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Old 04-27-2007, 05:55 PM   #59
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Dojo: ACE Aikido
Location: Los Angeles
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 346
Re: Atemi waza: good or bad for Aikido?

Christian Moses wrote: View Post
Difficult to answer in writing, I am not talking about karate or boxing like strikes peppering ones waza. I think that atemi can take on various forms, from maintaining a position where one could strike uke the moment a suki develops in the relationship (as George described) to positional strikes (like those seen from Nishio Sensei' irimi movements) to impacting movements through the uke/nage connection (like you see in videos of Akuzawa or Saito Senseis for that matter)
The above seems to me to describe fairly conventional notions of striking, am I understanding you correctly?

or even movements that seem like blocks but are actually strikes (Don Angier's 'cam' for example). It can also be that the mechanics of striking are used in the movements themselves: an extension of the arms to do kotegaeshi, the cut of the arms in shihonage,
These seem to me to be describing movements, not strikes per se, if I'm reading it right?

a rake to the eyes when setting up for shihonage (a la Nishio Sensei again), or the impact of ones koshi into uke's kua line when performing koshinage/o-goshi.
More conventional meaning actual contact, yes?

I think this is what OSensei meant when he said 90% of Aikido is atemi, and when Tomiki Sensei said that, "...the striking techniques of Aikido incorporate the idea of balance breaking; the result being that the opponent is brought down due to loss of balance rather than because he was hit on some vital point. Thus it is not necesary to kill or hurt him by using strong impact, nor is it necessary to train your hand or fist to withstand such impact."
It seems to me that you are offering a much more broad concept of what atemi is in your overall explanation. If so, I understand more of what you are saying. But - I personally would not include "cutting motions" and the like, that simply execute technique, atemi. Many of the body/arm/hand motions that I use to complete the movement of a technique, are sword strike movements. To me that doesn't make them atemi, or that I'm "using" atemi....

When I talk to my former Aikido dojo-mates and explain that where I train now, we actually land our atemi most of the time, they think that we're punching each other in the face all the time. This isn't true, but we are looking at how atemi within the context of an aiki art is actually used to get kuzushi and affect body structure just as Tomiki described. (Note, that I'm not part of a Tomiki lineage, I do really like his writings on budo.)
I think that process is extremely valuable, a very important understanding to have. For me, that doesn't mean that I use atemi in my art though. It also doesn't mean that atemi will absolutely never happen either. It's a whole different approach to the intent of and/or approach to Aikido, perhaps.

Larry Novick
Head Instructor
ACE Aikido
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