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Old 05-11-2006, 12:16 PM   #1
billybob
 
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Lethality implied

During recent discussion on a particular attack I misdirected discussion. Thus, new topic:

Please tell me what you think about the following assertion:

Lethality is implied in all or almost all techniques of jujitsu, hence almost all techniques of aikido and judo.

Examples:
I was trained to turn my head to the side when throwing in judo - 'to make uke go over' i was told as a teenager; 'to keep from killing uke by impacting his face into the mat and using his bodyweight to break his neck' I was told by an old jujitsu man as a young adult.

Kote gaeshi may seem like a gentle way to handle lots of force from a committed strike, or like sankyu, may Seem To imply only control and not lethality, but in each of these examples - if i dissipate the force, step in, load uke on my hips - I am in position to kill as noted above. I can generate much more force dropping an attacker on his head with both our combined weight than I can generate in a strike. I don't understand why people think strikes are deadlier than what many term 'falling wrong'.

Thought: Choosing not to kill, cripple, wound an attacker is part and parcel of training in aikido. But I firmly believe it takes more control to NOT hurt and kill then it does to simply be violent, savage, or otherwise lose control of oneself and not take responsibility for the result.

david
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Old 05-11-2006, 01:07 PM   #2
Aristeia
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Re: Lethality implied

Hi David - good topic, and I enjoyed our discussion on the other thread.
I agree somewhat with some of what you've said here. I certainly beleive that a throw generally has much more damaging potential than a strike. And I agree that many throws can be adjusted to cause much more damage. But I'm sceptical of claims of "if you make this adjustment this is a lethal technique".

If you throw someone on their head, could they die? Yes, no doubt. but I think it would be less likely than you think. I think becuase we've spend so much time learning to take ukemi, we assume those not trained would do nothing. Don't underestimate though the body's natrual defences to falling - tucking the chin in etc. I think it would actually be quite difficult to throw someone in such a way as to not give the opponent a time to instinctively twist to "safety". dislocated shoulder, strained necks etc etc no doubt. But death is much more unlikey than you'd think, and certainly not something you could reliably target from a throw.

I think what's happened here is that in times gone by is that an original admonition of "don't do it like that because you may seriously injure (or if you're very unlucky) maybe kill your partner" has morphed into "this is a lethal technique if you do it that way". At the end of the day if you don't know anyone that has done it, or even anyone who knows anyone that has done it, I start to get sceptical.

If lethality is implied it is in the following way - the person who loses the fight is rendered un able to fight back effectively. Leaving the victor the freedom to do any number of things to them to cause death (simply stomping the head repeadetly for example).

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 05-11-2006, 01:16 PM   #3
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Re: Lethality implied

Excellent answer Michael!

Quote:
But death is much more unlikey than you'd think, and certainly not something you could reliably target from a throw.
This is interesting. Since we (I'm assuming most of us) don't usually train for lethality this might be a tough question to answer.

dave
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Old 05-11-2006, 01:22 PM   #4
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Lethality implied

Yup I concur with your comments and insights Michael. It is pretty darn hard to kill someone with empty hand techniques other than blood chokes. Anything else really depends on things being at the right place and the right time with the right force or impact. In a fight there is too much going on to rely on those things to work..so I would put them in the low percentage category.

You can damage the body pretty good, or render a man unconscious with empty hand, but it usually requires follow up with a piercing or cutting object or blunt trauma from something that can generate a significant amount of force to a vital area.. (I really hate thinking about that!)

If you are looking classically at jiujitsu, empty hand can buy you time for your buddy to come on to the scene or for you to position yourself in a better position to deal with the situation.

I can relate what we are training soldiers to do today. We really over train them on classical jiujitsu techniques, but then when we get to scenario based training I tell them "think about the situation at hand". It may not call for a arm bar, kotegaeshi, or hip throw, or triangle choke.....it may simply require you to hold him in position long enough for you to catch your breath and escape, or yell to your buddy that you need help so he can but stroke him. It may only require a boot in the chest to off balance him so you can drive through him and butt stroke him.

What this demonstrates to me, is that I would imagine that classical jiujitsu in practice in ancient asia worked much the same way. You over trained it, it was a secondary means of fighting, and when you actually employed it, it was done with economy...just enough to do what you have to do to gain dominance in the situation.

Sorry to be so graphic, but when you start talking about "practical applications" and real life from a classical warrior standpoint...well this is what it becomes.
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Old 05-11-2006, 01:31 PM   #5
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Re: Lethality implied

Quote:
David Knowlton wrote:
Excellent answer Michael!



This is interesting. Since we (I'm assuming most of us) don't usually train for lethality this might be a tough question to answer.

dave
Look at it this way, sometimes when training techniques you get it perfect by accident. In other words because, particularly as a beginner the technique is a bit all over the place, every now and again the law of averages means you get a good one. In fact this is some people learn, do lots and lots of reptitions until you stumble across a variation that works and then try and recreate it.

That being the case I would expect there to be many more accidental deaths on the mat if it were really that easy to change something to being lethal. That their aren't those deaths tells me that they aren't particularly lethal or if they are the margin of error is so small as to make it not worth considering.

Kevin, I note your comment on blood chokes. Do you really think it is easy to kill someone with one of these (beyond just doing evil things to them once their unconscious)?

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 05-11-2006, 01:41 PM   #6
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Re: Lethality implied

From what I've read classical ju-jitsu often involved controling or breaking your opponents arms so that they couldn't effectively take ukemi, like we do in say juji nage.

"In sharp contrast to techniques used in modern Judo competitions, for example, classical jujutsu techniques were not designed to score points, but to be effective for increasing one's chances of survival and allowing an opponent minimal oppertunity to counter attack. Throws were applied in such a way that the combatant could break one or more limbs of an opponent before throwing him, and usually after the opponent had been struck with atemi. When the opponent was then dangling in midair he was jerked down in such a way that under optimal circumstances he would break his neck, or at least seriously injure his spine, possibly in a crippling injury."

Serge Mol, Classical fighting arts of Japan, page 19 ISBN 4-7700-2619-6

Mind you that only speaks to the theory and not to the practice.

Last edited by Ketsan : 05-11-2006 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 05-11-2006, 01:42 PM   #7
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Re: Lethality implied

David wrote:

Quote:
This is interesting. Since we (I'm assuming most of us) don't usually train for lethality this might be a tough question to answer.
Most of us studying don't, however I do I suppose come as close as you can to training for lethality as I am a combatives instructor for the Army at our major training site in Europe.

Ironically, we don't focus or care about secret lethal techniques in empty handed martial arts. We use them simply as a means to gain the upper hand or to gain dominance in a situation.

If you are in the position under the rules of engagement to kill someone, you do it as quickly and efficiently as possible assuming as little risk, exposure, and economizes necessary resources to accomplish the mission. i.e. you don't shoot 20 bullets to kill one guy, or you don't use artillery when a rifle will suffice.

You also apply common sense as well. You wouldn't go to empty hand if you had another weapon.

Typically you proceed down the chain as follows. Projectile weapon, long blunt object striking weapon and/or bayonet/knife, and then empty hand if necssary. Keeping distance is paramount and key to the equation.

We have a saying. "the winner of the fight is the guy whose buddy shows up first with a gun". It helps keep things in perspective.

Really nothing has changed in the last several 100 years. Assuming that Jiujitsu was evented to allow warriors the ability to be effective, then they follow the same model we do today. albeit if you don't have projectile weapons such as guns, you fight closer and thus, they would have used jiujitsu on a much more frequent basis.

What we are finding with the current situation in Iraq and Afganistan is that we are fighting much closer and under very restrictive rules of engagement, so we are employing jiujitsu type things today.

We typically focus on gaining control and time and space...much like we do in aikido.

So, I think much of jiujitsu and empty hand fighting in a "lethal" scenario is really about that: control, time, and space.

mmmm, ma'ai!

So that is the catch! It comes back to the way we practice BJJ, aikido, or other forms of jiujitsu are relevant and correct as they were 300 years ago!

Don't get too caught up in the secret bunkai, hidden meanings, or super lethality of technique, because I don't really believe they are all that important in the great scheme of things!

Focus on the principles of the art and dynamic movement that is where the real secrets to success are.
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Old 05-11-2006, 02:24 PM   #8
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Re: Lethality implied

Kevin,

I'm impressed with your martial credentials sir.

Now I understand what you mean about 'practicality' and 'teaching to regular people'. I really respect our soldiers and the rough job you people have - I did not serve within a theater of war. Most people do not spend hours and hours perfecting koshi nage. It's easy once you know it -- like not freaking during the recoil and noise of firing a weapon. (actually, still working on that one)

My ire in the other thread was coming from childhood abuse I'm finally dealing with. I was alway unarmed and always outclassed. Now you know why my focus is wound and get away.

As a civilian I have the luxury of being able to stay out of harm's way, usually. If I can't then I can be as savage as any primate on earth to survive. Aikido helps me train in 'not' killing my partner, and is my current focus.

dave
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Old 05-11-2006, 02:34 PM   #9
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Re: Lethality implied

Michael, No I don't really think it is necessarily easy, only possible. Frankly I can't think of any situations in which you'd remain in that postion long enough to kill him since unconsciousness is usually enough to accomplish your goal.
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Old 05-11-2006, 02:37 PM   #10
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Re: Lethality implied

David,

Aikido is a wonderful way to heal wounds and to show us options other than death and destruction as a DO art.

Don't be impressed with my martial credentials. I've only had the time and the ability to focus and think about what works for our soldiers. I am average at best when it comes to actual martial skill in the dojo. I still have alot to learn.
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Old 05-11-2006, 05:48 PM   #11
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Re: Lethality implied

The paradox with leathality, is that the art we practice 'could' be leathal, but we can't practice at this level, not without a few murmers of discontent in the ranks. Also aikido should stop short of inflicting death, as just prior to death the assailant would probably be subdued enough. if you go further than you need to go to subdue - bad aikido -
So most speculation about leathality is just that. Which I'm quite happy about, I want to keep practicing and I think death might curtail my practice somewhat.

I appreciate Kevin's practical military perspective, as modern soldiers are the most likely to be in 'life and death' situations.
Us Dojo whalahs, like to think we are practicing a potentially leathal art, and we get some feeling of importance from this. But everyone who gets behind the wheel of a car is potentially closer to death than any of us on a good nights practice

Good discussion guys, I hope my few random post practice thoughts add rather than subtract to the quality of discourse.

regards
Mark

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Old 05-11-2006, 06:05 PM   #12
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Re: Lethality implied

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
. But everyone who gets behind the wheel of a car is potentially closer to death than any of us on a good nights practice
I know a few dojos that should have this posted on the wall to remind people....

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 05-11-2006, 06:39 PM   #13
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Re: Lethality implied

I think it's very hard to throw even an untrained person onto their head. Or at all for that matter. But then again very little resistance training is done in Aikido so sometimes we forget and think everyone likes flowing and rolling.
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Old 05-11-2006, 09:37 PM   #14
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Re: Lethality implied

Even when they are not flowing and rolling it is difficult to set this up as an endstate. A great deal of effort and energy usually has to go into such a situation to get it to line up.

What you learn in fully resistive training is that, yes in theory there are many techniques that will work, however some are more risky than others and require a great deal of set up to reach your desired endstate.

By risk I mean they take too much time, you have an increased risk of failure which would lead to reversal, potentially exposing you to harm etc.

So, you train like hell to develop skills in both breadth and depth, but in developing your life or death game, you keep it short, quick, to the point, and use just enough force employing economy to get the job done.

IMO, that typically does not include such things as shionage or supplexes. I do see elements of kaitenage, kotegaeshi, and irimi nage if you are talking aikido. In BJJ terms you see clinch, single leg takedown, mount, rear mount, rear naked choke.

Included in this are various strikes and kicks from empty hand and blunt object weapons that equate to escrima stick/sticks and knifes.

Again, that does not mean that it is impossible to kill someone by shionage by dumping them on their neck...just that the principles of economy of force, degree of complexity/risk t ypically dictates that there is no real use for this technique when your ass is on the line.

Hence, that is why we have yet to see this occur in UFC or any other NHB venue. NOt that it is not possible...just not probable or worth the effort.
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Old 05-11-2006, 09:40 PM   #15
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Re: Lethality implied

Did you guys realize we are taking away from our post count in "aikido does not work in a real fight"! This conversation could go there you know!
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Old 05-12-2006, 12:23 AM   #16
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Re: Lethality implied

that's what I like about you kevin - always got your eyes on the ball!

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 05-12-2006, 02:58 AM   #17
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Re: Lethality implied

Quote:
Michael Fooks wrote:
that's what I like about you kevin - always got your eyes on the ball!
or the prize

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 05-12-2006, 08:09 AM   #18
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Re: Lethality implied

Outside of the military, I find little need to talk about the ability to kill. In the military, I was taught, the choice to kill is really to choice to stay alive and keep your squad alive. The situation dictated someone would die, choose the other side. Train for that and then live with it.

While most techniques can be applied in a way to be lethal, it is best to practice control and protection.

Remember, training is not sparring, sparring is not fighting, fighting is not combat. The intent and intensity is very different.

Lynn Seiser PhD
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Old 05-12-2006, 10:57 AM   #19
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Re: Lethality implied

I think its safe to say that most combat systems promote the laudable goal of efficient destruction (is that laudable?) It is not unreasonable to assert that if done properly, most good combat techniques raise the probably of mortally injuring your opponent(s). The reality is that it's tough to kill someone with your bare hands.

What does that mean? I think it means most common martial artists probably lack the knowledge and the practice to actually perform the techniques in a lethal manner. Thta's not to say that you can't severely injure some one in the course of training though. And its certainly not to say that our military and other combat forces probably don't have a superior knowledge of those combat systems that can be performed lethally.
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Old 05-12-2006, 12:20 PM   #20
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Re: Lethality implied

It is a fallacy that the military teaches people to kill with their barehands. Weapons and your buddies weapons are far more efficient and effective.

Empty hand simply not a means to an end. Lynn's comments are correct. It is about teaching control and protection, even in the military empty hands arts. It is about developing the ability to be agressive, and drive through...not about using they techniques to kill.

So, really you find the military will spend time on empty hand for the same reasons you do in Budo!

So no they do not have superior knowledge in combat systems (empty hand). What we hopefully do have is a realistic paradigm on what killing is all about and how to do their jobs.
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Old 05-13-2006, 04:47 AM   #21
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Re: Lethality implied

Quote:
David Knowlton wrote:
Thought: Choosing not to kill, cripple, wound an attacker is part and parcel of training in aikido. But I firmly believe it takes more control to NOT hurt and kill then it does to simply be violent, savage, or otherwise lose control of oneself and not take responsibility for the result.

david
I agree! Self control in the physical sense so often seems easier than in the emotional sense, for example, when people try to harm one another simply because they're angry. Aside from that even, it seems easier to take someone's balance and throw them willy nilly, which could be just as potetially deadly as safe, than to place a person in a spot that is precisely safe...or even relatively more safe than any other alternatives which may be present. A person could simply be very precise and very deadly, but that's not exactly what most people consider to be moral.
Take care!
Matt

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Old 05-13-2006, 09:09 AM   #22
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Re: Lethality implied

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote:
Aside from that even, it seems easier to take someone's balance and throw them willy nilly, which could be just as potetially deadly as safe, than to place a person in a spot that is precisely safe...or even relatively more safe than any other alternatives which may be present. A person could simply be very precise and very deadly, but that's not exactly what most people consider to be moral.
I would agree.

It is far more likely that someone will get hurt, damaged, or accidentally killed by sloppy work.

The ability to make it safe is also the ability to make it unsafe. The sword that can take a life is the sword that can save a life. Most people don't train with the intent and intensity to make that a choice.

What is implied in most training the the lack of focus, intent, and intensity, not lethality.

Lynn Seiser PhD
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Old 05-14-2006, 04:38 AM   #23
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Re: Lethality implied

I was at a seminar yesterday with a catch as catch can wrestler. Catch as Catch can for those of you that are not familiar with it is a old U.S. system around the early 1900s. They have some brutal techniques that I have never seen anywhere before. It kinda fell by the wayside over the years because of danger in favor of safer wrestling.

Anyway, some of the neck cranks and holds are very nasty and very dangerous!

I found it interesting to see how easy it was to actually place someone in this position. While I still submit that it is difficult in a real battle to do this, I also say that it is very possible. Ironically, when they are in that position for these techniques to work, you have dominance and other options as well, which brings us to the point that Lynn and Matthew bring up...ethics.

Also, most of these techniques in order for them to work require you to focus almost 100 percent of your concentration (KI) on the uke. This causes you to lose focus on the surrounding environment, which again, is why I think they are not necesarily tactically sound either, regardless of the ethics involved.

So it becomes a catch 22 so to speak!
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Old 05-15-2006, 12:44 PM   #24
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Re: Lethality implied

I'm noticing some good debate.

Few people (who choose to talk about it) have had to fight for their lives. I think us (un)lucky few see things differently, whether tactically wise or not. I see lethality in a fine point pen, in a telephone cord, the electrical current running my pc - all things before me on my desk. I've seen men draw blood through judo gis with their teeth and laugh! (rough dojo)

I think Lynn is right though, training is training, killing is killing. Maybe my head is too full of lethal thoughts, which might explain why I perceive every technique I've ever learned to have lethal implications.

I know where to work this out though! - at the dojo, with my friends whom I love dearly.

dave
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Old 05-15-2006, 01:03 PM   #25
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Re: Lethality implied

Like I say, the winner gets to be as lethal as they want. I've seen variations of shiho nage which i beleive would just wreck the shoulder and make the arm useless. At that point you can probably inflict as much damage as you decide to - making shiho nage a potentially lethal technique in some sense. Add improvised weapons into that and you've some pretty nasty options. But the beauty of what we do - be it Aikido or BJJ is that it gives us options - we can choose our level of force.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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