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Old 06-18-2007, 11:53 AM   #1
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"The Strongest Technique in Aikido"

Posted 2007-06-18 11:52:48 by Jun Akiyama
News URL: http://denver.yourhub.com/CastleRock...ry~316104.aspx

This essay by Miho Albright in Castle Rock, Colorado, gives us her thoughts about what she believes to be "The Strongest Technique in Aikido" -- "The greatest technique in Aikido is the ability to become friends with the one who attacked you."

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Old 06-18-2007, 02:10 PM   #2
Paul Sanderson-Cimino
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Re: "The Strongest Technique in Aikido"

I would totally have given them props for counter-clichee-ness if they'd instead said "Ikkyo" or "Iriminage" or something.
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Old 06-24-2007, 06:02 PM   #3
DaveO
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Re: "The Strongest Technique in Aikido"

I personally wouldn't call this much of an 'article'; it's an advertisement for aikido. Not that that's a bad thing; I've a dear friend in Castle Rock and have heard good things about this dojo.

Still; the whole 'make friends with your attacker' thing irritates me - if that was so easy; conflict resolution would be a cinch. It also irritates me that the writer is blending the idea of a physical attack whith what seems to be abusive/agressive co-workers - two very, very different things.

Making friends is all well and good, but that's up to the attacker. Keep in mind that he is the one that initiates the attack and carries it out to varying degrees of success depending upon circumstance/skill/luck etc. IOW; he's the one that makes the determination to use violence on another human being to get what he wants and if he's foiled in that; 'friends' is the last thing he generally wants to be - trying to 'make friends' could easily open a defender up to a much more common desire: payback. Remember - all he wanted was your money and was willing to slice your a$$ to get it - you were a total ignorant a***ole to stop him; therefore it's all your fault. Sound crazy? Well, that's what a street hood thinks like.

All this said, the idea of making friends is a good one; albeit a total cliche; as the previous poster said. In a workplace against jerks; maybe. Against a physical attacker; forget it - find a hole, get through it, get out of there. Take him out if necessary. If you feel bad about his feelings; you can send him a card later - I'm sure he'll cherish it.

Last edited by DaveO : 06-24-2007 at 06:04 PM. Reason: Adding a point.

Answers are only easy when they're incomplete.
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Old 06-24-2007, 08:49 PM   #4
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Re: "The Strongest Technique in Aikido"

Quote:
AikiWeb System wrote: View Post
"The greatest technique in Aikido is the ability to become friends with the one who attacked you."
The greatest technique in Aikido is any techniques that keeps you from being hurt by your attacker. Friendship with an attacker, a noble ideal but not a high priority.

David
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Old 06-25-2007, 03:11 AM   #5
xuzen
 
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Re: "The Strongest Technique in Aikido"

SHOMEN-ATE, that or a glass of Tetley's or Darjeerling or Arabica with scones, marmalade and butter.

Boon.

SHOMEN-ATE (TM), the solution to 90% of aikido and life's problems.
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Old 06-25-2007, 03:57 AM   #6
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: "The Strongest Technique in Aikido"

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
The greatest technique in Aikido is any techniques that keeps you from being hurt by your attacker. Friendship with an attacker, a noble ideal but not a high priority.

David
Hi David,
yes there are many techniques, which could help in a situation of being attacked seriously - in this very instant.

I see three possibilities for reducing the risk of reattack significantly:
1. Defeat him in a way, that he knows there is no chance, and next time he might be hurt badly
2. kill him
3. make him a friand of yours

In the first case, he might come back with some frinds and/or guns.
In the second one probablyhis friends or family come for revenge.
And in the last case he may come back, whenever he wants and might even attack again. But it is a very strong solution.

Now you can question, if aikdido really teaches this ability. I cannot proof, but I would say somehow yes. There is much more, but the fact that most techniques are designed to injure the least possible, is at least a first step.

@Boon:
Shomen-ate is great, Arabica and scones probably the best. If you are late in reaction, you might start with shomen-ate - preferably without hitting (too hard) - and then do henka waza and change into "Arabica with scones"

best regards

Dirk
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Old 06-25-2007, 09:12 AM   #7
dps
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Re: "The Strongest Technique in Aikido"

Quote:
Dirk Hanss wrote: View Post
Hi David,
yes there are many techniques, which could help in a situation of being attacked seriously - in this very instant.

I see three possibilities for reducing the risk of reattack significantly:
1. Defeat him in a way, that he knows there is no chance, and next time he might be hurt badly
2. kill him
3. make him a friand of yours

In the first case, he might come back with some frinds and/or guns.
In the second one probablyhis friends or family come for revenge.
And in the last case he may come back, whenever he wants and might even attack again. But it is a very strong solution.

Now you can question, if aikdido really teaches this ability. I cannot proof, but I would say somehow yes. There is much more, but the fact that most techniques are designed to injure the least possible, is at least a first step.

@Boon:
Shomen-ate is great, Arabica and scones probably the best. If you are late in reaction, you might start with shomen-ate - preferably without hitting (too hard) - and then do henka waza and change into "Arabica with scones"

best regards

Dirk
You presuppose survival of the attack. If the attacker wins then the question is irrelevant, I doubt if the attacker wins he will offer his friendship to you.

If you survive then you can make friends, but you need to survive first.

David
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Old 06-25-2007, 04:50 PM   #8
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: "The Strongest Technique in Aikido"

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
If you survive then you can make friends, but you need to survive first.
You are absolutely right. That was my first sentence for - probably not clear enough. I only said, say just help in that very insant to survive the next minutes, hours, potentially days, or weeks.

Best regards

Dirk
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Old 06-25-2007, 07:49 PM   #9
dps
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Re: "The Strongest Technique in Aikido"

Quote:
Dirk Hanss wrote: View Post
You are absolutely right. That was my first sentence for - probably not clear enough. I only said, say just help in that very insant to survive the next minutes, hours, potentially days, or weeks.

Best regards

Dirk
I am sorry. I misunderstand you.

David
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Old 06-26-2007, 05:13 PM   #10
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: "The Strongest Technique in Aikido"

[quote=Dirk Hanss;181794 only said, say (should read they) just help [/QUOTE]

Sorry bad typo

Yes you need techniques to survive first, And then you have the choice.

David, your argumentation sounds like to answer on a question about the most powerful literature, it is A - B - C - ...

Because you can never write poems, essays, or novels, if you do not know the alphabet.

regards Dirk
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Old 06-29-2007, 11:56 PM   #11
Charles Hill
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Re: "The Strongest Technique in Aikido"

Hi,

I was attacked by a drunk guy a few years back who actually drove his van at me but couldn't get it up over the curb. He jumped out screaming at me telling me that he was going to cut me (he hadn't pulled a knife yet) He was telling me to go down the road to a wider space where we could fight. Throughout the conversation, he referred to me as "omae" a derogatory form of "you" in Japanese. At some point in his rambling he changed to "annta" a slightly more polite form. I pointed this out to him and thanked him sincerely. His attitude changed completley and he apologized for his attitude. He extended his hand and we shook hands. He got back into his car and drove off with a bow and a wave.

This was a LOT easier than fighting him would have been.

Charles
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Old 06-30-2007, 04:01 AM   #12
aikilouis
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Re: "The Strongest Technique in Aikido"

It's both easier and harder to pull off.

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Old 06-30-2007, 06:10 AM   #13
G DiPierro
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Re: "The Strongest Technique in Aikido"

Quote:
Charles Hill wrote: View Post
I was attacked by a drunk guy a few years back who actually drove his van at me but couldn't get it up over the curb. He jumped out screaming at me telling me that he was going to cut me (he hadn't pulled a knife yet) He was telling me to go down the road to a wider space where we could fight. Throughout the conversation, he referred to me as "omae" a derogatory form of "you" in Japanese. At some point in his rambling he changed to "annta" a slightly more polite form. I pointed this out to him and thanked him sincerely. His attitude changed completley and he apologized for his attitude. He extended his hand and we shook hands. He got back into his car and drove off with a bow and a wave.
Great story but what does it have to do with aikido? What does it have to do with practicing techniques like kotegaeshi and iriminage with a compliant partner, and how would one learn to do what you did in that situation by practicing such things? If the strongest technique in aikido is making friends with your attacker, then why is this technique never taught in classes and never on any testing syllabus?
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Old 07-01-2007, 12:18 AM   #14
Charles Hill
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Re: "The Strongest Technique in Aikido"

Hi Giancarlo,

I am going to take your questions seriously and try to answer them as best as I can given my level of understanding. If by asking those questions you were really just giving your opinion and putting it into a question form to underscore the ridiculousness of the idea, you might want to ignore the following.

We are compliant in training to, at first, learn the basic forms and also to prevent from being injured. As we progress, we are afforded the opportunity to become friends with our training partners at a deeper and deeper level. When and if that happens, we can start to (somewhat)safely become less compliant in our practice. This is when we can test what we know.

There are always going to be jerks in the dojo and they are not going to get stronger because no one but other jerks are going to test them. The idea that Aikido practice is totally compliant is a myth told by people who are not tested in the dojo. Instead of complaining about the practice, they might wonder about why no one pushes them, why everyone is compliant. Sure it might be that in that dojo only compliant Aikido is practiced. On the other hand, maybe no one likes/trusts them.

When I practice, I want to get past the basic level of practice with my partner as soon as possible. To do this, I quickly throw out hints of "play" or "friendliness" and see how he/she reacts. Some respond well, others are defensive. If I get a friendly partner, I know that I can start to be less compliant in a productive way. If my partner is defensive, I know that I should stick to the basic form.

It took me a long time to learn this, I made a lot of mistakes before I finally got it. For example, one time I was working with a rather large guy whose iriminage was not effective, he was just trying to knock me down. Finally I slipped out a very large hole in his movement and reversed the technique. To my surprise, he went down really hard in a perfect iriminage. And to my further surprise, he did not thank me for showing him where he could improve his own technique instead he continued the same crappy iriminage, this time much faster and more dangerous.

This "technique" of testing my partners with friendmaking "atemi" is what I used with the guy who attacked me. I am convinced that this technique is used by everyone who is good at Aikido. It is interesting to me that no one talks about it.

Charles
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Old 07-01-2007, 01:23 AM   #15
G DiPierro
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Re: "The Strongest Technique in Aikido"

Compliant training or not, we are not simply talking about developing the physical skills necessary to dispatch an attacker. That is an issue that almost all other martial arts address, many of them much better than aikido. The question is whether and how aikido teaches people how to befriend a (real) attacker.

How does training with someone in a dojo environment long enough to become friends with them teach people how to do this? How is this different from making friends with people who do any other activity, and specifically how would it be different from other arts like judo, BJJ, or kendo? Wouldn°«t these arts also teach people how to °»become friends with the one who attacked you" if someone trained in them long enough to become friends with other dojo members?

If someone claimed that BJJ teaches people how to submit a single unarmed attacker in a grappling situation, then there wouldn°«t be much debate, since this is what the training is obviously designed to do and does quite well. But if someone claimed that the strongest technique in BJJ is to disarm an opponent with a live sword using only your bare hands, most people would rightly be skeptical. The training does not reflect that.

My experience in having trained in aikido for many years, and with dozens of different teachers, is that the claim that the strongest technique in aikido is how to become friends with one's attacker is not supported by the training I have encountered in the large US aikido organizations, nor is the ability to perform this °»technique°… manifest amongst either the leaders or membership of these organization. Many of them cannot even get along on a friendly basis with people are who not attacking them.

The only claim about (aikikai) aikido that I would say could be substantiated by the actual training is that it teaches people how to perform impressive-looking, flowing techniques on a compliant partner. Although I think the concept of befriending an attacker does have a place in aikido training, I do not see it being taught or demonstrated in the art that is called "aikido" today. Simply claiming that it is the strongest technique means nothing unless you can also do it and teach others how to do it.
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Old 07-01-2007, 10:13 AM   #16
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: "The Strongest Technique in Aikido"

Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro wrote: View Post
My experience in having trained in aikido for many years, and with dozens of different teachers, is that the claim that the strongest technique in aikido is how to become friends with one's attacker is not supported by the training I have encountered in the large US aikido organizations, nor is the ability to perform this 'technique' manifest amongst either the leaders or membership of these organization. Many of them cannot even get along on a friendly basis with people are who not attacking them.
Hi Giancarlo,
I guess I understand, what you are saying.
The short answer is, if you haven't recognised it, you might not be ready for it.
The difficult part is to explain it in a way that you might get an idea of what I mean, if I say it.
First of all there is no specific technique to befriend someone. It is embedded in every technique. A hybrid form of this effect might be kokyunage. There are some techniques, which are taught as kokyunage, but at the same time, kokyunage is embedded in every single technique, if it grows to perfection and training any technique improves you kokyu power and thus teaches you kokyunage.
Befriend someone is not taught explicitely, but in every technique you should learn that the first goal is not winning, but safety - your safety and your partners safety. Sometimes you might learn some variations to overcome even an unompliant aggressor, but that could be some necessary intemediate step (some might disagree with this part) but it is never the final goal. The final goal is always to find a way to protect your health as well as the health of your foes. And that is not even the techniqque to make friends, it is just the first step. But steady training and hopefully a series of 'small enlightments' will lead you to that goal.
Tha last sentence is probably the part hardest to explain, becaus it realy shows, that many of us have not gone very far on this path - including me, but I am still starting. I cannot argue on this one. Probably it is as difficult to explain as why there is all that pain in the world.

Another thing to think about. BJJ is the standard fighting training in the US forces. but only very few American soldiers ever need to submit an unarmed person in a grappling situation. So either there are only fools in the Pentagon (please do not start the discussion in this point) or they expect something else a soldier can learn from BJJ. I guess Kevin Lewitt told us already something about this. If I recall right it should have to do with keeping a clear mind in difficult and stressy situations. But whatever it is - you won't find any technique in BJJ that obviously teaches exactly this.

Best regards

Dirk
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Old 07-01-2007, 10:55 AM   #17
G DiPierro
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Re: "The Strongest Technique in Aikido"

Quote:
Dirk Hanss wrote: View Post
First of all there is no specific technique to befriend someone. It is embedded in every technique. ...
Befriend someone is not taught explicitely, but in every technique you should learn that the first goal is not winning, but safety - your safety and your partners safety. ... The final goal is always to find a way to protect your health as well as the health of your foes. And that is not even the techniqque to make friends, it is just the first step.
Good answer, this is what I was looking for. There's a still few problems with this response, including most obviously that this is not taught, which makes it difficult to advance the claim that this is an important part of aikido. While there is a huge difference between knowing or saying that there is a specific way to do the techniques that embodies this philosophy of conflict resolution and actually being able to demonstrate or teach someone how to do this specifically, at least you have some awareness of what is involved.

My experience is that very few people in aikido have enough understanding of this concept to be able to articulate as much of it as you have, which as you point out is only the first step. For something that some people think of as the strongest technique in aikido, it's a very, very long way from saying what you have said to reaching the point of being able to perform this technique against a real physical attacker. I as pointed out, most people in the major aikido organizations cannot even perform it against people who are not attacking them at all.

Quote:
Another thing to think about. BJJ is the standard fighting training in the US forces. but only very few American soldiers ever need to submit an unarmed person in a grappling situation. So either there are only fools in the Pentagon (please do not start the discussion in this point) or they expect something else a soldier can learn from BJJ.
There's a long thread about why they chose this program over on e-budo. Mainly it had to do with the fact that BJJ has a competitive element and is popular, so guys would actually practice it. Since they have little practical reason to study unarmed combat anyway, they decided that choosing something that people would be motivated to practice was more important than whether it had anything to do with a real situation they might potentially face.

Last edited by G DiPierro : 07-01-2007 at 11:00 AM.
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