Dojo: Wasabi Dojo
Location: Houston, TX
Join Date: Mar 2013
Re: First Strike Philosophy - Sensei Darren Friend.
I don't do philosophy, y'all. I do tactics though.
There are two fundamental ways an attack happens, tactically: 1) known, and/or 2) unknown. Note: The conjunctive addition is intended.
The first is a "battlefield," whether such is on a square mile of the German front, or in the men's room of a bar perhaps one should not have been in - in either case, the potential attack is spotted before it is unleashed, and defensive measures can be "initiated."
The second is some sort of ambush situation, where the attack is not spotted by the defender until it is unleashed.... same two situations are fine, e.g. the same square mile of the German front, or in the men's room of that smelly bar your buddy talked you into going inside against your best judgment.
In the latter situation is where your practice of good, all-around ukemi skills will save your life, as they train you - if you let them - to accept energy/force, translate it from one type or direction into another, and redirect and or dissipate it through a larger area thus decreasing the impact potential (another e.g., this is the prototypical rolling with a punch/strike, going with the throw (throws can surprise folks, why do you think Olympic-level judoka get tossed for Ippon?). But, this isn't the "initiative-taking" situation.
In the known attack scenarios, I would ask that someone who thinks there is no initiative in aiki-theory to point out where that comes from? I think it's a misunderstanding of some core thought, personally. A misconception of the apparent willingness of the aikido person to wait, and accept what comes, and then take advantage of what's being presented to them.
While the above is true enough... is there a rule somewhere that says that, when the blowhard bad guy starts beating his (or her) chest in the bathroom, one couldn't begin the "defense" by taking a maneuver/step or two to a more advantageous position? Shoot, even just step back out the door? Initiative taken, conflict abated, perhaps avoided, nobody got hurt, especially the guy who just walked.
Yes, I get that doesn't sit well with people who really, deep down, just want to fight, so let's put that in a differnet tactical situation. The blowhard is between the aikido person and the only exit, thus meaning that one is forced, because of situation, to deal with the person. Again, hen the posturing starts, is there a reason somewhere that says that a step to open up, or close down, the attacker's position is barred? I've never heard of one... Shoot, sometimes merely stepping towards a person who is trying to be intimidating short-circuits their thought process and that ends it. In any event, it is possible to merely "move" and be in a dominant position. So, why not do so?
This discussion has been taken though almost every dojo of substance probably tens of thousands of times. Who actually initiates? Chicken or egg? And, does it matter? it's who can seize that initiative who ends up safer in the end.
These things can happen "inside" an attack, too. Same bar bathroom, "good guy" wants to leave, "bad guy" wants to stop him/her for whatever reason (rape, robbery, bull-headedness, drunken-love, who knows...), good guy moves to take advantage, bad guy is startled and makes a countermove (push, swing, grab, whatever), and good guy, having (hopefully) reduced bad guy's options to something predictable "deals witht he move with something which is, or isn't, elegant and awesomely Aiki-appearing and has bad-guy in a control of some kind.
... and then bad guy pulls a blade from somewhere and we start all over again, you see. Does good guy see/feel the blade come into the encounter? If not, when does the realization occur? Does he/she have time to evade and react to the "new" threat? I can go on and on with this, as you can probably imagine for yourself. You should be able to see how the initiative moves back and forth between the combatants.
See it, hear it, feel it, find it. Deal with it.