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Old 05-07-2003, 09:03 AM   #51
Dave Miller
 
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Quote:
Mark Jakabcsin wrote:
Remember that balance is a learned response, it is NOT a reflex... Eventually over time balance becomes as close to a reflex as possible but it is still not a reflex, similar to the self-protection defenses you mention above.
Actually, balance is based on reflex action. Reflex action is muscle movements that are processed in the spinal cord rather than traveling to the brain to be acted on consciously. Balance is sensed by the semi-circular canals in the inner ear but the specific muscle movements that make balance possible are spinal reactions, not brain reactions.

The typical example of a reflex is tapping the patelar ligament and getting the familiar "knee jerk" reaction. This happens because of tension receptors in the ligament that cause spontaneous contractions of the thigh muscles in order to keep a person upright. This same principle applies to other reflexes (protective actions) such as flinching when something moves rapidly towards the face.

Imagine for a second if protective actions were conscious rather than reflexive. Our brain would have to evaluate that object flying in from the corner of our visual field and determine whether it was a threat or not. By the time we decided it was threat, we would probably already have sustained an injury. More than that, we might not know to recognize a particular object as a threat and still be injured. It is the fact that this is a reflex that makes us flinch at tiny bugs the same as baseballs.

DAVE

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Old 05-07-2003, 10:15 AM   #52
Mark Jakabcsin
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Dave,

Ian's concern was that self-protection reactions might not be reflexes but actually learned responses, hence making them different for each person based on what they have learned. He gave the example of children get hit by the ball when first learning to catch. My point was that it doesn't matter if these self-protection defenses are true reflexes or simply so ingrained in us that they act like reflexes. Either way one can manipulate them the same.

We don't jump out of the womb with the ability to balance ourselves. Even after a baby has the muscle strength to do so it still takes them some time to learn how to balance themselves. As you point out this learning takes place in more than just the brain, which speeds up reaction time. For our purposes this only helps us manipulate these self-protection reflexes to our advantage.

mark

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Mark J.
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Old 05-07-2003, 10:20 AM   #53
Dave Miller
 
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Quote:
Mark Jakabcsin wrote:
We don't jump out of the womb with the ability to balance ourselves. Even after a baby has the muscle strength to do so it still takes them some time to learn how to balance themselves. As you point out this learning takes place in more than just the brain, which speeds up reaction time. For our purposes this only helps us manipulate these self-protection reflexes to our advantage.

mark
I see what you're saying now, Mark and I defenitely agree that reflexes can be trained and tuned. Part of training new aikidoka should be training those reflexes so that they can be effective ukes. IMHO, being a good uke is at least as hard, if not harder, than learning the technique itself.

DAVE

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Old 05-07-2003, 02:32 PM   #54
Bronson
 
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Quote:
Ian's concern was that self-protection reactions might not be reflexes but actually learned responses...
Actually that was me. I don't want Ian getting blamed for anything I say

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 05-07-2003, 02:36 PM   #55
Mark Jakabcsin
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Oops. Ahhhh, yeah Bronson not Ian. I was just testing to see if anyone was paying attention. Yeah testing, that's it.

mark

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Old 05-08-2003, 08:04 AM   #56
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Re: Trickery vs Skill?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Lynn, I wasn't sure what you meant here... the ability to use atemi or other movement to control the perception of the attacker IS skill. Because of the connection between intention and action and the necessity for perfect timing in doing this type of technique one simply can't do this type of thing without being skilled. Was I missing something about what you call "trickery"?
I doubt you missed anything. Perhaps I was too brief. I have seen people who try to do fancy tricks rather than train in the basics. These tricks seldom work becuase they have not been patterned into the level of skills. I am a real basic simple guy, and so is my fighting skill.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 05-08-2003, 08:57 AM   #57
Dave Miller
 
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Lightbulb A great example:

As I read through this thread, it seems that several of us are saying essentially the same thing in different ways. Let me give an example.

When I teach Shomen Ate, after the basics are "understood", the next thing I talk about is "leading". I encourage the young aikidoka to think about drawing uke with their off hand. This serves to subtly continue their forward motion, thus making the "finish move" more effective. It's like you're subliminally telling uke, "Go ahead, keep coming" and then you put them down. It's very subtle and also very effective.

I think that much of what we're talking about falls into this category, it serves as a form of misdirection, getting uke to focus their attention on some place other then where you're gonna come from next.

What think ye?

DAVE

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Old 05-22-2003, 11:12 AM   #58
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Dave, yes I'd agree with you on this one, misdirection I'd put under the heading of subtle distractions.

Mark, sorry for the delay in responding, I lost this post... Couple of things. Firstly a complaint, you've ruined a new thread I was considering as you've already brought up the point of accidently training our ukes to expect failure in their attacks, rather than success. If you do have any tips on how to get rid of some of the unconcious "defensive" attacks, especially between Kyu attacking dan grades I'd be very interested.

Secondly, could you expand on the rythm bit as my understanding of what was being stated was the use of your own body rythm to influence (mesmorise?) your opponent. For this to work I can still only envisage some protracted set-up. You seemed to have a different take - ok so no combat tales out of school, but any chance of an expansion on your view?
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Old 05-23-2003, 10:03 AM   #59
Mark Jakabcsin
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Ian wrote "Firstly a complaint, you've ruined a new thread I was considering as you've already brought up the point of accidently training our ukes to expect failure in their attacks, rather than success. If you do have any tips on how to get rid of some of the unconcious "defensive" attacks, especially between Kyu attacking dan grades I'd be very interested."

Sounds like a good idea for a thread, I recommend you start it, I barely touched on the subject earlier. This is a tough issue because each situation is different and each person is different. I feel one of the major reasons that uke expects failure is that he/she isn't even thinking about attacking but watching tori complete the technique. So many folks don't understand that at least half of the learning opportunity takes place when playing the role of uke, hence they don't attack and attempt to become a spectator. Part of learning how to do a technique is learning why it works and what the affect is when done properly & improperly. This information is gathered much faster while being uke. Ever notice how the new student that attacks with commitment generally learns faster than the student that does not attack with commitment? Answer; educate new students on the importance of being uke and the educational opportunities available while being uke. I will email you an essay that is a good starting point.

The other general aid to helping students attack correctly is a good environment. This one is a little touchy-feely but imo is at the core of some dojo's problems. Each training partner needs to feel comfortable with the training pace and intensity, not just the senior student. When a junior student is afraid of being hurt, they will not attack worth a crap. Respect between the ranks is sometimes missing, if you doubt this go to a large seminar and wear a white belt. I always do and the looks, responses, and attitudes of the majority of ‘senior' folks is eye opening and depressing. Creating a positive environment based on respect is the responsibility of the senior instructor, that is why they make the big bucks.

Ian also wrote: "Secondly, could you expand on the rythm bit as my understanding of what was being stated was the use of your own body rythm to influence (mesmorise?) your opponent. For this to work I can still only envisage some protracted set-up."

Ian, this really is a part of what I touched on in my first paragraph, playing the role of uke. You point out that one must mesmerize your opponent. In order to do such a thing one must first understand the fundamentals of attacking and what is going through the attackers mind just prior to attacking and during the attack. This is a very deep and lengthy topic to cover with any degree of completeness, which I am attempting to avoid due to time and medium constraints.

Let me just touch on one small aspect to give you some ideas for exploration. When a person decides consciously to attack (say punch or grab) another there are a number of sub-conscious variables that are calculated in a fraction of a second. Things such as target selection (nose, eye, stomach, chest etc.), range to selected target, expected possible reactions to attack (pull head back, duck down, step back, etc.), angle of attack, selection of attack method, estimation of success rate (not always done by everyone), consideration of defensive/protective action based on expected success rate, etc., etc. Let's just look at the first three; target selection, range and expected possible reactions. The attacker decides to throw a straight punch to the victims nose, in an instant he has selected the target (nose), method (straight punch), and range (he knows if he needs to step or not). In that same instant he has also reviewed possible reactions to the attack and calculated appropriate responses to increase the chance of success. All of this is done sub-consciously, based off of our prior experiences, and in a fraction of a second. When understood, all of this creates opportunities for manipulation of the attacker.

What happens when the victim moves in an unexpected manner AND changes the range or disrupts the intended target? If done to early in the attacker's evaluation process, the attacker simply makes the needed evaluation changes and attacks. However if these manipulations occur at just the right time the victim can make the attacker freeze, over extend, follow a fake target, or a number of other possibilities. Keep in mind there is more than one ‘right time' possible, it all depends on what the victim is intending to accomplish.

Example #1: attacker assumes a boxing style stance and squares off with victim. Just as the attacker settles to throw the punch, but before the punch is thrown, the victim steps slightly to one side. The range and angle of attack have changed to the target so the attacker will stop the intended attack, adjust and re-compute the attack variables. Then the attacker begins to settle for the punch again and the victim moves slightly again. The same thing happens, over and over again. The victim is actually manipulating the attacker and moving them around the room to find the area best suited for his defense/escape. This may seem small but really is at the heart of subtle manipulation and it makes for a nice practice drill.

Example #2: Same set-up as above but the victim waits longer before manipulating the attacker. As the attacker settles for the attack his eyes will focus on the target. Keep in mind the attacker is aware that the victim may move during the attack so focusing on the target increases the chance of success (not everyone does this but most do). The victim understands the target (say the nose) and waits patiently for the physical part of the attack to begin. The instant that the attacker begins to move forward for the assault, the victim raises a hand towards the target of the attacker (the hand should be raise with the blade of the hand facing the attacker so he has the least amount of surface are to see). Once the hand reaches the target (area of focus of the attacker) the victim twists the hand so the palm is facing out towards the attacker and moves said hand slightly to one side of his face. This is creating a secondary target. Remember the attacker realizes the possibility of movement by the victim and has calculated the possibility that he might need to adjust slightly during the punch. The hand becomes a secondary target that the attacker will follow as long as: a) the timing is right, b) the speed of the hand is slow enough to be tracked thereby replacing/displacing the original target, and c) the range of motion isn't out of the range of possibility (i.e. the hand should be moved no more than a few inches from the original target). Move the hand to far or to fast and it falls out side the range of possibilities the attacker has pre-set, and it is discarded as a possible target.

Misdirection such as this is fairly easy and can be accomplished on just about any attack to some degree. It can be as simple as moving the arm (target) slightly as the attacker attempts to grab to extend the attacker farther than the attacker originally intended, thereby creating an opening. Misdirection and manipulation of the attacker requires one to really understand how one attacks and the inherent weaknesses in each attack. Frankly the simpler the set-up the better the results, long complex manipulations are prone to fail simply due to their complex nature. KISS.

I am not sure if my ramble even answered your question or not but that is all I have for now. Take care.

mark

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Old 05-25-2003, 09:04 AM   #60
George S. Ledyard
 
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Misdirection

Quote:
Ian Dodkins (ian) wrote:
Excellent thread.

I have been told that the only truly instinctive responses are to the groin and eyes (flinching).

Also, when you watch Ueshiba in demo's he very often points with his hand or flicks his hand around before the attack. I'm not sure if he is actually saying what kind of attack he wants in mnay cases, but in some situations it seems more like a leading or distracting action.

Notice the difference in any blending exercises or techniques between grabbing nage softly or hard - with a hard grab nage often directs their focus to the hand and therefore has difficulty blending effectively.

I think mis-direction is a major part of aikido. Since it is (mostly) non-competitive, most people who attack will not have a clue what you are doing (just as most people can't detect pick-pockets).

This is to me a major part of aikido which is not fully explored.

(P.S. the technique where Ueshiba bends down in front of the attacker into a very prone position - notice he always raises himself up first, to raise uke onto their toes).

Ian
There are a number of ways in which misdirection takes place in Aikido. For instance we often throw an atemi in Aikido which is designed, not to actually strike the attacker, but to simply create the necessity for him to deal with it. While he deals with the atemi he isn't striking us. You have caused his attention and his physical body to be moentarily occupied in order to create time for your own movement.

Another area in which we use misdirection is in leading the attacker's perception. For instance when trying to do shomen uchi irimi nage. If the attacker has strong intention to hit you it is often difficult to get off the line. The attacker perceives your movement and tracks you. But it is possible to do an atemi with the front hand, just as uke raises his hand to strike, which catches his attention for an instant. As you turn your hips to get off the line of attack you rapidly pull the hand down past you drawing the attention of the attacker past you towards your original position. You will find that the attacker can barely track you at all because he sees your off the line movement too late.

This works because our perception tends to pick up what is in the foreground and what carries the most energy. The atemi temporarily catches that attention of the uke and for an instant you can lead that attention away from what you don't wish them to see.

Another way in which we create misdirection is to cause drift in the direction of the attack. The eyes are essentially the main detector in the attacker's "target acquisition system". Soft focus is used so that perceptions are largely from the movement receptors at the periphery of the eyes. If something moves across the field of vision it triggers the maximum number of these receptors and creates the awareness of movement. If uke does a tsuki to the face and nage moves his hand in such a way that, for an instant, the hand passes in front of the intended target, it tends to catch the attention of the attacker and can cause his attack to drift off of the target. This is no different than the same concept used by submarines and fighter planes when they use a decoy to confuse the targeting of an incoming torpedo or missile.

Finally, one other method of causing an attacker to change his movement without touching him is by setting up the appearance of impact and then suddenly removing it. For instance, in yokomen uchi. If nage quickly brings his arm up, as if to forcefully block the incoming strike and then at the very last instant pulls the arm away, the uke is very likely to have made a subtle adjustment to his strike in anticipation of the impact and when it doesn't happen he has shortened the arc of his attack and misses the intended target. He will be very sure that, up until the actual instant that he misses, that he was going to hit the nage.

If you watch the Systema stuff you will see that there are many more uses of this type of subliminal effects on the partner which we don't really get into in Aikido. I am looking forward to the Expo in September to see if I can pick up some more technique along these lines.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 05-25-2003 at 09:07 AM.

George S. Ledyard
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