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Old 03-30-2007, 12:27 PM   #26
mjhacker
 
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Re: Poll: How important is working with strong-gripped, "static grabs" in your aikido

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
If you are tight you are feeling you, if you are relaxed you are feeling the other guy.
This alone was worth the price of admission. I'll be stealing this one.

Thank you, sensei.

Michael Hacker
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Old 03-30-2007, 01:33 PM   #27
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Re: Poll: How important is working with strong-gripped, "static grabs" in your aikido

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
But the fact is that this kind of grab is not martial. it has nothing to do with actual martial application. The point of grabbing is to neutralize one limb and effect the structure of the opponent so that his other possible strikes are limited or eliminated.
How do you reconcile this opinion with the historical role of grabs within nihon jujutsu, specifically where uke's grab is an attempt to immobilize tori's limbs so as to keep them from using or deploying a weapon? Wouldn't that be martial application? Certainly one could argue that in our modern society this isn't relevant, but in your police tactics, surely you address the idea of a strong attacker attempting to impede an officer from deploying a weapon or getting to their radio. I know this is a very important part of the more LEO specific aspects of what we do that came from Bernie Lau. The dynamics and specifics involved are very similar to traditional applications that I've found in Shindo Yoshin ryu or Yanagi Ryu (just as examples). I agree with a lot of what you wrote there, and hope that it's clear that when (as I mentioned earlier) think "strong grab" I am not thinking of muscular pressure purely from the hands, but a full body grab to immobilize nage's ability to move, much like you describe.

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Old 03-30-2007, 01:51 PM   #28
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Re: Poll: How important is working with strong-gripped, "static grabs" in your aikido

even when getting mugged you might wish to stop an attacker from deploying a weapon or bringing it to bear on your flesh. Bet that will be a "strong grab"...

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Old 03-30-2007, 02:06 PM   #29
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Re: Poll: How important is working with strong-gripped, "static grabs" in your aikido

I like people who grip strongly! If it is strong and they're affecting your center, it's not that much of a problem to help them spend that force somewhere that's to your best advantage. We haven't even begun to talk about their intent and the part that plays in their downfall. In my opinion, high level budo is recognizing the opponent's intent and then joining that in a way that takes the sente and actualizes your intent at the same time which ends in waza.

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Old 03-30-2007, 02:45 PM   #30
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Poll: How important is working with strong-gripped, "static grabs" in your aikido

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Christian Moses wrote: View Post
How do you reconcile this opinion with the historical role of grabs within nihon jujutsu, specifically where uke's grab is an attempt to immobilize tori's limbs so as to keep them from using or deploying a weapon? Wouldn't that be martial application?
Absolutely, I must have been unclear about what I meant. Usually, in the old stuff when you immobilized his ability to access his weapon there would also be some attempted restructuring of his alignment if possible. they just didn't run up and grab you sword hand and stand there. The grabbing method I attempted to describe would accomplish this in a traditional context just as it would in the more modern context.

Quote:
Certainly one could argue that in our modern society this isn't relevant, but in your police tactics, surely you address the idea of a strong attacker attempting to impede an officer from deploying a weapon or getting to their radio. I know this is a very important part of the more LEO specific aspects of what we do that came from Bernie Lau.
Once again, absolutely no question. It's very useful to train with folks who are simply using just plain brute force because you will certainly encounter them. If your technique is good it isn't a problem. But I don't think we want our own people training to think that is an effective attack. It is how an untrained person attacks. I think we should be training that the attacker and the defender are using precisely the same principles. In other words I can accomplish the same thing and be far more relaxed and far more effective.

Quote:
The dynamics and specifics involved are very similar to traditional applications that I've found in Shindo Yoshin ryu or Yanagi Ryu (just as examples). I agree with a lot of what you wrote there, and hope that it's clear that when (as I mentioned earlier) think "strong grab" I am not thinking of muscular pressure purely from the hands, but a full body grab to immobilize nage's ability to move, much like you describe.
Yes, again. Having trained with both Yanagi Ryu and Shindo Ryu folks, what they do is what I meant to say. I perhaps just didn't say it clearly. When Toby Threadgill grabs you, you don't see him white knuckling the grab nor is he grunting with effort. But he grabs yo with his whole body right from the hara. His attack is just that more effective because he grabs that way.

Anyway, sorry about mis-communicating what I meant.

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Old 03-30-2007, 11:01 PM   #31
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Re: Poll: How important is working with strong-gripped, "static grabs" in your aikido

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Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
even when getting mugged you might wish to stop an attacker from deploying a weapon or bringing it to bear on your flesh. Bet that will be a "strong grab"...
Where do I collect (and what do I collect)?

My grab was light and sticky instead of "strong". Now I admit that I was VERY fortunate that my assailants very obviously didn't know anything about how to use the knife or mug someone and were clearly relying on me being intimidated. My instinctive reaction created the opposite effect.

For some reason, I have a more difficult time on the mat than I did in that moment. Certainly a part of that is that I have more time to be afraid and that my partners are more skilled.

But that's the point of the training, IMO. Being "strong" that way is exactly what I'm trying to train out of my body.

Tarik Ghbeish
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Old 03-30-2007, 11:11 PM   #32
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Re: Poll: How important is working with strong-gripped, "static grabs" in your aikido

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
There should be no aspect of training that imprints tension. It's ok once in a while to have someone stupidly resist but its just as a check that you know what you think you know. Daily training is about programing your mind and body to think that relaxing will make it safe rather than tensing. If half the time you are tense, your poor body simply gets confused about what it should do.
A great post that really needs to be read and thought through more than once. This is the essence of what I believe I am trying to say.. where I believe it is vital (to re-use the word from the poll) to spend the bulk of my time.

Tarik Ghbeish
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Old 03-30-2007, 11:50 PM   #33
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Re: Poll: How important is working with strong-gripped, "static grabs" in your aikido

Hi Daren,

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Daren Sims wrote: View Post
Ok - that is fair enough. I'm not here to say our way is the only way. I like to understand a little of why others do things, maybe take a little on board now and then and occassionally applaud and say 'Amen' to some of the contributions.
Same same. It's why I posted. I'm also here to learn, work out what I know and what I think I know, and be corrected or changed if someone can "larn me my lesson". Interacting with other people online has introduced changes and had major impacts on my training for a long long time. I hope it continues, although as I gain more experience, it seems that the changes become more and more of a refinement of learning rather than a profound change or paradigm shift (although I have gone through a few of those as well).

Quote:
If you are interested in digging a little deeper you've got your search engine or by all means PM me and I'll send you some of the stuff I have in my personal library.
I asked a Japanese speaking friend. I have been introduced to these concepts, just not using those specific words. Also, from your description, not used in the same way in the curriculum. But I have an admittedly goofy background.

Quote:
There seem to be many ways to interpret Aikido and how to do it. I have long ago abandoned dissmissing the ideas of others as "wrong"...can anyone say for instance that Tohei was right and Tamura or Saito are wrong because they had different approaches. Absolutely not. Both are superb yet different. All we can do is follow our chosen path and take advantage of contrasting styles when opportunity arises.
I both agree and disagree. Different is not always superb and there are some differences that are definitely detrimental if the goals are the same. However, I certainly do agree that more than one approach can create excellent results. In fact, this is a tool I use when working with students, to figure out how they learn and what might trigger understanding in them.

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I have seen this approach work well and produce some excellent Aikido people. If its not for you then no problemo, if it feels wrong dont do it.
Of course.

Quote:
So because it is not relevant to these sports its not relevant to Aikido?

Now its your turn to go on further to convince me Tariq.
My point here is that it doesn't make sense to me that Aikido is somehow that significantly different from everything else people try to learn.

I've had conversations with my Uncle who used to teach college athletes and has a graduate degree in physical education and his observations have agreed with mine so far about this particular point. Pretty much every other physical and psychological pursuit I've tried or watched being taught always emphasize learning form and relaxation from the beginning before trying to put that learning under stress.

Don't human being still learn the same way?

Quote:
Focussing more on the static for me it is so easy to show errors and address them. I've been taught they are like musical scales
Funny, the basic movement exercises I've learned are described in the same way. Having learned to play a few instruments in my youth, it makes logical sense. These are building blocks and the scales you practice as you grow include variations on the basic movements.

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If you've considered what I've said and choose to go another way I'm happy for you and good luck.
Likewise. I have tried spending time with the more static method and perhaps it's my personality, but I found it incomprehensible. That doesn't stop me from trying to comprehend once in a while, however.

Quote:
My gripe is that so many people look at this static practice and criticise it for being martially ineffective without understanding that it is just a development step and as I said in my previous post not really "Aikido".
I didn't intend to suggest that anything about martial effectiveness or ineffectiveness. In fact, the argument I usually encounter when trying to discuss this is that if I don't follow the static practice, my training will not be martially effective.

Quote:
On this I think we agree. As usual some mat time rather than exchange of words would probably clear much up - to me none of this excluded from the latter stages of our practice.
Yep. Or not.. I've had encounters where we both left still not understanding one another.

Quote:
I'm all for questioning Tarik. I believe the wave of interest in MMA and such like has blown away a lot of the mystery and mystique of MA which is a good thing. So my point was to say question and subsequently understand what you are training for ...if you choose static training understand what its trying to achieve and its strengths and weaknesses.
Than we're of like mind, if not like opinions. Sounds great!

Regards

Tarik Ghbeish
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Old 03-31-2007, 12:33 AM   #34
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Re: Poll: How important is working with strong-gripped, "static grabs" in your aikido

One last thought for tonight.

I wonder how many people here who commented negatively (or positively) have tried a systematic approach to training consisting of moving slowly and precisely and learning form without strong static grabs for a few months (from a teacher who trains and teaches this way) and compared their results to the systematic approach of learning form with strong static grabs?

Daren, I greatly respect your attempts to elucidate the logic behind static training to me. Almost every other disagreeing comment here has been an appeal to authority instead of an analysis of the discussion points I brought up, so thanks for that.

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Daren Sims wrote: View Post
I'm sure that some of this is either heresy or fluffy rubbish to many. In which case ignore it. My post is really just to say think about why static practice exists.
According to the poll 80% take your point of view, so it would be my position that is more likely to be dismissed as heresy or fluffy rubbish.

After all, I do live and train in Santa Cruz, CA.

Last edited by tarik : 03-31-2007 at 12:36 AM.

Tarik Ghbeish
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Old 03-31-2007, 01:45 PM   #35
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Re: Poll: How important is working with strong-gripped, "static grabs" in your aikido

Quote:
Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
One last thought for tonight.

I wonder how many people here who commented negatively (or positively) have tried a systematic approach to training consisting of moving slowly and precisely and learning form without strong static grabs for a few months (from a teacher who trains and teaches this way) and compared their results to the systematic approach of learning form with strong static grabs?
I spent probably the first 10 years of my training doing flowing, primarily from motion stuff, with an emphasis on connection and timing.

Then I started training with my current teacher and working with people who offered little or no momentum and lots of resistance. Nothing I'd ever been taught before worked at all. Now when I go back and play with more flowing folks, it seems almost trivial. If you can make something work against a static opponent, it's even easier when they're in motion. My experience anyway.

I think static resistance is a training tool. No it's not how people fight, but neither is shomenuchi.

Chris Moses
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Old 03-31-2007, 06:43 PM   #36
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Re: Poll: How important is working with strong-gripped, "static grabs" in your aikido

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I spent probably the first 10 years of my training doing flowing, primarily from motion stuff, with an emphasis on connection and timing.
I think I see part of the miscommunication. I guess I haven't been clear. I did not use the term "flowing" in my above question, nor have I used the term at all to describe what I think is a correct training except in a very general response to someone else's comments about it. I apologize for being unclear.

You appear to use the term suggesting or implying that uke cooperates and falls down for their partner. I am not advocating that either.

I'm glad your training works for you, though.

Quote:
I think static resistance is a training tool. No it's not how people fight, but neither is shomenuchi.
Sure, but I prefer to use training tools that instill habits into my body that I don't have to change later as I progress.

Tarik Ghbeish
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Old 03-31-2007, 06:58 PM   #37
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Re: Poll: How important is working with strong-gripped, "static grabs" in your aikido

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Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
I think I see part of the miscommunication. I guess I haven't been clear. I did not use the term "flowing" in my above question, nor have I used the term at all to describe what I think is a correct training except in a very general response to someone else's comments about it. I apologize for being unclear.
OK, I'm not understanding what you're describing then with, "moving slowly and precisely and learning form without strong static grabs for a few months..."

Are you describing a solo exercise or slow partner practice with minimal/moderate resistance initially from static? Or are you not talking about a static exercise at all, in which case I don't see where flowing would be an incorrect descriptor. (Not trying to be argumentative, just honestly not sure what you're describing.) I should point out I'm quite familiar with Linda Holiday, Anno Sensei, Mary Heiny and others out of the Shingu tradition (which I assume you're a part of in Santa Cruz) so if there's any specific examples from that line I would recognize, please feel free to use them).

To be clear, the practice I'm advocating is slow precise movement with a partner that is grabbing very strongly and attempting to keep me frozen in space (the way one would if they were attempting to keep me from drawing or using a weapon) and get connection back to my center. I'm not talking about muscular strength on muscular strength, or big pulses of movement to disrupt a static partner.

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Old 03-31-2007, 09:15 PM   #38
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Re: Poll: How important is working with strong-gripped, "static grabs" in your aikido

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OK, I'm not understanding what you're describing then with, "moving slowly and precisely and learning form without strong static grabs for a few months..."
Christian, I'm guess not too clear on explaining it because I'm still working to understand it. I'll try, however, as discussing this helps my own training. Please bear with me.

Quote:
Are you describing a solo exercise or slow partner practice with minimal/moderate resistance initially from static? Or are you not talking about a static exercise at all, in which case I don't see where flowing would be an incorrect descriptor. (Not trying to be argumentative, just honestly not sure what you're describing.)
When I hear flow, I tend to think of a fair amount of what I might term "dead uke" syndrome where uke attacks, nage begins technique, and then as long as things are not too blatantly going in the wrong direction, uke follows along to the fall at the end.

I not only do not advocate such a practice, I am against it as I think it breeds the kinds of problems that Daren discusses; sloppiness, lack of real understanding of the how/why a technique works, and a tendency to see nage struggling to get kuzushi and perhaps NEVER getting it all the way to the end of the interaction. Too many principles missing.

However, I am also not for the opposite "powerful uke" syndrome which I believe is advocated by "strong-gripped, static grabs" either. I believe that trains a different problem into our systems. In effect, we are only working on our ability to achieve "aiki" with our partners when we are nage and our uke time is spent training something different into our bodies than what I want to feel as nage. Too many principles missing.

The last problem I think I see too often in both practices is an insistence of sticking to the "form" of a technique because it's the technique that is being taught instead of listening to uke's attack and recovery and doing whatever is appropriate. This might be the ultimate reason why it is SO important for a beginner to have a senior person as uke, so that they get the correct attack AND recovery for the technique that is being practiced.

What I advocate is a practice where my partner and I slow down enough to understand where the decision points are in out mutual system and have time to practice acting on them. We refuse to use speed or muscular strength to solve our the problems when they come up. We are willing to fall down and not worry about who was supposed to fall down.

Uke should attack as if no technique was going to be practiced except for their own attack, which should BE a real technique itself instead of something that politely stops dead when our partners do nothing. If/when tori induces kuzushi, uke should genuinely work to recover specifically to attack or take the technique back.

I want an uke that does not move in a pre-programmed fashion at any time; an uke that is capable of falling safely, but only does so as a last resort. As a first resort, they try to recover naturally, the way any person on the street might recover.

Ultimately, I think that this means that as uke (and tori), I should be easily moved and be able to easily move. I think it means learning different ways of receiving and transmitting forces with our bodies into and/or through our partners bodies.

I think it's a DIFFICULT practice, and doesn't look very exciting, which is probably a part of why I have a hard time finding people to practice with me regularly right now. They all want a workout whereas I want to try and train my body to feel the decision points and be able to act on them without thinking. But it's juicy.. very juicy.

Quote:
I should point out I'm quite familiar with Linda Holiday, Anno Sensei, Mary Heiny and others out of the Shingu tradition (which I assume you're a part of in Santa Cruz)
I think what I am trying to convey is not really practiced in the curriculum that is taught in the Shingu tradition, unless, of course, you count me in that tradition, which is a fair assumption.

It would be quite accurate to point out that these three people were among my first teachers and in fact ranked me (don't worry, I use deodorant before training). In addition, I've been influenced a lot of encounters with people from Daito-ryu, judo, and various AAA and ASU dojo and seminars I used to constantly visit when I was young and single (read: footloose and fancy free).

However, I don't believe that much of what I'm doing (or trying to do) today is really sourced in the Shingu tradition although I do see and feel occasional parallels.

The emPHASis is on a different syllable, you might say, and is sourced from discussion here and on aikido-l over the years and my direct experiences with folk like Dennis Hooker Sensei, Ikeda Sensei, and most significantly with Chuck Clark Sensei and a number of his associates and students.

Quote:
To be clear, the practice I'm advocating is slow precise movement with a partner that is grabbing very strongly and attempting to keep me frozen in space (the way one would if they were attempting to keep me from drawing or using a weapon) and get connection back to my center.
If I were really attempting to stop someone from drawing or using a weapon, the LAST think I would want to do is keep them frozen in space. Maybe that's just me, though.

Tarik Ghbeish
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Old 03-31-2007, 09:39 PM   #39
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Re: Poll: How important is working with strong-gripped, "static grabs" in your aikido

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Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
I want an uke that does not move in a pre-programmed fashion at any time;
Sorry, just to clear up a contradiction in what I said.. I shifted from talking about kata to randori where the difference is intent.

Obviously, during kata, uke's movements are pre-programmed to the extent that allows me to learn the technique being studied.

What I intended here was to indicate an uke who just follows along, regardless of tori's inefficacy.

Tarik Ghbeish
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Old 04-01-2007, 06:54 AM   #40
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Re: Poll: How important is working with strong-gripped, "static grabs" in your aikido

I think strong-gripped static grabs are quite important to assist in developing one's structural alignment and power generation for Aikido waza. This may be done by exercises, drills or during the practice of kata (waza) during normal class. Ones ability is readily seen in randori (especially resistance randori) where ones structural alignment, power generation and distribution can easily collapse if it has not been trained during "static" training.

Static, strong grabs also help one understand the precise relaxed movements required to allow Aikido technique to move past another's resistance by combining with and realigning the attacker's bone and muscle structures to weaken the effects of the "strong-gripped static grab" to facilitate kuzushi and technique.

Just my 2 cents.
LC

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Old 04-01-2007, 09:06 AM   #41
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Re: Poll: How important is working with strong-gripped, "static grabs" in your aikido

Tarik, I think what you're describing is a very valuable *aspect* of training. But I don't think it's the only way to train all the time. I also don't see why people read "strong static grab" as "stupid overly muscled and dead". This just isn't the case.

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Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
If I were really attempting to stop someone from drawing or using a weapon, the LAST think I would want to do is keep them frozen in space. Maybe that's just me, though.
Again, I'm referring to more classical styles of jujutsu as they lend a better understanding of why grabs are such an important part of nihon jujutsu. This kind of discussion also seems to bring out the confused nature of aikido training, meaning that it exists in a limbo between kata, oyowaza and randori. A grab within kata exists to help tori learn correct movements and principles for that ryuha. It necessarily doesn't go anywhere, it's a way for tori to learn something and does not represent a realistic encounter. Those lessons can get explored in oyowaza (through various speeds and scenarios) and finally tested in randori (again at various speeds and with various rules/agreements). So WRT the grabs I was talking about, the grab would end at trying to prevent tori from drawing or using the weapon so that tori has the opportunity to learn/study something. Remember, jujutsu comes from armed systems. If we're both armed and in close quarters, and I have you are restrained such that you cannot deploy your weapon, you are already dead. So a typical scenario would be tori moves to draw their sword, aite traps their drawing arm, tori performs some movement to reverse the grab or simply break the grab, then cuts down aite with the newly freed weapon. (If you were at the first Aiki Expo, Toby Threadgill demonstrated a number of these kata) If you introduce aite going for a weapon the second they have tori restrained, you create a very chaotic situation where tori will most likely fall back on what they already know.

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Old 04-01-2007, 10:41 AM   #42
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Poll: How important is working with strong-gripped, "static grabs" in your aikido

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Christian Moses wrote: View Post
I spent probably the first 10 years of my training doing flowing, primarily from motion stuff, with an emphasis on connection and timing.

Then I started training with my current teacher and working with people who offered little or no momentum and lots of resistance. Nothing I'd ever been taught before worked at all. Now when I go back and play with more flowing folks, it seems almost trivial. If you can make something work against a static opponent, it's even easier when they're in motion. My experience anyway.

I think static resistance is a training tool. No it's not how people fight, but neither is shomenuchi.
In my opinion you are spot on here. Static training teaches about proper connect, body mechanics, and it helps develop proper body structure. It should be an important part of daily training. Being the uke in static training is teaching exactly the same set of skills. The difference between being grabbed by someone who is merely muscular and one who is training and knows how to grab from his hara is vast.

The progression of practice should be as follows:

a) Static Resistive Attack - nage allows uke to grab and establish as strong a base and connection as he can; nage learns to join with the attack and give the energy new direction. Uke is merely strong but is not actively countering (meaning shifting his energy to counter)

b) Active Resistive Attack - same thing but now uke grabs but attempts to push, pull, or otherwise destabilize the nage. Nage at this point needs to connect with uke BEFORE physical contact (ki musubi). He needs to establish Ittai ka (single body) at the moment of physical contact and neutralize the partner's strength (katsu hayabi - instant victory). It is important to understand that if this is done correctly it is not a reaction to the push, pull, or whatever from the uke; it precludes those actions by neutralizing them).

Unlike the Static Resistive Attack, the Active Resistant Attack has some temporal principles functioning but if this is done at the higher levels, the feeling for both partner's should be that nage had uke before he even moved (timing should not really be an issue if it's done properly).

If this is done correctly, even though uke intends to attack strongly, he feels his focus disintegrate at the moment of contact. If one looks at what Ikeda Sensei is currently doing, it has a very heavy focus on this set of principles. I've watched the progression of his skills since the early eighties... I have been doing a video archive project and found some old seminar videos with Ikeda Sensei teaching. At that time, his technique was very strong. We'd attack him as strongly as we could but his structure was like spring steel and he could beat us every time. But at that point it was possible to at least make him work for it. Now, no matter what your intention to be strong may be, you can feel it just disappear when you make contact, instead of being string you simply find yourself moving.

"Aiki" in terms of waza is how one moves the mind of the partner / opponent in order to get him to move his body. The inputs to the partner's mind are his senses: sight, touch, hearing, and even the intuition. Most Aikido folks, as you commented use movement and timing in their technique. This is essentially using the sense of Vision to get the opponent to move himself. It's very effective in doing so but there is still the moment at which physical contact is made... Most Aikido folks don't do as good a job here. Either they use too much physical force to execute their technique or they encourage ukemi that facilitates the techniques.

Static practice, is the study in minute detail, of what should be happening when physical contact is made. If you start with Static Resistive and move to Active Resistive you basically studying how to get the opponent to move using the sense of touch. Vision doesn't have much to do with static practice and it is even very useful to have both partners close their eyes sometimes just to cut off any tendency to access vision rather than to develop the tactile sensitivity required. Anyway, this practice is more important than movement practice initially as it is the foundation for most technique.

At some moment in EVERY Aikido technique there has to be a point at which one accepts the attack. Many Aikido people use the movement of the art to avoid the attack. They cannot really execute technique because they never really join with it. Static practice puts one in a place where he or she has no choice; either join with it or be frozen in place.

Static practice is also very important for training the proper relaxed intention. Since it is low speed, low impact, it is the least threatening form of practice. One repeatedly conditions the body and the mind to have the proper level of relaxation and focus. In other words, static practice is the first step towards conditioning the body to believe that relaxing will make it safe rather than tensing.

It is also from the very the beginning that whatever solo kokyu power training exercises might be utilized should be introduced since it this type of conditioning which develops the proper internal body structure to do technique.

The next step in the training process should be focusing on movement but should really zero in on Entries and Kuzushi.

c) Entry Practice - uke should initiate the attack of choice, whether striking or grabbing; nage should practice the Entry Only, the idea being that he should now use movement (communicating with the partner largely through vision) to facilitate the physical joining of the two partners. The goal is to have the same kind of instant kuzushi which the active static practice emphasized. It is better to let the students practice their entries without any finishing technique. Their is a tendency for the student to get ahead of himself and focus on the throw rather than what sets the throw up properly. By simply doing entries, the students can focus on just one issue at a time and the once again tend to stay more relaxed. This practice can start slow and work up to full speed, never going faster than the partner can do without introducing tension (mental or physical) into the movement.

In other words, this practice has movement in the form of the entry but the moment of physical contact should be using exactly the same principles of the Active Resistive Static Practice. This way movement and proper structure are connected at all times.

d) Waza - now it's ok to start putting the elements together. Now that the foundation is laid and one has decent body mechanics and understands the entries which set up the waza, one can start practicing starting slowly and building up to full speed, full force. Don't go faster than the partner can handle because this simply imprints fear and tension. Practice must be about releasing fear and tension through the practice not the opposite.

There are other principles that need to be introduced as well as these... this is just a basic outline of how I see the progression. Focusing on movement right from the start before anyone has the structure require to handle the energy when contact is made just results in a hollow practice.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 04-01-2007, 11:20 AM   #43
mjhacker
 
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Re: Poll: How important is working with strong-gripped, "static grabs" in your aikido

re·sist /rɪˈzɪst/

--verb (used with object)
1. to withstand, strive against, or oppose: to resist infection; to resist temptation.
2. to withstand the action or effect of: to resist spoilage.
3. to refrain or abstain from, esp. with difficulty or reluctance: They couldn't resist the chocolates.

--verb (used without object)
4. to make a stand or make efforts in opposition; act in opposition; offer resistance.

[Origin: 1325--75; ME resisten (v.) < L resistere to remain standing, equiv. to re- re- + sistere to cause to stand, akin to stāre to stand]


There are so many different flavors to the word "resistance" as to make it nearly useless in this conversation without specific definitions. Resistance can range from simply refusing to obey questionable government edicts to picking up arms and shooting politicians. Both are very different responses, yet both still qualify as "resistance."

To bring this into the context of Aikidō, uke can choose to resist tori's technique by using muscular force to actively attempt to prevent tori from being successful. But uke can also "resist" tori's technique by simply choosing not to play into tori's game, to recover his posture and move in such a way (with no physical and mental tension or contention) that foils what tori was attempting to do. I prefer the latter.

In my training, I will not allow someone to get within tooi maai of me without action on my part. If they take my posture (kuzushi) immediately, that's one thing. But walking up and clamping down puts uke in the dangerous position of being too close. I think this is a dangerous misperception. It also puts me too close, which is why I will attack uke's center if they have crossed the line of tooi maai without taking my posture first.

Training with someone clamped down hard on you is useful, but IME, is not a good way for beginners to learn. I've only used it once in any of my classes, and even then for only a few minutes... just to give students a taste of how it feels. It only took a few moments for tori to adjust. Once they did, they found it easier to deal with uke's strong, muscular grip. Uke found it more difficult to recover posture, remain dangerous, and to "hear" what was happening over the muscular "noise" in their own body.

Such a training methodology taught me to fight force with force, tension with tension, leverage with leverage. This is how I learned up to shodan, and it has taken me twice as long to unlearn as it did to inculcate my body with it.

At this point in the conversation, I think it might be useful for the participants to define (very specifically) what they mean by "resistance."

Michael Hacker
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Old 04-01-2007, 12:36 PM   #44
ChrisMoses
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Re: Poll: How important is working with strong-gripped, "static grabs" in your aikido

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Michael Hacker wrote: View Post
Training with someone clamped down hard on you is useful, but IME, is not a good way for beginners to learn. I've only used it once in any of my classes, and even then for only a few minutes... just to give students a taste of how it feels. It only took a few moments for tori to adjust. Once they did, they found it easier to deal with uke's strong, muscular grip. Uke found it more difficult to recover posture, remain dangerous, and to "hear" what was happening over the muscular "noise" in their own body.
I suppose that's why I try to make the distinction between a correctly strong grab and a purely muscular stupid one. I assume because we're all martial artists that we're not talking about the stupid kind, but that's not a safe assumption.

Quote:
Michael Hacker wrote: View Post
Such a training methodology taught me to fight force with force, tension with tension, leverage with leverage. This is how I learned up to shodan, and it has taken me twice as long to unlearn as it did to inculcate my body with it.
You point out a very real pit-fall, that many find themselves in. It's been my experience that when you train with correct strength (or perhaps power/connection would be a better term?) that you must respond in kind if you attempt to overcome this kind of grab. This is something George mentioned above in his excellent post. At the risk of dragging this into the 'internal' pit of despair, if I grab someone very strongly using the kind of body connection I have been taught in Aikido, I can often be moved with some effort. If I grab using Ark's concept of the cross (particularly the back cross) it can be nearly impossible for nage to accomplish the technique *without engaging the same type of correct movement*. That's the real kicker for me, I'm not trying to out do nage by grabbing in such a way that they will never be able to throw/move me, but rather, I'm offering an environment in which they will be able to learn a very specific set of movements. Movements which are often counter intuitive and provide strange tactile feedback (to both parties). You simply will not stumble on this stuff from motion. I've used this example before, but at a nidan exam a few years ago I was struck by how one of the testers was only using his speed and 'slickness' for lack of a better term. Because he was faster than everyone else, they fell down. But he was not actually connecting to anyone. When called up to take ukemi, I just went faster than he was and he ran straight into my structure. His waza effectively crumbled around him. At that point I was told (during his test) not to resist him. Had his promotion been my decision, I would never have passed him, but it was not my decision to make.

Quote:
Michael Hacker wrote: View Post
At this point in the conversation, I think it might be useful for the participants to define (very specifically) what they mean by "resistance."
That's a simple question with a complicated answer. For me, it depends a lot on what kind of exercise we're doing. Resistance within budo is always cooperative on some level. This doesn't mean collusion, but cooperation in the sense that I offer some barrier to uke's goal, but that I do so with the goal of improving nage's skills, rather than asserting my ego. It always means moving within the tempo of the exercise (if nage's going slow, I need to react at the same speed) and with a clear and constructive goal in mind. That goal can be an attempt to get to nage's center, to simply not be moved, or to not allow nage to move. If we're doing some kind of randori, then it's not so much resistance as focused intent as the roles of uke/nage are no longer in effect. It is after all, generally much easier to keep someone from throwing you than it is to throw someone who is also trying to throw you.

Finally, I think a lot of us in aikido often look for the easiest most efficient way to perform a certain task/technique. I am finding (both from my sword line, and some of the Aunkai influence) that *in our training* the simplest/easiest way is not always the most beneficial. Rather, one can often learn a lot by intentionally stacking the deck against nage and being forced to do things the hard way. An analogy would be lifting weights. If you build up to being able to bench press 250 lbs, 150 suddenly seems trivial.

Chris Moses
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Old 04-01-2007, 12:52 PM   #45
mjhacker
 
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Re: Poll: How important is working with strong-gripped, "static grabs" in your aikido

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Christian Moses wrote: View Post
I suppose that's why I try to make the distinction between a correctly strong grab and a purely muscular stupid one. I assume because we're all martial artists that we're not talking about the stupid kind, but that's not a safe assumption.
I agree that it's not a safe assumption. I can lightly touch someone, exerting the minimum muscular force to maintain the integrity of my structure, yet the effect can feel very "strong" to them. Perhaps we need to define what we mean by "strong" now?

Quote:
You simply will not stumble on this stuff from motion.
Perhaps you didn't, but my experience differs.

Quote:
I've used this example before, but at a nidan exam a few years ago I was struck by how one of the testers was only using his speed and 'slickness' for lack of a better term. Because he was faster than everyone else, they fell down. But he was not actually connecting to anyone.
If speed is required, there's no kuzushi. If you've properly applied kuzushi, you don't have to go fast.

Quote:
That's a simple question with a complicated answer.
It sounds to me like we're at least reading a similar book, if not necessarily working off the same page. The only way to really do this is to feel it. Until what we're talking about has been felt, words won't mean the same thing.

Quote:
Finally, I think a lot of us in aikido often look for the easiest most efficient way to perform a certain task/technique.
I prefer the most difficult way. Not difficult in terms of overcoming muscular resistance, mind you.

Michael Hacker
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Old 04-01-2007, 08:39 PM   #46
L. Camejo
 
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Re: Poll: How important is working with strong-gripped, "static grabs" in your aikido

In following the discussion I think there is a parallel between training to move the body properly and without tension when faced with static grabs and another learning principle found in Iaido and other sword arts.

As I and others have said earlier the static work is important to ensure proper structural alignment, power generation and other elements that are important to Aikido technique.

A parallel I have experienced in my own training with the sword also lends to this sort of training. One can do thousands of suburi or kata and work on ones cutting form with no resistance (cutting empty air) for a long time, however one experience of tameshigiri practice will automatically reveal weaknesses in structure, cutting form, power generation ability etc. much like Aikido static practice.

In tameshigiri/sword arts the quality of your cutting ability (and by extention your non-resistant training in form) is demonstrated by the quality and success of your cut. If your understanding and execution are poor then the cut will be terrible if at all successful. In Aiki waza the quality of your movement, structural patterns, technique etc. are all demonstrated by ones ability to effect kuzushi on ones partner without become unusually tense and using excessive upper body muscular strength. Again, if understanding and execution is poor ones partner will not have his balance broken or alternatively one will be resorting to excessive tension, upper body strength or some other method to compensate for what is lacking in the skills being measured by the practice.

Just a few thoughts. Great comments by Ledyard Sensei and others.

LC

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Old 04-01-2007, 10:06 PM   #47
Russell Pearse
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Re: Poll: How important is working with strong-gripped, "static grabs" in your aikido

Hi:

About six years ago about 20 students from our dojo visited Iwama to train for 10 days with the late Saito Sensei at the Iwama dojo. The second technique we do every class after tai-no-henko is morote-dori kokyu-nage where uke grabs your arm with both hands in a strong grip. The Iwama dojo in those days was full of hugely powerful men who had been training with O-Sensei and Saito Sensei for decades, and when one of these guys grabbed your arm they caught it like a vice and locked out every joint from your elbow to your centre, immediately taking your balance.

The only way to do the technique against such an attack was the correct way – any other movement was futile. So you’d struggle to turn your hips and generate some kokyu power, and attempt to perform the technique and these guys would continue holding on and resisting the technique all the way to the ground. Each technique was a full body work-out to attempt to perform the technique correctly. And not just the initial kuzushi, but the entire technique all the way through.

It was a tremendous learning experience to try to find the line of least resistance against attacks of such power. At this level of training there was no speed involved – it was performed in slow motion and you had to learn the correct technique every inch of the way.

This is what attacking with a strong grip and resistance means to me. Of course this was only the first and most basic level of training, but I have never forgotten the difficulty and frustration of trying to work your way through and the lessons it taught my body.

Cheers

Russell
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Old 04-02-2007, 03:38 AM   #48
Dazzler
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Re: Poll: How important is working with strong-gripped, "static grabs" in your aikido

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Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
One last thought for tonight.

Daren, I greatly respect your attempts to elucidate the logic behind static training to me. Almost every other disagreeing comment here has been an appeal to authority instead of an analysis of the discussion points I brought up, so thanks for that.
Cheers Tarik - Appreciated.

My final thoughts are that just because the attack is strong and static...it doesn't mean the counter has to be same. Nothing wrong with the old adages of using soft defence to defeat hard attack.

Also ...on the sports side of things...whole-part-whole seems to be a very common approach to learning where the whole move is broken into component parts to simplify...and also slowing the move down into this Kotai form - is it really so different to what we've all done with our videos for years to work out just how this stuff is made to look so easy by our respective Senseis?

Cheers

D

Last edited by Dazzler : 04-02-2007 at 03:41 AM.
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