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Old 12-09-2011, 10:56 AM   #76
niall
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

This is the reply I put on Aikido Journal.

Ellis as an aikidoka I have a lot of problems with this article.

1. The article is from a koryu perspective. But it's not at all realistic for aikido and taijutsu and tachidori. If I have a sword and you don't - and I'm determined to strike you - if you don't get off the line or run away you die. Simple. You can try it 100 times. You will be hit 100 times. I have no doubt about it. The only way an entry works on the line of a weapon strike - sword strike, spear thrust or bottle or brick swing - is if the uke is inexperienced. Or fake.

2. Irimi in aikido isn't getting out of the way and then doing something. It's a sen no sen entry simultaneously getting off the line. That's why we say sokumen irimi. It's a straight line entry to the flank. Try that 100 times against an opponent with a sword. You won't be hit 100 times. In some years you won't be hit at all. That's a pretty simple comparison. Enter straight - certain death. Enter to the flank - possible life - probable life - certain life. What budoka wouldn't choose that?

3. That kenjutsu sword strike is a go no sen strike within a kata. You have to wait for the attacker to strike and then rely on experience and timing. In aikido we don't wait for anything.

4. I wouldn't recommend your irimi with the body to a 50kg woman against a big guy like you. Aikido isn't just a budo for big guys. It's for anyone.

5. I don't agree about the place to occupy in irimi. You think that we should take the space the opponent is trying to occupy. Not in aikido we don't. We let the opponent take the space they want. What we do is give them no choice. So that they want to take the space that we want them to take. I think this is a fundamental difference in philosophy.

6. Aikido is training in principles. If we can enter against a sword we can enter against a punch or a spear or anything else. Your theory of entry might work if you have a sword yourself to use against your opponent's sword. Might. But it certainly won't if you don't. So your model doesn't seem to have any internal coherence.

7. Your article was interesting and it's helping people to think about irimi more deeply. So thanks for that. Although I don't agree with you about a lot of things I respect your work and I always read it with interest.

Best regards,

Niall

we can make our minds so like still water, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life
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Old 12-09-2011, 11:25 AM   #77
Mark Mueller
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
While we wait, I suggest to read this.
Excellent! Thanks for sharing that....
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Old 12-09-2011, 07:57 PM   #78
hughrbeyer
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

Yes, interesting article, thanks for posting it. I wish he had published the result of his researches tho.

WRT the unbendable arm: That was introduced to me not as some mighty secret that the high-level practitioners knew, but just as something that you could teach a noob in about five minutes. The point was not how hard ki was to use, but how a different mental focus created a totally different physical result.

Although (obligatory IS reference coming up) somebody asked me to show it to them recently and I was shocked at how totally different doing it feels now...

Niall: if you're arguing with Ellis I should stay the hell out of the way, but I was surprised by your "straight line entry to the flank" in (2). I'd think moving straight to the flank would signal your intention in great big letters and your attacker would just follow you. I've been taught to move in on line, avoiding the strike at the last minute with tenkan.

And I don't think you're waiting for the strike to start in (3). We spent some time recently practicing how to respond to the intent to strike, before any movement actually starts. That's what I read into Ellis' post.
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Old 12-09-2011, 08:02 PM   #79
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

Oh, and Ellis, about the multiple-sword attack...

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Old 12-10-2011, 12:39 AM   #80
niall
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

Hugh a straight line is always faster than a straight line plus something else. And an omote technique is a fast and decisive tactic against this kind of strike and if you are committed to always making a tenkan you've already eliminated some of your options.

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Old 12-10-2011, 02:00 AM   #81
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

Quote:
Niall Matthews wrote: View Post
1. The article is from a koryu perspective. But it's not at all realistic for aikido and taijutsu and tachidori. If I have a sword and you don't - and I'm determined to strike you - if you don't get off the line or run away you die. Simple. You can try it 100 times. You will be hit 100 times. I have no doubt about it. The only way an entry works on the line of a weapon strike - sword strike, spear thrust or bottle or brick swing - is if the uke is inexperienced. Or fake.
isn't one of the aikido sensei said that we shouldn't demonstrate tachidori, because there are real swordmen in the audience and we would be the laughing stock. if i have a sword and you don't, you can get off the line all days and i can still cut you, even when i go all out in shomen. from shomen to yokomen cut is just a slight rotation of the hips, no even that.

Quote:
2. Irimi in aikido isn't getting out of the way and then doing something. It's a sen no sen entry simultaneously getting off the line. That's why we say sokumen irimi. It's a straight line entry to the flank. Try that 100 times against an opponent with a sword. You won't be hit 100 times. In some years you won't be hit at all. That's a pretty simple comparison. Enter straight - certain death. Enter to the flank - possible life - probable life - certain life. What budoka wouldn't choose that?
from my point of view, enter straight, you might have a chance. you aren't going to flank me if my attention is to cut you. this remind me of the movie Red October, with Sean Connery as Capt Ramius. in the movie, Capt Ramius ordered the Red October submarine to head straight into the path of the torpedo. the other Capt thought he was crazy, until the submarine and the torpedo collided where the torpedo broke apart. the torpedo didn't explode because Capt Ramius closed the distance before it could armed the warhead. same in this case, head straight in. must willing to die in order to live.

Quote:
3. That kenjutsu sword strike is a go no sen strike within a kata. You have to wait for the attacker to strike and then rely on experience and timing. In aikido we don't wait for anything.
just as above, can't wait. head straight in, and force the other person to strike before they are ready. it's a guerrilla warfare tactic, hit and run and be sneaky. and guerrilla warfare is about disadvantage force against superior force; in this case, the other person armed and you are not. it's the unexpected thing.

Quote:
4. I wouldn't recommend your irimi with the body to a 50kg woman against a big guy like you. Aikido isn't just a budo for big guys. It's for anyone.
and here i thought aikido is for big people, since i saw lots of big folks in aikido. the invention of gun gave the 50kg woman an equalizer to big guys. as i said, when you are in a disadvantage, do the unexpected. most folks don't expect small person attacking a big person.

Quote:
5. I don't agree about the place to occupy in irimi. You think that we should take the space the opponent is trying to occupy. Not in aikido we don't. We let the opponent take the space they want. What we do is give them no choice. So that they want to take the space that we want them to take. I think this is a fundamental difference in philosophy.
if you move to strike me, your body, for example your head, has to be in a certain location. if as you fully committed in the movement, and found a fist occupied the space where your head need to be, what you think you would do next? i just want to put my fist and/or my foot first where your body need to be in order to strike me, whether you want to continue to occupy the same space with my body weapons is up to you. the bold highlighted should be changed to "Not in my aikido we don't". other people's aikido might do differently.

an old video of Saotome sensei http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsZk7Eha1Us he did quite a bit of irimi. i can almost hear some folks said "that's not aikido!"

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Old 12-10-2011, 03:42 AM   #82
graham christian
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

Irimi is off line. Sen sen no sen means you can't hit me. Sen no sen means you're too late. Any other thoughts means you have more to learn in my opinion.

Regards.G.
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Old 12-10-2011, 05:59 AM   #83
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

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Irimi is off line. Sen sen no sen means you can't hit me. Sen no sen means you're too late. Any other thoughts means you have more to learn in my opinion.

Regards.G.
Irimi as I have learned it is enter. Pure and simple. Enter. No specific path is implied other than that which allows me to control the center which varies a bit depending on situation. In eight basics as I was taught it sometimes it means directly entering ON centerline as for shomenuchi kokyunage, sometimes it means entering alongside as on tsuki kotegaishe. Where or from whom comes your belief it means off the line?

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Old 12-10-2011, 06:19 AM   #84
Janet Rosen
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Tongue Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

Quote:
Niall Matthews wrote: View Post

4. I wouldn't recommend your irimi with the body to a 50kg woman against a big guy like you. Aikido isn't just a budo for big guys. It's for anyone.

5. I don't agree about the place to occupy in irimi. You think that we should take the space the opponent is trying to occupy. Not in aikido we don't. We let the opponent take the space they want. What we do is give them no choice. So that they want to take the space that we want them to take.

Best regards,

Niall
Niall, with respect, addressing #4 :this very short and....ok think metric! 55 kg woman always entered directly as a young woman with no m.a. training doing street patrol and concert security and it stood me in good stead. In aikido I had to be taught to go offline and to this day remain closer to centerline than many training partners expect.
re #5 I would say in my relatively limited experience it seems to me that in practice most teachers will teach and demonstrate both approaches so I wonder if it is truly philosophical or more either tradition or tactics or both. For example the most common responses I've seen as standard to shomenuchi for ikkyo is very much entering under the sword to occupy where uke is wanting to be. The few instructors I've seen who allow the shomenuchi to come to full fruition stand out by their rarity. Meanwhile in most of those dojos that agree on not allowing shomenuchi to fully manifest it is very common to allow a tsuki to do so while nage gets offline and a yokomenuchi may receive either treatment depending on what technique nage is supposed to do (enter directly into attack for gokyo vs let attack fully manifest for shihonage).
My two cents. Maybe worth less in today's economy!

Janet Rosen
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Old 12-10-2011, 08:38 AM   #85
graham christian
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

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Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
Irimi as I have learned it is enter. Pure and simple. Enter. No specific path is implied other than that which allows me to control the center which varies a bit depending on situation. In eight basics as I was taught it sometimes it means directly entering ON centerline as for shomenuchi kokyunage, sometimes it means entering alongside as on tsuki kotegaishe. Where or from whom comes your belief it means off the line?
From the same place as you. Teacher. Then plus common sense. In order to blend with, thus Aikido.

Defined as passing behind.

Now if you also want to use it as passing straight through then so be it but in Aikido that would lead to confusions in communication and people doing irimi straight into a spear.

I don't believe you or anyone does move straight into anyway unless you're hitting someone with your chest or belly. Or maybe a head butt.

Regards.G.
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Old 12-10-2011, 09:17 AM   #86
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

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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.
I know what you mean - I am from that era and a lot of people were ripe for the mystical teachings of ki, and there were those that exploited that for their own benefit. Unfortunately, that gave Ki a bad name and turned people away from understanding how true ki is an integral part of developing a coordinated mind and body; which is a core requirement for establishing soft power in the internal arts.

Just my opinion...

Greg
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Old 12-10-2011, 09:40 AM   #87
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

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Greg Steckel wrote: View Post
I know what you mean - I am from that era and a lot of people were ripe for the mystical teachings of ki, and there were those that exploited that for their own benefit. Unfortunately, that gave Ki a bad name and turned people away from understanding how true ki is an integral part of developing a coordinated mind and body; which is a core requirement for establishing soft power in the internal arts.

Just my opinion...

Greg
Ahh, come on, be fair, a lot of people were also ripe for machokido. Come to think of it, a lot of people are always ripe for something......

Regards.G.
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Old 12-10-2011, 10:21 AM   #88
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

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Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Ahh, come on, be fair, a lot of people were also ripe for machokido. Come to think of it, a lot of people are always ripe for something......

Regards.G.
Yeah, that was going on too - I guess it was just a ripe time in the west for anything mystical and from the far east...

Greg
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Old 12-10-2011, 08:20 PM   #89
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

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Niall Matthews wrote: View Post
Hugh a straight line is always faster than a straight line plus something else. And an omote technique is a fast and decisive tactic against this kind of strike and if you are committed to always making a tenkan you've already eliminated some of your options.
I'll buy that the straight line is faster if you're measuring from point A to point B, but I don't think you want to do that here. I'm measuring from the time my attacker realizes I'm not going to be where he's striking to point B. If I can keep him focused on his strike by moving in, it's a very short and quick motion to turn out from under the strike. And I'm not committed to anything until I've done that.
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Old 12-10-2011, 10:50 PM   #90
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

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Niall Matthews wrote: View Post
Ellis as an aikidoka I have a lot of problems with this article.
Niall
Sorry Niall, I'd say you are quite wrong. Read Ellis' articld again. He is spot on. And if you still don't see it, read it again a bit later. It makes perfect sense to me.

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Old 12-10-2011, 11:25 PM   #91
niall
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

Phi yes that was Kuroiwa Sensei. I had coffee with him once. That was actually my point. Perhaps you can enter straight if the uke does the inexperienced - or fake - cut that ends up striking with the hands and sword grip near tori instead of the sharp end. That's the type of strike you often see in demonstrations. That's what gets the people who know about swords to shake their heads sadly. But most people I know don't want to train in the expectation of a poor attack. And if the uke means business you get cut if you come in straight. I'm not talking about changing the direction - a sincere strike with a normal straight shomen cut. Nice video of Saotome Sensei. He was already known for his excellent sword and jo techniques before he left Japan. In the video the uke isn't striking with a sword but Saotome Sensei gets off the line except when the uke overcommits. I like the handshake.

Janet staying close to the centre line is a great way to enter. A sword is not very thick. 5 degrees is good.

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Old 12-10-2011, 11:53 PM   #92
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

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Graham Christian wrote: View Post
From the same place as you. Teacher. Then plus common sense. In order to blend with, thus Aikido.

Defined as passing behind.

Now if you also want to use it as passing straight through then so be it but in Aikido that would lead to confusions in communication and people doing irimi straight into a spear.

I don't believe you or anyone does move straight into anyway unless you're hitting someone with your chest or belly. Or maybe a head butt.

Regards.G.
Believe what you like. We explicitly aim on shomenuchi to not move off the centerline but to meet the strike on centerline, deflecting it just enough to make it safe for nage to then slide in to position for technique - as opposed to letting uke have centerline while nage darts or slips past it. Our goal is a straight centerline entry.

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Old 12-11-2011, 07:58 AM   #93
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

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I don't believe you or anyone does move straight into ...
As Janet says: Believe or not. We do.
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Old 12-11-2011, 09:38 AM   #94
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

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Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
As Janet says: Believe or not. We do.
Don't worry, I believe it. I don't disagree with it as workable either. I just don't say that is Irimi. I would say it's deflecting the attack off of center line followed by.........

To me that is doing then entering rather than entering. Anyway, that doesn't mean I don't do it too but I don't call that irimi.

I would even say that apart from the sword that principle is used in other arts too, that of staying on line, just look at some of the wing chun moves.

However even in such moves the hips turn or open slightly off line first before returning to on line.

None of this means right or wrong it means differentiate and see the difference in purpose.

Regards.G.
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:32 AM   #95
Ellis Amdur
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The "JO Trick"

There is a story, I believe in one of Shioda's books, where he describes a pre-war Osensei teaching at a military academy, and challenged, stretches his arm with just his pinky resting on the edge of a table and has a number of men lie across his extended arm. Either a fantasy or it happened.

More directly, there is a wonderful photograph I:ve only seen once - with Osensei standing with his arm outstretched, with an obi or cloth looped around his extended arm and one or two guys hauling at the rope - Osensei unmoved. That picture looks very believable.

I believe that the Jo-trick is an *extension* of that level of power, coupled with "I cannot move my teacher" - BUT, Terry Dobson tells the story of never believing this trick, and jumping up and slamming into the guys pushing and simply bouncing off.

So what do I think? I truly think Ueshiba, due to his far greater level of training, has abilities beyond such "tricksters" as Tohei, for example. (Oh, please, don"t get upset. I put " " around the word). So either he could do it, just as it appears, or, as is more probable to me, he had a level of skills and power that were, in this demonstration, enhanced by the support of his students.

Ellis Amdur

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Old 12-12-2011, 12:48 AM   #96
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Re: The "JO Trick"

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
There is a story, I believe in one of Shioda's books, where he describes a pre-war Osensei teaching at a military academy, and challenged, stretches his arm with just his pinky resting on the edge of a table and has a number of men lie across his extended arm. Either a fantasy or it happened.
The bullet story and the tree story both came from Shioda as well. I always thought that was interesting because he always struck me as a no bullshit kind of guy.

In "Aikido Ichiro" Minoru Mochizuki, another no bullshit kind of guy, talks about Ueshiba's psychic powers.

Whether these things happened or not, I have no idea, but it does seem that Ueshiba was sufficiently convincing to make those guys believers.

Tohei, on the other hand, tended to discount those stories - but he did talk about his own psychic healing powers, and his ability to stun chickens with his Ki, so I guess YMMV.

Best,

Chris

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Old 12-12-2011, 12:57 AM   #97
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On how wrong I am

Sorry, been off line - of all things, teaching an aikido seminar at a fine dojo in central Cali - the Akkan Dojo. (taught two days of irimi)

Niall - <sigh> You didn't read the article very carefully. I NOWHERE mention tachi-dori, which is a total absurdity. Your assertion that irimi, by what ever definition you choose, would be possible against a skilled swordsman - it just will not happen. Your description of how you would move to defeat a swordsman - that won't happen either. Your imagined possibility was exactly what Kuroiwa sensei was criticizing. (the funniest thing about that story was this. Kuroiwa brought it up during an all shihan movie. He said that afterwards, you couldn't hear a pin drop. And afterwards, he said, Saito sensei came up to him and said, "Yoku itte kureta" ("good on you. Thanks for saying it") - Kuroiwa said to me, "Saito sensei was a great man, but he didn't realize I meant him too."

That kenjutsu strike I mentioned is not necessarily go no sen. Itto-tachi can be executed sen sen no sen, sen no sen OR Go no sen.

You somehow read what I wrote as direct line against direct line. In other words, if someone punches me, I punch him in the fist with my fist. Irimi is a cutting ACROSS a line to the enemy's center. In xinyi, it is, in particular, pi ch'uan - called "splitting." One cuts across the opponent's line of attack. This can be from any angle. It is not a collision. For example, a double leg takedown is irimi. It is not a collision It is "diving" into the tsuki that is INSIDE the attack.

Please forgive me for making the following individual involved anonymous. I'm not telling this story for self-agrandizement - it's to illustrate a point, not score a point on a particular person. I used to train under a number of shihan in aikido, before I went to Japan. There was one in particular whose sword skills I was in awe of. I went to Japan, and started training in Araki-ryu. WE trained kata, we broke kata, we practiced freestyle. We cut at the body and if the person moved, we cut where they moved. We tried to anticipate where they moved and cut them before they got there. After training one year, I returned for a visit to the states and visited that particular shihan where he was teaching a seminar. He called me out, and handed me a shinai, held one himself and told me to attack him. He moved much as you describe Niall, and I tracked him. I could see him moving, and cut at his body, and slashed him across the back - hard. Based on what would have happened in my Araki-ryu training, this surprised the heck out of me, because such a simplistic sequence would be countered by my teacher. We were training at a lot higher level. The shihan in question, arched his back in pain, and whispered to me, "Nani shiteru no? Shinken shinai de kurei." - (What are you doing. Don't do it for real") I very carefully forced myself to return to what I was unfamiliar. Aikido style cutting, where, theoretically, once you begin a cut, you cannot alter the direction of your move and from that point on, his "irimi" was impeccable. . . . . .looking.

Anyway, irimi is simply cutting across/through their line, and having enough physical integrity and structure to make that possible (body as a sword) to the tsuki. You dive through and under like a seal coming up to grab a fish, or from above like a falcon dropping on prey, or slashing through like a cougar cutting the angle and grabbing the throat.

But again, this has nothing to do with a fantasy of an unarmed man, no matter how much aikido he knows, being able to defeat a skilled swordsman.

Ellis Amdur

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Old 12-12-2011, 06:31 AM   #98
phitruong
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
I would say it's deflecting the attack off of center line followed by.........
Regards.G.
yup, we called it irimi for short, i.e. no point on wasting time describing the thing with a whole paragraph when a word would do.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 12-12-2011, 07:37 AM   #99
sorokod
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

Perhaps the following quote from Saito Morihiro sensei is relevant:
Quote:
Aikido is generally believed to represent circular movments. Contrary to such belief,
however, Aikido, in its true Ki form, is a fierce art piercing straight through the
center of opposition. The nature of the art being such that you are not supposed to
adapt yourself to your partner by making a wide oblique turn of your body but are
called upon to find your way onward while twisting your hips."

Traditional Aikido Vol. 5

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Old 12-12-2011, 08:06 AM   #100
jonreading
 
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Re: "Irimi" by Ellis Amdur

In my earlier post I alluded to the difference between irrimi the physical movement and irrimi the philosophical concept. After reading posts subsequent to mine, I would like to elaborate on that point.

I believe that irrimi in its philosophical and physical forms have evolved and digressed from one another. The result of this digression is that the modern notion of irrimi cannot be physically realized. So, we have changed the physical irrimi to comply within the philosophical notion of irrimi. Trouble is, this new irrimi doesn't work outside of aikido. Niall is correct in the sense that Ellis is coming from a koryu perspective. However, I believe the problem is not that the "irrimi" for the koryu arts is wrong, but rather the "new" irrimi may have serious flaws outside of its constructed rules of conduct within aikido. We have freedom here to do whatever irrimi we want. If your philosophy dictates how you perform your technique then be bold and proclaim your commitment, but don't excuse the techniques for what they are - philosophical exercise.

Second, my understanding of proper combat timing is that we must be prepared to perform any technique on any level of timing. While overly simplistic, I think I take issue with any claim that a given technique can only be performed at one point of time. I think is OK to acknowledge if we only know one timing in which to enter, but I have had too many good aikido people do technique to me in so many different ways my head spun.

What's worse... Those aikido people who understand irrimi as nage are also able to attack with irrimi. Elllis' comments about being able to cut aikido people by attacking with this same sense of irrimi is one of my logical proofs of aikido. Aikido is about parity - uke is just a mirror of nage, right? So if nage can move with irrimi, so can uke. I cannot resolve uke moving with the irrimi that is evasive, it just doesn't work. But, if I apply irrimi as the article discusses you get something that makes sense on both sides of the engagement, and will actually empower uke to succeed if nage incorrectly moves.

Anyway, those are some things I am working on now...
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