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Old 06-15-2002, 02:28 PM   #1
DavidM
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Question Atemi

I heard that O Sensei once said, "Aikido is 99% Atemi" is that true?
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Old 06-15-2002, 04:32 PM   #2
erikmenzel
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I have heard a lot of people saying O'Sensei said "something".

Only recently Henry Kono Sensei was quite able to put my feeling about this to words. His words were ( at least as remembered by me and past on in my own way, probably distorting it already) :" A lot of teachers say O'Sensei said this and O'Sensei said that. How do they know what O'Sensei said? They were not there! "

Erik Jurrien Menzel
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Old 06-15-2002, 05:46 PM   #3
Michael Mules
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The only source I have to hand is Gozo Shioda (founder of Yoshinkan Aikido) in his book Total Aikido (p.24):

'Ueshiba Sensei, said, "In a real battle, atemi is seventy percent, technique is thirty percent."'

Hope that helps.

cheers,

Michael
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Old 06-15-2002, 08:23 PM   #4
George S. Ledyard
 
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Saotome Sensei

Quote:
Originally posted by erikknoops
I have heard a lot of people saying O'Sensei said "something".

Only recently Henry Kono Sensei was quite able to put my feeling about this to words. His words were ( at least as remembered by me and past on in my own way, probably distorting it already) :" A lot of teachers say O'Sensei said this and O'Sensei said that. How do they know what O'Sensei said? They were not there! "
Saotome Sensei quoted the figure at 90% but ascribed it to O-sensei as well. He WAS there and I got it from him directly.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 06-15-2002, 10:51 PM   #5
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I have heard that reference too. From watching some of the old tapes, its apperas to me that O'Sensei got off line and aimed his atemi towards the centerline in such a way that the atemi itself unbalanced the person. Most remarkable.

Until again,

Lynn

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Old 06-17-2002, 04:04 AM   #6
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I'm hardly an authority on this subject, but what I am trying to learn is this: Everything we do in our technique should be powered and guide from the atemi. This is not ment in such a manner that we should hit or kick uke all the time, but we should at all times during the execution of the technique be in a position where it is clear to both uke and nage that a strike could be launched. Thereby discouraging uke from carrying his attack all the way to the end, and giving nage the best possible balance, center and power.

The way I see it atemi is the art of NOT hitting the opponent while at all times being able to. Once you have connected to the ground and your body is ready to deliever the force neede for cutting or knocking down uke then relase this energy into the technique.

The hard part is to not give the impression of a being dangerous, which will easy occur if you are overdoing it.

I like to think of it as the 'Martial' part of Aikido being a 'Martial art'.

Just my point of view at my current point of development. Hope it helps.

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Old 06-17-2002, 04:41 AM   #7
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Question Total Aikido

Quote:
Originally posted by George S. Ledyard


Saotome Sensei quoted the figure at 90% but ascribed it to O-sensei as well. He WAS there and I got it from him directly.
So what was the other 10%? Inquiring minds want to know.

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Old 06-17-2002, 06:31 AM   #8
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Atemi in Aikido

Quote:
Originally posted by tedehara


So what was the other 10%? Inquiring minds want to know.
Rather than go into length here i would refer you to an article I wrote a while back. I have posted this link before but as the topic gets repeated frequently with new participants it may be helpful.

Atemi in Aikido

George S. Ledyard
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Old 06-17-2002, 08:53 AM   #9
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Re: Atemi in Aikido

Quote:
Originally posted by George S. Ledyard

Rather than go into length here i would refer you to an article I wrote a while back. I have posted this link before but as the topic gets repeated frequently with new participants it may be helpful.

Atemi in Aikido
Come on George...I was just fooling around

But thanks for that interesting article on atemi.

Many people quote O Sensei to show the importance of atemi. Of course atemi is important, but so is the rest of Aikido.

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Old 06-17-2002, 10:37 AM   #10
chadsieger
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Talking

Mr. Ledyard,

It seems to me that your article was designed to make Aikidoka aware of the atemi, as a physical strike, as it applies to budo. Should Aikido incorporate strikes when surrounded in an alley? Most assuredly.

However, where we train, we concentrate on capturing an opponents center and then everything else (atemi, trow, hold), is just gravy.
By striking somone in the dojo to free yourself enough to apply a technique, you have skipped the really difficult part. Stay relaxed, use your hips, capture their center and worry about the strike later.

It's just that when I hear people rally behind atemi, I simply wonder why? People say, "In Aikido you must atemi!" Well, we practice Aikido, and you will rarely find an obvious atemi. All Aikido techniques can be done safely without atemi. I'm only saying that if it can be doen the hard way (tai sabaki, blending, softness, hips ect.), strikes will present themselves to you, for when you are truly in danger.
I'm "anti-atemi" or "pro-atemi" depending on the circumstances, and training is the time to make it "worse case sensario," so have uke attack as hard as possible, and try to succeed without atemi.

Thanks.
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Old 06-17-2002, 12:48 PM   #11
Paul Clark
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Hi Chad,

Quote:
Should Aikido incorporate strikes when surrounded in an alley? Most assuredly.
Quote:
However, where we train, we concentrate on capturing an opponents center and then everything else (atemi, trow, hold), is just gravy.
I don't train in aikido because I ever hope or expect to use it in a fight. However, if I ever do find myself in a fight, I hope that somehow aikido will be useful to me.

That said, in the world of my other budo, that of the fighter pilot, we have an axiom that goes like this:

"you fight like you train."

In other words, when the time comes to fight, you will probably not think, but will do what you've trained to do. If you haven't trained to anticipate, look for, and exploit opportunities for atemi, I don't think you will do it in a fight. Too much thinking.

I only have 18 months practicing aikido, many years at that other "budo". I'm inclined to believe that what works on that battlefield is applicable to this one.

Besides, if O'Sensei said 90%, or 70%, who are we to argue?

thoughts?

Paul
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Old 06-17-2002, 01:04 PM   #12
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atemi

I am currently researching a book on atemi in aikido. I originally started it as an article but found so much stuff that I feel it is worthy of more in depth treatment. A few comments:
1. Historical roots trace atemi in the locking and pinning arts back to India
2. O'Sensei's training roots appear to provide a solid foundation for the use of atemi.
3. O'Sensei can be seen in most pictures delivering an atemi while delivering technique.
4. Technique can be smoothly applied without stopping to strike-in other words the strike can occur in the process of the flow of the technique without disruption.
5. Atemi waza is generally best accomplished by striking pressure points to cause pain compliance for setting up a techniuqe, or shutting down the muscle function to a limb.
6. Atemi or pressure point manipulation (kyusho jitsu) makes it easier to apply a technique.

I believe a strong case can be made for the application of atemi to aikido. A survey I performed indicates a lot of interest in the topic.

Dr. John Riggs
Midland, TX
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Old 06-17-2002, 01:28 PM   #13
chadsieger
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Talking

Mr. Clark,

Yes it is true that "no-mind" is the ultimate form of budo and that it is through your training that budo is developed and ultimatly released without "cognitive" thought. This is precisely why one must train for all situations, attaining the "feel" of budo is paramount to particular techniques or strikes.

Although I have heard the quote attributed to Ueshiba, I find it ambiguous. Anytime an opponent comes in contact with me, immediatly after absorbing their energy, I give them a powerful ki atemi. What I am trying to say is that there are many different types of atemi. Ueshiba may have meant this.

A physical atemi on every technique is far from necessary, I know this, so I can't believe that O'Sensei would mean this. I also know that he was fully aware of the "feel" of budo and I am sure that he wanted his students to develop this feeling. That's why I think he invented Aikido.


Of all the wonderful aspects of Aikido (blending, redirecting, softness, circles, extension, rootedness, creative aspects, ect.) could someone please tell me why of all things, Atemi recieves so much attention from the net community?

Thanks.
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Old 06-17-2002, 01:40 PM   #14
Paul Clark
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Chad,

Quote:
Of all the wonderful aspects of Aikido (blending, redirecting, softness, circles, extension, rootedness, creative aspects, ect.) could someone please tell me why of all things, Atemi recieves so much attention from the net community
I have no idea, other than that

1) as above, O'Sensei focused on it quite clearly and can, according to many, be seen in an awful lot of his photos delivering a "physical" atemi;

and

2)that aikido is budo, as O'Sensei seems to have believed, at least if he chose the title for his own book;

and

2)there seems to be a significant number of practioners who choose to believe that what O'Sensei said and did relative to atemi is not what he actually meant?

Like you, I don't understand why it needs so much discussion, but we come to that incredulity from different directions.

best
Paul
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Old 06-17-2002, 02:55 PM   #15
Jorx
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I think there is a simple answer for that question - there are many people who at least start Aikido for self-defence reasons as well. And those people see atemi as a thing which can make their techniques work on an average attacker so much faster. I think as well that it's quite hard to kick someones butt with 'creative aspects' when you have learned only couple of years.

Of course I know that Aikido's objective is not to 'kick butt' but hey, we have to survive on those post-soviet streets (it's a whole lot safer than NY I guess but still... )

Jorgen
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Old 06-17-2002, 03:19 PM   #16
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Re: atemi

Quote:
Originally posted by John Riggs
...3. O'Sensei can be seen in most pictures delivering an atemi while delivering technique.
4. Technique can be smoothly applied without stopping to strike-in other words the strike can occur in the process of the flow of the technique without disruption.
5. Atemi waza is generally best accomplished by striking pressure points to cause pain compliance for setting up a techniuqe, or shutting down the muscle function to a limb.
6. Atemi or pressure point manipulation (kyusho jitsu) makes it easier to apply a technique.

I believe a strong case can be made for the application of atemi to aikido. A survey I performed indicates a lot of interest in the topic.

Dr. John Riggs
Midland, TX
3. Perhaps the most dramatic moment during a technique is when atemi is done. This is the photographer's art, not the art of Aikido. Perhaps there are more pictures of Ueshiba doing atemi because the photographer thought it made for an interesting picture, not because O Sensei's Aikido was 90% atemi.
4. Actually this was the reason, I've been told, why my style no longer does atemi. It was felt that most people spent time trying to strike rather than learn the technique. It was also seen as disrupting the flow of techniques.
5. I'm sure pressure point striking would greatly increase the chances of stopping an attacker. However, in a real fight, you may not have the luxury of finding then hitting a pressure point. You just need to strike then do the technique.
6. This brings me to a quandry I've always had with atemi. How do you know if the person complies with the technique because you've knocked them silly? How do I know I can even do a technique correctly unless I practice without doing atemi?

While many people pride themselves in practicing the Art of Aikido, atemi definitely sits on the Martial side of the Martial Art. Perhaps this is the reason it stirs up so much controversy. It reflects our own conflicts of what Aikido really is.

Good luck with your book. As you noted, there is plenty of interest in the topic.

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Old 06-17-2002, 06:33 PM   #17
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Ah atemi...the only thing that gives me more fits than irmi nage (followed closely by ikkyo )...

My first dojo had pretty much taken it out of the curriculum; my next, it depended on the instructor. Where I'm at now, well more than one intrcutor has cheerfully admonished me to 'just hit them (uke)' when uke does something not too bright. Very reluctant at first, I am growing fond of it. Yes, it can stop uke's movement, so I'm not a big fan for many of the places it can get tossed into a shown technique, and find myself thinking 'easy for you (you big teacher) to get uke going again...us little nages need all the momentum we can get...' And yet, there are places, and the one teacher I've pretty much settled into following here clearly illustrates those places it's nice to have: I was always a fan of using it when I had to pass close to uke moving under his arm, but now actually have gotten away from that. Where I appreciate it more is when a big lumbering uke throws his or her massive weight full force straight in at me (us shorter folk try for a correct angle of attack)--- I find a hand in the face tends to remind uke that charging me might just be as unpleasant for him/her as for me, and slows them down enough or moves them off center enough for me to use their motion rather than be bowled over by it. Yes, I could move and do tenkan instead, but if it was omote that was shown, sometimes you just have to remind uke where your boundries are, and to respect them.
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Old 06-17-2002, 07:57 PM   #18
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To atemi or not to atemi, that is the question? Or is it simply a choice. Perhaps if we train with atemi and know we can strike and choose not to, then we are expressing compassion and mercy. I, for one, like to train how I intend to fight. Therefore the situation will dictate the choice I'll make.

Until again,

Lynn

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Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 06-18-2002, 02:27 AM   #19
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Question

Quote:
Originally posted by SeiserL
... Perhaps if we train with atemi and know we can strike and choose not to, then we are expressing compassion and mercy. I, for one, like to train how I intend to fight. Therefore the situation will dictate the choice I'll make.
You said it Lynn!

What I previously tried to express was very close to this (but not as eloquent I'm afraid). I'm actually a bit puzzled, since to me it seems that there is a great deal of disagreement about what atemi really is. A lot of the posts discuss atemi as if it was the strike itself - I've been of the opinion that atemi was the awareness of the possibility of a strike or a cut, the positioning of one self in a position where the strike or cut is possible and the controlled release of the power that could have been released through a strike or a cut.

Can anyone give a precise definition of the concept of atemi ? or is it just one more of those 'loosely defined' concepts that seems to start most of the threads on this board

(throwing gas of the fire while quickly stepping back.... )

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Old 06-18-2002, 03:10 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jørgen
I'm actually a bit puzzled, since to me it seems that there is a great deal of disagreement about what atemi really is.
Hi Jørgen;

You and me both. One of the points made in the Shishida/Nariyama book that just came out (yes this is a plug) is that traditionally Atemi in the Japanese martial arts primarily used the soft parts of the body. For example shote (base of the palm) versus a bunched fist. One is also not limited to the hands and feet. Both points are illustrated through five examples of atemi waza shown here

http://homepage2.nifty.com/shodokan/...n/atemi_e.html

My feeling is that when Ueshiba M. talks about Aikido being [insert your favourite percentage here] atemi he is not limiting it to the very narrow sense of punch in the nose. I am also sure that he varied the number he gave at different times and not for any profound reason. The exact number is not so important.

Secondly atemi definately implies contact. Atemi as feint sure but just shifting your body position requires your opponent to do no more than the same. Again we are talking in the broader sense, not just waving your hand in front of his nose.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by PeterR : 06-18-2002 at 04:31 AM.

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Old 06-18-2002, 04:16 AM   #21
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Re: Re: atemi

Quote:
Originally posted by tedehara

6. This brings me to a quandry I've always had with atemi. How do you know if the person complies with the technique because you've knocked them silly? How do I know I can even do a technique correctly unless I practice without doing atemi?
Personally I'd go with the idea that if you're doing atemi right, with the right presence and centredness, then you don't need to smash peoples heads in with them. You can injure people, but if you're doing it right that doesn't happen.
I've had a number of occasions in practising where if I wanted to I could've hit someone hard in the face, but instead all I needed to do was time the movement right in order for them to slow down, give up some of their balance and enable the rest of the technique to happen.
If I'm performing a technique that has an atmei, if I move too quickly my partner gets injured, if I move too slowly, the technique doesn't work and I leave myself with openings. It has to be timed just right, I have to harmonise with ukes timing.
If you ask me that sounds like its in the best traditions of Aiki, and there is nothing confusing about it.

Mike Haft

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Old 06-18-2002, 04:28 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by chadsieger
Mr. Ledyard,

It seems to me that your article was designed to make Aikidoka aware of the atemi, as a physical strike, as it applies to budo. Should Aikido incorporate strikes when surrounded in an alley? Most assuredly.

However, where we train, we concentrate on capturing an opponents center and then everything else (atemi, trow, hold), is just gravy.
By striking somone in the dojo to free yourself enough to apply a technique, you have skipped the really difficult part. Stay relaxed, use your hips, capture their center and worry about the strike later.

It's just that when I hear people rally behind atemi, I simply wonder why? People say, "In Aikido you must atemi!" Well, we practice Aikido, and you will rarely find an obvious atemi. All Aikido techniques can be done safely without atemi. I'm only saying that if it can be doen the hard way (tai sabaki, blending, softness, hips ect.), strikes will present themselves to you, for when you are truly in danger.
I'm "anti-atemi" or "pro-atemi" depending on the circumstances, and training is the time to make it "worse case sensario," so have uke attack as hard as possible, and try to succeed without atemi.

Thanks.
You must be dreaming man !, get into a real fight !, if you think you can apply what you've learnt in the dojo in a real fight without string atemi you must be dreaming !
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Old 06-18-2002, 07:56 AM   #23
Tim Griffiths
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Quote:
Originally posted by adrian

...if you think you can apply what you've learnt in the dojo in a real fight without string atemi you must be dreaming !
Ah yes... I always carry a ball of string around with me for exactly this purpose.

Slightly more seriously, in my post-high school and post-starting aikido fights (about 6 or 7), I haven't used an 'obvious' atemi at all. You don't have to use it, and more importantly, you don't want to use it.

We do proper atemi in aikido. Full on, that's a palm or fist to the jaw or nose, which is going to cause some serious damage, that you're going to have to justify afterwards both to yourself and the police. This is real life, not life-and-death fantasy. Most fights are just some drunk guy in a bar, or a couple of guys out for kicks, etc. Do you really want to leave them with broken jaw, limbs and nose? If so, why?

Most aikido techniques begin with atemi (and end there if it connects). This is then tempered down to meet a particular situation. Take katadori ikkyo as an obvious example - the first movement is a shift offline and an atemi, which ends it there and then if it connects well. If uke parries it, the hand is pushed naturally towards the holding hand, and the technique continues.

Tim

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Old 06-18-2002, 09:42 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by chadsieger




However, where we train, we concentrate on capturing an opponents center and then everything else (atemi, trow, hold), is just gravy.
By striking somone in the dojo to free yourself enough to apply a technique, you have skipped the really difficult part. Stay relaxed, use your hips, capture their center and worry about the strike later.

I'm a little confused, I thought atemi was a part of the process of capturing your opponents centre. And how is a technique complete if you just gain control of your opponenets center but do not do a throw or a hold? You cannot keep someone off balance forever.

Kat

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Old 06-18-2002, 10:30 AM   #25
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different strokes

It seems to me that O'Sensei emphasized atemi for training purposes. The purpose of atemi is to make sure that your postion is correct and that the opponent is unable to counterstrike. In such a case, you are now free and clear to complete the technique. If you are unaware of how and where to use atemi, it probably means that there are many weaknesses in your technique, and in a real-life situation your aikido would probably not work.

Much confusion arises because Koichi Tohei de-emphasized atemi because he felt that it interrupted the flow of the technique. In a way, he was right, especially for someone at his skill level. That's because his position was always correct and he was never in any danger. But, I suspect if he suddenly found himself unexpectedly open to attack, he would not hesitate to use atemi.

Atemi is an extremely important training tool, and everyone should know how to use it as such. In fact, some basic techniques cannot be done correctly without it.
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