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Old 08-14-2002, 03:20 AM   #1
DavidM
Dojo: Aikido of Tucson
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Smile Distance

I'm not going to get into the "Will Aikido really work?" subject...I've given up on that one...instead I wanna ask about Distance.....a lot of people tell me that if I can keep my distance...then Aikido worked....I can easily keep distance when doing bokken work....but that's because of obvious reasons....so my question is....with no weapons....how would one keep distance? Just keep backing up? Wouldn't you run out of space, or the attacker get ticked and enclose on you?

I'd just like to know how would one maintain there distance....

Thanks
David
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Old 08-14-2002, 03:39 AM   #2
PeterR
 
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Ma ai or combative distance is probably the most importand component of any martial art - close enough to do but not get done.

Aikido requires a longer ma ai than Judo but how do you maintain that against a guy who's coming at you like a love sick rhino.

Well as you already understand backing up just doesn't cut it - so avoid and enter. Get behind him and you have time to either do something or control the ma ai.

By backing in the face of forward movement up you are allowing the aggressor to control ma ai. Never a good idea.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 08-14-2002, 03:58 AM   #3
villrg0a
 
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"Well as you already understand backing up just doesn't cut it - so avoid and enter. Get behind him and you have time to either do something or control the ma ai."

hello peter, if you get behind him does that mean you are taking the defense from the outside position (in this case behind him)? Is this always the safest choice? Or is the inside more faster (in terms of countering)but less safer?


Last edited by villrg0a : 08-14-2002 at 04:01 AM.


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Old 08-14-2002, 04:24 AM   #4
PeterR
 
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What I was trying to get across in my last post is that maintaining ma ai is active rather than reactive but in answer to your question I would assume that if you are being charged then the attacker has figured out that your body mass or strength is less than his. Meeting that situation with pure irimi could prove difficult.

You don't necessarily have to get behind either - just irimi along a different line. We do drills where we avoid in one of six directions (side,front diagonal, back diagonal) followed by irimi. This works real well if uke thrusts with tanto and pulls back but you can also do it with shomen-uchi.

I don't like the use of the word defensive postion either. I think that if you have managed to avoid the attack it is required for you to resolve the situation. In other words waza the guy.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 08-14-2002, 05:04 AM   #5
ian
 
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don't think of jumping in or out - otherwise the opponent is leading you. As with weapon work, if they move in, you can move back and to the side, if they move back you can move in and to the side. If you want to strike a final blow, you can move in and close the distance.

With unarmed, if they are rushing towards you, you move back slightly and to the side; if they are moving back, you move forwards and to the side. You keep the space open in front of you & don't let them enter it. This space is maintained by movement, extension and atemis. The exception is when uke is not facing you, in this case you can allow them into you space for a finishing throw (i.e. irimi-nage, kokyu-nage etc).

The reason you don't keep running backwards is that you have moved to the side, just as in weapon work - if they are turning to face you, you have the circular movement, otherwise you can enter and throw.


Ian

P.S. see Tora no Maki thread (voices of experience) i.e. 5+5=10 etc. This is what blending is all about.

Last edited by ian : 08-14-2002 at 05:06 AM.

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Old 08-14-2002, 05:08 AM   #6
Genex
 
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Evil Eyes

I always find myself circling my opponent either left or right and keeping a respective distance, this has the advantage that your apponent will always have to adjust in order to attack you, of course if someone is doing this to you you simply step in and atemi, followed by something nasty like a kotegaishi or jus like bokken work, when you lower your sword you leave a window of opertunity in which your attacker will most likely take, this is when you make YOUR move and before he knows it he's on the floor.

to be honest i never think about weather aikido would work in real life, i simply beleive that it does, practace fast attacks and punches etc... work from here and you'll be fine, of course nothing beats commen sense if they have a big stick and you dont...run

pete

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Old 08-14-2002, 05:24 AM   #7
DaveO
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One of my old Army close combat instructors - Sgt. Carl Dunnings - had us doing a drill once that at the time I thought extremely odd - although I've since learned its value. Here's what he had us doing: (BTW, this was with bayonets in hand.) One soldier would attack, one defend. The defender was responsible for maintaining a steady distance between them, while the attacker tried to either close or extend the distance. The tactics: If the attacker backs up, the defender moves forward, maintaining distance. If the attacker moves in, defender moves to the side, maintaining distance without giving up ground and initiative. After several passes, attacker and defender would switch roles when attacker backed up. The distance started at 10 feet, then once we got better at it, Sgt. Dunnings shortened it to 5 feet. Awkward to tell, a lot more awkward to do, but once we'd done it for a week of classes, it became a fascinating dance - 2 armed soldiers gliding in, out and around one another, maintaining distance, waiting for an opening, striking when it presented itself.

One of Sgt. Dunnings' quirks was the use of real bayonets - no rubber for him! Gave us great incentive for success, increased attention span too. (BTW - as long as he trained us, no-one actually got cut - bad, at least. )

Last edited by DaveO : 08-14-2002 at 05:28 AM.

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Old 08-14-2002, 06:09 AM   #8
Chris Li
 
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Quote:
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
What I was trying to get across in my last post is that maintaining ma ai is active rather than reactive but in answer to your question I would assume that if you are being charged then the attacker has figured out that your body mass or strength is less than his. Meeting that situation with pure irimi could prove difficult.
I think that's right - in general I'd always choose to be proactive rather than reactive. In addition I would add that maai is not only active, but it is also flexible. People talk about "maintaining maai", and that seems to give the impression that maai is a fixed variable (actually it's 30.42 cm, but that's just between you and me ).

In reality maai flexes according to the situation, the people involved, and what is being attempted on both sides. Some things work better at on maai then at another - the trick is to get the maai you want out of the situation while the other person is trying to do the same thing.

Take a look at ballroom dancing and just think what it would look like if the exact same distancing were always maintained - they used to do that at school dances, and it looks pretty unnatural. Good dancers move through various maai depending upon the dances they are performing.

Also, I believe that it is possible to maintain control over maai while backing up, but it tends to be fairly difficult, so I would avoid it if you can - just ask any military person how difficult it is to execute a retreat in the face of oncoming forward pressure from the enemy without having it break apart on you. Not impossible, but not something that you'd make your first choice.

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-14-2002, 06:45 AM   #9
Bruce Baker
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Ma ai is the ability to use techniques that work within the distance that is present.

You can adjust distance to use different techniques, but sometimes you have to use what ever distance is present. Rethink you use if Ma ai.
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Old 08-14-2002, 07:20 AM   #10
IrimiTom
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Quote:
One soldier would attack, one defend. The defender was responsible for maintaining a steady distance between them, while the attacker tried to either close or extend the distance. The tactics: If the attacker backs up, the defender moves forward, maintaining distance. If the attacker moves in, defender moves to the side, maintaining distance without giving up ground and initiative.
I did this same exercise in fencing class (of course, with fencing gear and rubber tip foils, so it doesn't quite measure up to Dave's army training . In fact I took fencing up just to improve my aikido ma'ai. I ended up dropping fencing all together, cause I just wanted to move out of the line of attack all the time, I mean what the hell is this parrying and just backing up I thought. It did help me realize or solidify the idea that ma'ai is not a linear concept, though.
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Old 08-14-2002, 08:02 AM   #11
JJF
 
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Quote:
Tom Grana (IrimiTom) wrote:
...I ended up dropping fencing all together, cause I just wanted to move out of the line of attack all the time...
You should seriously consider taking up some form of Aikido-related sword work. Nishio Shihan for example has deviced a number of paired ken-tai-ken (sword vs. sword) and ken-tai-jo (sword vs. staff) techniques which are excellent for practicing maai. I don't know any names of others who practice in a similar way, but there must be several others.

Alternatively you could join a kenjutsu-dojo where they do paired exercises or perhaps ask in a Kendo-dojo if you can join the kendo-kata practice.

Just a few thoughts!

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 08-14-2002, 09:15 AM   #12
SeiserL
 
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IMHO, distance is important in any art. I think of it more in terms of what distance do I need to make this specific technqiue effective against this specific person. Distance isn't just defensive and staying outside. Its also inside to take the balance and momentum of the attacker.

Until again,

Lynn

Lynn Seiser PhD
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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, 09:46 AM   #13
Genex
 
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actualy i'm really psyched about what Jorgan said, sword work Would give the training on distance and you would feel it more, something like Iaido maybe?

pete

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Old 08-14-2002, 12:45 PM   #14
Bruce Baker
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Aome people have a natural talent for adapting to a situation, while others need to consider years of practice to reach that state of mind which gives you quick action for opportunity. Keep practicing. One day, without thinking about it, you will respond without thinking about what you want to do. Then, on that day, you will understand about "not thinking ahead to plan movements."
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Old 08-14-2002, 12:47 PM   #15
Bruce Baker
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Then again, some people type'Some' instead of Aome.

Typing too becomes a lifetime practice.
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Old 08-14-2002, 03:45 PM   #16
Conrad Gus
 
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Quote:
Then again, some people type'Some' instead of Aome.
Bruce Baker can actually be a pretty funny guy.

(Or are you just "trolling" for laughs?)

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Old 08-14-2002, 05:36 PM   #17
PeterR
 
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We are whimps I admit but one of our basic drils (ie. every class) involves the same sort of exercise. The general version is opposite arms extended in tegatana, just touching. One partner drives, the other follows. Variations include eyes closed, arms lowered to side, various weapons, strike and block (yes Aikido has blocks) or redirect and (also done every class) training in sen no sen. The later is interesting in that the moment the driver (see above) threatens kick or strike, the partner enters. Great fun trying to get the other person off guard.
Quote:
Dave Organ (DaveO) wrote:
One of my old Army close combat instructors - Sgt. Carl Dunnings - had us doing a drill once that at the time I thought extremely odd - although I've since learned its value.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 08-14-2002, 06:10 PM   #18
Jim23
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Quote:
Conrad Gustafson (Conrad Gus) wrote:
Bruce Baker can actually be a pretty funny guy.

(Or are you just "trolling" for laughs?)

Yikes! Bruce might actually be human after all.

Jim23

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Old 08-14-2002, 08:27 PM   #19
PeterR
 
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Quote:
Bruce Baker wrote:
Ma ai is the ability to use techniques that work within the distance that is present.
Sorry Bruce it is not - can't change the definition.

Even worse - the last thing you want to do is think what technique you want to use. Mushin and all that. Maintain proper ma ai and the techniques will present themselves. A subsequent post you state the same - careful of contradictions.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 08-15-2002, 10:03 AM   #20
SeiserL
 
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Quote:
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
Maintain proper ma ai and the techniques will present themselves
Nicely said. Compliments and appreciation.

Until again,

Lynn

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
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Old 08-15-2002, 01:39 PM   #21
Bronson
 
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Quote:
Maintain proper ma ai and the techniques will present themselves.
Hey that's strangely similar to what my first fencing instructor used to say. "Your first job is to stay alive. If you maintain a strong defense and proper blade position your opponent will kill himself on your sword."

Bronson

"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, 08:58 PM   #22
jk
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So isn't it time for someone to wax poetic on mobility, kamae and their relationship with the maintenance of proper maai? I've got too much caffeine to organize my (meagre) thoughts correctly on this one...any takers?

Regards,
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