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Old 11-29-2011, 09:47 PM   #51
jdostie
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Re: Principles of pinning

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Michael Hackett wrote: View Post
Roger, your description from watching "Cops" is all-to-often correct. That was my original thesis on this thread. Most officers receive minimal training in overcoming resistance and then don't practice it often enough to be really competent. That is often why you see several dealing with a single suspect. With well-trained officers you may also see several restraining a single individual, but doing so in a highly competent manner. As for the "stop resisting" orders, you may be right in some cases, and in others you are unable to see and feel the suspect's actions to know if there is any active resistance to be overcome. I'm sure that there are some officers who are intentionally using excessive force - it happens and I've fired a few over the years as well as testifying against them in civil cases. Most do their best to follow the law and behave properly, but the problem is lack of training even with the finest officers. There are a host of reasons for the lack of training, lack of interest; budget limitations; competing training priorities; Fair Labor Standards Act, and others. As you are surely aware, martial arts skills are perishable and must be practiced frequently and consistently.

I am not acting as a police apologist here - on the contrary. I want all of our officers to be well-trained, well-supervised, and well-disciplined and I continue to try and make that happen. I probably scream at the TV louder than most when watching "Cops" and police procedurals.
Often, I see both the officers and the "offender" struggling, it does indeed look like the offender is resisting, but from training in DR and more recently in Aikido, I have a sympathetic viewpoint at times, where I KNOW that the officers are trying to apply a control in a way that causes pain - encouraging the very movement they see as resistance. If that's true - the solution is in the training as you have said - each officer should have lots of experience in both sides of the different pins.

That's how it seems to me in any case...
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Old 11-30-2011, 06:47 AM   #52
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Re: Principles of pinning

I would think that subduing suspects would literally be the cornerstone of a LEO's training. Without the ability to do that, you'd never be able to effect an arrest....effectively. There was also that incident about a year ago where the cop couldn't subdue a teenage girl and was standing there basically brutalizing her in front of a crowd while she struggled against him. You're telling me he couldn't have just swept her to the ground or put her in a hammerlock or something? But I digress.
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Old 11-30-2011, 09:02 AM   #53
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Re: Principles of pinning

Hi folks,

Before this thread goes too far into the broader topic of law enforcement, please keep the discussion in this thread explicitly pertinent to aikido. If you wish to move to a discussion with a larger scope, please start a new thread in the Open Discussions forum.

Thank you,

-- Jun

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Old 11-30-2011, 09:22 AM   #54
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Re: Principles of pinning

To address the slight digression to the use of pins in protective services, I'll say that you need to change your approach from traditional methods. I used to do demos with cops (good judo players, MMA people, experienced officers) and to prove a point I would tangle with them and while they wrestled for an arm bar or hip throw I would secure their side arm, baton, or another item from their practice belt. When I work with people who carry weapons I usually advocate not to get entangled with their opponent. So in this sense I think persons who work in protective services like police, security, national guard, military, etc. need to understand their first priority is to maintain their security, then secure their partner. As far as I am concerned, There is not an excuse that should be considered that allows a suspect to touch a police officer after the officer begins issuing submission commands, certainly one who is armed. Cops have such dangerous jobs its not even funny anymore...

Back to the larger discussion...

Pins are controls; at the end of the day, I ask myself, "am I in control of this person?" This is my defining characteristic of an aikido pin. Seriously, I've had great aikido people grab my hand and stop me from tenkan. Not a traditional pin, but if I cannot move how I want to...

Pins are not necessarily breaks, joint locks, or pressure points, although all of these options are pinning tools. Traditionally, a pin was a pause in combat that shifted a significant advantage to a combatant to apply a killing or debilitating blow to his opponent. This would be a similar tactic to kicking sand, standing with the sun at your back, or any number of combat tactics that are designed to give advantage. Interestingly, several of my historical books tend to imply that it was unusual for combatants to engage in single combat on a battlefield; rather, the focus of single combat was incredibly dangerous on a battlefield with multiple opponents. Japan was sort of odd in this respect and the challenge of single combat gave the Japanese trouble in several foreign wars. As it applies to combat and the arts that study combat, I believe Aikido differs from traditional [koryu] pins because of my intention in pinning my partner.

Sport pins are designed to demonstrate that advantageous pause. Some sports choose body control, others a duration of time of control, others a submission by the opponent. But even the sport pins are designed to show that one player has advantage over another. I believe aikido differs from sport fighting pins because the rules of engagement are different.

Aikido walks the line between these worlds. We tend to adhere to concepts of combat and organized military strategy, but often our training is sport-oriented because we do not act as if we were on the battlefield (must fight ikkyo...without...regard...to atemi...). But that is a problem with our training, not necessarily our pinning.

Now, in response to your comment about the use of force in submitting suspects (in your protesters example). I think we need to respect the social pressure for law enforcement to go to [in some cases] extreme solutions to minimize the risk of injury in subduing persons. Like I said earlier, my tolerance ends after the officer commands the suspect to submit. If the officer never had to touch the suspect, there would be no risk in the officer injuring the suspect... When I bounced the way we took down big brawlers was to dog pile them and smother them to reduce the risk of injury to the person, the patrons around him, or damage to the establishment.

Pins have a consequence for non-compliance, that consequence is often discomfort at best and can be unconsciousness, skeletal injury, muscular injury or nervous system injury. These consequences are often too severe for civilian enforcement groups to entertain so traditional pinning solutions may not work for these groups.
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Old 11-30-2011, 09:55 AM   #55
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Re: Principles of pinning

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Pins have a consequence for non-compliance, that consequence is often discomfort at best and can be unconsciousness, skeletal injury, muscular injury or nervous system injury. These consequences are often too severe for civilian enforcement groups to entertain so traditional pinning solutions may not work for these groups.
Great post Jon. Pins are not used very commonly outside of the dojo, and the reason is what you stated. There's very specific purposes for a pin, but even at that, it comes with an inherent risk of severe injury. If you are concerned about seriously injuring someone, then you wouldn't want to use a pin.

Really, a pin in and of itself doesn't make sense. Why only temporarily restrain your opponent with a pin, when you could deliver a crippling blow or joint lock which would more effectively acheive submission? To me, the pin MUST be partnered with pain, or at least the imminent threat of additional pain. Otherwise it amounts to little more than creating a brief haitus in the conflict, with the oppoenent eagerly waiting for you to release him from the pin, which you would eventually have to do.
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Old 11-30-2011, 11:03 AM   #56
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Re: Principles of pinning

Jon and Roger - I read your comments with great interest, thanks!

I like idea to put aikido pins in a larger context to have better perspective on why we doing it in the dojo. Other aspect of pins is that – the moment an attacker is helpless it is possible to assume immobilization. This is also a great opportunity to develop mercy and compassion which are I think some of key goals of aikido practice. Is it really possible in such sterile environment as aikido dojo, where attacker actually helps very much Nage? What conditions we need to make it actually happen?

Nagababa

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Old 11-30-2011, 11:53 AM   #57
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Re: Principles of pinning

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Jon and Roger - I read your comments with great interest, thanks!

I like idea to put aikido pins in a larger context to have better perspective on why we doing it in the dojo. Other aspect of pins is that – the moment an attacker is helpless it is possible to assume immobilization. This is also a great opportunity to develop mercy and compassion which are I think some of key goals of aikido practice. Is it really possible in such sterile environment as aikido dojo, where attacker actually helps very much Nage? What conditions we need to make it actually happen?
I don't fully understand what you mean. Might be the language barrier (no offense). However, this does bring up an interesting concept, which is that "pins" don't necessarily need to be physical. (And I apologize if this thread is meant only to discuss physical pins.)

There's the story of the baby elephant chained to the tree it's whole adolescent life. Once it became an adult and freed from it's chain, it never ventured beyond a 10 foot radius of the tree. The reason being is that emotional shackles are often the hardest to break.

I've heard of freeze moves, which cause the opponent to breifly pause. And while those are more physical in nature, they don't always involve actual contact. But I'd be interested in "mental pins", wherein you use words or some other non-physical means to invade your adversary's mind and render him mentally immobile. But if that topic is beyond the scope of the thread, feel free to ignore it, lol.
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Old 11-30-2011, 12:52 PM   #58
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Re: Principles of pinning

If someone pins me, I know it. The question is will I let my partner know? I think aikido is actually a great platform for applying pins without the discomfort of traditional pins, or the competition of a sport. First, we need to apply a combat filter to discourage non-martial responses that would damage our bodies. Second, we have to concede a successful pin without an obvious control mechanism in place. If we can do both of these things, we have a great environment in which to pins.

Here's the rub... for being a bunch of huggy-feely, harmony-restoring, ego-less, compassionate souls... we can be dishonest and passive-aggressive with the best of them. Also, some of us simply do not possess a combat filter to manage our responses. Bye the way, I've fought enough sankyos to know that I can be one of those passive-aggressive types. You need a good sempai that's willing to put a few on your nose to solve both problems...

I don't know if uke helping nage actually makes a difference here. But honesty does. I think you need an honest uke to feedback when you are in control of her body or what additional corrections are necessary to gain control. If she does that, then I do not think it is relevant whether she is "helping" you or fighting like the dickens to escape. I remember a seminar with Hooker sensei when we were doing tachi dori and Sensei has his uke on the ground and the sword is both addressing uke and applying this terrible nikyo. Uke is tapping and grunting and fighting and tapping and Sensei is just holding the sword. Finally, Sensei says, "let go of the sword." Uke let's go and the technique is over. Sensei says, "you're lying on the ground with my sword at your throat hurting your wrist, whadidya think you were gonna do down there?" Precious.
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Old 11-30-2011, 03:48 PM   #59
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Re: Principles of pinning

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I remember a seminar with Hooker sensei when we were doing tachi dori and Sensei has his uke on the ground and the sword is both addressing uke and applying this terrible nikyo. Uke is tapping and grunting and fighting and tapping and Sensei is just holding the sword. Finally, Sensei says, "let go of the sword." Uke let's go and the technique is over. Sensei says, "you're lying on the ground with my sword at your throat hurting your wrist, whadidya think you were gonna do down there?" Precious.
hey, that sounded like me! i remembered there were Hooker sensei, with a bokken, and me on the floor doing something stupid. also something about not getting up too quickly, because sensei hasn't let me yet, since he still held the sword near my throat.

hey, stop telling folks about my stupid stuffs, since the amount of stupid things i pulled, we would be here discussing them for years!

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 12-01-2011, 12:05 AM   #60
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Re: Principles of pinning

Jon, great analysis and perspective on pinning. You bring up some things I had not thought of as concepts. I will probably co-opt some of these in the future.

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Old 12-01-2011, 07:05 PM   #61
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Re: Principles of pinning

Knock yourself out. You get a lot of action with your guys, I'd appreciate any feedback how it works out for you.
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Old 12-01-2011, 07:27 PM   #62
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Re: Principles of pinning

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Knock yourself out. You get a lot of action with your guys, I'd appreciate any feedback how it works out for you.
Jon. I said before that there are control techniques and there are pins and thus they are different. Thus pins are disabling things.

However, if you say and look at them as basically controls then I would add this point. I teach that the main aim or indeed first aim of the move is to prevent the other being able to use their other hand or foot or leg against you. That's the main consideration put at the head of the queue.

Now I don't know if this is something widely taught or even if it's something that's dropped out for I don't see it shown on video or emphasized in many discussions.

I take it you teach similar?

Regards.G.
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Old 12-02-2011, 07:32 AM   #63
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Re: Principles of pinning

Well, for me, a pin is a codified control mechanism, a formal and conclusive ending to kata (so to speak). I could, for example, end ikkyo omote by dislocating uke's shoulder as I descend into seiza. However, The kansetsu waza for ikkyo omote is to pin the arm to the ground. In one of my earlier posts I referred to tools of pinning and in similar sense, pins are tools of control. I do not think I would classify pins differently from controls unless the differentiation was in the classification. A pin is an action to employ a tactic of control within a combat strategy. I could see the claim that a pin is an action, while controlling your partner is a larger tactical decision. Remember, the preservation of combatants is a key strategy in aikido, achieved primarily through grappling and striking; I could also decide another strategy which could change my tactical responses.

As for my perspective, I believe in that the resolution of any engagement is at the instant of aiki. If my partner controls my center first, I lose. This is similar to the concept of ichi go ichi e - I have one chance to succeed in the harmony of aiki. Aikido is a collection of tactical actions encompassed in a philosophy that guides our strategic decisions.

At the core of our tactical actions is an understanding of the unity of aiki that must precede engagement. When done properly aiki not only controls the point of contact or even an appendage - it controls your partner's entire body and cognition. For me, the unification of your partner onto your center is the harmony in aikido because your connection allows for empathy and compassion, true feelings of agape. If you do not have this connection then whatever it is you are doing, it is not aikido.

Kansetsu waza is an expression of that control. Arguably, if you control your partner's entire body balance from the beginning, how hard can it be to simply transfer that control into an arm, or a leg, or a neck? I work out with guys who will touch you and put pressure into your back foot, then your front knee, then your right elbow. They can do this because they controlled my body at the point of engagement. In the best aikido I experience my partner has control of me the entire duration of our engagement, not just when she twists my arm, or yanks my neck, or locks my elbow. So it is in this state of aiki that I am either wholly victorious or not. If I need to contest the engagement, then that is proof that I did not achieve victory at the point of aiki and therefore we are fighting.

In a larger sense, I think that this perspective is not necessarily practiced en masse, although I know many people who intellectually understand the concept. I believe this is [one of the reasons] why Gleason sensei [correctly] observed that we are no longer practicing "aiki". I believe this is why Ikeda sensei altered his approach to explaining aiki, I believe this is why Ledyard Sensei advocates a strong focus on aiki before teaching waza. This is why Saotome Sensei is working with other organizations and creating bridges to find better ways to explain what we are doing and why. These are people I respect and I believe are making great strides to bring this education back into aikido here in the US (and I apologize, there are others but I am not as familiar with them).

I am not sure if this answered your questions, but I am working through some of these answers myself.
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Old 12-04-2011, 05:13 PM   #64
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Re: Principles of pinning

Jon

Nice comments and thoughts. I respect anyone who thinks this deeply about Aikido.

I don't 100% agree with everything you say but none-the-less very interesting.

Something I've been doing a bit of is teaching people the bits beyond pinning. That is moving from a pin to a submission. I consider an Aikido pin a point that has a measure of discomfort, even some pain, but if the person resists it makes it worse, and in the dojo, can lead to the tap.

Aikido appears to have somewhat a lack of pins, as they often don't work (when a person puts up a little resistance), the person moves out of it to a new position and the Aikido exponent is left scrambling. I'd like to see teachers concentrating more on a range of alternative pins for your partners reactions.

Or you can forget all that, and be really non-aikido and just go straight for the submission.
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Old 12-05-2011, 05:14 AM   #65
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Re: Principles of pinning

The issue I have with most submissions is the level of investment they require in order to obtain the tap. Of course there are some that work with a small level of investment, but most require dominance or control in order to get the tap. In addition, the reliance on pain as a compliance factor which may or may not work.

IMO, it is PRIMARY to have dominance and/or control of the fight, so in a reality, I am looking for other things other than a submission. Dominance and control lead to hand cuffs or other types of immobilization. Other than that...chokes work. I have found no one that cannot be choked. Again though, the dilemma is the level of investment a choke requires.

Not saying these are not good things to explore...just that submissions and chokes and pain compliance are SECONDARY to control.

FWIW, I am a BJJ Brown Belt and teach Military Combatives...so that is where i am coming from as far as perspective as well.

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Old 12-05-2011, 07:46 AM   #66
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Re: Principles of pinning

Aikido pins are fairly easy to get out of, if you have someone's left arm pinned to the mat with ikkyo they can switch their hips by swinging their right leg underneath their left and sit through and you will in their guard. Having the arm is not enough to control them. That is if they know what they are doing, for the majority of situations it would probably be sufficient.

My choices for control would would be Kami Shiho Gatame and Kesa Gatame from Judo where you lock your opponents neck and spine to the mat. These work even on seasoned grapplers, the average person would have virtually no chance to escape if it was applied by someone with experience.

I would only use submissions in a very very serious situation where I had to immobilize someone quickly due to weapons or multiple attackers. It could be seen as a disproportionate use of force to choke someone unconscious or snap their arms.

Last edited by Michael Neal : 12-05-2011 at 07:49 AM.
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Old 12-05-2011, 08:18 AM   #67
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Re: Principles of pinning

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Aikido pins are fairly easy to get out of, if you have someone's left arm pinned to the mat with ikkyo they can switch their hips by swinging their right leg underneath their left and sit through and you will in their guard. Having the arm is not enough to control them. That is if they know what they are doing, for the majority of situations it would probably be sufficient.

My choices for control would would be Kami Shiho Gatame and Kesa Gatame from Judo where you lock your opponents neck and spine to the mat. These work even on seasoned grapplers, the average person would have virtually no chance to escape if it was applied by someone with experience.

I would only use submissions in a very very serious situation where I had to immobilize someone quickly due to weapons or multiple attackers. It could be seen as a disproportionate use of force to choke someone unconscious or snap their arms.
So you suggest simply introduce a techniques from judo to fill up, what you perceive as a gaps in aikido pins? We all know that O sensei was well aware about judo repertoire of techniques having some visits in Kodokan. Being a Budo genius, he would also clearly perceive gaps in aikido pins. How come he didn't introduce more efficient pinning techniques from judo to replace those deficient from Daito ryu?

May be ultimate efficiency of aikido pins was not his main goal?

Nagababa

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Old 12-05-2011, 08:34 AM   #68
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Principles of pinning

You don't need biomechanical efficience as long you have taken your uke's mind. When being pinned is a state of the mind, any kind of pin works.

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Old 12-05-2011, 08:38 AM   #69
Marc Abrams
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Re: Principles of pinning

Let's simply start with the Ikkyo pin. You are face down on the mat. The nage has graciously not driven one knee on top of a kidney, or into your floating ribs. The other knee was not driven down on top of your neck, or on top of your elbow. There are a host of other options which would preclude the person from functioning well (if at all) from that point forward. The nage is still free to move, either releasing the person on the ground, or causing pain and injury to the uke who does not truly recognize the dangers of being placed in that position.

Pins done very well can immobilize a person. Even if the person is not fully immobilized, the idea that you are going to fight your way to freedom while being so exposed to injury is simply comical in a Darwinian sense. Pins are simply pauses in time. Imagine waiting 1/2 hour in the Ikkyo pin in the middle of a bar, waiting for the police to arrive. Just as comical as thinking that the pin is an end-all to a situation.

One of my new students has me by about 75lbs and at least 5" in height. Good boxer to boot! I had him in an Ikkyo pin and he decided to test the pin. Every time he moved, I let some part of him know that he was being struck. He decided to move onto his stomach and up (like in wrestling). A simple rear-naked choke finally got across to him the futility of what he was doing.

To me, if you are in a pin and exposed to being genuinely hurt and you insist on thrashing about, Uncle Darwin is smiling down upon you..... The pin is a pause for both sides to take note of the current situation and respond accordingly. The graciousness of the pause should not be mistaken for weakness or strength.

Marc Abrams
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Old 12-05-2011, 08:42 AM   #70
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Re: Principles of pinning

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The issue I have with most submissions is the level of investment they require in order to obtain the tap. Of course there are some that work with a small level of investment, but most require dominance or control in order to get the tap. In addition, the reliance on pain as a compliance factor which may or may not work.

IMO, it is PRIMARY to have dominance and/or control of the fight, so in a reality, I am looking for other things other than a submission. Dominance and control lead to hand cuffs or other types of immobilization. Other than that...chokes work. I have found no one that cannot be choked. Again though, the dilemma is the level of investment a choke requires.

Not saying these are not good things to explore...just that submissions and chokes and pain compliance are SECONDARY to control.

FWIW, I am a BJJ Brown Belt and teach Military Combatives...so that is where i am coming from as far as perspective as well.
Hi Kevin,
I like you comments about the dominance and chokes. I'm trying to practice chokes as often as possible even if most of aikidoka hate it. In the context of aikido however, not all chokes can be useful, as we want to preserve the mobility of Nage. So I prefer standing or kneeling chokes, where I can move fast in case of other attackers suddenly appear.

I think many aiki bunnies don't accept word ‘dominance' in aikido context; however from purely technical point of view you are completely right. No pin, choke or submission is possible without dominance on psychological and/or physical level.

Nagababa

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Old 12-05-2011, 08:50 AM   #71
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Principles of pinning

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To me, if you are in a pin and exposed to being genuinely hurt and you insist on thrashing about, Uncle Darwin is smiling down upon you..... The pin is a pause for both sides to take note of the current situation and respond accordingly. The graciousness of the pause should not be mistaken for weakness or strength.

Marc Abrams
Nor with delusion about what one can really do if the pinned fights back.

Do you remember Amdur's story about what he thougt he could do with his vital points striking against his judo friend?

Sometimes Darwin is smiling but sometimes Pavlov is the one who is smiling.

Last edited by Demetrio Cereijo : 12-05-2011 at 08:56 AM.

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Old 12-05-2011, 08:52 AM   #72
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Re: Principles of pinning

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To me, if you are in a pin and exposed to being genuinely hurt and you insist on thrashing about, Uncle Darwin is smiling down upon you..... The pin is a pause for both sides to take note of the current situation and respond accordingly. The graciousness of the pause should not be mistaken for weakness or strength.

Marc Abrams
I'm not sure if you are right. But let assume you are right for a second. Only experienced fighter will recognize the capacity of Nage in such situation. 99.99% the rest of attackers will fight back continuously blinded by rage. So what, you will incapacitate them without mercy? This is a kind of message you will send to the world after 30 years of aikido practice?

Nagababa

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Old 12-05-2011, 08:54 AM   #73
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Re: Principles of pinning

Matt-

Thanks for the comments. I would add to what Kevin is saying with a couple of things....

In application, submissions are really dangerous creatures. The level of investment to pull off a submission can be enough to affect your focus, your movement, or your energy. When you look at MMA work, you can sometimes see how [over] investment in a submission works against the submitter, especially if that combatant expels his energy unsuccessfully or allows his position to be compromised. Second, submission puts you smack in the middle of sport fighting and now you are back to looking for some obvious mechanism to determine your state of control.

Also, I saw a couple of posts about aikido pins not working. First, aikido pins work - proper control over the body will be reflected in a pin. What we are really talking about is that we have trouble successfully pinning our partners using aikido pins. This comes back to my first post about our partners needing to be honest with themselves and applying the proper filter to realize how their bodies would be damaged by non-compliance. For example, my partner has a lot of confidence that I will not dislocate her shoulder when I apply ikkyo pin. If my partner exploits that confidence, she can successfully defend against an ikkyo pin. However, in exploiting my trusts, she is neither being honest with me nor is she understanding the the potential damage her body may incur if I choose to apply the pin more severely. I think the problem lies more with uke and nage not doing things right, rather then the claim aikido doe not have functioning pins.

Pins are reflective of control. When you have partners contesting pins, ultimately your partner is saying, "I don't think you control me." So we need to change that dialogue to more clearly express to our partners that we do, in fact, control them.

And if you ever think the aikido pins are soft, ask a Daito Ryu person to show their pins, which are the parent pins of aikido. I have included a link to some of Kondo Sensei's group doing some ikkajo series work. You'll notice several uncomfortable pins that are all perfectly "aiki":
http://youtu.be/1vA0c56Bxsk
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Old 12-05-2011, 09:02 AM   #74
jonreading
 
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Re: Principles of pinning

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
I'm not sure if you are right. But let assume you are right for a second. Only experienced fighter will recognize the capacity of Nage in such situation. 99.99% the rest of attackers will fight back continuously blinded by rage. So what, you will incapacitate them without mercy? This is a kind of message you will send to the world after 30 years of aikido practice?
You can lead a horse to water... In truth, your partner chooses his path and all we can do is illustrate the consequences. I have told people to leave aikido and pursue sport fighting for almost this exact reason. If you partner truly cannot become educated to the danger of combat, then they represent a danger to themselves and others. As you become better at communicating the fight is over you seek to marginalize the ignorant responses, but they will always be there.
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Old 12-05-2011, 09:13 AM   #75
Marc Abrams
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Re: Principles of pinning

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
I'm not sure if you are right. But let assume you are right for a second. Only experienced fighter will recognize the capacity of Nage in such situation. 99.99% the rest of attackers will fight back continuously blinded by rage. So what, you will incapacitate them without mercy? This is a kind of message you will send to the world after 30 years of aikido practice?
Szczepan:

First off, my idea of a fair fight is that I go home safe. What happens to you does not really enter into my concern. I have a right and an obligation to preserve my peace and my ability to share that peaceful space with my friends and loved-ones. I will do whatever is necessary to see to it that that can happen. One of the real drivers moving me toward taking Aikido was that I was a nice guy (at least some people thought so ) until someone tried to pick a fight with me. I would then flip the proverbial switch and would become a dangerous lunatic that had to be pulled off of someone more than once. I looked toward Aikido as a way of developing alternative response sets. Interestingly enough, the only times that things happened after I started Aikido, ended with me walking away with the other person not being hurt, yet knowing he escaped from me really putting a hurting on. From that perspective, the message of my budo is something that I can live with. I am a more settled, happier person, living in a more peaceful world around me. That is reason enough to continue on that path. That being said, I maintain the ability and preserve the right to do whatever is necessary to live my life in peace.

I am not concerned about whether the fighter is experienced and/or smart enough to recognize the full implications of a situation. If I am in a situation, I am simply in it. Mercy and other nice warm fuzzies are dangerous things to try and contemplate while in that moment. So far, I have managed to not take a situation beyond where it needed to go. If someone wants to call that mercy, luck, etc. so be it. That is a luxury done from a safe distance.

I do not take or teach Aikido to teach the world a lesson about some supposed philosophical superiority of our art. Aikido has been a vehicle for me to become more centered and capable of maintaining a more peaceful world around me. I share that opportunity with others as well and allow them to decide for themselves how they want their Aikido to fit into their lives. It has made a positive impact upon all areas of my life. To that I am forever indebted to my teacher and have made the choice to teach full-time as a means of passing on the gifts that my teacher passed on to me.

Marc Abrams
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