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Old 10-13-2009, 07:22 AM   #1
tim evans
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Blending with the attack.

Any thoughts on practicing this important part of aikido.
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:55 AM   #2
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Re: blending with the atack.

Quote:
Tim Evans wrote: View Post
Any thoughts on practicing this important part of aikido.
Assuming you're interested in the non-IT (Internal Training) answer: focus less on performing a specific technique and more on managing the contact with uke. Trying hard to make a technique work will result in muscling through, clashing and conflict. Rather think sensitivity, angles and timing. Think softness and relaxation. You've got to lead uke in the situation you want him to be in, not force him/her.
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Old 10-13-2009, 08:02 AM   #3
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Re: blending with the attack.

Quote:
Tim Evans wrote: View Post
Any thoughts on practicing this important part of aikido.
Keep contradictory forces going inside your body. Keep "you" (the entirety of your body) as a centrally held equilibrium. Then, when force exerts itself on your body, "you" automatically redirect forces within "you" and your mind doesn't have to decide how to blend. "You" are still a centrally held body, even with outside forces trying to influence you. Weight distribution is still centrally held, which means you don't have to shift and load one leg to move your body somewhere. This happens whether static or dynamic. At some point, the exerting force does not "feel" as if it is there and "you" just move as if free.
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Old 10-13-2009, 08:15 AM   #4
tim evans
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Re: blending with the atack.

The reason I posted this thread was here lately my ukes have been breaking away from the technique mid way thru so I end up muscling the ending witch isn,t good.
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Old 10-13-2009, 08:23 AM   #5
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Re: blending with the atack.

Quote:
Tim Evans wrote: View Post
The reason I posted this thread was here lately my ukes have been breaking away from the technique mid way thru so I end up muscling the ending witch isn,t good.
Something that I'm working on is to keep all the internal connections going, keep my body centrally held, and then focus on the spine for movements. That tends (when I do things right) to create a "stickiness" such that uke can't let go. It certainly isn't easy.
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Old 10-13-2009, 08:43 AM   #6
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Re: blending with the atack.

Hi Tim,
Lead them to the direction they want to go at their pace then perform with confidence and try not to tense up.

Plus Ki
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Old 10-13-2009, 10:32 AM   #7
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Re: blending with the atack.

Quote:
Tim Evans wrote: View Post
The reason I posted this thread was here lately my ukes have been breaking away from the technique mid way thru so I end up muscling the ending witch isn,t good.
I don't think that's got anything to do with blending, or failure to blend. As described, that's just a case of uke bailing.
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Old 10-13-2009, 10:46 AM   #8
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Re: Blending with the attack.

Hey Tim - Thanks for asking about this! I'm benefitting from the answers as well.

Linda Eskin - Facebook | My AikiBlog

"Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train." - Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 10-13-2009, 11:02 AM   #9
tim evans
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Re: blending with the atack.

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I don't think that's got anything to do with blending, or failure to blend. As described, that's just a case of uke bailing.
But if I enter and blend and I keep uke close or off balance isn,t it one in the same?

Last edited by akiy : 10-13-2009 at 11:25 AM. Reason: Fixed quoting
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Old 10-13-2009, 12:13 PM   #10
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Re: Blending with the attack.

If uke is breaking away then one of several things may be happening. You may be using too much power, which allows uke to feel what you are doing and avoid or counter it. His balance may not have been broken. This usually happens to beginners who are still trying to work through the technique and learn the where and how of the physical forms, and so are not able yet to apply the dynamics. If this is you, then just ask the uke to lighten up a bit.
Uke may also not be really attacking, and just sitting back waiting to bail on your technique.

On blending. Timing and power is most important when it comes to this, and the Ki no Musubi bokken kata is excellent practice for this. However, I think that when it comes to blending, blending with the uke is much more important than the attack. If you get the chance to practice with different uke's, then you will learn how differently people move, act, and react. If a person's body or stature is like a rock, a tree, or a bamboo, then his attack will be as such, and you must act appropriately. Leading and connection are important, but there are different methods of each, and they are different from blending.

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Old 10-13-2009, 12:43 PM   #11
tim evans
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Re: Blending with the attack.

Quote:
John Matsushima wrote: View Post
If uke is breaking away then one of several things may be happening. You may be using too much power, which allows uke to feel what you are doing and avoid or counter it. His balance may not have been broken. This usually happens to beginners who are still trying to work through the technique and learn the where and how of the physical forms, and so are not able yet to apply the dynamics. If this is you, then just ask the uke to lighten up a bit.
Uke may also not be really attacking, and just sitting back waiting to bail on your technique.

On blending. Timing and power is most important when it comes to this, and the Ki no Musubi bokken kata is excellent practice for this. However, I think that when it comes to blending, blending with the uke is much more important than the attack. If you get the chance to practice with different uke's, then you will learn how differently people move, act, and react. If a person's body or stature is like a rock, a tree, or a bamboo, then his attack will be as such, and you must act appropriately. Leading and connection are important, but there are different methods of each, and they are different from blending.
How do I keep uke from sensing what I,m doing? I have been having this happen on ukes who have trained in differrent martial arts styles and are conditioned to react a certain way. I guess I still am feeling "choppy" on my movements.
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Old 10-13-2009, 12:49 PM   #12
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Re: Blending with the attack.

Understand what you are saying...and all the "internal" discussion aside....

I think the word blending is a poor descriptive word. It assumes that you are matching or that their is parity in the situation.

You want to minimize or reduce proprioception...that is, uke does not feel the need to separate...even more he feels that worse will happen if he does...so he holds on.

To me this has less to do with blending, and more to do with making sure that you are in the right place at the right time, with the right posture and pressure..and that uke does not have this.

Again, might be semantics, but blending, to me, suggest that we are trying to match or time what uke does...a losing proposition as uke will always call the shots with this mindset...we just may not be aware that is what is going on in the relationship.

Skillfulness I believe comes when we are calling the shots as nage, and uke "believes" that he is still calling some of them, or that he is not calling them, but what is happening to him can't be resolved and he is playing catch up.

The "ethics" come into play, once we have skill enough to make choices on how to proceed with the relationship.

I think a much different perspective than blending, matching, or giving uke choice.

It might seem like semantics, but to me, I found it key to my further understanding of what is really going on and it improved/improves my ability to deal with uke's that refuse to "listen"....damn ukes!

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Old 10-13-2009, 01:02 PM   #13
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Re: Blending with the attack.

Blending is really very simple to describe...Your energy and movement "connects" and matches your opponents...

That can only be done if you enter successfully...

In practice for you to have any idea if your blending with the attack successfully Uke must attack with sincerity Not just with intensity/aliveness mind you... but with the attitude of looking for openings in Nage's technique to exploit...IMO part of good Ukemi is to help instill this kind of mindfulness in Nage.

William Hazen
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Old 10-13-2009, 01:07 PM   #14
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Re: Blending with the attack.

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Understand what you are saying...and all the "internal" discussion aside....

I think the word blending is a poor descriptive word. It assumes that you are matching or that their is parity in the situation.

You want to minimize or reduce proprioception...that is, uke does not feel the need to separate...even more he feels that worse will happen if he does...so he holds on.

To me this has less to do with blending, and more to do with making sure that you are in the right place at the right time, with the right posture and pressure..and that uke does not have this.

Again, might be semantics, but blending, to me, suggest that we are trying to match or time what uke does...a losing proposition as uke will always call the shots with this mindset...we just may not be aware that is what is going on in the relationship.

Skillfulness I believe comes when we are calling the shots as nage, and uke "believes" that he is still calling some of them, or that he is not calling them, but what is happening to him can't be resolved and he is playing catch up.

The "ethics" come into play, once we have skill enough to make choices on how to proceed with the relationship.

I think a much different perspective than blending, matching, or giving uke choice.

It might seem like semantics, but to me, I found it key to my further understanding of what is really going on and it improved/improves my ability to deal with uke's that refuse to "listen"....damn ukes!
Hi Kevin,

I look at it two ways: 1. Jujutsu and 2. aiki.

1. If I had to do this with jujutsu, I'd go the route of kuzushi, tsukuri, and kake in a purely physical sense. In other words, I'd try to get kuzushi on contact.

One of the ways to get kuzushi is to do one or multiples of the following:
1. head out of alignment from shoulders.
2. shoulders out of alignment from hips.
3. hips out of alignment from feet.
4. feet out of alignment from upper body.

When getting a body part out of alignment, you can do that vertically, horizontally, in the Z axis, or a measure of all three. All three at once is better. Doing that to multiples of the above is best. This causes uke to radically re-align and while uke does that, it gives tori time to keep doing the same thing while setting up for the fit.

So, purely jujutsu and physical level, I'd suggest trying the above. To add better effect to that, try to be relaxed. Once you tighten up some localized muscle groups, uke feels that and reacts very differently. You've given uke a position in space to focus on.

Once you've got that, add in timing. Be just ahead of uke such that there is always a slight "anchor" for uke to be a part of. That anchor can, and does, move.

Of course, there are varying skill levels in the above, but it's all jujutsu based actions. No aiki in it at all.

2. With aiki, you can remove quite a bit of the above. As Ueshiba said, there is no timing in aiki. Uke feels a sort of "stickiness" feeling, so the physical levels of X,Y, and Z axis are all done internally. And with proper Internal Training, the relaxedness is already there as a byproduct.

With 1. jujutsu, you can spend many, many years perfecting it. And don't get me wrong, it's a wonderful skill to have. I've been on the receiving end of it and it can leave you breathless.

But, 2. aiki, is the Holy Grail. It's a step beyond. Worth every drop of sweat in solo and paired exercises. I would distance myself from any person who stood in the way of being able to get training in aiki. Thankfully, I haven't had to do that, but I understand that some out there might be in that situation.

Mark
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Old 10-13-2009, 01:35 PM   #15
Carrie Campbell
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Ai symbol Re: Blending with the attack.

Hi, Tim! I am just beginning to learn to move and blend, so look forward to posts here. Fortunately, I don't have much muscle to begin with so the muscular path isn't a valid option for me. When I think of blending with an attack in aikido, I think especially of jyuwaza or freestyle. Last year, I enlisted the help of a senior student and my instructors for practice as I was still getting stuck and matching forces with my partners (again, not a valid option) rather than just blending, moving out of the way. To improve, I would meet with my classmate outside of class, and my instructors would include randori and typical jyuwaza techniques as part of regular practice.

The most helpful blending practice was a particular set of (I believe) kokyunage variants from ryokatatori, where an uke would continue to press or extend ki on both front shoulders until I woke up and pivoted off-line to let them pass. During class, we learned variations on this that included stepping back offline and then pivoting if uke's advancing strong or stepping forward offline to meet uke before pivoting. One aspect that is nice about this technique is that no arms are involved. Body movement (especially hips) is the key. Yet it is very natural initially to try to withstand uke's energy or stop him in his path first. We began static and moved to more flowing technique with one partner and then maybe five toward the end of practice in randori.

My recommendation: find another classmate that will practice with you before or after class or outside of class sometime. Pick an "attack" such as shomenuchi or katatori, and practice say 3-4 techniques from this attack. You can take turns suggesting and showing a technique that's then repeated by your partner. (You might start to skip this step if you just got done with class.) After reminding yourselves of a few of these techniques, then you can start with the same attack and mix up the techniques. Then, pick a different attack and work through a few various techniques and freestyle. A next step might be varying the attacks a little during freestyle (maybe ask uke to mix shomenuchi and yokomenuchi). I think it helps a lot to limit the type of attack though to start with and then add more as you progress and get more comfortable. [With snow/ice/mud soon coming, you may want to take this inside. You don't have to complete the technique to blend; this can be more of an exercise.]

I also like the advice from William Hazen about connection and Mark Murray regarding posture.
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Old 10-13-2009, 03:17 PM   #16
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Blending with the attack.

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
You want to minimize or reduce proprioception...that is, uke does not feel the need to separate...even more he feels that worse will happen if he does...so he holds on.

To me this has less to do with blending, and more to do with making sure that you are in the right place at the right time, with the right posture and pressure..and that uke does not have this.
I liken it to surfing -- a very narrow window of entry, but once entered into the critical regime of the face of the wave, and once possessed of the unique means of dynamic stability that little moving universe requires, then you have complete freedom to act as you feel -- within its boundaries.

Entry conditions are highly defined with tight constraints, whilst operative conditions while highly dynamic are relatively stable and free within those moving boundaries. Operative boundaries are very easy to depart and almost impossible to climb back up. Endstate is undefined, and highly contingent.

In this sense, then, as the surfer dominates the wave by cooperating with its nature, so is the attacker dominated. With this difference -- sometimes you are the surfer dominating and sometimes you are the wave (cooperating in domination) and the trick is ultimately to get the other guy caught inside the break -- under a collapsing wall of water ...

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 10-13-2009, 03:59 PM   #17
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Re: Blending with the attack.

Quote:
Tim Evans wrote: View Post
Any thoughts on practicing this important part of aikido.
Blending in Aikido - The continuous simultaneous application of leading and following uke. Become the attack and let uke become the throw. Connect with uke physically, mentally and spiritually. Occupy the dynamic center about which you both move. Be there and gone before uke arrives.

And it all happens without thinking about it.

Ron
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Old 10-13-2009, 04:55 PM   #18
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Re: blending with the atack.

Quote:
Tim Evans wrote: View Post
But if I enter and blend and I keep uke close or off balance isn,t it one in the same?
No.
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Old 10-13-2009, 06:19 PM   #19
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Re: Blending with the attack.

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
I liken it to surfing -- a very narrow window of entry, but once entered into the critical regime of the face of the wave, and once possessed of the unique means of dynamic stability that little moving universe requires, then you have complete freedom to act as you feel -- within its boundaries.

Entry conditions are highly defined with tight constraints, whilst operative conditions while highly dynamic are relatively stable and free within those moving boundaries. Operative boundaries are very easy to depart and almost impossible to climb back up. Endstate is undefined, and highly contingent.

In this sense, then, as the surfer dominates the wave by cooperating with its nature, so is the attacker dominated. With this difference -- sometimes you are the surfer dominating and sometimes you are the wave (cooperating in domination) and the trick is ultimately to get the other guy caught inside the break -- under a collapsing wall of water ...
Yup Surfing and Aikido go together.

William Hazen
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Old 10-13-2009, 06:20 PM   #20
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Re: Blending with the attack.

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
I think the word blending is a poor descriptive word.
"Blending" is something I do with my Magic Bullet...

Ignatius
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:52 PM   #21
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Re: Blending with the attack.

Erick, yea surfing is a good analogy I think. In surfing you develop momentum and get slightly ahead of the wave and ride it's power...you don't blend with it or attempt to neutralize that power, but to stay ahead of it.

Again...I understand there is alot of semantics and folks may say...well yeah...that IS blending....and I would agree.

I just simply don't like the word as a descriptive term as I think there is a meaning of blending in the english language that has one connotation and when we use it in aikido or budo, that meaning does not work well I think.

Mark Murray describes it pretty well I think...which is why I caveated..."internal skills aside".

And yeah...the Magic Bullet is a good one too!

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Old 10-13-2009, 08:34 PM   #22
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Re: Blending with the attack.

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Erick, yea surfing is a good analogy I think. In surfing you develop momentum and get slightly ahead of the wave and ride it's power...you don't blend with it or attempt to neutralize that power, but to stay ahead of it.

Again...I understand there is alot of semantics and folks may say...well yeah...that IS blending....and I would agree.
"Blending" is something done to fruit for a daquiri. "Blending" is also what happens when that wall of water falls on my poor bastard self if caught inside. Funny thing, they both kinda look about the same -- frothy and swirly and all -- and after several of them -- they both feel about the same, too -- wobbly, gasping for air and darn near unconscious ...

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 10-14-2009, 05:34 AM   #23
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Re: blending with the atack.

Quote:
Tim Evans wrote: View Post
But if I enter and blend and I keep uke close or off balance isn,t it one in the same?
Blending is not something that happens in your mind. If you are finding uke problematic...slow down. Relax more and be really soft.
Handle your uke like you would a newborn baby.
Mary
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Old 10-14-2009, 07:26 AM   #24
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Re: Blending with the attack.

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
wobbly, gasping for air and darn near unconscious ...
That is what you want your attacker to feel like after you use Aikido to defend yourself, blended not shaken or stirred.

David
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Old 10-14-2009, 11:42 AM   #25
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Re: Blending with the attack.

Kevin has made some great posts in this thread. I'll only add a little:

Surfing is a great analogy, BUT, I think most people are all wrong about who is the wave and who is the surfer. Nage is the freaking wave, uke is the surfer. Nage moves such that uke cannot help but go where they are directed.

"Blending" I hate the term blending, I prefer to use, "matching", "meeting" or "connecting" to describe what nage is doing. If as nage, I try to "blend" with uke, I've already given up authority in the encounter.

"Leading" I don't 'lead' anyone. There are some very limited instances where I may attempt to 'redirect' someone on an extremely short time frame but I can't honestly lead anyone all over the mat they way you see in some schools. It doesn't work on me, why would I expect it to work for me? Leading is saying, "Please follow me, OK?" That's fine in a very cooperative environment, but that's not budo. I much prefer the concept of "directing". I "direct" uke's movements through my own movements by doing my best to control the encounter.

I realize most folks read this kind of thing and think I'm advocating a sort of domineering brute force version of Aikido. Without meeting me or someone doing something similar in person it's hard for me to point out the distinction, I'll just say that it's entirely possible (critical if you're going to call it aiki) for the kind of interaction I'm talking about to be extremely subtle.

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