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Old 03-16-2007, 02:46 PM   #1
Talon
 
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What do you consider NOT injuring your attacker?

In another thread someone brought up the issue of Aikido being a gentle art that when used properly should not injure the attacker.

This brought me to ask what does not injuring the attacker mean?

In my understanding in the past during the Samurai days, killing someone or maiming them was an acceptable consequence of a fight or battle. This type of injury severity such as broken limbs, injury for life or death was also the aim of a lot of martial arts and harder Jujitsu styles.

in my humble opinion, Aikido techniques are not necessarily meant to not subject the attacker with some discomfort or temporary pain. just not permanent damage. I believe that joint locks and pins are supposed to inflict some pain or discomfort and I tend to practice this way. Practicing this way gives us some feedback that the pin or lock has been done properly and if the pain or discomfort gets past the point of uke's liking or pain threshold, he can tap and of course the tori will release the pressure.

Has the idea of no pain to the attacker been misinterpreted by some Aikido folks? Had O'sensei really meant that Aikido's gentleness was literally to mean no pain/discomfort to the attacker at any time? Or has this idea been brought by future Aikido practitioners misunderstanding the meaning of the meaning of gentleness in the years back when O'sensei created Aikido?

I'd like to hear your thoughts on the subject.
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Old 03-16-2007, 02:58 PM   #2
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Re: What do you consider NOT injuring your attacker?

Quote:
Paul Nowicki wrote: View Post
This brought me to ask what does not injuring the attacker mean?
Turning them into a friend.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 03-16-2007, 03:06 PM   #3
Talon
 
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Re: What do you consider NOT injuring your attacker?

Lynn thanks for the comment. That is always the ultimate goal, however, what if the attacker does not want to be your friend?

Also how do you train in your dojo? Do you train so that no one ever needs to tap because no discomfort/pain is ever inflicted?
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Old 03-16-2007, 04:50 PM   #4
Janet Rosen
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Re: What do you consider NOT injuring your attacker?

Optimally I tap to signal that there is nothing else I can do; I've been immobilized. I consider being immobilized by pain compliance to be NOT the optimal and would often tell people ' yknow I'm tapping because it hurts and I don't want a broken joint, but you haven't actually taken by balance. You might want to back off and try again.'

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Old 03-16-2007, 05:11 PM   #5
aikidoc
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Re: What do you consider NOT injuring your attacker?

One of my former students used a term I liked: least harm possible.
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Old 03-16-2007, 05:50 PM   #6
Roman Kremianski
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Re: What do you consider NOT injuring your attacker?

What John said.
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Old 03-16-2007, 06:03 PM   #7
Cady Goldfield
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Re: What do you consider NOT injuring your attacker?

Janet, (Hi! )
Do you consider pain compliance to be the same thing as injury? What if the pain ceases and there is no damage as soon as the lock, etc. is released?
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Old 03-16-2007, 06:36 PM   #8
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Re: What do you consider NOT injuring your attacker?

Actually, pain is a very weak motivator for compliance. (my test is, would it work on someone on PCP? Pain will NOT work, but loss of balance and 'getting out of the way of their force" will)

Pain also usually ignites more anger and resentment. Even if you subdue the attacker this way, their mind is still wild and turbulent with the idea of 'getting revenge' for the pain infilicted on them.

A successful execution of techinque would lead the 'attacker's' ki in such a way that the attacker ended up with a calm mind, (like a bull in a yoke, or when someone holds an violently reacting autistic child so that they can't hurt themselves or others, but with a feeling of love at the same time),

Or perhaps they end up with an empty and completely bewildered mind, as those thrown by Osensei would often feel.

As one of my teachers once said, "if someone is attacking you, they have lost their connection to God, and are lashing out desperately in a very primitive way. If you give them a feeling of connection, and at the same time get out of the way of the violent aspects of that energy, continuing to connect, the attacker will come to a state of calm on their own"

I would say this is a bit hippyish, but this teacher dealt with an enraged drunken attacker at a bar in this way. Gently redirecting his punches, bravely, unwaveringly, and even lovingly, until the drunken man was out of breath and walked away bewildered and murmuring.

If someone thinks pain is the only way to stop someone, they are far from the deepest meaning of Aikido. They are still using the ego-mind way of looking at things. But the ego is a coward, and ultimately useless. I would throw out all fantasies of subduing anyone or achieving victory over someone through pain, as it will create a wall of resentment in other students, and in a street situation, could be deadly.
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Old 03-16-2007, 09:42 PM   #9
Talon
 
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Re: What do you consider NOT injuring your attacker?

Interesting discussion.

Personally I think its more of fantasy thinking that you can subdue a commited attacker without causing some kind of discomfort to them during the technique or during the pin. What exactly motivates them to stay in the pin? I say if you got the pin right you just put some pressure on the joints and the attacker at that point inflicts pain on themselves when they try to squigle out of the pin.

Also just by making someone loose their balance and fall on the street you would be inflicting injury or pain since most people are not skiled in ukeme.
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Old 03-17-2007, 12:56 AM   #10
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: What do you consider NOT injuring your attacker?

Quote:
Paul Nowicki wrote: View Post
Interesting discussion.

Personally I think its more of fantasy thinking that you can subdue a commited attacker without causing some kind of discomfort to them during the technique or during the pin. What exactly motivates them to stay in the pin? I say if you got the pin right you just put some pressure on the joints and the attacker at that point inflicts pain on themselves when they try to squigle out of the pin.

Also just by making someone loose their balance and fall on the street you would be inflicting injury or pain since most people are not skiled in ukeme.
This whole idea of little or no injury to the attacker is based on having far superior skill against a basically untrained attacker. There is no way that in real fight between two trained opponents, that one will prevail over the other without injury once the fight actually takes place.

There were a number of instances in which O-Sensei simply dominated the opponent before an attack could materialize and the would be attacker found himself unable to attack. But if he had done so, there would have been injury. The story about the guy who attacked O-Sensei with a bokken is illustrative... rather than attack with just enough strength to get a good idea of what the Founder's skill was like, he came in with what would have been a killing blow. O-Sensei merely did an irimi, not even any real waza but the impact of the attacker bouncing off the Founder was so great that the guy hit the wall and was crippled. That was when O-Sensei stopped accepting challenge matches as there was no way to do so safely.

The other illustration was the occasion on which O-Sensei was invited to demo before the Imperial family. O-Sensei stated that real Aikido was about how to kill in the blink of an eye and he didn't want to present something false before the Imperial family. He was persuaded to accept when they assured him that it was alright to show something less than the full reality of the art in his demo.

O-Sensei did not wish to have competition in the art. My understanding of the reason for this was that there was no way to have competition safely without rules and regulations. If one can't have even competition without injury (without restricting the practice drastically) ho much less likely is it that you could have a real fight between trained opponents without any?

Of course, in the real world most self defense situations do not involve trained attackers which is why there are all sorts of stories about people who successfully have used Aikido to defend themselves. But not between two skilled opponents...

George S. Ledyard
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Old 03-17-2007, 02:19 AM   #11
barry.clemons
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Re: What do you consider NOT injuring your attacker?

My answers to your questions:

This brought me to ask what does not injuring the attacker mean?

IMHO, injuring the attacker means the physical application of technique past his/her threshold of pain, and into the realm of immediate but hopefully repairable damage. One could take that to an emotional level, but i'll stick with just physical.

Has the idea of no pain to the attacker been misinterpreted by some Aikido folks?

I would agree with you, yes to some.

Had O'sensei really meant that Aikido's gentleness was literally to mean no pain/discomfort to the attacker at any time? Or has this idea been brought by future Aikido practitioners misunderstanding the meaning of the meaning of gentleness in the years back when O'sensei created Aikido?

I apologize if this hasty reference is not an exact match for this subject; i'm deployed and my library is at home, but this particular book is a personal favorite:
"In 1936 the Founder decided the time had come to make the distinction between the old martial arts and his own clear, because of the philosophical and spiritual emphasis he had incorporated in his own art. Feeling that the essence of his new art was different from the old tradition of martial arts, he abandoned the term bujutsu and renamed his art aiki-budo. This necessary and inevitable step laid the foundation for the future of his school." (pg99) The Spirit of Aikido. Kisshomaru Ueshiba. 1984.

It goes on to speak about O'Sensei's perceived misuse of his new style of martial art by the then-at-war Japanese government, and his decision to rename his art Aikido "to identify his art as a unique and distinctive form of budo"(pg100).

Misunderstandings? perhaps. But I believe the idea was all O'Sensei. I personally O'Sensei knew exactly what he was doing and saying when referencing gentleness, and that he absolutely believed in being able to subdue an attack and attacker without injury.

Barry Clemons
"The virtuous man is self-sufficient and undisturbed; not a slave of circumstance or emotion" - Zeno
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Old 03-17-2007, 02:36 AM   #12
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Re: What do you consider NOT injuring your attacker?

I think I brought up the topic about "inflicting pain and injure the attacker" in the other thread. I was just trying to make a point that having control over is far more important than causing pain to the "attacker" whom most likely to be our training partner.
I also said luckily I had a chance to experience that by taking ukemi for sensei Phong as he brought me down to the mat and held me there without causing any pain to me yet I felt like there's nothing else I could do and I tapped out.

How I train in my dojo, we tap before we feel pain bcuz we know it will hurt, really dont wanna abuse our bodies too much. Aikido training journey is endless and I'd like to enjoy mine as long as I can =)
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Old 03-17-2007, 09:39 AM   #13
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Re: What do you consider NOT injuring your attacker?

Well of course at my dojo we do not hurt eachother and we tap out at what we feel our individual pain threshold is. Ie. if you don't want to feel pain, tap out faster. however I personally want to feel some discomfort, most of the time, before I tap. This for me keeps the techiques real such that I know that they are working properly This view is shared by most of of the people at our dojo (not all).

I wanted to get some feedback how other people train.
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Old 03-17-2007, 10:21 AM   #14
Marc Abrams
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Re: What do you consider NOT injuring your attacker?

If you stop and analyze the joint positions/locks that we place people in, you can easily see how a slight variation of that position will result in serious injury (typically joint break with damage to connecting tissue). Many of the throws place us in a position to cause significant damage to the throat (via strike or choke), or in a position to break someone's spine.

I like to think that Aikido has offered me more possibilities and options when confronting an attacker, than I had learned from previous arts.

Someone brought up the issue of pain. Kenji Ushiro Sensei raised a good point at the last summer Boulder camp when he distinguished between pain that makes the attacker stronger and pain that makes the attacker weaker. When somebody is on PCP, serious injury typically occurs because that person is "beyond" listening to the body signals that tell most people to stop. In that case, I would much rather have them destroy their own joint(s) by their violent movements, than not. It has been my experience that an attackers effective ability to harm is significantly lessened when a major joint has been seriously damaged.

marc abrams
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Old 03-17-2007, 10:32 AM   #15
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Re: What do you consider NOT injuring your attacker?

I'm all for not hurting someone and turning an enemy into the proverbial friend but I think chances are if your in a real fight and you use aikido someones going to get hurt. You if you don't use your technique right, them if you do.

I know we're told that if you execute your technique the right way then the attackers energy will be redirected and he'll just get tired and go away etc..
Reality wise I think if you perform many aikido moves on someone not trained to received them, mixed with your adrenaline, you WILL hurt them. Maybe not so much for a 4th dan type but I think for the rest of us.

If you're hungry, keep moving.
If you're tired, keep moving.
If you value you're life, keep moving.

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Old 03-17-2007, 01:58 PM   #16
Janet Rosen
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Re: What do you consider NOT injuring your attacker?

Hi Cady - yes, there is totally a difference between the benign, transitory pain of nikkyo and the pain that signals that a tendon is about to snap! The former can be breathed and relaxed into and may not even require a tapout!
I was doing a (too)quick reply, I guess :-) and trying to differentiate between pain compliance and immobilization.

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Old 03-17-2007, 03:48 PM   #17
Just Jamey
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Re: What do you consider NOT injuring your attacker?

This is a question that comes to mind almost every time I train, and I add atemi to this quandary. I think for where my Aikido is at presently, in a true confrontation, my aim would be not to seriously, or permanently injure an aggressor. However, I am going to worry about my safety first, and the aggressor's second.

If I needed to use atemi, or a joint-lock I would like to think I will use them in a committed fashion. A 'committed fashion' to me means it isn't my intent to seriously injure anyone, but if that person moves into my atemi, or joint-lock in a way that results in some temporary pain/injury, so be it. Heck, I walk/move into some pain during ukemi all the time (Which, just proves I really need to work on my ukemi...). In a serious confrontation this is a martial art, it is a strenuous physical activity, and injuries, intentional or not, occur.

Maybe when I is all growed up, I'll be a able to apply my Aikido all proper like with perfection... Until, then I'll juss keep on keepin' on with my trainin'.
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Old 03-19-2007, 07:45 AM   #18
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Re: What do you consider NOT injuring your attacker?

I agree about least harm... that may sometimes mean more than 'no' harm, OTOH, if you're capable of no harm, then that's what you do..

But Paul, there's a distinction I think it might be useful to make in a discussion about pain in joint locks... I would consider whether they're 'choosing to submit because they are afraid of the pain or injury' vs 'being forced down against their choice by losing their balance or something similar' -- which may actually still hurt sometimes, but it's the difference between pain as a sometimes unpreventable byproduct and using pain as your actual 'weapon' for lack of a better word.

I don't know, maybe sometimes that does work as a tool, too, but I think it's a distinction to think about, anyway.
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Old 03-19-2007, 08:40 AM   #19
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Re: What do you consider NOT injuring your attacker?

I believe there will always be pain in a fight. However your goal should not be to cause pain, but to subdue your attacker. Causing pain is a consequence of the subduing, but not a goal onto itself.

For example, you do not armbar a guy because it hurts, you armbar him to remove his ability to effectively use that arm. The fact that it hurts is an afterthought. I believe true skills is being able to dominate your opponent in such as way that you prevent death or dismemberment while subduing him. Rickson Graice shows great skill in his ability to choke out his attackers while causing little or no injury to them and receiving little or no injury himself. I think this spirit is what many teachers speak of when they talk about not harming your attacker.

The reason pain should not be a goal is because its effectiveness is variable. A broken bone will limit the use of a body part, a blocked airway will limit the ability to stay alive. Reduce the blood flow to the brain and the attacker passes out. All these things are fairly constant among all of us. However, I know people who are not phased by pain and people who are over sensitive. For example, pinching my skin, crossfacing me, shin to shin contact, finger locks, etc are all annoying to me, but will not stop me. I have accepted that I may have to break a finger or nose to beat you. I've broken toes while sparing and not even missed a beat. By contrast I have a friend who can be tapped out by pinching his big toe nail between your thumb and first finger. He taps to weight on his chest like the knee on belly position. If I were to rely on these techniques to defeat my attacker instead of provide a means to taking their posture and balance, I would no doubt be beaten. Relying on a technique that might work vs a technique that mostly works is silly. This is why I do not understand the idea of dillmans no touch knock outs. If they don't work on 90+% of there, its not very useful.

So I guess i'm saying, do even worry about causing pain, worry about what will cause injury. Then decide if the situation dictates causing that injury. Pain is not a constant you can count on.

- Don
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Old 03-19-2007, 09:03 AM   #20
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Re: What do you consider NOT injuring your attacker?

I never said that we count on pain to subdue the attacker. What I ment is for instance when we do kotegashi or shihonage unless the Uke moves with the technique quickly he/she will likely feel some discomfort. This also goes for pins. The pin is done to the degree that the uke taps because it locks them to the point that they start to feel some discomfort. This does not mean that pain is the only aim or source of the pin or technique. Obviously, you want the uke to be in a position where they really have no choise but to fall, and submit.
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Old 03-19-2007, 08:04 PM   #21
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Re: What do you consider NOT injuring your attacker?

Quote:
Don Magee wrote: View Post
I believe there will always be pain in a fight. However your goal should not be to cause pain, but to subdue your attacker.
I disagree, that is a potentially fatal mindset. If it's a real self-defense scenario, e.g. an attack by a recidivist criminal, and not the street ego thing many martial artists refer to, the best strategy is to get away. I'd have to look at my copy of Strong on Defense (written by a police officer and forensic investigator about real violence, not the imaginings you see on martial arts forums), but I think the figure was something along the lines of technique being a factor in only 10% of violent crime. And martial artists who could have gotten away from an attacker end up doing stupid macho "I'm a modern day warrior" things like trying to subdue the attacker for the police, and then end up getting killed.

For unnecessary fighting, Aikido's philosophy should have you avoiding it completely, even if it means backing down from some jerk who says you took his parking spot when you didn't. For *real* self-defense where your life is potentially at risk, the value of martial arts training is questionable to begin with, and then Aikido specifically in terms of technique is even more questionable, particularly when you consider how long it takes to get any level of skill. If "self-defense" is really your goal, you're probably barking up the wrong tree entirely by even talking about Aikido for self-defense. And the title of this thread is a complete joke, anyone who thinks they have the skill to benevolently take it easy on an attacker while lovingly reconciling the bad guy with the Ki of the universe is smoking crack, and just lowering his odds of survival.

Last edited by Pete Rihaczek : 03-19-2007 at 08:12 PM.
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Old 03-20-2007, 12:30 AM   #22
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Re: What do you consider NOT injuring your attacker?

Pete, I don't really think that Don said anything that was contrary to your disagreement that I can see. Infact, I think both of you bring up some very good issues.

Don is not talking about the ma'ai, and the ability to walk away from a fight. He is talking about the actions during a fight and the fact that relying on pain to subdue is not a good thing.

In the past, much like myself, Don has held to the school of thought of dominance through superior position and using blood chokes as means for control, that is..cutting oxygen supply from the brain

Dominance through superior position would include the things that you mention such as the ability to run, or remove yourself from the situation.

I wholeheartedly agree concerning "Self Defense" and aikido. Much more efficient delivery systems for this out there in the world today.

Much of what you do is predicated on choice. One thing I think aikido SHOULD be good at doing, not sure how well it does in this area for others...is to show you choice. The fact that you have many choices that you can make in a situation, (or maybe ones you don't have).

Yes, if you have the choice to disengage and remove yourself from the situation you should do so.

If you don't have choice that is an entirely different scenario.

I did not fully appreciate grappling and groundfighitng skills until I understood the concept of choice, or lack thereof.

It is nice to practice from a even kamae. However, that kamae sends a clear message of choice.

If we practiced aikido from this position for reality, then in most cases it would be to not enter and not engage...but to back up, and run.

Again, choice.

As you point out, I think we have to clearly discern from practice and philosophy and the reality of violence.

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Old 03-20-2007, 04:34 AM   #23
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: What do you consider NOT injuring your attacker?

Of course, in the real world most self defense situations do not involve trained attackers which is why there are all sorts of stories about people who successfully have used Aikido to defend themselves. But not between two skilled opponents...[/quote]

I would concur with that..... I am of Shodokan bias and when facing somebody in sport shiai who is your level or better it can get quite heated but controlled.... so less risk of injury.... but very fast when successful waza is applied..... I have had many unfortunate opportunities to to have my skill level tested in my occupation and have found it to be successful but not so pretty 99% of the time.
Tony
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Old 03-20-2007, 05:40 AM   #24
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Re: What do you consider NOT injuring your attacker?

Quote:
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Pete, I don't really think that Don said anything that was contrary to your disagreement that I can see. Infact, I think both of you bring up some very good issues.

Don is not talking about the ma'ai, and the ability to walk away from a fight. He is talking about the actions during a fight and the fact that relying on pain to subdue is not a good thing.

In the past, much like myself, Don has held to the school of thought of dominance through superior position and using blood chokes as means for control, that is..cutting oxygen supply from the brain

Dominance through superior position would include the things that you mention such as the ability to run, or remove yourself from the situation.

I wholeheartedly agree concerning "Self Defense" and aikido. Much more efficient delivery systems for this out there in the world today.

Much of what you do is predicated on choice. One thing I think aikido SHOULD be good at doing, not sure how well it does in this area for others...is to show you choice. The fact that you have many choices that you can make in a situation, (or maybe ones you don't have).

Yes, if you have the choice to disengage and remove yourself from the situation you should do so.

If you don't have choice that is an entirely different scenario.

I did not fully appreciate grappling and groundfighitng skills until I understood the concept of choice, or lack thereof.

It is nice to practice from a even kamae. However, that kamae sends a clear message of choice.

If we practiced aikido from this position for reality, then in most cases it would be to not enter and not engage...but to back up, and run.

Again, choice.

As you point out, I think we have to clearly discern from practice and philosophy and the reality of violence.
Yes, I would say if you have the chance to flee a conflict, then you should do so. But I would also say that if you have that chance you are not in a fight. I do not consider a posturing male in a bar to be a fight. He might be a threat, but he is not in a fight with me, I can walk away. Now if I go to the bathroom and he corners me and blocks the door and attacks, now we are in a fight. A fight is what happens when everything else you learned about conflict resolution fails.

But even if you do flee and come out unharmed there is still pain, pain of ego.

- Don
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Old 03-20-2007, 08:00 AM   #25
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Re: What do you consider NOT injuring your attacker?

Quote:
Don Magee wrote: View Post
I believe there will always be pain in a fight. However your goal should not be to cause pain, but to subdue your attacker. Causing pain is a consequence of the subduing, but not a goal onto itself.
This is not legally required and the mindset entailed could be a fatal under application of force in a dangerous situation. If things get to the point at which there is a fight, you should be thinking "knock the guy out" and have the intention to do it. When you go to the center and the first atemi hits, if you don't need to continue, if the life goes out of the attack, then fine, choose to do something less. But initially, you should have the mindset that your are going to the center and rendering this guy unconscious. If you have a less committed mindset, you are at grave risk.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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