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Old 01-06-2007, 03:47 AM   #26
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Good post Larry. Your example hits at the essence of this conversation. I think THIS is where we want to be..funny how it always comes back to the basics.
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Old 01-06-2007, 05:13 AM   #27
kokyu
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
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
Wonderful story. Your sense of timing must be really good... especially against a judoka... It's all too easy to move just a fraction too early and tip off the opponent... that's the difficulty with being proactive... move too soon and the opponent can react and do something different... move too late and he's got you... then you've got to resort to things like atemi...
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Old 01-06-2007, 07:49 AM   #28
L. Camejo
 
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Quote:
Soon-Kian Phang wrote:
Wonderful story. Your sense of timing must be really good... especially against a judoka... It's all too easy to move just a fraction too early and tip off the opponent... that's the difficulty with being proactive... move too soon and the opponent can react and do something different... move too late and he's got you... then you've got to resort to things like atemi...
Soon,
You are so correct. It takes a helluva lot of correct practice to not move too soon yet not move too late also. I think for us this is trained from very early since our shiai format is based on an attacker with a rubber tanto who is thrusting and tracking you so any bad timing means you get "stabbed", which is bad for shiai and even worse if you are practicing with a self protection mindset. As a result we do a lot of randori and tai sabaki work designed on developing metsuke, ma ai control and timing so that the possibility of getting hit is minimized. This transfers well to other strikes and grabs also. Our basic drills at the beginning of every class are also designed around the reality of not knowing how one's partner may attack and developing the requisite skills to be proactive or react in a minimum of time and distance.

Part of this ability is also linked to self relaxation and Mu Shin. If one cannot relax in the face of an incoming attack one can easily get excited and move too early (causing the attack to change or for them to "track" you) or adversely internal tension can cause one to move too late. One may see the attack coming but it may take too long for the body to react appropriately, so posture, use of peripheral vision, stance, position of the feet etc. are critical before moving in to engage. If the mind is tense this often translates into tension in the body. Depending on where this tension is it can have a serious effect on slowing down one's physical reaction time. Emptying the mind and not trying to predict the direction of attack keeps things clear until the attacker's movements betray what he is about to do so one can move accordingly. This takes some discipline in waiting however. Reminds me of a quote from Ittoryu Heiho Toho Kigenko (A Study on the Origin of Itto Ryu's Freestyle Practice) which says "When facing an enemy, this gets to the point of aiki, waiting and seeing how one beats the other".

The above shows how one can use the same principles both from a proactive and reactive situation. From my experience however, unless there is no other option, always "take it to them" and be proactive.

Just my 5 cents.
LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
http://www.tntaikido.org
http://www.mushinkan.ca
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Old 01-06-2007, 07:54 AM   #29
L. Camejo
 
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
Good post Larry. Your example hits at the essence of this conversation. I think THIS is where we want to be..funny how it always comes back to the basics.
Hi Kevin,
You said it right. The more I think about it the more the basics are critical to this sort of development. The good thing is when the basics start to become natural you don't have to "try" anymore your mind can relax to focus on "just moving". Like my old Instructor said, "basics basics basics."

This is a good thread, gets one thinknig.

LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 01-06-2007, 08:51 AM   #30
Min Kang
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Quote:
The good thing is when the basics start to become natural you don't have to "try" anymore your mind can relax to focus on "just moving".
Nice story, Larry. I agree with what you said totally. Whenever possible, I believe that we should "engage" the partner as soon as we become aware that there is a partner.

Now, what to do, how to train you body and mind, to effect a technique when you were unable to get ahead in the timing... I think this is where the mental training aspect is more important. It is sooo easy to get caught up in the moment - to think, to look at the attack, and feel the attack - and once you do that, you feet set, you block/struggle and you've just dug yourself into a hole that it's very difficult to dig out of.

It's hard to see the man behind the sword when that sword is coming at your head hard and fast. But if you focus on the sword, you're likely to see it go right through 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 01-06-2007, 09:36 AM   #31
L. Camejo
 
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Quote:
Min Kang wrote:
Now, what to do, how to train you body and mind, to effect a technique when you were unable to get ahead in the timing... I think this is where the mental training aspect is more important. It is sooo easy to get caught up in the moment - to think, to look at the attack, and feel the attack - and once you do that, you feet set, you block/struggle and you've just dug yourself into a hole that it's very difficult to dig out of.

It's hard to see the man behind the sword when that sword is coming at your head hard and fast. But if you focus on the sword, you're likely to see it go right through you
Very well said.

I think part of the key to dealing effectively with the sword/attack and not digging oneself into a hole comes from the release of fear. Fear causes tension, fixation and doubt, all of which are ill harbingers for the Budoka. Like Musashi said - "Fixation equals death".

This is where things get interesting imho because the only way to not fear the effects of an attack landing (like being cut in half with a sword) is to transcend the pain of being hit and even ones attachment to life itself (we enter the realm of the Unfettered Mind now). Imho the only way to not be caught up with the attack is to make it a non-issue in your mind so it creates no fear-based tension and negative energy. As we see in Bokken Dori it is imperative to "taste the blade" so to speak to get into a position where one can get off an effective technique against a bokken strike. This requires having no fear of the weapon, no fear of its wielder and to a large degree no fear of death itself.

Reminds me of a seminar I taught in Canada once to some Judoka and Karetaka. After the seminar they wanted to "randori". Unfortunately for me I had been in teaching mode for the past few days so my mind was slow on that day. In the midst of the session one of the Judoka held me so strongly that my movements were hampered by a half-second or so, just enough for his karateka pal to get me with a tsuki to the lip. I was able to move my head so it just grazed me, but the pain was a great wake up call. Before his hand could retract I got him with Nikkyo. Afterwards he wanted to apologize for the shot to the face but I thanked him, it was a wake up call that I sorely needed to switch mindsets.

I think this is important somewhat if we intend to train in a martial/Budo mindset. We cannot let fear of any sort take our spirit, else we are defeated before we begin.

Just my 2 cents.
LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
http://www.tntaikido.org
http://www.mushinkan.ca
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Old 01-06-2007, 10:08 AM   #32
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

I had an interesting conversation this morning with my training partner after we finished practicing.

It was very interesting as this was the last time he and I will probably ever practice together. He is deploying to Afghanistan next week as a squad leader of a Quick Reaction Force, and will most definitely be involved in combat as the guys he is replacing had engagements weekly. One of our soldiers was killed in the last company as well.

Anyway, it was an interesting conversation as we spent the last two years training hard and developing our soldiers in combatives training and now it is coming to an end.

He relayed to me his concerns about leading his men, and gaining the trust and confidence in his officers who he is charged with getting to various bases across his sector. He talked to me about how he will keep his men alive and safe.

Two things I think are relevant to this thread, that I may not have picked up on in the conversation if we had not been discussing it.

First, he worried about how he and his men would react in combat. They are well trained and did well in their preparation and rehearsal. We talked about how we were always nervous when we competed in tournaments for the first time against an unknown opponent, even though we had trained and felt confident, but once we made contact with our opponent, all those fears went away once we could feel him and that we did okay. The scariest part of anything is the time spent prior to the engagement...ma 'ai.

Second, we discussed the soldier that was killed. He was always looking for a fight. He wanted like anything to engage the enemy. Therefore, at halts he was always up in the truck's cuppola with his site out scanning the horizon for an enemy soldier. He was shot by a sniper who used the reflection of his scope and the fact that he was a stationary and present target to aim at. I don't mean to dishonor his service by any means, but we do need to consider the lessons learned, and this is what was conveyed to me from soldiers that are looking for the answers to survive in combat.

He expressed to me that he has told his soldiers to do your job. Get up everyday, prepare for combat, but do not get caught up in trying to make this into something it isn't. Do your job which is to protect your people from point A to point B. Be prepared to fight, and ready...but do no more, don't look for fights, let them find you.

In our conversation this morning, the lessons of budo had never made more sense to me than at this point, and out of all the training we had done, we did not discuss how he would use his hand to hand training, but how he would keep his men alive and prepared to fight.

He does not know the term budo, nor any japanese words, nor has he ever practiced anything even remotely in the koryu arts.
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Old 01-06-2007, 11:07 AM   #33
Keith R Lee
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Thanks for sharing that Kevin.

Keith Lee
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Old 01-06-2007, 01:57 PM   #34
Min Kang
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
Very well said.

I think part of the key to dealing effectively with the sword/attack and not digging oneself into a hole comes from the release of fear. Fear causes tension, fixation and doubt, all of which are ill harbingers for the Budoka. Like Musashi said - "Fixation equals death".

This is where things get interesting imho because the only way to not fear the effects of an attack landing (like being cut in half with a sword) is to transcend the pain of being hit and even ones attachment to life itself (we enter the realm of the Unfettered Mind now). Imho the only way to not be caught up with the attack is to make it a non-issue in your mind so it creates no fear-based tension and negative energy. As we see in Bokken Dori it is imperative to "taste the blade" so to speak to get into a position where one can get off an effective technique against a bokken strike. This requires having no fear of the weapon, no fear of its wielder and to a large degree no fear of death itself.

Just my 2 cents.
LC
I agree with your 2 cents, Larry. I really like that quote from Musashi, it puts it very succinctly: "Fixation is death." For me, it works both in the literal martial sense, that to "fix" yourself to the earth and not move puts you at a severe disadvantage in a conflict. But it also rings true for me in a different sense: Fixating on one thing can lead to tunnel vision and you are unaware of other opportunities or threats in your surroundings - or in your life.

Quote:
Reminds me of a seminar I taught in Canada once to some Judoka and Karetaka. After the seminar they wanted to "randori". Unfortunately for me I had been in teaching mode for the past few days so my mind was slow on that day. In the midst of the session one of the Judoka held me so strongly that my movements were hampered by a half-second or so, just enough for his karateka pal to get me with a tsuki to the lip. I was able to move my head so it just grazed me, but the pain was a great wake up call. Before his hand could retract I got him with Nikkyo. Afterwards he wanted to apologize for the shot to the face but I thanked him, it was a wake up call that I sorely needed to switch mindsets.

I think this is important somewhat if we intend to train in a martial/Budo mindset. We cannot let fear of any sort take our spirit, else we are defeated before we begin.
There's nothing like pain to make you aware, is there.

I think sometimes we get caught up in the ramifications or consequences of failure and that ensures failure. In the example above, if you're so aware of the reality that if the bokken/sword makes contact, you will feel pain or be injured or be killed, that you end up blocking or making a half-hearted attempt at entry that will ensure that your technique fails.

Training. And training under real perceived threat (and not half-hearted floating molasses slow attacks) is the only real way to learn to perceive the attack but not be affected by its meaning ... and possible consequences.

It's gonna hurt until you learn, though And after you learn, you'll just hurt less frequently.

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 01-06-2007, 02:04 PM   #35
Min Kang
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:

Second, we discussed the soldier that was killed. He was always looking for a fight. He wanted like anything to engage the enemy. Therefore, at halts he was always up in the truck's cuppola with his site out scanning the horizon for an enemy soldier. He was shot by a sniper who used the reflection of his scope and the fact that he was a stationary and present target to aim at. I don't mean to dishonor his service by any means, but we do need to consider the lessons learned, and this is what was conveyed to me from soldiers that are looking for the answers to survive in combat.

He expressed to me that he has told his soldiers to do your job. Get up everyday, prepare for combat, but do not get caught up in trying to make this into something it isn't. Do your job which is to protect your people from point A to point B. Be prepared to fight, and ready...but do no more, don't look for fights, let them find you.

In our conversation this morning, the lessons of budo had never made more sense to me than at this point, and out of all the training we had done, we did not discuss how he would use his hand to hand training, but how he would keep his men alive and prepared to fight.

He does not know the term budo, nor any japanese words, nor has he ever practiced anything even remotely in the koryu arts.
Kevin, Mike Lasky often tells the story of a friend of his who served multiple tours in Vietnam under harrowing conditions. His friend survived, and succeeded, because he did not conceptualize himself as the predator in the jungle but as the little bunny rabbit, always aware and on the lookout for predators. The first time I heard that story, it put the whole martial aspect in a totally different light.

Thank you for sharing that story. It puts our discussions and our training in a very different, and real, light and reminds me of my good fortune that there are folks like him (and you) out there.

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 01-06-2007, 07:36 PM   #36
kokyu
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
It takes a helluva lot of correct practice to not move too soon yet not move too late also. I think for us this is trained from very early since our shiai format is based on an attacker with a rubber tanto who is thrusting and tracking you so any bad timing means you get "stabbed"
It's even harder when uke has a 'range' weapon... such as a jo... I remember practicing jo dori some months back... one moment uke was pointing a jo at me... he did a quick thrust, and it was all over for me
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Old 01-07-2007, 08:20 AM   #37
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
Are you serious about this statement.
yes.
Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
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?.
He wants make effective techniques in realistic situations:
Quote:
I've wondered at what it is that would make the techniques effective in a "realistic" situation.
Realistic situations are not controled sparrings in the dojo, such as Larry wrote. Realistic situations happens only in the Real Life, and no amont of dojo practice will prepare you fot that.It has nothing to with ethic, it is simply sure way to develop a right skill.

Nagababa

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Old 01-07-2007, 08:26 AM   #38
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Quote:
Min Kang wrote:
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.
So why not to go to Claude Berthiaume dojo and practice with him personaly? I'm sure it will be much better solution than any advices from theoretical disscussion.

Nagababa

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Old 01-07-2007, 09:24 AM   #39
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
Realistic situations are not controled sparrings in the dojo, such as Larry wrote.
Interesting... I'd like you to point out exactly where on this thread I said that real life violence scenarios are the same as controlled sparring in the dojo. I'd also like you to indicate how the factors I did speak about do not have an effect on how one deals with real life situations of violence.
Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
Realistic situations happens only in the Real Life, and no amont of dojo practice will prepare you fot that.It has nothing to with ethic, it is simply sure way to develop a right skill.
It depends on the type of dojo practice and what the objective of that practice is aimed at achieving. All violent encounters have certain fundamental factors and tell tale signs that the skilled person can identify and utilize. If the factors can be identified they can be trained. The only issue is whether one's dojo allows for such type of training or if one has to do it outside of class time.

I await your response.
LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 01-07-2007, 12:07 PM   #40
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Szczepan wrote:

Quote:
Realistic situations are not controled sparrings in the dojo, such as Larry wrote. Realistic situations happens only in the Real Life, and no amont of dojo practice will prepare you fot that.It has nothing to with ethic, it is simply sure way to develop a right skill
I would agree that dojo does not equal real life, but I do not agree that you cannot practice in a controlled environment to prepare for reality. If this were not possible, then I would be out of a job!

I am in charge of training of the Joint Multinational Readiness Center for in the European Command. everything we do here is a controlled environment. All soldiers prior to going into a theater of operation prepare for those situations prior to actually going into them. In the correct environment, you can pretty much approximate reality.

I do agree though that their is no better teacher than reality, however, it certainly does not make sense to go out there on the street and fight for real to prepare for real. Also highly unethical and irresponsible.
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Old 01-07-2007, 11:40 PM   #41
Min Kang
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Re: "Proactive" Aikido?

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
So why not to go to Claude Berthiaume dojo and practice with him personaly? I'm sure it will be much better solution than any advices from theoretical disscussion.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, I think you and I have very different things we want to take from Aikido.

Thank you for your input and hopefully I'll have a chance to train with you when I am in Montreal.

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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