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Old 12-07-2004, 08:26 PM   #20
Larry John
Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
Location: Arlington VA
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 74
Re: Intent of Attack


I'm getting back to this thread much later than I'd hoped to.

First, please accept my profound sympathy and concern for the results of your accident. Many years ago, I had a similar accident when my first wife was at the nine-month point with our first child. Fortunately, everything came out OK (if you exclude the marriage itself, but it WAS the 1970's).

With respect to intent while training, the instructors in our dojo stress that people who do not intend to attack you are not fully committed. They will move differently than people who are committed. As I understand it, this will result in both subtle and unsubtle changes in timing, geometry and energy state that may render specific kihon waza techniques irrelevant (i.e., uke didn't reach me, so he's not a threat, so I don't need to respond with kuzushi and technique), completely unworkable (i.e., uke didn't achieve the geometry required to make a high quality attack, therefore I must use a different kuzushi and technique than the instructor called for) or require you to modify them (i.e., uke didn't bring enough energy for my kuzushi and technique to work as designed, therefore I may have to add energy to make it work). Ledyard-sensei's many articles on this subject are much more articulate and useful than my poor thoughts.

As for your question of divining intent so that we know how to respond, my instructors keep telling me to stop thinking and start feeling. This implies to me that in ANY situation, training, a car accident, or falling out of a tree, we need to both sense what's happening and respond without conscious (or perhaps "high order") thought according to the fundamental principles of the activity we're pursuing.

If we're in a skid, we must keep our heads oriented in the direction we originally wanted to travel, rather than looking around, as the body follows the head.

If we're falling from a tree or mountain and we can't flatten to arrest our descent, we must spread the impact as much as possible across the most largest and most stable structures in our body (the back side of the ribs and legs) while protecting our brain by keeping our head up. If a car's coming at us we must get out of the way or minimize "slip" the impact to make it less direct.

All of this obtains regardless of whether we can perceive what might be called "intellectual intent" (i..e purposeful action) rather than "physical intent" (bad stuff that's happening regardless of purposefulness).

Hope this helps--you're right, this is a fun discussion.

Last edited by Larry John : 12-07-2004 at 08:28 PM. Reason: and casue is actually spelled "cause"

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