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Old 02-11-2011, 07:12 AM   #26
MM
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Quote:
Michael Varin wrote: View Post
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)
It's not irrefutable. I have tons of quotes but people say I post them too much. So, let me break things down just a bit.

First: tanto. It would be extremely hard to prove Ueshiba's aikido was based upon tanto usage. In fact, it's very hard to find where Ueshiba practiced with a tanto.

Second: Jo. It's also hard to prove Ueshiba's aikido was based upon "jo" usage. There is very little correlation that Ueshiba was using a "jo". For quite a few demonstrations, he used a short staff that was sharpened on one end, like a short spear and not a jo. It's also mentioned often that Ueshiba trained with a spear, not a jo. Finally, in regards to the actual usage of the jo, Ueshiba wields it with spiritual ideology driven by his aiki body, not by any martial jutsu. There is no correlation between Ueshiba's using a "jo" and any other jojutsu or jodo.

Third: Bokken/sword. There are far too many references of students having to go outside to learn how to use the sword. There are references of Ueshiba stating he didn't want weapons taught at hombu. Saito was an exception. There are references in pre-war where students had to learn on their own how to use the sword.

There are koryu that are weapons based arts. The Filipino martial arts are a weapons based art. Aikido is not. What was it Ueshiba was famous for saying when talking about sword work? He would say something like, you would do it (the sword kata/form/whatever) this way with aiki.
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Old 02-11-2011, 07:22 AM   #27
DH
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Quote:
Michael Varin wrote: View Post
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)
I know of no one in Japanese Koryu who ever considered Aikido a weapons based art. Instead of arguing with me you might want to consider a meeting of shihan that took place (Peter Goldsbury documented it somewhere here on Aikiweb). The meeting was regarding the subject of whether or not they should be demonstrating Weapons. One of the shihans stood up and said something along the lines of "We have to stop demonstrating sword. The audience is too educated and they are laughing at us."

It has pretty much been agreed that
1. Aikido demonstrates aikido movement using a weapon to demonstrate aikido movement
2. They do not use classical weapons theory (Samurai arts) to create Aikido movement
Those are two statements are very different things, and the movement expressed therein to wildly different undertakings.
Trouble arises when aikido people are not told this upfront and believe their art is based on weapons.
it is best to rise above individual statements and look to pedigree in the art itself and in it's place in the Samurai arts of Japan that modern adepts seem to want to compare it to. If that is your wish then do so with due diligence and rigor.
I can assure you in light of the full spectrum of what Japanese Samurai arts actually are, and Aikido's rather remarkable absence from being counted among them, that our opinions here do not matter at all..
Cheers
Dan
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Old 02-11-2011, 10:01 AM   #28
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
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.
OP here. The purpose of the grabs that I was talking about was to stop someone from punching me. Was I sure if they didn't have a knife, no. After getting the arm the serious intent was to stop them from doing anything further by using them as a weapon and hurling them into objects.

Most muggers I've entertained can't punch worth a damn. Grabbing their arm and throwing them was an untrained, but effective response.

I was interested in that the usual roles of nage and uke are pretty well jumbled. The attacker really looks like they have the nage role here as far as using aikido goes.

Mark
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Old 02-11-2011, 10:15 AM   #29
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
well, then it kind of matters if there's an actual weapon in it, doesn't it?
Yes it matters.

Quote:
Nowadays that's much less likely to be the case.
Hold the presses, have people stopped using weapons?

Quote:
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.
The person doing Aikido is the one with the weapon.

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Old 02-11-2011, 10:18 AM   #30
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
It's not irrefutable. I have tons of quotes but people say I post them too much. So, let me break things down just a bit.

First: tanto. It would be extremely hard to prove Ueshiba's aikido was based upon tanto usage. In fact, it's very hard to find where Ueshiba practiced with a tanto.

Second: Jo. It's also hard to prove Ueshiba's aikido was based upon "jo" usage. There is very little correlation that Ueshiba was using a "jo". For quite a few demonstrations, he used a short staff that was sharpened on one end, like a short spear and not a jo. It's also mentioned often that Ueshiba trained with a spear, not a jo. Finally, in regards to the actual usage of the jo, Ueshiba wields it with spiritual ideology driven by his aiki body, not by any martial jutsu. There is no correlation between Ueshiba's using a "jo" and any other jojutsu or jodo.

Third: Bokken/sword. There are far too many references of students having to go outside to learn how to use the sword. There are references of Ueshiba stating he didn't want weapons taught at hombu. Saito was an exception. There are references in pre-war where students had to learn on their own how to use the sword.

There are koryu that are weapons based arts. The Filipino martial arts are a weapons based art. Aikido is not. What was it Ueshiba was famous for saying when talking about sword work? He would say something like, you would do it (the sword kata/form/whatever) this way with aiki.
Mark,
Jujutsu is based around the use of small weapons. Jujutsu is not an unarmed system. Don't confuse a weapon system (sword knife, stick etc) with a weapon based system. The answers found in Aikido techniques are based around you having a weapon.

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Old 02-11-2011, 10:40 AM   #31
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
. One of the shihans stood up and said something along the lines of "We have to stop demonstrating sword. The audience is too educated and they are laughing at us."
This is sad, but has to do more with the politics of Aikido, and people caring about how they look to others. Irrelevant to our discussion.

Quote:
It has pretty much been agreed that
1. Aikido demonstrates aikido movement using a weapon to demonstrate aikido movement
I see this as a reasonable conclusion, however that doesn't change the fact that all of the techniques found in Aikido's syllabus were designed to deal with weapons confrontation.

Quote:
2. They do not use classical weapons theory (Samurai arts) to create Aikido movement
Who is they, the Shihan? Wy is "Samurai arts" in parentheses? What do you mean by "create Aikido movment"?

Quote:

Trouble arises when aikido people are not told this upfront and believe their art is based on weapons.
This is not the trouble. the trouble is that people hear this and then think they are going to get into a boxing match and win with Aikido. Or people don't understand when they are "told upfornt" that Aikido is based around weapons work and yet still believe it has some application in an MMA match. Or when people ignore the foundation of Aikido techniques, and believe that they can defeat the local wrestling club using a system (Aikido) that was not designed for wrestling.

Quote:
it is best to rise above individual statements and look to pedigree
This is an elitist statement. I resent it on a personal level, but as an argument I only understand it's significance from the stand point of one who does not question. You yourself have said many times how you didn't listen to people who've told you things abou the internal martial arts, or Daito ryu etc. I don't know why you of all people would make this statement.

Quote:
I can assure you in light of the full spectrum of what Japanese Samurai arts actually are, and Aikido's rather remarkable absence from being counted among them,
Aikido is a modern martial art, the Samurai are dead, no one is saying that we should be Samurai, or that Aikido teaches us to be Samurai; or at least I'm not saying that. I'm much more interestd in modern martial arts.

However this still does not change the fact that the techniques found in Aikido came from a weapons based, particularly blade based culture. These techniques (which date back before Ueshiba) were designed around weapons use. The weapon you are using today, doesn't have to be a sword, to could be a knife, asp baton, broken bottle, firearm, taser etc. Remaining free to use your weapon hand is the goal in Aikido technique, that's why we train against a wrist grab; it's really very simple.

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Old 02-11-2011, 10:46 AM   #32
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
Mark,
Jujutsu is based around the use of small weapons. Jujutsu is not an unarmed system.
Not all jujutsu is based on the use of small weapons anymore than all Koryu are battlefield systems.

Quote:
Don't confuse a weapon system (sword knife, stick etc) with a weapon based system. The answers found in Aikido techniques are based around you having a weapon.
The statement that aikido is all based on weapons. is about as illogical as saying that Yaygu Shinkage ryu is all based on empty hand work.
Just cause ya think its so...doesn't make it so.
Dan

Last edited by DH : 02-11-2011 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 02-11-2011, 11:33 AM   #33
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Chris
My comments were not elitist. it is sometimes difficult-if not impossible to have a discussion of an art when we base it all on our own interpretations and practices as validation for anything you like..

You can dismiss those Japanese Shihans professional assessments and their recognition of their Koryu colleague's educated assessments of Aikido's use of weapons and resultant movements as elitism and politics as you like. While convenient, I think it is a distinct error to do so.

The use of aikido movement now with a sword in your hand has no relevance whatsoever to do with actual weapons based systems- to include in how it affects body movement,

You obviously think that all of the aikido techniques are designed to deal with weapons ...
I think that is incredibly misguided
So there ya go. Which is why I was pointing to other sources.

Then again I have met an amazing array of Aikido-ka who are convinced you can take a sword out of swordmans hands as well.
Thank goodness they practice with bokuto.

Again.
Just cause ya think its so...doesn't make it so.
Dan

Last edited by DH : 02-11-2011 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 02-11-2011, 12:04 PM   #34
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Edit time ran out

Quote:
Dan said:
it is best to rise above individual statements and look to pedigree
Quote:
Chris said:
This is an elitist statement. I resent it on a personal level, but as an argument I only understand it's significance from the stand point of one who does not question. You yourself have said many times how you didn't listen to people who've told you things abou the internal martial arts, or Daito ryu etc. I don't know why you of all people would make this statement.
Because we are talking history and not opinion. If you object to the word pedigree, consider this:
Why are you here with opinions about aikido and weapons?
Because you have what you consider to be experiences that vet those views. Thus you are either presenting an argument on the experience (proven pedigree) of your teachers or yourself.
No need to be insulted, its just that you didn't arrive at these opinions while working your day job did you? Neither did I.
Questioning things -as they were done- is one thing
Questioning whether they WERE done that way another
Denying historical facts as to what they are and how they were done and the assessments of professionals before us is not something you do casually.

I am choosing to present an argument based on historical precedent (pedigree) rather than personal.
Historical evidence and placing things in proper context is better than anecdotal evidence everytime. It also helps to keep things from being personal.
Cheers
Dan
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Old 02-11-2011, 12:45 PM   #35
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Hi Dan,
I think I would disagree with your central premise that Aikido isn't a weapons art. In my opinion, Aikido shouldn't be considered an empty hand art. All the logic of what we do comes from weapons rather than a purely empty hand paradigm.

Let me say, first of all, that I am not equating weapons or sword in particular with some connection with the samurai or some such. Nor, as we have discussed before, do I think that our` use of weapons (to the extent that there is an "our use" since there is a huge variance within Aikido as to how weapons are used). The samurai are long gone and I take exception to the folks who do their Aikido as if they are pretend samurai. It's silly.

But so much of the way we practice in Aikido makes little or no sense without the weapons paradigm. The very first comment a martial artist from outside makes when he sees Aikido for the first time is, "nobody attacks like that..." The movements, the postures, etc don't related well to the way anyone in any other martial art fights.

I met Toby Threadgill at the first Aiki Expo and we have become fast friends. A number of years ago now, I had him come to the dojo and do a seminar for us. He did a weekend on the relationship between sword and empty hand. Everything made so much more sense when practiced that way.

I found when I used to do a lot of police and security training in the old days that once you introduced weapons in to the equation, and a police officer is a walking weapons system, so much of our Aikido directly applied to what they needed. Much of our work applies directly to weapons retention, weapons disarms, etc.

Even the movement and fluidity of good Aikido relates better to weapons than what one sees in purely empty hand martial arts. Rather like how would the UFC look if those guys had knives... certainly not the same as now.

Anyway, Saotome Sensei trained with O-Sensei for fifteen years. Sensei siad that O-Sensei was quite approachable and he frequently asked him questions. Sensei said that, more often than not, the old man grabbed a bokken to illustrate his answer.

I think that it is very revealing that, when O-Sensei was looking for a successor i the thirties, he chose a kendo guy rather than a judo guy to adopt and make his heir apparent. I think that says a lot of how he thought about things.

We were taught the same way. For Saotome Sensei, and Nishio, Chiba, and others, there was no distinction between empty hand and weapons. Certainly Saotome Sensei made none. We moved seamlessly back and forth between them, even in the same class. I do the same.

So, while I have absolutely no disagreement with your disavowal of any connection between koryu sword or staff and any historical connection between Aikido and "samurai arts" whatever those might be... and agree that attempts to create a history that goes back before Ueshiba himself are silly, I do think of this art we are doing as having an internal logic that makes far more sense when weapons are introduced into the framework than if they are ignored. I have not seen any of the greats who weren't conversant with the sword at least, some actually had some koryu background. Without that weapons related logic, I think we'd move and trai differently and the art would look very different from what we actually do.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 02-11-2011, 01:05 PM   #36
DH
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

From my phone.
George
We have zero disagreement. I was making two points.

1. When weapons are mentioned aikio-ka frequently default to samurai weapons. You have too good of an education to defend that or correct me...thus we agree. No surprise there.
2. Please review my other point. I said aikido weapons are meant for aikido movement..and THAT is not be equated with being created BY weapons. To which it seems...we also agree.
in essence when I hear aikido/ weapons/ samurai...I think..that ain't weapons.
What they do with a weapon in their hand is aikido movement...with a weapon in their hand. Which is not the overarching historical term for weapons in japanese history..least of all bushi.
IOW, were Saotome senseis goals in creating his two sword forms meant to aid in aikido movement..or to state this is what the samurai did? They were and are different things.
Cheers
Dan
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Old 02-11-2011, 01:34 PM   #37
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
IOW, were Saotome senseis goals in creating his two sword forms meant to aid in aikido movement..or to state this is what the samurai did? They were and are different things.
Cheers
Dan
Hi Dan,
I didn't think we really disagreed, I just wanted it down for the record. Certainly Saotome Sensei never stated or implied that anything he did had some sort of provenance beyond Aikido. Now the deshi of his time did have some classes provided by unnamed koryu teachers who, at O-Sensei's request, came in and taught interested deshi. None of them will say who these teachers were. At best, with some copious amounts of alcohol involved, they will at least elude to the training.

But Sensei only occasionally would even relate something he showed us to its source. Once in a while he'd say, this came from Yagyu or Itto Ryu or Kashima. His two sword may have been inspired by some embu he observed or even a movie like Chushingura, one never knew with Sensei.

Two sword he did because it more directly related to empty hand and the way he uses his arms than single sword does, since the hands can function separately.

His use of sword was both to teach movement principles but also because so many of he martial principles he sought to teach us were best developed with sword. So much of the martial terminology of the Japanese martial arts is directly from the sword. Whole vocabularies exist to delineate important principles of the martial interaction. I think sword in particular is crucial to understanding these principles and that this understanding is inseparable from good Aikido.

I think this is why sword work has persisted since the fall of the samurai. Despite the fact that no one carries swords any more for practical defense, people recognized that there were valuable things to be learned by working with them. Personally, I try not to go so far off into the "it's just movement practice for Aikido thing", which many folks do, that our sword work starts to be really embarrassing from the standpoint of he folks who really are swordsmen. I try to keep it respectable at least, while fully recognizing that it isn't kenjutsu.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 02-11-2011, 02:06 PM   #38
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Quote:
Mark Gibbons wrote: View Post
OP here. The purpose of the grabs that I was talking about was to stop someone from punching me. Was I sure if they didn't have a knife, no. After getting the arm the serious intent was to stop them from doing anything further by using them as a weapon and hurling them into objects.

Most muggers I've entertained can't punch worth a damn. Grabbing their arm and throwing them was an untrained, but effective response.

I was interested in that the usual roles of nage and uke are pretty well jumbled. The attacker really looks like they have the nage role here as far as using aikido goes.

Mark
I think there is a point when your training begins to revolve around transitioning roles between uke and nage. This would be kaishiwaza (reversals) or takemusu aiki - the continued interaction of partners. It's a bit of a shock because we become programmed early on: uke attacks like an idiot, nage throws uke. Then all of a sudden, we hit this "who says uke can't trash nage" thing and it is a shock. But it creates a more dynamic exchange between partners and expands the interaction to focus more on the connection and less on role play. It certainly changes things when uke is allowed to do something back to nage.
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Old 02-17-2011, 11:04 PM   #39
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Wow I can totally see how to use any of the first four techniques in daily life or worse in case of an attacker. They don't have to grab my wrist for me to complete a technique. If they don't grab me I am going to grab them. I think we train with the wrist as a starting point to learn from. I have seen many instances where people don't even touch you or give you the chance to touch them before you land face first on the mat. I have been watching clips of o sensei lately and the first thing he seems to like to do is put his hand in your face. genius. he walks right through someone as he puts his hand in their face. Wrist control for a female is extremely important. whats the first thing a man grabs when a mad woman is walking away.. HER ARM OR WRIST. Drunk guys will always walk up and put their arm around your shoulder. ( SANKYO or SHIONAGE) and if someone comes charging at you with a fist umm Tenkan movement and trip them and let them fall on their face. Heck the body movement alone could be a life saver... stepping off the line etc. so I don't think that we would be defenseless if someone didn't grab my wrist. I would just find theirs and apply .
Only been at this for 7 months but I do think about it daily. Sometimes when I am talking with someone I am thinking if they did .... this how would I react... Morbid I know.
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Old 02-18-2011, 02:24 PM   #40
David Orange
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
If someone doesn't really grab my wrist, I'll stab or club them.
Really?

Do you go about with a knife or club in your hand at all times?

I think you completely misunderstand aikido.

Grabs are grabs. As someone said above, especially a larger man attacking a woman, a wrist grab is very common:

http://www.dcourier.com/main.asp?Sec...rticleID=85400

And the same goes for a larger man against a smaller man, though to a lesser extent.

And we only have to remember that Sokaku Takeda's father used to punish him by putting burning incense on his fingernails. And how did Dad take control of Sokaku? Most likely a wrist grab.

Sokaku certainly spent years developing his aiki-age from wrist grabs.

I just think the idea of carrying a knife around and stabbing someone who doesn't grab you is, frankly, bizarre. I live in the city that, according to today's news, is 3rd most dangerous in the US. When I lived in Japan, I saw on CNN that Birmingham was rated #1 most dangerous city in the US. I've spent half my life walking the darkened streets of this town and I've never carried a knife or gun. And every time anyone has approached me with violent intent, for some reason, they've always changed their mind.

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
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.
Or maybe it's just that you don't understand aiki at all.

Good luck with that.

David

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Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

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Old 02-19-2011, 09:05 AM   #41
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Quote:
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.
Not to belabor the obvious but, women being assaulted sounds like a martial situation to me...in fact the most realistic one discussed here so far, as far as I can tell from a hasty review of the thread.

Why is someone trying to control your sword (like I am carrying one of those on a regular basis) more "realistic" or "martial" than trying to get away from a rapist? Grabs are intensely real to someone who has been attacked like this.
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Old 02-19-2011, 12:08 PM   #42
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
What's your intention? To stab me with an imaginary knife? Those knives, I'm not so worried about.
Might they not stab at your mind?

As for wrist grabs, I've been teaching my daughter a variety of martial arts moves, and one of the first things I've taught her is the danger of letting someone get control of your wrist. Until I came to this site and saw this conversation, I had forgotten my (unfortunately brief) Aikido instruction had taught me what to do if someone grabs my wrist. I'll have to revisit that lesson some...

But from the perspective of someone who has trained primarily in other arts, I would say letting someone else control your wrist in a fight is a disaster. However, grabbing someone's wrist and controlling it are NOT the same thing. It is clearly possible for the one who has had their wrist grabbed to use that grip to control their attacker's wrist.
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Old 02-19-2011, 01:45 PM   #43
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Quote:
Mark Gibbons wrote: View Post
OP here. The purpose of the grabs that I was talking about was to stop someone from punching me. Was I sure if they didn't have a knife, no. After getting the arm the serious intent was to stop them from doing anything further by using them as a weapon and hurling them into objects.

Most muggers I've entertained can't punch worth a damn. Grabbing their arm and throwing them was an untrained, but effective response.

I was interested in that the usual roles of nage and uke are pretty well jumbled. The attacker really looks like they have the nage role here as far as using aikido goes.

Mark
Hi Mark.
Regarding your view on the roles being jumbled I understand what you're saying and it's an astute observation.

The attacker is called the uke so that really means 'the person you are to harmonize with and perform a technique on.' You being attacked therefore are the 'thrower' or the nage.

Now we look at the truth of the matter. The attacker is in truth a nage. He is attacking in order to do something to you and you are the one he/she wants to hit, throw etc. So technically it starts off that way around and so takemuso actually starts at the beginning.

Hope that clears it up but as I said it's an astute observation and I'm sure many doing Aikido hav'nt realized that.

Regards.G.
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Old 02-19-2011, 02:14 PM   #44
graham christian
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Hi Chris.
I agree that the movements and techniques of Aikido do indeed trace back to the samurai arts. When you give analogies to a wrist being trapped as a weapons hand from that view you are quite correct.

As I've stated before Aiki is nothing new and samurai used those principles, in fact by using those principles of motion were the only way of getting near an opponent brandishing a sword or weapon without getting killed.

In fact I would go further and say that the principles fit both the use of the weapons and the 'defence' from the same weapons.

I can quote various sources which agree with this view and no doubt others can dig up quotes of people saying the opposite.

It seems so obvious to me I wouldn't see quite how a person could not see it.

I'll end with this: To me it's not a matter of if it's more a matter of seeing how it does.

Regards.G.
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Old 02-19-2011, 09:14 PM   #45
nuxie
 
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

You don't have to be a girl for an attacker to grab you to get your attention. Today I learned how to defend against someone shoving me while standing face to face. I can see that happening in real life. I think that people think Aikido is all about the wrist... I don't think it is. Time to ask your teacher... Hey how can this apply in real life. If you have anyone that can do advanced techniques they will show you how as soon as you come in they react before you get a chance to grab their wrist , shoulder etc. I have seen this done and it is ohhh so cool. I remember a discussion I had with my teacher about how to make somone grab you where you want them to.. If you stick your hand out there most likely they will grab it.... etc. I hope you continue on your journey and start to think deeper about what you are doing and how you can use it. Look past what you are doing. Good luck.
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Old 02-20-2011, 06:34 PM   #46
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

A wrist grab, when used as a means to control someone is a transitory position. If I want to pull you into my car, then I may grab your wrist, if it's the most expedient part of you for me to grab, but I do not have any specific need to hold the wrist. Hair, your arm, your purse, your leg, your neck are all good things for me to grab, if I simply want to control you. But I grab them so I can pull you into a better holding position, like a bear hug. The wrist grab is simply a quick start position from which I will soon transition into a better hold.

This lack of commitment, is not what we see in Aikido techniques. In Aikido techniques we see Uke having a need to hold the wrist quite specifically. If I have a weapon in my hand, you cannot let go of my hand unless you want to be struck by my weapon. This gives the attacker (uke) a real need to hold your wrist specifically. In Aikido wrist grabs are not a transitory position, they are the attack, because if you can hold my weapon hand, you can stop me from inflicting life ending damage to you.

Further, the common Aikido syllabus doesn't have escape techniques for the most common unarmed holds (e.g. bear hugs, waist locks, headlocks, other common core control techniques), but has a multitude of escape techniques from wrist controls. Why would this be? In an unarmed system, one that is going to have application in a grappling range, one would expect at least a few common unarmed hold escapes. So why don't we find these in Aikido, yet we find lots of wrist grab escapes?

If we understand Aikido as a weapon based system the answer is clear. If you don't control my weapon hand, I will simply cut you down. If you try a side headlock on an armed person, there is no need for them to have a means of escape, they can simply cut themselves out. If we can keep our weapon free, common holds offer us little problem. This is why there is a premium put on freeing the wrist, and not on escaping common holds.

As far as the "I don't carry weapons" argument goes, it's a moot point. First and foremost the samurai did carry weapons, lots of them, always. So from the stand point of a system inspired by the Samurai perspective, they were people who always carried weapons. A Samurai wasn't going to "ground and pound", he was going to cut you down, the only way you might possibly stop him (if you were not armed yourself) would be to gain wrist control. These techniques (Aikido techniques) come from a weapon culture, that's what they work for.

Second, if you are serious about self defense you do carry weapons. Anyone who seriously considers the need to protect themselves will carry weapons. Aikido is a perfect system of study for these people.

Third, if you are an aware person, you are almost never unarmed. Bottles, sticks, rocks, fire extinguishers, kitchen knives, car keys, brooms, wrenches, screwdrivers, etc all make expedient weapons. If you are aware of the need for a weapon, you can almost always find one rather quickly. Once you are armed, the only real chance someone stands in a fight with you is to eliminate your use of the weapon, wrist grabs are a good way to do this.

Sorry for the long post.

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Old 02-20-2011, 07:00 PM   #47
graham christian
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

As one added note here I point out to students the reason kicks were not such an inherent and important part of Aikido is because it traces back to the samurai times. A samurai would love someone to kick, oops there goes one leg.

That doesn't mean we don't practice dealing with kicks now. Plus we do many escapes from various holds which I think most Aikido does actually. I may be wrong there, I don't know.

Regards.G.
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Old 02-20-2011, 07:01 PM   #48
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Thanks for your posts Chris. I started this thread with an example where I grabbed the arm of someone trying to punch me. I had goals of controlling their ability to punch me and at the same time the need to throw them to gain time to get away. Fitting the examples you give to the situation I would have been uke and defending myself from attackers.

My point was that I don't think aikido folks train for grabs that are intended to really so something. Ledyard sensei's post (#10) does a better of explaining this than I do.

Regards,
Mark
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Old 02-20-2011, 07:38 PM   #49
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Re: Really, grab my wrist!

Quote:
Mark Gibbons wrote: View Post
Thanks for your posts Chris. I started this thread with an example where I grabbed the arm of someone trying to punch me. I had goals of controlling their ability to punch me and at the same time the need to throw them to gain time to get away. Fitting the examples you give to the situation I would have been uke and defending myself from attackers.

My point was that I don't think aikido folks train for grabs that are intended to really so something. Ledyard sensei's post (#10) does a better of explaining this than I do.

Regards,
Mark
Hey Mark,
I think this thread is going away from where you originally intended. Maybe someone will start another thread to address what is being discussed now. Sorry for the hijack.

If you are boxing with someone (unarmed), the common boxing cover is a far better practice than wrist grabbing. The boxing cover allows you to move into range, limits the damage the other fellow can inflict on you, and allows you to land a powerful blow with either hand.

If you want to bring them into a control position (top mount etc) than simply shooting in on them, gaining a double leg or if you miss getting a waist lock or bear hug, than applying a take down into control position is a favorable strategy.

Wrist grabbing, as a non-transitory technique, in an unarmed situation is not the best idea, so there is no real need to train for it. That's why we don't see much training for this in MMA gyms. A wrist grab is only a needed to control the hand specifically, which is seldom needed unless someone is armed.

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Old 02-20-2011, 08:08 PM   #50
graham christian
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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 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
Mark, seems I owe you an apology for joining in on what was basically off topic too. So I have come back to the origin.

When you think about it there are many situations in life when you could be grabbed by the wrist(s). It's the favorite method of doormen and security, it's favoured by groups of muggers, it's favoured by people who think they are much stronger and bigger than you, (especially bullies) it's favoured by someone trying to pull you somewhere. Etc.

Now here's the main point. In Aikido if you ask someone, or if you try it for yourself, what they don't like about being grabbed and held what do they say? What does it represent in their mind?

It represents being trapped. They fight to get out of the hold, out of being trapped. Yet Aikido is teaching Harmony, how to harmonize with being trapped.

When I grab a students wrist and he tries to get out of it I ask him or her why?

You see the person being grabbed is then fighting the grab. They are automatically resisting it and fighting it and are thus trapping theirself in it. When I tell them this rule: 'That which is trapped leave it alone' they generally at first have a hard time doing it but when they do they experience a kind of freedom.

In other words if someone grabs your wrist let them have your wrist, whatever part they grab let them have it. Guess what, when you do this you suddenly become aware of the multitude of things you can do other than fight with the hold.

So it leads to a principle you can apply to all sorts of holds where you dont fight or resist the hold and thus see many escape routes.

Regards.G.

Last edited by graham christian : 02-20-2011 at 08:10 PM. Reason: spelling
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