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Old 03-10-2008, 12:05 AM   #1
Joseph Madden
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Aikido is useless without atemi...

Without a first strike whether it be proactive and/or a strictly defensive measure, aikido without proper hard atemi is useless. Now the real question remains; what is atemi? Is it a punch? Is it a distraction, as in the way O-Sensei taught. Or do you really need to give that attacker that first punch to the head to be really effective. In my mind, the answer is yes. This may make aikido a little more than boxing with flourish, but this is the conclusion I've come too.
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Old 03-10-2008, 12:16 AM   #2
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Aikido is useless without atemi...

Quote:
Joseph Madden wrote: View Post
Without a first strike whether it be proactive and/or a strictly defensive measure, aikido without proper hard atemi is useless. Now the real question remains; what is atemi? Is it a punch? Is it a distraction, as in the way O-Sensei taught. Or do you really need to give that attacker that first punch to the head to be really effective. In my mind, the answer is yes. This may make aikido a little more than boxing with flourish, but this is the conclusion I've come too.
Are you saying yes to all those questions you posed? I know there are earlier threads which deal with the concept of atemi, but my take on it is that atemi is any kind of shock to the system which temporarily disorganizes it so we can then overpower it with superior organization. It doesn't always have to be a strike, but a strike can usually be made at the point of atemi.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 03-10-2008, 12:31 AM   #3
Joseph Madden
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Re: Aikido is useless without atemi...

Atemi should be first and foremost a strike. This idea of a shock to the system so it becomes disorganized works best, in my opinion, in the form of a fist to the center of the face, under the chin, to the side of the head etc.This idea of spooking a person by waving a hand in front of the face is in my experience completely useless from a defensive point of view. You have to get in there and hit. Otherwise you are dead.
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Old 03-10-2008, 12:43 AM   #4
David Yap
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Re: Aikido is useless without atemi...

Hi Joe,

This thread has been repeated many times in the forum. Best you do a search for past these threads.

You have posted good questions and some valid answers. By some accounts, I have had discussions with ppl with 30+ aikido experience who share your thoughts about the functions of atemi. IMO, to re-think again you may need to define what the word "Atemi" actualy means.

Regds

David Y
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Old 03-10-2008, 02:47 AM   #5
eyrie
 
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Re: Aikido is useless without atemi...

True, the "hand-waving" thing has somewhat become a symbolic gesture to indicate a strike. Obviously in training we're not out to hurt each other, but tori should... um... "gesticulate"... with the intent to land the strike, should uke not move, and likewise, uke should react appropriately as if it were a strike.

I think most would generally agree that atemi IS to "hit (the) body", and generally includes various closed-fist/open-handed forms of striking. However, I would include grasping, grabbing, pinching, raking, rubbing, pressing, poking, gouging, hooking (te-waza) AND kicking (geri-waza) in a much broader sense of atemi-waza.

Its purpose is "physical disruption" on several levels:
1. focus/concentration (i.e. distraction)
2. localized pain/numbness
3. temp KO
4. perm KO (i.e. apoxia/cardiac arrest/death)
5. some or all of the above...

Some more things to think about:
1. Any technique with a name like (something, something) ate... is an atemi. E.g. hiji ate, shomen ate etc.
2. Any kokyu nage can be an atemi... if you're close enough to throw, you're also close enough to hit.
3. Tegatana means "hand sword"... consider the implications of what that means.

and finally...
4. IF 75-90% (depending on who you're asking) of Aikido IS striking... AND the strikes are not explicit, how would you make it a striking technique without changing the shape of the technique?

Ignatius
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Old 03-10-2008, 03:02 AM   #6
CitoMaramba
 
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Re: Aikido is useless without atemi...

Quote:
Nishio Sensei wrote:
"I regard atemi as the soul of Japanese martial arts. Atemi temporarily neutralize the opponent's fighting ability and allow him to correct his attitude and return to his previous condition."
http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=647
Quote:
Nishio Sensei wrote:
In our practice of the throws and pins of empty-handed techniques the important principles of tsukuri (preparatory action for attack) and kuzushi (balance-breaking) almost always involve atemi. I use atemi techniques and breathing (kokyu) in tsukuri and kuzushi.
http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=397

Inocencio Maramba, MD, MSc
Dangayan Singkaw Aikido Shinzui
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Old 03-10-2008, 05:33 AM   #7
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Nishio sensei

When I practiced for Nishio sensei, he used atemi to show the attacker that the fight was already over, so to speak. He regarded his budo as a way of giving the attacker sveral chances to regret and retreat. His atemi was part of that.

He could show three or more consecutive atemi to different parts of uke's body - demonstrating that they were possible. But he did not really need them to complete his aikido techniques.

And I assure you that his atemi were no meaningless waving of hands. You felt them, and you reacted, even though he did not hit you.
He talked about atemi no kokyu. I can't say that I am competent to write the book on the subject, but I like to interpret it as bringing some commitment and kokyu power into the atemi - even when it is not supposed to hit. Then it creates a reaction similar to what it would cause if it actually hit.

Nonetheless, presently I don't think atemi must be used for aikido techniques to work. It is much more interesting to try and find ways of doing the techniques so that strikes are not necessary.
And if you think you need to actually hit uke - then why not just shift from aikido to a martial art that consists of punches and kicks?

Stefan Stenudd
My aikido website: http://www.stenudd.com/aikido/
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Old 03-10-2008, 06:18 AM   #8
David Yap
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Re: Aikido is useless without atemi...

Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote: View Post
True, the "hand-waving" thing has somewhat become a symbolic gesture to indicate a strike. Obviously in training we're not out to hurt each other, but tori should... um... "gesticulate"... with the intent to land the strike, should uke not move, and likewise, uke should react appropriately as if it were a strike...
Sometimes these gesticulatings get lost during the waza. I remember (years ago when I was 5th kyu) doing a fist strike to uke's face with the intent that he would either raise his hand to block/incept or lean backwards. The guy didn't do anything that I intended him to do and I had to stop my punch barely a centimeter from his nose. Anyone less experienced wouldn't have control that punch and he would have landed up with a bloody or broken nose. When I asked him why he didn't move, he answered sarcastically that he trusted me not to hit him.

At another time when I was an uke instructed to attack with a mae geri. The nage was a yudansha, knowing that he didn't have experience in percussion art, I kicked with 60~70 speed. I expected him to move moment before the contact but he didn't even move a bit. Despite pulling back, my kick still touched him at his balls. He screamed at me for kicking him and I told him that it wasn't my fault - he was supposed to move.

I am still "confused" with this hand waving gesture especially at some dojo that practice this. The nage would waved their hands about my face and just when I raised my hand to block, they would drop the hands down as fast as they came up leaving the openings for me to strike back with my raised hand (of course I wouldn't do that). I realized where these were coming when I took ukeme for the dojo-cho. Times when I thought I didn't need to raise my hand in response to their gestures, I got smacked on my face.

I could figure out why they do these at some dojo and but not all the time. I will explain this at a later time and probably talk about an atemi which in Shorinji Kempo called "Me Uchi".

Regds

David Y
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Old 03-10-2008, 06:37 AM   #9
Flintstone
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Re: Aikido is useless without atemi...

Quote:
David Yap wrote: View Post
I could figure out why they do these at some dojo and but not all the time. I will explain this at a later time and probably talk about an atemi which in Shorinji Kempo called "Me Uchi".
Actually we use me uchi quite often as initiating atemi in Nihon Taijutsu. It's faster and much less "devastating" than jodan tsuki. But then, of course, Nihon Taijutsu has some Shorinji Kempo influence...

Quote:
Stefan Stenudd wrote: View Post
And if you think you need to actually hit uke - then why not just shift from aikido to a martial art that consists of punches and kicks?
Because our atemi is not mean to destroy, but to make uke react the way we want him to do. But yes, there are situations when full force atemi is to be used. Anyway that's not the norm.

What about the "finishing atemi" ? That's not mean to distract, but to finish the encounter drastically if needed.
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Old 03-10-2008, 07:54 AM   #10
Ketsan
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Re: Nishio sensei

Quote:
Stefan Stenudd wrote: View Post

Nonetheless, presently I don't think atemi must be used for aikido techniques to work. It is much more interesting to try and find ways of doing the techniques so that strikes are not necessary.
Better to be on the side of caution though.

Quote:
Stefan Stenudd wrote: View Post
And if you think you need to actually hit uke - then why not just shift from aikido to a martial art that consists of punches and kicks?
Why stand around trading blows and getting hit when you can end the situation with a throw or joint lock?
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Old 03-10-2008, 07:57 AM   #11
SeiserL
 
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Re: Aikido is useless without atemi...

We each come to our own conclusion about what is useful in our Aikido.

I too tend to use atemi to strike, distract, take attention, and take balance,

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 03-10-2008, 09:41 AM   #12
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Aikido is useless without atemi...

Quote:
Joseph Madden wrote: View Post
Atemi should be first and foremost a strike. This idea of a shock to the system so it becomes disorganized works best, in my opinion, in the form of a fist to the center of the face, under the chin, to the side of the head etc.This idea of spooking a person by waving a hand in front of the face is in my experience completely useless from a defensive point of view. You have to get in there and hit. Otherwise you are dead.
I agree a strike should always be ready to fire in an atemi...it's definately NOT just waving the hand in front of the attacker. I just prefer to not box in my set of options, so to my mind, anything which can be used to shock their system can be defined as atemi. Still, the bottom line is that we cannot rely on our attacker to cooperate with us, so we have to be prepared to place fist, elbow, whatever into the structure of our "partner." As an example to clarify where I'm coming from, when I don't respond to atemi at my dojo, I get hit.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 03-10-2008, 10:37 AM   #13
mwible
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Re: Aikido is useless without atemi...

i would like to go against the opening statement of this thread.

i believe that in combat, real combat, you take what you can get. if some man comes at you with a punch to the stomach, do u necesarily have to punch him in the face while u enter and pivot to draw him off balance all the while setting up for a nice kote gaeshi? i would have to say no.
i think that atemi's are useful when the situation demands them. such as if you are in combat with a man who knows your tactics, (i.e.: take a wrist/ enter/ wait for an opportunity to take kuzushi), then you may have to do quite a few paries and blocks until u see an opening for an atemi and a chance to take kuzushi.
but equally as important, if you are in combat with a man who DOESNT know your tactics, or seemingly has limited or no martial ability, i would say that it should be rather easy for a competent aikidoka to take kazushi and make him submit or perform a throw and walk away.

have i made my argument correctly? do you still believe aikido useless without atemi? rebuttal?

-morgan
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Old 03-10-2008, 11:29 AM   #14
John A Butz
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Re: Aikido is useless without atemi...

Quote:
Morgan Wible wrote: View Post
i would like to go against the opening statement of this thread.

i believe that in combat, real combat, you take what you can get. if some man comes at you with a punch to the stomach, do u necesarily have to punch him in the face while u enter and pivot to draw him off balance all the while setting up for a nice kote gaeshi? i would have to say no.

-morgan
The counter argument I would offer is that someone intent on hurting you is going to do more then launch a single committed attack. That punch to the stomach is not going to be the only shot thrown. By using atemi immediately upon engagement with aite, we forestall his ability to throw followup attacks.

I think at issue here is the model that we adopt towards both attacks and atemi. If you view them as a singular event in time, then it becomes possible to deal with an attack without employing atemi. Alternately, you can throw a single atemi(either the real percussive type or the "wave hand in face type") and bank on it doing the job as advertised. Both are standard ways to practice, and teach the ideal form of a technique.

However, an attack is a process, one that involves acquiring a target, attacking the target, assessing the damage done and determining how to continue the attack. A committed attacker is going to react to what ever you do to preclude his attack, in order to deliver followup attacks to achieve his end. In using atemi, one can interrupt this process, and cause aite to have to adjust what they are doing in order to throw that followup strike. By actively assessing the effect of your atemi and by continuing to employ atemi continuously as you engage aite, you can set up the circumstance for your technique while minimizing your attackers "time on target" because they are to busy dealing with YOU hitting THEM, which is always preferable to them hitting you.

Different strokes for different folks in the end, as I have seen excellent examples of both sides of the argument. Personally I am a strong proponent of atemi, with the goal being to destabilize the attackers posture and preclude followup attacks. Actual damage done to the attacker is icing on the cake, the primary goal is postural control.

--John
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Old 03-10-2008, 12:05 PM   #15
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido is useless without atemi...

Excellent post John!

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 03-10-2008, 12:13 PM   #16
charyuop
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Re: Aikido is useless without atemi...

***ashamed***.....Huuu huummm.....***whisteling***

The waving hand in front of the face....well....I mean....works with me!
Probably if you yelled "look over there" to me it would work too!
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Old 03-10-2008, 12:17 PM   #17
Kaze0180
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Re: Aikido is useless without atemi...

Atemi is not needed, it's a waste of time. The quicker you can get the person to the ground with a throw or pin the better. What's the saying..."crap or get off the pot." Using atemi breaks flow and timing for a good technique. The more time you waste on a person the more time you give them to respond. If you use an atemi there is not telling what his response is, he may react in a way you don't know. What if the other person IS a marital artists and proceeds to respond in his style. You're better off redirecting the situation before he can regain balance and coordination, at least in countering your flow you can counter back with a different flow. Besides, if you're using atemi you might as well just stick to striking until he's knocked out or on the ground; don't call it Aikido, it's just self-defense.

BJJ practitioners can subdue opponents without blows and it's very effective, there's no reason Aikido can't do the same. Using atemi will reduce your skills in timing, which is a major factor in Aikido. It's almost a unique trait in Martial Arts compared to others. In my experiences with altercation, it lasted less than a second, the longest was about 5 seconds. Don't waste time, get down to business. That could mean pre-empting with an iriminage as he's cocking back his fist, or going under a hook and coming to the outside for kokyunage. Whatever it is, get to it and don't waste time.

So my message: Perfect your technique and timing so you don't have to use atemi. If you need it, you could not complete the technique but you defended yourself. Congratulations. The point of Aikido is to learn to harmonize with attackers and find a peaceful resolution between both people, not enact violence because you fear for your life.

-Alexander
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Old 03-10-2008, 12:34 PM   #18
John A Butz
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Re: Aikido is useless without atemi...

Alexander, may I ask how you reconcile your viewpoint that "atemi is a waste of time" with Ueshiba's oft quoted remark about atemi being a central tenant of aikido?

Additonally, why do you take a negative attitude to the prospect of having had to strike someone to defend yourself in a real altercation? If my life or the life of my wife was in danger, and I failed to take advantage of my full arsenal of abilities in protecting us, I would take cold comfort in being able to say "Well, I didn't stop them but I did my best to harmonize".

re: BJJ not using strikes to defeat opponents, I would argue that my admittedly limited experience in groundwork has taught me that very often, the postural control that my opponent effected upon me entirely prevented me from being able to mount an effective striking offense. I would venture that such control is achieved by atemi, using body weight, limb position, and similar things. I would also argue that a good single leg is atemi.

For me, atemi is not just "punching and kicking". It is a much more varied animal, that consists of hitting the opponent with everything from fists and feet to voice, "spirit", structure, or the proverbial kitchen sink, ASSUMING THE GOAL IS POSTURAL CONTROL. Striking for damage is not a valid way to do things, control is the end goal of all atemi. Additonally, atemi should be integrated into the way you do your aikido, so that it doesn't detract from your ability to use timing and distance and all that stuff. Ellis Amdur has written about this sort of thing in a lot more detail, so instead of just parrotting him, I would encourage folks to look up his writngs on it.

Gianluigi's example of yelling "over there" to distract someone is also atemi, but the caveat I would attach to it is that if the guy doesn't actually look over his shoulder, you better be ready to do something else to him that will disrupt his posture, or you might have some issues.

--John

Last edited by John A Butz : 03-10-2008 at 12:41 PM.
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Old 03-10-2008, 01:09 PM   #19
Aikibu
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Re: Aikido is useless without atemi...

Aikido is useless without Atemi true...and like some of the folks who have posted here I practice Shoji Nishio's version of Aikido which is quite simply as he put it (paraphrasing) "Aikido executed to the rythem and flow of Atemi." Having shopped around a bit before choosing Shoji Nishio's expression ( and being blessed with having two of his U.S. Senior Yudansha living in the SoCal area.) of Aikido and coming from a background in both Judo and Karate as he did I was appalled at how many Aikidoka in other styles were unaware that folks actually try to hit and kick you and how open to counter punching and takedowns they were...and So...

Folks view of Atemi seems to be a bit myopic...There are two important sides to this coin as Nishio Shihan understood it...Hitting and being Hit...

If you don't practice Atemi you are setting yourself up to getting your clock cleaned...If you don't "see" where Atemi is applied then you are half blind to where your Uke may see openings in your own technique...

Like Stenudd Sensei said it's not neccessary to use it and Nishio Shihan usually only demonstrated both how open Uke was to Atemi and how our footwork and movement protected Nage from Uke and counterstrikes in his semniars...but then also as Stenudd Sensei mentioned Nishio Shihan's "internal power" was such that he did not have to actually hit you in order for Uke to feel his Atemi..and that is what he meant by the rythem and flow of Atemi and where he wished his students to go with it.

That being said In my experiance use it or lose it.Atemi is a perishable skillset. If you don't spend some time practicing Atemi then over time this "skillfull means" will diminish and you will dumb down your practice to the point you are just dancing with a partner and wide open to harm.

In Nishio Shihan's view Aikido must be a Martial Art first in practice in order to truely benefit anyone and open them up to Aikido's potential

Atemi is one of the cornerstones of our practice and my suggestion would be to spend some serious time practicing it in your expression of Aikido.

WIlliam Hazen

Last edited by Aikibu : 03-10-2008 at 01:16 PM.
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Old 03-10-2008, 01:32 PM   #20
Kaze0180
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Re: Aikido is useless without atemi...

Glady, after regular training, randori (up to 8 ppl so far), sparring with other martial artists, and real life situations (one on one to a group of 20 ppl) I've been in...I've realized an AIKIDO technique with atemi is a waste of time. It destroys its effectiveness as a martial art. Atemi to me is using a strike, or what Aikidoka call strikes before the throw or pin. To other martial artists the atemi we use is kind of a joke, but that's another issue. If you talk about yelling or something else that to me is Kiai or energy, which you need a lot of in Aikido and in life.

Now striking in general, punching, kicking, etc. IS effective, so I'm not saying attacks are ineffective but attacks with Aikido is. In randori, multiple attackers 2-8, you have no time for an atemi AND a throw, only a throw OR atemi. But you can't exactly render an uke unconscious in class so it's hard to gauge the effectiveness of your strike during randori. Aikidoka aren't renowned for their superior strikes, it's something that's sorely lacking. You better throwing your attacker into someone else and controlling the crowd.

I have been cross training for about 10 yrs now and when I spar people of other martial arts, their reflexes in kicking and punching are much faster than the average Aikidoka trying to use atemi. They are always beaten trying to go toe to toe with someone who SOLELY practices kicking and/or punching. After changing my strategy though, which was to drive in close for Aikido I became much more effective in using JUST Aikido. And when you're that close you have only time for one answer, throw or pin not play with your partner. Once the response was instantaneous you leave no gap for people to respond or get away, and since they are use to fighting people at a certain distance they do not have an answer to your technique.

In real life, it was the same principle. Don't waste time, do your technique fast and get them on the ground. I have struck someone before, but I did not call it Aikido. It was just a response. But the next situation I remembered my principles in Aikido and brought the attacker down without having to hit him, by then his friends came and apologized for him being a drunk idiot. Usually I avoid fight situations but I have a weakness for standing up for other people when they are being bullied, especially females.

As for BJJ, the goal is to subdue an opponent with a choke or pin, they don't control positions, they flow with the persons movement and find an opening for a pin or choke. JUST LIKE AIKIDO, just on the ground. ...and more training against resistance. So in their practice it's important to have superior technique, not use atemi to get the arm bar. It's to move in a position to get you to expose a limb so they can take it and lock it. It's fun! You should try it sometime.

Speaking of "real situations" and responses, here's a great video that should illustrate a good point about real life. I think we often misrepresent real life with movies....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3QAJoZ7FhY
-A
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Old 03-10-2008, 02:40 PM   #21
Joseph Madden
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Re: Aikido is useless without atemi...

That being said In my experiance use it or lose it.Atemi is a perishable skillset. If you don't spend some time practicing Atemi then over time this "skillfull means" will diminish and you will dumb down your practice to the point you are just dancing with a partner and wide open to harm.

Well said William.
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Old 03-10-2008, 03:16 PM   #22
Marc Abrams
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Re: Aikido is useless without atemi...

I would be frankly surprised that a person with any substantial time training in Aikido could believe that atemi is useless in Aikido. John's and Williams' descriptions about the nature of an attack and the nature of the function of atemi were spot on. The atemi is central in "owning" space that the attacker needs, which results in the unbalancing of an attacker. The idea that the flow of an attacker can be disrupted without some nature of atemi (ledyard sensei has posted at least one excellent article of atemi) raises a question about the quality and nature of attacks that some people experience. A couple of minutes with a well trained karateka or boxer should certainly point out some "holes" in that logic.

My teacher, Imaizumi Sensei, talked about the importance of atemi in the initial movement when he said: "If you move correctly, you do not need technique." I had the honor of hosting George Ledyard Sensei this weekend and his execution of this statement was obvious to any observer.

We are all entitled to our own opinions. If somebody believes that atemi is useless in that person's Aikido, then I will give that opinion it's due respect. I do not agree with that opinion and the founder of Aikido did not believe in that opinion, but the founder, nor I have to live with that opinion. Our practice reflects our believes. We can only hope that our practice holds up to the "reality test" if that were ever to come to pass.

Marc Abrams
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Old 03-10-2008, 04:13 PM   #23
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Atemi weaknesses

Quote:
Alexander Silva wrote: View Post
Atemi is not needed, it's a waste of time. The quicker you can get the person to the ground with a throw or pin the better. What's the saying..."crap or get off the pot." Using atemi breaks flow and timing for a good technique. The more time you waste on a person the more time you give them to respond.
Alexander points out what I tried to explain in my posts.

Atemi is no guarantee of anything at all - it is just as difficult to learn as regular aikido pinnings and throws. Honestly, I have seen a lot of "waving of hands" pretending to be atemi that uke is supposed to react to. Naah... Just as with basic aikido techniques, kokyu is needed, and you have to practice hard and long before you have learned to do efficient and trustworthy atemi.

Also, I have seen a lot of what I believe Alexander points out: People halt in the middle of a technique to make an atemi, and the only thing they accomplish is time for uke to counter. If you are on the way to complete a perfectly solid aikido technique, why interrupt it with an atemi?
Maybe atemi is so much an established part of aikido that people do it without thinking about it - kata style: "There should be an atemi here, so I have to make sure to do it."

I am often surprised by finding among aikidoists a disbelief in the aikido techniques, so that they feel they must add something "trustworthy", like a punch in the face

Trust the aikido techniques, and don't let atemi be an excuse to stop perfecting them.

Stefan Stenudd
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Old 03-10-2008, 04:14 PM   #24
aikilouis
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Re: Aikido is useless without atemi...

Atemi is not about swinging fists or arms.

In accord with the aiki/kokyu/whole body power principle expressed with insistance elsewhere, training in aikido includes structuring your body in order to take control of the encounter, take a positional advantage, finally applying this power according to the situation.

I read somewhere else that O Sensei once said "Aikido is Irimi Atemi". While I would really like to trace this quote back into its original context (if you have any hint, please help us), I suggest that Irimi and Atemi are not separate concepts as it is often interpreted. If we combine Irimi-Atemi, we understand that the whole body is behind atemi, and atemi itself is not the setup for technique, it is the form tori takes at the point of contact with uke.

It is displayed brilliantly by O Sensei in his films, where we see very often see that his attacker's body structure simply disintegrates in an instant and falls to pieces as if O Sensei switched him off, so to speak. This description also seems to converge with what the people say about their experience of trying to attack him with the most serious intent and feeling immediately helpless.

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Old 03-10-2008, 04:29 PM   #25
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Irimi atemi

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Ludwig Neveu wrote: View Post
I read somewhere else that O Sensei once said "Aikido is Irimi Atemi".
I can't say that I know the quote, or the authenticity of it. But I believe it could be an expression for the entering and strike that Osensei very often started his techniques with. The irimi step to a hanmi position, avoiding uke's attack, and at the same time getting close enough to strike.
If you learn this entrance well, there is really no need for anything more.

Nishio sensei stressed it: By the very first step, tori has already won - avoiding the attack and entering to a superior position. The atemi is a way of telling uke just that: Look, you have lost, you are at my mercy.
To Nishio sensei, the rest of the aikido technique was a way of sort of forgiving the attacker, and bringing everything to a peaceful conclusion.

Nishio sensei was very firm about making aikido something different from just being victorious in a battle. He constructed his techniques - both unarmed and armed versions - so that they contained multiple opportunities for uke to stop attacking and retreat.

I am also reminded about Tamura sensei's entrances. He is extremely distinct in his irimi entering, and makes sure that he has complete control of the situation at that very moment. So, for him as well as for Nishio sensei, the entrance step is decisive.
Maybe that was what Osensei meant?

Stefan Stenudd
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