Mary Kuhner wrote:
A couple of months ago we had a seminar, and the visiting sensei criticized us (collectively and individually) for insufficient commitment in attack. I've been party to a lot of dressing-room arguments about exactly what that means. How do you commit to an attack without intent to harm? How can you provide a committed attack in slow motion?
This article's comment about moving through the opponent suddenly made something click for me--that's what I'd been groping around looking for all month. I feel as though I should have realized this myself--it's one of the points that's been made over and over during kokyu dosa--but I hadn't made the connection till just now.
It's not often that that kind of "click" comes from reading rather than practicing. Thank you, Clark sensei.
To show us the difference, the visitng sensei (Clarence Chinn sensei of California) had us practice kata tori attacks. He said that a well executed kata tori will make the recipient want to move back. This was certainly the case when he did them, and we could occasionally get it to work, but the whole thing seemed very mysterious. My only useful observation was that whether or not nage would move depended on uke's initial movement: if I didn't feel impelled to move as soon as uke started toward me, I wasn't going to move no matter what he did subsequently. Beyond that, well, it wasn't speed, it wasn't force, and it wasn't making a scary face.
I'd like to try this exercise again, focusing on having the intent to move through partner rather than toward or up to him, and see how it goes.
First of all, the desire not to injure your partner is not incompatible with full out training.Shomenuchi is a strike which we practice as a strike to the top area of the forehead. If you look at a chart of vital points you will not find that marked. It's the thickest bone in the body. You might give someone a bit of a jar if you hit them but you are highly unlikely to injure them with that strike.
As for yokomenuchi and tsuki... if I am pretty sure that my partner will get hit because he is making some fundamental mistake, I will change the focus of the strike to the surface rather than through the target. This allows me to strike full out, for my partner to experience the attack with all its energy, but without injury if he makes a mistake. This works better for training than taking the life out of the attacks by removing the intention.
People need to role play a bit when they train... What is the purpose of that katate tori? You are entering the space of an opponent and you grab the hand in order to nuetralize the use of a weapon by that hand, or make it impossible for him to strike you with the hand. If that is the way you picture what you are doing you won't tend to be wimpy about the grab, you're going to want it to do its job.
Alot of folks see Aikido as a form of conflict resolution. It's impoartnat to remember that you can't really practice conflict resolution without having a conflict.