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Old 10-01-2003, 06:50 PM   #1
Upstanding Dragon
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Aikido the gentle art

Hello all,

I have a question on Aikido, I have some working knowledge of Aikido, but not a great deal, therefore please excuse me I don't wish to appear ignorant in my question, just uneducated

Certain techniques, such as Kote Gaeshi, if applied in a self defence situation, the attacker would more than likely resist, and therefore result in a broken wrist, these people don't know how to roll of breakfall.

As with certain other techniques within Aikido, therefore, how did Ueshiba create this system of gentleness?

Many thanks, best wishes

Stefan

Live, Love, Learn and Enjoy Life!

Network of Martial Arts

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Old 10-01-2003, 06:58 PM   #2
Largo
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Yes, a kote-gaeshi can break a wrist. This is opposed to a jujitsu style throw that would land them on their head, or a karate style punch to the throat or sternum. Everything is relative. Never forget the fact that we are doing a MARTIAL art. Lose the martial, and we have nothing more than ikebana (flower arranging...and harder than it looks)
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Old 10-02-2003, 02:22 AM   #3
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IMHO

Kotegaeshi is a killing technique when done (technically as opposed to morally) right, so is every other Aikido technique as well as anything you do to your attacker using Aikido principles.

Aikido is still a gentle art, even if you do it with a tough militaristic mindset and try and "plant" your uke into the mat on each throw, why? because the "softness" or "gentleness" refers to the way you execute the technique, not what the technique does to your attacker.

The softness and gentleness also refers to the mindset behind the technique, the intentions of the person doing the throwing.
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Old 10-02-2003, 03:16 AM   #4
Tim Griffiths
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Kotegaeshi doesn't have to break wrists, or turn uke into a forced high breakfall (even on the "street" someone can be made to do a high fall). Like most other techniques, it can lead someone to the ground gently, or it can kill them. This flexibility in choice is what I like most about aikido (as opposed to say karate - where you still need to hit someone in the end).

You get to choose your level of response.

Tim

If one makes a distinction between the dojo and the battlefield, or being in your bedroom or in public, then when the time comes there will be no opportunity to make amends. (Hagakure)
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Old 10-02-2003, 03:31 AM   #5
PeterR
 
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Quote:
Wynand van Dyk (drDalek) wrote:
Kotegaeshi is a killing technique when done (technically as opposed to morally) right, so is every other Aikido technique as well as anything you do to your attacker using Aikido principles.

Aikido is still a gentle art, even if you do it with a tough militaristic mindset and try and "plant" your uke into the mat on each throw, why? because the "softness" or "gentleness" refers to the way you execute the technique, not what the technique does to your attacker.

The softness and gentleness also refers to the mindset behind the technique, the intentions of the person doing the throwing.
First off kotegaeshi is a wrist hurting technique - I don't think anyone has ever died from it. Except the guy who tried it on Bubba. Kansetsu waza have always been more for gaining control for later dispatch than lethal in their own right. There are a whole class of what are referred to as finishing techniques - these were originally intended to be lethal especially when used with blade.

The "gentleness" is the same mistranslation that plagues the Ju in Judo and Jujutsu. Aikido is after all a form of jujutsu. Suppleness is probably more precise and in this respect Wynand is correct in the first explanation but not in the second. In the second case one must realize that there are enough examples of sen no sen in Aikido that a "gentle" mindset really does not cut it. One could say that an Aikidoist is taught never to instigate an unpleasent situation but then neither are any who follow the Do. That includes karate, judo, kendo, etc.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 10-02-2003, 07:12 AM   #6
philipsmith
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I was once told that O'Sensei said that in Aikido Tori should get into a position to kill, but then not kill. Therefore I think that the "gentle" aspect of Aikido relates to this attitude of compassion rather than any external aspects such as technique or ukeme. It's just coincidental that Aikido also happens to be graceful and "soft" to the eye.

Also the "soft" aspect can be related to the harmony between Tori & Uke as distinct from the blocking seen in other styles.
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Old 10-02-2003, 07:27 AM   #7
ian
 
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Makes alot of sense Phil,

I've used kotegaeshi to remove a knife from someone (not from an actual attack, but a drunk person threatening to use it). The pain on their wrist made them release their grip and I slipped the knife out - no damage and no throw.

Many of the aikido techniques seem to be more damaging/dangerous the more aggression the attacker uses. Especially techniques like irimi-nage & tenchi-nage. Many of the pins can be put on quite smoothly and slowly (though there is a danger of being hit in some cases).

With kote-gaeshi there is often a balance between the wrist turn and the throw. It is not just a wrist snap, the uke should also be off balance. The wrist can just be used for support. Also, depending on the angle on the wrist you can change it from a quick snap to a gradual pain which is unlikely to cause any damage.

Ian

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 10-02-2003, 07:28 AM   #8
ian
 
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P.S. I'd heard that kote-gaeshi actually comes from a technique for throwing the body to one side once you have run them through with your sword.

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 10-02-2003, 07:33 AM   #9
ian
 
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P.S. I would still disagree that aikido can always be gentle, for two reasons:

i. Ueshiba was never gentle with real challenges

ii. otherwise we would be able to do real competitive aikido without risk of injury.

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 10-02-2003, 09:41 AM   #10
Chuck Clark
 
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Peter,

The character "ju" has been mis-translated as gentle for many years. Pascal Krieger (menkyo kaiden in SMR and a fair-to-middlin judoka and aikidoka as well as a very senior shodoka) told me that the character ju means something along these lines... supple, flexible, giving way while storing energy then returning the force. Similar to pushing a flexible branch out of the way and then it coming back with the stored energy to whack the next guy.

Good waza feels that way to me.

Chuck Clark
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Old 10-02-2003, 10:30 AM   #11
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Quote:
Similar to pushing a flexible branch out of the way and then it coming back with the stored energy to whack the next guy.

Good waza feels that way to me.
what a wonderful illustration. that makes sense to me.

later

Richie Anderson
http://www.capitalcityaikido.com
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Old 10-02-2003, 11:16 AM   #12
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Quote:
C.E. Clark (Chuck Clark) wrote:
The character "ju" has been mis-translated as gentle for many years. Pascal Krieger (menkyo kaiden in SMR and a fair-to-middlin judoka and aikidoka as well as a very senior shodoka) told me that the character ju means something along these lines... supple, flexible, giving way while storing energy then returning the force.
I, too, would not translate "jyu" as "gentle." The translations Chuck gives above is nice; I'd probably add "resilient" and "pliable," too. Thanks, Chuck.

As far as kotegaeshi goes, I treat it more as kuzushiwaza rather than kansetsuwaza. Of course, it's a kansetsuwaza, but I think that relying on pain (say, from a broken wrist) for a technique to work seems a bit wanting. I've felt ways to make kotegaeshi "work" (whatever that really means in the long run) without necessitating a trip to the emergency room afterwards -- that's the kind of kotegaeshi I'd like to be able to do some day...

-- Jun

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Old 10-02-2003, 01:01 PM   #13
Misogi-no-Gyo
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no need to ...OUCH!

Quote:
Jun Akiyama (akiy) wrote:
I, too, would not translate "jyu" as "gentle." The translations Chuck gives above is nice; I'd probably add "resilient" and "pliable," too. Thanks, Chuck.

As far as kotegaeshi goes, I treat it more as kuzushiwaza rather than kansetsuwaza. Of course, it's a kansetsuwaza, but I think that relying on pain (say, from a broken wrist) for a technique to work seems a bit wanting. I've felt ways to make kotegaeshi "work" (whatever that really means in the long run) without necessitating a trip to the emergency room afterwards -- that's the kind of kotegaeshi I'd like to be able to do some day...

-- Jun
Exactly! I started out with a very jujitsu-like mentality and actually tried to hurt people's writs, etc. sorry guys! As I gained an understanding of O-Sensei's Aikido, and the important place that shizen ni, kuzushi and kokyo held in his art, I realized that kansetsu waza, as Jun has pointed out, merely use the joint as an access point to an attacker's center. An advanced measure of this is the ability to lock the joints in succession from the wrist to the elbow, to the shoulder and finally to the hips and legs and take them down using the gound as the point of origin of their power. There are two levels above this, but they are advanced and master-level, so no need to be discussed here in this forum.

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Old 10-06-2003, 10:11 AM   #14
bob_stra
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Re: Aikido the gentle art

Quote:
Stefan Johnson (Upstanding Dragon) wrote:
Certain techniques, such as Kote Gaeshi, if applied in a self defence situation, the attacker would more than likely resist, and therefore result in a broken wrist, these people don't know how to roll of breakfall.
A little nugget from a newbie.

Here the thing - if you move a person in an un-natural manner, of course they're gonna resist. Wouldn't you?

There's a version of kote gashi that doesn't require a spectacular breakfall and take advantage of natural joint movement, but its difficult to describe in words. I'll try.

Normally when you grab someone's wrist (let's say, the person is untrained) what do they do?

Pull backwards as if starting a lawn mower or or doing biceps curls. Fine. Follow that motion in and exaggerate it, so that the elbow comes backwards, beyound their side. In essence, your using his retreating motion to unbalance him to his rear weak point.

To bring him down, smoothly reverse the pull towards you while you tenkan. While you always have the kote gashi hand grasp, the wrist is never force over. Infact, you throw along the line of the forearm (if that makes sense).

*btw I got that from a Scott Sonnon video, lest you actually mistake me for anyone with aikido skill ;-) *

Last edited by bob_stra : 10-06-2003 at 10:17 AM.
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