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Old 05-25-2003, 08:18 AM   #15
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
A Matter of Perception

Daniel Pierson (DCP) wrote:
I would like to alter the flow of the thread by adding a question: Can a proficient nage control the speed of the technique regardless of the speed of the attack?

In other words, can a full speed punch by uke result in a slow/soft kokyu nage? Or is that "fake?"
I don't think it is the speed of the technique that changes. In other words, if you are receiving a punch, that punch will strike you at a certain moment in time. You need to have evaded, deflected or whatever you are going to do before that instant arrives or you are struck. Which means that if there is a fast attack, you need a fast defense. This isn't a variable that you control.

However, a variable that you can exert control over is how you perceive the speed of the movement you are doing and also how you perceive the speed of the attack itself. We do an exercise in our randori practice that is useful in this regard. When a student is getting too excitable during multiple attacker practice and attempts to handle the three attackers by trying to out speed them we will have the student do a couple randoris in which he is asked to move in such a way that he feels that he is moving almost in slow motion. The ukes move at full speed.

You find that the student will start to shift his relative perception of how fast he needs to be moving. He will still need to execute his techniques just as fast in an absolute sense. But he will start to perceive that everything is going slower than before. He will realize that he didn't need to get excited, that he has plenty of time to make the moves he wishes to, that his perception of time is not controlled by the attackers.

As for whether one can do a slow / soft throw on an attacker who is moving very fast the answer is sure, why not? It is the "entry" that takes place at a speed that must, in absolute terms, match the speed of the attack. Once the "entry" has taken place, you can ground out the energy, absorb it, whatever. You can cause the attacker to simply collapse or you can hurl him across the mat. At the instant that you have kuzushi, it doesn't matter.

Now there can be exceptions. There was the story of the swordsman who challenged O-sensei and then attacked with what was essentially a killing blow. O-sensei did an irimi and the attacker careened into him, bounced off which such force that he hit the wall and was seriously injured. There is a sort of Conservation of Quality of Energy at work here I think. If the attacker has real lethal intention, what he gets back in terms of energy will probably be destructive. I do not think that, despite ideals to the contrary, that one can defend oneself against an attacker who has lethal intent and not hurt him (assuming that he has some skill level approaching or exceeding your own).

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 05-25-2003 at 08:20 AM.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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