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Old 03-23-2014, 10:56 AM   #1
ChrisHein
 
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Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

Oftentimes Aikido students want to know things like "how can I use Aikido on a boxer?" Or "why does Aikido have defenses against such strange attacks?" Once you understand where our striking methodology comes from, all of this becomes clear. This is a short video explaining why Aikido has the kinds of strikes it does, and why we chose the type of strike defense that we do.

http://www.aikidostudent.com/ASCv2/?p=270

Enjoy.

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Old 03-23-2014, 05:59 PM   #2
Millsy
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

Chris, thank you for a good discussion on the pedigree of the "standard strikes" we use in aikido. I was particularly happy to see you talk of a tsuki as a thrust.

What would also be interesting is a discussion of whether these strikes actual form a good training foundation to eventually deal with a wide gamut of attacks towards the centre-line and from the side, be they from punches, kicks or weapons. Which I think they do, though others may suggest they are part of an arcane system the bares little relevance to modern combat.
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Old 03-24-2014, 02:32 AM   #3
ryback
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

I agree with Tony, I think that the standard, clear attacks that originate from weapons cuts or thrusts are an efficient way of learning the movement and principles of blending with the attack, whether it is by stepping out of the line of the attack or going right into it and taking control.
I've seen masters that train that way, having no problem dealing with fast boxing like punches or kicks and I have experimented with such attacks myself, I could deflect them no problem, but then my technique was also coming fast and strong, so the thing was if the uke could fall as fast as he could hit me.
So, in conclusion, I think that the OP video shows exactly the origin of our attacks and according to my experience is a very practical and effective way of practice.
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Old 03-24-2014, 04:10 AM   #4
Dave Sampson
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

I remembered from class that these were meant to simulate weapon attacks. When i questioned that in real life nobody would attack like we do i was given a response that made me think.

If you substitute a bottle for the empty hand in shomen-uchi you would have some person trying to crack that bottle over your skull. My brain clicked and said:"Oh, yeah"

Training to disarm some loony with a sword has it uses.
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Old 03-24-2014, 09:55 AM   #5
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

It's important to understand that classic or "old" doesn't mean obsolete. When discussing blade culture, I would make the argument that the techniques found in classical Japanese martial arts are at the forefront of technological ideas. People still attack each other with handheld weapons. These attacks follow the same patterns that they always have. The techniques found in Aikido are excellent at dealing with handheld weapons situations. It's just the people (us) practicing those techniques that need enlightenment.

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Old 03-24-2014, 10:15 AM   #6
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

It has been said before and I'll repeat it here: Almost without regard to the nature of the particular problem students find in this art -- if you imagine a blade in your hands, the problem makes immediate sense and nearly solves itself...

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 03-24-2014, 11:04 AM   #7
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

1. I like the video - I think for clarity they are great and I applaud posting them because it takes a brave soul.
2. I think that while we rely upon stylized attacks and the foundation of our kata, we may need to review how we perform the stylized attacks as a function of "attacking".

Aikido is not the only art that uses stylized attacks for training. It is actually prevalent enough to warrant the attention of Jim Carey in his [in]famous self-defense video. Yet it does concern me that aikido as a whole encounters difficulty converting stylized attacking to more practical application (both as attacker and defender). For example, functional rounded strikes (haymaker, roundhouse, etc.) rarely surpass the 3/9 line, but in aikido we see a variety of hyper extension, bladed body format and double-weighting. Aside from serious risk of injury to the shoulder, this stylized attack is often done to create time and space in which our partner can perform kata. That's from a sword? Not the sword people with whom I am impressed.

It is also something to consider that if our attacking methodology is based upon aikido weapons and aikido weapons have been criticized for being less-than-functional, it stands to reason that our attacking methodology (based upon as less-than-functional knowledge of weapons) would inherit at least some of the flaws pointed out by our weapons-oriented friends.

Personally, I have experienced several occasions of humility when either working out with a weapons person or a good fighter. I think there is some foundational corrections that we need to make as we let weapons people enjoy their expertise and fighting people enjoy their expertise. I think there are aikido people who attack well. I think there are aikido people who do not. I think we can be more precise when critiquing our attacking and give our partners more concrete ability to correct their instruction. And to keep away from doom and gloom, I am not saying that we cannot excel in our fighting, only that we could be more critical in our stylized attacking to improve our ability to function.

Otherwise, one day a sword person walks into your dojo, sees what you are doing and hears "this is based on sword"; depending on the art, he may actually be obligated to kill you. Or at least give you a envelope of black sand. In that case, ninja kill you.

Not really. But maybe.

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Old 03-24-2014, 12:04 PM   #8
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
... this stylized attack is often done to create time and space in which our partner can perform kata. ...
This. Otherwise concur with the overall critique.

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
I think we can be more precise when critiquing our attacking and give our partners more concrete ability to correct their instruction. ... we could be more critical in our stylized attacking to improve our ability to function.
...
{OR} ninja kill you.
.... "wiiiiiiith .... a herring ... (nothing like mixing cultural references -- to confuse the ninjas ... or is it the Knights who say NI-(nja) ... I am sure it is in the Kojiki somewhere, everything else is ...

More seriously, I make new students who are having problems practice hitting me in the chest and correct them until it is uncomfortable -- for me. It emphasizes that correct and effective attack is expected -- and also manageable .

I also make them understand that when their partner is responding poorly to the attack, they are also expected respond appropriately to THAT -- not to change distance, or alter trajectory -- but just slow down more and more the closer they get without proper response -- and -- if it comes to that -- then push through the skull or body --glacially --- but never, ever stop, redirect or pause the attack. Distance and trajectory are two critical elements that cannot be altered -- in my view. Another is correct dynamic structure -- but that is a much longer and larger conversation...

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 03-24-2014, 02:09 PM   #9
Cliff Judge
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
It is also something to consider that if our attacking methodology is based upon aikido weapons and aikido weapons have been criticized for being less-than-functional, it stands to reason that our attacking methodology (based upon as less-than-functional knowledge of weapons) would inherit at least some of the flaws pointed out by our weapons-oriented friends.
Wait. Our attacks are based on "Aikido weapons?" That's a weird one for me. What are our Aikido weapons based on, then?
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Old 03-24-2014, 02:58 PM   #10
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Aikido is not the only art that uses stylized attacks for training. It is actually prevalent enough to warrant the attention of Jim Carey in his [in]famous self-defense video
Whenever I screw something up on the mat, I bring out my favorite quote from that sketch:

"Like most beginners, you attacked me WRONG!"

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Old 03-24-2014, 03:05 PM   #11
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
It is also something to consider that if our attacking methodology is based upon aikido weapons and aikido weapons have been criticized for being less-than-functional, it stands to reason that our attacking methodology (based upon as less-than-functional knowledge of weapons) would inherit at least some of the flaws pointed out by our weapons-oriented friends.
+1

Quote:
Personally, I have experienced several occasions of humility when either working out with a weapons person or a good fighter.
Add another +1

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Old 03-24-2014, 03:09 PM   #12
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

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What are our Aikido weapons based on, then?
In how weapons are used by incompetents?

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Old 03-24-2014, 05:53 PM   #13
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

Quote:
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Wait. Our attacks are based on "Aikido weapons?" That's a weird one for me. What are our Aikido weapons based on, then?
Well, that's my point. To which, I have two answers.

Our weapons should be based on aiki. Our empty-handed should be based on aiki.

We have a history of aikido that convinces us our attacking methodology is based on weapons work. Yet, we have difficulty finding sword people who admit aikido sword work is good sword work. So, for me, there seems to be a sword style we practice that is not functional and not traditional; it's educational.

From what I have seen thus far, I think somewhere along the line we confused Aiki with Kata. We saw seniors with good Aiki and misunderstood what they were doing. The point I am trying to make is to reinvigorate kata with aiki.

To clarify, that is not to say there are not good sword people in aikido; only that good sword work is not representative of aikido in its entirety.

This thread is based upon a video comparing empty hand with weapons. As the logic of the thread establishes empty-handed is derived from sword, I think it is fair to question the origin of aikido sword. The answer I have seen so far seems to indicate an aggregate exposure to a variety of arts. From which I believe aiki exercises were derived to facilitate our training.

I apologize because I am on a mobile phone so my text may seem disjointed.

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Old 03-24-2014, 08:29 PM   #14
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Well, that's my point. To which, I have two answers.

Our weapons should be based on aiki. Our empty-handed should be based on aiki.

We have a history of aikido that convinces us our attacking methodology is based on weapons work. Yet, we have difficulty finding sword people who admit aikido sword work is good sword work. So, for me, there seems to be a sword style we practice that is not functional and not traditional; it's educational.

This thread is based upon a video comparing empty hand with weapons. As the logic of the thread establishes empty-handed is derived from sword, I think it is fair to question the origin of aikido sword. The answer I have seen so far seems to indicate an aggregate exposure to a variety of arts. From which I believe aiki exercises were derived to facilitate our training..
Aiki weapons is not real sword work. It is based on real sword work though. Osensei took real sword work and then changed it to help emphasize the principals used in aikido. The yokomen shown in the vid would not be done that way when using real sword work. Many of the great instructors went to learn real sword work on the side being iado or kenjutsu. Nishio sensei being an example of this.
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Old 03-25-2014, 02:58 AM   #15
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

As far as I understand, aiki ken was created in Iwama, in the 1940s?
As far as I understand, Ueshiba has not been member of any koryû of even studied any ken jutsu systematicelly until then?
(As far as I experience it, aiki ken is "different" from two schools of ken jutsu, I know. In the sense that it is not that "martial" and not that "technically effective".)
As far as I understand, there is shomen uchi and yokomen uchi in daitô ryû allready?
As far as I understand, Takeda integrated his swordwork with the tai jutsu, he had learned?

So as far as I understand neither Takeda nor Ueshiba derived their tai jutsu from their practice of ken (jutsu)?
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Old 03-25-2014, 06:28 AM   #16
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
Wait. Our attacks are based on "Aikido weapons?" That's a weird one for me. What are our Aikido weapons based on, then?
based on kitchen utensils usage, mainly chopsticks and spoon, and on occasion when your parents aren't watching, fingers. just look at the movements of aikisage and aikiage and open and close of the body.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 03-25-2014, 06:42 AM   #17
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
As far as I understand, aiki ken was created in Iwama, in the 1940s?
As far as I understand, Ueshiba has not been member of any koryû of even studied any ken jutsu systematicelly until then?
Kisshomaru reported that his father studied five years of Gotoha Yagyu Shingan under Nakai Masakatsu, from 1903 until he died in 1908. FWIW.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 03-25-2014, 07:31 AM   #18
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Kisshomaru reported that his father studied five years of Gotoha Yagyu Shingan under Nakai Masakatsu, from 1903 until he died in 1908. FWIW.
Don't have books here, so just some citations from aikido journal:

"Masakatsu Nakai 中井正勝
Middle school teacher in Sakai, Osaka. Teacher of Yagyu Shingan-ryu Jujutsu with whom Morihei UESHIBA studied ... "

"The technical content of this school is unknown but certainly included jujutsu techniques and the study of various weapons. Records are unclear as to whether Ueshiba's direct teacher was Masanosuke Tsuboi or Masakatsu NAKAI. "

"Receives Yagyu-ryu Jujutsu certificate ..."
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:21 AM   #19
Cliff Judge
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
As far as I understand, there is shomen uchi and yokomen uchi in daitô ryû allready?
Just to get one thing out of the way, shomenuchi and yokomenuchi in Daito ryu are simulated sword strikes.

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Kisshomaru reported that his father studied five years of Gotoha Yagyu Shingan under Nakai Masakatsu, from 1903 until he died in 1908. FWIW.
I think it is fairly well established around here that Ueshiba did Yagyu Shingan ryu once or twice a month for a period of time...five years seems long.

Generally this is minimalized as far as influence on Ueshiba's development, but it is fair to point out that Takeda wandered and taught and it was fairly typical to only visit him once in awhile for a training session.

There are plenty of videos of the Yagyu Shingan ryu that Ueshiba studied, the line exists in Kanagawa prefecture these days and goes by Yagyu Shingan ryu Taijutsu. Their the guys that walk like dinosaurs, windmill their arms around, strike each other from odd angles, and then pick the guy up and drop him on his head. Their weapons seem to involve a lot of study of dynamic tension. Aikijo looks way more like their bo forms than it does any traditional form of jojutsu, also...in my humble opinion....

Last edited by Cliff Judge : 03-25-2014 at 08:28 AM.
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:22 AM   #20
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
Don't have books here, so just some citations from aikido journal:

"Masakatsu Nakai 中井正勝
Middle school teacher in Sakai, Osaka. Teacher of Yagyu Shingan-ryu Jujutsu with whom Morihei UESHIBA studied ... "

"The technical content of this school is unknown but certainly included jujutsu techniques and the study of various weapons. Records are unclear as to whether Ueshiba's direct teacher was Masanosuke Tsuboi or Masakatsu NAKAI. "

"Receives Yagyu-ryu Jujutsu certificate ..."
I thought the question was "what influences of sword are present in aikido?" Nakai was reputedly schooled in Shinkage-ryu as well as Yagyu Shingan jujutsu -- and in my study I found that the koryu were never as categorically structured as the gendai arts. Lineages become less of concern after the late 19th century because there was much of both mixing and formal segregation going on.

I think it is fair to see Nakai -- and many others of similar or even less note roughly contemporaneous with Kano -- to be straddling that divide. Kano began the Kodokan before he even received Menkyo in Kito-ryu. Takeda may be viewed as doing the same thing for the aiki aspects of jujutsu leading to Ueshiba's work. Nakai may be viewed in the same general trend and began his own teaching a bare decade after Kano -- though clearly not remotely as influential. Ueshiba was at the latter phase of this process of a new syncretic and synthetic development in these Japanese arts. That categorical segregation between specific weapons work and between differing forms of empty hand work seems no small part of the genesis of gendai arts.

The Founder did acknowledge these studies as being somewhat formational in his tai jutsu -- and which certainly ought to inform our discussion on the topic of the training form for attacks in Aikido. Personally, I don't wonder about the presence of weapons movements in the aikido tai jutsu corpus -- they are now readily apparent to me -- highly applicable -- and easily demonstrable.

I have other --more concrete -- thoughts on the relationship and developments of and from weapons to aiki, but that would be beyond the point of your post.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:27 AM   #21
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
based on kitchen utensils usage, mainly chopsticks and spoon, and on occasion when your parents aren't watching, fingers. just look at the movements of aikisage and aikiage and open and close of the body.
In the sense that so many wish to be spoon-fed ??

Me, I dig in with whatever tools are at hand -- OR just -- you know -- hands...

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:52 AM   #22
Cliff Judge
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Well, that's my point. To which, I have two answers.

Our weapons should be based on aiki. Our empty-handed should be based on aiki.

We have a history of aikido that convinces us our attacking methodology is based on weapons work. Yet, we have difficulty finding sword people who admit aikido sword work is good sword work. So, for me, there seems to be a sword style we practice that is not functional and not traditional; it's educational.

From what I have seen thus far, I think somewhere along the line we confused Aiki with Kata. We saw seniors with good Aiki and misunderstood what they were doing. The point I am trying to make is to reinvigorate kata with aiki.

To clarify, that is not to say there are not good sword people in aikido; only that good sword work is not representative of aikido in its entirety.

This thread is based upon a video comparing empty hand with weapons. As the logic of the thread establishes empty-handed is derived from sword, I think it is fair to question the origin of aikido sword. The answer I have seen so far seems to indicate an aggregate exposure to a variety of arts. From which I believe aiki exercises were derived to facilitate our training.

I apologize because I am on a mobile phone so my text may seem disjointed.
Our empty-hand attacks are based on real sword attacks, not on Aikido weapons....I think that's fair to say, it is not really a chicken or egg problem.

Aiki weapons...well just my opinion, Aiki weapons are based on various shallow studies of classical sword arts by Ueshiba and his students. Little pieces taken here and there and not fully understood and used to demonstrate principles. Seems like the times when Aikido shihans really went whole-hog on a classical sword system, they didn't mix it in as much.

Aiki weapons should either be a study of how to use a weapon - but that's a bit cheesy since Aikido is gendai - or a use of weapons to study movement, initiative, kiai, etc - the stuff that is actually not aiki that we should think about every now and then.
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Old 03-25-2014, 09:01 AM   #23
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

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Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
Aikijo looks way more like their bo forms than it does any traditional form of jojutsu, also...in my humble opinion....
Indeed, the ASU "pre-set" awase jo exercise -- in particular -- seems like nothing so much as a catalog of basic Yagyu Shingan Ryu movements.

FL

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Old 03-25-2014, 09:34 AM   #24
Cliff Judge
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

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Indeed, the ASU "pre-set" awase jo exercise -- in particular -- seems like nothing so much as a catalog of basic Yagyu Shingan Ryu movements.

FL
That drill, and I think most of the basic ASU jo kata, come from somewhere in the Aikikai, I believe. I have spoken to people from outside of the ASU who recognize those.
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Old 03-25-2014, 10:52 AM   #25
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Re: Why Aikido has such strange strike defense.

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Our weapons should be based on aiki. Our empty-handed should be based on aiki.

We have a history of aikido that convinces us our attacking methodology is based on weapons work. Yet, we have difficulty finding sword people who admit aikido sword work is good sword work. So, for me, there seems to be a sword style we practice that is not functional and not traditional; it's educational.

From what I have seen thus far, I think somewhere along the line we confused Aiki with Kata. We saw seniors with good Aiki and misunderstood what they were doing. The point I am trying to make is to reinvigorate kata with aiki.
Cannot agree more.

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
This thread is based upon a video comparing empty hand with weapons. As the logic of the thread establishes empty-handed is derived from sword, I think it is fair to question the origin of aikido sword. The answer I have seen so far seems to indicate an aggregate exposure to a variety of arts. From which I believe aiki exercises were derived to facilitate our training.
Here is where I am at --- and I believe in line with the intent of Saotome's principles-based approach, perhaps differing in strict form -- but still consistent with his fundamentally important instruction on precisely how to tie your hakama ... Those who know, need not ask; those who ask, do not know ...

Training has a trinity to it.

1) Aiki-taiso/kokyu undo -- most importantly, though perhaps least understood -- furi-type training (furitama, tekubi furi)

2) Weapons work -- to which I ally kokyu- tanden ho as a bridge to the paired tai jutsu

3) Waza (paired kata, as I see them)

Aiki-taiso and kokyu undo are -- like you note for the loss of perspective in waza/kata -- easy to mistake the form for the substance. But the substance IS there. It lies within the torquing, periodic, shearing and reversing stresses and the spiral and pendular movements that these deploy. This is training the body to move its parts -- AS IF -- they were not under voluntary nervous and muscular control, by substituting core body action (closer to reflexive action) versus voluntary motor limb action.

FWIW -- a very great deal of this is present in sanchin no kata . It relates to certain applied reflexes with which the body responds such stresses and which such stresses also potentiate and can trigger, and which INITIATE these forms of action, without requiring higher voluntary motor signals from the brain. The forms of taijutsu trained in this way are properly the deployed forms of such actions - such that we learn to follow them with our voluntary additions, and not to act in ways that are contrary to them. -- Like surfing ... freedom to move as you choose is real and radical -- but lies in initially strict compliance with the form and power of the wave, and moving always within its boundaries.

Weapons work develops the sensitivity to the things the aiki taiso/kokyu undo trains -- but through an object that is not initially of your body. (The facility of the human body to make what is "not-self" become an extension of our body -- though of a radically different substance and properties -- is a profound and mysterious thing). Through weapons training we gain that sense of bodily extension into a non-responsive object. Then we begin to learn how to sense and respond through it in contact with another weapon -- sense training mainly of a vibrational nature, to which the furi-type aiki-taiso are also design to tune. These are felt and responded to with the "non-self" object beginning to mediate both sense and action. The procedural form is not the thing, but the substance and continuity of the connections discovered in these interactions is.

Dynamic shearing actions dominate (e.g. -- suri-age, suri-otoshi kiri-age, kiri-otoshi, etc.) and the vibrational elements within them -- and which come out when overt action seems to cease.

An excellent example is this presentation of kiri otoshi by the late Iwata Norikazu (MJER) -- It is inspiring to seen a 96 year old gentlemen cut like that -- and almost more inspiring to watch him merely hold the weapon unwavering in one hand while he lectures.

One sees three aspects of in-yo -- aiki -- in the tai sabaki he asks us to observe:
1) in-yo funetori sway commencing the cut
2 in-yo hara/sword movement of delivery (hara driving up to ground the energy of the descending cut)
3) in-yo reverberation of the cut coming to rest

The first point is straight forward aiki taiso. The second point is at the root of kokyu tanden ho -- dynamic grounding to enable projection of energy/structure. The third point is seen in furitama and tekubi furi and notably in the cuts of Saito's weapons teaching, in which I am pleased to have received training.

Lastly the waza forms of paired kata then progressively allow testing the extension of these methods, stresses and movements to the also "non-self" and yet reactive body of an attacking person. The ultimate goal being making the person an extension of yourself -- just as the sword becomes -- as O Sensei said:

Quote:
If I were to try to verbalize it I would say that you control your opponent without trying to control him. That is, the state of continuous victory. There isn't any question of winning over or losing to an opponent. In this sense, there is no opponent in Aikido. Even if you have an opponent, he becomes a part of you, a partner you control only.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 03-25-2014 at 10:56 AM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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