I didn't think this thread could develop in such interesting a manner. I thank you all for your contributions, and I am eager to read more as further thoughts hopefully arrive.
It does not seem to me there is somebody wrong and someone else right. All instances make a rational point, a perspective on the problem. A few are more encompassing, others less (but in this latter case maybe it's just my understanding that fails).
I thank you all, and I am sincere when I say that I found all of your insights in this issue useful and enlightening.
I would like to add that I do have a boxing background. In fact some have argued that I was wondering about this problem because I had none - I have been in boxing competitions, fighting an overall of 36 official matches (not as a pro, however). But that was long ago, over 20 years ago.
I am an ex-ex-ex boxeur who got fascinated by aikido.
Now, those who have stated that most attacks in street/bar fights start exactly with sequences of punching strikes, have understood my question in its essence for at least 50% of it.
In this setting, I am imagining not a casual or improvised striker, but a SKILLED and competent one.
It is precisely because those attacks are the most common ones, that I find rather serious a shortcoming of the standard aikido training method that it is never geared towards dealing with those type of attacks and rather devotes a lot of time imagining attackers who grab your wrists (a very unlikely, and "lady-like" type of attack...) and (as if that alone wouldn't be unrealistic enough already) wait there.
Uh, at Ueshiba's times, in their taverns, guys did not punch each other, but grabbed each other's wrists and waited in that positions staring intently into each other's eyes?
I don't believe this.
So, the other 50% of my question derives from the fact that theorical approaches dealing with tsuki like http://www.youtube.com/results?searc...ries=17&page=1
will NOT work in a real situation against a skilled striker who is DECENTLY FAST.
They are good on camera, but in a real fight they won't be that easy in the least. I know it's hard to accept, but it's true: they would fail in most cases.
Get a striker who is competent, mobile on his feet, who can follow you and keep facing you squarely (attackers can both RESIST VIGOROUSLY AND VEHEMENTLY any arm grab, and they have this incredible ability, unknown to many ukes, to rotate in order to face you AGAIN AND INSTANTLY whenever you attempt to go lateral with an irimi - this NATURAL "predisposition" of any competent striker is what our standard Ukes make us forgetful about), all the while delivering combination of fast punches without pauses.
Your atemi will do nothing on them - those are attackers used to get combinations of punches on their faces and yet they keep their focus - i think we all have seen, at least on tv, a few boxing matches: you won't "atemi" those guys, after you have seen them getting hooks in their faces and yet stay still and fully capable of immediate retaliation.
The fact is, the rare times I can find an opponent who resists with all his vigour and attacks me with realism, I fail and YET the more I fail, the more I feel I am getting BETTER.
There is NOTHING SO INVIGORATING like ending 45 minutes of aikido with a dedicated partner where you have experienced the full range of difficulties that physical clashing, robust resistance, flying hands, full determination to oppose you, clever attempts to bring you down, counter-techniques, punches , pose to somebody attempting to insert aikido in that type of violent (though controlled: punches are all thrown with OPEN hands) setting.
However, this is so rare a possibility, and the dojos that will allow you to experience this type of physical clash are so few all over the world, that thence came my question: how can I surrogate fire? What training may make us get closer to that type of confrontation and realism, provided most dojos won't allow us to go even remotely close to that?
Unfortunately i can't go to fight in bars as someone has suggested - I'm no criminal, simply
I'm just interested in controlling violence with a refined response, and aikido to me seems such a response. But gosh if it's difficult against a realistic attacker! damn if it is D I F F I C U L T !
So I am here listening to you all, and hoping over time we'll have more ideas about how we can develop a training geared towards realism - for our default aikido training isn't (it's not a critic, simply a fact. Really, NO critic or polemic whatsoever!).
Three days ago I trained with my buddy and it was rather brutal a training - I can't tell you how difficult it was, and yet how still today I feel incredibly more confident simply because I am getting acquainted once again with the dynamics of a real physical clash.
Those who advise against it, perhaps have never experienced how enriching an experience it can be for a martial artist (I am none, but you are!) coming back from an aikido training session led with full intensity of violent contrast (safety measures can easily be included - for instance we keep hands rigorously open and no clenched punches, and we throw at the chest)
I refuse to believe that in order to be realistic, one has to forfeit Aikido and go to die in bars.
Thence my hope someone has ideas about new training options. We won't always have the right partner for realism.