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Old 11-27-2015, 05:30 PM   #1
earnest aikidoka
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Structure. Leading. Atemi

Good structure leads to strong posture. A strong posture leads to a free mind. When one's posture is weak, the mind is distracted as it tries to accommodate the weaknesses in the posture and leads to lack of freedom. This is trained through the kihon of aikido, where an aikidoka's posture is tested. Not just in resisting an uke's force, but extending force through said posture instead of muscular force.

Leading is where posture is moved. Keeping good posture through constant movement is practiced with techniques done from a tsuki, shomen or yokomen strike. A subtle change in posture results in great affect to uke's stance and leaves him vulnerable, and it is these changes that should be studied in great detail.

Most aikidoka believe that atemi is striking. But I think that atemi, or the idea behind it, is application. After strengthening posture and developing one's movement, how does the two work together to facilitate fight or flight. That is what is practiced when one does randori or jiyuwaza. Whether it be a strike, throw or merely stopping a determined assault. Atemi is the element which must be studied in order to bring meaning to aikido as a whole.

Each of the above are not exclusive to certain techniques, but rather all techniques teach structure, leading and atemi to some extent. One must discern one from the other through feeling the body of the uke and the observing the teaching of the sensei and train accordingly.
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Old 01-19-2017, 10:46 AM   #2
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Re: Structure. Leading. Atemi

I like it

Chris Sawyer
Training day is every day
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Old 02-09-2017, 05:12 PM   #3
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Re: Structure. Leading. Atemi

Thanks for the post.

I am also being taught that at the start of the waza, uke should also have good posture, not offering any free openings - that is, the openings nage should expect, as a consequence of the prescribed attack.

For example, I have a tendency to slouch and grasp nage's wrist with a locked elbow. I have been quickly taught not to do that, as nage would simply take advantage of the locked elbow; and possibly add another technique on top of that taking advantage of my facing the ground instead of looking at nage's face.

Another example: As uke, I was grabbing nage's wrist too weakly. She said "if you don't grab properly, I can elbow you in the face with the arm you're grabbing".
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Old 04-18-2017, 10:28 AM   #4
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Re: Structure. Leading. Atemi

Quote:
Paolo Valladolid wrote: View Post
Thanks for the post.

I am also being taught that at the start of the waza, uke should also have good posture, not offering any free openings - that is, the openings nage should expect, as a consequence of the prescribed attack.

For example, I have a tendency to slouch and grasp nage's wrist with a locked elbow. I have been quickly taught not to do that, as nage would simply take advantage of the locked elbow; and possibly add another technique on top of that taking advantage of my facing the ground instead of looking at nage's face.

Another example: As uke, I was grabbing nage's wrist too weakly. She said "if you don't grab properly, I can elbow you in the face with the arm you're grabbing".
As uke, you need to be aware of how you hold yourself, do not fight the technique, it is destined that you would lose anyway. But be conscious of what you are doing, where do you feel tension? Which areas of your body is too strained or not strained enough. This awareness must be present at all times.

And you're welcome
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Old 04-19-2017, 12:46 AM   #5
asiawide
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Re: Structure. Leading. Atemi

Well... you can say something about 'good structure'. but it's quite vague and useless unless you specify what is the 'good structure' and how to keep it while moving.

Jaemin
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Old 04-20-2017, 11:29 AM   #6
earnest aikidoka
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Re: Structure. Leading. Atemi

Quote:
Jaemin Yu wrote: View Post
Well... you can say something about 'good structure'. but it's quite vague and useless unless you specify what is the 'good structure' and how to keep it while moving.

Jaemin
That is dependent on physical training. A structure is something that can only be specified by the physical sensation, not words. Kokyu-ho, kokyu-nage and unbendable arm tests, when done successfully, should give you a better idea regarding structure than words ever could.
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Old 04-20-2017, 10:48 PM   #7
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Re: Structure. Leading. Atemi

Quote:
Hansel Wong wrote: View Post
That is dependent on physical training. A structure is something that can only be specified by the physical sensation, not words. Kokyu-ho, kokyu-nage and unbendable arm tests, when done successfully, should give you a better idea regarding structure than words ever could.
Sorry but then you can't discuss about the structure here since there's no physical sensation here.
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Old 05-19-2017, 03:19 PM   #8
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Re: Structure. Leading. Atemi

"A good stance and posture reflect a proper state of mind."
--Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 05-19-2017, 03:20 PM   #9
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Re: Structure. Leading. Atemi

Quote:
Jaemin Yu wrote: View Post
Well... you can say something about 'good structure'. but it's quite vague and useless unless you specify what is the 'good structure' and how to keep it while moving.

Jaemin
'good structure' = proper kamae

the secret to keeping it while moving is in training
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Old 05-28-2017, 02:48 PM   #10
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Re: Structure. Leading. Atemi

It is a mistake to think of structure in isolation - i.e. "this is structure and it is good". The notions of structure and flow are inseparable and are just one of many yin and yang perspectives to consider when trying to reconcile any martial technique. The yin / yang principle tells us that for any increase in structure, there will be a corresponding decrease in flow, and vice versa And most will immediately recognize that Aikido will never work as all structure or as all flow.

Now, we may observe a preponderance of structure in some students and in some schools - and a preponderance of flow in others ... and a wise observer will simply encourage the former to "lighten up' and encourage the latter to "tighten up".

Jim Redel BHC Aikido
"The universe, aikido, the mind - both hands clapping!"
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Old 05-28-2017, 03:15 PM   #11
earnest aikidoka
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Re: Structure. Leading. Atemi

Quote:
Jaemin Yu wrote: View Post
Sorry but then you can't discuss about the structure here since there's no physical sensation here.
But I can highlight it as a point to note in individual training.

In short words though; watch your bones, especially how the bones stack into place without muscular tension.
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Old 05-28-2017, 03:21 PM   #12
earnest aikidoka
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Re: Structure. Leading. Atemi

Quote:
Jim Redel wrote: View Post
It is a mistake to think of structure in isolation - i.e. "this is structure and it is good". The notions of structure and flow are inseparable and are just one of many yin and yang perspectives to consider when trying to reconcile any martial technique. The yin / yang principle tells us that for any increase in structure, there will be a corresponding decrease in flow, and vice versa And most will immediately recognize that Aikido will never work as all structure or as all flow.

Now, we may observe a preponderance of structure in some students and in some schools - and a preponderance of flow in others ... and a wise observer will simply encourage the former to "lighten up' and encourage the latter to "tighten up".
It is easier to teach it separately, before bringing everything together. So that each aspect can be properly highlighted and grasped, each previous element building strong foundations towards the final combination.
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Old 05-28-2017, 04:21 PM   #13
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Re: Structure. Leading. Atemi

Interesting choice of words ... that could be interpreted at least a couple ways:

- "Easier" because the teacher can just line up all the students like some karate class and have them mimic the instructor, or
- "Easier" meaning more reliably

Presuming you meant "more reliably", I would guess that there would be plenty of debate around the best methodology for teaching complex physical skills (hitting golf balls, fielding batted balls). And maybe that's a good debate to have. But it does not address your original implied assertion that, in Aikido, "structure is king". The fact remains that structure and flow are two mutually opposing elements inherent in all techniques that must be properly balanced in order to execute good throws and pins.

Jim Redel BHC Aikido
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Old 05-29-2017, 08:30 AM   #14
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Re: Structure. Leading. Atemi

A couple examples:

I am guessing that most would agree that always maintaining good balance would be an essential element in the structure of an Aikido technique. And yet, the act of moving is inherently the act of intentionally unbalancing oneself. (We do it so often that we don't give it a second thought.) So, in the extreme, always maintaining good balance would mean to never move. Clearly this is not Aikido.

Also, good balance is often thought of as something like "shoulders above your hips, hips above your knees, etc.". I defy anyone to execute a koshi-nage with an adherence to this kind of structure.

And so, the structure - flow dynamic. Yes, there is a need for structure in Aikido - and it is certainly valuable to discuss it. But any discussion of structure must acknowledge its effects on flow - and a blind attachment to either one would be a mistake.

Jim Redel BHC Aikido
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Old 05-29-2017, 08:20 PM   #15
asiawide
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Re: Structure. Leading. Atemi

Quote:
Jim Redel wrote: View Post
A couple examples:

I am guessing that most would agree that always maintaining good balance would be an essential element in the structure of an Aikido technique. And yet, the act of moving is inherently the act of intentionally unbalancing oneself. (We do it so often that we don't give it a second thought.) So, in the extreme, always maintaining good balance would mean to never move. Clearly this is not Aikido.

Also, good balance is often thought of as something like "shoulders above your hips, hips above your knees, etc.". I defy anyone to execute a koshi-nage with an adherence to this kind of structure.

And so, the structure - flow dynamic. Yes, there is a need for structure in Aikido - and it is certainly valuable to discuss it. But any discussion of structure must acknowledge its effects on flow - and a blind attachment to either one would be a mistake.
That's correct that people walk by unbalancing themselves. But it's not correct that's the one&only way people walk. Avoiding unbalanced walk is what to overcome for many martial arts.

Also koshinage is just like weight lifters doing power lifting. There should be good balance while it does not require head to toe alignment. Also there's good balance all the way for lifting and it's beautiful flow.

I'm sorry but you don't know about martial movements.
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Old 05-29-2017, 09:54 PM   #16
bothhandsclapping
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Re: Structure. Leading. Atemi

Quote:
Jaemin Yu wrote: View Post
That's correct that people walk by unbalancing themselves. But it's not correct that's the one&only way people walk. Avoiding unbalanced walk is what to overcome for many martial arts.

Also koshinage is just like weight lifters doing power lifting. There should be good balance while it does not require head to toe alignment. Also there's good balance all the way for lifting and it's beautiful flow.

I'm sorry but you don't know about martial movements.
Interesting ... hopefully you can enlighten me. And maybe it's a simple matter of semantics.

If you are standing with weight equally distributed across both feet and you unweight one so that you can move it, and even though you certainly don't fall over have you unbalanced yourself? (That is, is your balance less than it was?)

If you are standing upright and you bend over, say as to touch your toes, and even though you certainly don't fall over, have you unbalanced yourself? (That is, is your balance less than it was?)

If your answer is that in both of these cases that you have not unbalanced yourself, then I agree with you that I don't know much about martial movements.

Jim Redel BHC Aikido
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Old 05-29-2017, 11:00 PM   #17
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Re: Structure. Leading. Atemi

Quote:
Jim Redel wrote: View Post
If you are standing with weight equally distributed across both feet and you unweight one so that you can move it, and even though you certainly don't fall over have you unbalanced yourself? (That is, is your balance less than it was?)

If you are standing upright and you bend over, say as to touch your toes, and even though you certainly don't fall over, have you unbalanced yourself? (That is, is your balance less than it was?)
There is surely unbalancing but martial movements should try to AVOID or minimize (not to fall over) it.
This is well known bauga walking.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t29SuJ_0-8c

There is no weight for the moving leg while keeping weighted one leg. And the weight is distributed later after the moving leg landed on floor. This is try to minimize unbalancing as much as possible while moving and it makes body heavier. For the same reason, you can carry uke firmly while being more balanced. Also one leg standing is sometimes stronger than two legs.

When I touch toes by bending over, there is surely unbalancing too. Also I can be less balanced. But I(or my small brain) is trying to balance myself while doing it.

Quote:
And yet, the act of moving is inherently the act of intentionally unbalancing oneself. (We do it so often that we don't give it a second thought.) So, in the extreme, always maintaining good balance would mean to never move. Clearly this is not Aikido.
Unbalacing or less-balanced is inevitable while moving, but we can try to maintain good balance while moving too.
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Old 05-30-2017, 07:39 AM   #18
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Re: Structure. Leading. Atemi

Balance in movement is dynamic. Walking is essentially falling forward and having a pendulum (leg) swing forward and stop the fall. If the leg can't swing forward (i.e., someone or something blocks the foot/knee) and you don't make some changes, splat- faceplant...
We learn to move in such a way that our balance is less easy to compromise.
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Old 05-30-2017, 09:38 AM   #19
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Re: Structure. Leading. Atemi

Without being too presumptuous, it seems there is agreement. Using movement as one indicator of flow and balance as one indicator of structure, it seems reasonable to say that in generating a flow, whether in ourselves our in our partners, we must sacrifice structure.

And in good technique, the challenge is then to strike the right mix of the two. Without flow there is no throw and, as was pointed out, we absolutely need to minimize the cost on structure. And to me, the most interesting question is how and when to reinforce notions of structure and flow within the teaching environment.?

My personal belief is to do that during weapons training. Emphasizing and integrating the various elements of structure (foot placement, weight distribution, balance, alignment, spacing, breathing, etc) and the various elements of flow (sliding, stepping, turning, pressing, yielding, etc.)
seems most easily accomplished when one you put a bokken or jo into someone's hand. (In my school, I call this "anal" weapons.) And so, my personal philosophy is to teach the elements of structure and flow during a weapons class and then let taijutsu take care of itself.

Thoughts?

Jim Redel BHC Aikido
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Old 05-30-2017, 10:00 PM   #20
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Re: Structure. Leading. Atemi

Quote:
Jim Redel wrote: View Post
Without being too presumptuous, it seems there is agreement. Using movement as one indicator of flow and balance as one indicator of structure, it seems reasonable to say that in generating a flow, whether in ourselves our in our partners, we must sacrifice structure.

And in good technique, the challenge is then to strike the right mix of the two. Without flow there is no throw and, as was pointed out, we absolutely need to minimize the cost on structure. And to me, the most interesting question is how and when to reinforce notions of structure and flow within the teaching environment.?

My personal belief is to do that during weapons training. Emphasizing and integrating the various elements of structure (foot placement, weight distribution, balance, alignment, spacing, breathing, etc) and the various elements of flow (sliding, stepping, turning, pressing, yielding, etc.)
seems most easily accomplished when one you put a bokken or jo into someone's hand. (In my school, I call this "anal" weapons.) And so, my personal philosophy is to teach the elements of structure and flow during a weapons class and then let taijutsu take care of itself.

Thoughts?
Good structure isn't something fixed. Human body is 'trying to find good structure automatically' There can be different definitions for 'good structure'. I think 'Balance' is one of the them. But how to be balanced is different by person.

If one is holding a bokken which weighs only some kgs, it is heavy enough to disturb one's own balance. Coping with it can be different but mostly people just contract arm and shoulder muscles to hold it. But it's also possible to hold it by middle of body by bypassing arm and shoulders. Or simply if you are carrying a heavy backpack, generally people stick out chin and bend his back to counter balance the weight of backpack. But we can simply let the weight of backpack down by trying to stand straight. So weapons may teach you for flow or structure, but it's far beyond balanced standing and walking.
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Old 05-31-2017, 11:31 AM   #21
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Re: Structure. Leading. Atemi

Quote:
Jaemin Yu wrote: View Post
Avoiding unbalanced walk is what to overcome for many martial arts.
I disagree with this. In fact, I would go as far to say that riding the edge of becoming unbalanced is what we're striving to achieve. Can you do a good, proper roll without becoming unbalanced at any point? If you answered yes to this, ask yourself (or your teacher) if losing your balance at the initiation of the roll would produce a better roll.

Quote:
Jaemin Yu wrote: View Post
Good structure isn't something fixed.
Again, I would tend to disagree. Anything can be achieved through training.

'Good structure' (and proper kamae) is not a static thing; it should always be fluid. Like your balance.
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