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Old 04-30-2001, 11:30 PM   #26
Dojo: Jiyushinkan
Location: Mesa, AZ
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 199
Re: teaching effectiveness

Originally posted by Hagen Seibert
And another point: Teaching seems to stop after the basics, as basic are difficult enough, but for effictivness its got to go further.
Yeah, your basics have to be effective. In a combative situation, gut instinct and basics will save your butt over volume of knowledge any day. Remember that real aiki is applied by competent practitioners, and that the aiki techniques taught within most classical ryu were only given to higher ranked individuals (both socially and experience related rankings). It is hard for today's aikidoka to start from ground zero and be competent in "aiki" related arts. It was taught mostly as a finishing school for the competent. So that means you must develop competency somehow, either in your dojo or from some other resource.

Now these are some possible reasons. My question is what to do about it? This is an important point, because Aikido claims to deal aggression in a non-aggressive manner. But if it fails to handle real, physical aggression properly, the whole concept was a failure.

Do you share that kind of experience? What to do about it?
Gosh, I hate to be so persnickity, but what is so bad about being aggressive? Let's talk about what it is NOT:

1. Aggression does not mean violence, nor must it have malicious intent.
2. Aggression does not mean raging testosterone, or other hormones for that matter.
3. Aggression does not mean throwing caution to wind to win at any cost.
4. Aggression does not mean forcing someone to do something they don't want to, such as military dictatorships.

But we always see the word aggression applied to these situations, and think "Gosh, Aikido is not about any of those things. I surely am not aggressive." Think about this: Is a world-class chess player aggressive about chess? When you are hungry, are you aggressive with your food? When you want to make love with your spouse, when you enjoy your job, when you hug your kids (or family members).... I think you have to want something to be aggressive, to be motivated. Nothing more.
If I thought tying one hand behind my back would help me in a fight, I would be nuts. Why hinder your real chances in a life to life struggle (if it has to come to that) because you think you can't be aggressive? That's just a good way to get hurt or worse.
I think we study in a dojo so that in real life we have a choice about these things.

Jim Vance
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Old 05-01-2001, 02:06 AM   #27
Dojo: Hans de Jong Self Defence School
Location: Perth
Join Date: Feb 2001
Posts: 239
Post Atemi

Atemi practice in Aikido is very lacking from the sounds of it, where I train we do a lot of atemi, and we learn how to attack (to be an uke, well a convincing uke). All of the instructors at my school have studied striking arts from wing chung to tae kwon do and everything in between, even Indonesian silat. So we also learn how to defend against these attacks.
Go watch some classes in other martial arts i.e. kickboxing (which seems to be big now days) and if they teach so common attack that you haven't seen before, think of a way to counter them. It's simply say "I would like to learn (chose an art) could I come along and watch".
Read books about striking arts learn how they attack and learn how to counter them. Remember they're most likely to do the quick basics on the street, no fancy fly kicks or what ever, so researching with book should be fine. You don't need to do karate for 5 year to know the most common ways a karateka will attack you. I recommend Bruce Lee's Tao of Jeet Kune Do for you to read to see how a 'street fighter' will attack, as well as learning how to attack. I was amazed with this book and how much boxing there is in it you'll learn a lot.
Atemi is a major principle in Aikido and O'sensei used t a lot when he needed to. So why the teaching of atemi has not continued through the generations is beyond me.

Here are some atemi from Aikijutsu.

A mekakushi is a window shade, a curtain. The name of this strike, therefore, implies that its purpose is to interfere with your opponent's vision. This is the most common atemi in aiki, and it may be used in a great many forms. A typical style would be a quick flick of the fingers toward your opponent's eyes, forcing him to blink, while your other hand is doing something else (such as establishing a wristlock).
Mekakushi-uchi may also be executed in the same manner as the uraken-uchi of karate, with a strike to the nose this will cause uke's eyes to water, temporarily blinding him. Remember, though, that the purpose is to distract the opponent, so you must simultaneously be doing something else with your free hand or it is not a true mekakushi-uchi.

This atemi is a punch to the floating ribs, such as that seen in ippon-dori, with the angle of attack directed to the person's opposite shoulder. There are two forms: in and y. The first form uses nakadaka ippon-ken, with your pulse downward; the second uses seiken, with the inside of your wrist up (i.e., an uppercut). In either form, correct application will force uke to cough.

The side of knee is the target as the weapon is sht (although uraken may also be used). This atemi is seen in the Yamate-ry waza Handachi Kote-mawashi. If properly executed we don't do this in the dj as it damages the knee this atemi causes uke to freeze for a full second.

During kote-gaeshi, you may continue your initial rotation far enough to permit a strike to uke's kidney with your elbow. Although many schools utilize this strike, it is not well thought of in the Yamate-ry because you must turn away from uke's hand. (The Yamate-ry teaches that, during a kote-gaeshi, uke's hand should always be in front of your center.)

Enter to uke's side and, with a cupped palm, strike the base of his skull. Vigorously applied, this causes death. This atemi may be used as an opening for an irimi-nage. (In the Yamate-ry there is an applied form of Mune-tsuki Aiki-nage that uses this as the opening, and then finishes with hait-uchi to uke's throat.)

Entering deeply to uke's side, teisho-uchi is used to strike at the bottom tip of his shoulder blade. (This is the atemi from Shmen-uchi Irimi-nage.) As was the case with inazuma, this strike will cause uke to cough if properly executed.

This atemi is used as a counter to men-tsuki. With a straight arm, swing your palm upward to strike the side of the elbow of uke's punching arm. Your hand should be twisted downward such that, at impact, your fingers are below his elbow. Properly executed, this will knock his arm across his eyes.

Turning away slightly, simultaneously strike uke's solar plexus with your right elbow and his nose with your right uraken. Your wrist must be deeply flexed, so that your forearm does not hit his chest (which would absorb much of the power of the blow). This atemi is commonly used as a lead-in for katate ude-gurami.
Written By Fredrick Lovret

Graham Wild
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Old 05-03-2001, 06:41 AM   #28
Hagen Seibert
Dojo: Kamai
Location: Freiburg
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 124
Thanks for your replies, folks. Id like to answer every post, if it werent too timeconsuming.
But Ill try to do it in summary.

Some advice and conclusions I found quite weighty:

1) Do not worry or lament about the general condition of Aikido. Keep on training for your self. That is where you can achieve something.
(Quite wise, if everybody does so, there is no reason to worry about the condition of Aikido)
Think Ill take that to heart.

2) Although barely trained, hitting can be a part of self-defence within Aikido. Leads to the question, how to hit and for which purpose. There are many possibilities and a nice field for argue, too. What kind of stikes should be considered "allowed" in the philosophy of Aikido: Should one hit to stop the attacker physically (make him catch for breath, or even make him unconcious), or should one only make him move in a wanted way, or should one just feint without touching him ?

3) The ability to strike is important for any Aikidoka, and its neglected. Id like to remark, that im my opinion one needs to have that ability even if you do not want to use it. If you do a feint, its got to be like it could crush the target. Otherwise the feint will not work, or only the first or second time.

4) Look around, other styles, other martial arts. (Another remark: Ones got to have a firm base before that in order not to be confused)

5) And of course technique should become part of oneself, to be able to apply it spontaneously without thinking about it. ( Ive been preaching that in my Zen&Aikido Seminars anyway )

Andrew, I believe I can judge b e c a u s e I have sometimes lacking confidence in my techniques.
Jun, nice quotation. Who is your teacher? (I mean, whats his name)
Erik, youve been speaking out of my heart.
Graham, thanks for the list.

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Old 05-03-2001, 07:02 AM   #29
Dojo: NUI, Galway Aikido Club.
Location: Galway, Ireland.
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 334
Originally posted by Hagen Seibert

3) The ability to strike is important for any Aikidoka, and its neglected. Id like to remark, that im my opinion one needs to have that ability even if you do not want to use it.
It was said here a while back by George Ledyard, a police instructor, that the first skill police needed in order to use aikido on somebody was the ability to knock them unconscious with their fists. (I suppose they need to learn quickly and be comfortable with a technique failing.)

Neglected? yeah, probably.
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