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Old 12-09-2004, 07:40 PM   #26
Joe Bowen
 
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Re: No Touch Throws

I don't know if any of you have seen any of the Aikikai All Japan Aikido Demonstrations. If you haven't you should their all pretty interesting. There is one individual in particular, whose name escapes me, but I and a few friends have affectionately nicknamed "the Walrus" due to his prodigious mustache, who routinely demonstrates "no touch" throws and manipulations of his uke. I'm not sure how much of what he does is "Ki projection" or just ingrained response on the part of his uke, but some of it is actually amusing to watch. From my own personal experience, any time I've been thrown Nage is always right next to me. Most of the time I'm avoiding an obviously painful atemi. On a few occasions, I don't really know if I had been touched or not, as I'm not really sure what happened.
If you have the opportunity check out the All Japan Aikido Demonstrations, they are pretty good...

joe
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Old 12-09-2004, 08:34 PM   #27
maikerus
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Re: No Touch Throws

Sorry...can't see this no touch throw stuff. Uke falling to protect themselves is not a throw. That's like saying that jumping out of the way of a falling tree or jumping back from a sprinkler system that suddenly turns on are no touch throws.

As si says. Throw me without touching me (or shooting or throwing things at me) from a distance when I am standing there then I might believe it. Of course...I might just think its a hallucination. <wry grin>

If no-touch throws are just making your flinch or avoid being hit by falling then take the mystic out of it. That's working with reflex and is perfectly valid. Just don't try and turn it into magic.

Just one guys opinion...but I have to back Si on this.

--Michael

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 12-09-2004, 09:09 PM   #28
siwilson
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Re: Sensei is a nutball and I had enough.

Quote:
Carl Bilodeau wrote:
So if a person is thrown in the woods and there was no one around to throw him was it a no touch throw?
Quote:
Stuart Norton wrote:
lol you know Si's gonna jump all over that one...

Stu (advocate of the Big Touch Throw(TM))
I can't be bothered!

Osu!
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Old 12-09-2004, 09:11 PM   #29
siwilson
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote:
I was watching some old film from Aiki News. It showed the founder in his 80's. About 30-45% of the throws he was doing were no touch throws. He had this one technique where he would go down a line of seiza sitting students. As they rose to grab him as he walked by, he would do a no touch throw on them. He would walk down the whole line like this.

If all this is on film from the founder, why do people still deny the existence of a no touch technique? I just don't get it.
confused

Osu!
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Old 12-09-2004, 09:14 PM   #30
siwilson
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
Joseph Bowen wrote:
I don't know if any of you have seen any of the Aikikai All Japan Aikido Demonstrations. If you haven't you should their all pretty interesting. There is one individual in particular, whose name escapes me, but I and a few friends have affectionately nicknamed "the Walrus" due to his prodigious mustache, who routinely demonstrates "no touch" throws and manipulations of his uke. I'm not sure how much of what he does is "Ki projection" or just ingrained response on the part of his uke, but some of it is actually amusing to watch. From my own personal experience, any time I've been thrown Nage is always right next to me. Most of the time I'm avoiding an obviously painful atemi. On a few occasions, I don't really know if I had been touched or not, as I'm not really sure what happened.
If you have the opportunity check out the All Japan Aikido Demonstrations, they are pretty good...

joe
Ingrained response on the part of his uke!

Osu!
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Old 12-09-2004, 09:16 PM   #31
siwilson
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
Michael Stuempel wrote:
Sorry...can't see this no touch throw stuff. Uke falling to protect themselves is not a throw. That's like saying that jumping out of the way of a falling tree or jumping back from a sprinkler system that suddenly turns on are no touch throws.

As si says. Throw me without touching me (or shooting or throwing things at me) from a distance when I am standing there then I might believe it. Of course...I might just think its a hallucination. <wry grin>

If no-touch throws are just making your flinch or avoid being hit by falling then take the mystic out of it. That's working with reflex and is perfectly valid. Just don't try and turn it into magic.

Just one guys opinion...but I have to back Si on this.

--Michael
Ditto!

Does the plane throw the Sky Diver?


Osu!
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Old 12-10-2004, 12:44 AM   #32
saltlakeaiki
 
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
Joseph Bowen wrote:
I don't know if any of you have seen any of the Aikikai All Japan Aikido Demonstrations. If you haven't you should their all pretty interesting. There is one individual in particular, whose name escapes me, but I and a few friends have affectionately nicknamed "the Walrus" due to his prodigious mustache, who routinely demonstrates "no touch" throws and manipulations of his uke.
The guy in question is Nobuyuki Watanabe Sensei (8-dan). Last I knew he teaches on Saturday afternoons at Hombu. Yes, his display is rather impressive I'll tell you an interesting story: I was at a seminar several years ago and met a very nice guy from Spain who was in the country visiting. He had been training at Hombu and was very skeptical of Watanabe Sensei. He told me that he decided he would put Sensei to the test, and somehow he managed to get himself called to take uke for zagi shomenuchi. He brazenly bonked Sensei on the head when he tried to do his usual no-touch throw. After that Sensei switched to normal aikido This is the story the Spanish guy told me anyway. What's interesting is why Watanabe Sensei would call on someone he doesn't know if it really is a case of "well-trained" ukes

For my part, I'm willing to believe in the possibility of no-touch throw in principle, although I've never experienced what I think it would be. And I've never had the guts to try to take ukemi for Watanabe

Last edited by saltlakeaiki : 12-10-2004 at 12:48 AM.

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Old 12-10-2004, 12:46 AM   #33
Wynand van Dyk
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
Jun Akiyama wrote:
Fodder:

Do you think "no touch" throws in aikido are fake? - 11/17/2001
http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=86

-- Jun
I dont think "FAKE" or "NOT FAKE" covers all the possible answers to this one. As far as my opinion goes, when people claim they can "no-touch" throw you through some metaphysical means they are lying or ignorant. We should all endeavour to educate the ignorant and punish the stupid (there is a difference).

When people claim they can throw you by triggering some self-preservation instinct in you through some psychological means (eg: utterly convincing atemi to the nose unless you duck below it and "throw" yourself, letting you believe you can grab their wrist and then pulling it just out of your reach at the last minute causing you to lose balance and fall) then I am more than willing to believe them.

People can convince themselves and others of amazing things, however, as soon as someone claims abilities that are supernatural or metaphysical it is an instant indicator that this person is either ignorant of physics / psychology or willfully trying to deceive you.
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Old 12-10-2004, 01:35 AM   #34
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Re: No Touch Throws

Hypnotists will pepper an audience with their own people and test their volunteer subjects usually with a non-spectacular test (IE. no great failure). Choose susceptible subjects, convince them its possible, and away you go. I would be crass enough to say that Watanabe forgot to perform the simple test.
Quote:
David Iannucci wrote:
The guy in question is Nobuyuki Watanabe Sensei (8-dan). Last I knew he teaches on Saturday afternoons at Hombu. Yes, his display is rather impressive I'll tell you an interesting story: I was at a seminar several years ago and met a very nice guy from Spain who was in the country visiting. He had been training at Hombu and was very skeptical of Watanabe Sensei. He told me that he decided he would put Sensei to the test, and somehow he managed to get himself called to take uke for zagi shomenuchi. He brazenly bonked Sensei on the head when he tried to do his usual no-touch throw. After that Sensei switched to normal aikido This is the story the Spanish guy told me anyway. What's interesting is why Watanabe Sensei would call on someone he doesn't know if it really is a case of "well-trained" ukes

For my part, I'm willing to believe in the possibility of no-touch throw in principle, although I've never experienced what I think it would be. And I've never had the guts to try to take ukemi for Watanabe
Only one time has someone thrown me without touching and that was a wonderful Aikido teacher named Serge in Quebec City. He moved, I reacted, he didn't touch me but I was on the ground. Both our timings were superb.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 12-10-2004, 01:56 AM   #35
wendyrowe
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
Wynand van Dyk wrote:
... As far as my opinion goes, when people claim they can "no-touch" throw you through some metaphysical means they are lying or ignorant....
Sounds like there are possibly four schools of thought on "No Touch Throws"

1. They exist and are metaphysical ki extensions
2. They don't exist and anyone who says they do is a credulous fool
3. They exist and are caused by good ol' Newton's Laws reactions
4. See #3 above, but that's not a throw

Did I miss any?

I'm glad my earlier post made it clear that I'm a Type 3 and not a Type 1.
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Old 12-10-2004, 02:06 AM   #36
Bronson
 
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
Wynand van Dyk wrote:
When people claim they can throw you by triggering some self-preservation instinct in you through some psychological means (eg: utterly convincing atemi to the nose unless you duck below it and "throw" yourself, letting you believe you can grab their wrist and then pulling it just out of your reach at the last minute causing you to lose balance and fall) then I am more than willing to believe them.
This is what I would call a no-touch throw.

Would they fall if they did different Aikido (or didn't do any Aikido)? [/quote]

One of my old housemates did. But he did the one thing that most outside people don't do when they ask to see some aikido...he actually attacked, with his center commited behind it. (scared me more than him I think)

Quote:
maikerus wrote:
If no-touch throws are just making your flinch or avoid being hit by falling then take the mystic out of it. That's working with reflex and is perfectly valid. Just don't try and turn it into magic.
To me this is what a no-touch throw is. I hope I didn't give the impression of some magical ability. Even being solidly in the ki camp I disagree with the mystification of it. No magic. Timing + ma ai + position + posture + attitude + centerdness + controlled relaxation + breathing + a host of other stuff I'm too tired to think of right now = ki (in my opinion)

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 12-10-2004, 04:42 AM   #37
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
Michael Stuempel wrote:
If no-touch throws are just making your flinch or avoid being hit by falling then take the mystic out of it. That's working with reflex and is perfectly valid. Just don't try and turn it into magic.
Si and Michael...

It seems to me that the vast majority of posters in this thread (and on Aikiweb in general) are saying exactly that! Ki is NOT magic and noone claims it is!
On the contrary, several posters have gone out of their way to explain to you that no-touch throws (in their interpretation) are 'simply' a matter of causing a reflex reaction (by use of superb timing), causing uke to... well, throw himself, fall over, whatever you wish to call it. If nage hadn't utilised his timing to cause this reflex reaction in uke, the effect - the fall - would not have occurred, hence people tend to call this a 'throw'. As someone else pointed out, you are forcing the discussion with semantics.

As an equally semantic side note, at my dojo we rarely use the term 'throw' at all. We say we try to 'guide uke to the ground' (which, of course, can be done more or less rapidly/forcefully )

Anyway, the major notion of ki today comes from Tohei sensei and his Ki-society, also according to standard Yoshinkan ridicule of other, less macho styles (ki-blasts etc.). Tohei himself has on countless occasions specified that the ki used in aikido is NOT magic. This has also been pointed out in this very thread. Have you not read these posts?
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Old 12-10-2004, 06:11 AM   #38
siwilson
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Re: No Touch Throws

Every one, but it is not a throw. To call it a throw confuses the matter.

Osu!
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Old 12-10-2004, 07:49 AM   #39
Rocky Izumi
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
Wendy Rowe wrote:
Sounds like there are possibly four schools of thought on "No Touch Throws"

1. They exist and are metaphysical ki extensions
2. They don't exist and anyone who says they do is a credulous fool
3. They exist and are caused by good ol' Newton's Laws reactions
4. See #3 above, but that's not a throw

Did I miss any?

I'm glad my earlier post made it clear that I'm a Type 3 and not a Type 1.
5. It all depends on the uke and what they believe, not what nage believes -- harmony -- sometimes harmony is an atemi, sometimes it is a rock, sometimes a .45. And sometimes it is nothing more than the wind blowing through the trees.

Rock

Last edited by Rocky Izumi : 12-10-2004 at 07:52 AM.
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Old 12-10-2004, 09:40 AM   #40
MaryKaye
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Re: No Touch Throws

If you define "throw" to mean "contacting uke's body in a way that makes him fall" then these things are not throws. It's just a language game, though.

When we study them, it's generally in the context of a whole family of techniques, most of which involve contact. I find it impossible to think of the no-touch member of the family as a fundamentally different animal than the others. Nage does almost exactly the same things. Uke falls a little harder. So I use the word "throw" because it seems silly to have two words for basically one technique.

The important practical question has to be "would this work on an untrained opponent?" Reynosa sensei, who has a very martial style, showed me a no-touch throw and said "You might call this ki, but personally I think that either uke goes down or I'm going to rearrange his face." I suspect an untrained opponent is more likely to fall into the "rearrange his face" option--I've gotten hit by intended no-touch throws, because I'm not as alert as I might be--but that works, too.

As for throwing someone no-touch who is standing still, it's pretty hard to throw someone who is standing still even if you are allowed to touch him, and you have to start (as far as I know) by making him move, say with an atemi. So I don't see any reason to expect you could do this, but I also don't see what difference it makes. If someone isn't moving, why are you fighting him?

Mary Kaye
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Old 12-10-2004, 10:41 AM   #41
rob_liberti
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Re: No Touch Throws

I do believe in natural magic. I don't think someone can point at me from across the room while I'm attacking and cause me to take ukemi.

That said, I do believe you can work with the energy to a degree (I think some healing can be done in that manner) but not to the degree of launching an attacker by pointing at them from across the room.

Regardless, I've experienced the feeling of attacking someone who disappeared on me. Five different people have been able to mess with my "tracking system" well enough that I actually had to turn my head quickly to try to relocate them. That's always a weird feeling and sometimes you just kind of want to roll at that point just to kind of reset yourself. I'm curious as to what other people's experiences are with nage moving so well that they disappeared to you as the uke. Any advice on how to do it or how to better deal with it?

Rob
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Old 12-10-2004, 11:21 AM   #42
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
Wynand van Dyk wrote:
People can convince themselves and others of amazing things, however, as soon as someone claims abilities that are supernatural or metaphysical it is an instant indicator that this person is either ignorant of physics / psychology or willfully trying to deceive you.
I have a VERY hard time with the super rationalists. If you can't put a guage on it and measure it, it doesn't exist. We have inherited tens of thousands of years of spiritual teachings which in the space of a hundred years we are managing to lose almost entirely (in some cases attempting to ressurect them out of context in various silly New Age forms) because we have this idea that if we can't hitch folks up to a machine and measure it, if it isn't observable in a physical sense then it's not there. This attitude simply ignores the depth and beauty of spiritual practices which have been evident in virtually every culture in the world for as far back as we can go.

Now I am not saying that the touchless throw is magic or supernatural. But this kind of technique does require impeccable connection between the uke and the nage. When this results in a technique of this type it is a truly wondrous thing as it feels quite effortless to both partners, you find yourself flying through the air and you don't necessarily know why. This is aiki, the action of the physical and the Mind together. This is not explainable in terms of physics or math because it is an experience.

Viktor Frankl developed the practice of Logotherapy based in his observations that Man's essential drive was to try to give meaning (Logos) to what he saw around him and what he experienced. This is a core need for human beings. What science has failed to understand that scientific explanation and mathemetical certainty have little to do with how we experience "meaning". Meaning is how we relate to something, what it does for us and to us when we experience it. For some rare individuals, the equations of a scientific explanation of a given phenomena have meaning for them. Those equations can be experienced as elegant, beautiful, amazing, etc. But for the vast majority of human beings a scientific explanation has almost nothing to do with it's meaning for them.

The most perfect Aikido technique I ever did was during a randori with the teens in my advanced kids class. I had just thrown one uke and I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye as another uke came in from my blind side. I spun, raising my hands towards what I sensed would be his center. My hands didn't touch him or if they did it was so light I didn't feel it. The next thing I knew my uke was flying horizontally past me it eye level and landed quite a ways away. I looked at him and asked "What was THAT?" He replied that he had absolutely no idea what had just happened. Niether did I. I couldn't duplicate that technique if you offered me money.

An attempt to explain this away as some sort of collusion between the uke and nage, to look at the lack of explanation as indicating some sort of fakery is to divest the occurrence of its essential meaning. The total connection between the two partners that produced this one technique was a marvel in itself and has nothing to do with that type of explanation. I am completely uninterested in doing an Aikido in which this type of occurrence can't happen because of an attachment to rational, scientific, process. In some cases that type of explanation takes away meaning rather than providing it.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 12-10-2004 at 11:25 AM.

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Old 12-10-2004, 11:45 AM   #43
Rocky Izumi
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Re: No Touch Throws

Tai-Ki-Ken

Rock
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Old 12-10-2004, 12:06 PM   #44
kironin
 
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Ki Symbol Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
Chris Guzik wrote:
I have to say that the best aikido I've ever felt is when I cannot quite say whether it was me or my partner that caused the throw to happen. Does it matter who did it?

This is the heart of the matter and where good no-touch throws are coming from.

You can practice the mechanics of a no-touch throw which is kata just like any other cooperative training one does. When it comes to doing it for real, it is the ultimate test of an honest moment. There's a reason the no-touch throws I know have not so nice touch versions.

In freestyle, if you are applying nikyo on someone, and you don't do it quite so well, but you make up for it with strength to force it and the person goes down. Perhaps the uke knows but it is not so apparent to others.

on the other hand, in your apply a no-touch throw and your kokyu is not quite right and you don't capture uke's mind, everyone is going to know you did not get it right.

pencils don't have a neuromotor system

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Old 12-10-2004, 12:46 PM   #45
kironin
 
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
The most perfect Aikido technique I ever did was during a randori with the teens in my advanced kids class. I had just thrown one uke and I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye as another uke came in from my blind side. I spun, raising my hands towards what I sensed would be his center. My hands didn't touch him or if they did it was so light I didn't feel it. The next thing I knew my uke was flying horizontally past me it eye level and landed quite a ways away. I looked at him and asked "What was THAT?" He replied that he had absolutely no idea what had just happened. Niether did I. I couldn't duplicate that technique if you offered me money.

A honest moment.

For the record, in the Ki Society we understand this very well. No touch throw practice is really is about increasing the probability of the non-duplicatible moment occuring by gaining a better understanding of the timing involved and the mental relationship between nage and uke.

We focus a lot in all the techniques we do on the principle of leading the uke's mind and their body will follow. So it is really just a natural extension of that principle.

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Old 12-10-2004, 01:18 PM   #46
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Re: No Touch Throws

Some believe in the term "no-touch" others assume that if there is no contact, there is no throw.
I have been taught that first contact is not Uke touching nage physically, but nage's mind making contact with uke's mind. And I think this mind set is not solely owned by Ki-Aikido.
I, as uke, have attacked nage with a very honest but "in-control" attack and have found myself flat on the mat and never touched.
Nage leads my attack to a point where I find myself on the edge of balance and then a wave of the hand at my face forces me to move into a space where I have no balance...and the mat gracefully greets me.

Did nage touch me....no. Did nage throw me..most definately. If I were in the dojo alone throwing a punch at an imaginary nage, I would not fall as there is no possibility of a counter attack to cause me to lose my balance. But an Aikidoka that can lead an attack to a place where uke had no intentions of going....a no touch throw can result.

Just my opinion and also observation.
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Old 12-10-2004, 01:39 PM   #47
senshincenter
 
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Re: No Touch Throws

It seems that folks here would allow for that moment in training when uke, as part of ukemi, find themselves reacting in one way that could be described as the result of "no-touch" throw. (i.e. moving so as not to be struck fully, etc.) To be sure, some folks have some reason to disqualify this from being a throw since uke's training and/or sense of (learned) spontaneity is playing such a prominent role. Other folks seem to want to broaden the definition and understanding of ki to include both unlearned spontaneities and learned spontaneities.

In either case, what seems constant is that folks are often describing an uke that is in some sense charging at nage. However, this is not the only place that "no-touch" throws occur in the Aikido world. Rather, I would suggest that this scenario of the charging uke (or charging nage) was brought up precisely because it is the place at which "no-touch" throws become their most reasonable. If we consider all of the other places where no-touch throws are posited, I am not so sure this debate would be so two-sided. For example, a person already mentioned Watanabe -- at the All Japan Aikido Demonstration. If you have not seen these demonstrations, basically, Watanabe points cues and directions at an uke that is standing in front of him (not charging him in the least). The act between Watanabe (nage) and his uke are more akin to how a poodle trainer acts with his poodle (literally) while doing a circus act than anything that could resemble some of the scenarios offered here thus far. We are talking about merely looking (in an exaggerated fashion) and/or pointing and having uke do flips, twists, and turns from a standstill and from about three feet away. Another similar case is that of Yamano -- at the same demonstrations. You can see a clip of Yamano at AikidoJournal.com (see video page 6 if you are a subscriber).

What about these cases? Are these legitimate throws and/or reactions? And what of no-touch throws being performed in the same manner as the clips described above but being executed by folks that have only trained three years, one year, one month, one week? Are these still throws? Are these still legitimate psychological reactions to the possibility of being struck in the face? Or are these type of things things we should be cautious about?

David M. Valadez
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Old 12-10-2004, 02:16 PM   #48
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
example, a person already mentioned Watanabe -- at the All Japan Aikido Demonstration. If you have not seen these demonstrations, basically, Watanabe points cues and directions at an uke that is standing in front of him (not charging him in the least). The act between Watanabe (nage) and his uke are more akin to how a poodle trainer acts with his poodle (literally) while doing a circus act than anything that could resemble some of the scenarios offered here thus far. We are talking about merely looking (in an exaggerated fashion) and/or pointing and having uke do flips, twists, and turns from a standstill and from about three feet away. Another similar case is that of Yamano -- at the same demonstrations. You can see a clip of Yamano at AikidoJournal.com (see video page 6 if you are a subscriber).

What about these cases? ...Or are these type of things things we should be cautious about?

Be cautious about everything. Have an open but critical mind.

that said, it's not exactly my cup of tea given my awareness of just how hard it for human beings in a group to go counter to the group dynamic.
Also knowing that the 10th dan head of my organization has never nor has his students that I respect ever behaved that way or dealt with ukes in that fashion.

I don't think a charging uke is necessary to bring off a no-touch throw, but a strong connection is. Without engaging maai, I don't believe a strong connection is possible unless you want to invoke the supernatural.

Why do people continue to profess a beilief that the universe began 6.000 years ago in the middle stone age ?

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Old 12-10-2004, 03:28 PM   #49
Rocky Izumi
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Re: No Touch Throws

I watched a Kendo match between two hachi dan once. The came together in chudan and just stood there with the points of their shinai almost touching. There was barely any movement by either one but we were enthralled. At the end when the judge called hikiwake, the entire stadium jumped up and cheered wildly. It was the best match of the day!
As I stood there cheering, the person I had dragged there with me looked up and said "What happened? Why is everyone cheering? What was that all about?" I responded "Didn't you see that great battle? It was marvelous! I have never seen two guys fight like that!" He said "What fight? They were just standing there."
I realized then that my friend had never done Kendo. He couldn't see the great battle that was taking place between the spirit or Ki of the two people. When one would extend his Ki and try to climb over the other's spirit, the other would respond with a counter. The fight was all between the spirit of the two Kendoists, their shinai hardly moved at all. In Kendo, like in war, you have to destroy the spirit of the other person before you attack if you want a successful attack. At the level of those two fighters who were exceedingly well-matched, the fight was all in the spirit. Is it real? Well, it does take effort. The keikogi of the two fighters turned black with sweat as they fought. Does it work? Well, consider how difficult it is to defeat your teacher even as you get better than him or her. They have a spiritual advantage because you already have some doubts about whether you can beat them. It is all summed up in the saying from Kendo -- Ki-Ken-Tai (Spirit, Sword, Body). All have to become one to do good Kendo. The Ki is an important part of doing something just as is the body and the sword. You can't separate them and talk about doing something with each separately. Kendo, Aikido, Karate, Judo, No-touch throws, it is all the same.

Rock
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Old 12-10-2004, 05:04 PM   #50
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
If you have not seen these demonstrations, basically, Watanabe points cues and directions at an uke that is standing in front of him (not charging him in the least). The act between Watanabe (nage) and his uke are more akin to how a poodle trainer acts with his poodle (literally) while doing a circus act than anything that could resemble some of the scenarios offered here thus far. We are talking about merely looking (in an exaggerated fashion) and/or pointing and having uke do flips, twists, and turns from a standstill and from about three feet away. Another similar case is that of Yamano -- at the same demonstrations. You can see a clip of Yamano at AikidoJournal.com (see video page 6 if you are a subscriber).

What about these cases? Are these legitimate throws and/or reactions? And what of no-touch throws being performed in the same manner as the clips described above but being executed by folks that have only trained three years, one year, one month, one week? Are these still throws? Are these still legitimate psychological reactions to the possibility of being struck in the face? Or are these type of things things we should be cautious about?
For technique to have validityit is the coming together of a number of factors or principles. Ma-ai (critical distance), de-ai (critical instant), suki (opening), etc. When you are watching an extreme example of energy throws such as what Watanabe Sensei does, you aren't seeing great Aikido, rather you are seeing great personal power. A man's ability to get a group of people to collectively suspend their normal reactions and instaed act as trained.

Doing this requires the suspension of the most elemental rules of ukemi. The uke's job is to go forward towards the nage's center until he is thrown or pinned. In the process he is to do his best to maintain his balance and to protect his openings.

If the nage throws an atemi it is uke's job to deflect it or block it if he can, if he can't he needs to vacate. For an atemi to strike there must be a suki (opening). This opening must exist in two dimensions, the physical and the mental. For example, if you are going to cut me with your sword you need to see an opening such as a kamae that provides the physical target for an attack i.e. gedan. However, if you mistake the physical opening for the true opening you will be cut down instantly because what allows you to actually strike that target which seems open is a mental opening which would keep me from reacting to the attack.

That opening is only a true opening if you are at a distance at which you can move in and cut me before I can react. That means the proper spacing and it means that I have to be caught for an instant mentaly unconnected.

In the case of these energy throws from across the mat, the uke has been trained to suspend all of the martial components of his training. These guys exhibit only one of the principles which make a real etchnique and that is the physical opening or suki. If their teacher perceives a suki, they react as if that were sufficient to cause them to vacate the space they are in. Simply being touched by the nage's attention... This is totally bogus.

Just because your opponent can perceive your opening doesn't mean he has you yet. He needs to be able to move into that opening and take your center in the time before you can close the opening. Throws from across the mat have no ma-ai as an active principle.

A true touchless throw is done just fast enough that you can't stop it and just slow enough that you can perceive it and take the fall. The energy of the technique (mental perception and physical energy) must be place in the space which uke needs to be in in order to complete his attack just before he gets to that spot in space and time.

Of course the opponent's attention and his intention are tangible, you can feel them at a distance. But that doesn't mean that you need to react to them until the other factors dictate that you must. Training people this way makes them hyper sensitive to shifts in the energy and attention of the partner. This sensitivity is taken to an extreme at which it totally out of balance with the other factors that make up a technique. Training this way loses any and all relationship to Budo, it is a bad form of contact improv without the contact.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 12-10-2004 at 05:15 PM.

George S. Ledyard
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