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Old 07-02-2013, 02:16 AM   #26
CorkyQ
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Re: Aikido's Attacks -- Reality and Effectiveness

Quote:
William Hazen wrote: View Post
Having met and worked briefly with Sensei Quackenbush when He dropped by our old dojo years ago I can say from both his ukemi with me and mine with him that he is a very thoughtful Aikido practitioner with serious intent. So Sensei Quackenbush I found your posts very insightful.

In short I agree with your Aikido is only as good as your "intention" as Uke.

At least that is my experiance.

William Hazen
Thank you, Mr. Hazen for your kind words and compliments. I still sometimes refer to things I learned from Sensei Fowler during my training at West Wind Dojo which I remember fondly. I'm happy that my posts gave you food for thought.

Best,

CQ
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:34 AM   #27
Mark Freeman
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Re: Aikido's Attacks -- Reality and Effectiveness

Quote:
Michael Varin wrote: View Post
Wow!

This must be an extremely challenging thread.

I welcome any on topic posts.

Is it really that difficult?
Hi Michael,

this is aikiweb, thread drift is inherent in the practice

IMO your OP has generated some interesting reading,

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:34 PM   #28
Aikibu
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Re: Aikido's Attacks -- Reality and Effectiveness

Well without all the detail Aikido (at least with our Aikido as expressed by Shoji Nishio and a few others) must be effective against other Martial Arts/Artists/Fighters in order to be considered a Martial Art.

My teachers have always taken this approach and so have I, but it is still just a tool... like for example... a pistol.

Folks mostly buy pistols for protection but very few know how to handle a pistol under duress and still hit what they are aiming at. Some take pistol shooting a bit more seriously.

You can find a school that will teach you basic gun safety and how to shoot and thats how far you'll take it. And a some will venture further. Perhaps join a Combat Pistol Team, Go to Matches and Compete, Learn how to fire under duress and practice advanced techniques for hours on their own dime/time.

The more advanced the shooter the easier to control the escalation of conflict within yourself and remain in control.

Martial Arts including Aikido are no different. And with any of those skills Professor Murphy will still have a say in any potential "real world" outcome no matter how highly skilled you've become..

I find folks who trip over this Art/Technique or that one are only halfway down the road to understanding "why" they do "what" they do. They are easy to spot on the Mat.

The folks who have trudged a fair piece further down the road just show it, and you can feel in any encounter with them.

My key to understanding this path is allow folks to approach Aikido and obtain any level they wish...without judgement.

I only give a frack about my practice which due to time constraints and life events... sucks right now quite frankly. But that will pass and the rare few times I get to work with folks My intentions must be serious and my Ukemi and techniques done with full focus.

The most important thing Shoji Nishio tried to impart on his students with Aikido is that must be practiced sincerely with an "austere heart" in order for it to be considered Budo. Otherwise you might just as well do something else if you're trying to walk the path of "Martial Awareness."

Practice Hard.

William Hazen

Last edited by Aikibu : 07-02-2013 at 01:39 PM.
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:56 PM   #29
CorkyQ
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Re: Aikido's Attacks -- Reality and Effectiveness

Quote:
William Hazen wrote: View Post
Well without all the detail Aikido (at least with our Aikido as expressed by Shoji Nishio and a few others) must be effective against other Martial Arts/Artists/Fighters in order to be considered a Martial Art.

(truncated)

Practice Hard.

William Hazen
I hear you, brother - add the requirement "and must effectively produce a healing" and you see where I am coming from... from my point of view, merely "insuring no one is hurt" falls short of aikido's highest potential.
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Old 07-02-2013, 02:38 PM   #30
Aikibu
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Re: Aikido's Attacks -- Reality and Effectiveness

Quote:
Corky Quakenbush wrote: View Post
I hear you, brother - add the requirement "and must effectively produce a healing" and you see where I am coming from... from my point of view, merely "insuring no one is hurt" falls short of aikido's highest potential.
True that.

William Hazen
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Old 07-03-2013, 05:10 AM   #31
Mario Tobias
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Re: Aikido's Attacks -- Reality and Effectiveness

yes, aikido attacks look unrealistic and ineffective during normal practice but IMHO they are only that for nage and uke to understand the forms, techniques and principles of aikido. Most important are timing, entry and intent.

Initially, the focus is on uke's external manifestation of intent of an attack until a point that nage reaches a higher plane that he already would anticipate uke's intention even before the attack has begun (internal intent).

So I think we should worry about the intent and not the attack per se. I think as beginners we focus too much on the external forms of an attack but as we go higher we need to focus on uke's internal intent.

This progression from external to internal focus holds true for both nage and uke.
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Old 07-03-2013, 03:29 PM   #32
CorkyQ
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Re: Aikido's Attacks -- Reality and Effectiveness

Quote:
Mario Tobias wrote: View Post
yes, aikido attacks look unrealistic and ineffective during normal practice but IMHO they are only that for nage and uke to understand the forms, techniques and principles of aikido. Most important are timing, entry and intent.

Initially, the focus is on uke's external manifestation of intent of an attack until a point that nage reaches a higher plane that he already would anticipate uke's intention even before the attack has begun (internal intent).

So I think we should worry about the intent and not the attack per se. I think as beginners we focus too much on the external forms of an attack but as we go higher we need to focus on uke's internal intent.

This progression from external to internal focus holds true for both nage and uke.
Mr. Tobias, this was well said, and I could not agree with you more.

It is because of this phenomenon that I have developed a way to teach both established aikidoka and beginners from their first time on the mat how intention produces form.

However, in my teaching model, it is not a progression, as I understood the term from your message. The shift of focus takes place as soon as the relatively few physical elements of movement inherent in aikido are learned.

Instead of learning techniques to throw, our beginners start by learning pairs of movement sets which I call "stretches" and "spots." The reason I called them that instead of "attacks" and "techniques" is because the words have different effects on a neurolinguistic level. An attack is something to defend against, and the idea of an attack stimulates the lower brain to take over with a reflexive response to threat. A technique, in the common use of the word in aikido, often means a fixed set of movements with no gross variance from a preconceived path ending with uke on the ground no matter what uke does or doesn't do.

When most aikidoka trained in the traditional technique-emulation model visit our dojo for the first time and feel authentic attack energy from uke with no defined technique to execute, they usually try initially to force uke into the first technique that comes to mind or emerges out of their training. No matter how effortlessly they have executed the technique they have chosen thousands of times before, when their nervous system picks up the authenticity of the attack intention, no matter how low the intensity, they react with their default reflexive response somewhere on a spectrum between fight (defense resistance or counter attack), flight (escape or withdrawal) or freeze (withdrawing inside of resistance).

A stretch, on the other hand, is something a person can quite naturally "spot" (as in weightlifting or gymnastics), because the idea of someone stretching with your help does not trigger defense reflexes, but in the context of our definition of spot: With the intention to protect, to be involved in your partner's action without interfering with it, it actually begins to train the student's neurology to respond to the movements of attack with beneficent intention. For instance, when working on a balance beam, the "spotter" insures that the gymnast is moving through the routine with support so that he or she is not harmed.

The two-fold purpose of these movement sets are to set up a beneficent intention in nage while training both partners to understand the physical dynamics of attack, where the aikidoist has to be physically in space to lend support to the attacker, how to get there, and when.

Thus, while uke learns how to give genuine committed attack energy, nage learns the relatively short list of movements that make up even the longest, most convoluted techniques. When you look at the list of movement pairs in the beginner curriculum you will see what you would refer to, aikidoka readers, as techniques you learned as techniques, but where we go from there makes all the difference.

After beginners learn to call up and perform the first group of stretches in their "cookie-cutter" form and have also learned how to spot their partners doing the same stretches, we begin to incorporate variations in the stretch. There are several specific points in each stretch in which uke can fundamentally change the stretch into a different stretch. Since we do not pre-orchestrate at which point the stretch may change or to what stretch it may turn into, for aiki to manifest in this situation, nage can't be committed to a technique but must be committed to an outcome beneficial to all.

With the introduction of variables, it becomes clear why one would not want to be committed to a specific technique and why in the context of Patrick Auge's interview with Minoru Mochizuki, M. Mochizuki recounted "Uyeshiba Sensei's teaching pushed me a lot to think. He could never show again what he did in randori. I would say "What was that?" and he would reply "I got that from God suddenly. I don't remember." To Uyeshiba Sensei, ki (internal energy) was inspiration from God."

(http://books.google.es/books?id=SdYD...hizuki&f=false) (Thanks to Demetrio Cereijo)

If you operate under the notion that God is Love (to me, an idea supported by Osensei's spiritual teachings) then you can see directly from this kind of practice why beneficent intention toward one's attacker can provide all that is necessary for aikido to manifest in un-repeatable ways as long as a few basic trained movements are there as a framework for the takemusu aiki to become aikido.

When uke, in this method, offers authentic attack energy instead of collusion with a technique, we are instantly made aware of the truth in ourselves, because uke will not fall until we transcend our illusion and become authentic in our state of being. In our dojo, unless we can be victorious over our reflexive responses of defend or withdraw, and transcend our lower brain to access the higher consciousness that allows us to embody the qualities of selflessness each time, we will see no one on the mat. In this way Masakatsu Agatsu becomes the literal operating principle of our aikido.
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Old 07-04-2013, 10:55 AM   #33
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Re: Aikido's Attacks -- Reality and Effectiveness

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Michael Varin wrote: View Post
Wow!
This must be an extremely challenging thread.
I welcome any on topic posts.
Is it really that difficult?
Michael, I thought that Corky had done so, and so did I in my redneck way. What exactly are you looking for? Denigration of traditional aikido kata practice as fundamentally unsound? You might get that, from the people who wave that flag all the time saying that aikido isn't an effective martial art, but I doubt that you'll get it here from people who may know better. I think you[re probably going to get the above comparisons between types of practice, stepping stones to student competency, like that.

I find it interesting that the kanji character for kuzushi illustrates a mountain falling on a house.
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Old 07-04-2013, 12:45 PM   #34
Marie Noelle Fequiere
 
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Re: Aikido's Attacks -- Reality and Effectiveness

Please address these questions in your responses, and then feel free to add whatever you deem necessary to further the discussion.[/quote]

Addressing these questions in my response and answering them one by one does not make me feel comfortable to formulate my opinion, so I did not do that. It's just that my english is not my mother language, I apologize for that, and I hope that you will understand what I'm trying to say.

My first commentary is: our instructor always repeat to us that Aikido is not a compilation of techniques, but a compilation of principles. Any technique that puts to good use the principles of Aikido is Aikido, even if you won't find it in any Aikido book.

As a result, he often teaches us some techniques of his invention that can help us deal with the thugs roaming our streets. Those techniques are not in any book, but the footwork is here and so are the mahai, the methods for unbalancing our opponent, etc... (my english is failing me a bit here, but I hope that you get the idea).

A few students training with us have reported fending off unexpected attacks on the street. They did not always use the traditional techniques that we need to learn for the exams, but they used footwork, mahai, unbalancing techniques, etc...

Ok, nowadays, nobody will attack you by grabbing your hands from behind, but we still enjoy practicing defenses from those attacks, not only because we need them for the exam, but just because of the fun. Same thing for suware waza, it's fun and it's good workout for your legs.

And finally, concerning the good old shomen uchi, in my country, people still like to come at you with the intent of breaking a bottle on top of your head. The weapon may not be a sword, but the movement and the momentum are the same, and can be dealt with the same way.

If my explanation is missing something, tell me, I will try to formulate better.
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Old 07-14-2013, 11:16 AM   #35
tlk52
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Re: Aikido's Attacks -- Reality and Effectiveness

a friend of mine at our dojo had an interesting observation. he's practiced grappling and striking arts for his whole life (mid 40s) and aikido for @ 15 years

he said 2 interesting (to me) things:

1. that the open hand striking techniques like shomen and yokomen, were not dangerous if you got hit, therefore you could practice moving in very close to them without fear of injury. and that this was a good thing in training

2. that he had many times used aikido grabbing attacks, especially ushiro attacks, against non aikido martial artists in sparring because they were looking to defend from the front and he'd go right by them to their back which they weren't protecting, confusing them momentarily, and then choke them from behind.
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Old 07-14-2013, 05:58 PM   #36
odudog
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Re: Aikido's Attacks -- Reality and Effectiveness

Quote:
Toby Kasavan wrote: View Post
a friend of mine at our dojo had an interesting observation. he's practiced grappling and striking arts for his whole life (mid 40s) and aikido for @ 15 years

he said 2 interesting (to me) things:

1. that the open hand striking techniques like shomen and yokomen, were not dangerous if you got hit,
That's almost like saying being hit by a boxer isn't going to hurt because they wear boxing gloves. You need to be hit by the right person in the right spot to find out the hard way that this is incorrect.

Last edited by akiy : 07-14-2013 at 08:22 PM.
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Old 07-20-2013, 12:47 AM   #37
Krystal Locke
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Re: Aikido's Attacks -- Reality and Effectiveness

Quote:
Toby Kasavan wrote: View Post
a friend of mine at our dojo had an interesting observation. he's practiced grappling and striking arts for his whole life (mid 40s) and aikido for @ 15 years

he said 2 interesting (to me) things:

1. that the open hand striking techniques like shomen and yokomen, were not dangerous if you got hit, therefore you could practice moving in very close to them without fear of injury. and that this was a good thing in training

2. that he had many times used aikido grabbing attacks, especially ushiro attacks, against non aikido martial artists in sparring because they were looking to defend from the front and he'd go right by them to their back which they weren't protecting, confusing them momentarily, and then choke them from behind.
1. Really? I got knocked the hell out from a yokomen, in practice. I've been hit pretty dang hard in the head to no real effect, but Dave got a yokomen in on me that made me drop to a knee, pop up, apparently say the word "nothing", swing weakly at him and wake up twenty seconds later tits down and drooling on the mat.

Seems to me lots of hard striking styles have their share of shuto and shote strikes.

2. Taking someone's back in a fight is most always a fine idea. But will hard stylists really fall for a typical ushiro ryotedori? Sweet if they do.....
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:54 AM   #38
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Re: Aikido's Attacks -- Reality and Effectiveness

If I play baseball and I want to practice hitting baseballs, I may set up a pitching machine to throw a consistent pitch that I will practice hitting. I may also ask a pitcher to throw pitches that are difficult to hit so I may practice hitting against a variable pitch. Pitching machines are not realistic, yet for the purpose of hitting practice they are consistent and effective solutions. Likewise, throwing to a live batter provides a more realistic scenario in which I will hit. Both are everyday resources for hitters to improve their swing.

I believe the majority of aikido styliszed attacks are intended to provide a consistent, obvious and uniform force on which nage can practice kata. For the purpose of learning kata, I believe these attacks to be effective because the purpose of these attacks is to give nage something with which to practice so they may learn what they are doing.

I think there are many dojos that will use an "applied" version of uke waza as a specialized training that increases the realism of an attack. For these modified exercises, I think many dojos with solid fighting skills can incorporate a realistic attack with effect. These exerceise deal more with expression of aikido, not learning of aikido.

Comparatively, I think most aikido dojos are not prepared or equipped to accomodate realistic attacks with effect. For that to happen, we would need protective gear. To effectively apply realistic attacks would imply a large percentage of success through grappling, striking or submitting. Since our training model is to provide 4 opportunities for nage to successfully apply waza... we would need 4 opportunities to successsfully attack our partner.

So unless we're coming home with with a less-than-perfect success ratio as nage, we're not really focusing on "realistic" attacks. This is fine, we have to learn somehow. I think as long as we recognize "realism" and "effect" are sliding scales with opposite correlation for uke and nage, we can be honest with our assessment of the quality of our uke waza.

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Old 07-23-2013, 07:15 AM   #39
phitruong
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Re: Aikido's Attacks -- Reality and Effectiveness

the reality is that aikido just not effective against fruit attacks. John Cleese shihan had demonstrated time and time again that aikido just would not work.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 07-24-2013, 03:07 AM   #40
Michael Varin
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Re: Aikido's Attacks -- Reality and Effectiveness

Thanks, Phi.

Always a quality contribution...

Jon,

The pitching machine, while predictable, still throws you the pitch you are going to hit. If you are expecting to "hit" a right cross or a double leg, why is the pitching machine throwing yokomen uchi and katate dori?

You used a great analogy, but I still feel like we haven't gone to an adequate depth in this thread.

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 07-24-2013, 03:43 AM   #41
graham christian
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Re: Aikido's Attacks -- Reality and Effectiveness

Quote:
Michael Varin wrote: View Post
Thanks, Phi.

Always a quality contribution...

Jon,

The pitching machine, while predictable, still throws you the pitch you are going to hit. If you are expecting to "hit" a right cross or a double leg, why is the pitching machine throwing yokomen uchi and katate dori?

You used a great analogy, but I still feel like we haven't gone to an adequate depth in this thread.
Depends what you mean by depth.

Effective striking in Aikido is also down to movement. Aikido is fundamentally an art of harmonious motion so even technically following that you should be through movement in a position to make the perfect strike. So that's factor number one.

I don't know how many train or are taught how I was but our teacher used to show us and emphasize perfect harmonious movement but at the same time, usually using us painfully, show us why imperfection leads to getting hit.

Then there is the point of effectiveness of strike on it's own. Well if you listen to any really good Master of his art you will learn something about this. I think it was Suzuki, the Karate man who said that even if his martial art was practicing one punch then it would as a martial art still take a lifetime to perfect.

Now also any 'deluded' notions on effectiveness can easily be corrected in my experience and more than that can be done in slow motion at which point the person has all doubt removed.

Another thing we do and did was practice of strikes alone, drills. Have you ever done them? You practice until the strike is unstoppable.

Peace.G.
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Old 07-24-2013, 10:19 AM   #42
CorkyQ
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Re: Aikido's Attacks -- Reality and Effectiveness

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
If I play baseball and I want to practice hitting baseballs, I may set up a pitching machine to throw a consistent pitch that I will practice hitting. I may also ask a pitcher to throw pitches that are difficult to hit so I may practice hitting against a variable pitch. Pitching machines are not realistic, yet for the purpose of hitting practice they are consistent and effective solutions. Likewise, throwing to a live batter provides a more realistic scenario in which I will hit. Both are everyday resources for hitters to improve their swing.

I believe the majority of aikido styliszed attacks are intended to provide a consistent, obvious and uniform force on which nage can practice kata. For the purpose of learning kata, I believe these attacks to be effective because the purpose of these attacks is to give nage something with which to practice so they may learn what they are doing.

I think there are many dojos that will use an "applied" version of uke waza as a specialized training that increases the realism of an attack. For these modified exercises, I think many dojos with solid fighting skills can incorporate a realistic attack with effect. These exerceise deal more with expression of aikido, not learning of aikido.

Comparatively, I think most aikido dojos are not prepared or equipped to accomodate realistic attacks with effect. For that to happen, we would need protective gear. To effectively apply realistic attacks would imply a large percentage of success through grappling, striking or submitting. Since our training model is to provide 4 opportunities for nage to successfully apply waza... we would need 4 opportunities to successsfully attack our partner.

So unless we're coming home with with a less-than-perfect success ratio as nage, we're not really focusing on "realistic" attacks. This is fine, we have to learn somehow. I think as long as we recognize "realism" and "effect" are sliding scales with opposite correlation for uke and nage, we can be honest with our assessment of the quality of our uke waza.
First, in our dojo, no techniques are demonstrated. We work from authentic interaction, not from technique emulation. No nage ever sees their uke on the mat unless aiki has manifested spontaneously from their interaction.

What we offer in our dojo as ukes is energy from authentic attack intention without the intensity. It is meant to penetrate the central core of our partner like a spear, and the intention it arises from is the same. This provides a meaningful connection for nage to work with and also challenges nage's limbic system.

With a surprisingly low intensity, energy from authentic attack intention will easily show where nage is not being harmonious. Since there is no technique to perform, the aikido, when it does manifest, will sometimes look like an "aikido technique" that is familiar to most aikidoka, but usually it is a much simpler path to the mat.

Because all action arises from intention, the intention of the attack is of paramount importance, not the amount of force in foot pounds.

Giving authentic attack energy, or spear energy, as we often call it is not necessarily easy to do and/or maintain through the unfolding of the aiki resolution, so ukemi is as much, if not more, of our learning than nage's part.

For instance, when most visitors to our dojo from other aikido dojos are asked to hold me meaningfully, what they do is try to stop me from doing a technique. Because of this, the energy is arising out the intention to defend, not attack. Aikido will not manifest under these specific circumstances because harmonizing with defense in order to reconcile conflict is to simply refrain from imposing a throw, which we refuse to do anyway in our dojo. So our practice includes a consciousness of what we as ukes are providing to our partner, and it is not just being a practice dummy for throws. Nor is it to be an obstacle to the manifestation of aiki.

The purpose of our practice is to bypass the rote repetition of techniques which can train habitual response that may really be inharmonious with uke's energy, and instead find takemusu aiki (spontaneously manifesting) from a transcendence of lower brain responses to a consciousness of beneficent intention. In this way, the operating principle in our dojo literally is masakatsu agatsu (our recognized translation: "True victory is victory over oneself."). Without the literal victory of nage over his or her automatic defense responses, uke will not be able "to complete his mission."

So we don't need protective gear although we deliver realistic attacks, because there is just a reduction in intensity.

In regards to training the movements of aikido, elementally they are quite simple and can be learned and trained into the system very quickly and easily. Many techniques we see in aikido are complex chains of these elements. As in chemistry, where 103 elements can make tens of millions of compounds, the handful of elemental movements of aikido are a tiny fraction of the number of "techniques" that may be formed from them. One can never know all the variations that an aiki path can take, but one can know all the elements that make up those paths so that they are created spontaneously from the interaction rather than as what Mark Freeman described as techniques preserved like a "fly in amber." Osensei has been quoted as saying he had no idea what "techniques" he had used in a randori, some of them assumably never seen before or after, and he gave it all over to divine guidance.

In our dojo we prove daily that this "divine guidance" comes from our beneficent intention toward our partner. There is no faking it either. Even the smallest amount of authentic attack energy will require a harmonious response for aikido to manifest.
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Old 07-25-2013, 11:25 AM   #43
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Re: Aikido's Attacks -- Reality and Effectiveness

Quote:
Corky Quakenbush wrote: View Post
First, in our dojo, no techniques are demonstrated. We work from authentic interaction, not from technique emulation. No nage ever sees their uke on the mat unless aiki has manifested spontaneously from their interaction.

What we offer in our dojo as ukes is energy from authentic attack intention without the intensity. It is meant to penetrate the central core of our partner like a spear, and the intention it arises from is the same. This provides a meaningful connection for nage to work with and also challenges nage's limbic system.

With a surprisingly low intensity, energy from authentic attack intention will easily show where nage is not being harmonious. Since there is no technique to perform, the aikido, when it does manifest, will sometimes look like an "aikido technique" that is familiar to most aikidoka, but usually it is a much simpler path to the mat.

Because all action arises from intention, the intention of the attack is of paramount importance, not the amount of force in foot pounds.

Giving authentic attack energy, or spear energy, as we often call it is not necessarily easy to do and/or maintain through the unfolding of the aiki resolution, so ukemi is as much, if not more, of our learning than nage's part.

For instance, when most visitors to our dojo from other aikido dojos are asked to hold me meaningfully, what they do is try to stop me from doing a technique. Because of this, the energy is arising out the intention to defend, not attack. Aikido will not manifest under these specific circumstances because harmonizing with defense in order to reconcile conflict is to simply refrain from imposing a throw, which we refuse to do anyway in our dojo. So our practice includes a consciousness of what we as ukes are providing to our partner, and it is not just being a practice dummy for throws. Nor is it to be an obstacle to the manifestation of aiki.

The purpose of our practice is to bypass the rote repetition of techniques which can train habitual response that may really be inharmonious with uke's energy, and instead find takemusu aiki (spontaneously manifesting) from a transcendence of lower brain responses to a consciousness of beneficent intention. In this way, the operating principle in our dojo literally is masakatsu agatsu (our recognized translation: "True victory is victory over oneself."). Without the literal victory of nage over his or her automatic defense responses, uke will not be able "to complete his mission."

So we don't need protective gear although we deliver realistic attacks, because there is just a reduction in intensity.

In regards to training the movements of aikido, elementally they are quite simple and can be learned and trained into the system very quickly and easily. Many techniques we see in aikido are complex chains of these elements. As in chemistry, where 103 elements can make tens of millions of compounds, the handful of elemental movements of aikido are a tiny fraction of the number of "techniques" that may be formed from them. One can never know all the variations that an aiki path can take, but one can know all the elements that make up those paths so that they are created spontaneously from the interaction rather than as what Mark Freeman described as techniques preserved like a "fly in amber." Osensei has been quoted as saying he had no idea what "techniques" he had used in a randori, some of them assumably never seen before or after, and he gave it all over to divine guidance.

In our dojo we prove daily that this "divine guidance" comes from our beneficent intention toward our partner. There is no faking it either. Even the smallest amount of authentic attack energy will require a harmonious response for aikido to manifest.
Ummm. I was talking aiki-do, not aiki. Damn internal people. Seriously, this is a great post and I do not disagree with any of it. I think the emergence of people with aiki is going to show us alot of what we can (and cannot) do. George sensei's post on ukemi that is currently live is an indication of the monumental shift in perception going on within aikido. That said,

Kata is emulation. I can "look" like I am doing something, even if it is wrong. Instruction through emulation is a lower bar of entry for dojos and students. Not bad, just lower. I think there is value in kata and I do not want to imply that I think kata is bad. However, I would argue kata is the standard of advancement for most dojos. When you grab a hunk of aiki, or she grabs you, there is no emulation - her center directly affects your center. This relation is consolidating into what I am now calling "connected" as to have a concrete metric of success (i.e. I move, you move). This is eye-opening and humbling all at once. It is also not what I see in most of my dojo visits.

I think explaining this concept to someone who have not experienced it is almost unrelateable. I dub this the shihan effect because while to the instructor the concept is simple, to the recipient the concept is so foreign as to be uncreditable, if not unbeliveable. I think the aiki peeps have their tasks cut out for them over the next several years to just bring the population into an understanding of what is going on at that level, let alone getting into trying that s%$# on someone else.

I think takemusu aiki is almost impossible for most of us simply because we can't get it through our head that we can be uke AND nage. Nage=good; uke=bad. Screw the expression of waza. In our dojo, we are starting to view our "attacks" as expansion of pressure seeking the weakness. This is something both uke and nage can do simultaneously without either side really "pushing". In this sense, I agree that good attacks can be executed at a level of intensity that minimizes injury while still maintaining a level of effect.

Bringing that back to the thread, I think many dojos are looking into this stuff and getting an eye-opening experience that does a better job of addressing a functional role for nage AND uke that does not require sacrifice from either role in the expression of waza. I view this discsussion to be one of priority. Nage advoccates attack styles designed to maximize "learning". Uke advocates attack styles designed to maximize effect. As the role of uke and nage become more aligned, the advocacy of each role will also align. We will be left with attack styles that have a balanced effect in both education and application.

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Old 07-25-2013, 01:08 PM   #44
G Sinclair
 
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Re: Aikido's Attacks -- Reality and Effectiveness

Alright, against every gut instinct in my body I am going to add my two cents...

I am going to do this because for over a decade of toiling through the Aikido dojos in my area I struggled to find a form I thought would not get me killed in a fight. It was a very lonely and discouraging journey that I had begged, in vain, for help on.

So anyone seeking a more practical Aikido, this post is intended for you. I have nothing against the spiritual side of Aikido and do not mean to offend if I accidently do so.

Now, let me start off by saying I don't have all the answers. However, I would like to share what I have learned so far:

The first thing learned when seeking a more practical Aikido was different attacks. So yes, IF you are seeking a more practical Aikido, in my experience, the attacks need to change.

In our dojo, kicks, combos and quick punches to the face are far more prevalent than grabs, and performed like you would punch a real opponent (especially the recoil after the strike).

Deflections are used to control the line and keep from eating an attack when the opponent's strikes are faster than your feet can move you off the line.

We still use the standard Shomen, Yokomen, and all the grabs (it is afterall still aikido), but the strikes are executed a bit differently. In fact, Shomen and Yokomen are performed in our dojo as deflections and counterstrikes. This does not matter whether attacking or defending. The motion is the same, so Uke should not be just throwing his arm out there, he should be practicing a very tight and precise strike that can also be a counter attack.

Hard to explain, but at about the 10 second mark on this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wb_lU4AC9vg) is a demonstration of a Yokomen counter strike used in defense of a roundhouse punch.

Good striking opens other doors as well, like learning to use your opponent's defenses against them. The first 3:50 of this video demonstrates that: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuTHn_gIiGo

This is just my take on Aikido and the importance of attacks.

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Old 07-26-2013, 01:25 PM   #45
Aikibu
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Re: Aikido's Attacks -- Reality and Effectiveness

Quote:
Greg Sinclair wrote: View Post
Alright, against every gut instinct in my body I am going to add my two cents...

I am going to do this because for over a decade of toiling through the Aikido dojos in my area I struggled to find a form I thought would not get me killed in a fight. It was a very lonely and discouraging journey that I had begged, in vain, for help on.

So anyone seeking a more practical Aikido, this post is intended for you. I have nothing against the spiritual side of Aikido and do not mean to offend if I accidently do so.

Now, let me start off by saying I don't have all the answers. However, I would like to share what I have learned so far:

The first thing learned when seeking a more practical Aikido was different attacks. So yes, IF you are seeking a more practical Aikido, in my experience, the attacks need to change.

In our dojo, kicks, combos and quick punches to the face are far more prevalent than grabs, and performed like you would punch a real opponent (especially the recoil after the strike).

Deflections are used to control the line and keep from eating an attack when the opponent's strikes are faster than your feet can move you off the line.

We still use the standard Shomen, Yokomen, and all the grabs (it is afterall still aikido), but the strikes are executed a bit differently. In fact, Shomen and Yokomen are performed in our dojo as deflections and counterstrikes. This does not matter whether attacking or defending. The motion is the same, so Uke should not be just throwing his arm out there, he should be practicing a very tight and precise strike that can also be a counter attack.

Hard to explain, but at about the 10 second mark on this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wb_lU4AC9vg) is a demonstration of a Yokomen counter strike used in defense of a roundhouse punch.

Good striking opens other doors as well, like learning to use your opponent's defenses against them. The first 3:50 of this video demonstrates that: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuTHn_gIiGo

This is just my take on Aikido and the importance of attacks.
Very Good. Thanks for sharing the videos. I feel you're exploring an interesting technical path...I hope in the future you explore and refine your MAAI and Irimi. It looks like it works against inexperienced Martial Artists but in my experience with Aikido any kind of "Martial Stance" is a "tell" to an experienced attacker about how to approach you and disrupt your center. Shoji Nishio, Bruce Lee, and many others thought that kind of rigidity could be dangerous.

As a caveat I am no expert either but in my 40+ years of mistakes I've gotten better at the "stance of no stance" (Thank you Nishio Shihan!) and not giving anything to my Uke/Opponent that they can use against me. The best folks I've seen are very relaxed and fluid...

Very Respectfully,

William Hazen
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Old 07-26-2013, 06:49 PM   #46
Michael Varin
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Re: Aikido's Attacks -- Reality and Effectiveness

Greg,

I appreciate your contribution, and hope it will help move the thread forward as it was a little more in line with the discussion I had in mind... Of course some other interesting things have also been put on the table.

I'd like to comment on your post a bit more later when I have more time. You must have been influenced by someone from Steven Seagal's line, because many of those movements and patterns are quite distinctive.

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 07-27-2013, 05:59 AM   #47
Bernd Lehnen
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Re: Aikido's Attacks -- Reality and Effectiveness

Quote:
Greg Sinclair wrote: View Post
Alright, against every gut instinct in my body I am going to add my two cents...

I am going to do this because for over a decade of toiling through the Aikido dojos in my area I struggled to find a form I thought would not get me killed in a fight. It was a very lonely and discouraging journey that I had begged, in vain, for help on.

So anyone seeking a more practical Aikido, this post is intended for you. I have nothing against the spiritual side of Aikido and do not mean to offend if I accidently do so.

Now, let me start off by saying I don't have all the answers. However, I would like to share what I have learned so far:

The first thing learned when seeking a more practical Aikido was different attacks. So yes, IF you are seeking a more practical Aikido, in my experience, the attacks need to change.

In our dojo, kicks, combos and quick punches to the face are far more prevalent than grabs, and performed like you would punch a real opponent (especially the recoil after the strike).

Deflections are used to control the line and keep from eating an attack when the opponent's strikes are faster than your feet can move you off the line.

We still use the standard Shomen, Yokomen, and all the grabs (it is afterall still aikido), but the strikes are executed a bit differently. In fact, Shomen and Yokomen are performed in our dojo as deflections and counterstrikes. This does not matter whether attacking or defending. The motion is the same, so Uke should not be just throwing his arm out there, he should be practicing a very tight and precise strike that can also be a counter attack.

Hard to explain, but at about the 10 second mark on this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wb_lU4AC9vg) is a demonstration of a Yokomen counter strike used in defense of a roundhouse punch.

Good striking opens other doors as well, like learning to use your opponent's defenses against them. The first 3:50 of this video demonstrates that: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuTHn_gIiGo

This is just my take on Aikido and the importance of attacks.
Great start.
The only question I have is, why do the uke still take their final ukemi the usual way aikido is demonstrated? Do they still try to make the whole ensemble look good or is it already ingrained in them as a dojo habit? Of course, this is a common way to attract people to aikido and it shows how beauty and aesthetic was brought into budo after the fundamental need for effectivity was historically lost, but when it's about adaption to reality ..

So, I'd be happier to see them react with a little more counterattacking intent and only go down when they have to, that is on their back or their stomach after they really have lost their balance and can't withstand any longer. Actually, more like a beginner, who is very often a more accomplished challenge to any longtime nage. Who on earth would want to take those free wheeling falls on concrete.

So to my mind, for more practical aikido, changing attacks is a very good start but the ukemi ought to change accordingly, too.

Perhaps, this is what Tomiki may have had in mind with his approach to randori? And, to a certain measure, wouldn't that also be in line with Corky' s approach?

Best,

Bernd
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:47 PM   #48
Michael Varin
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Re: Aikido's Attacks -- Reality and Effectiveness

Eventually dealing with the counterattacking intent is very important.

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 07-28-2013, 05:06 PM   #49
JP3
 
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Re: Aikido's Attacks -- Reality and Effectiveness

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Michael Varin wrote: View Post
Eventually dealing with the counterattacking intent is very important.
Quite! I take it that your meaning is (may be) that uke's original intent to attack does not cease until such time as he is rendered unmoving? Submission, pin & lock, unconscious or just broken?

I would agree that, once students get to a certain point, then free-flow practice should involve the consistently attacking uke, who does not stop at the first foiling off-balance kuzushi touch, but reorients and keeps on coming, trying to keep things going until tori/nage deals with it to onclusion.

If that's not what you meant, then I'm lost.

I find it interesting that the kanji character for kuzushi illustrates a mountain falling on a house.
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Old 07-28-2013, 05:47 PM   #50
Michael Varin
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Re: Aikido's Attacks -- Reality and Effectiveness

Quote:
John Powell wrote: View Post
Quite! I take it that your meaning is (may be) that uke's original intent to attack does not cease until such time as he is rendered unmoving? Submission, pin & lock, unconscious or just broken?

I would agree that, once students get to a certain point, then free-flow practice should involve the consistently attacking uke, who does not stop at the first foiling off-balance kuzushi touch, but reorients and keeps on coming, trying to keep things going until tori/nage deals with it to onclusion.

If that's not what you meant, then I'm lost.
No. You're pretty right on, John.

I wasn't totally comfortable with the term "counter attacking" because to me that is not exactly the role uke is ever embodying. In that sense uke is purely offensive and nage is the counter "fighter." But uke must continually attack nage and if nage's response become offensive or readable than uke should counter.

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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