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Old 01-03-2007, 09:52 AM   #1
Min Kang
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"Proactive" Aikido?

Some things I've been thinking about for a little while ...

When I first started training in Aikido, I was taken with the beauty of the movements and focused on learning the "manipulations" necessary to effect the technique. But lately, I've wondered at what it is that would make the techniques effective in a "realistic" situation.

I mean, it's one thing to train in a dojo in doing a nikyo from a wrist grab: uke steps in grabs your wrist and you move your feet so, you grab thusly and then you cut! Fine. But what is your partner/opponent doing while you're putzing around with his ONE hand? Unless he just came to hold your hand to check the time, in which case you've committed a grievous error in etiquette, he's probably vigorously punching you with the other hand. (Or, he should be).

But how to avoid that unpleasant conclusion?

My main training influences have come from Saotome and Ikeda Sensei's and while I can't really "see" Saotome Sensei's techniques and only slightly catch Ikeda Sensei's movements, I can see that 1) they move continously; and 2) they never "receive" a strike but always dictate the terms of engagement. While the uke may initiate (and even that's doubtful), nage does not wait for the atemi or grab to come to fruition on uke's terms.

In the wrist grab scenario, nage digs himself a huge hole, almost impossible to get out of, if he waits to "do" his technique after he's already been grabbed where and when nage wanted.

So, in a scenario (such as at the dojo) where you're engaged insofar as you are aware of the other, and possible ill intent on the part of the other, when the uke steps forward to attack, you can't pick out *what* kind of attack it's going to be before it's too late (i.e., you can't *react*) but you also can't wait to recognize the attack to formulate the appropriate response. I don't know about others, but I can't process and act fast enough - nevermind physical reflexes.

However, you *can* pick up immediately which side the attack is originating and move your center appropriately off the line of attack, creating distance, and hence time, while raising your hands to threaten his center - not to *do* a technique but as a general, nonspecific, response to a perceived threat. (Which means that nage has to attack - or be in the appropriate relation to uke that nage *can* strike effectively.)

Now, if *uke* reacts to nage's threat by grabbing nage's forward, threatening wrist to protect himself against the perceived strike - NOW, nage is a half-beat ahead of uke and has time to effect a technique.

To summarize my long-winded scenario, by reactive, I mean waiting for the attack, andn then doing the technique. By proactive, I mean perceiving the uke's tripping of the threat perimeter as initiation of your attack and ending the engagement on your terms.

This scenario makes sense to me. It assumes a committed attack to an end, and affords time to do a technique. Aikido was all about movement, distance and timing to me from the beginning but I couldn't see how they fit together in a martial sense ...

They that have power to hurt and will do none,
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone ...
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Old 01-03-2007, 10:19 AM   #2
Ron Tisdale
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Train. A lot. You've got good teachers, so trust in what they show you, try some things out after class. See what happens, and figure out what works.

Beyond that, you are correct...aikido as you see it in the dojo is probably not how it will work out if someone decides to take your head off. I think you've got a good base for dealing with this in getting offline, setting and controlling the ma ai, moving proactively. The devil will be in the details, especially when the situation is bound to be chaotic. Some things to think about...

1) My teacher always says NEVER LET someone grab you if you are defending yourself.
2) Think about cutting down your attacker, cutting their attacks, cutting their neck, keeping them off balance by entering and cutting.
3) If you make your attacker keep turning around to attack you, shomen ate / shomen tsuki / face thrust irminage is an excellent tool. Thus evasion while entering to get behind them, then entering as they turn to face you can work very well. Control the head as you enter...their body usually follows.
4) Buy a pair of track shoes. Wear them often.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 01-03-2007, 10:24 AM   #3
Takumi
 
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Just my thoughts...

When you do a wrist grab technique, you are supposed to get uke off balance which makes it almost inposible for uke to strike. So by the time uke gets his/her balance again, it is allready too late and nage is doing something else.

For example, tsuki kote gaeshi. Once a tenkan is initiated, uke is allready off balance and cannot strike. When uke comes back to nage to gain balance again and strike, nage finishes the technique. Leaving uke neutralized.

But, if uke does by some off chance rebalance themselves, and they make a strike, nage knows another move for whatever attack uke is pursueing. But if the technique is done properly, this should not even be a quetion.
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Old 01-03-2007, 10:43 AM   #4
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Min!

How is it going?

I was just discussing this concept today with someone. It is difficult to reconcile for sure, something I have been working on in a MMA/BJJ context for the last two years. Lately trying to reintegrate aikido back into the mix. However, at my level, I am not skilled enough in aikido to probably be a good example of how to do this.

I should be back in the area permanently by July and start training again. I hope I can get with you and work through some of this stuff, much like I used to try and do with you years ago and you'd kill me!

Kevin
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Old 01-03-2007, 10:55 AM   #5
Min Kang
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Kevin, good to hear from you. The reason I posted was mainly because I came around your recent posts and appreciated the give and take.

Hope Lee's doing well (still as inflexible as ever? lol).

I was trying to use the wrist grab illustration as a means to discuss the mindset behind "doing Aikido" in a practical sense.

I always thougth that Aikido was great at demonstrating the essential elements behind martial arts - the use of time/distance and placement - the whole "being in the right place at the right time" concept without which it doesn't matter how quick, strong and skilled you are at striking.

I mean, the human body works the same way regardless of the martial art: you use the hard bits to hit the soft bits; and bend the joints the direction it doesn't go

But I haven't really fully understood the initial timing the sense that "connection" starts before the physical engagement. That's something I'm trying to think through.

BTW, since you come across a lot of young bucks who do martial arts: Is it my imagination or has TKD become seriously diluted?

They that have power to hurt and will do none,
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone ...
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Old 01-03-2007, 11:06 AM   #6
Min Kang
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

my sense of Aikido's "noncompetitiveness" or "nonviolence" is that we strive to resolve conflict without harming the "opponent." That always seemed to me to be both arrogant in the sense that you presume that you're that much better than your opponent; and a worthwhile goal to strive towards.

but ... it seems to me that you must necessarily be at a point where you can strike effectively to harm (and the opponent realizes it) and choose not to ...

hence my signature

They that have power to hurt and will do none,
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone ...
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Old 01-03-2007, 11:37 AM   #7
Min Kang
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Quote:
Min Kang wrote:
Kevin, good to hear from you. The reason I posted was mainly because I came around your recent posts and appreciated the give and take.

Hope Lee's doing well (still as inflexible as ever? lol).

I was trying to use the wrist grab illustration as a means to discuss the mindset behind "doing Aikido" in a practical sense.

I always thougth that Aikido was great at demonstrating the essential elements behind martial arts - the use of time/distance and placement - the whole "being in the right place at the right time" concept without which it doesn't matter how quick, strong and skilled you are at striking.

I mean, the human body works the same way regardless of the martial art: you use the hard bits to hit the soft bits; and bend the joints the direction it doesn't go

But I haven't really fully understood the initial timing the sense that "connection" starts before the physical engagement. That's something I'm trying to think through.

BTW, since you come across a lot of young bucks who do martial arts: Is it my imagination or has TKD become seriously diluted?

BTW, I really need someone big, strong and skilled to kick me around, so I'm definitely looking forward to training with you again But, with my back, no way I'm getting on the ground with you!

They that have power to hurt and will do none,
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone ...
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Old 01-03-2007, 12:33 PM   #8
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Min Wrote:

Quote:
I was trying to use the wrist grab illustration as a means to discuss the mindset behind "doing Aikido" in a practical sense.

I always thougth that Aikido was great at demonstrating the essential elements behind martial arts - the use of time/distance and placement - the whole "being in the right place at the right time" concept without which it doesn't matter how quick, strong and skilled you are at striking.
I agree, but what I found was that it was really hard to explain and demonstrate to a bunch of guys that had no preconceived notions about what was appropriate within the aikido paradigm, and had an honest willingness to learn how to learn how to fight.

I'd get looks like, why would I grab your wrist like that? as it was totally artificial and they could not concieve of the teaching context.

So, then they ask you to demonstrate the effectiveness of what you are talking about on someone (non-compliant). It was impossible to show them how this was even remotely useful from both a teaching point, and effectiveness. It is frustrating. You doubt yourself, and what you have spent a good part of your life on!

So, how do you reach them? I had to develop new skills that allowed me to first deal with the basic non-compliance issue....that is clinch, takedown, dominate, submit.

From there It has been a slow journey back outward to the aikido principles.

As you know from working with me over the years, it has always been a concern of mine and something I have struggled with (and still do!)

It was a humbling experience having a guy with 7 months of MMA training in grappling beat me. It makes you question your training for sure!

The whole timing and speed thing....

I found that I was never really prepared to deal with it. We talk about the universal fight plan in Army Combatives alot, that is, the things that everyone instinctively is born with, the ability to hit, kick, trip. Watching the UFC, street fights on youtube, and having young soldiers come at me has convinced me, that as a martial artist, we must first learn to adequately deal with this game first.

I think grabbing wrist and using shomen and working at the distances we work in aikido do not prepare you for this. Nor does Tae Kwon Do, as both systems have developed artifices based on the training methodolgy that work to teach the art, but do not teach us how to defeat the universal fight plan of close distance, clinch, takedown, submit.

I think that once we can grasp how to adequately control this non-compliant universal fight plan, that we can then move out to understand and become proficient at the other things such as we learn in aikido.

You know, O'sensei, Saotome Sensei, and the others all had developed these skills prior to coming to aikido. So why should we be any different.? Other than they tell us "good news, I learned all this and now I can show you want is important without you having to go through the same thing!"

Buddha and Jesus both said this as well, but many of us have to go out and figure it all out for ourselves!

I have demonstrated this with my guys in a couple of scenarios:

1. They close the distance in an attempt to strike, kick, injure or immoblize me.
2. I achieve the clinch and take balance.
3 I may go to there back and move out and control much like in Iriminage and disengage.
4. I may take them to the ground and submit them or take them to the ground and disengage.

This assumes I am sucessful in acheiving balance in the clinch.

If they overwhelm me and knock me off balance I might have to go to the guard, or what not, or may regain balance and come to feet again.

Many times I am able to gain control of an arm or something then demonstrate kotegaeshi, nikkyo on occasion, or sankyu.....

However, this is really not in the context of aikido I think, and they are simply techniques that I learned in aikido that are applied when the appropriate scenario presents itself.

Min, I think that Aikido is good at teaching principles and the philosophy of aikido, which is a good thing, but like you say above.....it is some hippocracy to try and take the moral high ground by studying aikido thinking that you somehow will learn how to control things without harm.

Ellis Amdur wrote about this last week on a thread and it really hit home for me.

I think the real challenge is learning the skills to do the things we choose to do in life, and then having the ability to choose when and where to use those skills in the appropriate situation.

George Leonard sensei wrote a real good book on this called mastery.

Mastery is an individual endeavor. What I may define as mastery may be different than you or anyone else. We have to figure out the path that each of us takes on our own.

I'll stop now, I am drifing waaaaay off course!
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Old 01-03-2007, 12:42 PM   #9
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Min,

When you refer to Lee's inflexibility she ask are you referring to it physically or mentally?

The answer to both of those is...yoga. She found yoga and is now an instructor. She is a much more centered and peaceful individual that is both more flexible physically and mentally.

I can't get her back into the dojo!

Also, on the ground..I burned in on a drop zone two years ago, and found out after an MRI that I had arthritis and degenerative disc disease, I can't run because my sciatic nerve gets injured and my leg goes numb...however, I have found that jiujitsu does not affect my back....aikido seems to be harder on it for some reason.

Good to talk to you!
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Old 01-03-2007, 12:51 PM   #10
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Min wrote:

Quote:
But I haven't really fully understood the initial timing the sense that "connection" starts before the physical engagement. That's something I'm trying to think through.
I think we are sort of talking about this on another thread dealing with Mindlessness or No Mind.

I certainly don't understand it. Philosophically yes. maybe a little in practice.

I was in Mozambique last year and was able to read body language of various individuals on the street, I would split from my buddy and trail behind, walk on the opposite sides of the street etc. We pretty much went everywhere we wanted and were never mugged once. A few others I was with got rolled for money a few times. I think you do develop a general awareness apparently through training, as my buddy thought I was nuts because I would say "those guys over there are setting us up for something, I am going over here to split the difference". He could not see it or understand what I was doing to prevent it.

In the literal samurai sense of mushin in a one on one battle, not sure I get it that much. One of MMA guys I trained with, Steve Van Fleet, seemed to be able to shut me down before I would attack it was as if he knew what was coming and slight shifts in my body caused him to read the situation and respond before I could strike. Hence I never felt like I wanted to attack him for fear of what was going to happen.
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Old 01-04-2007, 08:34 AM   #11
Amir Krause
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Min, you are describing the excat thing we consider to be most important for Aikido in my studies, the very essence Sensei keeps talking abotu and demonstrating and I keep struglling to immerse to my body and mind:

Quote:
1) they move continously;
and 2) they never "receive" a strike but always dictate the terms of engagement. While the uke may initiate (and even that's doubtful), nage does not wait for the atemi or grab to come to fruition on uke's terms.
The methody my Sensei taught me when talking of teaching Aikido, considers static grasp situations as the basic training tool intended at improving your technique, learning to phisicly feel the other and learning the basic distance for action (grasps of outstreched hands, not chokes and similar situations). We often refer to this stage as the Ju-Jutsu stage, since the technics in Aikido are common to other JuJutsu arts.
Once one has reached a certain basic level, he should progress to dynamic grabs - move before the grasp and learn to do it so the other will only feel you later. We then progress to strikes and again, one learns presenting an opening is an invitation to being struck there, e.g. if you wish to be hit in the head - lower your hands. One should neverstay in place or move in a predictable manner after the attack has decided on his intent, it is best to move between the intent and the actual attack movement (I have seen sensei do it with some success, but my presentages on my best awareness days are still low).

And then, you can start thinking on initiating your attacker intent and misleading him to attack as you wish and eter the trap. This is high level Aikido, wish I will get there in a few decades.

Amir
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Old 01-04-2007, 08:34 AM   #12
Min Kang
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
Min,

When you refer to Lee's inflexibility she ask are you referring to it physically or mentally?
I was referring to her remarkable physical inflexibility! I wouldn't presume to comment about her "mental inflexibility" I think that might be better left to the husband ... Give her my best, please.

They that have power to hurt and will do none,
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone ...
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Old 01-04-2007, 08:58 AM   #13
Min Kang
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Quote:
The methody my Sensei taught me when talking of teaching Aikido, considers static grasp situations as the basic training tool intended at improving your technique
Exactly. In the beginning you learn the appropriate techiques to do when someone grabs you thusly or strikes you from there in this mannter.

Quote:
Once one has reached a certain basic level, he should progress to dynamic grabs - move before the grasp and learn to do it so the other will only feel you later.
I consider this when you start to learn timing - both your own and throwing off the uke - by moving the target IN to get his attack off beat (and slow down his attack/center) or OUT to extend the rhythm of his attack (and cause his center to extend out past his base momentarily). Of course, this can also be done by moving the target up/down; right/left and all variations depending on the attack.

Quote:
We then progress to strikes and again, one learns presenting an opening is an invitation to being struck there, e.g. if you wish to be hit in the head - lower your hands.
This is what I was referring to when I tried to talk about setting the terms of engagement. That's why it seemed silly to me when I see training where nage has his hands fully up and in guard/hanmi and uke steps right in front of him to do a shomen. I mean, really, what are you teaching? For uke to learn to disregard your "target"s fully aware defensive stance and walk into his fist? For nage to learn to do a technique from a artificial condition that will not be replicated off the mat and is martially unsound?

Quote:
One should neverstay in place or move in a predictable manner after the attack has decided on his intent
I thought of this as walking through the technique to remind myself always keep moving. Whether it be "walking" as in left/right/left/right or rotating your hips or lowering your center by bending your knees or waist ... always keep moviing until you have total control. After all, the hands and the arms serve as agents for connecting your centers and aligning your bodies (uke/nage) appropriately for the technique, but it's your lower body - hips/legs/center that powers it through.

Also, as you set your feet, you have a tendency to try to muscle your way through the technique (and vice versa).

Quote:
it is best to move between the intent and the actual attack movement

(I have seen sensei do it with some success, but my presentages on my best awareness days are still low).

And then, you can start thinking on initiating your attacker intent and misleading him to attack as you wish and eter the trap.
I think that one, maybe "moving between the inent and the strike" and "initiating your attacker's intent" may be very similar if not the same. It requires recognition of the attacker's intent - the squeezing of the trigger, as it were - but if the attacker has the requisite intent to attack, then something as simple as stepping forward past his threat perimeter may serve to trigger his attack - not because he wants to but as a reaction to your movement (and the timing is on your side and he is a half-beat behind).

The really masterful instructors I've seen do some crazy stuff that I couldn't hope to do ... the only way it makes sense to me *now* is that they connect with their uke's before physical contact, dictate how uke will have to attack, and maintain the connection with timing/distance and always remain a half-beat ahead, forcing uke to keep losing his center.

That's what I think now. Tomorrow? Who knows!

They that have power to hurt and will do none,
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone ...
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Old 01-04-2007, 09:25 AM   #14
Min Kang
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Quote:
So, then they ask you to demonstrate the effectiveness of what you are talking about on someone (non-compliant). It was impossible to show them how this was even remotely useful from both a teaching point, and effectiveness. It is frustrating. You doubt yourself, and what you have spent a good part of your life on!
I felt the same way when I started teaching. I kept wondering WTF? This doesn't make martial sense... that started me down the road to where I am now.


Quote:
So, how do you reach them? I had to develop new skills that allowed me to first deal with the basic non-compliance issue....that is clinch, takedown, dominate, submit.
I decided to take the path of demonstrating the strike latent in every Aikido technique: e.g., when doing a kaitenage, show the strike to the head/throat that forces uke to roll; when doing a iriminage, show the elbow/fist to the face that is expressed as kokyo ... ad infinitum.

I've found that makes sense to beginners and they begin to see the rationale behind the nage/uke dance.
Quote:
I found that I was never really prepared to deal with it. We talk about the universal fight plan in Army Combatives alot, that is, the things that everyone instinctively is born with, the ability to hit, kick, trip. Watching the UFC, street fights on youtube, and having young soldiers come at me has convinced me, that as a martial artist, we must first learn to adequately deal with this game first.
Everyone knows how to hit, kick, trip but few are born knowing how to do it well. Where the criminals, thugs and attackers have an advantage is that ... well, their mind is made up! Their intent is clear and their movement uncompromised. For the rest of us, it takes time to realize "oh, f*ck! he's actually attacking me!" and then it's too late

So, in a practical sense, martial arts training teaches you to hit, kick, trip effectively; and more importantly, it teaches you to act decisively. And I think Aikido training is great for both of these facets: Aikido, more than any MA I've been exposed to, emphasizes body placement and timing - essential to an effective strike. Aikido also teaches you to act decisively under the sword - think of the tachidori as an examplification of this principle: If you lack singular focus, you get cut.

Quote:
I think grabbing wrist and using shomen and working at the distances we work in aikido do not prepare you for this. Nor does Tae Kwon Do, as both systems have developed artifices based on the training methodolgy that work to teach the art, but do not teach us how to defeat the universal fight plan of close distance, clinch, takedown, submit.
Kevin, there's difference btwn MA and fighting, as you know. My friends ask me how to win a fight? and I tell them it's really very simple: Pick up something heavy and hit them when they're not looking.

If I wanted to learn to fight, I wouldn't train in Aikido. Which is NOT ot say that Aikido is not effective in a fight.



Quote:
Min, I think that Aikido is good at teaching principles and the philosophy of aikido, which is a good thing, but like you say above.....it is some hippocracy to try and take the moral high ground by studying aikido thinking that you somehow will learn how to control things without harm.
Kevin, I don't think it's hypocricy to have the goal of learning to resolve conflict without harm - just recognize that it's really, really hard and you run the very likely risk of failure and that failure could result in harm to your self.


Quote:
I think the real challenge is learning the skills to do the things we choose to do in life, and then having the ability to choose when and where to use those skills in the appropriate situation.
Beautifully stated, Kevin. And I totally agree.

They that have power to hurt and will do none,
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone ...
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Old 01-04-2007, 10:53 AM   #15
Min Kang
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Quote:
Train. A lot.
Yup. No substitute for sweat.

Quote:
You've got good teachers, so trust in what they show you, try some things out after class. See what happens, and figure out what works.
It's unfortunate that I don't get a chance to see them very often. But then again, I'm lucky if I pick up one thing per seminar anyway. And even then, I usually don't see it until waaaay later.


Quote:
aikido as you see it in the dojo is probably not how it will work out if someone decides to take your head off.
Ron, I'm not so interested in learning Aikido to "defend myself" (which is too often a euphemism for "I want to learn to kick ass"). But I'm just trying to figure out in what context Aikido techniques make sense, period, even in a sterile, dojo setting. Given an honest attack, that is, not one of those overlycommittedfloatinglimpwristed attacks.

Quote:
I think you've got a good base for dealing with this in getting offline, setting and controlling the ma ai, moving proactively. The devil will be in the details, especially when the situation is bound to be chaotic.
Details. sigh.

They that have power to hurt and will do none,
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone ...
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Old 01-04-2007, 02:13 PM   #16
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Min wrote:

Quote:
Everyone knows how to hit, kick, trip but few are born knowing how to do it well. Where the criminals, thugs and attackers have an advantage is that ... well, their mind is made up! Their intent is clear and their movement uncompromised. For the rest of us, it takes time to realize "oh, f*ck! he's actually attacking me!" and then it's too late
So why don't we start ma'ai from this standpoint more often?

We seem in aikido to get stuck in the mind set of having to read the intent "Mushashi like" and then do the whole poetic aiki thing. It is romantic, yes, but when you start discussing different context of where and when certain things are appropriate, we should explore other paradigms for time to time.

Min wrote:

Quote:
. And I think Aikido training is great for both of these facets: Aikido, more than any MA I've been exposed to, emphasizes body placement and timing - essential to an effective strike. Aikido also teaches you to act decisively under the sword -
I am trying hard not to get into the NOOB fighting focus thing...really I am.....

However, is not the reason we might be having this conversation even related to the fact that we may not be always training this properly all the time. I agree on a base level, but I think we need at some point move past this affect.

Is this what you mean by this Min?

Quote:
This is what I was referring to when I tried to talk about setting the terms of engagement. That's why it seemed silly to me when I see training where nage has his hands fully up and in guard/hanmi and uke steps right in front of him to do a shomen. I mean, really, what are you teaching? For uke to learn to disregard your "target"s fully aware defensive stance and walk into his fist? For nage to learn to do a technique from a artificial condition that will not be replicated off the mat and is martially unsound?
I guess what I am pondering right now is if there is a better way to do things?

Aikido seems to teach form the outside/IN that is, we learn slowly, methodically to close distance with proper ma'ai, entering, moving your feet, entering on the angle, and all that...which is a fine methodology to teach.

It seems taboo for some reason to teach from the inside/out. That is, I learn how to deal with the close fight where the distance, space, and timing is controlled. Things are happening fast and we must learn to deal with them emotionally and physically. Develop these skills, which are realitively easy to learn in muscle memory, and actually done correctly reinforce proper posture, and alignment.

Once we have developed our loss of fear and gained confidence in the ability to control and move with in this sphere, then we can move out to the more challenging and difficult learning...the outside/in.

It seems to me, that many of us struggle with the whole fight/flight thing, and how do you control things when they fall apart.

What if we changed our paradigm, learned how to deal with non-compliance first, then learned how to deal with it a little more skillfully?

I don't know...just some thoughts I have. I am really nobody as I certainly have not mastered any particular art, only been exposed to a bunch of different things.

I do listen to my instructors when I am in their house, and fully respect their teachings so let me clarifiy that!
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Old 01-04-2007, 08:12 PM   #17
Min Kang
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Kevin, there are a LOT of people who are more experienced and talented and better and a whole lot of other things than I am and the reason I posted was simply because I wanted feedback on my current approach to Aikido.

Given that, I don't think of Aikido as a self-defense program, nor something that teaches you how to fight in a very efficient manner.

Which is very different from saying that it doesn't teach you to fight, period. Or that Aikido is ineffective. Just that maybe your Aikido doesn't work!

I'm just hopeful that as I continue training, my level of understanding will deepen.

As far as why others don't train like you and I and some others espouse, with a greater emphasis on the realities of physical confrontation? I don't know except to say that different people train for different reasons. And different instructors teach differently for their own reasons, and teach different things.

They that have power to hurt and will do none,
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone ...
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Old 01-04-2007, 09:45 PM   #18
L. Camejo
 
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Interesting thread...

What was the initial question again?

Man Kevin I think I really want to come train in NOVA a bit in the summer with you guys.

Min:
Quote:
never "receive" a strike but always dictate the terms of engagement
This is Aikido. From the other things you have said in the thread it sounds like you have everything else you need, you just need to put them together. Right now though I have a headache from reading you and Kevin's posts.

The only thing you have not mentioned in chatting so far is metsuke and proper control of ma ai.
Will see if I can drop some more answers later. In the meantime have a partner attack you with diagonal strikes (yokomen, gyakumen) to the head and thrusts (tsuki) to the stomach. Have him take one step to reach you with each strike (i.e. be just out of his striking range if he attempts to hit you without moving forward, we call it tegatana distance) and then return to his starting place and then repeat as quickly as possible. You should be able to use your peripheral vision and detect the direction of the strike and move in accordingly to get off line and "block" the attack by raising your arms towards his face. It is important that he does not telegraph his strikes and that he maintains his balance when striking, nor that he tells you which hand will be striking at which time, he should just strike however he feels like, given the above parameters.

If you can do the above without getting hit at all I would say that you have a good idea on how to control the terms of engagement with a strike already by using good metsuke. If this is the case then a grab should be less work. If not, I'll try to add some more stuff later.

Gambatte.
LC

Last edited by L. Camejo : 01-04-2007 at 09:47 PM.

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Old 01-05-2007, 03:09 PM   #19
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Larry,

Min is awesome to train with. It is always a very humbling experience for me to work with him. It has been a few years, but I can always recall the strength, power, and yet the gentleness and flow of his aikido. I can only assume he has gotten better over the years.

I always try and fight him and typically end up regretting it as he very soundly and tactically takes my balance.

I think Min and I (and others at NOVA), have been very fortunate over the years to have very good instructors and sensei. They have always challenged us to think and work things out for ourselves, and have not made it easy on us as we walk on this path.


I for one cannot WAIT to get back to ANV and once again train on a regular basis.

You really need to train there with are Jimmy Sorentino, Mike Lasky, Min, and there are many, many others. We are fortunate to have so many well rounded and accomplished aikidoka there. Those guys know more about aikido and martial arts in general than I ever will.

What I am is one of those good knucklehead ukes that are fun to throw around the dojo, that is a throwing dummy.
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Old 01-05-2007, 03:15 PM   #20
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Min Wrote:

Quote:
Kevin, there are a LOT of people who are more experienced and talented and better and a whole lot of other things than I am and the reason I posted was simply because I wanted feedback on my current approach to Aikido.

Given that, I don't think of Aikido as a self-defense program, nor something that teaches you how to fight in a very efficient manner.

Which is very different from saying that it doesn't teach you to fight, period. Or that Aikido is ineffective. Just that maybe your Aikido doesn't work!

I'm just hopeful that as I continue training, my level of understanding will deepen.

As far as why others don't train like you and I and some others espouse, with a greater emphasis on the realities of physical confrontation? I don't know except to say that different people train for different reasons. And different instructors teach differently for their own reasons, and teach different things.
I understand. As you know, I have a tendency to get a little over zealous with things.

I have been practicing and working in a whole nother world and people with a different focus for the last four years, and you know my wiring has always been from this perspective anyway.

I hope you did not take this as dismissing your reasons for training, or devaluing it in anyway. I have a great deal of respect for ANV, you, and everyone else is our organization.

As you say, we all have to figure this out for ourselves. It has always been nice to have you to work through this stuff. I appreciate your patience and time. Thanks.
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Old 01-05-2007, 04:20 PM   #21
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Quote:
Min Kang wrote:
Some things I've been thinking about for a little while ...

When I first started training in Aikido, I was taken with the beauty of the movements and focused on learning the "manipulations" necessary to effect the technique. But lately, I've wondered at what it is that would make the techniques effective in a "realistic" situation.
.
Don't wonder anymore. Go on the street and fight. Nothin esle will let you develop right solutions. All your 'IF' and other scenario are worth nothing at all. Don't take it as my attack on you, it is simply the reality.


Quote:
1) My teacher always says NEVER LET someone grab you if you are defending yourself.
Defending? Ron, such word doesn't exist in aikido I'm sure he said something else....

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 01-05-2007, 04:33 PM   #22
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Szczepan Janczuk wrote:

[/quote]Don't wonder anymore. Go on the street and fight. Nothin esle will let you develop right solutions. All your 'IF' and other scenario are worth nothing at all. Don't take it as my attack on you, it is simply the reality.[quote]

Are you serious about this statement.

How do you propose you troll for a fight on the street?

Is that really ethical and responsible?

Do you not think there are better ways to train?

You are correct in once sense. I did learn a valuable lesson 22 years ago in the first and last fight I trolled for. I got my face busted in, chipped tooth, busted nose. I learned don't troll for a fight that you ain''t willing to lose.

There are good ways to train yourself that allow for isolation and control, that minimize the amount of real damage.

I don't know you well enough to really tell if you are being serious or not....I hope not.

Read Min's post carefully, you will find that there is a deeper purpose behind what he is looking for.
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Old 01-05-2007, 08:08 PM   #23
Min Kang
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Kevin, first, thank you for the kind words. The more I train, the more I realize I don't know.

But that's the challenge and beauty of Aikido, isn't it!

I took your words in the spirit they were meant in. It does none any good if you blindly accept teaching in anything, be it Aikido or any other "thing" on faith. You have to incorporate it into your self.

That's what I'm trying to do and it isn't very easy. But, I also know that it's worthwhile.

Your posts have given me a lot to think about and I'll look forward to seeing you this year.

They that have power to hurt and will do none,
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone ...
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Old 01-05-2007, 08:31 PM   #24
Min Kang
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Quote:
Don't wonder anymore. Go on the street and fight. Nothin esle will let you develop right solutions. All your 'IF' and other scenario are worth nothing at all. Don't take it as my attack on you, it is simply the reality.
With all due respect, I think you misread my intent in posting.

I am not interested in learning to win a physical altercation. Wait. Let me rephrase that: I am not interested in learning to win a physical altercation through force.

When I first started training in martial arts, I thought that the most important thing it taught me was to walk away from a fight. And I hold to that thought.

I don't know where you train in Canada but I've had the good fortune to take a couple of seminars from Claude Bertheume (sp?) Shihan in Montreal. I was very impressed with his power and precision but ... I admired it most in what his technique implied rather than what it expressed.

I really don't understand this obsession with fighting in an Aikido forum. We're studying a martial art, with an emphasis on "art."

What I'm wondering, and the reason behind my post, was simply to understand the martial background behind the techniques in Aikido as a means to better not only my technique but to better myself.

They that have power to hurt and will do none,
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone ...
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Old 01-05-2007, 09:20 PM   #25
L. Camejo
 
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Quote:
Min Kang wrote:
To summarize my long-winded scenario, by reactive, I mean waiting for the attack, andn then doing the technique. By proactive, I mean perceiving the uke's tripping of the threat perimeter as initiation of your attack and ending the engagement on your terms.

This scenario makes sense to me. It assumes a committed attack to an end, and affords time to do a technique. Aikido was all about movement, distance and timing to me from the beginning but I couldn't see how they fit together in a martial sense ...
Just to clarify what I have written earlier and to support what was said by others, I think Aikido is an extremely proactive Budo in its true martial expression. One never waits for an attack, one is controlling the angles, distance and type of attack by subtle use of vision focus (metsuke) and ones own body language to setup the attacker to strike or grab where the Aikidoka wants him to. One only reacts in kata practice where the attack and ma ai is already known. In randori where anything goes one has to control all aspects of the engagement. Imho martial Aikido has a lot to do with domination by skillfull manipulation of the opponent's mind/body well before physical contact is made.

A little story to illustrate what I mean:
I was asked to spar/randori with a Judoka once since the folks in that area knew that I instructed Aikido. As we closed distance I walked up to him but left my right hand dangling tantalizingly just outside his grasping range, it would be easy for him to shoot in and take the arm while controlling some other part of my body to start a throw or takedown. As he reached for the arm I relaxed, waiting for the last second and then pivoted. The next thing he saw was the ceiling after being thrown with kotegaeshi. He could not understand what happened, he was sure he had the grab and then the hand was not there and he was on his back.

The thing that he did not realize is that I controlled the engagement from the time I started walking towards him using body language, drawing his attention to something I know he would want to take control of, based on his tactical paradigm as a close range grappler. I offered him the bait to place his mind and body where I wanted him to, resulting in an attack that I expected, giving me the initiative and the time to select the best technique for the attack. A more skillful or experienced person may not have taken the bait at first so modifications will have to be made. Feigning unawareness also had a part to play since I acted as if I was not even aware that the hand was so far away from my body and so close to him.

This is a simple example of "setting up the play". Others do it by using atemi that will require a block and then working a technique based on the block. For Aikido to operate properly within its own realm of power the opponent must be defeated mentally before the actual engagement is made. Whenever your opponent strikes, grabs or attacks it must always be on your terms.

Hope this helps some.
LC

Last edited by L. Camejo : 01-05-2007 at 09:24 PM.

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