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Old 04-19-2002, 12:21 AM   #1
Erik
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Does size matter?

From a prior episode:

Quote:
Originally posted by Erik
SIZE COUNTS!

Just felt the need to say that.
Quote:
Originally posted by Chuck Clark
Quality counts!

Just felt the need to say that.

Regards,
Quote:
Originally posted by IrimiTom
I think size does matter in aikido, not necessarily in a "bigger is better" way, probably it's more the opposite, all I know is that when I practice with someone a lot shorter than me, it is very hard for me to do koshinage on that person, and a lot easier for him to do it on me
Quote:
Originally posted by paw


I'm shocked such statements still exist in the world...

Colleen, Anne, et al ....

Do you honestly think that a 16 year old child, trained from birth in <insert any martial art here> has a chance against a 245 pound, athletic, adult man with 4 years of training in the same art? (Notice, this example is skewed... the 16 year old has 4 times the training, an unfair advantage)

When training time and experience is comporable, physical attributes, including size and athletic ability matter in every combative sport and nearly every athletic event. Whatever gave you the impression that aikido might be different?

Regards,

Paul
What does the future hold for our intrepid heroes? Check in here, same time, same aikichannel.

Last edited by Erik : 04-19-2002 at 12:50 AM.
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Old 04-19-2002, 12:29 AM   #2
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Erik make a poll.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 04-19-2002, 12:48 AM   #3
Erik
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Quote:
Originally posted by PeterR
Erik make a poll.
Can I do that round these parts? I think that would have to be a job for either e-budo or Jun. Jun, I think he has a good idea.
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Old 04-19-2002, 08:17 AM   #4
deepsoup
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Re: Does size matter?

Warning:
I'm talking about aikido as a competitive sport here, people who prefer to believe that doesn't happen, please look away now. I'm trying to draw a lesson from shiai about whether or not size matters, not re-ignite that debate!

Quote:
Paw posted in the original thread
When training time and experience is comporable, physical attributes, including size and athletic ability matter in every combative sport and nearly every athletic event. Whatever gave you the impression that aikido might be different?
This is undeniably true.

However, unlike almost any other combative sport, competitive 'sport' aikido has no weight categories whatsoever.

Fitness and athletic ability are certainly very important, but size/strength don't seem to confer an advantage in competition.

Partly I think the smaller guys are often faster and have more stamina. Aikido is all about movement, and if you compare the way heavyweight boxers stand toe to toe and slug it out with the way fly-weight boxers dance around the ring you get an idea of how much more agile the lighter guys can be.
(Ali wasn't the greatest because he was bigger or stronger than his opponents, that man could move, he was terrifically powerful, sure, but it was his taisabaki that made him great!)

Also, I think to some extent, its an instinctive reaction to try to resist technique with brute strength. To be successful in aikido, I believe its important to un-learn this reflex, and replace it with the counter-intuitive ability to respond to an attack with softness.

I often wonder if people who've become used to being bigger/stronger than average throughout their lives find it more difficult to move beyond the 'primitive' instinct to rely on their strength alone.

Sean
x
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Old 04-19-2002, 08:36 AM   #5
paw
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here we go again.....

Sean,

Quote:
Fitness and athletic ability are certainly very important, but size/strength don't seem to confer an advantage in competition.
Nonsense. The absolute (open weight) category winner of bjj's Mundals and ADCC World Submission Wrestling is NEVER a small person. Want a more specific example: Royler Gracie v Mario Sperry.

Oscar De La Hoya may be a technically better boxer than Mike Tyson, but if you honestly think De La Hoya could beat Tyson in a boxing match, I've bridge to sell you. The competitors in K-1? Not small men.

I'm not saying size/strength cannot be overcome by skill and experience. But you're kidding yourself if you think size, strength, endurance, age, or a host of other physical attributes that do play a role in combative sports and athletic performance don't matter in aikido.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 04-19-2002, 11:37 AM   #6
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Paul,

First of all, you and others jumped to a lot of conclusions about my post.

You are having a problem with my post because I don't consider Aikido a "Combative Sport." Period.

Like I said before: "you assume too much". This post here makes it clear you don't care to understand my point of view. You only want to espouse your views and beat me into believing them.

"A Flower that Doesn't Wilt"

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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Old 04-19-2002, 12:31 PM   #7
Lyle Bogin
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Size counts. Strength counts. Mentality counts. Experience counts. Age counts. The time of day counts. The weather counts. What you had for breakfast counts ....Everything counts.

These factors just make things different, not worse or better. The more factors you can abosorb for consideration/reaction, the better off you are.
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Old 04-19-2002, 01:05 PM   #8
Erik
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lyle Bogin
Size counts. Strength counts. Mentality counts. Experience counts. Age counts. The time of day counts. The weather counts. What you had for breakfast counts ....Everything counts.

These factors just make things different, not worse or better. The more factors you can abosorb for consideration/reaction, the better off you are.
Absolutely.
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Old 04-19-2002, 01:32 PM   #9
paw
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Anne,

Quote:
You are having a problem with my post because I don't consider Aikido a "Combative Sport." Period.
I never claimed it was. Further, in the "women in aikido" thread I also made no such claims. I was using sports and athletics as examples to support my assertion. (We can discuss if aikido is a combative sport or if aikido may have competition in another thread if you like --- frankly, I have no desire to). Clearly aikido invokes physical techniques so I hope that we can at least agree that comparisions to other athletic activites or other martial arts are not completely far fetched.

Quote:
Like I said before: "you assume too much". This post here makes it clear you don't care to understand my point of view. You only want to espouse your views and beat me into believing them.
Again, I fail to see how that is the case. You made the statement that size didn't matter. I believe it does. I have never claimed it was the sole determining factor of success, but it is something that has to be considered. In this, I agree with Lyle. It is part of the puzzle and should not be ignored.

Finally, you began your post with:
Quote:
First of all, you and others jumped to a lot of conclusions about my post.
and yet on this thread and the "women in aikido" thread you address things specifically to me. Was there some particular reason why you did not address the "others"?

Regards,

Paul
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Old 04-19-2002, 05:30 PM   #10
deepsoup
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Re: here we go again.....

Quote:
Originally posted by paw

Nonsense. The absolute (open weight) category winner of bjj's Mundals and ADCC World Submission Wrestling is NEVER a small person. Want a more specific example: Royler Gracie v Mario Sperry.
Hi Paul,

I think you misunderstood me, I should have made it clearer.

What I meant was that size and strength dont seem to confer a significant advantage in aikido competition. (By way of contrast to other combative sports, in which they clearly do.)

I practice a style (Shodokan) that holds tournaments from friendly local basho's up to and including a bi-annual world championship, and I speak from personal experience.

Quote:
from a later post
I never claimed it [aikido] was [a combative sport]. Further, in the "women in aikido" thread I also made no such claims. I was using sports and athletics as examples to support my assertion.
Mea culpa.
Paul didn't imply that aikido is a combative sport, that was me. (I guess you didn't read my disclaimer.)

There is a combative 'sport' form of aikido, and in that sport size and strength do not confer a sufficient advantage that weight categories have ever been deemed necessary.

Little guys compete directly against big guys in shiai, and the little guys win as often as the big guys do.

Thats all I was trying to say, sorry if I stirred up a hornets' nest.

Sean
x

Last edited by deepsoup : 04-19-2002 at 05:59 PM.
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Old 04-19-2002, 05:52 PM   #11
paw
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Sean,

Quote:
I think you misunderstood me, I should have made it clearer.
Been getting that a lot lately....

Quote:
What I meant was that size and strength dont seem to confer an advantage in aikido competition. (I practice a style that holds tournaments from friendly local basho's up to and including a bi-annual world championship.)
Tomiki or Ki Society? If Tomiki, then my understanding is one uses a tanto while the other defends....so, there's a "weapon" involved. If Ki Society, my understanding is the competition's are kata based, similar to judo kata competition.

Is that correct?

Curious,

Paul
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Old 04-19-2002, 06:19 PM   #12
deepsoup
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Quote:
Originally posted by paw
Tomiki or Ki Society? If Tomiki, then my understanding is one uses a tanto while the other defends....so, there's a "weapon" involved. If Ki Society, my understanding is the competition's are kata based, similar to judo kata competition.

Is that correct?
Hi Paul,

I'm talking about Tomiki style.
(Which I prefer to call "Shodokan" for the same reason that Yoshinkan folks dont call their style "Shioda".)

The main form of shiai does involve a tanto, yes, you're quite right there is a weapon involved. One person defends, while the other attacks tsuki with the tanto. Toshu (the guy without a weapon) attempts to avoid the attack and apply technique, and Tanto does everything he can, be it brute force, body movement or kaeshi-waza, to frustrate toshu's attempt to get the technique on.

Brute strength is the least effective of these options on Tanto's part, because a)if the technique is a good one, it doesn't help, just makes the ukemi more unpleasant and b)when you resist with strength, you cant move at all well, so you dont get an opportunity for kaeshi-waza.

At 'half-time' the tanto changes hands, the 'attacker' becomes the 'defender' and vice versa.

Grappling is not permitted, there's no grabbing of the gi and no groundwork. I'm sure if any of those were allowed, size would matter a lot more than it does. (But then again it also wouldn't be aikido any more.)

There's also a form of shiai without the tanto, but its practiced less often. Partly because theres a tendency for the more inexperienced competitors to 'clinch' and turn it into grappling and/or judo.
(Unless both competitors are both reasonably skilled, it tends to get a bit gnarly, so in competition it also need careful refereeing to keep it safe.)

The 'toshu' form was historically the first form of 'aikido shiai' to be developed, later the tanto was introduced to encourage the competitors to maintain a separation (maai) more appropriate to aikido than judo.

Incidentally, Shodokan tournaments always include a strong element of 'kata based' competition too. (The way Judo tournaments did at one time, or so I'm told.) I guess size matters to an extent in those too, because a small Tori throwing a big Uke around always looks a lot more impressive, so its likely to get higher marks, than when its the other way around.

Sean
x

Last edited by deepsoup : 04-19-2002 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 04-19-2002, 07:39 PM   #13
paw
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Sean,

Shodokan, eh? Now your comments make sense. Of course, that's the whole idea behind a weapon, to minimize the physical attributes of one's opponent.

Quote:
Grappling is not permitted, there's no grabbing of the gi and no groundwork.
Geez, take away all the fun...


Quote:
There's also a form of shiai without the tanto, but its practiced less often. Partly because theres a tendency for the more inexperienced competitors to 'clinch' and turn it into grappling and/or judo.
Now we're talking 'bout my idea of fun. Does Shodokan style train this form of shiai in randori?

Regards,

Paul
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Old 04-20-2002, 08:33 AM   #14
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Hi Sean

That is an interesting point about no weight categories in Shodokan competitions, and it is even more interesting that smaller nages often overcome larger ukes who in addition to their larger size are armed with a tanto (boy, talk about putting the smaller nage at a disadvantage). Hmmm, could it be that Aikido actually works?
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Old 04-20-2002, 10:07 AM   #15
ronmar
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Quote:
Grappling is not permitted, there's no grabbing of the gi and no groundwork. I'm sure if any of those were allowed, size would matter a lot more than it does. (But then again it also wouldn't be aikido any more.)
Wouldn't it be good to show that aikido can work when these things are allowed though, and good for aikidoka to train against these sorts of tactics? If you remove all of the above then you are right, a larger attacker has no advantage over a smaller defender, but its not a very realistic way to train.
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Old 04-20-2002, 10:52 AM   #16
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I don't do Shodokan Aikido, but I would guess those things are not allowed for several different reasons: if those competing are inexperienced, they will try to resort to muscling, which only proves who is bigger, not who best understands how to apply Aikido.

If they are more experienced, the bigger one may try to throw his weight into the equation, but the other, knowing he is smaller, would then apply a different technique, or something that might be equally unpleasant-but-works-on-the-street, like atemi. Big students in practice tend to try to crowd me, perhaps because they know the technique that is coming and their natural inclination is to use their size to overpower me, or the fact that I am small doesn't make them judge distance well enough to not get with striking range with their face. Or, they behave that way until my third turn at being nage, when I put out my hand and they smash into it.
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Old 04-20-2002, 11:47 AM   #17
Jonathan
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This has nothing to do with the discussion of Shodokan Aikido, but I have some anecdotal evidence for the effectiveness of aikido regardless of size.

When I was in my early twenties I was just beginning Aikido training but was also a serious powerlifter. I was 5'8" and about 225lbs. During one Aikido class I was practicing with one of the female yudansha in the dojo who was extremely slight (maybe 110 pounds) and also in her fifties. She was practicing kotegaeshi very slowly and gently with me until I told her that I didn't think her technique was working. Her very next rep planted me sharply and heavily into the mat. She didn't use more strength; she just went faster and sharpened her angle of application a bit. Yeow! I thought my hand was going to come off! She just smiled pleasantly and kept planting me into the mats until the teacher had us switch partners and technique. My size and strength seemed no barrier at all to her aikido.

"Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
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Old 04-20-2002, 12:42 PM   #18
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Yeah, you've got to watch out for those small females
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Old 04-20-2002, 01:23 PM   #19
Erik
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A large size is not always an advantage. For instance, when people start shooting I'd like to be as small as possible. Size is harder to move from location to location and a munetski strike at a smaller nage can actually imbalance the attacker somewhat (In competitive Tomiki, are they allowed to strike to the face, can you shift the attack if your size imbalances a misplaced nage, can they grab and strike?), so in effect, with a weapon in their hand and restrictions on what you can do a smaller size might very well be an advantage because of a smaller target, a system which may reward quickness or it just may be that there are a lot more smaller people doing shodokan and so there are more of them who are good than large people who are good. Having never seen a Shodokan tournament, I don't know if that is the case, I'm just using Shodokan because it came up. I may be completely wrong here.

I've written a lot recently that may imply I think Aikido doesn't work. This isn't the case, there's good stuff in this art, what I'm challenging, in myself as well, is the practice methodology we use and the inherent assumptions within that practice. Those assumptions are often incredibly subtle. Kicking is a classic one. Sure, it is addressed, in a way, if you know where to look but how many Aikidoist's, because they've never have a foot come at their crotch or even head, forget all about an attacker's feet while doing their technique? I'm not saying it never gets mentioned, it does, I'm just saying that the standard practice for most of us often doesn't provide reminders.

Another assumption is the lunge punch we all work against. I guarantee that I could walk into many dojos (not all), snap the strike, and nage would be standing there with an empty hand in a very poor place. By it's nature it can cause people to overextend, it creates an opening to the blind side (which a good striker would try to avoid), it takes time (for many of us) and it's a very committed (as many of the strikes we work against can be) attack in the wrong hands. In some dojos, there would be an attempt to lead the strike into an overextension which is fine, except I challenge many of those who do that to do it when you don't know what's coming? Hell, I challenge you to do it several ways, snapped, extended, low, high, no predicated hand, moving and see what happens.

So, getting back to size. A lot of the attacks and practices we do may even punish size. A big guy won't attack the same way a little guy would. Do we address that, or, do we have the big guy attack within a certain paradigm and by virtue of that take away their natural advantage in an unintentioned effort to maintain our paradigm? Maybe that isn't happening, and I'm completely wrong, but I think it's a very interesting question.
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Old 04-20-2002, 03:04 PM   #20
paw
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things always turn out this way.....

Colleen,

Quote:
I don't do Shodokan Aikido, but I would guess those things are not allowed for several different reasons: if those competing are inexperienced, they will try to resort to muscling, which only proves who is bigger, not who best understands how to apply Aikido.
It depends on what you call "grappling". If someone asked me to clarify aikido I would probably say it's a grappling art as opposed to a striking art. Do we not spend most of our time learning to throw, pin and be thrown and pinned?

I suspect that grabbing the gi or newaza isn't allowed in Shodokan Aikido because what would remain would be very similar to judo (either Olympic Judo or Kosen Judo).

I find myself thinking along the same lines as Ron. This tanto form of Shodokan shiai seems pretty restrictive (no insult intended. If I were still in aikido I'd like to give it shot for kicks and giggles....)

Quote:
If they are more experienced, the bigger one may try to throw his weight into the equation, but the other, knowing he is smaller, would then apply a different technique, or something that might be equally unpleasant-but-works-on-the-street, like atemi. Big students in practice tend to try to crowd me, perhaps because they know the technique that is coming and their natural inclination is to use their size to overpower me, or the fact that I am small doesn't make them judge distance well enough to not get with striking range with their face. Or, they behave that way until my third turn at being nage, when I put out my hand and they smash into it.
You lost me here. Of course if one technique fails a person will attempt another or if they have more experience flow into another technique. If we're talking about a training environment, it seems very inappropriate for one person to decide to include something that is prohibited by the other (ie atemi). In other words, why does nage/tori get to use atemi, but uke cannot? That's about as fair as me deciding to attack while your head is on the mat in a bow.

If uke is not attacking properly (anticipating the technique, deliberately attacking in a way that makes one particular technique all but impossible, etc...) that seems to me to be another issue.

So I guess I missed your point.


Finally, as I've mentioned before I don't think size is sole factor of success. My assertion is simply, that like other physical attributes, size does matter, particularly when experience and skill are similar.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 04-20-2002, 11:43 PM   #21
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Paul and Ron;

Sean's exellent posts make it pretty clear but I'll toss in a couple of comments.

Randori and by extention shiai are designed to improve your Aikido techniques. These are Atemi (striking) and Kansetsu (joint) techniques whilst in the case of Judo the Nage (throwing) and Katame (grappling) techniques are emphasized. Neither Judo nor Shodokan Aikido randori are designed to prepare you completely for street combat although they go much further than just doing waza and thinking your a bad ass. To learn to street fight - you have to go in to a bar - insult a biker's mother, survive, and do it again.

Tanto in Shodokan Randori is mainly designed to encourage comitted attacks so toshu has something to work with. Although the rules treat tanto as a knife (ie. you get penalized for getting stabbed and for not avoiding it) it is not knife fighting.

Many Shodokan Aikido people train in other arts. The current world champion is a serious competitor in Shuto and by the way one of the most all round dangerous young men I know and of course a seriously nice guy. Me - I am getting my ass kicked doing Judo.

The rules in Shodokan Aikido are designed so that your Aikido not your steriod consumption is tested. Now like I always tell the young and strong, you have your muscle now try to combine it with skill.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 04-21-2002, 03:02 AM   #22
Jim ashby
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Attacks

I'm surprised to read that only certain attacks are "allowed". In our dojo there are no attacks that are banned. We practice from all sorts of stuff, punches, kicks, headbutts etc..
In free attack (a part of our grading syllabus)anything goes. Focuses the mind wonderfully.
Have fun.

Vir Obesus Stola Saeptus
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Old 04-21-2002, 03:32 AM   #23
PeterR
 
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Re: Attacks

Quote:
Originally posted by Jim ashby
I'm surprised to read that only certain attacks are "allowed". In our dojo there are no attacks that are banned. We practice from all sorts of stuff, punches, kicks, headbutts etc..
In free attack (a part of our grading syllabus)anything goes. Focuses the mind wonderfully.
Have fun.
Um Jim;

We are talking a form of full resistance randori that includes counters.

As I said the tanto is in there to give a committed attack in the randori context. The primary purpose of randori was to instill the basic principles of ma ai, taisabaki, kuzushi, timing in situations where you have a fully resisting partner who knows what you know, and is out to stop you and if possible turn the tables. This is a far cry from any form of randori I have seen in Aikikai dojos. To keep things safe there are a number of techniques not allowed but the idea is that the lessons learnt are applied to all your aikido.

In other contexts beside tanto randori the full range of techniques are practiced against a number of different attacks although to be truthful I have never tried defending against a head-butt. If someone got that close I would have considered my Aikido to have failed. I will say that defending against a tanto strike is very very similar to defending against a punch or a kick.

Paul - you are right it is restrictive. There is a compromise between lessons to be learnt and safety. Are you telling me that there are no compromises of this sort in your training. Same question to Jim.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 04-21-2002, 03:58 AM   #24
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Re: things always turn out this way.....

Quote:
Originally posted by paw
If I were still in aikido I'd like to give it shot for kicks and giggles....)
A good number of people refuse to try after seeing it using any number of excuses. Hey its hard to face something new. Of those that have tried I have never seen anyone giggling afterward. Huge smiles maybe but never giggling.

Quote:
You lost me here. Of course if one technique fails a person will attempt another or if they have more experience flow into another technique. If we're talking about a training environment, it seems very inappropriate for one person to decide to include something that is prohibited by the other (ie atemi). In other words, why does nage/tori get to use atemi, but uke cannot?
Um both uke and tori are permitted atemi waza. Paul it is not just a matter of tori attempting another technique. Uke has full opprotunity to attempt his own and both can switch techniques, counter and resist in any number of ways. In fact there is no tori and uke - it is referred to as tanto and toshu for the very reason that the roles are so blurred.

In toshu randori which is considered far closer to a real fight than tanto randori there isn't even that distinction.

So Paul - if you don't do Aikido - what do you do and how does your training apply real pressure.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 04-21-2002, 06:59 AM   #25
bujin
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Size does really matter.
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