it hard enough to make his hand smack him in the face) and start trying to deflect your strike and deliver a counter strike. See how that changes your techniques. If you can't handle that, you can't do your technique on anyone from another martial art, guarenteed.
Ian [/b]
[Edited by George S. Ledyard on October 28, 2000 at 05:26am]

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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