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Old 01-17-2008, 11:29 AM   #1
Ron Tisdale
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Evasions in Aikido

In the "Do You Block?" thread in this section of the board, a discussion started about evasions, and I said I would post some clips and / or some thoughts about my experience of it. That original thread can be found here:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13778

Of course, I checked my own teacher's web site first, because I remembered some clips being out there that showed what I felt were good examples of my understanding, but those clips aren't up anymore, so on to the trusty Youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6Y3WZuUtVo

In second 42 of the clip, you can see what I consider to be an Aikido evasion. More than this, I pretty much include evasion as part and parcel of almost every aikido waza that is being presented in a dynamic fashion. By this I mean the following:

Using side strike, side step in throw, number one (yokomenuchi sokomen iriminage) from aihamne

1) Uke shuffles forward and does side strike with the front hand to the side of shite's head
2) Shite blocks / pivots / strikes uke in the following manner:

a) 45 to 90 degree pivot
b) keeping the hands in their center, cuts uke's strike first out, then down to approximately hip level
c) backfist, eye smash (metsubishi?) or upper cut to uke's nose, often the pressure point just below the nose and above the upper lip.

The rest of the throw is pretty standard, so I'll stop the description here and give some thoughts.

Yoke comes from yokeru which I believe means to avoid. Not to clash, not to stop uke's movement (though there are actually times when I would stop uke's movement, one of those is also in the clip), but to avoid in some manner. The clip above clearly illustrates evasion outside of a specific waza designed to lock or throw uke, and my description above shows it's use in a waza. In dynamic situations, evasion (could be a block, could be a body movement might be both) forms one to two levels of protection...striking would be a second or third level level of protection. The more levels of protection, the better...one is ok but not optimal. Two is definitely better...three or more is sublime

If I can control the attacking limb, move out of the way of the optimum power range of the strike, take uke's balance, and hit or throw them all at the same time, that is truly approaching perfection. When one understands evasion in this way, it becomes part and parcel of almost every dynamic (serious intent or energy coming in) attack. I would say this is always in response to strikes, often in response to grabs as well.

So I do not think of evasion as "how do I get away from this situation". Evasion could be part of that (in the clip example, Takeno Sensei could easily turn and try to outrun his attacker at that point). But evasion is just as much a part of almost every waza performed in that demo.

Just some thoughts of mine...feel free to comment or critique. I'll answer as I am able.

Best,
Ron

Last edited by Ron Tisdale : 01-17-2008 at 11:37 AM.

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Old 01-17-2008, 12:25 PM   #2
ChrisMoses
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Re: Evasions in Aikido

For me it almost always comes down to this distinction:

How does one *avoid* injury from a specific attack without *avoiding* or *evading* the attacker? The establishment of center to center contact could be thought of as a precursor to anything that could be described as an aiki event. A simple block does not necessarily establish center to center contact and a complete avoidance of an attack and the attacker will guarantee that there is no center to center contact. I think this is why irimi is so central to older descriptions of aikido waza (like Budo Renshu).

Here's a nice clip of Takeda Yoshinobu Sensei. While his style looks very soft, anyone who has ever taken ukemi from him knows that this is very deceptive. Note that while this looks pretty flowing, there are very few instances where he moves away from uke, or makes any kind of a large tenkan movement. Of particular note is a standing to seated ikkyo movement that happens right around the 1 minute mark. Note how he connects into his uke as part of a forward push to a seated position. One reason he's able to achieve the results that he does is that he REALLY gets center to center connection. The kodachi exercise (and it really is an exercise, it's not swordwork per se) he does in the later part of this demo is all about developing center to center connection building (IMHO).

This is one way I distinguish aiki from a more traditional interaction, and also one way where the (overused) assertion that, "Aikido comes from the sword" is best shown. In swordwork, if you are just avoiding being hit, or just deflecting blocks, you will never take the advantage back. Even ones deflections or movements to avoid being injured *must* have aspects of an attack for them to turn the tide in your favor.

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Old 01-17-2008, 12:30 PM   #3
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Evasions in Aikido

I get some exposure to Takeda Sensei's aikido through some of his students here...one of my favorite places to go and play.

Completely different from what I do, but very informative and enjoyable.

Best,
Ron (eagerly awaiting the return of Kirisawa Sensei...)

Ron Tisdale
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Old 01-17-2008, 02:35 PM   #4
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Re: Evasions in Aikido

Ron, you can't beat Yoshinkan basics. Rough-in the vid, but solid. however, Yoshinkan Enbu are all staged - pre-set forms. He seems to know what he's going to do before he even starts. I can tell. Been there, seen it, done it, tired of being conned. But it is a good place to start. Then aim for: see other link, a couple of posts down, Takeda Yoshinobu.

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Old 01-17-2008, 02:45 PM   #5
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Evasions in Aikido

Yoshinkan demo's take a lot of preparation, for uke's safety. Try getting caught with those throws unawares. I definately would not view it as a con.

Believe me...80% probably wouldn't get back up again in the demo, let alone real time.

Best,
Ron (people always say that...but I don't see them hopping up to take ukemi...)

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Old 01-17-2008, 03:08 PM   #6
Chris Parkerson
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Re: Evasions in Aikido

I see entry/evasion occuring as

outside (tankan)
inside (irimi)
under (Sutemi)

Has anyone played with going "over" that is without uprooting yourself?
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Old 01-17-2008, 03:17 PM   #7
ChrisMoses
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Re: Evasions in Aikido

Quote:
Chris Parkerson wrote: View Post

Has anyone played with going "over" that is without uprooting yourself?
If I understand your question then yes. I've done some 'stacking' connection/entry drills with Toby Threadgill (TSYR) and then we do some other similar kinds of entries. If you're familiar with some of the Yanagi terms from Clodig, they're really just another way to get double weighting. Hopefully that's what you were asking?

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Old 01-17-2008, 03:30 PM   #8
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Evasions in Aikido

Hi Chris P., I get what you mean in the first part of your post, but not the question at the end.

From about 3rd queue on we have test waza that chain together several attacks, yokomen, shomen, tsuki, ganmen etc. The evasions could be xstep pivot xstep back, shuffle pivot, xstep pivot, xstep body change ...there are a ton of different variations, each designed to achieve a specific ma ai in a specific circumstance.

Best,
Ron

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Old 01-17-2008, 03:56 PM   #9
Chris Parkerson
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Re: Evasions in Aikido

probably a poorly phrased question.

Let me think how to define it more accurately.
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Old 01-17-2008, 10:03 PM   #10
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Evasions in Aikido

Ron wrote:

Quote:
In second 42 of the clip, you can see what I consider to be an Aikido evasion. More than this, I pretty much include evasion as part and parcel of almost every aikido waza that is being presented in a dynamic fashion. By this I mean the following:
As I thought, semantics from perspective. I understand what you are saying. looking at this, I don't see evasion from my perspective. I see him entering, going low, taking space from uke, and uke "fallling into the void".

I could see how one would see this as "evasion" as he appears to be "evading" the strike by "ducking". As you know, (not to insult you), there is much more than this going on.

I watched a good deal of the clip. What I saw as constant entry, kuzushi...nothing that I would classify as evasion.

that is, removing yourself from the space of the attack without taking center.

In every response that I saw, he entered first. Always entered, closed distance, took dominance, and finished.

BTW, very, very nice form and power!

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Old 01-18-2008, 05:23 AM   #11
creinig
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Re: Evasions in Aikido

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6Y3WZuUtVo

In second 42 of the clip, you can see what I consider to be an Aikido evasion. More than this, I pretty much include evasion as part and parcel of almost every aikido waza that is being presented in a dynamic fashion. By this I mean the following:

Using side strike, side step in throw, number one (yokomenuchi sokomen iriminage) from aihamne.
Are you sure you got the correct time? At second #42 I see a koyunage. A Sokumen Iriminage is e.g. at 0:16, but from katate mochi, or 2:00 from shomen tsuki.
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Old 01-18-2008, 06:11 AM   #12
SeiserL
 
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Re: Evasions in Aikido

Absolutely, get off (evade/empty/move) the line of attack.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
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Old 01-18-2008, 08:25 AM   #13
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Evasions in Aikido

Hi guys,

The iriminage I described is from class wednesday night. The spot at 42 or so is simply an evasion. Oh, I would not describe that as "ducking"

Kevin, this is what my teachers actually call an evasion. That's how they refer to it, so that's how I refer to it. Evasions should use all of the things you stated, which I think is the source of our earlier non connection on the term. Here is an example from this years waza:

Quote:
6. Shomenuchi (Hitoemi Evasion, Hikiashi Kotai),
Suigetsuki Udegarami nage

Front Strike (Side Entering Evasion, Cross Step back),
Body Thrust Arm Lock Throw
Best,
Ron

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Old 01-18-2008, 04:50 PM   #14
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Re: Evasions in Aikido

Thanks Ron. I agree for sure! especially on the "ducking" thing!

To me, ducking is a bad, bad, bad form of evasion, that gets you in trouble!

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Old 01-18-2008, 10:06 PM   #15
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Re: Evasions in Aikido

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
I get some exposure to Takeda Sensei's aikido .... (eagerly awaiting the return of Kirisawa Sensei...)
Hello Ron,

Happy New Year! I'm getting signals that Kirisawa Sensei will come this summer. I think he misses Pennsylvania!

Best,
Steve

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Old 01-18-2008, 10:13 PM   #16
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Re: Evasions in Aikido

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
...Takeda Yoshinobu Sensei... While his style looks very soft, anyone who has ever taken ukemi from him knows that this is very deceptive.
I agree. Taking ukemi from Takeda Sensei leaves a very strong impression on me. No escape possible.

Steve

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Old 01-19-2008, 01:45 PM   #17
Chris Parkerson
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Re: Evasions in Aikido

I promised these videos in the "Do you Block" thread. I am posting them here because My irimi is evasion and my body postures do the blocking and heavy hands work.

Please take a look at me getting clocked in the jaw at You Tube.

Irimi/Evasion while getting clocked
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QdUsGvJxCU

Aiki Smothering a Boxer's Combination (1)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DD5eGWmmNcg

Aiki Smothering a Boxer's Flurry (2)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Thy_ud1H8U

Forgive me for the poor lighting. We are working out at Moe Steven's Tomiki Style Aikido Dojo; aptly called the Mojo.

For those who do not know him, Moe's father was one of the American Pioneers in the Tomiki system (along with Carl Geiss).

Moe was a wrestling coach in high school who taught all day, then went home and played Judo and Tomiki. Allot of hours on the matts and it really shows.
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Old 01-19-2008, 03:08 PM   #18
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Re: Evasions in Aikido

Quote:
Chris Parkerson wrote: View Post
I promised these videos in the "Do you Block" thread. I am posting them here because My irimi is evasion and my body postures do the blocking and heavy hands work.
Nice vids, you can see the Clodig/Yanagi influence in what you're presenting. Hard to think of this stuff in any other terms once you know them eh? First one is a nice example of a Yanagi turn with future base.

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Old 01-19-2008, 03:18 PM   #19
Chris Parkerson
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Re: Evasions in Aikido

Sword turn is definitely a staple in everything I do.

I need to walk a fine line as Renshi Clodig prefers to keep his stuff on a "face to face" venue rather than on videos.

Allot of the subtlety that makes my exspression of techniques work are done so by studying Yanagi Hara Ryu with John Clodig. His teaching radically changed 30 years of experience for me. I am his student forever.

He gave me a title last year in the system. I am a Yok Yoyo.

Honestly I wonder if that means I am a Joke or a Yo-yo. I think, in relation to his and Dan Cronnin's abilities as martial Artists, it makes me a junior assist mat sweeper.
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Old 01-21-2008, 09:32 PM   #20
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Re: Evasions in Aikido

This may well be a purely semantic distinction but both Henry Smith(6th dan) and Nizam Taleb(5th dan) use the word "blending" in the same way that "escape" is used here. I know that Ron has studied with both Sensei. Their concept is that we are always moving irimi even when we yield in order to enter in the wake of an attack. They discuss it in terms of a mental stance rather than kamae or technique. Taleb Sensei, as you know Ron, repeats the mantra, "Aikido came from the sword and the sword is an offensive weapon." I don't think this contradicts any of the previous posts but I do find that this metaphor inspires me to approach the question with a different mind.
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Old 01-22-2008, 08:04 AM   #21
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Evasions in Aikido

Osu! Hi Ed! How are Smith Sensei and Taleb Sensei? I hope Taleb Sensei is fully recovered, and back to tossing people for fun!

Nice post...

Best,
Ron

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Old 01-22-2008, 01:17 PM   #22
philippe willaume
 
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Re: Evasions in Aikido

Hello , ron

What you label “evasion”, is called voiding, counter (one time defence i.e. the offence is the defence as well so I can be a counter-strike or a void-counter) or two times defence (parry and riposte.) in fencing.
With weapons a static block is usually a Hollywood gimmick or a teaching aid. Though you can find weapons like basket hilt sword where it can have its place (cf George Silver and his true cross) but that is another story.

For me the thing that sometime in some aikido is seems that movement itself is sufficient to make a defence safe and sound. (ie that is all that is needed)

If you have look at that short clip (German long sword )
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGZTMVd8Cu8

when I take a step to get in range he counter with a stop trust. The strike (called a shielhaw for instance) is a one time counter. So the trust is of the opposition is controlled at all time and even if he remove his throat or somehow move his sword, I am in and advantageous position. I will have either taken his posture or forced him to take his point away from me, in either case he will have a timing advantage and a direct route of attack open.

And the techi at 0:30-0:31of that video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6Y3WZuUtVo) does have the exact same effect.
If uke tried to remove his head, free his arm or mount an attack from somewhere else. the sensei is in advantageous position

Now if you have a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbKVTITux7o is basically another strike which depend exclusively on movement will lead to drastically different result according to what the opponent gives us.
(For reference this is when it should be used http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhrUZHwauzA)
Basically you need to force your opponent to give something away for movement alone to be sufficient for a “safe” defence

I know there is lots of sword reference that are a bit removed from aikido but I hope it will help to demonstrate what I am getting at
phil

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Old 01-29-2008, 05:18 PM   #23
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Re: Evasions in Aikido

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
So I do not think of evasion as "how do I get away from this situation". Evasion could be part of that (in the clip example, Takeno Sensei could easily turn and try to outrun his attacker at that point). But evasion is just as much a part of almost every waza performed in that demo.

Just some thoughts of mine...feel free to comment or critique. I'll answer as I am able.

Best,
Ron
Hi Ron,
When most people look at waza (like that shown on the clip you posted) they see "evasion" in the sense that the defender isn't being hit by the attacker nor is he blocking the attack (not stopping the energy of the attack). But when they go to execute that same waza they find that what they are doing doesn't have the same result as that of the 8th Dan practitioner. The reason is that they are "getting out of the way of the attack". If you look at what is really going on, the defender is executing an irimi by rotating his body in a variety of ways.

The whole mental orientation is different. In the clip, it is quite clear that the nage has his attention "inside" the attack of the uke. His body movement, while in fact slipping the strike, is really shaping the attacker's structure. In other words, we call this the "aiki of movement" in which the attacker's intention to get to your center provides the energy so that he moves himself in response to your movement, rather than you moving him. So even when it looked like the nage hadn't even touched the uke, his movement was already setting him up for the throw.

This type of technique is dependent on placing ones attention in the proper place. If ones attention is on the attack and one is trying to avoid the attack, the uke will not react the same way; in fact it is likely one will simply be hit. You can see from the clip that the nage never had the least attention on the attack but rather had his attention on the hole inside the attack.

So when you say "evade" to the average person, they will interpret that as escaping where, on the other hand, the high level practitioner is simply moving "inside" the attack. An understanding of proper pivot points etc is necessary to do this properly on the physical level but the really crucial piece is to not have the mindset of escaping from the attack in question.

That was great stuff on the clip by the way... I had a chance to chat with Robert Mustard Sensei last Fall when he was in the area to do a demo. He is really excellent. It was fun seeing him in the clip taking ukemi.

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Old 01-30-2008, 07:17 AM   #24
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Evasions in Aikido

Hi ukemi is beautiful isn't it? Thanks for the comments. So often we forget the mental aspects...

I guess we forget how easily terminology like "block" or "evade" can throw people off.

Best,
Ron

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Old 01-30-2008, 08:42 AM   #25
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Re: Evasions in Aikido

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
I guess we forget how easily terminology like "block" or "evade" can throw people off.

Best,
Ron
Hi Ron,
I always look at terminology from the teacher's standpoint. There are all sorts of words we use whose meaning we are taught through practice. So when you say "evade", I know what you mean because you are an experienced practitioner.

But when you say "evade" to the average beginner, or perhaps even to someone with another martial arts background, that term may have a very different connotation to them.If so, it isn't helpful from an instructional standpoint. I try to find terms which either already have a connotation for the beginner close to what I am trying to get them to do or at least, which don't have a connotation which is quite different.

For example, if you've trained with Ikeda Sensei lately, you will have heard his term "pick them" often abbreviated even more to simply "pick". He uses these terms to describe his action which takes the partner up off his base. In other words he is saying "pick them up".

I don't use that same terminology when I teach. If you ask yourself what association the average person would have with the term "pick them up" it would be one of effort and muscular contraction. We all know that "picking someone up" is difficult.

So in place of that term I use the term "float them". Floating has exactly the right flavor of effortlessness, lack of tension and contraction which the correctly executed movement really has. Obviously, it's just a small thing... But I think that it is helpful when you are teaching to find words or visualizations which the student already has which can help him get the right "feel" for what is going on. Often, what they think they see is not what is really happening. Anything which can help them make better associations is useful.

George S. Ledyard
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