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Old 04-12-2007, 09:32 AM   #76
Ecosamurai
 
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Re: Aikido: The Way of Avoidance

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
1st clip, no meaningful kuzushi at moment of contact, bad tori no cookie.
lol, maybe he's on a diet.

While I think kuzushi is really really important. I think it's probably worth bringing up the thought that sometimes kuzushi on contact isn't required or applied. I can think of two situations off the top of my head where it might not be:

1) Uke is going at it flat out and you need no irimi or atemi to achieve kuzushi. Uke basically does it for you. This is a fairly common sight that I'm not too fond of seeing personally.

2) Uke catches nage napping and nage has no means of entering directly and achieving kazushi in the first instance. In which case an all out grappling match may occur (avoid if possible, especially as uke may be better at it than you) or nage has to try something else because they're caught on their back foot (metaphorically not physically on the back foot that is). In this instance it can be fairly common for uke to over extend themselves and accidentally put themselves in a vulnerable positition. People are generally at their weakest IME when they have the thought in their head of 'got him!'

IMHO no 1 is to be avoided unless you have a specific reason for doing this which sometimes you may. Number 2. Well that's the place I like to train cos that's where things get really interesting. For me anyway.

YMMV

Regards

Mike

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Old 04-12-2007, 10:15 AM   #77
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Re: Aikido: The Way of Avoidance

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
When I travel around I find all sorts of people who cannot execute their entries when the attacker is really trying to hit them. This is because they have the thought that they can escape somehow and then do the technique in question.
Escape or avoidance and then "doing the technique" are at least two different cycles. I seem to remember Ueshiba Morihei saying something about KOBO ICHI... Attack and Defense Are ONE THING.

It's a matter of intent and actualizing that intent with action in one beat.

As George said, "Nage should have one mindset and that is "in". His mind needs to be inside the uke's attack from the time they bow to each other. Even if he does rotate off the line at some point it was always a forward movement towards the uke's center. This is true even when he steps back...."

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Old 04-12-2007, 10:21 AM   #78
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Re: Aikido: The Way of Avoidance

I think that Aikido is similar to Iai/battodo in that it presumes a victory at the moment that an attack forms. What happens when you miss this opportunity is jujutsu (IMHO) and is why the foundation for solid Aikido should be solid judo/jujutsu skills. If you miss that moment, you have somewhere to go, some skill set and experiences to draw from. Hopefully within that you will find a new moment where you can again achieve some aiki, but randori is randori... Similarly in iai, the confrontation should be decided the moment you begin to draw your sword. If your opening draw is weak or poorly timed however, you had better have some kenjutsu skills to fall back on. The moment of iai, that moment of perfection, has been lost and you now have to do things the hard way. Remember, iaido doesn't mean 'art of drawing a sword,' it would be better translated as 'way of being present in the the combined momement.' Hmm, sounds familiar...

A few people have also mentioned tenkan as a kind of alternative to irimi, and I would have to disagree. I don't believe pure tenkan exists in aikido, but rather (and as it was described in budo renshu) the concept is actually irimi-tenkan. Tenkan really only can happen after irimi, or as an aspect of that irimi.

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Old 04-12-2007, 10:43 AM   #79
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Re: Aikido: The Way of Avoidance

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A few people have also mentioned tenkan as a kind of alternative to irimi, and I would have to disagree. I don't believe pure tenkan exists in aikido, but rather (and as it was described in budo renshu) the concept is actually irimi-tenkan. Tenkan really only can happen after irimi, or as an aspect of that irimi.
So here's a question I think might be interesting. While tenkan may not be separate from irimi. It is something different. Should the two be practiced in isolation in order to work on the different aspects of each movement? Or is it pointless to practice tenkan without first practicing irimi and then taking the irimi into the tenkan movement?

Mike

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Old 04-12-2007, 10:46 AM   #80
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Re: Aikido: The Way of Avoidance

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I think that Aikido is similar to Iai/battodo in that it presumes a victory at the moment that an attack forms. What happens when you miss this opportunity is jujutsu (IMHO) and is why the foundation for solid Aikido should be solid judo/jujutsu skills.
Chris, In my opinion, each cycle of thought or thought and movement is a chance for "aiki." Once you have "joined" the attack with kiai/zanshin that connection should not stop. If for some reason it does, then it must happen again in the next cycle... Its about taking and keeping the sente until it's all over.

I have been told by Menkyo kaiden (more than one) that budo is both jutsu and michi. The efficient and proper mental/physical aspects of the art are jutsu and the practice of michi as a personal study of self and others and how to live together is a choice of how to apply jutsu. Whether the "appropriate fitting" (Tomiki Sensei's translation of aiki) or aiki is a part of jutsu is a matter of ability. I think all good budo involves aiki. This makes sense to me and is how I practice and teach my students. How others view this and practice is their concern.

Best regards,

Chuck Clark
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Old 04-12-2007, 11:59 AM   #81
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Re: Aikido: The Way of Avoidance

Chuck, I totally agree with your comments. There's more aiki in a well done uki-otoshi than a 'jointy' kotegaeshi that's just pain compliance.

Chris Moses
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Old 04-12-2007, 12:28 PM   #82
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Re: Aikido: The Way of Avoidance

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As George said, "Nage should have one mindset and that is "in". His mind needs to be inside the uke's attack from the time they bow to each other. Even if he does rotate off the line at some point it was always a forward movement towards the uke's center. This is true even when he steps back...."
Osu,
Total agreement. The mind set directs and focuses the body and ki. When all are aligned and congruent, intent and intensity, ahhhh the magic.

Lynn Seiser PhD
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Old 04-12-2007, 01:06 PM   #83
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Re: Aikido: The Way of Avoidance

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Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
Osu,
Total agreement. The mind set directs and focuses the body and ki. When all are aligned and congruent, intent and intensity, ahhhh the magic.
Ah sometimes even us old dogs get thrown a good bone now and again. One of the members of the Shindai Dojo is a young fellow that ranked first in competitive judo in the U.S.when he attend the Citadel on a judo scholarship. When he grabs me to flow of aiki back and fourth makes me young again and damn near giddy.

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Old 04-12-2007, 01:14 PM   #84
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Re: Aikido: The Way of Avoidance

Dennis, give Ian a whack for me (and my regards) next time you get the chance. He reminds me of training with my son at times.

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Old 04-12-2007, 01:25 PM   #85
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Re: Aikido: The Way of Avoidance

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Dennis, give Ian a whack for me (and my regards) next time you get the chance. He reminds me of training with my son at times.
Will do old friend. I really love those young strong folks. I actually gain power from them in a real since. When my physical ebb is at its lowest from Myasthenia Gravis I can get stronger just by interacting with them. I let them move me in ways I want and in some strang way I get stronger from it. It has been this way for years.

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Old 04-12-2007, 01:47 PM   #86
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Re: Aikido: The Way of Avoidance

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Chris, In my opinion, each cycle of thought or thought and movement is a chance for "aiki." Once you have "joined" the attack with kiai/zanshin that connection should not stop. If for some reason it does, then it must happen again in the next cycle... Its about taking and keeping the sente until it's all over.

I have been told by Menkyo kaiden (more than one) that budo is both jutsu and michi. The efficient and proper mental/physical aspects of the art are jutsu and the practice of michi as a personal study of self and others and how to live together is a choice of how to apply jutsu. Whether the "appropriate fitting" (Tomiki Sensei's translation of aiki) or aiki is a part of jutsu is a matter of ability. I think all good budo involves aiki.
The above quote is golden. Great comment Clarke Sensei.

On the "avoidance" question I remember being taught in Shodokan in the beginning that there were 3 basic parts to successful Aiki waza - avoidance (tai sabaki), setup (tsukuri) and balance breaking (kuzushi). Avoidance is critical to not have ones mind or movement affected by the incoming force or actions of the attacker. In this case it fundamentally means getting off-line. However the concept of avoidance does not in any way mean "running away" or attempting to escape the attack, instead it refers to finding the weak lines and angles in the attack and immediately cutting the attacker down on this line. Done properly this line is both the safest angle of attack and places one in a position of control and kuzushi even before physical contact is made.

We have a saying in weapons training regarding avoidance - one should aim to "taste the blade" - this means moving just enough to not be hit by the attacker while simultaneoulsy being in the best position to take control of the attacker's space, mind and balance.

Quote:
KOBO ICHI... Attack and Defense Are ONE THING.

It's a matter of intent and actualizing that intent with action in one beat.
The above cannot be achieved if one uses avoidance with a "running away" mindset. As Ledyard Sensei says:
Quote:
Nage should have one mindset and that is "in"
With this approach "avoidance" in reality is akin to the concept of irimi, so the issue becomes semantic one at this point.

Just my 2 cents.
LC

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Old 04-12-2007, 02:29 PM   #87
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Re: Aikido: The Way of Avoidance

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The above cannot be achieved if one uses avoidance with a "running away" mindset. As Ledyard Sensei says: With this approach "avoidance" in reality is akin to the concept of irimi, so the issue becomes semantic one at this point. LC
I agree Larry, except since there's a lot of ambiguity in the word avoidance, so I don't use it unless I mean avoiding and disengaging when referring to budo theory.

By the way, what dictionary defines tai sabaki as "avoidance?"

Part of my practice is to try and be as specific and to the point as possible both verbally and physically. Along with being "picky" about many things, I try to also keep with the KISS principle (keep it short and simple) and I realize that I don't always hit the mark... (especially in the verbal short & simple department )

Best regards,

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Old 04-12-2007, 03:01 PM   #88
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Re: Aikido: The Way of Avoidance

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I agree Larry, except since there's a lot of ambiguity in the word avoidance, so I don't use it unless I mean avoiding and disengaging when referring to budo theory.

By the way, what dictionary defines tai sabaki as "avoidance?"
Good question Clarke Sensei, I agree totally.

The use of "tai sabaki" in my above post is not supposed to be a translation for avoidance (apologies if I misled anyone). It is actually the term I have chosen to use to replace my original usage of the word avoidance for the same reason you indicated in your post, it can be ambiguous as we see in this thread. When I was initially taught, the word avoidance was used to explain the movements offline, into and around an attacker's strong lines of force as exhibited in tai sabaki (esp. when dealing with a strike) hence my reference to avoidance as tai sabaki. This however is not a dictionary definition in the least, my apologies again.

I totally agree with regards to keeping things precise and simple, training and teaching may have enough complexity as is. Like you said it is an ongoing process of refinement and I miss the mark sometimes.

Regards.
LC

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Old 04-12-2007, 03:08 PM   #89
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Re: Aikido: The Way of Avoidance

Here is a page from a website I found. The instruction is the same that I learned at the Youngstown Aikikai under Cycyk Sensei 20 years ago.
http://www.aikido-chch.co.nz/beginners/tai_sabaki.html

David

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Old 04-12-2007, 04:25 PM   #90
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Re: Aikido: The Way of Aiki

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To clarify my previous post. What part of the irimi keeps the fist from hitting my face?
David
That's why irimi is the harder skill. If you merely react to the punch then when you move out of the way he will likely punch again. If you avoid with irimi intention then you may be in an advantageous position to counter (what we all do 90% of the time).

But that is still avoiding. If you can anticipate a micro-second beforehand what he is going to do then you can push forward with your shomen-ate, without moving off line at all, deflect his punch at the same time, and go right through him. That is the harder skill, pure irimi, straight through his attack and straight through him. It is the sword principal of ai-uchi, and yes, it is dangerous, and people would be killed doing it, both believing themselves to be the stronger. You will never learn it if you avoid even a micron.

That, to me, is what irimi is. I was told that almost from day 1. Took rather a lot longer to understand it though ...

In a practical training sense, try to move forward a fraction, body and mind, realise you can't do it (you don't have control of the time), then avoid. With this, you try to do irimi, then fail, and then, avoid doing a 'lesser' kind of irimi. But, even if you fail to do pure irimi, the key to future success lies in the fact that you are aware and try to do it.

I don't think we can convey all this stuff in words.

Last edited by Rupert Atkinson : 04-12-2007 at 04:29 PM.

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Old 04-12-2007, 05:15 PM   #91
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Re: Aikido: The Way of Avoidance

Irimi is inherent in proper rotation. The body has three vertical axis on which it can rotate: the right foot, knee, hip shoulder; the left foot, knee, hip, shoulder; and the center axis of the head, spine, tanden.

Most people try to rotate on their center axis. To do this and not be struck by a liner strike on the line of attack, they need to move their whole body out of the way.

If a cylinder rotates, at any givin instant of time, half of the cylinder is yin and half is yang, relative to some other point. On a linear attack, half of ones body is safe already (meaning it is already off the line on the side one wishes to move towards) so it does not need to be moved more off the line in order to not be struck. The shape of a proper irimi is that of the "tomoe" (the drips in the yin / yang symbol). If one shifts ones weight to the forward foot and then rotates the hips, the half of the body that was on the side of the line of attack away from the movement will come to rest on the same side of the line as the lead foot. The body will have rotated completely off the line without any attempt at escape from the attack. In fact the front side of the body will now be "inside" the attack without the necessity of nage actually having to move forward. The act of rotating imparts a yang energy to the front side of the body which can manifest as atemi while the back half of the body rotates out of the way of the strike. Hence the phrase mentioned by Chuck Clark Sensei, "Offense and defense are one."

Actually, the energy flow of the "tomoe" can flow from the large portion out to the point or from the point back to the large portion. In some techniques it will flow both ways.

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Old 04-12-2007, 05:51 PM   #92
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Re: Aikido: The Way of Aiki

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That's why irimi is the harder skill. If you merely react to the punch then when you move out of the way he will likely punch again. If you avoid with irimi intention then you may be in an advantageous position to counter (what we all do 90% of the time).

But that is still avoiding. If you can anticipate a micro-second beforehand what he is going to do then you can push forward with your shomen-ate, without moving off line at all, deflect his punch at the same time, and go right through him. That is the harder skill, pure irimi, straight through his attack and straight through him. It is the sword principal of ai-uchi, and yes, it is dangerous, and people would be killed doing it, both believing themselves to be the stronger. You will never learn it if you avoid even a micron.

That, to me, is what irimi is. I was told that almost from day 1. Took rather a lot longer to understand it though ...

In a practical training sense, try to move forward a fraction, body and mind, realise you can't do it (you don't have control of the time), then avoid. With this, you try to do irimi, then fail, and then, avoid doing a 'lesser' kind of irimi. But, even if you fail to do pure irimi, the key to future success lies in the fact that you are aware and try to do it.

I don't think we can convey all this stuff in words.

Found this link, http://www.furyu.com/onlinearticles/aiuchi.html
David

Last edited by dps : 04-12-2007 at 06:01 PM.

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Old 04-12-2007, 05:57 PM   #93
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Re: Aikido: The Way of Avoidance

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If one shifts ones weight to the forward foot and then rotates the hips, the half of the body that was on the side of the line of attack away from the movement will come to rest on the same side of the line as the lead foot. The body will have rotated completely off the line without any attempt at escape from the attack. In fact the front side of the body will now be "inside" the attack without the necessity of nage actually having to move forward. The act of rotating imparts a yang energy to the front side of the body which can manifest as atemi while the back half of the body rotates out of the way of the strike. Hence the phrase mentioned by Chuck Clark Sensei, "Offense and defense are one."
Is this a 90 degree rotation?
David

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Old 04-12-2007, 06:05 PM   #94
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Re: Aikido: The Way of Aiki

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
Quote:
David Skaggs wrote:
To clarify my previous post. What part of the irimi keeps the fist from hitting my face?
That's why irimi is the harder skill. ... If you can anticipate a micro-second beforehand what he is going to do then you can push forward with your shomen-ate, without moving off line at all, deflect his punch at the same time, and go right through him. ...
In a practical training sense, try to move forward a fraction, body and mind, realise you can't do it (you don't have control of the time), then avoid. ...
I don't think we can convey all this stuff in words.
Oh, ye of little faith! Well, not "all" surely. I don;t know that I agree with the anticipation part. Anticipation, either fearful or desirous in my mind is problematic to good connection. It also implies a timing game -- which is not really aiki either, to my mind

A couple of exercises I have been given on these points may help. The first one is very simple. I describe it as the "plow" or "wedge." With a shomenuchi attack, have nage place the very tips of the fingers of both hands together, palms facing one another. It is better for them to gain the feel of the connection to not place the palms themselves together, I find, but it works either way.

Have them walk directly into the oncoming strike and simply determine to place the fingertips on one side of the other of the descending blow. It will scrape and slide harmlessly off to the sidedown the length of the arm. All body movement must be straight toward the attacker -- dead on the line.

Have them do this a number of times. Then, shift it to more a jodan tsuki - doing them at first slowly to gain comfort with the distance and connection. then speeding up. The you can hift the body targets downward and use the same prinicple with appropriate adaptations to the attack.

Quote:
George Ledayard wrote:
The shape of a proper irimi is that of the "tomoe" (the drips in the yin / yang symbol). If one shifts ones weight to the forward foot and then rotates the hips, the half of the body that was on the side of the line of attack away from the movement will come to rest on the same side of the line ... The act of rotating imparts a yang energy to the front side of the body which can manifest as atemi while the back half of the body rotates out of the way of the strike. Hence the phrase mentioned by Chuck Clark Sensei, "Offense and defense are one."

Actually, the energy flow of the "tomoe" can flow from the large portion out to the point or from the point back to the large portion. In some techniques it will flow both ways.
O sensei talks about the red and white jewels in several of the Doka and, I believe, in the Takemusu Aiki lectures also. "Jewels" in his context refer specifically to the paired tomoe shapes.

The second exercise is actually more in line wiht that observation.

Have a partner get a shinai and hold it, at proper extension for a shomenuchi cut, directly over your head. The person serving as target should be shown that, unavoidably, (for all but those using an O-Dach) that the hands of the person holding the sword arein reach of your hands. Not within grasp usually -- but well within reach. (As the old saw goes -- reach always exceeds grasp.) The person serving as target places the back of his hand agasint the back of the leading hand of the person holding the shinai.

Now the exercise is this. Have the person with the shinai try to hit the other one with the last part of the cut they were stopped in the middle of performing but for our little set-up described above. Not with a cheating lever-over type cut. It is ineffective as a cut in any event. Just the finishing portion of a regular, proper shomenuchi cut.

The person receiving the cut should enter/cut/turns with whole body motion from the hips and arms in complete extension -- in absolutely the same timing as the cut being received. The cut will not land if the motion is harmonious, and the sword will fall off line, and kuzushi, too oif the partner is not prepared.

Start slowly and then step it up, until the student receiving the cut gains confidence about how far he can get inside and still not be so concerned about being hit (and how much safer it is, in fact to be there than, say, six inches further away).

A point to be made with both of these exercises is that they demonstrate one aspect of what O Senei meant in saying that "When he attacks -- I am already behind him." When I meet the attack on the line just alongside, with extension, in irimi -- my hand and mind together have, in actual fact, already passed behind him. They become the thin end of the wedge that my body and spirit will hammer the rest of the way home.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 04-12-2007, 06:32 PM   #95
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Re: Aikido: The Way of Avoidance

Ohhh, I get it, you do not move off the line of attack, you move the line of attack off of you.

David

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Old 04-12-2007, 09:46 PM   #96
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Re: Aikido: The Way of Avoidance

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David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Ohhh, I get it, you do not move off the line of attack, you move the line of attack off of you.
Yes, with a quibble, in that to "move the line of attack", sounds more like "trying to do something specific." My sense of it is that is if I try to get that specific about how to enter, or what I am intending do when I enter, it is likely to be as as self-defeating as if I am trying to avoid the attack in order to enter.

The commitment to enter, good connection, integrated body and extension set the conditions in which he actually moves his own line of attack off me. Getting too specific about what I am intending to do as I am entering is ultimately counter productive, but we have little choice but to train through these set-piece scenarios that are contained in the kihon. The real nature of the interaction is necessarily too contingent and organic in its flow to be reliably captured without a foundation of default movements to provide the sort of safety net for the highwire act that is what we are really trying to train to perform.

It is a fine line. Sound irimi requires adherence to very precise application of these principles. But, of course, getting too particular about any given application anticipated in advance may actually inhibit the true nature of the principle I am trying to express. Much practice is needed to create a trust in the nature and intuitive feel of these encounters.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 04-13-2007, 03:09 AM   #97
dps
 
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Re: Aikido: The Way of Avoidance

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Yes, with a quibble, in that to "move the line of attack", sounds more like "trying to do something specific." My sense of it is that is if I try to get that specific about how to enter, or what I am intending do when I enter, it is likely to be as as self-defeating as if I am trying to avoid the attack in order to enter.
You enter not with the intent of moving the line of attack, your intent is to enter the attacker's center. The attacker controls the line of attack, you control the attacker by controlling his/hers center.
Sounds aggressive. Mmmmm. The Art of Love, Peace and Harmony by Agressive Behavior.

David

Last edited by dps : 04-13-2007 at 03:11 AM.

Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events not of words. Trust movement. --Alfred Adler
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Old 04-13-2007, 03:58 AM   #98
Dieter Haffner
 
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Re: Aikido: The Way of Aiki

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Oh, ye of little faith! Well, not "all" surely. I don;t know that I agree with the anticipation part. Anticipation, either fearful or desirous in my mind is problematic to good connection. It also implies a timing game -- which is not really aiki either, to my mind
I have no idea at what Rupert is paying attention when he does this exercise. I try to watch out for that moment myself, where you can still just enter. But I dont know what I really have to look for or feel for, and I think I might never know, because it is probably something only a few might ever understand.

Thing is, I have seen this done by Shimamoto shihan. He would go straight in when uke wanted to engage the attack. He explained that it was a higher level of aiki, an aiki of the mind. This harmony would let you sense (I dont know a better word to explain) at what moment uke would attack.
He used the example of someone that was holding a gun towards you. There are 3 critical events: 1. gunner thinks of firing of the gun, 2. finger pulling the trigger, 3. bullet firing off. Now you do not anticipate when you see the bullet flying, see the finger moving, but when the gunner decide to pull that trigger. And that requires that higher level of aiki of the mind.

When I practise, I will mostly anticipate on the second event. When uke prepares himself for the attack with those subtle changes in body posture or breadth (which a lot of people do).
But this is certainly far away from being able to anticipate that first event. And unfortunately I have no idea how to do that or even train towards that goal.
Maybe it just takes a lot of good practise, but I doubt it would be that simple.
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Old 04-13-2007, 06:44 AM   #99
L. Camejo
 
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Re: Aikido: The Way of Avoidance

Dieter raises a good point. I think achieving the level of irimi and entry being described here is difficult unless one trains it regularly and correctly.

I've found that when we do things like resistance tanto randori (shiai-based randori) one has to be ahead of the incoming attack mentally else one is caught "sleeping" and is "stabbed". The only way one can see the openings to enter at the precise instant of (or just before) your partner's attack is to become adept at reading very subtle telltale signs of changes muscular tension, shifts of eye focus, breathing changes (as Clarke Sensei mentioned elsewhere) etc. while remaining very relaxed, in correct posture and ready for entry. The entry itself is not a conscious movement of "OK, now I go" but more of a thought of where one would wants to be in space and have the body manifest the best and fastest way to get there. Hard to explain in words but it's like I see myself in the position and I am there, the movement is unconscious and totally efficient within the instant of perceiving the attack. So the Aiki of the mind part imho applies not only in ones sensitivity to the other person but in ones sensitivity to oneself and placing the mind/body in a place where thought and action are almost simultaneous.

David: I see your dojo is listed on the JAA/USA site (your Ten no Maki avatar led me to search), do you guys practice Shodokan?

Just some thoughs.

LC

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Old 04-13-2007, 07:27 AM   #100
dps
 
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Re: Aikido: The Way of Avoidance

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Larry Camejo wrote: View Post
David: I see your dojo is listed on the JAA/USA site (your Ten no Maki avatar led me to search), do you guys practice Shodokan?
:
Yes, my sensei is Michael Gelum. My previous training was under the USAF.

David

Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events not of words. Trust movement. --Alfred Adler
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