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Old 12-29-2004, 11:54 PM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 31
Locking/pinning as pain submission...

I've been reading (lurking mostly) in the major aikido forums (aikiweb, ebudo, newsgroups et. al.) for over a year, and I've noticed a worrying trend...

A large number of people refer to joint locks and pins as if they're pain submission holds.

Please stick with me while I explain why I have a problem with this (even if it seems just like a difference in language)...

I've only been doing aikido for nearly 2 years (I've changed dojos during that time, so I've experienced some different teaching styles), but I've always seen the following as being the main tenant of aikido:

Centre & Balance

Control yours, take theirs. Now we get to my point - Aikido is about controlling their centre and balance, therefore by definition, joint locks must be about controlling their centre and balance NOT about inflicting pain.

Now for another digression - When wielding a sword, we must think of the bokken or blade as being an extension of our centre, this enables us to 'project' the power of our centre up through our body, through our hands and into our blade. In short, we must connect our weapon to our centre.

In open hand, people talk about connecting one's hand(s) to ones hips - in open hand, the hand is the weapon, so the hand-hip relationship is simply the same weapon-centre relationship.

The logical progression would look something like this:

First I learn to connect my weapon to my centre. Now my weapon is an extension of my centre.
Next I learn to connect my centre to their weapon, through mine.
Finally I must learn to connect my centre to theirs, through my weapon, into theirs then down into their centre.

Obviously all of these are learned together, they just take varying amounts of time to learn.

Given that, lets examine what a joint lock is again. A joint lock is a way of transmitting power from my centre into uke's centre, this is done by locking the hand, then the elbow, then the shoulder, controlling the shoulder gives great control over the centre. The aim of any joint lock applied to the arm is to control the shoulder. A side effect of having our joints locked, is that the body reports the grinding of bones/nerves together as pain, but that's all it is. If your intent is to cause pain, you are likely only controlling a single joint - take nikkyo, if you're so intent on the wrist in order to inflict maximum pain, you are unlikely to be controlling uke's centre, they fall because they're of sound mind and don't really want to put up with the agony or risk of a snapped wrist. On the other hand, if your intent is to take uke's balance and cut their centre (through their wrist) then uke has no choice but to fall, even if it doesn't hurt.

I'm talking a lot about intent here, because there is likely a lot of people who 'intend' to inflict pain, and their focus is the wrist, but have been doing aikido so long they have learned to cut uke's
centre simply through trial-and-error.

But even given all this (which I'm assuming is pretty basic learning, nothing fancy in it), why do you think so many people still refer to locking and pinning as pain submission?


Obviously the above reads like a rant (which it is), but what I'm really interested in is have many of you noticed the same trend? what's your take on locking and pinning?

Last edited by Colbs : 12-30-2004 at 12:00 AM.
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