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Old 05-14-2007, 01:55 AM   #1
John Ruhl
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

At the risk of getting Ledyard sensei's description wrong, but because I thought it would be fun to diagram, here's a crude graphic that shows what I think (and what I think he described) a good irimi to be in this case.

It loses all the detail of feet extending without moving our center much, but I think it shows the idea. The important point is that you can rotate much faster than you can translate. Still hard to do well, for me.

(This shows a full tenkan, but you're still out of the line if you stop much earlier, eg with 90 deg rotation rather than 180).

-John
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Old 05-14-2007, 08:50 AM   #2
Paul Sanderson-Cimino
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

Quote:
John Ruhl wrote: View Post
At the risk of getting Ledyard sensei's description wrong, but because I thought it would be fun to diagram, here's a crude graphic that shows what I think (and what I think he described) a good irimi to be in this case.
I'm just a random 3rd kyuu, but the problem I have with that image (as it appears) is that nage ends up spinning off the line. Uke continues forward, and is not displaced or disrupted at all. It looks nice with uke just charging straight forward, but I don't think that's how most people move.
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Old 05-14-2007, 10:58 AM   #3
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

Quote:
Paul Sanderson-Cimino wrote: View Post
I'm just a random 3rd kyuu, but the problem I have with that image (as it appears) is that nage ends up spinning off the line. Uke continues forward, and is not displaced or disrupted at all. It looks nice with uke just charging straight forward, but I don't think that's how most people move.
IMHO, this is how you get to the spinning part:
1) Make contact with uke's attack and unbalance uke over the outside of his front foot. Not that hard from a grab, a bit trickier from a strike. This is the actual irimi.

2) Step to the back of uke, grabbing his rear shoulder/neck area, keeping him unbalanced. Perhaps unbalancing a bit more to the rear than to the outside of the front foot.This is a follow up to the irimi.
Another possibilty is skipping step 1 and entering straight to the rear. At this moment, I don't really know what to think of doing it this way.

3) If you get the chance, enter (hence irimi nage) immediately straight in and go for the throw. If uke is turning towards you, keep control, don't let him regain his balance, adapt to his turn, wait for the weak point in his turn and then throw.

Joep
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Old 05-14-2007, 12:04 PM   #4
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

Quote:
Paul Sanderson-Cimino wrote: View Post
I'm just a random 3rd kyuu, but the problem I have with that image (as it appears) is that nage ends up spinning off the line. Uke continues forward, and is not displaced or disrupted at all. It looks nice with uke just charging straight forward, but I don't think that's how most people move.
Paul -

I think the discussion above was about tachi-dori, so the attacker is striking (say, shomen) with a bokken. I think that committed strike, with the commitment coming as uke is coming straight up the line, keeps them from moving off the line fast.

The only point of the drawing (if there is one) is to show the first movement of uke is straight up the line, followed by slightly off the line and a rotation after uke is committed. I think you start to take uke's balance after the initial irimi (and whatever degree of rotation you do) is over and you've "fit appropriately" and begun technique. I haven't attempted to show anything after the initial irimi. That said, I'm sure you're right that the attacker will move a little and that's way beyond my drawing skills.

To answer Jeop, I don't think this needs to be associated with a specific technique; it's just the irimi to get into position to "fit appropriately". The full rotation (180deg) might lead to kote-gaeshi, for example. I haven't seen irimi-nage used for tachi-dori... would love to see an example.

[At this point I think we've completely moved this thread away from its initial point...]

cheers,
John
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Old 05-14-2007, 01:12 PM   #5
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

Quote:
John Ruhl wrote: View Post
To answer Joep, I don't think this needs to be associated with a specific technique; it's just the irimi to get into position to "fit appropriately".
Euhm ... I think my post can make a stunning entry on the "Stupidest misreads ever"-list. I'll retreat to some distant mountain for a year to gather my mind or something, if that's fine with you.

Quote:
I haven't seen irimi-nage used for tachi-dori... would love to see an example.
To help digress from the point a bit further: I've practiced irimi nage for tachi-dori. It's like the sankaku (short, older) version of irimi nage (assuming uke attacks with right foot forward):
while controlling uke's right elbow with your right arm/hand, step to uke's rear, then slide your right hand down to grip the bokken and control uke's neck with your left hand. Unbalance in the mean time, then enter straight into uke, thus throwing him.
To disarm: holding the bokken with your right hand, draw the hilt of the bokken towards your front, while cutting (draw cut) uke's left armpit.

And to then return to the point:
I like the diagram. One question:
Quote:
I think you start to take uke's balance after the initial irimi (and whatever degree of rotation you do) is over and you've "fit appropriately" and begun technique.
Is this a description of when you take the action to unbalance uke or of when the effect of your actions to unbalance become clear? Or put differently: do you start taking uke's balance before his strike is finished or not?

Last edited by jss : 05-14-2007 at 01:18 PM.
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Old 05-14-2007, 06:27 PM   #6
John Ruhl
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

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Joep Schuurkes wrote: View Post
Euhm ... I think my post can make a stunning entry on the "Stupidest misreads ever"-list. I'll retreat to some distant mountain for a year to gather my mind or something, if that's fine with you.
No worries. I was hoping it was a mis-read.

Quote:
To help digress from the point a bit further: I've practiced irimi nage for tachi-dori. It's like the sankaku (short, older) version of irimi nage (assuming uke attacks with right foot forward):
while controlling uke's right elbow with your right arm/hand, step to uke's rear, then slide your right hand down to grip the bokken and control uke's neck with your left hand. Unbalance in the mean time, then enter straight into uke, thus throwing him.
To disarm: holding the bokken with your right hand, draw the hilt of the bokken towards your front, while cutting (draw cut) uke's left armpit.
Thanks for the description. Do you need to bring your right hand (and the bokken) across the attacker's body when you enter and throw? (I'm having trouble visualizing this... but written descriptions of this stuff are hard for me to follow.)

Quote:
And to then return to the point:
I like the diagram. One question:

Is this a description of when you take the action to unbalance uke or of when the effect of your actions to unbalance become clear? Or put differently: do you start taking uke's balance before his strike is finished or not?
Ah, this I should leave for those more expert than I. I hear some talking about taking the balance as soon as the intent to strike is manifested (how that can be done eludes me), and then here I am struggling to take balance anywhere I can get it, thank you very much. If I had to say what the diagram was about in the best of my practice, I'd say that midway through the irimi you're beginning to physically engage with the attacker, the "nexus" (a word stolen from Daniel Linden sensei's book "On Mastering Aikido") has been formed, and you can begin to take balance.

But I need more practice.

cheers,
John
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Old 05-15-2007, 03:12 AM   #7
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Irimi

Here's my diagram of roughly what I was talking about
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Old 05-15-2007, 03:55 AM   #8
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Re: Irimi

Hello
I would call the initial diagram (the one in the first post) irimi-tenkan

For what I understood Irimi is entering and that is a forward step. (as George graph)
Tenkan is the turn when you end up facing the same way as your opponent.

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Old 05-15-2007, 06:55 AM   #9
John Ruhl
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Re: Irimi

Quote:
Philippe Willaume wrote: View Post
Hello
I would call the initial diagram (the one in the first post) irimi-tenkan

For what I understood Irimi is entering and that is a forward step. (as George graph)
Tenkan is the turn when you end up facing the same way as your opponent.
phil
Absolutely, I agree. My drawing goes too far for just "irimi" - I overdid the rotation, should have stopped at 90 degrees or so.

Ledyard sensei, I like the footprint drawing. It's much more explicit than mine. I think though that only showing the feet has the downside of not explicitly showing the rotation of the upper body that brings you wholly out of the line. I think some combination of the two pieces of info (feet and upper body) would be best if you were trying to make a really good figure.

cheers,
John
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Old 05-15-2007, 09:14 AM   #10
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Irimi

Yes, I added a line which shows the position of the front arm. It's important to realize that the rotation puts the nage "inside" uke's attack (i.e. the atemi or whatever else you choose to make it).

If the opponent gives you a committed attack, often it is only necessary to rotate properly to be in, it doesn't necessarily mean one has to move one's body mass forward. So "irimi" is inherent in proper rotation.
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Old 05-15-2007, 04:01 PM   #11
John Ruhl
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Re: Irimi

Ledyard sensei -

I like the addition of the red line.

I also like very much the idea you mentioned that you can "irimi" without even moving forward, if the attack is right.

I'm curious about whether it would ever be reasonable to "irimi" while stepping *backward*, for an attack that is suitably aggressive/strong. Or do you think we should "never step back" (which is something I've heard before), because it's always possible to "fit appropriately" while either staying put or, more often, moving forward?

thanks,
John
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Old 05-15-2007, 05:00 PM   #12
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Irimi

Quote:
John Ruhl wrote: View Post
Ledyard sensei -

I like the addition of the red line.

I also like very much the idea you mentioned that you can "irimi" without even moving forward, if the attack is right.

I'm curious about whether it would ever be reasonable to "irimi" while stepping *backward*, for an attack that is suitably aggressive/strong. Or do you think we should "never step back" (which is something I've heard before), because it's always possible to "fit appropriately" while either staying put or, more often, moving forward?

thanks,
John
Yes, absolutely, since the irimi is inherent on the rotation, it is quite possible to have "irimi" while stepping back. The crucial thing is to keep a forward orientation of the body and mind.

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Old 05-15-2007, 08:44 PM   #13
Janet Rosen
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Re: Irimi

George, I wonder if you'd comment on something that I'd noticed in my practice a few yrs ago, related to your last comment:
In cases with either empty hand or weapons, when the tai sabaki called for "stepping back" - say, starting in right hamni and having the right foot step back - if I had an INTENT of the left hip moving forward, and a real sense of left side energy moving forward, then my feeling would be of entering with the left, and the right foot stepping back would just be a counterbalancing consequence of this - even though by outward appearance I would be stepping back.
I tested this with partners and found it made a big difference. It was where I started to "find the irimi" in virtually everything I did.

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Old 05-15-2007, 09:08 PM   #14
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Irimi

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
George, I wonder if you'd comment on something that I'd noticed in my practice a few yrs ago, related to your last comment:
In cases with either empty hand or weapons, when the tai sabaki called for "stepping back" - say, starting in right hamni and having the right foot step back - if I had an INTENT of the left hip moving forward, and a real sense of left side energy moving forward, then my feeling would be of entering with the left, and the right foot stepping back would just be a counterbalancing consequence of this - even though by outward appearance I would be stepping back.
I tested this with partners and found it made a big difference. It was where I started to "find the irimi" in virtually everything I did.
Hi Janet,
Yes, I would say that this is the same thing I am talking about, you just visualize it slightly differently. If I am in right hanmi and step back into left hanmi, I need to do two things.

First, I need to keep the forward orientation of my body. So in my right hanmi I had a 60% weight forward distribution; when I arrive at left hanmi, I still need to have the 60% weight froward distribution. Most people shift into a 50 / 50, or worse, a 40% forward distribution when they step back (this is also true when people do a tenkan movement).

Second, I need to keep my mental projection inside the partner's attack (on his center not his arms or his sword). This is hard enough for folks to do when they move forward... when they step back it is very common for their energy field to collapse. Stepping back makes it much easier to have ones attention move to the attack itself rather than the attacker's center.

In other words, there is a physical component of weight distribution which should allow one to move forward at any instant. Then there is the mental component which is where one places ones attention. Both need to be forward throughout the movement. Otherwise you are simply backing up and if the attacker pushes you, you will never be able to shift to a forward position again.

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Old 05-15-2007, 09:45 PM   #15
John Ruhl
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Re: Irimi

That is a fantastic description; thank you very much.

-John
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Old 05-16-2007, 12:53 AM   #16
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Re: Irimi

Another movement pattern entering against a straight attack. Lift lead foot, drop weight (gravity works), straighten back leg, drive off-line, lead hand parries, back hand cuts under and over, rear foot moves around and in. Moving backward, lead foot back and out (toe in), back foot up and inside (not grounded), as attack passes back foot steps out and behind, back hand can parry and drive over attacking arm.

Gary
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Old 05-16-2007, 10:52 AM   #17
Janet Rosen
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Re: Irimi

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
First, I need to keep the forward orientation of my body.... Most people shift into a 50 / 50, or worse, a 40% forward distribution when they step back (this is also true when people do a tenkan movement).
Second, I need to keep my mental projection inside the partner's attack
Thank you, yep, the combo of weight distribution and mental projection is essentially what my "hip focus" gave me. And I did indeed use this to change how I did tai no henko, applying it to tenkan as well.

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Old 05-16-2007, 03:15 PM   #18
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Re: Ueshiba on the future of Aikido

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John Ruhl wrote: View Post
Thanks for the description. Do you need to bring your right hand (and the bokken) across the attacker's body when you enter and throw?
The right hand is mostly there for controlling the bokken. Those things are quite sharp. (Well, not the bokken ... you get my point.) Uke is holding on to the bokken with two hands, so it's not that easy to move it. But because he is holding on to the bokken, you can use his arms as a lever to move the rest of his body.

Quote:
Ah, this I should leave for those more expert than I. I hear some talking about taking the balance as soon as the intent to strike is manifested (how that can be done eludes me),
There are enough mental tricks to apply, but I myself am more interested in the physical stuff at this moment.

Quote:
If I had to say what the diagram was about in the best of my practice, I'd say that midway through the irimi you're beginning to physically engage with the attacker, the "nexus" (a word stolen from Daniel Linden sensei's book "On Mastering Aikido" has been formed, and you can begin to take balance.
Makes sense to me.
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Old 05-16-2007, 03:30 PM   #19
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Re: Irimi

Hi George,

Do you also usually use angles when moving back? I rarely step straight back, usually look to angle off to one side or another. Your previous description was excellent...mind if I steal it?

Best,
Ron (I owe you a PM...)

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Old 05-16-2007, 06:18 PM   #20
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Re: Irimi

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Hi George,

Do you also usually use angles when moving back? I rarely step straight back, usually look to angle off to one side or another. Your previous description was excellent...mind if I steal it?

Best,
Ron (I owe you a PM...)
Hi Ron,
The only technique I can think of where i step straight back is what is would I would describe as a pulse shomenuchi ikkyo. Just as uke commits to the attack you zone out so that you are just outside his focus point, as he tries to adjust to reach you, you shift back in and get inside his attack focus point. You run the ikkyo spiral straight at his center and he buckles.

All the other times when I would step back would involve an angle change (i.e. both of my feet would end up on the same side of the line of attack, just as if I had moved forward).

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Old 05-17-2007, 08:11 AM   #21
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Re: Irimi

The angle, line and distance are always in flux because no two attacks are exactly alike (Ma Ai is not just the distance but the appropriate distance). When doing Aikido one should never simply respond to the attack but move to a location that turns the attackers strength (the Attack) into their weakness. Making their attack their weakness is I believe the essence of Aikido. We can then control them through their weakness and not power through the strength of their attack.

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Old 05-17-2007, 08:32 AM   #22
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Re: Irimi

Thanks to both of you...very clear answers!

Best,
Ron (kicking himself for probably not being able to make the East Coast intensive with George...)

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Old 05-18-2007, 06:53 PM   #23
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Re: Irimi

Quote:
Dennis Hooker wrote: View Post
The angle, line and distance are always in flux because no two attacks are exactly alike (Ma Ai is not just the distance but the appropriate distance). When doing Aikido one should never simply respond to the attack but move to a location that turns the attackers strength (the Attack) into their weakness. Making their attack their weakness is I believe the essence of Aikido. We can then control them through their weakness and not power through the strength of their attack.
Hooker sensei --

I've been thinking about what you wrote for quite a bit -- there are clearly some good things there to learn and work on for a long time.

I'm used to thinking about our response to an attack as being (1) move to a position where the attack is weak (eg, off the line, or into the attack), and then (2) use technique/balance/skill to control uke.

But you said to move to where the attack becomes their weakness, which is a different thing than just moving to where the attack is weak. I've been trying figure out all the ways an attack can be a weakness… it seems like you have to know that before you can move to where you're really taking advantage of that. Here's my current list:

1. The energy or momentum uke puts into an attack is a weakness in that nage can redirect it to affect uke's "future". Here I'm thinking of something like a nice hard shomen-uchi, and the advantage we take of that attack's momentum in order to do the first movement of irimi-nage, for example.

2. The posture uke adopts in order to attack can be a weakness; for example, in a katate-dori attack, even if well balanced and of relatively low "energy/momentum", requires an extension of uke's arm that allows us to lever/lead uke into shihonage, for example. Another aspect of posture would be the foot placement of an attack that leads to specific directions uke's balance is weak.

3. The mental focus uke puts into the attack, the concentration on that attack, can be a weakness in that we can manipulate the target of the attack in order to put uke into bad positions, or bad dynamical space. A great example of that would what Ledyard sensei described above as his "pulse shomenuchi ikkyo", I think. We may also do this in a less dramatic way by moving our wrist away from uke as he grabs for katate-dori, for example, to increase his extension. Of course the mental focus uke puts into the attack also (hopefully) means uke is less focused on our response, so that can help us accomplish our goals as well.

I'd love to know if I'm missing any obvious ones, or if I'm thinking about this wrong. (I'm quite certain I have a long way to go to put it all together in practice.)

thanks,
John Ruhl
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