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Old 07-26-2008, 06:20 PM   #101
eyrie
 
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Re: Atemi

Quote:
William Hazen wrote: View Post
Ok... I see where at the point of our discussion (again ) where you need to feel like you've "won" the "argument"

Let me know when you've won will you Igo ? This Agumentum Ad Athoritum stuff tends to get in the way of a good discussion between folks with different points of view.
Mate... I think you took it the wrong way...

Ignatius
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Old 07-26-2008, 10:42 PM   #102
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Re: Atemi

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David Valadez wrote: View Post
... please just truthfully answer the following questions:
Fair enough.

Quote:
1. Out of an hour training session, how many minutes are dedicated purely to striking practice?
That depends. For myself, not much, because I get that when the mood strikes me. During the workday I practice strikes with my whole mass behind them surreptitiously, to slightly rattle the odd door frames and doors as momentary makiwara, with the slowest shuto, heel strike, elbow. or knee strike -- things that don't seem outwardly much like "striking." metal office door frames make surprisingly good makiwara -- and colleagues think I am just knocking firmly at their door - which, well, I am. It just feels vaguely satisfying to put energy into something. Occasionally, low kicks to shadow box with the same sensibility. Strikes or kicks I am always looking for one or the other natural asagao forms.

For class, I will spend a substantial time with any student who does not strike properly or who does not strike with proper effect for the lesson at issue. I let them hit ME at one third or one quarter speed until I would prefer not to be in the way of it, and that generally adjusts the problem. I mean to achieve two things -- get them comfortable with a true strike balanced with effective control, and get them understanding (by willing to be hit) that dealing with getting hit without falling apart is as much a part of martial art as hitting.

Quote:
2. What strikes do you practice regularly?
See above.

Quote:
3. Does your dojo own heavy bags, kicking shields, focus mits, makiwara, etc.?
No.

Quote:
4. Does your dojo use such equipment as often as it does not, more than it does not, less than it does?

5. Do you practice sparring in your dojo? How often?

6. Do you consider your dojo an average Aikido dojo?
No.

Never in aikido. Judo and jujitsu they do.

And I have no idea.
Quote:
In my opinion, according to the larger martial arts world, answers like these cannot support the position that striking is really part of Aikido practice (which is different from whether it should be or could be) - not at least currently, and not outside of Aikido's analysis and formulas of or for striking.
We come at it differently, and make a definite point in almost every waza progression that if we are NOT careful I would end up hitting him "here, here and here." We correct and practice waza such that if they ARE NOT CAREFUL, it really is hard to avoid an intersecting strike if operating at speed. Of course "in aikido, we plan to be careful" (nudge-nudge, wink-wink say-no-more-squire), and we expend that extra degree of effort and attention to protect our partner. Such that, if placed in a circumstance where we are not allowed time for care and attention, weeellllll ...

Last edited by Erick Mead : 07-26-2008 at 10:50 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 07-27-2008, 10:18 AM   #103
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Re: Atemi

Quote:
David Valadez wrote: View Post
If folks want to get a whiff of what I'm trying to talk about, before anyone answers with "strikes are in all my techniques, even if I don't throw them" or "learning how to throw is conducive to learning how to strike," etc., (which are not true), please just truthfully answer the following questions:
Ok. Here we go.

Quote:
1. Out of an hour training session, how many minutes are dedicated purely to striking practice?
It depends Most of us are experienced Martial Artists who know how to hit people. There is allot of Atemi in everything...

Quote:
2. What strikes do you practice regularly?
Irimi Tsuki every technique Elbow, ridge hand, Palm. In every technique we practice I make it a point to strike to show our Aikido more Martial Application. Sensei usually points out the subtler aspects of Atemi.

3.
Quote:
Does your dojo own heavy bags, kicking shields, focus mits, makiwara, etc.?
Yup We share a Goju Ryu Karate Dojo.

Quote:
4. Does your dojo use such equipment as often as it does not, more than it does not, less than it does?
We try to but right now we have allot of new folks and most of them have Martial Arts backgrounds so they already know how to hit people. Those that don't get a little work in our striking Kata. They are there to practice Aikido.

Quote:
5. Do you practice sparring in your dojo? How often?
Randori yes Alive Uke's yes. Sparring no...Again for most they get that outside of practice

Quote:
6. Do you consider your dojo an average Aikido dojo?
Nope It's very small and hands on for one thing. Another is we practice Nishio Ryu Aikido and most people in the US have little to no experience with it.

Quote:
Granted there is much more to striking that this, but in all the Aikido dojo I have ever trained at as a deshi, taking all of them as one, just with these questions, here is what my answers would look like:

1. None
2. None regularly, but occasionally we threw an upper-cut or middle knuckle strike to the head area (various targets) or the ribs.
3. Only one dojo owned (only) makiwara.
4. The only dojo that owned makiwara used much less than the mat was used.
5. No, never.
6. Yes.

In my opinion, according to the larger martial arts world, answers like these cannot support the position that striking is really part of Aikido practice (which is different from whether it should be or could be) - not at least currently, and not outside of Aikido's analysis and formulas of or for striking.
In General I would agree. However, That is not our experience. When I started I am just glad Susan Perry was kind enough to give me Masa Tazaki's contact info and that Masa introduced me to Micheal Fowler. I wanted to practice Aikido as a viable Martial Art. When I looked around L.A. 20 years ago I was not impressed even with the mighty Steven Seagal who was all the rage back then.
Don't get me wrong there is good Aikido everywhere and a wealth of Great Teachers all over LA. This just fits me.

I live just down the road Sempai in Malibu and I am up in Santa Babara all the time. Hopefully I can come by for a visit. I would love to share the mat with you.

William Hazen

Last edited by Aikibu : 07-27-2008 at 10:21 AM.
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Old 07-27-2008, 06:40 PM   #104
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Re: Atemi

Quote:
David Valadez wrote: View Post
In my opinion, according to the larger martial arts world, answers like these cannot support the position that striking is really part of Aikido practice (which is different from whether it should be or could be) - not at least currently, and not outside of Aikido's analysis and formulas of or for striking.
I would say this is true, if not, entirely accurate. Prof. Rick Clark's "Wall of Silence" here suggests why and how we have arrived at this state:

Quote:
Stevens (1987) describes an event that occurred during Ueshiba's sojourn in Mongolia. "Morihei, too, became an instant lama, giving lavish performances of chiokon-kishin techniques and applying the laying on of hands to cure illness. When he demonstrated his prowess as the King of Protectors by causing powerfully built Mongol warrior to collapse by merely touching them — the ignorant fighters were unaware that he attacked their vital pressure points."(p.29). The use of vital points appears to play a vital role in the martial art Ueshiba. Not surprisingly, this does not appear to be taught to westerners. Ueshiba's ability to ‘merely touch' a person and cause them to collapse must indeed have been a wonderful art. Such attacks to vital points would seem to be something very worthwhile to pass on to your students. Yet, in an examination of Aikido texts by Saito (1974), Tohei (1968), Uyeshiba (1962), Westbrook (1970),Yamada (1974) and Shioda (1962) did not reveal any specific references to vital points or such applications as attributed to Ueshiba. Invariably these texts would suggest an Atemi-waza (strike to vital points) prior to performing a technique. Most texts would offer general locations to strike for particular throws or pinning techniques. Illustrations of such general instructions can be found in the text by Saito (1974 p. 124) who offers the following information on Atemi-Waza When performing Shio-nage: "Atemi to our partner's face with your right hand", "Kicking his right knee sideways to dislocate the joint.", "Atemi to his side with your left elbow." These Atemi-waza are presented in such a way it seems they are used only to distract the individual. Not as an integral part of the technique.
My argument is that atemi-waza is an integral part of Aikido proper BUT as an integral part of the technique, rather than a cursory adjunct serving to distract the attacker. I.E., atemi-waza not only provides the "setup", but "leads in" to the follow thru and completion of the "technique". And that such atemi-waza follows a specific sequence which results in a series of predictable responses in uke, that is integral to the flow and transition of the technique itself.

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
there is a purity to violence which at the practical level defies, may even outright contradict, these attempts to move beyond, "Just hit the f*****."
Therefore, I think one needs to make the distinction between indiscrimate violence and "measured responses" (pun intended) apropos of Martial Arts in general.

Ignatius
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Old 07-27-2008, 08:39 PM   #105
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Re: Atemi

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William Hazen wrote: View Post
I am up in Santa Babara all the time. Hopefully I can come by for a visit. I would love to share the mat with you.

William Hazen
William, you would be most welcome. It would be great if you can find the time, etc. - if we can lend a hand in anyway to make it happen, please don't hesitate to ask. But, you have to stop calling me "senpai" - and call me just "Dave."

David M. Valadez
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Old 07-27-2008, 08:51 PM   #106
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Re: Atemi

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Ignatius Teo wrote: View Post
I think one needs to make the distinction between indiscrimate violence and "measured responses" (pun intended) apropos of Martial Arts in general.
Things of "measured responses" are for generals and politicians, outsiders to the rawness of violence. No violence, when experienced from the inside, presents itself as "measured." "Measured" acts of violence, for me, belongs to romantic notions of heroism, wherein violence is no longer considered destructive for the simple reason that it is considered just and/or needed. The truth is, even when outsiders consider violence just or needed, it remains just as destructive as ever.

Additionally, by default, all violence is indiscriminate in so far as it first violates the victim's claim to humanity.

This is where I am coming from, and from here, the thought of knocking someone out with a single touch by contacting a single point is just not attractive - not attractive to me because it just seems so alien to the reality that is violence (or at least my reality of violence) - both tactically and morally/spiritually.

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Old 07-27-2008, 09:24 PM   #107
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Re: Atemi

Quote:
David Valadez wrote: View Post
Things of "measured responses" are for generals and politicians, outsiders to the rawness of violence. No violence, when experienced from the inside, presents itself as "measured." "Measured" acts of violence, for me, belongs to romantic notions of heroism, wherein violence is no longer considered destructive for the simple reason that it is considered just and/or needed. The truth is, even when outsiders consider violence just or needed, it remains just as destructive as ever.

Additionally, by default, all violence is indiscriminate in so far as it first violates the victim's claim to humanity.

This is where I am coming from, and from here, the thought of knocking someone out with a single touch by contacting a single point is just not attractive - not attractive to me because it just seems so alien to the reality that is violence (or at least my reality of violence) - both tactically and morally/spiritually.
Dave, nothing is absolute... in the search for absolute zero, scientists have plumbed the depths of sub-zero temperatures only to find varying degrees of temperature at which certain gases liquefy.

Very few points are "one-hit KO wonders", but I think you missed the point of what I meant by "measured response" - "measured" in the sense of deliberate and precise actions taken as a means to an end - of violence perhaps? To me, it's a question of degree.

But I'm confused. In light of your comments above, and your video demonstrating strikes (particularly the one executed as part of the entry into kaiten nage), doesn't that strike you as contradictory, even hypocritical? Or am I missing your point entirely?

Ignatius
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Old 07-27-2008, 10:14 PM   #108
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Re: Atemi

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Ignatius Teo wrote: View Post

But I'm confused. In light of your comments above, and your video demonstrating strikes (particularly the one executed as part of the entry into kaiten nage), doesn't that strike you as contradictory, even hypocritical? Or am I missing your point entirely?
I'm afraid I'll need some clarification before I can answer you - please/thanks.
d

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Old 07-27-2008, 10:36 PM   #109
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Re: Atemi

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Ignatius Teo wrote: View Post
I would say this is true, if not, entirely accurate. Prof. Rick Clark's "Wall of Silence" here suggests why and how we have arrived at this state:
I think there are some problems here. Rick Clark cites a text by Stevens that has been revised and rewritten and uses Stevens 'support' in citing a manual of basic waza written for a commander of the Japanese army in 1938, which is the year after Japan invaded China. So it a pretty safe bet that Westerners were included in the general injunction not to teach the waza to persons other than those Japanese who were cultivating yamato-damashii by their training (also excluded were, presumably Japanese, ruffians and those who wantonly used the waza 'on the street' and for 'evil purposes'.

So I think it not possible to use the Budo text as evidence that Morihei Ueshiba never showed 'secret' waza to those other than his closest disciples.

As for atemi, all those discussed in Saito Sensei's early volumes we have regularly practised in the city dojo here in Hiroshima. To state this, however, is not to state that I disagree with the point made by Mr Valadez in Post #100.

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Old 07-27-2008, 10:50 PM   #110
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Re: Atemi

Yeah... I wasn't sure either.
Quote:
No violence, when experienced from the inside, presents itself as "measured."...The truth is, even when outsiders consider violence just or needed, it remains just as destructive as ever.
Correct me if I'm wrong. You seem to be saying violence, in whatever form, is destructive, nonetheless, and is neither measured (by your definition) nor justifiable. IOW, not something you condone?

Quote:
Additionally, by default, all violence is indiscriminate in so far as it first violates the victim's claim to humanity.
You seem to suggest you are against any violence, all of which are indiscriminate, and a basic human violation - even if the attacker now becomes the "victim" if the tables are turned?

Quote:
This is where I am coming from, and from here, the thought of knocking someone out with a single touch by contacting a single point is just not attractive - not attractive to me because it just seems so alien to the reality that is violence (or at least my reality of violence) - both tactically and morally/spiritually.
Not exactly sure what you're saying here... you don't like single touch KO because it's not violent enough - tactically? morally/spiritually?

On the one hand it reads like you don't condone violence of any degree - because all violence is indiscriminate, destructive, unjustifiable, and with no degree of separation or distinction. Yet, your video where it's quite obvious you are chopping uke on the back of the neck suggests otherwise...

Grateful if you could clarify... thanks.

Ignatius
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Old 07-27-2008, 11:07 PM   #111
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Re: Atemi

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
I think there are some problems here. Rick Clark cites a text by Stevens that has been revised and rewritten and uses Stevens 'support' in citing a manual of basic waza written for a commander of the Japanese army in 1938, which is the year after Japan invaded China. So it a pretty safe bet that Westerners were included in the general injunction not to teach the waza to persons other than those Japanese who were cultivating yamato-damashii by their training (also excluded were, presumably Japanese, ruffians and those who wantonly used the waza 'on the street' and for 'evil purposes'.

So I think it not possible to use the Budo text as evidence that Morihei Ueshiba never showed 'secret' waza to those other than his closest disciples.
Irrespective, Peter, the thrust of Clark's article is not pertinent to my argument, but it does lend credence generally. Even if Ueshiba did indeed show and teach this stuff to the few selected disciples, the knowledge is still being generally withheld from most, but a select few. While the rest of us have to be content with vague descriptions like "distract him... hit here... somewhere in this general location".

Ignatius
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Old 07-27-2008, 11:18 PM   #112
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Atemi

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Ignatius Teo wrote: View Post
Irrespective, Peter, the thrust of Clark's article is not pertinent to my argument, but it does lend credence generally. Even if Ueshiba did indeed show and teach this stuff to the few selected disciples, the knowledge is still being generally withheld from most, but a select few. While the rest of us have to be content with vague descriptions like "distract him... hit here... somewhere in this general location".
Sorry, I disagree. You quoted Clark and so I checked his sources. His credence is specious. If he was not pertinent, why did you quote him?

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Old 07-27-2008, 11:52 PM   #113
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Re: Atemi

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Sorry, I disagree. You quoted Clark and so I checked his sources. His credence is specious. If he was not pertinent, why did you quote him?
The thrust of his article isn't. The section I excerpted and quoted is - vis-a-vis atemi, specifically to vital/pressure points, is/was in Ueshiba's Aikido.

Ignatius
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Old 07-28-2008, 02:27 AM   #114
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Re: Atemi

Clark's source for Ueshiba's alleged prowess with 'vital pressure points' in Mongolia is Stevens. Clark then generalizes this one item of knowledge into a general statement, to the effect that Ueshiba had this knowledge, but never taught it, since no one else has written about it.

One source used by Stevens is the biography of Morihei Ueshiba written by his son Kisshomaru. Even though it is a biography of a father written by a son, Kisshomaru is rather more circumspect than Mr Stevens. There is no talk of Morihei felling Mongolians just by touching them.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 07-28-2008, 03:17 AM   #115
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Re: Atemi

Another consideration is that while Stevens (and thus Clark) chalk up Ueshiba's demonstrations to the use of power points, making people fall just by touching them seems to be a stock-in-trade demonstration of Daito Ryu's aiki; the whole kuzushi on contact thing. It was also a favored demonstration of Shioda Gozo.

Not that I want to sidetrack this discussion into one about the internal arts. But it seems like the Clark passage quoted is his interpretation of second-hand accounts.

Incidentally, the book Aikido Dokushuu Kyouhon, written by Kisshomaru in 1973 and revised by Moriteru in 2000, has a diagram of kyuusho, so called vital points. Some obvious (eyes, groin, solar plexus), others not so (points on the arm and legs).

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Old 07-28-2008, 03:27 AM   #116
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Re: Atemi

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
Clark's source for Ueshiba's alleged prowess with 'vital pressure points' in Mongolia is Stevens. Clark then generalizes this one item of knowledge into a general statement, to the effect that Ueshiba had this knowledge, but never taught it, since no one else has written about it.

One source used by Stevens is the biography of Morihei Ueshiba written by his son Kisshomaru. Even though it is a biography of a father written by a son, Kisshomaru is rather more circumspect than Mr Stevens. There is no talk of Morihei felling Mongolians just by touching them.
OK, I concede it may be a generalization of one piece of information. Ueshiba may not have possessed such knowledge. It is possible that Sokaku didn't teach Ueshiba everything - vital point knowledge included, as he was reputed to have openly admitted to Hisa Takuma. It is also possible that certain events in Mongolia may have never happened or such accounts have been embellished. Are you suggesting that Stevens' account of the story is unsubstantiated?

Quote:
Josh Reyer wrote:
Incidentally, the book Aikido Dokushuu Kyouhon, written by Kisshomaru in 1973 and revised by Moriteru in 2000, has a diagram of kyuusho, so called vital points. Some obvious (eyes, groin, solar plexus), others not so (points on the arm and legs).
Hi Josh, thanks for that most interesting piece of info.

Last edited by eyrie : 07-28-2008 at 03:36 AM.

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Old 07-28-2008, 04:02 AM   #117
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Re: Atemi

As an aside, I clearly remember Saito Sensei demonstrating strikes to 'vital points' during seminars in the '80s, (one time on me). As an acupuncturist and someone also trained in Chinese Martial Arts I was quite surprised, perhaps wrongly so, to find this in Aikido. I find it hard to believe that Saito Sensei did not know what he was striking. Where he got the knowledge from I will leave to people who spent more time with him than me to explain.
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Old 07-28-2008, 05:23 AM   #118
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Atemi

Ignatius,

Both John Stevens and Kisshomaru Ueshiba wrote more or less 'popular' biography, not scholarly history. Neither substantiate their accounts, but I understand that John Stevens especially talked to many disciples of the Founder, so received much information, albeit secondhand. However, there are a number of stories in John's biography that Kisshomaru Ueshiba thought were exaggerated. With respect to Mongolia, I think that Kisshomaru had an advantage here, since the source of his information was right there, in the house.

The point of my posts was simply to point to problems in Rick Clark's over-reliance on secondary sources. It was not to cast doubt on Morihei Ueshiba's supposed knowledge of atemi to 'vital points'. I do not know whether Mr Clark can read Japanese, but if he can, I think he would see the general fragility of much of what passes for 'fact' concerning O Sensei in English.

I have lived here for many years and have had the (sometimes dubious) pleasure of taking ukemi for disciples of the Founder who occasionally used 'vital points'. One shihan in particular invariably did 1-kyou via pressure points on the elbow, rather than the normal method.

This example points to a problem of terms. From Kisshomaru's account of O Sensei's exploits in Mongolia, I understand that O Sensei's encounters with Mongolian goons were of the 'Here, grab my wrist' type, followed by a very severely applied 4-kyou. We know from other sources that Morihei Ueshiba's grip was very strong. So it is reasonable to assume that his 4-kyou would have been highly effective.

However, is 4-kyou really an atemi, in the sense implied by this thread? I doubt it.

PAG

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Old 07-28-2008, 04:35 PM   #119
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Re: Atemi

Thanks for the clarification Peter. I agree with the general fragility of second or even third, fourth, fifth hand accounts. And I accept that Clark's claim is tenuous at best.

With regards to any of the standard (or non-standard) Aikido waza, they can certainly be done with or without atemi - the definition of which I'm leaning to in the broader sense, of including but not limited to striking.

However, you're right... in the sense implied in this thread, it's probably irrelevant, and certainly wouldn't look impressive for a game character to be doing this sort of rubbish.

Last edited by eyrie : 07-28-2008 at 04:38 PM.

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Old 07-28-2008, 08:55 PM   #120
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Re: Atemi

You are right. I do not condone violence. This is not to say it does not happen, only that I do not support it morally, spiritually, or philosophically. Additionally, I seek not to allow myself to be motivated by violence and/or deluded into and/or seduced by any kind of romanticism whereby my ignorance of violence transforms it at the level of my imagination into something it is not and can never be.

What you see us practicing, to be clear, is not violence. We let ourselves have no delusions about that. Additionally, what you see us practicing does not have violence, the production of violence, or the capacity for violence, as its end. As has been done in the past, one can compare it to a sharpening stone and a blade. The blade is sharpened by the stone, but in doing so, the stone is smoothed little by little by the blade. As the blade sharpener is not out to produce smooth stones, we are not out to produce violent people or violence-oriented people by our training (by our stones). The smooth stone is not the aimed-for ends of the process; a skill at violence is not the aimed-for end of the training. By this orientation, whatever skill at violence we may gain is only a consequence (at the least) or a waste product (at the most) of the training.

Why I spiritually and morally resist being attracted to notions of one-touch knockouts is the same reason why I resist being attracted to any notions of non-violent Aikido. In such notions, there is no notion of being responsible for the true effects of violence because violence is thought not to occur, or to occur only minimally, or to occur only because it had to. By an unsaid extension, the practitioner of such violence allows him/herself to believe he/she can be violent without truly being violent, because he/she has excused him/herself from playing any role in the true consequences of violence! In such notions, there is only the seduction of power with no true sense of responsibility (even blame) for power. I am not interested in being seduced thusly, by which I mean, I look to turn away from such courses.

What you point to as a contradiction, for me, is the mystery of Budo, the paradox of self-transformation: How to practice warlike techniques to make one truly peaceful? Let me state this: In my experience, the easy solutions (whatever their form) of "justified violence" and/or "measured violence" and/or "non-violent violence" are seductions the ego uses to keep the spirit from maturing fully through Budo. They are the "demons" St. John of the Cross warns us against as we look to penetrate the Dark Night of spiritual maturity.

David M. Valadez
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Old 07-28-2008, 10:44 PM   #121
eyrie
 
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Re: Atemi

Thanks for clarifying Dave, I just wanted to make sure I didn't read you wrong.
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David Valadez wrote: View Post
What you see us practicing, to be clear, is not violence. We let ourselves have no delusions about that. Additionally, what you see us practicing does not have violence, the production of violence, or the capacity for violence, as its end.... Why I spiritually and morally resist being attracted to notions of one-touch knockouts is the same reason why I resist being attracted to any notions of non-violent Aikido.
I'm not sure I see the difference... the "striking" you practice is "non-violent"? Whereas an action (strike, throw, lock etc.) that causes a momentary reaction, pain, or knockout is violent? Yet, you are not attracted to "non-violent" Aikido... even if an attacker is unable to take the ukemi for such "non-violent" striking as you practice?

Quote:
In such notions, there is no notion of being responsible for the true effects of violence because violence is thought not to occur, or to occur only minimally, or to occur only because it had to. By an unsaid extension, the practitioner of such violence allows him/herself to believe he/she can be violent without truly being violent, because he/she has excused him/herself from playing any role in the true consequences of violence! In such notions, there is only the seduction of power with no true sense of responsibility (even blame) for power. I am not interested in being seduced thusly, by which I mean, I look to turn away from such courses.
I don't think that is necessarily true. Absolution of responsibility, in any event, seems to be a character flaw, rather than an exercise in discretionary use of power. To the contrary, I would propose that such knowledge engenders an even weightier burden of responsibility - knowing that the power to give or take life straddles the thin line of choosing the "right" course of action.

Ignatius
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Old 07-31-2008, 09:55 AM   #122
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Re: Atemi

Quote:
David Valadez wrote: View Post
... I resist being attracted to any notions of non-violent Aikido. In such notions, there is no notion of being responsible for the true effects of violence because violence is thought not to occur, or to occur only minimally, or to occur only because it had to. By an unsaid extension, the practitioner of such violence allows him/herself to believe he/she can be violent without truly being violent, because he/she has excused him/herself from playing any role in the true consequences of violence! In such notions, there is only the seduction of power with no true sense of responsibility (even blame) for power. ...
I like these wise words David, well thought out, thanks.
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Old 08-02-2008, 05:30 PM   #123
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Re: Atemi

First, let me thank you for requesting of me that I keep things clear. It’s helping me put together some things that I have often left to many years of talks and ideas, etc.

I’d like to start with some terms. All of this is my opinion… “Non-violent” means something that is not only against violent but incapable of committing violence. The strikes you are referring to are not “non-violent” in that sense. However, the practice of them, what you see being done in the video, is not violence. I am drawing a distinction here between the term “non-violence” and the phrase “not violence.”

When I use the phrase “not violence” I am suggesting that any and all training environments – if they are ran efficiently, if they are productive, and if they occurred via mature, moral, and virtuous character – are inherently non-realistic. By this, for example, I mean they are controlled (at many levels). By this one trait alone, for example, one has distance him/herself from violence. For example, violence is marked by chaos, as it is first and foremost a transgression and subversion of some sort of established order. There is no chaos in our training, in the video of us practicing strikes.

As a further explanation, but sticking with this one trait of chaos’ relationship to violence (and order’s relationship to training environments), we can look at how the human body/mind reacts as further evidence that we are not practicing violence in the dojo. Under experienced levels of chaos, particularly those centered around violence, it is quite common for the human body/mind to undergo several things (both during and after): an emptying of the bowels and bladder, a narrowing of vision, a loss of hearing, smell association, nightmares, alienation, depression, etc. None of this, no matter how intense training may become, is ever present in the dojo, or if it is, for those less exposed to such stress, and that have been brought up in intensity levels too quickly, it is a shadow of what it truly can be under real violent conditions.

It is under this line of thinking that I am using the phrase, “not violent.” If you want to ask, “Is it ‘non-violent’?” the answer is “No.” Under this same line of thinking, if you ask me, “Is a strike, throw, or lock, that causes a momentary reaction, pain, or knockout non-violent?” the answer is “No.” If you ask, “Are these things being practiced in a dojo violent?” again, the answer is “No.”

That said, why am I not attracted to “non-violent Aikido”? Allow me to explain: Restating, I make a distinction between practicing Aikido in the dojo, which is “Not Violence Aikido” and “Non-Violence Aikido.” For me, “not violence Aikido” is something we do all the time. It’s real, its non-contradictory, and it keeps violence as it is, etc. (all the things I spoke of in the earlier post). “Non-violence Aikido” is something that is not real, does not exist. It is a delusion that rests only upon a base of ignorance concerning what violence is. That said, I would agree with your statement, “Absolution of responsibility, in any event, seems to be a character flaw,” only I would include the belief in the existence of imaginary non-violence Aikido, the quest for such an art and/or the quest for such a skill in such an art, has to be included in the “in any event,” making that too a character flaw.

I would offer this as a parallel. Imagine, you go to a car dealer, and he says, “We go this new Ferrari, it can travel 200 mph in second gear, WHILE preventing you from driving dangerously and/or putting anyone (ever) in harm’s way. It’s the newest technology!” When you hear this, you go, “Cool, a car that allows you to go fast but has no chance of reckless driving! Yes! Got to have it!” But, one can only say this if one believes driving 200 mph down Main St. can ever be done safely – when in fact it cannot. Once you know it cannot, the lure toward such a car, the belief in it, is as much an act of irresponsibility as driving 200 mph down Main St.

Earlier, I gave another “test,” the one regarding striking in Aikido dojo. I feel that point was made – that striking is NOT truly a part of Aikido in general. Again, to be clear, this is not to say it cannot be, or that it never was, or that it should not be. This is just to say, currently, it is not. Along those same lines, I want folks to ask themselves this, as, in my opinion, it will reveal the delusion I am suggesting is in most dojo when it comes to the nature of violence – a delusion that is quite present in almost every Aikido dojo you might visit. The folks that are probably in the best position to answer this are those that are, by whatever standards, considered or consider themselves to be the more martial aikidoka. Also, folks that have trained in different arts – especially arts that, by whatever standards, are considered more martial than Aikido – are also in a good position to amplify this delusion so that it is here made visible.

Of you martial aikidoka, and/or of you folks that have trained in other arts that are more martial than Aikido, when you go to different dojo and/or when you start at a new dojo, how is your understanding (i.e. practice, philosophy, application, etc.) of the art taken by those around you? Is it welcomed? How does the sensei take you? How do senpai take you? How do kohai take you?

Here is my experience: You are a problem, in as much as you need to be interpreted, allowed for, understood, etc., and, in the end, cultured. During that acculturation practice, folks will connect your actions, your application of the art to personality traits not valued by society (e.g. angry, forceful, unfriendly, etc.). Contrast this to other arts, and/or other rare Aikido dojo where Aikido is never understood as “Non-violent/Non-violence,” and such applications are just part of the ever-changing and specificity-resistant nature of reality and thus of true understandings of violence. In other words, no energy is expended in rejecting you and/or what you provide as an experience of the world in which we all live. On the other hand, the great energy that is expended in the former cases, is, for me, proof, that delusion is present. Where delusion is present, there can be no interest in responsibility. Where there is no interest in responsibility, there is no real responsibility. This is the moral/spiritual reason why we should be so aware of our delusions regarding power.

This is my take on things. Again, folks, especially those I mentioned, please answer the above questions.

Thanks,
dmv
(no time to proof - sorry for the errors)

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
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Old 08-02-2008, 10:49 PM   #124
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Re: Atemi

With all due respect.Is it just me David or are you displaying "all or nothing" thinking? Aikido at it's core is very violent. It is however just a tool. How it is used is completely up to the individual.

That is Budo

I just got back from the first day of our seminar with Koji Yoshida Sensei.

What I experienced was a very Martial Form of not-violence. He showed allot of Atemi and blew minds. That being said there were some injuries and most of us are pretty darn sore. LOL The injuries were not so much the result of hyped up Nages as inexperienced Ukes who were not prepared properly IMO.

Our training philosophy as expressed by Koji Yoshida's Sensei Shoji Nishio Shihan is.. "Sincere Heart through Austere (read hard) Practice."

Simply put the way you described it and the way I read it I would have to disagree in part.

Yoshida Sensei made no apologies...If you want to learn the right way you had better be prepared to take a risk (again IMO) There are no loopholes in practice. Only those who are not fully committed. That being said it was not his intention to have people hurting each other but "Martial" Aikido (is there any other kind?) is Martial Art FIRST and a very dangerous tool indeed.

The only people who are delusional are the ones who do not understand what Aikido is supposed to be and do not know their own limitations when practicing it.Their Martial Awareness needs serious work.

As we say "half measures avail you nothing"...and that to me is a far more dangerous delusion.

Now to bed to rest up for tomorrow. LOL

Take Care Sempai

William Hazen

Last edited by Aikibu : 08-02-2008 at 10:53 PM.
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Old 08-03-2008, 06:13 AM   #125
eyrie
 
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Re: Atemi

David, you're just mincing words. The (Latin) prefix "non-" means "not". i.e. the reverse of, other than, absence of. Therefore, Non-violent is equivalent to Not violent.

All MA training environments are by their nature contrived and ritualistic facsimiles of varied violent scenarios - whether such contrived action/response/counter-response are "controlled" or not. The only action I would deem truly not-violent is one in which uke is greeted and embraced with open arms - kisses are of course optional.

Although I accept your commendable, if somewhat idealistic, premise of a not-violent (non-violent?) Aikido, this thread is about atemi/striking, and by it's nature is diametrically opposed to any precept of non-violence (or not-violence?).

By its very definition, any action involving a "strike" is violent, whether that strike is controlled or indiscriminate, and whether it is delivered within the context of a contrived scenario or a seemingly random and unpredictable state of confusion. To me it's really a question of degree.

Ignatius
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