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Old 04-07-2009, 10:51 PM   #51
Charles Hill
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Re: Flinch Response in Aikido

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David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Here is an article on flinch response training, Aikido is mentioned on page 7.

http://www.montrealsystema.com/uploa...MA_Article.pdf

David
Hi,

If you liked Kevin's article or any other of the great articles on his website, you migh want to consider picking up his "Warhead" DVD. Subtitled "combat psychology" it is full of stuff that is applicible to any martial art practice.

Sorry if this sounds too much like an ad, but I am a big Kevin Secours fan and this is about the best DVD I've seen on realistic self defense.

Charles
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Old 04-28-2009, 07:20 PM   #52
dps
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Re: Flinch Response in Aikido

Here is something on the trainability of the startle/flinch response.
The highlighted sentence is by me.

This is from a link that Josh Phillipson posted at http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15991.

http://www.feldenkrais-wien.at/article-4.htm

"If I am going to hit you with a knife, what would you do? Put your hand up? Therefore, this is the point to begin. Now, I will train you with that movement only, until you, not thinking or not knowing anything, you will still protect your head and your throat and your own body against any attack, building off the first movement that you do spontaneously.

And then I went and took a group of people and I took a knife and I attacked each of them and I photographed them. And I retained their first move, and I found that for certain, if you really attack, nobody stands there and gets the knife. He does something to protect himself. He doesn't attack you, but he substitutes an arm for the head, the throat, the back. If you try to hit somebody, you will see what they do; they won't stand with arms down, facing you, defenseless. When you hit them with a stick, they will turn their backs toward you and protect their heads and let you hit them on the back. And therefore, most people, even in the movies, when they show people hit with sticks for punishment, you will see they will always let you hit them on the back. And the back, it's painful. But it is not dangerous, unless, of course, you break every bone, which is possible. But even if you break his every bone, he won't die, he will die later, but not on the spot. So that was the idea, to find out what was the first movement one does. And I built a system of defense for any sort of attack where the first movement is not what you think to do, what you decide to do, but what you actually do when you are frightened. And I said, allright, let's see now, we will train the people so that end of their first spontaneous movement is where we must start. And let us see now, we'lI train them three months like we did before, give them a year off without training regularly, and then a year afterwards, try to attack again. And of course, the year afterwards, the first defensive movement they did, once they did their spootaneous first movement, was the continuation of that first movement. It was a remarkable thing. Most of the people knew what to do immediately without previous notice. They did it, and I was as pleased as punch and, of course, I got another few guys in the Haganah to help me and we worked about two or three years and perfected that idea."

Moshé Feldenkrais

David
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Old 04-30-2009, 08:39 PM   #53
Wagnerphysed
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Re: Flinch Response in Aikido

It's interesting to see all of the responses in relation to the SPEAR system created by Tony Blauer. I especially appreciate the insights shared by Mr. Ledyard. The idea of the flinch response as it is presented by Tony Blauer is valid, protect the center line and all of the vital points along that line and retake the initiative through a reactive response.

I also agree with many of the responses that capitalize on the concept that once the initiative is retaken you can insert your own martial art. Of course, here we are talking about Aikido.

However, I can't help but be bothered, and this has been for some time...I first looked at the SPEAR videos a year or two ago at the suggestion of a friend...that the suggested formation of the flinch response is palms down and raised to chudan position covering the throat and chin. This results in the exposure of the inside of the forearms and negates the protection afforded the center line. I see this as problematic for a system that purports to provide an initial defense against a surprise attack that can manage empty hands to a veiled armed attack.

Does anyone else see this as problematic, or is it just me?

Last edited by Wagnerphysed : 04-30-2009 at 08:45 PM.
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Old 05-01-2009, 11:24 AM   #54
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Flinch Response in Aikido

Hey, it is a problem. Any of the indonesian systems I've seen (they regularly deal with MANY types of bladed weapons) recommend using the bone shield to protect such tasty bits.

But...no reason you can't train your flinch response to present the bone shield, correct?

Best,
Ron

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Old 05-02-2009, 05:10 PM   #55
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Re: Flinch Response in Aikido

Hey Ron, that is exactly what I was eluding to. In a previous life, I dabbled in Arnis for a few years and the teaching was to present the backs of your hands and forearms in protecting yourself. I understand it is the same in Kali. As these arts have a heavy emphasis with knives, I would think they know what they're doing from experience. I give those practitioners and their arts credit as experts with knives.

My post wasn't so much to ask why the SPEAR system doesn't teach this defensive tactic as opposed to pointing out, if there is a flaw then this is probably it. The rest of the stuff looks pretty good from my neophyte perspective.
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Old 05-05-2009, 03:44 AM   #56
Michael Douglas
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Re: Flinch Response in Aikido

Quote:
Brian Wagner wrote: View Post
...that the suggested formation of the flinch response is palms down and raised to chudan position covering the throat and chin. This results in the exposure of the inside of the forearms and negates the protection afforded the center line. I see this as problematic for a system that purports to provide an initial defense against a surprise attack that can manage empty hands to a veiled armed attack.
I don't see a problem at all since the 'spear' is ONLY the initial movement as a response to AN attack, rather than a posture within which one receives attacks.
If it were the latter then yes, there'd be a problem regarding knives. But it isn't.
I reckon the 'spear' wouldn't work with the other side of the arms : the structure would be weaker and the hands couldn't do so much in the moment after application.
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Old 05-06-2009, 08:14 PM   #57
Wagnerphysed
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Re: Flinch Response in Aikido

Michael Douglas wrote:
Quote:
I don't see a problem at all since the 'spear' is ONLY the initial movement as a response to AN attack, rather than a posture within which one receives attacks.
Exactly, it is the initial response. Palms down exposes arteries and all kinds of tendons needed to close your hands. The next response with your hands, following the flinch response to an edged weapon, is to wipe blood and DNA all over your attacker so that the police have the evidence needed to arrest your killer and the DA can get a conviction.

Michael Douglas wrote:
Quote:
If it were the latter then yes, there'd be a problem regarding knives.
Yes it would be a problem if it were a posture and it might not be a problem with someone who has little or no experience with a knife. However, there are few people in this world who have little to no experience with a knife. Almost everyone has cut something with a knife at one point in their lives. So, almost everyone understands how to slash.

If you present your vulnerable points, that is what will be slashed. If you present strong points, that will be slashed. If someone is a really experienced knife practitioner, flinch response won't help. They will cut you and you will bleed out.

The problem with the flinch response as presented is that it does not take into account what is in the attackers hands. However, it purports to take this into account and presents the underside of the arms as if this will protect against everything. As for the structure created in turning the forearms being weaker, I believe this position is indicative of how many Tai Ji Quan/ Tai Chi practitioners practice push hands. The structure in this position is sound. Further, if fisherman can train their flinch response to grab fish instead of pulling away from them, then this can be trained as well.

Finally, the goal of endless training and repetition in martial arts (including kata training) is to instill a new flinch response in the artist. This is also a fundamental flaw in Blauers instruction...maybe. However, from Blauer's perspective, he is working with LEOs and other professionals who need a defense that can be up in running in a much shorter time frame to protect his clients and his SPEAR system fits that bill nicely. These guys can't wait to reintegrate there autonomic nervous system through endless hours of repetitive training.

Sorry for the rant.
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Old 05-07-2009, 07:37 AM   #58
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Flinch Response in Aikido

Nice post Brian, as usual.

Please give my best to the others (you know who they are )

Ron

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Old 05-07-2009, 11:50 PM   #59
Charles Hill
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Re: Flinch Response in Aikido

Hi Brian,

I think you are misunderstanding what Tony Blauer is teaching. The position you described as problematic is not what Blauer is saying you SHOULD do, he is saying that is what you WILL do.

And whether one agrees with that or disagrees with that seems to be the line drawn here on this thread. The idea is this; if your brain perceives something coming at it in the peripheral vision that is unexpected, it shunts that info away from the areas that allow us to make decisions and straight to automatic response, the hands coming up, palms out.

If you disagree with this, my guess is that much of what he teaches is not going to make sense.

Charles
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Old 05-09-2009, 10:03 AM   #60
Wagnerphysed
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Re: Flinch Response in Aikido

Hi Charels,
I really don't disagree with what I've seen of Mr. Blauer's teaching. Truthfully, I've only devoted a couple of hours to researching his pedagogy and curriculum and all of that was restricted to what I could find on the web...mostly You Tube.

From what I have been able to learn from my investigations...
I understand that he is demonstrating what most people do as a flinch response and building off of that initial response. He's not teaching the flinch response, rather he is teaching how to capitalize on that response as a way to survive an unexpected attack and buy time to counter it.

Charles, is this how you understand it?

Last edited by Wagnerphysed : 05-09-2009 at 10:04 AM. Reason: by to buy...careless editing
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Old 05-09-2009, 06:12 PM   #61
Charles Hill
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Re: Flinch Response in Aikido

Hi Brian,

That is my understanding of how Mr. Blauer thinks he is teaching the material. However, I don't think he is as rigorous in his research and presentation of the material as, for example, Joseph LeDoux, the scientist whom Blauer bases his stuff on. For example, there is an endorsement on Blauer's site by an LEO who says that during an altercation he "shot off a Spear" refering to the basic movement Blauer teaches. If the guy "shot" it off, then it is a technique and not really a flinch response. As it was chosen as an endorsement, it can't be just one guy's misunderstanding. I also found other examples of sloppiness. (IMHO, of course.)

So again, I don't think that is exactly what he is teaching, but it is what he seems to think he is teaching.

Charles
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Old 05-09-2009, 06:32 PM   #62
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Re: Flinch Response in Aikido

Interesting Charles, I have also pondered that question. If you "shot off" something then it was something.

I think there is great merit in honing and developing a autonomic response that is appropriate, simple, and immediate.

I think alot of it is semantics when you come down to it.

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Old 05-09-2009, 10:42 PM   #63
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Re: Flinch Response in Aikido

Thank you Charles and Kevin!

Charles, what specific points are you referring to with your comment on Blauer's thoroughness in research?

Kevin, I think your point regarding semantics is very valid. I think that sometimes the way we interpret our responses (I shouldn't say we when I specifically mean me) to situations indicate a connection between an unknown reaction to a known definition of a reaction. IOW, I have an unconscious reaction to an outside stimulus and I connect it, in retrospect, to a known definition of a response...i.e. "I shot off a SPEAR!" The reality of this may actually be that I reacted to an attack with a flinch response that was exactly like that of the SPEAR described flinch response.

I was once told that it takes a thousand repetitions to make an action a reaction and ten thousand repetitions to break a reaction. I don't know the validity of this statement. However, I do know that after two decades of training in martial arts, I have made significant changes in the way I react to surprising and threatening stimulus (most of the changes really setting in in the last ten years...this has to represent more than ten thousand!). I also know that others involved in martial arts have had similar experiences (I don't know about the time frames involved?...this would be a great area for research if anyone were interested...). Despite the length of time this change represents, I think it confirms discussions earlier in the post that surround the idea that the flinch response can or cannot be trained. Personally, I believe that the flinch response can be trained.

IMO, further expanding on my thoughts above, Blauer's flinch response training, if it is in fact training the capitalization of the response following the initial automatic response, is ideal for low intensity conflicts experienced by LEOs...traffic stops and domestics with limited experience hostile combatants. However, it is remiss and irresponsible training for professionals facing trained and experienced combatants. These combatants will have most likely trained to capitalize on the automatic response to a physical attack.
Any thoughts on the above?

Given the subject matter and my opinions, I feel some disclosure of my level of experience is appropriate.

I spent six years in the DC ARNG as an MP. I served in Dessert Storm; I guarded EPWs and performed inspections for US Customs and the USDA (the latter was really boring and tedious work, yet it turned out to be really important). I've been around the small block a couple of times (some time in Panama and Germany) and have not had a great deal of experience with armed or unarmed trained combatants (a few disagreements between fellow soldiers that started with weapons in our hands, but ended with agreements to just beat the heck out of each other with empty hands) . Most of my experience comes from the controlled training environment, so I can't necessarily speak from definitive experience. However, the time I have spent training has been relatively intense.
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Old 05-10-2009, 02:14 AM   #64
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Re: Flinch Response in Aikido

If the flinch response were the only thing we could do, then I would startle and drop my weapon when doing CQB verse using it the way I was trained to do it.

That said, I do actually agree with most of what Tony says, and as you state, I believe alot of it is semantics.

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Old 05-10-2009, 05:06 AM   #65
Arashi Kumomura
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Re: Flinch Response in Aikido

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I thought the idea was that Aikido became your flinch reponse.

It's near enough mine.
This is exactly what I thought and I'm surprised more people didn't mention it. (Some people did, but I thought many more would.)

I may have misunderstood some of what he was saying, but it sounded kind of like Tony Blauer was explaining that we're almost inevitably going to flinch at the sign of an attack and our reaction is beyond our control. If this is what he is saying, I completely disagree with him. Training Aikido has greatly affected the way I react to things. (I avoided an ugly faceplant to the concrete one time with a smooth, natural ukemi. Another time, I deflected and countered a punch thrown at my head. None of these were "brag" worthy, but I'm glad to be able to use them as exemplar anectdotes as to how are reactions or "flinches" can be shaped to better and to control the situation.)

Sorry if that isn't what he's saying in the first video. It was difficult to understand what side he was on.

On the other hand, I do agree pretty strongly with him on the second video.
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Old 05-10-2009, 06:59 AM   #66
Charles Hill
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Re: Flinch Response in Aikido

Hi,

Again I think there is a misunderstanding.

From Blauer's website: "A stimulus introduced too quickly will by-pass the cognitive, muscle-memory systems in the brain and create a flinch response." In other words, if you are surprised, you will flinch, no way around it, no matter how many times you try to "train a response." This is fully supported by the research of Joseph LeDoux, the main scientist of how the brain deals with fear.

So, we cannot change the response, we can only affect what we might do the moment after the response. Tony Blauer is disagreeing with most of the posts on this thread (more accurately you are disagreeing with him.) Brian put it nicely, Blauer is teaching "capitalization of the response following the initial automatic response. And experienced combatants do use this when attacking, both good guys and bad, like SWAT teams and their flash bang grenades.

And I agree with Brian about it possibly being irresponsible training, but probably for a different reason. The first part of this equation is "a stimulus introduced too quickly" ,a surprise attack.

In an article on Blauer's website written by a Dr. Eric Cobb, there is this quote, "At least 90% of the time, the fight begins long before the actual physical confrontation occurs." Later Blauer writes "practically 100%." And there is some indication that they offer training on how to solve problems before they get to the physical stage. However, the overwhelming focus is clearly on the actual physical conflict stage of a confrontation.

This makes sense in a business sense. People do not respond in time and then get "surprised" due to what I would call damage in the psyche. And how much money would Mr. Blauer make if he were to offer to help people deal with their "issues"? And would he even be able to?

I know this is coming off as a harsh assessment. And it is. And I could be misunderstanding the whole thing. So I highly recommend people with an interest check it out themselves.

Charles
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Old 12-15-2009, 04:45 PM   #67
Jon Marshall
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Re: Flinch Response in Aikido

I'll just get a bit more aikido technique specific, if I may. Ikkyo undo exercise can be performed as 'flinch response', so I guess I'm arguing that the flinch can be trained, at least a bit.

At the range we generally practice aikido, our ikkyo undo 'flinch' is clearly made to meet the attack/attacker. However, even when we flinch away from a surprise attack, part of us (ki, intent or tegatana) can and should go to meet the attacker. So think this going-to-meet response is good to train as a flinch - an irimi-flinch.

I like to do ikkyo undo exercise with hips oblique rather that square as it is more realistic. Experimenting with footwork during the exercise shows how versatile the it can be. Also, breathing in is a natural flinch response, so breathing in on the up will hopefully leave us in a good position to apply a technique (a key point of Bauer's) on the down/out.

I would have thought that the better we get, the briefer our flinch becomes before technique kicks in - until, a very long way down the road, one's 'flinch' becomes the calm pre-emptive initiation of a technique.

Because, in aikido, we are training ourselves to not clash, a sudden flinch can cause an attacker to brace himself for a resistance that doesn't happen. The resulting surprise will hopefully give the initiative to us. This is how I think a flinch-response could be successful against a blade - you might flinch, then immediately move to prevent the blade from penetrating.

Jon
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Old 12-15-2009, 09:04 PM   #68
Abasan
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Re: Flinch Response in Aikido

I prefer Blink myself. :P

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 12-15-2009, 10:04 PM   #69
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Flinch Response in Aikido

Quote:
Because, in aikido, we are training ourselves to not clash, a sudden flinch can cause an attacker to brace himself for a resistance that doesn't happen. The resulting surprise will hopefully give the initiative to us. This is how I think a flinch-response could be successful against a blade - you might flinch, then immediately move to prevent the blade from penetrating
I have a pretty well developed flinch response I think from years of training it spontaneously and dealing with CQB with the military.

There are so many conditions and parameters you will face that I don't believe you can really control (realistically) how much clashing occurs or doesn't occur. It depends on the attacker, the amount of momentum, overwhelming force he projects, skill he has, and environmental considerations such as noise, light, objects etc.

I think the only thing you can do is frame your default response which is "hands up", stay up right, balanced on your base, turn towards the attack, and enter. From there it becomes "Feel" based on your experience and "intuition". Intuition being what you develop over repetitive training.

It may be that you stay on your base and you uproot him and you simply "linebacker" him into the nearest wall or object.

It may be that you meet resistance of a well based and established opponent and you must move off to an angle, gain position on him, then drive him off his base (think iriminage).

It may be that he has suprised you enough and you are off your base and must "backpedal", clinch, or what not and regain your integrity.

Those are about the three basic scenarios that you will run into. He is off his base at the attack/you are not, both you are not off your base at the attack, you are off your base/he is not.

in reality, I think it is really that simple. All the variations, skill, throws, cheetah flips, and what not are all additive, fun to do, and yeah maybe useful after a number of years of training I suppose. (I am definitely not there!).

Anyway, that is my thoughts on startle/flinch from my perspective.

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Old 12-20-2009, 10:16 AM   #70
Jon Marshall
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Re: Flinch Response in Aikido

I expect you're right Kevin, and it sounds like your opinion is based on some pretty solid experience. Still, it's nice to have an ideal to aim for.

Jon
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Old 12-20-2009, 10:57 AM   #71
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Re: Flinch Response in Aikido

And another thought... the 5th bokken suburi, or any similar cut where raising the sword serves to deflect an attack, could be performed as a (conditioned) flinch reaction. Sudden in-breath, then technique.

Naturally, one would rather be calm and always ahead of the game, like our beloved O-Sensei, but maybe there are already lots of aikido movements that would work as a flinch-response. Something for me to experiment with.

Jon
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Old 12-20-2009, 03:02 PM   #72
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Re: Flinch Response in Aikido

Ikkyo. Everything is ikkyo, I have heard this many, many times in AIkido from Shihan. These days I tend to agree. the basics of ikkyo are exactly the same as the finch response or Spear. You establish your mobile or moving base and your hands go up and forward. Everything starts with this movement.

The problem with all the other variations on a theme is you simply don't know what is coming at you and cannot process the information fast enough to make a decision and act so in the decision loop you start with the basic ikkyo posture, spear, or what not...observe/orient on the inputs you receive and then everything becomes a branch or sequel from there as you progress through the fight.

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Old 12-23-2009, 10:26 AM   #73
Jon Marshall
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Re: Flinch Response in Aikido

Thanks. That's what I need to know / be reminded of. I can work with that.

Jon
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Old 01-23-2010, 01:03 AM   #74
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Re: Flinch Response in Aikido

Mr. Blauer is definitely onto something for law-enforcement, etc., but he's certainly ain't the new sliced bread. Very interesting stuff.
In my humble opinion he was too flippant and condescending towards martial arts using such words as goofy and making hollywood references.
His Spear is a great "just add water" system. Years of training in martial arts or any physical activity will hone the flinch response.

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Ikkyo. Everything is ikkyo, I have heard this many, many times in AIkido from Shihan. These days I tend to agree. the basics of ikkyo are exactly the same as the finch response or Spear. You establish your mobile or moving base and your hands go up and forward. Everything starts with this movement.

The problem with all the other variations on a theme is you simply don't know what is coming at you and cannot process the information fast enough to make a decision and act so in the decision loop you start with the basic ikkyo posture, spear, or what not...observe/orient on the inputs you receive and then everything becomes a branch or sequel from there as you progress through the fight.
Sums my point of view best.

On this topic I think of hockey goalies. It's been tested and shown that when a goalie stops a puck with the glove hand; most slap-shots being 80 to 100+ mph; that it's all reflex and the mind has no chance of processing anything....all trained response....apply the same thought to martial arts and you get my point.

Self-discipline is the chief element of self-esteem; and self-esteem the chief element of courage. Thucydides
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Old 01-23-2010, 06:09 AM   #75
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Re: Flinch Response in Aikido

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Ikkyo. Everything is ikkyo,
Agreed.

I have also heard that everything is Irimi: initiate, intercept, and enter. IOW, move into it.

Lynn Seiser PhD
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