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Old 03-02-2004, 06:11 PM   #54
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Thank you for reply Mr. Riggs.

Well that is the basic assumption of pressure points and of pain compliance, isn't it? I mean, without that notion the whole idea of touching (or striking) someone for the purposes of "guaranteeing" a particular tactic but touching them in a way that is not directly assisting the particular mechanical advantage that is being produced by a particular set of levers and fulcrums, etc., would fall apart. In other words, it's an assumption that one has to accept from the "get go" or not. So, you are right, we may have to just disagree on this point.

In my experience, it is best not to accept that assumption, or to at least not to depend upon it being "true". Your position does -- at least at some point it will have to. While I would answer "no" to the following questions, I would imagine that your position requires an answer of "yes" in each case: "Does pain make someone inoperative or at least tactically inoperative?" "Do all people tactically fail at the same pain tolerance level?" "Can pain tolerance failure be objectively predicted and applied universally?"

For me, though I have been exposed to pressure point training and/or pain compliance strategies (as well), have seen it successfully applied and have applied it successfully myself (as well), I have had to place my opinion on the side of the numerous and various bodies (e.g. some intoxicated and some not) and situations (e.g. some over-weight and some not, some dressed in thick clothing and some not) that have convinced me not so much that pressure point attacks and/or pain compliance doesn't work, but that is a luxury of strategy that one should not depend upon. To the case: I would not rely on pain compliance in order to have kote gaeshi work, I would rely on aiki. And if aiki could not be present with kote gaeshi, I would not attempt kote gaeshi. .

Point of fact: I believe that this last assumption that I just made is at the heart of the tactical difference that lies between aiki and pain compliance. In aiki, I don't need an opponent or a suspect to want go where I want them to go; in pain compliance I need the opponent or suspect to want to go where I want them to go. The former captures my whole point of "falling into locks;" the latter, at least psychological speaking, captures the tactic of pain compliance.

We all must choose, and we would be wise to have that choice rest on a mountain of research and experience -- especially when lives may be on the line as in the last couple of cases that were brought up (i.e. law enforcement). So we may be choosing differently. And that may be the end of that: agreeing to disagree.

Still, I think there is a bit of room here to question, or to at least begin to question, the thinking (often associated with the "pro-striking" segment of Aikido practitioners) or suggestion that we can achieve aiki by opting not to use aiki, which is what I would say is going on when we need to hit or touch Lung 10 in order for kote-gaeshi to be applied.

In short, I pose the following question: It may be true (by which I mean it may be something that we can all point to in our personal realm of individual experience, that we may even be able to repeat and predict under objective circumstances on the training mat, and that we may even be able to kinesiologically define) that our "throws" don't work, but being practitioners set to employ the tactic of aiki, do we so easily satisfy both requirements of having throws that work and employing aiki by merely adding atemi to our kihon waza?

I would say "no". I think the matter is much more complicated and cannot be so easily solved by the mere practice of eclecticism and/or of producing more accurate histories regarding the founder's life. I would suggest that the true answer may lie more in our (mis)understanding of locking, pinning, and throwing, and of aiki than in our (re)growing wisdom in atemi (or pressure points, etc.). If that is the case, then we would all do well to enter into this dialog on striking since we will probably end up learning a lot more about locking, pinning, throwing, and aiki than if we outright rejected discussion as "absurd" (which I do not).

Thank you,


David M. Valadez
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