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Old 10-23-2005, 12:14 AM   #26
Dojo: Institute of Aikido Australia
Location: Perth
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 48
Hard fast attack, slow generous technique

John Matsushima wrote:
Sure, there are people who say that intense training is when uke attacks really hard. I can even appreciate a good hard attack, but how beneficial is this training, after all? Does it make you feel better because you were able to pull off a kote gaeshi on someone when you knew exactly when and where the punch was coming from, even though it was "hard"??? To tell you the truth, I have found that a hard, fast attack is actually easier to deal with sometimes. So much for intensity.
Hi John,

Putting the issue of hard throws aside, if hard and fast attacks are not to be called "intense" training, then they should at least be acknowledged as valid training. I agree that they are often easier to deal with than soft attacks - think of the strike that stops all motion before reaching your head, so that you have to put your own energy into the technique because uke is offerring none. But they are certainly more realistic than soft attacks. The man with the nasty glint in his eye who attacks in real life is going to ATTACK and it won't be slow or soft. Slow and soft training is essential when we are learning techniques, but I think hard and fast training is essential too.

And, besides, it's fun. Many of the people posting here seem to think so

I think that as we develop our skills in aikido we should get to a place when we can throw softly no matter how hard the attack is - or at least extend our throws so that uke has time to ukemi. Let's call this a "generous throw" - effective, but not intended to cause injury. Several people replying to this thread have mentioned the trust between uke and nage. If uke attacks hard and fast, then most people would read that to be a message: "I trust myself well enough to take ukemi" from this technique. But there should also be a corresponding message from nage: "I trust myself to be able to throw you generously even if you attack hard and fast".

I can imagine two situations where nage might mistake intensity for violence: (1) they are a beginner and (2) they train in a dojo that trains softly all the time. If (1) was the case, as uke I might not trust that nage could throw me generously. Therefore, I would slow my attacks. If (2) were the case, then I'd actually feel the same. Lots of soft styles seem to have very short downward throws that are hard to roll from if they're executed quickly. And this can also be a cause for these nages confusing intensity and violence. They haven't been taught how to execute generous throws, so they think if someone attacks them hard, then they have to throw hard which is violent. Dilemma.

Ergo, both soft and hard training are useful. Both short and generous throws are useful. We're always better off learning more than less.

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Old 11-15-2005, 12:16 PM   #27
Dojo: Aikido Family Training Center
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 3
Ai symbol Re: intensity/violence

I believe that without honesty in training, there is nothing. In other words, when someone says, "this is what happens when you get punched" and the punch stops in front of the persons face, nothing is being learned. However if that person were to really try to puch that person the person would move out of the way (hopefully) and that person would have learned that the best defence is not being there. This is the way that my dojo trains and most of us are learning quite well so, I believe that this method is very effective in teaching Aikido.

In Aiki Spirit,

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Old 11-15-2005, 08:28 PM   #28
David Yap
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 561
Re: intensity/violence

Ryan Coram wrote:
I believe that without honesty in training, there is nothing...
Hi Ryan,

In a way, the training of aikido is much like golf It is said that there is no competition in aikido - there is no opponent to compete against. But, similar to golf, there is indeed an opponent - YOURSELF. Similar to golf, honesty and gentleman behavior are also the requisites and it is said that the game of golf would bring out the true self in you. Similarly, the true self of a person is always reflected in the dojo.

Aikido is first and foremost a budo. Budo also cultivates aggression (fighting spirit) but in a controllable/manageable form. Meaning the aggression is meant for self preservation rather than destruction or violence. In golf, when one is over aggressive, he or she is bound to make mistakes; when one is passive, he or she will require more effort (stokes) to put the ball into the hole. In Aikido, one really has to manage ones aggression to make the techniques work in accordance with the spirit of the art (Do - The Path/Way). When one is over aggressive in the dojo, one is bound to lose control and injuries are likely to happen either to oneself or to the partner. When one is passive, the technique will not work or it will require more effort (strength or extra steps) to work. The maxim of all budo training is "minimum effort, maximum effect" or in one word, EFFICIENCY. The principle of efficiency in budo requires management of emotion (anger and aggression) and the discipline of the mind - the sum of ego. Budo trains one to mature gracefully. Growing older by the day is inevitable, growing wiser is optional. Sometimes it is saddening and even disgusting to see vicious techniques dished out by high ranking instructors at public demonstrations and dojo. A trait that is more common in Aikido more than other MA due to another trait in Aikido - students/partners do not often fight back.

Just my two sen.

Best training

David Y
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