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Old 04-02-2002, 10:11 PM   #1
shadowmonk
Dojo: Shin Budo Kai
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Letting Go

I am new to Aikido but not to martial arts. I have found Aikido to be very effective and I am very excited about learning more.

All the techniques I have learned are very effective and very smooth. There is so little effort needed to just "chunk" someone accross the room. Now, my question is what if they just let go?

The reason I ask is because I was showing my brother some different techniques, just as I had done them in class, and all he had to do was let go and next thing I new there was an unstopable knee in my stomach or elbow in my face. Even when I went full speed.

So, I mean, in a real fight a person is not going to just stand there while I turn my back to them in shihonage. So what's the deal?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 04-02-2002, 10:17 PM   #2
Greg Jennings
Dojo: WPAFB JiuJitsu Group
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Re: Letting Go

Quote:
Originally posted by shadowmonk
I am new to Aikido but not to martial arts. I have found Aikido to be very effective and I am very excited about learning more.

All the techniques I have learned are very effective and very smooth. There is so little effort needed to just "chunk" someone accross the room. Now, my question is what if they just let go?

The reason I ask is because I was showing my brother some different techniques, just as I had done them in class, and all he had to do was let go and next thing I new there was an unstopable knee in my stomach or elbow in my face. Even when I went full speed.

So, I mean, in a real fight a person is not going to just stand there while I turn my back to them in shihonage. So what's the deal?

Thanks in advance.
There is a saying among the long-time e-aikidoists. "Aikido works. Mine might not".

Seriously, just keep training and you'll find the answers to your questions.

If you're ever traveling through Montgomery, AL (we're about 2 hours from Atlanta on 85 South), please stop in and train with us.

I guarantee that my instructor will give you shihonage that you can't "just let go" of.

Best,

Greg Jennings
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Old 04-02-2002, 10:28 PM   #3
JW
 
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Here's what I think--
I know that for a lot of situations, it would be a
mistake for uke to let go--although grabs are
attacks, they quickly turn into uke's own self-
defense in the course of a lot of techniques.
If the wrist that is being grabbed is moving
towards uke's face or any other part of their
centerline, then to let go is to take that
energy quite directly. As I understand, a lot
if not all techniques make uke want to keep
holding on in this way.

Then there is the kind of technique (as I
understood it, shihonage is one of them) where
nage is holding uke's wrist rather soon in the
technique. Not the other way around..
--JW
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Old 04-03-2002, 02:56 AM   #4
Jorx
Dojo: Pärnu Aikidoclub Singitai
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Hm...

For the "real" situations - you should always counter the grab attacks in this way that if the uke WOULD let go, he would immediately recieve a strike (atemi) (as for the shihonage an elbow strike to the side of his head) OR you could just tenkan your way out there. Anyway as it was said on a previous reply - maybe try holding uke's arm in shihonage AND as I understand it - NEVER turn your back on the uke when doing this (okay there is just a glimpse when you switch your feet from one form of control to another but when it can be considered as "turning your back" it might be dangerous for you). Aikido techniques are composed in such a way that when you perform them YOU should always be in a better position (you can freely hit the uke if you want to) but it should be almost impossible for him to hit you. I was fascinated by this when I started - on my 6th kyu exam I performed as an uke for the Estonian Chief Instructor Andrei Dikarjov and that's exactly what he did - pinned me in shiho and said: Now let go and hit me! Guess what - I couldn't

Jorgen
Estonian Aikikai
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Old 04-03-2002, 03:21 AM   #5
Bronson
 
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I once asked my sensei this very same question (I'm sure most of us have). He reminded me that it's easy to counter the technique when you know it's coming. We talked for a bit about attacking like I didn't know we were in a dojo and I didn't know he was going to do something. It took some time but when you do there is just no time to let go. He also mentioned (as someone else already has) that if uke lets go...hit 'em! He also pointed out that for quite awhile after you start you are not really doing it at a "real" speed. He then did the technique at the class speed...plenty of time for me to let go. Then he did it at "his" speed. No way. No chance. It went soooo fast there was no hope of letting go in time.

Once when I was on a ladder changing a light bulb I started to lose my balance, the only thing there was to grab to stabililze myself was the puny little string hanging from the light. I grabbed that little sucker for all I was worth. I sometimes think that aikido techniques work like that. If uke has your wrist and suddenly finds himself falling he grabs whatever is (excuse the pun) handy to try and hold themselves up. In this case the hand he is already holding.

Be patient, pay attention and have fun. Don't worry about if it works yet or not because quite honestly it probably won't work outside of the controlled environment of the dojo for awhile. But, with patience and time, it will. Learn the basics...they will serve you well.

just my rantings

Bronson
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Old 04-03-2002, 06:45 AM   #6
shadowmonk
Dojo: Shin Budo Kai
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Just wanted to thank everyone for the information. I found it very helpful and my question was answered very well.

I will do as suggested and just continue on with my practice. Having fun all the way.

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Old 04-03-2002, 07:51 AM   #7
andrew
Dojo: NUI, Galway Aikido Club.
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Re: Letting Go

Quote:
Originally posted by shadowmonk


So, I mean, in a real fight a person is not going to just stand there while I turn my back to them in shihonage. So what's the deal?

It should be mentioned that shihonage is an extremely complicated technique, requiring co-ordination and timing that will generally be beyond you for years. At least in cases where you don't have a helpful compliant partner.

However, Ikkyo should be relatively easy to apply on your brother. Or Nikkyo, if you remember to make sure his arm is bent at the elbow.

I hope.

Andrew
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Old 04-03-2002, 08:20 AM   #8
Greg Jennings
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Re: Re: Letting Go

Quote:
Originally posted by andrew


It should be mentioned that shihonage is an extremely complicated technique, requiring co-ordination and timing that will generally be beyond you for years. At least in cases where you don't have a helpful compliant partner.

However, Ikkyo should be relatively easy to apply on your brother. Or Nikkyo, if you remember to make sure his arm is bent at the elbow.
Interesting. Katatedori shihonage omote kihonwaza is one of the techniques we teach students in their first class....

Addressing the original question: the way I was taught to do katatedori shihonage, the very _last_ thing uke can do is "just let go". It's well and thoroughly trapped and uke is dealing with his balance being oscillated in two directions.

Best Regards,

Last edited by Greg Jennings : 04-03-2002 at 08:36 AM.

Greg Jennings
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Old 04-03-2002, 09:33 AM   #9
Lyle Bogin
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Aikido is a series of exercises designed to give you mind body and spirit the opportunity to develop certain useful attributes.

To think that you are learning to counter wrist grabs when someone is grabbing your wrist, IMO, misses the point.

You are using the situation of someone grabbing your wrist as a training exercise to develop tools that can be applied to an infinite number of actions. First the static grab, then the grab with an approach, then the grab with what seems like a tackle...each time building on your ability to use aiki.

Techniques are limited. Aiki is not (idealy ofcourse ). Do I want to develop a limited number of techniques, or the ability to simply act? That decision will guide my training.
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Old 04-03-2002, 10:29 AM   #10
Greg Jennings
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lyle Bogin
Aikido is a series of exercises designed to give you mind body and spirit the opportunity to develop certain useful attributes.
The way aikido is taught at our dojo, one of the certain useful attributes is honest introspection.

E.g., if uke is responding reasonably and my technique doesn't work, it's wrong. Further, to tell myself otherwise is dishonest.

I guess that's the fork in the road that aikido has come to. For some people, it's "a set of exercises". For others, it's a _martial_ way.

I don't have a problem with either viewpoint. I just wish people would exercise a little forethought before they make an "Aikido is" statement.

Best Regards,

Greg Jennings
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Old 04-03-2002, 10:29 AM   #11
lt-rentaroo
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Hello,

Quote:
If you're ever traveling through Montgomery, AL (we're about 2 hours from Atlanta on 85 South), please stop in and train with us.
Quote:
I guarantee that my instructor will give you shihonage that you can't "just let go" of.
Umm, I'll second that.

When I began Aikido, I often wondered the same thing. My brother (younger, but larger) would "test" me occasionally. When he let go, my technique fell apart. The more I practiced and learned about how to work with resistant uke and those uke who let go, the better able I was to successfully toss my brother on his bum.

LOUIS A. SHARPE, JR.
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Old 04-03-2002, 10:53 AM   #12
akiy
 
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Re: Re: Letting Go

Quote:
Originally posted by Greg Jennings
There is a saying among the long-time e-aikidoists. "Aikido works. Mine might not".
Actually, I think the original quote goes something like, "Aikido works. Your aikido doesn't work. Please don't confuse the two."
Quote:
I guarantee that my instructor will give you shihonage that you can't "just let go" of.
I think there are a few factors we have to think about here.

If a person is grabbing your wrist, it's usually not so they're going to let go immediately but to do something, whether it be to break your balance, immobilize you, keep the grabbed hand busy so they can punch with the other hand, or so on. Because of this, nage will usually have a split second to do something before the next "action" (whether it be a push, pull, or a punch) occurs. During that split second, nage has to take the initiative (sente) to get rid of uke's ability to effectively do anything else. This may be anything from a pushing into uke's hand so they can't escape, rotating your wrist so as to lock their elbow/shoulders, breaking their balance so they can't but grab onto your wrist for support, and so on.

Many different dojo have many different approaches to make sure that the techniques themselves do, in fact, work.

But, yes -- I agree with Greg that shihonage, when done correctly, will not let uke "just let go."

-- Jun

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Old 04-03-2002, 02:55 PM   #13
Lyle Bogin
Dojo: Shin Budo Kai
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Greg - Yes I think I agree with what you are saying. Perhaps you misunderstood what I mean by exercises. I do not mean as in to work out necessarily.

Exercise: a pattern studied and repeated in order to ellicit some result.

I do not think that this deviates at all from aikido as a martial way. My intent is not to make a sweeping statement about how everyone needs to see aikido. Rather, the members of this board seem to be giving good advice on how to handle an actual shihonage. But is shihonage only shihonage? Does it make sense to practice against thousands of wrist grabs if there is no other purpose than defending against wrist grabs? He asked about a real fight, does anyone know of anyone (no legends of the sensei, really know them) that has applied shihonage in a real fight against a wrist grab? Does it matter?

Oh, and I just noticed that the original poster, Jason, studies at a branch of the same dojo as I. How nice . Hi there! Hope you take the time to study with Imaizumi Sensei when he comes to Atlanta. Be sure to take some ukemi for him (all you have to do is ask)!
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Old 04-03-2002, 03:16 PM   #14
akiy
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lyle Bogin
Exercise: a pattern studied and repeated in order to ellicit some result.
I remember Bill Witt sensei saying that his definition for "keiko" was "to trace the old." He brought up the practice in shodo (Japanese calligraphy) where student places a piece of paper over one of his teacher's pieces to literally "trace" over his teacher's calligraphy.

Quote:
But is shihonage only shihonage?
Of course not. But, then again, I believe people in Yoshinkan aikido stress shihonage as the most important technique to practice as, they say, it contains all of the principles necessary to learn aikido.

Quote:
Hope you take the time to study with Imaizumi Sensei when he comes to Atlanta. Be sure to take some ukemi for him (all you have to do is ask)!
I'm personally looking forward to training with Imaizumi sensei this summer at the Summer Camp in the Rockies. Should be fun...

-- Jun

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Old 04-03-2002, 03:35 PM   #15
Johan Tibell
Dojo: Aikido Dojo Gamlestaden
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Re: Re: Re: Letting Go

Quote:
Originally posted by Greg Jennings

Addressing the original question: the way I was taught to do katatedori shihonage, the very _last_ thing uke can do is "just let go". It's well and thoroughly trapped and uke is dealing with his balance being oscillated in two directions.
I've seen shionage done in two ways (yes I know this is a bit of a generalization...). Last year (2001) when the present Doshu held a training camp in Stockholm, Sweden, he did a shionage where uke held onto both of your hands and you didn't hold his at all. My sensei has also done this on me a couple of times. The second way to do it is when you hold onto ukes wrist firmly. This is what I'm used to (Iwama style). As others already said, practice! Read my "signature".

Regards,

Johan

Pour your spirit and heart
Into daily technical training
To approach the many through a single principle
This is "The Way of the Fighting Man"
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Old 04-03-2002, 04:36 PM   #16
shadowmonk
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One quick question about Imaizumi-sensei. Does anyone know when he will be next visiting Atlanta? I think he is in Texas right now or will be soon (I'm not sure though).

Thanks for all the info, again.

Jason
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Old 04-03-2002, 05:02 PM   #17
Don_Modesto
Dojo: Messores Sensei (Largo, Fl.)
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Re: Letting Go

Quote:
Originally posted by shadowmonk
All the techniques I have learned are very effective and very smooth. There is so little effort needed to just "chunk" someone accross the room. Now, my question is what if they just let go?
Don't know if you want to go chasing this down, I don't have the source quick to hand, but uchideshi Kuroiwa Yoshio wrote an essay (or gave an interview) with just this issue as the pivot. I think it was in Aikido Today magazine, for what such a vague reference might be worth. (The article, and Kuroiwa in general, was excellent.)

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
------------------------
http://www.theaikidodojo.com/
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Old 04-03-2002, 10:36 PM   #18
guest1234
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Quote:
Originally posted by shadowmonk
One quick question about Imaizumi-sensei. Does anyone know when he will be next visiting Atlanta? I think he is in Texas right now or will be soon (I'm not sure though).

Thanks for all the info, again.

Jason
I think:
Austin,TX in Apr
then Summer Camp in the Rockies (I am so excited!!!)
Seattle, WA in Aug
Atlanta,GA in OCT

(off Shinbudokai.org )
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Old 04-04-2002, 08:07 AM   #19
Bruce Baker
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letting go ....

First let go of trying to show how aikido works to someone who doesn't want to see how it works. You are operatingin slow motion, while they are that much faster, no good.

Aikido was designed to work with those committed to the attack, that state of mind at least. You need to take your mind off trying to do any particular instruction and retrain your responses to action.

The sense of motion can either be slowed down until it like the movie in dreary slow motion, or you can be like an animal in the headlites of a car, motion is then too fast to be responded to, fear has taken away response.

Ask your teacher about this type of training to increase your natural responses, balance, and drills that make you able to move when needed, not after contact? (There are many sticky-hands, and mirror drills in Chinese arts, books are available to research this.)

If none of that works, then you need the "Book of Dirty Tricks". Hey, sometimes you need to know what is out there, whether or not you use it for diversions is up to you?
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Old 04-04-2002, 08:39 AM   #20
Lyle Bogin
Dojo: Shin Budo Kai
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Jason -

http://www.shinbudokai.org/sbk/seminar.html#atlanta

October 25 - 27.

If you have questions, Bob Tullman (a great guy and someone I also recommend training with) can be emailed at his address listed on the SBK web site.
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Old 04-04-2002, 05:45 PM   #21
Bruce Baker
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Give them an ouchi owe-E

Did you ever notice how the higer ranked teachers make you move like a rag doll?

They start with a little pain in wrist twist, or manipulation, or get you totally off balance ... don't they?

Next time you can't get Shihonage, take the balance with a bit of squeeling pain from nage ... then tell me if they escape or wriggle out?

Many of your warm up wrist twist exercises are the motions you need to affect this pain, use them. Pain is a great motivator.

(please don't break your brother's wrist, or when they ask you if you do'd it, you gonna get a whippin'...)
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Old 04-04-2002, 05:56 PM   #22
shadowmonk
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Wow! Thankyou all for the information! You have all been very informative and helpful. I look foward to getting to know you all better.

I saw the link for the Atlanta seminar and I will be sure to attend! What kind of things do you do at one of Imaizumi-sensei's seminars? And what is ukemi?

To Bruce...

Do you suggest any drills to better my timing? I practice Kendo-type sword fighting with my brother alot and I feel this does a good job or helping my timing. The other day, for example, he charged me with a fierce charge. I remained calm and centered. With exact percision I took a step back, extended the blade with my left hand and he ran right onto the tip. Had it been real blades (instead of bamboo) it would have punctured a lung. Point being, timing was crucial there and it seems that this type of practice would do well to better my timing or ma-ai. So, do you have any suggestions for timing drills?

thanks,
jason
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Old 04-04-2002, 11:05 PM   #23
guest1234
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Quote:
Originally posted by shadowmonk
Wow! Thankyou all for the information! You have all been very informative and helpful. I look foward to getting to know you all better.

I saw the link for the Atlanta seminar and I will be sure to attend! What kind of things do you do at one of Imaizumi-sensei's seminars? And what is ukemi?
<snip>
thanks,
jason
Ask your sensei, he probably has some tapes as he usually tapes the seminars he attends. Or email me at annesca@earthlink.net and I'll send you some of the seminar notes I have on computer---at several pages per seminar they are too long for here.

ukemi is receiving the technique, including the required fall...
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Old 04-05-2002, 06:53 AM   #24
andrew
Dojo: NUI, Galway Aikido Club.
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Re: Re: Re: Letting Go

Quote:
Originally posted by Greg Jennings


Interesting. Katatedori shihonage omote kihonwaza is one of the techniques we teach students in their first class....

Same here. And Kissomaru dealt with shihonage specifically in "the spirit of aikido." There's a lot to be learned about taisabaki and your centre line and taking ukes centre and so forth, so it's a good technique to start on because it encompasses a lot.

Actually, I've never had somebody let go, but I've had people spin out of it while I was turning....
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Old 04-05-2002, 08:29 AM   #25
Greg Jennings
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Letting Go

Quote:
Originally posted by andrew


Same here. And Kissomaru dealt with shihonage specifically in "the spirit of aikido." There's a lot to be learned about taisabaki and your centre line and taking ukes centre and so forth, so it's a good technique to start on because it encompasses a lot.

Actually, I've never had somebody let go, but I've had people spin out of it while I was turning....
We do it in something of a peculiar way, but the same concepts you mention apply.

Ditto the "spinning out". The "peculiar way" I mention actually encourages people to spin out...and they can if you're trying to take it easy on them.

Best,

Greg Jennings
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