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Old 12-07-2011, 01:31 PM   #51
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Jon Reading wrote:

It is my definition too.

You made me think of something that has not been addressed. The concept of "pre-emptive strike".

Really I think this is a very related issue and one that centers heavily around ethics and the ethical employment of force.

For me, irimi is not pre-emptive. pre-emptive means you are attacking uke before he attacks you. As most of us know the doctrine of pre-emptive strike employed by the U.S. in Iraq has been a source of controversy.

So, if I enter into nage and disrupt him (attack) before he attacks I think it is one set of ethics. If I respond when he attacks another....I think this concept is covered well in the Oscar O'ratti book dealing with the four possible scenarios of attack.

When Graham discusses moving behind uke by moving off the line before uke attacks...I see this as pre-emptive. Of course, what you do once you achieve this position affects the ethics of the situation, but the fact is...you have done SOMETHING that uke must now react to in some way. I would say, for most situations in which he felt threatened and exposed, it will serve to escalate the situation.

Is that good or bad? I think it depends, but at the base level YOU did something that caused Uke to respond.

On the other hand, if Uke moves first and attacks, and I respond...well then it might be different even though the outcome ends up the same.

I am not saying what is right or wrong...only that we need to consider all the factors that go into the situations we might find ourselves in.
I go back to my word-problems... If 2 trains leave the same location at the same time, traveling the same speed and the destination is the same distance...

Practically speaking, the shortest distance between your [fist] and your partner is a straight line. Presumably, his attack will be on that straight line. You simply cannot move a longer distance than your partner without changing the equation. For either partner, you can change distance, speed, and duration.

If my irrimi abdicates the line, then I necessarily must either negatively affect my partner or speed up my movement. If my irrimi closes the critical distance while establishing a new line of attack, I will actually reach my target first without altering the remainder of the equation.

While it may look the same, starting my movement sooner than my partner is not sen sen no sen timing, it is compensatory timing. Here's what gets me... Clark Sensei said it... sometimes the timing is evasion. I have been racking my brains for several years now to reconcile that little gem. I think there is a difference between the defined timing of combat and the observation of compensatory timing. Best I can describe it... Nolan Ryan (best pitcher, ever) could throw a fastball 95 mph+. As a non-professional hitter, I could hit a fastball if I started my swing mechanics timing sooner. As a professional hitter, I could hit a fastball without the need to start my swing earlier. Things get tricky as soon as I need to first determine whether to swing or not, then figure out where the ball is going to be. Sometimes we need evasion to buy us time to act... That's OK, but I am not sure that timing actually is combat timing.

I think this is why in the pressure cooker of intensity, irrimi is is tough to do. I think many of us mask our bad combat timing with compensatory timing. As soon as our partner speeds up though we cannot match him. Take away the foreknowledge of what is going to happen... Well, our partners obviously have bad energy, or didn't do something right, or aren't "committing" to the act. or whatever.

As a wrap-up to kevin's question, I think that sen sen no sen timing is performed under the intention to supersede the attack and encourage an alternate cognitive thought process. I think simply moving into a new position that your partner can [still] attack has nothing to do with the timing of combat (or distance).

Last edited by jonreading : 12-07-2011 at 01:34 PM.
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Old 12-07-2011, 02:31 PM   #52
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

I have thought this for years - irimi is direct and tenkan is a waste of time - it is only what happens when irimi fails - and yet, you are already dead yourself. I have often been looked at in disbelief. Great article.

Last edited by Rupert Atkinson : 12-07-2011 at 02:34 PM.

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Old 12-07-2011, 02:51 PM   #53
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

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Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
I have thought this for years - irimi is direct and tenkan is a waste of time - it is only what happens when irimi fails - and yet, you are already dead yourself. I have often been looked at in disbelief. Great article.
Rupert, maybe you and I are defining tenkan differently - if by tenkan you mean a circular dance I agree with you. But I am a firm proponent of the belief that every tenkan is essentially an irimi.
The example I use is when I see a parking spot open up across the street and I make a fast uturn to grab it before anybody else can. It is a tenkan but it is 100% direct irimi.
So to me, on the mat, my tenkan is a movement FROM irimi in order to deal with something like a tactical need to get my attacker moving in a particular direction due to the presence of obstacles or other attackers.

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Old 12-07-2011, 05:19 PM   #54
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

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Chuck Clark wrote: View Post
I guess I, and some others taking part in this discussion that have, it appears, somewhat different experiences outside the dojo, would have a disagreement with you about this point.
I would like to know why? Sincerely.

Regards.G.
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Old 12-07-2011, 05:20 PM   #55
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

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Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
Rupert, maybe you and I are defining tenkan differently - if by tenkan you mean a circular dance I agree with you. But I am a firm proponent of the belief that every tenkan is essentially an irimi.
The example I use is when I see a parking spot open up across the street and I make a fast uturn to grab it before anybody else can. It is a tenkan but it is 100% direct irimi.
So to me, on the mat, my tenkan is a movement FROM irimi in order to deal with something like a tactical need to get my attacker moving in a particular direction due to the presence of obstacles or other attackers.
Hi Janet, I am thinking of sword attack, which is what Aikido is supposed to be based on (not parking my car). If the irimi is good, the tenkan will kill you. That's the way I see it. I know we all usually start Aikido from avoidance, take balance, make technique, etc. etc. but as you hone your skill you need less and less avoidance until you can just walk straight through your uke regardless.

With that in mind, I personally think the two irimi and two tenkan practice method of most dojos to be a huge mistake. Or perhaps, it only makes sense once you realise it to be a mistake.

Last edited by Rupert Atkinson : 12-07-2011 at 05:23 PM.

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Old 12-07-2011, 05:26 PM   #56
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

Quote:
So to me, on the mat, my tenkan is a movement FROM irimi in order to deal with something like a tactical need to get my attacker moving in a particular direction due to the presence of obstacles or other attackers.
This I agree with.

Regards.G.

Last edited by akiy : 12-07-2011 at 10:50 PM. Reason: Fixed quote tag
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Old 12-07-2011, 05:37 PM   #57
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

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Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
Hi Janet, I am thinking of sword attack, which is what Aikido is supposed to be based on (not parking my car). If the irimi is good, the tenkan will kill you. That's the way I see it. I know we all usually start Aikido from avoidance, take balance, make technique, etc. etc. but as you hone your skill you need less and less avoidance until you can just walk straight through your uke regardless.

With that in mind, I personally think the two irimi and two tenkan practice method of most dojos to be a huge mistake. Or perhaps, it only makes sense once you realise it to be a mistake.
I would say when is it useful in Sword rather than it will get you killed.

Using irimi empty hands against a shomen type cut is an example. If you irmi and tenkan then your hand drops down on the attackers wrist behind their hold of the sword or even onto the handle if you are good enough.

If you raise your sword in alignment with the attacker and enter, like a mirror image, like ikkyo with the sword, and enter irimi and tenkan then you will find yourself facing the same way as the attacker but your sword is now ready to cut down his back or even arms if you wish or shoulder take your pick depending how deep your irimi was.

Irimi tenkan is a matter of when rather than doesn't work.

Regards.G.
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Old 12-07-2011, 06:52 PM   #58
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
Hi Janet, I am thinking of sword attack, which is what Aikido is supposed to be based on (not parking my car). If the irimi is good, the tenkan will kill you. That's the way I see it. I know we all usually start Aikido from avoidance, take balance, make technique, etc. etc. but as you hone your skill you need less and less avoidance until you can just walk straight through your uke regardless.

With that in mind, I personally think the two irimi and two tenkan practice method of most dojos to be a huge mistake. Or perhaps, it only makes sense once you realise it to be a mistake.
Rupert, thank you for your reply. I have also heard it said that aikido is meant to deal with multiple attackers or to be able to take down someone with least harm (the latter say for a drunk fool or out if control large child or if you just don't feel like putting your attacker through a window or into a beam) and hence my examples of choosing, following direct irimi, to tenkan and bring my attacker along a different vector. Options are good.

I also find, personally, due to some combination being short and very hippy and maybe some psychological factor I'm not aware of that for me there are simply times, once I have uke off balanced and controlled, it just feels right for us to turn.

Janet Rosen
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Old 12-07-2011, 06:53 PM   #59
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

Adding: I do not see my tenkan as evasion or avoidance.
Adding further: I am not devaluing your post or reply - I think this is a really interesting conversation!

Last edited by Janet Rosen : 12-07-2011 at 06:56 PM.

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Old 12-07-2011, 07:28 PM   #60
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
I have included a Friendship demo of Sunadomari Sensei. He was a big fan of this "greeting" irrimi and you can see the entering movement in many of his techniques. You'll also notice he spends time talking about removing power:
http://youtu.be/uOKRlgUYlsM
It is about time Jun adds a "Like" button.

Yes, I can see a lot of aiki-age and aiki-sage movements when he entered.
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:02 PM   #61
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
I go back to my word-problems... If 2 trains leave the same location at the same time, traveling the same speed and the destination is the same distance...

Practically speaking, the shortest distance between your [fist] and your partner is a straight line. Presumably, his attack will be on that straight line. You simply cannot move a longer distance than your partner without changing the equation. For either partner, you can change distance, speed, and duration.

If my irrimi abdicates the line, then I necessarily must either negatively affect my partner or speed up my movement. If my irrimi closes the critical distance while establishing a new line of attack, I will actually reach my target first without altering the remainder of the equation.

While it may look the same, starting my movement sooner than my partner is not sen sen no sen timing, it is compensatory timing. Here's what gets me... Clark Sensei said it... sometimes the timing is evasion. I have been racking my brains for several years now to reconcile that little gem. I think there is a difference between the defined timing of combat and the observation of compensatory timing. Best I can describe it... Nolan Ryan (best pitcher, ever) could throw a fastball 95 mph+. As a non-professional hitter, I could hit a fastball if I started my swing mechanics timing sooner. As a professional hitter, I could hit a fastball without the need to start my swing earlier. Things get tricky as soon as I need to first determine whether to swing or not, then figure out where the ball is going to be. Sometimes we need evasion to buy us time to act... That's OK, but I am not sure that timing actually is combat timing.

I think this is why in the pressure cooker of intensity, irrimi is is tough to do. I think many of us mask our bad combat timing with compensatory timing. As soon as our partner speeds up though we cannot match him. Take away the foreknowledge of what is going to happen... Well, our partners obviously have bad energy, or didn't do something right, or aren't "committing" to the act. or whatever.

As a wrap-up to kevin's question, I think that sen sen no sen timing is performed under the intention to supersede the attack and encourage an alternate cognitive thought process. I think simply moving into a new position that your partner can [still] attack has nothing to do with the timing of combat (or distance).
Hi Jon.
This may be just word definition differences but the point of starting movement before the partner not being sen sen no sen to me obviously is. As I said, it may be differences of definitions.

Another point I would like to make is that good irimi is also a matter of sen no sen.

The compensatory timing as you call it I would say comes under go no sen, moving after the attack has started.

Simply put I would say sen no sen is moving before and sen sen no sen is presenting a target which makes the other attack, thus you are controlling the whole situation.

As you used a baseball example I'd like to use a tennis one, professional tennis, the top boys especially.

When you think how fast the balls are moving and how far away from the opponent they are heading at speed then you can see that mechanically trying to work it out and move is far too slow. Thus as I've said before when on form they are considered to be in the zone. They are tuned into each other and going with feeling rather than analytical thought. They feel and 'instictively' know where that ball is about to be hit and are already on their way there. This is an example of sen no sen in tennis as I see it.

Irimi is a path the way I describe it and thus if you use sen no sen and move on that path then you have closed the space down and taken over before the opponent has finished what he was trying to do. That's high level of course but nonetheless real.

Now not that that is high enough O'Sensei said that you can go even beyond that and seemed to imply that there lay true Aikido. Small steps long journey ha, ha.

Regards.G.
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Old 12-08-2011, 01:38 AM   #62
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

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Rupert, thank you for your reply. I have also heard it said that aikido is meant to deal with multiple attackers or to be able to take down someone with least harm Options are good.
You only have options if you can destroy your attacker. The better you can destroy (go through) him, the more options you have (i.e. not to). If you can't destroy him, then you have no options at all, and he will destroy you.

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Old 12-08-2011, 01:39 AM   #63
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

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...once I have uke off balanced and controlled, it just feels right for us to turn.
Once you have him, you can do with him as you please, and turning may be your choice.

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Old 12-08-2011, 01:44 AM   #64
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

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I have also heard it said that aikido is meant to deal with multiple attackers.
Yes, maybe.

Basically, you position yourself to deal with them one at a time and, what I think, is that you aim to go right through them, just like Ellis was explaining with the sword = irimi. Think about it. If you are surrounded by ten mad samurai like in the movies the only thing you can do is cut them all - one at a time. You won't have much time to avoid anything at all. In fact, even the tiniest avoidance will be the death of you - you have no time at all for defence. And as Musashi would say, they way you fight 1 on 1 is no different to the way you fight 1 on 10, or 1000 against 10,000. Anyway, what do I know. Just read Ellis's article again - it is excellent, in my opinion.

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Old 12-08-2011, 01:53 AM   #65
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

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Adding: I do not see my tenkan as evasion or avoidance.
Adding further: I am not devaluing your post or reply - I think this is a really interesting conversation!
For most people, tenkan = avoidance.

For me, I like to approach in irimi no matter what, and then go thru them with irimi mind. And tenkan is for when I can't go thru or when I feel uke has too much power (in a real situation, you might find him going thru you - so not smart to train this way too much). But it should be the tiniest tenkan (not a ridiculously large sweep) and then back into irimi ASAP. If you have good control, you could choose to do a bigger tenkan - but it is the irimi-ness of the encounter that makes the control possible.

That is the way I train. I have no interest in the standard 'syllabus' anymore. I think it is full of 'errors' and once you think that there's no going back.

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Old 12-08-2011, 02:00 AM   #66
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

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Graham Christian wrote: View Post
If you raise your sword in alignment with the attacker and enter, like a mirror image, like ikkyo with the sword, and enter irimi and tenkan then you will find yourself facing the same way as the attacker but your sword is now ready to cut down his back or even arms if you wish or shoulder take your pick depending how deep your irimi was.
Regards.G.
I know exactly what you mean as we have all done that to death. But is it a sensible way to train? I agree with Ellis. Train more irimi to go right thru him. The enigma is, that by practicing more irimi you will actually find your self getting better at the movement you described above, but then, having practiced irimi more, you will find yourself doing less of that technique explained above because you will have less need for it.

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Old 12-08-2011, 04:41 AM   #67
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

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Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
I know exactly what you mean as we have all done that to death. But is it a sensible way to train? I agree with Ellis. Train more irimi to go right thru him. The enigma is, that by practicing more irimi you will actually find your self getting better at the movement you described above, but then, having practiced irimi more, you will find yourself doing less of that technique explained above because you will have less need for it.
Put that way I agree.

Regards.G.
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Old 12-08-2011, 09:58 AM   #68
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

In Dueling with Osensei, I have a chapter entitled "There is no such thing as Tenkan . . . without Irimi" There, I make the point that I've seen no writings whatsoever of Osensei referring to Tenkan, Instead, he referred to IRIMI and IRIMI-TENKAN. (What Rupert has been writing above). This is a jujutsu response (that's not bad - I just mean it as phenomenology) - where the opponent is powerfully/skilled/lucky enough to neutralize your irimi, resulting in a tsuki (opening). In other words, the initial irimi was still successful by unbalancing the attacker, and tenkan is the method in which one defeats them.

For example, one thrusts at the opponent's throat, and has they forcefully bring their weapon upwards to deflect, you cut under their arms.

But: if you think about this in a one-two sequence, it will still not work, at least not against an equally skilled opponent for the following reasons:
1. Your initial attack will have been too weak, so that the defender will take the initiative
2. Your initial attack will be forceful, but unbalanced, so that you will never be able to "reboot" in time for a "2nd" cut. Instead, you will end of in a clash of strength. (grappling for position)

Which leads, full circle to my addendum on the Aikido Journal site, about the need to forge one's body as a sword. That being accomplished through tanren to develop the "aiki body" - (yes, here we are again), one has the ability to thrust with full power, without any over extension, and with one's musculature and nervous system so "aligned" that when the initial move is neutralized, one flows into the next cut. In other words, irimi-tenkan is one movement, not two.

If, for the sake of an image, one thinks of irimi as a line, then irimi-tenkan is a loop.

Ellis Amdur

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Old 12-08-2011, 10:21 AM   #69
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

Thank you. I have read the columns and the book and see no contradiction w/ what I've been apparently unsuccessfully trying to say.

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Old 12-08-2011, 08:40 PM   #70
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

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Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
Basically, you position yourself to deal with them one at a time and, what I think, is that you aim to go right through them, just like Ellis was explaining with the sword = irimi. Think about it. If you are surrounded by ten mad samurai like in the movies the only thing you can do is cut them all - one at a time. You won't have much time to avoid anything at all. In fact, even the tiniest avoidance will be the death of you - you have no time at all for defence.
Sounds okay... but what about those videos of O-Sensei where he's surrounded by a bunch of guys with swords who all strike him at once? Certainly he's not dealing with them one at a time. Is the movement he makes irimi or tenkan? How do you irimi ten guys on all sides of you?
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Old 12-08-2011, 09:57 PM   #71
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

I've participated in those demo with several top shihan. I'm sorry - there is not a human being alive who could do that. One appreciates that one has to cut in such a way that contact is not made.

Or as Kuroiwa sensei said to me, "Of course, you couldn't hit Osensei." I asked, "You mean, you couldn't hit him?" He replied, "That's what I said. No student of Osensei could hit Osensei."

Ellis Amdur

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Old 12-09-2011, 07:35 AM   #72
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
I've participated in those demo with several top shihan. I'm sorry - there is not a human being alive who could do that. One appreciates that one has to cut in such a way that contact is not made.

Or as Kuroiwa sensei said to me, "Of course, you couldn't hit Osensei." I asked, "You mean, you couldn't hit him?" He replied, "That's what I said. No student of Osensei could hit Osensei."

Ellis Amdur
Well I would love to hear your take on "the jo trick"....
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Old 12-09-2011, 08:04 AM   #73
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

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Sounds okay... but what about those videos of O-Sensei where he's surrounded by a bunch of guys with swords who all strike him at once? Certainly he's not dealing with them one at a time. Is the movement he makes irimi or tenkan? How do you irimi ten guys on all sides of you?
Different thing. It's more to do with zanshin and eight direction awareness. (And sen no sen or as I say 'being with all of them)

The foot movement depends on which path you take but is not something you analytically consider. One thing in common with the o/p is that whichever path you take will be as a motion irimi.

Irimi and carry on would be you leaving them behind. Irimi and tenkan would be you turning to do something. (although it may also be irimi taisabaki).

Regards.G.
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Old 12-09-2011, 08:23 AM   #74
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

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Well I would love to hear your take on "the jo trick"....
While we wait, I suggest to read this.

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Old 12-09-2011, 10:22 AM   #75
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

One of the few times I find myself in sympathy with Homma.

Just the other day I was having dinner with an old timer from another art who was there in Hawaii to watch it all unfold. Interestingly, and too his credit, Tohei saw what he was training, told him to keep it up and not bother with aikido.

Anyway, as he was complaining that no one (especially the nanadans coming over from Japan) understands the training and the proper roll of teacher and student, I flat out asked him, "So what went wrong?" And he said (badly paraphrased) it was the 60s and that we (us. everyone) were looking for the guru so we, ourselves, created the monster and threw the traditions out. He watched it happen. Is routinely ignored because he doesn't play that game. And now he sees the home grown version stepping into positions of leadership. People prefer the imitation over the original.

-Doug Walker
光道館・叢雲道場
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