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Old 04-03-2014, 11:41 PM   #51
ryback
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
See the thing is, if you want to try to figure out how to "make your Aikido work against" proper boxing techniques, you need to learn how to box properly. Right? Or else you won't be giving good combinations of jabs, crosses, uppers, hooks, what have you. You'll wind up with a new set of attacks that still don't look to an actual boxer like real attacks.

In order to begin to figure out how to apply the principals of Aikido on this new field, you need to learn the principals of pugilism yourself.

So how much of your Aikido training time should you spend doing that? That's always my question when people start talking about the attacks as though they are singular physical events as performed by a robot on an assembly line. We've all got a finite amount of time to train, even if we're full-time students. How much Aikido training time do you spend practicing in a different martial context (or non-martial context, as the solo training people do) in order to develop some level of understanding of that context, so you can then begin to figure out how Aikido is supposed to work over there?

For boxing that's going to be heavy bag and speed bag work, hitting striking pads with a trainer, various types of conditioning, and lots and lots of sparring. For knife fighting that is going to require hours and hours of learning techniques (often similar to Aikido fwiw) and running through continuous flow drills. So how much time is left for Aikido, and what happens when you realize you like boxing or escrima better?

I tend to think that the most reasonable answer to these questions involves taking some generalized, standard attack vectors and sticking with those. Get new students familiar with them and then build intensity...I am not sure increasing complexity or sophistication of the attacks is worth the effort.
I agree, I didn't mean to train like a boxer, or a karateka, simply to make the attacks a little more challenging.
In my opinion the only way to make aikido work is to make its principles be one with your own nature and in order to do that you just have to practice aikido.
I am very much against cross training...
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Old 04-04-2014, 12:30 AM   #52
Michael Varin
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
I think this is where I start to get confused.
I couldn't have said it better.

You really do seem to be confused.

Context matters. In a sense, it's everything. This is an interesting topic, but it isn't all that complex.

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Using the same logic, should we not be able to change arts... So the claim would then be, "You need to learn aikido to make your boxing work against aikido people."
I would hope to God that the boxer took some time to learn about the context of weapons, because I suppose I'd probably crush his skull with my bokken and he'd never really have any clue about the distance and timing, so he'd have to resort to pure luck and aggression.

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
I am not sure this is a bi-directional declaration, which implies (to me) that we are still missing a step in our educational process that precludes us from learning how to deal with attacks beyond aikido-style attacks. Is a point of concession in aikido that we excuse our inability to deal with a boxer-style strike, as opposed to an aikido-style strike? Is a boxer-style strike so dissimilar to an aikido-style strike that is renders our waza ineffective?
No. It renders much of our waza unnecessary! And things that are unnecessary are inherently superfluous. And things that are superfluous are inherently inefficient. If you disrespect aikido's ukemi and atemi waza, you will certainly struggle greatly against boxers.

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Honestly, I do not have a problem if the answer is because I do not train enough. To Cliff's point, a lot of this conversation is answered by training more. But to at least reach a point where the judo player says, "That's not a bad throw. If you trained more you'd probably be pretty good." Or from the boxer, "You kept up a good guard and have some great combos, if you trained more you'd be a pretty good boxer." After all, shouldn't we be able to say to a judo player, "you've got some good throws. If you softened up a bit and used more aiki, you'd be a good aikido person." There should be some elementary education that affords us the appreciation from our sister arts to look at aiki and not the shell of movement that is an "attack".
You have to stop viewing this discussion from the perspective of a one-on-one empty handed format. Baseline for traditional aikido training is to imagine you have multiple opponents and they are armed. A boxer literally never concerns himself with this.

As Morihiro Saito said, "In aikido a contest means a fight with a real sword." And Minoru Mochizuki, "Aikido is a fight with real swords."

We could say, "Hey, Judoka. Great turtle. If you only trained harder you wouldn't have had the shit kicked out of you by the other five guys." Or, "Hey, boxer. You've got a great guard and great combos! If you would've only trained harder the length of my jo might not have prevented you from landing punches and you wouldn't have broken your arms when you tried to block my jo strikes." These are equivalent statements to those that you made.

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
We practice aiki and should be demonstrably better at illustrating aiki than other sister arts. That is the focus of our training and we should allow the other arts the expertise in what they do better. My continued observation for this thread is that we need to be critical in assessing our level of ability for what we do. Are we? If we sacrifice the practical martial arts education for focused education in aiki, are we satisfied in our ability to express aiki? If I can express aiki, shouldn't I be able to put that power in my hand? or my sword? Isn't that what gives me the respect and appreciation of my sister arts? Not that I can box, but that I can put power in my hands? Not that I can throw, but that I can put unmovable stability in my posture? Not that I can duel, but I can put aiki in the tip of my sword?
Your mention of "sister arts" is curious. Is kyudo a sister art? What is the focus of judo? Ju or throwing?

Can aiki be implemented in a variety of contexts and arts? Of course it can! But aikido has a technical and strategic basis that it is not antiquated nor useless, and I believe that was the OP's point.

As my final point, I'd like to say that your conception of aiki is obviously very different than mine. Excuse my French, but why do I give a shit if I can put "aiki" in the tip of my sword? Swords are amongst the most unforgiving handheld weapons man ever created. One rarely gets more than two brief instances of contact before one or both of the combatants are mortally wounded. The first contact almost always wins. And that contact is more likely to be sword on flesh than sword on sword. Real skill with the sword must be a skill precedes physical contact. It must. If your conception of aiki doesn't account for this, then I very seriously doubt it is in accord with Morihei Ueshiba's conception of aiki.

P.S. All of the foregoing assumes that the aikidoist has the mettle of the average boxer, judoka, mmaist, etc., which, of course, in most cases they do not. But that's a topic for another thread!

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 04-04-2014, 06:45 AM   #53
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote:
Using the same logic, should we not be able to change arts... So the claim would then be, "You need to learn aikido to make your boxing work against aikido people."
Not if the boxing model is 'better' than the aikido model (weapons aside).
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Old 04-04-2014, 06:50 AM   #54
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

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Michael Varin wrote: View Post
As Morihiro Saito said, "In aikido a contest means a fight with a real sword." And Minoru Mochizuki, "Aikido is a fight with real swords."
didn't one of aikido great old timer said that we should stop demo sword take away techniques because there are real swordmen in the audience and we would be a laughing stock. or something in that effect? sort of implied that we don't know the hell we are talking about when we are dealing with sword?

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 04-04-2014, 08:33 AM   #55
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

I get the differences. Boxers don't use weapons. Judo players don't use weapons. But, I am not pointing out differences I am pointing out commonalities. Statements of commonality are not the same as statements of difference. I do not envision a meeting of the minds pulling out a weapon and attacking someone without experience managing weapons; there isn't much in common there. A boxer punches. Aikido people punch. Why is it that we cannot have a conversation about why a boxer punch affects an aikido person, but an aikido punch does not affect a boxer? [Continue the same analogies from my previous post].

It sounds like when we start that conversation, the answer is, "Our attacks are based on sword." Fine, So our attacks are based on sword and the [fill in the blank] cannot comprehend our tactical work. We have moved the argument from the commonalty of empty-hand to the difference of weapon/empty-hand. Which really doesn't answer the question, it just frames the context of why we attack in a fashion that is ineffective against a boxer. But, shouldn't that attack be effective against another sword art? Sword people should appreciate what we're doing, right? Now we are back to the commonality of sword-based tactical work. So how do we fair against sword people? Not well; aikido is not a sword style. But we just said it is based on sword... But not real sword stuff - educational stuff to teach us how to use aiki... Which we don't care about putting into our sword stuff.

We are creating a circular logic by changing the argument from commonalities to differences. I am confused because we are all about weapons right up until we meet somebody who is all about weapons. Then we start looking at the floor and shuffling our feet and excusing what we do.

We can all celebrate our differences and I am not trying to set up an argument of differences. I use the term "sister" to include those arts that share commonalities from which we can learn. I say that because in my training I have access to great judo and jujutsu and I want to learn from the commonalities we have, not isolate myself by the differences in our training. Why would a judo guy work with me if I threatened to hit him with a weapon as part of my training? Shouldn't I be able to dazzle him with aiki?

To Michael's point, my concept of aiki is different. I have exposure to great martial artists who are great people from whom I want to learn. I am trying to learn how to express aiki and demonstrate that expression in a common fashion and give back to those relationships. It does not seem difficult to be able to say, "well, we hit a little differently, but this is what it feels like to get hit with aiki." Or, "you have good sword work, here is how we use the sword to help develop aiki."

And to be clear, I am not necessarily being down on aikido. The simple fact is many martial arts see our uke waza as a serious problem if we are talking about practical application. I happen to agree that in general terms our uke waza is not adequate training for practical use. I also understand that if our focus is aiki, practical fighting skill is not necessarily required.

And to answer my own question, I think it is very difficult to put aiki into my hands, let along study a methodology of delivering a punch. I have no illusions that what I am working on is difficult with a high rate of failure. But that is a difference response than what I am hearing...

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Old 04-04-2014, 08:59 AM   #56
Cliff Judge
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

Cady Goldfield made a post over on e-budo ... I am onmy phone now and pasting links is too tricky ... referring to some stuff about Sagawa that was translated and showed up on a tai chi blog. What stuck me was one passage about Sagawa dealing with karateka and another involving sword.

The karateka guys were allegedly amazed because they could not hit the man.

The sword story involved Sagawa not being struck, but cutting the attackers wrist. (Interesting caveat here in that he is said to have thrown the guy with his sword, but that is simply martial sugar IMO...and he seems to agree with me in that passage)

IMO, Jon, you arent talking about these types of things when you refer to Aiki. I don't mean to criticize your efforts by any means but you won't get to the point where you have anything to say to an unimpressed boxer or swordsman until you figure out how to develop these kinds of skills. This has nothing to do with power or being immovable IMO...but I may be wrong about that.

You can hit a boxer with a fist powered by Aiki and I am sure he'll be okay with it, he has taken lots of powerful hits in his time and understands that boxing is about exchanging lots of hits. The swordsman will simply cut you, or not, whether you have Aiki or not.

I will see if I can find the link later.
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Old 04-04-2014, 10:01 AM   #57
AsimHanif
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

I think aikido people will begin to be able to deal with boxers when we start to retract our thrusts and throw punches in combinations (even if they're not great punches).
Aikido people will begin to be able to deal with grapplers when we learn to apply aiki from the ground position.
It will probably be ugly at first but we have to be willing to fail.
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Old 04-04-2014, 10:45 AM   #58
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

If I am reading it right, I don't think Jon's point (at its core, similar to Asim's) is that hard to swallow:

No matter what the origins of our attacks, they shouldn't be a joke to people who study attacking, even if their context is different, as in boxing or technical sword arts. (And Michael, even if you are confident in your personal sword usage skill, I am thinking of the population as a whole here, which is addressed by the story Phi referenced.)

Cliff's idea in post 43 is quite reasonable, and the response as I see it is that if we have solid BASICS in things like punching-- if our punching can match the essence of a simple, good punch even from foreign points of view like boxing-- then we don't need years of study in striking arts. We just need the basics. In other words the first steps in Cliff's hypothetical progression are fine, if they start with solid basics.

That's the happy medium between ineptitude and the extreme painted in post 43.

And Cliff-
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Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
IMO, Jon, you arent talking about these types of things when you refer to Aiki. ... This has nothing to do with power or being immovable IMO...but I may be wrong about that.
I understand your reasoning but I think the method of postural management that is called "standing on ame no ukihashi" in fact brings about solid stability just as much as it does quick movement that lacks "anticipatory postural adjustments" etc. (It's about becoming internally unified, which affects ability to move as much as ability to not move.) Just want to put that thought into this thread to explicitly voice the other point of view - not to get into a discussion about it in this thread, but just so that they are both on the page.
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Old 04-04-2014, 10:52 AM   #59
Chris Li
 
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
Cady Goldfield made a post over on e-budo ... I am onmy phone now and pasting links is too tricky ... referring to some stuff about Sagawa that was translated and showed up on a tai chi blog.
That's Scott Meredith's blog - he recently had an interesting encounter with Dan Harden.

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-04-2014, 11:27 AM   #60
Cliff Judge
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

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Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post

And Cliff-

I understand your reasoning but I think the method of postural management that is called "standing on ame no ukihashi" in fact brings about solid stability just as much as it does quick movement that lacks "anticipatory postural adjustments" etc. (It's about becoming internally unified, which affects ability to move as much as ability to not move.) Just want to put that thought into this thread to explicitly voice the other point of view - not to get into a discussion about it in this thread, but just so that they are both on the page.
Well said. Thanks for pointing this out.
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Old 04-04-2014, 12:37 PM   #61
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

The aikido techniques done in paired practice have zero use in and of themselves outside of the dojo. They are not street fighting or self defense techniques. Their purpose is for training on applying aiki in a paired practice setting (training aiki itself is a whole separate thing). It teaches you to move freely, in opposition with yourself, while standing on the floating bridge of heaven. The ultimate goal, and the martial implications of all this, is to attain what O-sensei called "Takemusu Aiki' - where when you move, technique happen spontaneously. Because when you move aiki is present at every point on your body, with no one able to stop you. They are defeated on contact.

This is the Way of Aiki. The way of freedom.
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Old 04-04-2014, 02:53 PM   #62
Hilary
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

First for the record I think Chris’s video is an excellent explanation of why the classical strikes are the way they are. I strongly disagree with the notion that these are the only attacks we should train to, but that is a different matter (I am not saying that Chris implied this). The discussion tendrils of this tread have diverged into many interesting directions…the large tent strikes again!

Prior to my becoming an Aikidoka I had a nidan in kicking and punching and viewed Aikido attacks as unrealistic and contrived. But the beauty and simplicity of the locks and throws were so compelling I had to learn the art (it helped that sensei was world class). In fairly short order it became obvious (and this is the point I think other martial artists and armchair ninjas don’t get) the objective of much of our training is the perfection of the class of lock or throw; less focus is placed on intercepting a “realistic” attack. Yes we practice leading, movement, ranging, parrying, slipping, blending and a host of other skills, but the bulk of time on the mat is spent working the core materials with different body types and angles of attack. Perfecting the core body mechanics.

Other than the mental aspect and some speed considerations hitting a big guy is not much different from hitting a small guy (effects vary widely but the technique used to deliver that strike are not substantially different), whereas as we all know throwing a 6’ 4” 250 pounder is different from throwing a 5’ 1” 150 lb person, geometry and mass distribution matters. Locking a weight lifter is different from locking up a yoga aficionado. Learning to feel those differences and adjust accordingly in real time takes a lot more repetition and constant maintenance.

When I started on the mat it was explained to me that we train techniques in the uke/nage paradigm rather than sparring because of safety (a broken nose heals quickly a broken elbow is forever); I know this is not the only reason. We train slowly, if you can’t do it at the speed of mud the only reason it vaguely works at full speed is luck and momentum. This plus idealized attack in kata format allows us the freedom to perfect and maintain the technique.

Unless you want to stay wholly within classical mode or an aikido variant niche (perfectly valid) you do need to train to deal with boxers, mma, and other martial flavors dejour. If no one has ever thrown a rising hook or an elbow in your direction you will be hard pressed to recognize it in time. You don’t have to spar, but your ukes need to mix it up a bit. Aikido techniques work just fine with these attacks, you just have to see the attack for what it is. This is why I have always said if you don’t cross train at least go hold some focus mitts for strikers. You will see full speed, full power strikes in the plane of contact with getting bloody.

While we typically only see the three classic attacks, I do wonder why that is. I used to get razzed about throwing double strike atemi’s (solar plexus and throat - after spreading uke’s hands) until I found a picture of O-Sensei using that exact strike (one of the large ”found” old photosets). So does this mean they were never trained or just not seen during demos and omitted by those that actually formalized the pedagogy? I also pose the question, how many train to take the technique off the second, third, or forth attack? I’ve wandered a bit Chris but everyone else jumped off the bridge so…
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Old 04-04-2014, 02:55 PM   #63
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

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Michael Varin wrote: View Post

As my final point, I'd like to say that your conception of aiki is obviously very different than mine. Excuse my French, but why do I give a shit if I can put "aiki" in the tip of my sword? Swords are amongst the most unforgiving handheld weapons man ever created. One rarely gets more than two brief instances of contact before one or both of the combatants are mortally wounded. The first contact almost always wins. And that contact is more likely to be sword on flesh than sword on sword. Real skill with the sword must be a skill precedes physical contact. It must. If your conception of aiki doesn't account for this, then I very seriously doubt it is in accord with Morihei Ueshiba's conception of aiki.
Well if you want to go the waza route with swords: extraordinarily effective kiri-otoshi or suri-age. If you are executing other waza, the ability to off balance and create openings by returning the opponents input energy back into them would seem to be inline with conventional aikido thought.

No different from "aiki" (IP) in any other context.
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:17 PM   #64
Jeremy Hulley
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

I imagine it is really useful if you create kuzushi in your opponent instantly when he contacts your blade.

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Old 04-04-2014, 05:39 PM   #65
Gerardo Torres
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

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Jeremy Hulley wrote: View Post
I imagine it is really useful if you create kuzushi in your opponent instantly when he contacts your blade.
+1

Yeah I was thinking the exact same thing. An unusual skill, but when you cross swords with somebody who has it, you know right away... you're done for.
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Old 04-04-2014, 06:54 PM   #66
Cliff Judge
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

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Jeremy Hulley wrote: View Post
I imagine it is really useful if you create kuzushi in your opponent instantly when he contacts your blade.
It is useful if he is dead when he contacts your blade. If that doesn't happen, you've screwed up, and the best you can hope for is that he kills you cleanly.
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Old 04-04-2014, 07:02 PM   #67
Cliff Judge
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

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Joshua Landin wrote: View Post
The aikido techniques done in paired practice have zero use in and of themselves outside of the dojo. They are not street fighting or self defense techniques. Their purpose is for training on applying aiki in a paired practice setting (training aiki itself is a whole separate thing). It teaches you to move freely, in opposition with yourself, while standing on the floating bridge of heaven. The ultimate goal, and the martial implications of all this, is to attain what O-sensei called "Takemusu Aiki' - where when you move, technique happen spontaneously. Because when you move aiki is present at every point on your body, with no one able to stop you. They are defeated on contact.

This is the Way of Aiki. The way of freedom.
It is not really true that the techniques have zero use. Aikido has a lot of technical idioms that you can find all over the place in other martial arts, including systems that were developed for real use. It is just that, as you say, in Aikido we practice the techniques to learn to express aiki. IMO the generalization of attack patterns helps us learn to express Takemusu aiki, by giving us an earlier exit from static kata practice.

The other thing I would point out is that you could take the time you spend sidebarring aiki training and train something like boxing or whatever...
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Old 06-22-2014, 06:05 PM   #68
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

Easy way to make people understand falls right out of the above discussion.... when a student asks such a question, go put a rubber tanto or training knife in their hand, tell them to attack again with the knife now, and watch the light go on above their head. And... their training partner's as well.

Here's a neat-O way to get people concentration to go up during training I frankly stumbled into when I gave the wrong direction in class (never happens, right? Sure...). Have the uke hold the blade in their off hand, and don't even ask them to attack with it, but make sure that their partner (nage/tori) Does see it and knows it is there. Intensity and concentration, focus increases spontaneously and dramatically. Have to be careful people don't hurt one another...

I find it interesting that the kanji character for kuzushi illustrates a mountain falling on a house.
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