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Old 02-04-2011, 07:50 PM   #1
Mark Gibbons
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Really, grab my wrist!

Thinking back over the times I've been involved in serious wrist grabbing I was wondering if aikido folks are really ready to have someone grab their wrists with serious intent.

The few times I've seen wrists grabbed in ernest the main idea was to block a punch, stop the attacker from hitting someone and then use the wrist grab to hurt the attacker, swinging the attacker into railings, walls, stairs, other attackers or moving into some sort of lock.

Notice that the attacker is the one being grabbed and the person grabbing is the one throwing or locking. That's just a bit different from what I've seen practiced at the dozen or so dojos I've hung around at. It is common however in places I've trained at that nage is the aggressor. It's just that defenders in real life, my personal experience, are a lot more proactive about doing something than aikido ukes,

I think the joke about what we can do to someone that grabs a wrist is really just a joke. Try something and most people will just let go.
Someone that come out of the blue grabs your arm and swings you into a wall. I haven't seen anything like that trained for.

Just something I've been ruminating about.
Mark
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Old 02-04-2011, 08:15 PM   #2
sisley
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

It's great that you are thinking about such things. Perhaps, with time, you'll understand more deeply, so don't give up now. In the meantime, here are a couple words of advice.

First, a lot of the training that we do from a wrist grab is to help us feel the connection better. It's not always about the technique.

Second, and perhaps more meaningfully, your teacher can probably show you what would happen to Uke if he releases his grab. Usually, there is a reason Uke wants to hold on (because something worse might happen if Uke releases). Your teacher should be able to show you this if you ask. If he can't, it doesn't mean that it's not there.

Keep training. Aikido isn't always as clear as we'd like it to be. It reveals itself slowly.
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Old 02-04-2011, 10:29 PM   #3
Insane Duane
 
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Excellent questions/comments. Basic waza can seem useless at times but there is a method to the madness. Eventually I started to see various ways to apply techniques from non-standard grabs. Sankyo is sankyo regardless of the initial attack. Nikyo is nikyo even if the uke is not grabbing my wrist or chest. They are tools for my tool belt. I did find it amazing that if I put my wrist into someones hand they would grab it on instinct.

I guess my point is that it took a long time (many years) for me to move past the A,B,C method and start to flow. Now I can "set people up" like a chess game. Also, there is so much more to Aikido than wrist locks. Not getting (significantly) hit is a skill I learned.

But back to your topic, some aikido dojo's do practice "magic" aikido. You know, the kind stuff that is not realistic and will make the aikidoka useless in a fight due to unrealistic expectations. I remember visiting another dojo several years ago and the sensei pointedly told me to "watch out, she's a brown belt" (I was a 4th kyu at the time) so I thought she would be a good partner to train with. It was tenshin nage time so I grabbed both her wrists. Instead of having my balance taken I got a pair of deer eyes looking at a bright light. She couldn't budge me. So I told her I was going to drag her to some bushes and started to pull her towards the edge of the mat. I then asked her what she was going to do about it and she finally tried to kick me. That was when I let her go and just started going through the motions. The point was proven; this dojo did NOT teach self defense aikido. They just went through the motions and congratulated each other on how well they where doing. Essentially it was one big ego stroke job with no practical value in regards to self defense. Other dojo's where the opposite and trained with their game faces on. Serious about defending them selves.

So to sum up my long rambling post: Each dojo is different. Aikido is aikido but the methodology can vary greatly. Also, learning the principle of a technique and using the technique will also vary greatly.
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Old 02-05-2011, 12:55 PM   #4
philipsmith
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

I agree it's not trained enough look at about 57 seconds in for gripping with intent:

http://www.youtube.com/user/UnitedKi.../3/5mfMV80Pd20
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Old 02-05-2011, 05:03 PM   #5
Mark Gibbons
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Thanks for the video. I got the impression that was a reversal though that was probably not what the rest of the room was going to be practicing.

Last edited by Mark Gibbons : 02-05-2011 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 02-05-2011, 05:13 PM   #6
Jeremy Hulley
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Hey Mark,
In some yoseikan the nage grabs the uke after being grabbed..

Jeremy

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Old 02-05-2011, 05:49 PM   #7
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

If someone doesn't really grab my wrist, I'll stab or club them. If they do grab my wrist with serious intent, Aikido teaches lot's of mechanically sound ways to make them let go. If they still don't let go, I'll put my weapon in the other hand. If all of this doesn't work, I have a last ditch chance with a throwing technique. If this doesn't work, I got into a fight with the wrong person, I should have had better Aiki.

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Old 02-08-2011, 11:06 AM   #8
jonreading
 
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Somehow, katatedori has become the attack in aikido. I think the purpose of katatedori is to connect to your partner and use that connection to faciliate your attack (a punch, kick, throw, lock, stab, cut etc.).

Initially, we learned this connective attack and said, "don't worry about the rest," implying a focus on the connection and not the followthrough attack. Now we have reached a point where many of us didn't worry about it for so long we forgot what was it's purpose.

If my partner does not establish and maintain a connective state [using katatedori], it is fair for me to establish that connection for her (this may mean atemi). Sometimes we become overly focused on the vehicle of connection and not the connection itself.

I think when we become overly focused on the venue of connection, we become vulnerable to the fragility of the connection. If my focus remains on the katatedori attack, then I am at risk to lose that connection when uke breaks the grip. If I remain focused on the connection to my partners center, then I only risk the venue through which I am connected to my partner.

As for the grabbing attack... there is a limit to the martial application of grabbing without a secondary attack. There needs to be a then what after someone grabs you which I also believe is lacking in aikido. That makes for a longer conversation on what a "strong grab" means... For example, I would rather have a strong grab from an aikido person any day over a strong grab from a judo person...
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:32 AM   #9
phitruong
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

for me, when folks grab my wrist, my reaction is "great! i am not trapped. you just trapped yourself. i now know exactly where you are even with my eyes close." sometimes, grabbing is a flinch respond, like poke something at a guy crotch.
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Old 02-08-2011, 12:17 PM   #10
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Quote:
Mark Gibbons wrote: View Post
Thinking back over the times I've been involved in serious wrist grabbing I was wondering if aikido folks are really ready to have someone grab their wrists with serious intent.
The question is, what is meant by serious intent. Are we talking about grabbing with the intent to restrain? Or are we talking about grabbing with the intention to off balance, neutralize any defense and deliver a secondary attack?

The first choice is basically what you'd find in a non-martial confrontation. Women get grabbed and restrained by someone assaulting them. Police grab and restrain resistant subjects.

The second option is the one which one would find in a martial context in which the confrontation was between trained individuals. Grabbing is a way to take a weapon, it is a way to place an opponent on his edge while striking him when he can't effectively defend, it can be a way to break his balance completely and take him to the ground, normally followed by a strike, kick, or potentially moving to grappling range.

The big issue with Aikido is that the vast majority of folks practice grabbing as the first option, which has little or nothing to do with how grabs function in a martial encounter. The first thing anyone from outside Aikido comments on when they see Aikido is that no one attacks like that.

Katatetori and all other grabs in Aikido should be trained from day one as balance breaks, not restraints of movement. If you can't take the guys center with the grab, or use the grab to defend against his strike with the off-hand, your are not grabbing effectively. If you are turning your partner's hand purple, you are putting your energy in the wrong place. I would especially like to see expunged the idea that a committed attack is one in which you push the nage;s arm into his body. I don't know who thought that was good attack but it invariably puts your face right where my atemi can hit it easily. It's just bad martial arts. Only Aikido people will try to deal with that with some cool movement. Everyone else will simply hit you with the other hand.

When people understand how to use the grab as a way to effect nage's center, then we can agree that uke doesn't actually do the balance break so that nage can practice his techniques. Later, nage needs to be able to do his technique even if uke is trying to break his balance at the instant of contact.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 02-08-2011, 01:04 PM   #11
lbb
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
The question is, what is meant by serious intent. Are we talking about grabbing with the intent to restrain? Or are we talking about grabbing with the intention to off balance, neutralize any defense and deliver a secondary attack?
It means that whatever your intention is, you'd better not smile or laugh.

(Seriously, this is a good point. Knowing that someone has a "serious intent" doesn't tell you much, unless you know what they seriously intend to do.)
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Old 02-08-2011, 01:34 PM   #12
Mark Gibbons
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Quote:
Mark Gibbons wrote: View Post
The few times I've seen wrists grabbed in ernest the main idea was to block a punch, stop the attacker from hitting someone and then use the wrist grab to hurt the attacker, swinging the attacker into railings, walls, stairs, other attackers or moving into some sort of lock.
I meant serious to resemble my original comments given above. I summarized a couple of past actual violent incidents. One 3 vs 1 mugging and a 2 vs 2 pre mugging. The victims were the ones grabbing and I'm sorry that wasn't clearer. I was trying to point out that the casual idea of the person doing the grabbing being the attacker really didn't make sense.

Ledyard Sensei did a better job of explaining the martial part. From a self defense standpoint unbalancing someone and flinging them into a heap can generate time to get away or to take other appropriate action.

Mark

Last edited by Mark Gibbons : 02-08-2011 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 02-08-2011, 01:49 PM   #13
phitruong
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
It means that whatever your intention is, you'd better not smile or laugh.
what about grabbing while crying, sobbing? would that be serious intention? or grabbing while dropping on one knee while the other hand holding out a ring of some sort, would that be serious intention as well?
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Old 02-08-2011, 03:33 PM   #14
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

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Phi Truong wrote: View Post
or grabbing while dropping on one knee while the other hand holding out a ring of some sort, would that be serious intention as well?
It better be serious intention unless your running-away-from-angry-dad-fu is powerful. Or even worse, the angry-bride-not-to-be...

kvaak!
Pauliina
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Old 02-08-2011, 06:02 PM   #15
ChrisHein
 
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

The obvious importance of the wrist grab continues to stare us in the face, yet we don't get it. We'd rather think about boxing, or wrestling or some other, much less useful skill-set than what we are learning in Aikido.

It doesn't matter what they want to do after they grab your wrist, the wrist grab is the problem. You don't have to worry about what the guy grabbing your wrist is doing, you have to worry about what his friends will do to you while you are indisposed.

The wrist grab is done to keep you from using your weapon, full stop. Everything in the Aikido syllabus is secondary to dealing with this kind of threat. It is the impetus for our leading and blending skills, and what creates the motion necessary for Aiki. It is much more dangerous to have someone hold your weapon hand than it is for them to try and headlock you, or punch you in the belly. Wrist grabs are a real threat. It's time for us to get this already.

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Old 02-08-2011, 08:43 PM   #16
DH
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Completely neutralizing a wrist grab requires no physical shifting of body mass at all and they do all the work.
It is simply nothing that should be even a consideration, there are more important things to worry about.
Chests
Dan
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:44 PM   #17
Chris Li
 
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Completely neutralizing a wrist grab requires no physical shifting of body mass at all and they do all the work.
It is simply nothing that should be even a consideration, there are more important things to worry about.
Chests
Dan
That's for sure!

Best,

Chris

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Old 02-08-2011, 10:38 PM   #18
terry johnson
 
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Always remember...first throw the mind!!
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Old 02-09-2011, 06:02 AM   #19
phitruong
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Quote:
Terry Johnson wrote: View Post
Always remember...first throw the mind!!
after you threw the mind, wouldn't that leave you mindless?
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Old 02-09-2011, 12:18 PM   #20
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

One time Dora and I were teaching a beginners class. This middle aged gentleman questioned every thing we said and really didn't believe anything we told him until...
he grabbed my wrist really hard, I was extending ki and he bounced off and fell very hard... surprising us all.
So it worked that time.
Mary
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Old 02-10-2011, 11:17 AM   #21
Dan Rubin
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
It is much more dangerous to have someone hold your weapon hand than it is for them to try and headlock you, or punch you in the belly.
So should we train primarily for grabs of our right wrists? In randori, should uke concentrate on grabbing nage's right wrist (unless uke knows nage to be left-handed, not an issue for samurai)?

I'm not trying to be a jerk (I can do that without trying). I'm trying to find some consistency in the many opinions I've read about wrist grabs, and aikido in general.

Last edited by Dan Rubin : 02-10-2011 at 11:20 AM.
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Old 02-11-2011, 12:05 AM   #22
ChrisHein
 
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Quote:
Dan Rubin wrote: View Post
So should we train primarily for grabs of our right wrists? In randori, should uke concentrate on grabbing nage's right wrist (unless uke knows nage to be left-handed, not an issue for samurai)?

I'm not trying to be a jerk (I can do that without trying). I'm trying to find some consistency in the many opinions I've read about wrist grabs, and aikido in general.
You should grab the hand with the weapon in it or that is drawing the weapon, weather that be right or left. But Aikido is taught mostly from the perspective of being the guy with the weapon. So keeping your weapon hand free is a matter of importance.

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Old 02-11-2011, 12:06 AM   #23
DH
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Quote:
Dan Rubin wrote: View Post
So should we train primarily for grabs of our right wrists? In randori, should uke concentrate on grabbing nage's right wrist (unless uke knows nage to be left-handed, not an issue for samurai)?

I'm not trying to be a jerk (I can do that without trying). I'm trying to find some consistency in the many opinions I've read about wrist grabs, and aikido in general.
Aikido is not a weapons based art. I suppose if you want to train with some weapon or other, or do versions of sword that are modern recreations...well..okay Its still a modern art that has nothing to do with Samuria arts. no matter what some people want to do to reinvent it as such.
Weapon hand or no, who cares either way. Getting out of a grabbed wrist (without moving the body) should be a non-discussion.
just say'n
Dan

Last edited by DH : 02-11-2011 at 12:16 AM.
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Old 02-11-2011, 01:04 AM   #24
Michael Varin
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
Aikido is not a weapons based art.
Hmm? Care to elaborate?

While not purely a "weapons art," without any understanding of the sword, jo, and tanto one cannot fully grasp aikido.

And I would say that it is nearly irrefutable that the art is based on the sword.

Morihiro Saito briefly discusses these relationships at the beginning of Traditional Aikido, Vol. 1.

"Aikido is known by its taijutsu techniques. However, the taijutsu movements are based on movements of the ken." (p. 18)

" in aikido a contest means a fight with a real sword." (p. 19)

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 02-11-2011, 06:29 AM   #25
lbb
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

The antecedents of aikido and their relationship to weapons styles is an interesting subject, but I think it's a bit of a digression from this discussion of the wrist grab. If the purpose of the wrist grab, as stated above, is to control the "weapon hand"...well, then it kind of matters if there's an actual weapon in it, doesn't it? Nowadays that's much less likely to be the case. So, we're back to the question of what "with intent" means. What's your intention? To stab me with an imaginary knife? Those knives, I'm not so worried about.
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