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Old 11-05-2013, 08:48 AM   #27
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,154
Re: How to deal with aggressive, non-compliant attackers? And discussion on atemi.

Michael Varin wrote: View Post
I don't get it. Please, explain more clearly.

On a possibly related note. . . Just this evening my wife's cousin came over to visit. He is a relatively green correctional officer. But he's huge and ungodly strong. I asked him if he knew a certain deputy who used to train under me. This gentleman is the head of the jail's SRT (they deal with cell extractions and such) and is also huge. There was quite a bit of surprise on the cousin's face as he told me that that was his trainer and he tried to establish what relationship I had to this gentleman. He told me that my former student put him in a certain hold that caused pain to his wrist and he felt like he needed to escape and he did so. This apparently took place in front of a large group and the cousin was severely scolded for his actions. He asked me if the deputy learned this move from me. I informed him that I did teach this gentleman aikido and that he was quite capable and had done things in practice that I had not, but that I did not know what he was teaching the other COs. I showed the cousin sankyo and he confirmed this is the technique the deputy used. I asked him if it hurt when I did it and he said no. Then I asked him to escape it, and I pinned him.

Your attitude and intention are significant. In my experience aikido doesn't work very well when you try to inflict it on another.

Unfortunately LEOs are often put in the place of the aggressor. That's the nature of their work. . . It's not the nature of aikido.
No problem.

My first comment was directed towards the cleanliness of demonstrating the "effective" use of aikido against another person (with martial arts experience). I think aikido videos are difficult to develop; to good and they look fake, too bad and they look sloppy, anything in-between is somewhat contrived to not look fake or sloppy. Moreover, it is difficult to balance the "ah ha" lucky technique from the "I can do this all day" technique in a video.

My second comment was an observation that for randori, I think many aikido people prioritize kansetsu waza to a level not functional in randori (certainly multiple-person randori). For me, I think this both places an inappropriate focus on engagement and also reduces the focus on atemi and irrimi in the beginning. I think as we excel in randori, we are given some freedom to engage our partner with more options.

More as an observation of evolving methods of engagement elsewhere (self-defense and security practices), I am noticing a shift in tactical instruction that focuses less on precision and more on suppression. Partly, I think the shift is due to a specific need to prepare these individuals for their role in a short period of time. Partly, I think "teaching" specific methods of injury does not look good on the stand when an officer has to explain why a suspect's shoulder was dislocated. I do think that these individuals are placed in a role of authority and on occasion are the aggressor in establishing compliance.

One of the hypocrisies an aikido, I think, is that we idealize a role independent of our partner, but practice in such a manner as to require a partner. I think your comment about inflicting aikido on another is a good one. My third comment was directed at the role of our partner and the complex relationship of "connection" - whose job it is to maintain, whose job is it to exploit and whose job is it to break? I think the topic of atemi as a solution to engage our partner is complicated and often not well explained. I think many of us do not appreciate the actual danger we inherit when working with experienced people who know atemi.

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