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Old 05-12-2004, 12:41 PM   #26
Suru
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Re: Size(strength) doesn't matter! It does!

My brother and I wrestle from time to time. I try Aikido and he tries not to let me do it. He is extremely strong. When he grabs my wrist (kosa or katate,) I can't figure out what to do. His grip is so tight that I can't bring my hand around for nikkyo. I can't break his grip by "drinking a beer." When I would practice techniques on a girlfriend, I would be able to do anything. Therefore, strength does matter. However, if my sixth sense was more refined, I could begin my movement just before he actually grabs (but after he has commited.) This was taught often by one of my sensei. This takes impeccable timing, however, and is thereby challenging to accomplish.

Drew
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Old 05-12-2004, 01:20 PM   #27
jimvance
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Re: Size(strength) doesn't matter! It does!

Strength matters in a "closed" competition, that is, where all possible outcomes are limited to those instances that have been practiced within the exponent's particular repertoire. The human need to grapple or to wrestle brings us back to the same old riddle, "what matters more, strength or skill?"
I feel that to be a true "martial" art, we must take into account the element of lethality as well as the element of restraining a person using force.
As someone above mentioned, they could do their repertoire with their girlfriend, but couldn't budge their brother. Had his brother been an assailant intent on really hurting him, other "open" options would become available, such as threatening or damaging the vital organs. Most people would find it difficult to maintain a crushing grip if you poked them in the eye with your finger, let alone if you buried your finger into their eyesocket.
Levels of force move from easy moral gradients up to deeper, more complex levels of human interaction, and giving hard and fast rules about all, treating them all as equal, is somewhat counterproductive to the many reasons we pursue the study of martial arts.

Jim Vance

Last edited by jimvance : 05-12-2004 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 05-12-2004, 01:42 PM   #28
Chris Birke
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Re: Size(strength) doesn't matter! It does!

Just about anything that works for a small person, works for a big person. Plus, they're bigger. Yes, you can get too big and fat, but generally bigger equals better. Anecdotal evidence of one or two fights does not dispute the fact that just about every competitive fighting sport has weight classes. Hundreds and hundreds of fights with similar skilled opponents reveal that yes, weight matters. It matters on the street too. Bigger stronger people have an advantage that you can only counter with skill, and only to a certain extent. You think you have a magic tactic that will work if things get really rough? So do they! And they're bigger. For self defense's sake, at a certain point as much can be accomplished by hitting the gym and bulking up as by hitting the bag.

Also, the grass is indeed green, cats meow, and teenagers are hormonal. Anyone who thinks otherwise...
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Old 05-12-2004, 02:07 PM   #29
Tharis
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Re: Size(strength) doesn't matter! It does!

Quote:
Drew Gardner wrote:
My brother and I wrestle from time to time. I try Aikido and he tries not to let me do it. He is extremely strong. When he grabs my wrist (kosa or katate,) I can't figure out what to do. His grip is so tight that I can't bring my hand around for nikkyo. I can't break his grip by "drinking a beer."
Drew
A humble suggestion:

One trick Jim Sensei taught me was instead of trying to raise your arm, lower your hips. If you can't lift your arm above his, then lower your body below his and lift up with your hips. It makes a big difference.

Also, keep training. Getting to a point in aikido where you can bring down anybody (even a grappler bigger than you are) takes a long time (think years). I would not assume that because your technique doesn't work against someone bigger that all technique doesn't work in similar circumstances.

Of course, that's just my opinion...

Yours in ukemi,

Thomas
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Old 05-12-2004, 02:28 PM   #30
Tharis
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Re: Size(strength) doesn't matter! It does!

Quote:
Chris Birke wrote:
Just about anything that works for a small person, works for a big person. Plus, they're bigger. Yes, you can get too big and fat, but generally bigger equals better. Anecdotal evidence of one or two fights does not dispute the fact that just about every competitive fighting sport has weight classes. Hundreds and hundreds of fights with similar skilled opponents reveal that yes, weight matters. It matters on the street too. Bigger stronger people have an advantage that you can only counter with skill, and only to a certain extent. You think you have a magic tactic that will work if things get really rough? So do they! And they're bigger. For self defense's sake, at a certain point as much can be accomplished by hitting the gym and bulking up as by hitting the bag.
If that's the sort of practice you want, then go to it and just make sure you don't accidentally put someone in the ICU...

Fact: It is unlikely that someone who decides to attack me is going to be smaller than me, unless he's got an extra advantage (like a knife or a gun).

Fact: I will never be the strongest man in the world.

I'm not saying this to debase strength-based fighting styles, but practically, it doesn't work for everybody. For a physically smaller or weaker person, force-based arts don't pay off as well as more aiki-based arts. There's only so much some people can get out of pure strength training. Also, there are guys so incredibly huge that hitting them or muscling them to the ground would be laughable.

As I said before, I won't say that strength doesn't matter. What I will say is that aikido or similar arts can level the playing field, so to speak. By being defensive and using ukes momentum and energy, it neutralizes some of the "brute force" advantage.

Yours,

Thomas
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Old 05-12-2004, 02:42 PM   #31
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Re: Size(strength) doesn't matter! It does!

Quote:
Thomas Harris wrote:
I'm not saying this to debase strength-based fighting styles, but practically, it doesn't work for everybody.
Mind giving an example of a strength-based fighting style? I'm not aware of any.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 05-12-2004, 03:09 PM   #32
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Re: Size(strength) doesn't matter! It does!

Very interesting thread. I like Bryan B and Wynand's approaches.

When training against weapons I often inform my students not to get too mesmerised by the weapon. The same goes for size and other such intimidation factors.

I personally believe that strength, size (and any other factors) matter only when we allow them to. Generally speaking, good technique depends on good tsukuri. Good tsukuri depends on effective evasion, alignment, kuzushi or atemi before one even gets into what technique may work in a given situation.

Yesterday we had folks practicing aigamae katate dori nikkyo (kote mawashi) with and without resistance. It was interesting to see that those who tensed up and reacted to increased muscular and bodily force with muscle resistance of their own was not able to make things work at all, regardless of size. However, when one decided not to be taken in by the increased force or size bearing down upon him/her, and instead relax, and utiliize correct i do ryoku (power of movement) and toitsu ryoku (focus of power), even the smallest female in the class (about 5ft, 100 lbs) got things to work against the largest guy in the class (about 6ft, 340 lbs ). Funny how even the smaller female was able to shut down the technique of the much larger male when resistance was correctly applied as well. It works both ways.

So to agree with some above, size does not matter as long as the skill level is there to level or invert the field. The power one can generate by using size when off balance is a very small fraction of the power the same individual can generate when in balance. So I guess kuzushi is one of the keys.

This does not mean however that techniques may not need to be modified slightly to deal with the sheer increased mass that is attacking you. We may need to make bigger circles, do more efficient tai sabaki, more powerful hip movement and other things to get things to work against the bigger opponent. But in the end, the principle used should be the same regardless.

Also, in competitive Aikido, divisions are based on skill level and not weight, as it seeks to deal with exactly the question being asked here, among other things. Effective technique should work regardless of size, with out necessitating the use of Judo techniques etc. It's all about how you train and what you focus on.

My 9 cents.
LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 05-12-2004, 03:14 PM   #33
Chris Birke
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Re: Size(strength) doesn't matter! It does!

I didn't know that about aikido competitions having no weight classes. I find it fascinating.
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Old 05-12-2004, 03:25 PM   #34
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Re: Size(strength) doesn't matter! It does!

Quote:
I didn't know that about aikido competitions having no weight classes. I find it fascinating.
I presume that Larry is refering to tanto shiai, which of course, involves a tanto (weapon).

Larry, please correct me if I'm wrong.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 05-12-2004, 03:32 PM   #35
Nick Simpson
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Re: Size(strength) doesn't matter! It does!

Hitting someone much larger/stronger isnt laughable if you hit them in the throat or some other such area, I know of a short statured aikidoka who has reduced many larger and stronger opponents to quivering heaps on the floor by hitting them. Its hard to break someones face, it isnt that hard to crush some ones windpipe, all depends on whatever level of force you are prepared to employ...
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Old 05-12-2004, 04:30 PM   #36
Chris Birke
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Re: Size(strength) doesn't matter! It does!

"Bigger stronger people have an advantage that you can only counter with skill, and only to a certain extent. You think you have a magic tactic that will work if things get really rough? So do they! And they're bigger."

VS

" I know of a short statured aikidoka who has reduced many larger and stronger opponents to quivering heaps on the floor by hitting them. Its hard to break someones face, it isnt that hard to crush some ones windpipe, all depends on whatever level of force you are prepared to employ..."

Discuss!
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Old 05-13-2004, 01:50 AM   #37
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Re: Size(strength) doesn't matter! It does!

Quote:
Drew Gardner wrote:
My brother and I wrestle from time to time. I try Aikido and he tries not to let me do it. He is extremely strong. When he grabs my wrist (kosa or katate,) I can't figure out what to do. His grip is so tight that I can't bring my hand around for nikkyo. I can't break his grip by "drinking a beer."
Without seeing you do this it's hard to advise, but second guessing blindly I would say that your focus in drinking a beer is on moving your arm, and you are getting wrapped up because you can't. You need to move your arm with your whole body. When someone grabs your wrist, that is all that they have of you! Too many people forget this, they focus on the fact that they can't move their arm, i.e. strength vs. strength. If you move your whole body instaead, then it will be very difficult for the person grabbing to hold on, because your whole body is more powerful than his grip. The hard part is figuring out where to move your body to, that's why we practice .

Regards

Bryan

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 05-13-2004, 02:01 AM   #38
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Re: Size(strength) doesn't matter! It does!

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
This does not mean however that techniques may not need to be modified slightly to deal with the sheer increased mass that is attacking you. We may need to make bigger circles, do more efficient tai sabaki, more powerful hip movement and other things to get things to work against the bigger opponent. But in the end, the principle used should be the same regardless.
This is a very good point. When practicing one should always make their Aikido as big as possible, over exagerate the movement as much as possible. If you do this, you will stretch your uke out further which can only assist kuzushi. If you think and practice like this, it will help get past the all to common point of trying to do technique before uke is in a position to receive it. Magnifying your movements causes uke's movement to be magnified, this in turn makes it easier for you as tori to feel what's going on and see what's happening, i.e. will help make it easier to understand the principals involved in the technique. Large movements also generate a lot of power.

Once you've got it large, then you can make it small, but you make it small with large power .

rgds

Bryan

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 05-13-2004, 02:07 AM   #39
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Re: Size(strength) doesn't matter! It does!

Quote:
Jim Vance wrote:
Had his brother been an assailant intent on really hurting him, other "open" options would become available, such as threatening or damaging the vital organs. Most people would find it difficult to maintain a crushing grip if you poked them in the eye with your finger, let alone if you buried your finger into their eyesocket.
This is another very good point that is often forgotten when larking about with friends, especially if they do not train in the dojo. Because they are friends, we treat them nice and often forget the open routes.

rgds

Bryan

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 05-13-2004, 04:42 AM   #40
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Re: Size(strength) doesn't matter! It does!

There seems to be a lot of different oppinions here, I am still quite green in my training and this week we was doing everyones favourite nikyo. I was told to hold a dan grades lapel and he was to turn bend my arm and apply nickyo. The teacher told me to hold really strong I did and the dan grade was unable to do the technique because my arm would not bend. The teacher decided to have a go and told me to hold really strong so I did. The teacher could not bend my arm, I was concerned now that I may have upset or embarressed my teacher and co partner in some way but the treacher simply turned forcing my arm to bend and just did another technique. I am 5'11 weigh a meassly 73kg and have 13 and a half inch arms. So I would have to say that size does not really matter but technique is what is important. I am still training in a static form and this I am told will develop my kokyu. Later I will get to practice in a moving environment. So a non moving object is harder to move than a moving object, as stated above I weight approx 11 stone my teacher weighs 15 - 16 stone yet could not bend my arm using weight or strength but managed it with technique.

Regards Andrew
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Old 05-13-2004, 05:09 AM   #41
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Re: Size(strength) doesn't matter! It does!

Quote:
Had his brother been an assailant intent on really hurting him, other "open" options would become available, such as threatening or damaging the vital organs.
Honestly, given some of these responses I'd rather not meet any of you in real life if you think it's appropriate, legal or ethical to respond to a wrist grab with lethal force. (tongue mostly in cheek....mostly)


Andrew,

Quote:
Andrew wrote:
So a non moving object is harder to move than a moving object, as stated above I weight approx 11 stone my teacher weighs 15 - 16 stone yet could not bend my arm using weight or strength but managed it with technique.
Instead of thinking that technique and strength are separate, you might try re-framing to think that technique is appropriately applied strength.... Or go back to the first reply on this thread where Chuck talks about efficiency.

Incidentally, a moving object can be considerably more difficult to move than a stationary one, particularly if the object is moving towards you at great speed and you wish to move it backwards.


Regards,

Paul
----still waiting for a strength based martial art example
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Old 05-13-2004, 05:24 AM   #42
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Re: Size(strength) doesn't matter! It does!

Quote:
paul watt wrote:
----still waiting for a strength based martial art example
Viking death combat? ;-) Benchpress dueling? Sumo?

In any case, a smart man once said "Strength is its own martial art"

It's all applied strength, but that's another topic...
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Old 05-13-2004, 05:49 AM   #43
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Re: Size(strength) doesn't matter! It does!

paul watt
Quote:
Incidentally, a moving object can be considerably more difficult to move than a stationary one, particularly if the object is moving towards you at great speed and you wish to move it backwards.
In reality if the force is much greater then the object can be moved back although there would be an initial clash, yet this is not aikido true aikido would allow the force to continue on it's path hence blending with it rather than trying to stop it. If a car was heading towards me at high speed I would not try to stop it but rather step to the side and let it continue in it's direction.

Regards Andrew
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Old 05-13-2004, 05:52 AM   #44
Steven Scott
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Re: Size(strength) doesn't matter! It does!

If size does matter, yet everything is thrown out the window, then why does size matter.

Are larger people less susceptible to bricks, chairs, knives than smaller people ?

Are stronger people more aware of an attackers friend clipping them from behind ?

Can fitter people outrun a bullet ?

So why does size matter, because in todays world all of these come in to play.


Just a passing thought.....

Yours in Aiki
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Old 05-13-2004, 06:02 AM   #45
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Cool Re: Size(strength) doesn't matter! It does!

Quote:
paul watt wrote:
I presume that Larry is refering to tanto shiai, which of course, involves a tanto (weapon).
Paul is correct. However, there is also something called Toshu, involving two empty handed opponents attempting techniques and countering in a continuous engagement. This however is no longer an aspect of competitive tournaments, but is used more as a training method to deal with non-tanto attacks. In the same way tanto randori develops into tanto shiai, there is also toshu randori, which includes all the elements of resistance, technique and principles contained in tanto randori.

As far as the absence of divisions based on weight, there is a nice article on this on Aikidojournal here - http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=243 .

As Tomiki said - "Waza no shinri wa hitotsu," -"The truth is in the technique".

Also, regarding the Sensei who could not apply the technique from a static position, I feel a bit badly or him. Even in a static situation, there is energy that one can utilise and exploit. If it is not enough, there are exercises that involve generating movement in uke when there is little energy. Sort of pro-active kuzushi instead of re-active kuzushi. If he utilised these principles to break posture or balance the technique that he initially planned should have worked.

Just my thoughts.
LC

Last edited by L. Camejo : 05-13-2004 at 06:09 AM.

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Old 05-13-2004, 08:35 AM   #46
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Re: Size(strength) doesn't matter! It does!

Quote:
Steven wrote:
If size does matter, yet everything is thrown out the window, then why does size matter.
I disagree that everything gets thrown out the window, so I disagree with your premise. We tend not to rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. (Isn't that Lynn's signature?)

Quote:
Steven wrote:
Are larger people less susceptible to bricks, chairs, knives than smaller people ?
Of course not. Which is the point of weapon development...to negate the advantage of size and strength.

Having said that, a stronger person is capable of creating much more force with an impact weapon (brick, bottle, pool cue, boken, jo...) than a smaller person, training being equal.

Quote:
Larry wrote:
Paul is correct. However, there is also something called Toshu, involving two empty handed opponents attempting techniques and countering in a continuous engagement. This however is no longer an aspect of competitive tournaments, but is used more as a training method to deal with non-tanto attacks. In the same way tanto randori develops into tanto shiai, there is also toshu randori, which includes all the elements of resistance, technique and principles contained in tanto randori.
I think if more people engaged in toshu randori, these questions would answer themselves.


Regards,

Paul
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Old 05-13-2004, 08:39 AM   #47
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Re: Size(strength) doesn't matter! It does!

I think it is just one of those things at the end of the day, mental attitude also plays a big part in this debate.

Quote:
Also, regarding the Sensei who could not apply the technique from a static position, I feel a bit badly or him. Even in a static situation, there is energy that one can utilise and exploit. If it is not enough, there are exercises that involve generating movement in uke when there is little energy. Sort of pro-active kuzushi instead of re-active kuzushi. If he utilised these principles to break posture or balance the technique that he initially planned should have worked.
trust me on this one my sensei is a very powerfull bloke and receiving morote dori koyo dosa from him I thought I was going to go through the floor. On the other hand I may have a small frame for my height but I have increadable strength so most people would have real difficulty in bending my arm. It was just one of those things I would just like to clear that up for I have the utmost respect for my sensei.

Regards Andrew
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Old 05-13-2004, 11:13 AM   #48
ian
 
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Re: Size(strength) doesn't matter! It does!

We specificially train in two different ways in our dojo to understand both body emchanics and timing. For beginners (esp. women) I think it is important to do stationary techniques where someone grabs really hard, and the proper body mechanics (i.e. hips and centre move and not the point of contact) enable movement. This is very hard with very strong people unless you do it correctly, however once done correctly it provides a lot of confidence.

The second aspect is timing - and this is done slowly at first, but has to be consistant movement.

Ideally these two are integrated so the timing is correct, but the position you are in at any time is extremely strong. I feel many dojos only stress one or the other.

Ian
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Old 05-13-2004, 06:39 PM   #49
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Re: Size(strength) doesn't matter! It does!

Toshu randori has been back for quite a while. It fell out of favour for a while mainly because it is much more difficult to do and ref. It has the potential to become Judo randori too easily.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-13-2004, 08:05 PM   #50
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Re: Size(strength) doesn't matter! It does!

I do not believe strength plays a role unless you are making all other technical aspects equal, which is not realistic. I have taught submission techniques for military and law enforcement and I have seen many female officers who can handily subdue a much larger, stronger adversary. It is they have learned to utilize all their weapons (flexibility, endurance, training, or whatever they may be). If a weaker person stands toe to toe with a stronger person and trades punches, well first that's stupid, second they are allowing the stronger individual to utilize their strength.

Take a look at past UFCs. The originals had no weight classes. Royce Gracie was outweighed by over 30 lbs by every opponent, all competent, dangerous fighters. He handily defeated every opponent. Smaller, weaker technically superior fighters routinely defeat much larger fighters.

Greg Makuch
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