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Old 07-01-2007, 01:18 AM   #14
Charles Hill
Dojo: Numazu Aikikai/Aikikai Honbu Dojo
Location: Three Lakes WI/ Mishima Japan
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 837
Re: "The Strongest Technique in Aikido"

Hi Giancarlo,

I am going to take your questions seriously and try to answer them as best as I can given my level of understanding. If by asking those questions you were really just giving your opinion and putting it into a question form to underscore the ridiculousness of the idea, you might want to ignore the following.

We are compliant in training to, at first, learn the basic forms and also to prevent from being injured. As we progress, we are afforded the opportunity to become friends with our training partners at a deeper and deeper level. When and if that happens, we can start to (somewhat)safely become less compliant in our practice. This is when we can test what we know.

There are always going to be jerks in the dojo and they are not going to get stronger because no one but other jerks are going to test them. The idea that Aikido practice is totally compliant is a myth told by people who are not tested in the dojo. Instead of complaining about the practice, they might wonder about why no one pushes them, why everyone is compliant. Sure it might be that in that dojo only compliant Aikido is practiced. On the other hand, maybe no one likes/trusts them.

When I practice, I want to get past the basic level of practice with my partner as soon as possible. To do this, I quickly throw out hints of "play" or "friendliness" and see how he/she reacts. Some respond well, others are defensive. If I get a friendly partner, I know that I can start to be less compliant in a productive way. If my partner is defensive, I know that I should stick to the basic form.

It took me a long time to learn this, I made a lot of mistakes before I finally got it. For example, one time I was working with a rather large guy whose iriminage was not effective, he was just trying to knock me down. Finally I slipped out a very large hole in his movement and reversed the technique. To my surprise, he went down really hard in a perfect iriminage. And to my further surprise, he did not thank me for showing him where he could improve his own technique instead he continued the same crappy iriminage, this time much faster and more dangerous.

This "technique" of testing my partners with friendmaking "atemi" is what I used with the guy who attacked me. I am convinced that this technique is used by everyone who is good at Aikido. It is interesting to me that no one talks about it.

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