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Old 05-29-2008, 12:08 PM   #1
JamesC
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Striking in your Aikido

How many of you practice striking on a regular basis in your aikido?

Our instructor shows us how we might use our striking while doing our techniques, but i've only had one practice so far that has included some drills for them.

I've noticed that some people are of the opinion that striking is a must for their aikido. How many of you feel that it plays that much of a role?

Questions from a noob here so please don't flame me.
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Old 05-29-2008, 02:03 PM   #2
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Striking in your Aikido

Hey, no flames!

Yoshinkan aikido has atemi in almost all of the 150 basic waza. We tend to be a little anal about form, so we tend to practice atemi every class, as we practice the waza. Kind of goes hand in hand.

One of the branch dojo I used to train in used Bob Bob the punching Bob as well as heavy bags, and such to practice striking. I've seen aikido dojo with makiwara as well.

By the by...I've seen really good aikido without a lot of atemi, and I've seen really bad aikido, with a ton of atemi, and I've seen really good aikido with a ton of atemi...

Everything is relative...

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 05-29-2008, 02:36 PM   #3
Eric Joyce
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Re: Striking in your Aikido

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Hey, no flames!

Yoshinkan aikido has atemi in almost all of the 150 basic waza. We tend to be a little anal about form, so we tend to practice atemi every class, as we practice the waza. Kind of goes hand in hand.

One of the branch dojo I used to train in used Bob Bob the punching Bob as well as heavy bags, and such to practice striking. I've seen aikido dojo with makiwara as well.

By the by...I've seen really good aikido without a lot of atemi, and I've seen really bad aikido, with a ton of atemi, and I've seen really good aikido with a ton of atemi...

Everything is relative...

Best,
Ron
Hey Ron,

What's up my friend? Question for you, in Yoshinkan aikido, did you/do you ever use knee strikes or elbows as forms of atemi in addition to the backfist or eye strike we typically do in Yoshinkan aikido?

Eric Joyce
Otake Han Doshin Ryu Jujutsu
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Old 05-29-2008, 04:01 PM   #4
Aikibu
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Re: Striking in your Aikido

Quote:
James Cavin wrote: View Post
How many of you practice striking on a regular basis in your aikido?

Our instructor shows us how we might use our striking while doing our techniques, but i've only had one practice so far that has included some drills for them.

I've noticed that some people are of the opinion that striking is a must for their aikido. How many of you feel that it plays that much of a role?

Questions from a noob here so please don't flame me.
No worries no flaming here...Some may parse the the semantic definition of "striking" but in our Aikido it's all about Atemi...That being said How one applies it and what degree/impact it has is solely particular to the execution of that technique. IOW No need to smack someone any more than is appropriate in order to execute the technique...

William Hazen
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Old 05-29-2008, 05:25 PM   #5
mickeygelum
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Re: Striking in your Aikido

Atemi, Atemi, Atemi and Atemi again...did not mean to get carried away...

If you do not strike, how will you be able to practice diligently. If you do not kick, club or blitz attack, how are you able to say that you are training to realize your full potential.

As a young aikidoka, please ask questions, demand answers and train as if you were going to walk out the dojo door into battle.

Just my thoughts, train well.

Mickey
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Old 05-30-2008, 12:12 AM   #6
xuzen
 
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Re: Striking in your Aikido

Atemi in aikido is more of a distraction to ease the execution of aikido technique rather than as an ends itself.

I think because of this mind-set, you do not see many aikido-ka do heavy bags or typical striking exercise.

However, if you are doing it outside of aikido time to improve areas which is lacking, good for you.

I have tried hitting heavy bags, and I hurt my hands. Now I seek people who are proficient with hitting art to guide me, and I can see that the art of striking is an area of study by itself.

Yes, aikido and atemi is inseperable, if you want to use atemi as part of your core strategy to execute aikido, my suggestion is to get some training in it from people who knows.

Boon.

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Old 05-30-2008, 12:58 AM   #7
Nafis Zahir
 
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Re: Striking in your Aikido

I practice atemi for 3 reasons:

1) Atemi to distract or off balance

2) Atemi to expose and opening

3) Atemi as a useful strike

Whatever the case, atemi is a vital part of Aikido practice. It's too bad we don't see more of it being practiced today.

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Old 05-30-2008, 02:21 AM   #8
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Atemi

Certainly, atemi is an essential part of aikido. Apart from the use for distraction and such, I see atemi as an alternative route - showing the link between aikido and other budo.
Many aikido techniques are very similar to striking techniques in other martial arts - they're just done in a more rounded way, and in another tempo. Atemi shows this relation.

Nishio sensei used atemi also to show an attacker that he was mistaken in the attack, and therefore to give him a chance to reconsider. With the irimi step and the immediate atemi, the battle is already over, so to speak.
The aikido technique that follows the atemi is the nice solution, as opposed to really hitting the attacker.
Nishio sensei had the same idea in his sword art, where it was even more obvious.

For atemi to work in the way mentioned above, or as a distraction, and of course if used as an actual strike, it needs to be trained. A distraction has to be convincing, a strike has to be powerful. That takes time to learn - and aikidoists have so much on the curriculum that they rarely find that time.
I have seen a lot of sloppy atemi.
For learning atemi, I think it is a good idea to examine how the striking arts - for example karatedo - do it. They should know.

On the other hand, I don't want to train aikido in such a way that atemi becomes necessary, in order to complete the techniques. I think it is more interesting to try and find a way of doing the aikido techniques, which works even without atemi.
When we rely too much on atemi, our aikido risks to lose its identity, and become kind of boxing that just ends with a push or a pinning. There is also a risk that we do not work enough on perfecting the technique, because we think that the atemi itself "took care of business".

Then again, even if we try to pursue an aikido where atemi is not necessary, it is good to have It enriches one's aikido, and leads to a deepeer understanding of the martial arts.

Stefan Stenudd
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Old 05-30-2008, 05:34 AM   #9
JamesC
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Re: Striking in your Aikido

Thanks for all the responses guys.

I come from a striking art, though i'm not sure yet how that will work its way into my aikido technique.

It seems to me that there is just SO much to learn in aikido before I can even think of atemi.
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Old 05-30-2008, 05:58 AM   #10
Dazzler
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Re: Striking in your Aikido

Quote:
James Cavin wrote: View Post

It seems to me that there is just SO much to learn in aikido before I can even think of atemi.
Exactly.

As well as being used for distraction, over focus on atemi can itself be a distraction from the lessons to be learned from Aikido.

Some balance is needed.

Atemi is easy to see and understand. Aligned with irimi then it creates great potential.

Other things are not so obvious and need to be worked at during practice. Adding to Stefans post above someone who constantly uses full or near full atemi will soon run out of willing partners and also can easily miss the subtleties available through practicing with less focus on atemi.

IMO - For fighting atemi is a must have, but is the practice of Aikido for fighting?

I'll toss that up for others to chew over...or not.

Cheers

D
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Old 05-30-2008, 06:12 AM   #11
JamesC
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Re: Striking in your Aikido

Quote:
IMO - For fighting atemi is a must have, but is the practice of Aikido for fighting?
Thanks for that. It is exactly what I needed to start another thread.

I can't honestly answer that question at the moment. I chose aikido for my career. I'd be lying if I said that I didn't practice at least for self-defense.

But, i'd LIKE for it not be all about fighting. I just feel like getting to that point in my training is years, if not decades, away.
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Old 05-30-2008, 06:38 AM   #12
Dazzler
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Re: Striking in your Aikido

Quote:
James Cavin wrote: View Post
Thanks for that. It is exactly what I needed to start another thread.

I can't honestly answer that question at the moment. I chose aikido for my career. I'd be lying if I said that I didn't practice at least for self-defense.

But, i'd LIKE for it not be all about fighting. I just feel like getting to that point in my training is years, if not decades, away.
You are so not alone James.

I'm sure the majority start because they want self defence more than anything.

In time this can change...confidence in the ability to defend oneself and also how to conduct oneself to avoid fighting , as well as greater life experience means that goals can change.

I dont believe Aikido to be the most effective one v one fighting art there is, for starters the modern training in MMA gives those that are fit enough and strong enough...and maybe young enough...advantages over equivalents in Aikido in many but not all areas. Of course there are other arts too..not discounting Muay Thai etc...just not where I'm thinking.

For me aikido contains enough - I love the practice and most of the people and have (almost) outgrown the urge to fight.

The problem I see is the time factor...by the time Aikido has changed long term goals most students have already given up because the perceive that Aikido does not meet their initial goals of self defence as well as more visual striking arts for example.

As an aside - The saddest thing is many give up Aikido because they think it is not effective and then do nothing at all because other arts are too demanding.

Sure - Other arts can make you a better fighter in a shorter time, but what about the next 20 years? What do you really want - what will hold your interest and keep you looking ?

On an earlier thread I've seen Don Magee comment about matching goals to the chosen Art.(or words to that effect). a very good point to me.

Train in something that makes you want to train.

Give Aikido long enough to grasp what it has to offer - If your goals can still be matched by aikido then terrific.

If not then maybe do something else.

But dont try to re-invent Aikido, bringing in extra striking based on perceived short comings when you have barely scratched its surface. ( a point - not an accusation)

Cheers

D
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Old 05-30-2008, 07:44 AM   #13
SeiserL
 
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Re: Striking in your Aikido

IMHO (which is acceptably different than other's), I attempt to make all my movements as if they were strikes. Its still a martial art to me.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 05-30-2008, 08:14 AM   #14
Dazzler
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Re: Striking in your Aikido

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
Its still a martial art to me.
Interesting closing statement Lynn. Do you think there are people here that don't see it as a martial art?

Regards

D
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Old 05-30-2008, 10:59 AM   #15
Lan Powers
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Re: Striking in your Aikido

Degrees of martiality?........hmm

Nice phrase, that.
Lan

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Old 05-30-2008, 06:06 PM   #16
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Striking in your Aikido

Quote:
Daren Sims wrote: View Post
Interesting closing statement Lynn. Do you think there are people here that don't see it as a martial art?

Regards

D
Ellis Amdur Sensei once said that the difference between "self defense" and a "martial art" was that in martial arts you were training to fight another professional. By that standard Aikido is not really a "martial art". Aikido is not about fighting anyone, in my opinion.

I think that Aikido is a mental and physical health system. Some level of skill at application is a byproduct of proper training but not the point. It is a form of Budo.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 05-30-2008, 10:00 PM   #17
Mark Uttech
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Re: Striking in your Aikido

I was always taught that striking in aikido was a useful training tool to let your uke/partner know that they were open to a strike. So striking is part of the learning process.

In gassho,

Mark

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Old 05-30-2008, 10:11 PM   #18
xuzen
 
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Re: Striking in your Aikido

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Ellis Amdur Sensei once said that the difference between "self defense" and a "martial art" was that in martial arts you were training to fight another professional. By that standard Aikido is not really a "martial art". Aikido is not about fighting anyone, in my opinion.

I think that Aikido is a mental and physical health system. Some level of skill at application is a byproduct of proper training but not the point. It is a form of Budo.
I would like to add some comment to this:

I spoke to the gym owner (the one which I currently go for work-out now) about karate as he is a long time practitioner.

I asked him why learn kata? If you want to fight and why not just kumite all the way?

He replied, "Learning to martial art to fight in this modern age is stupid. I have learn karate for many years, if some thugs come with a gun or knife, karate is not my answer, running away is better" And this is coming from someone who has done karate many years and also with high degree rank in it."

I still insist, then why learn karate at all? To which he replied, "Why not? Why lift weights? Why learn ballet? It is a hobby for some, physical fitness for some, art for some"

Boon

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Old 05-31-2008, 05:15 AM   #19
Dazzler
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Re: Striking in your Aikido

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Ellis Amdur Sensei once said that the difference between "self defense" and a "martial art" was that in martial arts you were training to fight another professional. By that standard Aikido is not really a "martial art". Aikido is not about fighting anyone, in my opinion.

I think that Aikido is a mental and physical health system. Some level of skill at application is a byproduct of proper training but not the point. It is a form of Budo.
Thanks George - Not sure I agree with Ellis on that one, regardless of the chosen art, how many 'martial artists' around the world train to fight a professional? So perhaps by Ellis's standard very few are doing 'Martial Art'?

I can see where he's going though - perhaps fighting art would be more acceptable term to me although even that doesn' t quite fit.

I do agree that the goal of Aikido seems to move more towards mental and physical health over time. For me personally anyway.

Do you think the basis for this mental stability is founded, to some degree, on the confidence that one has a level of martial ability but also is able to recognise what is...and isn't worth fighting over?

Again thats my personal model so may vary for many others.

I'm not really into semantics and exploring the definition of words - don't really have the time for one thing, but I see Budo as delivering more than an ability to fight...although its there, and this is very consistent with my view of Aikido.

Regards

D
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Old 05-31-2008, 06:39 AM   #20
rob_liberti
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Re: Striking in your Aikido

I don't see it as a physical and mental health system myself. I see it as a spiritual system with built in physical feedback to judge progress in understanding.

My goal for a while now has been to understand the spiritual aspects of aikido. I believe I will continue to remain ill-equiped to do so until I can manifest the principles much better. To validaqte my undertsanding of the principles, I can apply my understanding in progressivly harder phyiscal situations. To me this is why aikido is supposed to be able to work in fighting situations (and if not, then the principles currently being manifested are not yet valid).

Striking in aikido for the sake of punishing someone stupid enough to challenge you is certainly not my thing. But having the ability and chosing not to - as well as - having like minded partners who will put up with testing striking on each other to _know_ that the principles are correct -- well that's where it is at for me.

Rob
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Old 05-31-2008, 06:41 AM   #21
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Striking in your Aikido

At a base level, all martial arts deal with three things:

Stimulus....Response....and Choice(s)

Choices go into the gap between stimulus and response. At a low level, we have few if any choices. As we gain skill, hopefully we broaden that gap through training where we have more choices available to us.

Aikido to me is an art that explores the realm of choice.

At a high or evolved level, we should have many choices. One such choice would involve the use of atemi (to use it or not to use it).

To dismiss the study of atemi, or to not expand you understanding of it, the timing, use, and exploitation of it...means that you have chosen to eliminate your ability to make a choice to use or not use it skillfully.

I personally put a lot of stock in atemi and I am a firm believer that at all points in your practice you should explore and exploit the it. Always entering, always the threat is there.

I see lots of people that try to do aikido to an extremity and allow uke to exist right next to them with no fear of consquence! How can you influence some one with aikido without the tactical ability that atemi gives you?

I don't think you can, unless they make that choice to let you. But that is clearly not your choice, but his!

The problem with atemi in aikido, especially for those that come from other arts is understanding the speed, timing, and intensity (or lack thereof) that we train in aikido. It is hard for to see how to respond or to implement when you move in a seemingly unrealistic way in response. Not that the body structure is incorrect, but the timing, speed, and maybe distance.

It is a challenge understanding the place that atemi has in aikido for sure, but one we must stay focused on....choice!

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Old 05-31-2008, 07:06 AM   #22
Marc Abrams
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Re: Striking in your Aikido

George Ledyard Sensei had written an article on Atemi. It is an excellent article that goes into some detail. My teacher, Imaizumi Sensei, stated about six months ago that if you move properly, technique is frequently not necessary. He was directly referring to moving in unison with an atemi.

Marc Abrams
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Old 05-31-2008, 10:32 AM   #23
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Striking in your Aikido

Quote:
Daren Sims wrote: View Post
Thanks George - Not sure I agree with Ellis on that one, regardless of the chosen art, how many 'martial artists' around the world train to fight a professional? So perhaps by Ellis's standard very few are doing 'Martial Art'? ... ... I'm not really into semantics and exploring the definition of words - don't really have the time for one thing, but I see Budo as delivering more than an ability to fight...although its there, and this is very consistent with my view of Aikido.
Yes, but words, like movements, are expressions of the mind and therefore are revealing. By Ellis's definition, gladiatorial contests were martial art -- which I fervently deny. Professional warriors, which I was at one time, are by necessity belligerents, whose ultimate task is, in the necessity, killing people and breaking things, and nothing more sophisticated than that, though the means to do it are increasingly sophistcated There is intellect, effort and skill involved -- but there is no art in the doing of it, as there is no virtue in it either.

But we speak of "martial art" as we speak of "martial virtue." Neither the art nor the virtue lie in the necessities of war, but in the spirit that it reveals. That is what "martial art" means -- the "art of Mars," or Ares the god of war -- The art that comes from or relates to the spirit of war.

O Sensei's "true budo" is aiki, which has been translated as "harmonizing spirit," described by him as "The spirit of loving protection." These are not cultural particulars, either to his particular views of Shinto or even of Japanese culture alone. It is a truly "martial" universal.

The consort of Ares was Aphrodite, goddess of love. Their sons were, in the nature of their sire, named Deimos (dread) and Phobos (fear), and in the nature of their mother, named Eros (love desired), and Anteros (love returned) . But their daughter was of both natures -- of love and protection -- and she was named Harmonia.

As I was trained, there are in every movement, properly done, many atemi. They require no choice to employ, they just occur by virtue of proper movement and maai. The only choice exercised is that of affirmatively protecting one's partner, by constraining the dynamic that results in atemi -- converting its expression into a less damaging form. If I lose that restraint and the spirit that motivates it -- I would strike with the whole body in the same movement whatever happened to be in the way of it.

So does martial art or virtue reveal these spirits in the context of atemi? I would say yes. I have been surprised in practice after some planned full speed attacks (which I thought we had finished) by a unexpected full speed attack and I lost that typical restraint momentarily. It was frightening (Phobos), to be conscious only of desperately (Deimos) trying to belatedly withdraw a full irimi developing into a strike before I crushed his face, instead of, as I was able to do, merely crumpling his nose a bit. There was a genuine love returned (Anteros) to my friend and practice partner and only the two natures together could so keenly blend (Harmonia) both the violence and the restraint that I experienced in that moment.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 05-31-2008, 10:52 AM   #24
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Martial ART

Quote:
Daren Sims wrote: View Post
Do you think there are people here that don't see it as a martial art?
It's a martial ART, not a MARTIAL art

Stefan Stenudd
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Old 05-31-2008, 11:47 AM   #25
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Re: Striking in your Aikido

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
George Ledyard Sensei had written an article on Atemi. It is an excellent article that goes into some detail. My teacher, Imaizumi Sensei, stated about six months ago that if you move properly, technique is frequently not necessary. He was directly referring to moving in unison with an atemi.

Marc Abrams
Thanks Marc

Imaizumi Sensei and Nishio Sensei saw eye to eye on the "use" of Atemi. As Nishio Sensei once said Aikido is practiced with the rythem and flow of Atemi. Proper movement/footwork is the key.

On another note I disagree with Ellis's comment about about a Martial Art (as posted by George) and it sounds like he may have been trying to make a distinction between the Koryu and Gendai Arts which in that context makes sense to me.

Aikido is either a Martial Art or it is not and I am ok in either case with whatever anyone chooses to call it. I know what it is to me.

William Hazen
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