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Old 08-13-2002, 09:51 PM   #1
Uke4life
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Is it worth it? And is it real?

Ok, this may sound a bit odd. I love aikido. I love the harmony that is put into it. Yet, for some time now I have been burdened with a heavy question. Does aikido really work?? I have a best friend whom is a black belt in a form of karate, and he is very good. And one day we talked about practicallity. I'm not to sure it would work in the real world. It works great in class, but that is with an uke that is willing to be thrown. Also, to be able to catch ones fist as it is racing towards ur head is a difficult task. So if anyone can calm my nerves about this, I would be most thankful. Actually when I consider all of this at times I consider quitting aikido. This hurts me, but if it is not real, why keep it up? Any replies would be most appreciated.

It is not the destination, but the journey.
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Old 08-13-2002, 10:15 PM   #2
PeterR
 
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Before I started Aikido I did full-contact Japanese boxing, followed by smattering of Karate and TKD. I don't count the Judo as a kid.

In the Japanese boxing there were aikido-like joint manipulations which caused me to look to train in an Aikido dojo but frankly what I saw was not that impressive. It took a while but I found a dojo where there is no question that what I'm learning works.

I could say stick with it but you know that wont remove the doubt in your mind. If it does it may just be that you have become delusional. Some time in your Aikido career you are going to have to do some cross-training (exploration).

Why don't you join your friend and train with him. If it means stopping Aikido for a bit so what - you've got a life time a head of you. If it means that you find something else that better suits your needs and questions - all the more power to you. Karate and Aikido are different enough that it should be fairly easy to train in both without conflict.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 08-13-2002, 11:33 PM   #3
Shrouded
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I do a style of martial arts which contains aikido, but within the movements of other arts as well (Goshindo Jutsu-Atemi Ryu). I can tell you from experience that aikido is very effective, however, the combative version (i.e. defence on the streets) must be learnt through realistic training.

Aikido, in most dojos tends to be formal and traditional. This is great for competition and where there are rules, but where there are no rules, the combative element is missing. If you want to develop these skills, i would not recommend that you practise with a friend and simulate realistic situations - i.e. a guy charging you. Expand your mind and learn different ways so that eventually they can become automatic - a mind-mode called mushin (i think ive spelt it correctly).

Please note though, that of all the styles of martial arts, each one of them has weaknesses. taekwondo is difficult to do in a crowded nightclub, ju-jitsu is difficult against a boxer (not impossible, but difficult).

Good luck in your martial arts, and do not be discouraged...every traditional martial art today has come from a combative time and has therefore has a practical history.
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Old 08-14-2002, 12:29 AM   #4
Bronson
 
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Question:
Quote:
but if it is not real, why keep it up?
Answer:
Quote:
I love aikido.

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 08-14-2002, 01:40 AM   #5
Chris Li
 
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Re: Is it worth it? And is it real?

Quote:
Arno Stemmer (Uke4life) wrote:
Ok, this may sound a bit odd. I love aikido. I love the harmony that is put into it. Yet, for some time now I have been burdened with a heavy question. Does aikido really work?? I have a best friend whom is a black belt in a form of karate, and he is very good. And one day we talked about practicallity. I'm not to sure it would work in the real world. It works great in class, but that is with an uke that is willing to be thrown. Also, to be able to catch ones fist as it is racing towards ur head is a difficult task. So if anyone can calm my nerves about this, I would be most thankful. Actually when I consider all of this at times I consider quitting aikido. This hurts me, but if it is not real, why keep it up? Any replies would be most appreciated.
One of my instructors is a former prefectural champion in Kyokushinkai Karate (he has a nice picture of Mas Oyama awarding him the trophy). He eventually became discouraged with Karate and started Aikido - he always says that he thinks Aikido is the best for self-defense.

What I think is this - if you're a fighter and you do Aikido things will work well. If you're not then they probably won't - and the same thing goes whether you're studying Judo or Karate or whatever. Just learning a particular martial art won't make you a fighter. That doesn't mean that you can't learn to be a fighter, but just becoming proficient in a series of interesting body movements won't do it. I would say that you need to focus on mental strength and focus, attitude and tenacity.

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-14-2002, 02:05 AM   #6
ian
 
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I think it is very healthy to question your aikido. I also do a lot of swimming and have come to realise that the people who improve through training are those that constantly question what they are doing, and try to improve themselves. With swimming the target is easy; fast times. With aikido it is more difficult to assess your progress.

I have confidence in aikido 'cos it saved my life once. However, this does not mean the training you are doing is necessarily going to do the same. Find out why you think it is ineffective, and try to see how to cope with this. If your aim is 'self defence' do not be afraid of investigating other martial art or combat options (I did myself, but still find aikido the best general self-defence, though I continue to practise striking and some kicks).

Also, 'harder' style doesn't necessarily mean more effective. As mentioned above, the automatic reaction is an important part of aikido.

As far as catching punches goes - you don't need to catch a punch to do something like irimi-nage. Ideally you should not be thinking 'I'm going to do a technique'. Move off centre line, make contact with uke and then respond with whatever is appropriate to the contact and the movement. (I once had a session with a ju jitsu person, and found that they could never throw me 'cos they didn't respond to what I was doing, they just tried to do 'a technique', and each time this occured I found it very easy to do a complementary technqiue to them - and it only had to be very gentle since they were putting so much force in).

Ian

P.S. also don't be afraid of trying other aikido clubs, maybe your instructor is rubbish, or maybe you would just learn better from another instructor for a while (sometimes you need to learn from someone else before you realise what your own instructor is really trying to tell you).

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 08-14-2002, 02:28 AM   #7
isshinryu88
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Pretty much anyone with a sense of self-preservation wonders if Aikido or Karate or whatever will "work". But the problem, imo, is the definition of "work".

Too many people get stuck on the stuff they see in movies or read in books and "work" becomes the ability to pound someone into submission or place someone in a position where they are completely at the mercy of Aikido/Karate/whatever person.

Someone grabs me and I start a technique. They let go because they wonder what the heck I am up to. Did Aikido work? Yes, I'm no longer being grabbed. The fact that they are not now squirming on the ground as I control them or have had their head taken off from an Irimi nage is beside the point.

If I maintain a proper distance from my attacker, and concentrate only on maintaining that disatnce, he's not going to hit me and I win. It doesn't matter if I do a technique, as long as I don't get hit.

This is where Aikido has an advantage over the striking arts. I've studied Karate for 14 years. The responses to attacks I learned involve physical contact. Block and punch. Maybe something a little fancier involving some movement, but generally there's going to be direct ation taken. This is where empty hand arts get into trouble because there's always someone faster or some technique that is just quicker than the block. The philosophy of most striking arts of countering the attack with another attack sets the defender up for failure at some point. AIkido's philosophy of harmonizing with an attacker gives the Aikido person a wider range of responses.

Dave
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Old 08-14-2002, 03:08 AM   #8
Nathan Pereira
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Give up Aikido as a self defence art......

That is if you doubt its effectiveness. As has been said a thousand times on this forum "AIKIDO" works, yours may not but the art is sound. It may not always be taught in an effective way but that is something else.

If you feel that what you are learning does not meet your expectations than do something else that you feel does and only practice Aikido for the "love" of it. If you don't feel it works then it won't. I KNOW it works and I have always said that the day I feel it doesn't I'll give it up.

For me [nearly]all the "traditional" martial arts work. I know guys from across the entire martial arts spectrum that are awesome fighters and have proven themselves and THEIR understanding of their art to be effective. I've seen it work. If it is within you to defend yourself well then the art you practice is irrelevant. Believe me there are as many people that think Karate is too stiff and rigid to be an effective self defence, taekwondo is limited and has too much kicking, many kung fu's are too flowery but I could give real life examples of each of these where they have been used to devastating effect on the street.

I think it takes a long time in Aikido for the people to undestand it works and how/why it works, a lot longer than other arts but that is the beauty of it,that is why people practice it for a life time as it takes so long to see what your not yet seeing or will maybe never see in Aikido.

N


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Old 08-14-2002, 03:22 AM   #9
Nathan Pereira
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Sorry I forgot to add that I also know people that are complete pants at all the arts I mentioned even ones considered "deadly" so again this has nothing to do with the art. MA are like anything else some people are good at it and some aren't. If Bruce Lee had done Oragami[sp] he would have been just as much a hard ass.


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Old 08-14-2002, 03:33 AM   #10
Jason Tonks
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Hello there Arno. It's good that you are questioning what you are learning, after all blind faith can be dangerous. My own personal opinion is that some Aikido as it is taught today in certain dojos would not work. This may upset certain practioners but I believe there are people now who no longer practice Aikido in a martial sense. People don't run round your fingers or fly off your toes in the street. This is an extreme example of things that I and people that I train with have witnessed but undoubtedly put certain people off Aikido. There is no doubt you get what you train for and your dojo must reflect your aspirations. My own view is that to be able to use your Aikido to "defend yourself" you must be practicing a positive traditional style which you must always practice with martial intent and correct spirit at all times. Your dojo may be the right one for you but there's no harm in visiting other dojos. Don't try and catch any punches. At full speed it'll never happen. You must be of the mind to go in and take the Uke/attacker out, whether you git hit or not. Anyway that's enough of my rambling.

All the best in your training and as my Gran would say, stick at it!

Jason T
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Old 08-14-2002, 05:51 AM   #11
Genex
 
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Talking

Oh no another disbeleiver! wheres the convert priest when you need him?

the way we train is to move out of the way, tenkan, block, grab, push, breakfall you name it, if you dont move you'll get a punch, or a smack or posibly thrown about.

This is good because it increases speed, hand eye coordination, and general reaction time (btw if sensei sees you 'keeping on your toes' he/she will kill you) you will find yourself more alert more aware of things around you (not to the point of paranoia) and generaly have faster reactions, i've found i'm better at computer games too, must be the hand eye co-ordination heh.

seriously tho, if your training with a m8 get some mai tai gloves or sommat and train 'ard yes thats 'ard not hard thank you

you'll soon move out the way cause if ya dont you'll know about it

pete

like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick. - The hitchhikers guide to the galaxy on the Pan-galactic Gargleblaster!
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Old 08-14-2002, 06:26 AM   #12
Uke4life
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I'm sorry. I did forget to mention that I did leave my dojo for two years. In those two years I have trained in Tae Kwon Do and Karate. Since then I have kinda developed my own style of fighting combining all of my training. Now I train independently with my friend, the black belt. We have sparring sessions, and in those sessions I don't see the use of Aikido. I hate to say that. I am currently thinking about going back to my Aikido dojo for the work out and the fact that I believe it is a beutiful art. I believe I will go back and give it another chance. Hopefully my doubts will be cleared up. Thanks for the replies. Train safely.

It is not the destination, but the journey.
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Old 08-14-2002, 06:35 AM   #13
Bruce Baker
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Is Aikido real?

Yep.

You need to get out and practice integrating other skills. Once you have been beaten black and blue, you will appreciate the way other arts can integrate into Aikido. Many teachers do not cover the cross training they pursue, or other arts they have trained in while teaching Aikido.
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Old 08-14-2002, 09:23 AM   #14
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Its worth it to me. Its real to me. Its effective to me.

By listening to other's doubt you have allowed them to take your center and unbalance you. Shows you how powerful the mind is. Its mental Aikido and you are the uke. Take back your center and balance, suit up, and train.

Until again,

Lynn

Lynn Seiser PhD
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 08-14-2002, 09:54 AM   #15
Cyrijl
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whether or not aikido is worth it, is up to you...i have recently left my dojo after only a month. i can't stand the people at all, not most, but some. But aikido as an art is real and can be effective. Not only for moving and running away, for nice navel contemplation, and growing flowers, but for real combat. The key is finding the right dojo where that is more of the focus.

I find that may of the aikdo student forget that O Sensei was killing people before his whole cosmological awakening. He trained hard, tortured students, beat people up...he knew how to fight hard and effectively...

Some students when asked about effective aikido or technique, always say "Well O sensei did this, that and the other thing" WHO CARES? You are not O Sensei...every person must find aikido in themselves and for themselves...if you love the art..keep doing it...most likely you will never have to fight and aikido will have still benefitted you...

melior est canis vivus leone mortuo
Bog svsami!!!
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Old 08-14-2002, 11:47 AM   #16
wanderingwriath
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I have to agree with points from both Jason Tonks and Bruce Baker. Jason, I agree that a lot of dojos are practicing Aikido that isn't meant to be truly martial. Bruce, I believe you're right about some sensei's not discussing their own cross training history. Aikido CAN be effective. My first sensei was a bouncer in a fairly rough establishment for over ten years and he spent a good deal of that time training in not only Aikido, but also Kali. His hands were so fast and coordinated from that training that at times I literally couldn't see the atemi coming. Someone mentioned Bruce Lee earlier. Bruce Lee was a bad ass not because of his philosophy of Jeet Kune Do, but because the man trained six hours a day, seven days a week.

What I'm trying to say is train hard, train realistically, and you will see the effectiveness of Aikido in yourself.
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Old 08-14-2002, 12:53 PM   #17
isshinryu88
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Quote:
Arno Stemmer (Uke4life) wrote:
I'm sorry. I did forget to mention that I did leave my dojo for two years. In those two years I have trained in Tae Kwon Do and Karate. Since then I have kinda developed my own style of fighting combining all of my training. Now I train independently with my friend, the black belt. We have sparring sessions, and in those sessions I don't see the use of Aikido. I hate to say that. I am currently thinking about going back to my Aikido dojo for the work out and the fact that I believe it is a beutiful art. I believe I will go back and give it another chance. Hopefully my doubts will be cleared up. Thanks for the replies. Train safely.
I think that this is part of your problem. Aikido, Karate and other non-sporting martial arts weren't designed for sparring. If you've taken Karate and Tae Kwon Do, you likely know a few kata. Does your sparring ever look like one of the kata? I know mine hasn't despite my efforts. Just about any sparring match you see involving the striking arts ends up in every style pretty much looking the same. Tae Kwon Do people might kick more often and Karate people punch more often, but everything just kind of devolves into backfists and roundhouse kicks since those techniques score best. If you are trying for realism, then everything begins looking like boxing or wrestling.

My experience in Aikido is limited and my knowledge of the foundations of Aikido is not very deep, so I'm not sure how well my following statements will apply. My belief is that martial arts were designed to deal with the random putz who wants to do you harm. This fellow may have some street training, and be very skilled at what they do, but they typically don't have a deep martial arts background. They lack the self-discipline and other core attributes needed to make a long time journey in a martial art. The fact that they are initiating an attack to do you harm or take your wallet or whatever places them at a disadvantage. The defender has an infinite number of potential responses. The attacker has already limited himself to only a few choices.

Martial arts are designed to deal with this kind of attacker. But like I said in my first post, you can't get caught up in defining "work" as them lying on the ground unconscious. Much of what makes martial arts work is mental. Being able to maintain your compusure, identify the opening and take advantage of that opening in whatever way you (or your martial arts training) chooses. If all you do is dodge around screaming help like a banshee until they decide to go on to greener pastures, Aikido worked. If you are more experienced and capable and decide to take advantage of the opening in his attack you've spotted since he keeps doing the same thing over and over, Aikido worked there as well. Or you look at him and think "Dang, he's good" and see no obvious openings and decide to work on the screaming bit.

Dave
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Old 08-14-2002, 05:26 PM   #18
PeterR
 
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You are starting to sound like a troll.

Generally speaking if your TKD and Karate is giving you no idea as to the use of Aikido techniques then they are limiting not the Aikido.

I train with advanced students of all three (20+ years) including a 2x TKD olympic team member. For them Aikido is very real.

Your own style? Exactly how much total experience do you have?
Quote:
Arno Stemmer (Uke4life) wrote:
I'm sorry. I did forget to mention that I did leave my dojo for two years. In those two years I have trained in Tae Kwon Do and Karate. Since then I have kinda developed my own style of fighting combining all of my training. Now I train independently with my friend, the black belt. We have sparring sessions, and in those sessions I don't see the use of Aikido. I hate to say that. I am currently thinking about going back to my Aikido dojo for the work out and the fact that I believe it is a beutiful art. I believe I will go back and give it another chance. Hopefully my doubts will be cleared up. Thanks for the replies. Train safely.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 08-14-2002, 06:48 PM   #19
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Studied karate 10 years. Sparring in full controlled full contact...10 minutes of hitting and kicking to subdue my opponent.

Studing aikido 5 years now...same situation...5 seconds.

Works for me....period.

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Old 08-15-2002, 01:29 AM   #20
Bronson
 
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Don't know if this is relevant but it's a story I want to tell

I used to do european medieval armored/armed combat. Full armor, full speed, full contact, compeletly unchoreographed. Two or more people trying to hit each other with power while not getting hit themselves.

I was fighting a guy who had been my principle teacher in polearm. He didn't know I had been taking aikido for almost a year (he had moved and we rarely saw each other). Just after we started he told me to "stop it". "Stop what?" I said. "I don't know...whatever it is you're doing. I don't like it so stop it." "You move different, and I don't know how to deal with it." Then I hit him in the face. Of course in our next go around he seemed to quickly learn how to "deal with it" and proceeded to trounce me

Anyway, that was my first indication that aikido was working for me.

Bronson,

p.s. I also almost nailed an opponent with kotegeashi while doing renaissance period fencing (you get to move in circles and use both hands)

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 08-15-2002, 03:35 AM   #21
mike lee
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Cool relevance

When teaching an aikido class, I think it would be helpful if, after teaching the many basic movements that we learn for training purposes, if instructors would include one or two "practical" applications. It can help the students to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Take, for example, shomen-uchi ikkyo. Now have the students lunge for a choke hold and use the same type of ikkyo. Suddenly there becomes a sense of reality and usefullness to the standard movement that we learn almost mindlessly, day after day. Women seem to respond especially well to this kind of training.

Another example would be to take a move commonly seen in Ultimate Fighting competition -- the tackle or leg take-down. One aikido defence is to simply move sideways while blocking one of the attacker's forearms and execute a kaiten-nage. If the attack is fast and committed, a linear throw is very effective.

I was amazed at how fast the students picked this stuff up. I think part of the reason was that their basic training was solid, but it was also because they believed that what I was showing them was practical and useful for real-life applications.

Last edited by mike lee : 08-15-2002 at 03:37 AM.
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Old 08-15-2002, 05:42 AM   #22
Sam
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Quote:
Dave Kenser (isshinryu88) wrote:
I think that this is part of your problem. Aikido, Karate and other non-sporting martial arts weren't designed for sparring. If you've taken Karate and Tae Kwon Do, you likely know a few kata. Does your sparring ever look like one of the kata? I know mine hasn't despite my efforts. Just about any sparring match you see involving the striking arts ends up in every style pretty much looking the same. Tae Kwon Do people might kick more often and Karate people punch more often, but everything just kind of devolves into backfists and roundhouse kicks since those techniques score best. If you are trying for realism, then everything begins looking like boxing or wrestling.

Dave
As a practitioner of karate I find these type of generalisations rather worrying. Many karate kata contain strikes and throws you just wouldn't want to do during sparring or suit only particular situations. If you can find somebody who can show you these applications....

Devolving into Roundhouses and backfists? I disagree - I like to think I have a much broader range.

On a more general note, if you doubt what you are learning rather than yourself, perhaps it should not be 'train with more realism' or 'train harder' but to find an instructor with convincing aikido and the teaching skills to match.
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Old 08-15-2002, 11:06 AM   #23
wanderingwriath
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From the rookie......

I may be wrong, but maybe a little scenario training wouldn't be too far out of order here. Try some training in your everyday clothes, with shoes on (it makes a difference friends) and see if that helps. Make up a little scenario: walking to your car after dark, sitting at your local pub or the bleachers of some relative's baseball game. I hear soccer and hockey parents are gettin pretty wild these days.
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Old 08-15-2002, 11:36 AM   #24
mike lee
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awareness

I recently hung out with one of my young female students after class. We went back to her apartment so she could shower and change clothes.

She said she had a new job at a sushi bar and she now arrives home very late -- at around 2am. She said the area around her apartment is dark and she feels afraid.

So, as we walked up to the building, we began looking for all of the places an attacker could hide. We basically cased the joint. I told her to always keep her head up and be aware, even if she was exhasted. I told her to look up, not down, as she ascended the stairs.

I also told her to keep her keys in her hand, with the longest, sharpest key pointing out between her index finger and her middle finger. Now the keys can serve as a weapon, and she wouldn't have to fumble for them when she reaches her apartment door.

The whole object of the game here is to see any potential attacker before he gets too close, and to always be ready for anything, but to remain calm and not fearful.

An ounce of awareness can be worth a pound of techniques.

Last edited by mike lee : 08-15-2002 at 11:39 AM.
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Old 08-15-2002, 04:20 PM   #25
Uke4life
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Firstly, "sounding like a troll", I do find that rather offending, and extremely uncalled for. Also, I have about 4 years martial art training "experience" in which I have combined all my knowledge of the matter, and tried to place it together for working better with my body. So, I would just like to say I am overwhelmed that you would go that far into name calling. Also, to the gentleman that asked if katas ever came into play into my sparring matches, and the answer is yes it has. Katas not only teach technique, but also get your body comfortable with the movements so when time comes they do them quickly, and with stunning effect. To the gentle man suggesting the "real life" training, I believe that is a good idea and will now begin to work with that. Thank you all for your replies, and train safe!!

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