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Old 03-17-2003, 08:38 AM   #40
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 420
Peter A Goldsbury (Peter Goldsbury) wrote:
Hello Drew,

My take on 99% atemi is that you need to unbalance your partner/opponent right from the very beginning of the encounter and maintain the state of unbalance right to the end of the encounter. So this means that you are in a position to deliver various atemi right through the encounter. Is this what Mr Amdur was teaching?
Yes, as I understand it. Bear in mind that I've only been training since late '99, so some I'm sure my perspective on what Ellis was teaching is different than others who've been around longer. But here goes: unbalancing and proper body position are a product of being in the right place and time to perform good strikes throughout the technique.

When we trained at the seminar I mentioned earlier in this thread, Ellis had us moving seamlessly from one strike to the next throughout a technique. However, we started in stages -- slowly adding one strike to the next. These strikes can be very devastating to uke (safety was constantly stressed), but they led to a constant unbalancing of the "attacker." The unbalancing was a result of the body movement that we performed (at least in part) in order to strike.
The point of the atemi is that you yourself emerge from the encounter comparatively unscathed, unlike your opponent. Am I right?
I feel a bit awkward answering if you're right given your experience relative to mine. Having said that -- I'm not sure. On one hand, of course that's the point of atemi. On the other hand, we can choose not to do the atemi, but maintain the proper body positioning and unbalancing that comes from atemi, thereby (in theory) not harming the attacker more than might occur from the fall.

My instructor, Keith Engle (whom I think you know), also makes the point that a really good attacker will not offer many opportunities for really effective atemi.

The only time I've had to use aikido outside the dojo, I really did not want to harm the person I threw. I used no atemi, and the throw and pin defused the situation very quickly. In that case, I wasn't thinking about whether or not to use atemi. Something happened, and the throw happened a second or two later; without a lot of conscious thought on my part. In the end, my "uke" was unharmed, and I got a bruise from running into some furniture while performing the throw.

For me, right now, the main purpose of atemi is to help me train unbalancing and good body position.

I should add that Ellis's views on atemi can be found in one of the essays in Dueling with O'Sensei.



-Drew Ames
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