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Old 11-01-2002, 02:13 AM   #1
Ta Kung
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Reason for sloppy attacks?

I posted this in another thread, but I want it in a thread of its own. Here are my thoughts as to why some people attack sloppy. What are your thoughts?

Most of us want a strong and commited attack from our uke, but we never practise attacks in Aikido. The attacks are often, but not alwawys, lame (as many threads here mention).

A former Karateka can throw a tsuki that is committed. An Aikidoka (who has no other martial arts training) can merely mimik that motion, with more or less success. For most of us, there is a difference. A real tsuki is not something every one does good automaticly. You need to practise it, not just mimik it. Otherwise you could learn Kung-fu just from watching movies...

Should we start practising attacks in Aikido? Taking turns as uke, is NOT equal to practising attacks. Practising needs supervision by an instructor who knows his stuff.

There are students with high grades in my dojo, and their attacks are lousy. There are also some former Karatekas, who have only practised Aikido for a year. And their attacks are WAY better. Even those who only practised Karate for a year or two.

/Patrik

Last edited by Ta Kung : 11-01-2002 at 02:20 AM.
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Old 11-01-2002, 06:58 AM   #2
Bruce Baker
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One of the reasons I said "NO" to Aikido as a first art, an earlier question in this same vein, was precisely the same observation I have had watching people attempting to learn Aikido as a first martial art.

The intensity, the opportunity of violent interaction is not the same as the intent of bull charging, partial or nearly full on attacks in other martial arts .... this lack of commitment makes it difficult to understand the basis of advanced practice.

On the other hand, what you gonna do to improve this practice?

You gonna bitch and moan, or are you going to approach the teacher, or teachers, and be the uke who demonstrates full on attacks and results of hit or miss tactics? I hope you are ready to be a rubber band man who can take ukemi as well as give attacks because that would seem to be the butt of your complaint ... you haven't seen others attacks with full commitment verify the techniques of Aikido?

Well, don't be surprised if there are injurys with this type of practice.

Not everyone can maintain control, or go with the techniques.

Maybe that is why it takes so long to work up to the full speed committed attacks, both uke and nage need time / practice to learn to blend without injuring each other?

Could be just me, but karate tended to cause more injurys with full committed attacks and defense that didn't know how to modify in order to lower the incidence of injury?

Maybe that is why Aikido is more fun, less injurys, and practice maintains the proper practice needed for full committed attacks.
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Old 11-01-2002, 07:29 AM   #3
Rev_Sully
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I'm still a beginner and I find it hard charging another person like that. So I feel as though I'm cheating my nage. Also when being uke to another beginner, they don't know how to perform the technique correctly therefore not redirecting my ki and momentum effectively and increasing the risk of injury...whew! Long thought!

But I think a weak uke "attack" stems from lack of confidence. I know i need a nice Shodan who'll say to me "go ahead and hit me...you won't" but I need to have confidence in my "attack" as uke for the nage to throw me correctly so I learn ukemi correctly.

We are interdependent on the mat!

"He who knows best knows how little he knows." -Thomas Jefferson
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Old 11-01-2002, 07:40 AM   #4
Ta Kung
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Quote:
On the other hand, what you gonna do to improve this practice?
Recommend cross training, or take a few minutes per class to explain how to attack properly. Not violently, but properly.
Quote:
You gonna bitch and moan, or are you going to approach the teacher, or teachers, and be the uke who demonstrates full on attacks and results of hit or miss tactics?
Am I bitching and moaning? It wasn't my intent. And btw yes, I am the uke who demostrates full on attacks. But not by hit or miss tactics. It sounds to me that you are one of those who can't attack properly? You're not supposed to throw your self like a kamikaze pilot at your nage, and you're not supposed to attack like a 5 year old girl either. There is something in between those two options. You can make an honest attack and still maintain control. But many do not... which is my point.
Quote:
Well, don't be surprised if there are injurys with this type of practice.
Ju-jutsu uses similar techniques as we to. And they manage to throw commited attacks (not kamikaze, not wimpy attacks). Are they injuring themselves any more then we are?
Quote:
Not everyone can maintain control, or go with the techniques.
That's why it's called PRACTISE. Not everyone can... but everyone can LEARN!

That's exactly my point.

I'm not sure if your post is aimed at me personly. I'm just stating my thoughts here. So I hope there is no offence. I really do think you can make an honest, controlled attack, without injury. I also do think many don't do this, because they don't know how to. So my question is, should we start practising attacks in Aikido, or recommend crosstraining?

/Patrik
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Old 11-01-2002, 07:48 AM   #5
ian
 
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I think when you swap between uke and nage its easy to perform in the same manner. For example, several weeks ago someone was asking why a technique wasn't working, and it was because uke was blending with nage (and actually putting them in kokyu nage). Also, if you are not careful uke ends up chasing a hand which is being pulled away by nage; a very unrealistic situation. I think being uke can be very difficult. To me you have to close all thoughts of aikido, and just attack as if you intend to complete it. i.e. if you are attacking with yokomen you attack with enough force and stability and 'connection' (hand/body) as if you were going to kill or disable the nage.

I would agree that training (including physical strength) is required to achieve this ability to attack - however I find bokken training very useful to develop shomen/yokomen type strikes.

Ian

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Old 11-01-2002, 07:51 AM   #6
Ta Kung
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Another thought on this subject. Sometimes when practising with beginners, you get the feeling that their attack wouldn't hit even if I stood still. So I sometimes do stand stil. And guess what? In most cases, the strike is at its maximum way infront of me (ie it would never have hit me). Or worse, it's aimed beside me.

This is, in some cases, because the beginners don't want to "accidently" hit you.

I always tell them that there is no need for me to aviod the attack, if it isn't going to hit me anyway. And even more important:

If you practise defence against strikes that's never going to hit you even if you stand still, you'll learn it the wrong way!



/Patrik
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Old 11-01-2002, 07:53 AM   #7
Ta Kung
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Ian, I agree with you 100%! Too bad my english isn't good enough to get my thoughts into writing. I usually end up rambling...

/Patrik
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Old 11-01-2002, 08:41 AM   #8
jimvance
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Don't blame the students....

I think that one reason we see such a disparity in attacks is that most Aikido teachers don't teach them. Most Aikido teachers show what happens when they are attacked, not what it looks like to attack someone else. Sure, there is always a problem with being non-committal or over-cooperative as an uke, but I think the real solution isn't to bad-mouth the students, regardless of whether they are sempai or kohai. The real problem is the fact that most teachers don't know how to make a committed attack that will work without hurting their students, and since they are the ones "showing the techniques", they never really have to, right? I don't agree.

Jim Vance
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Old 11-01-2002, 08:57 AM   #9
rachmass
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I don't know about what some teachers do, but I, and my fellow teachers whom I do know, all teach attacks as well, and emphasize a committed follow-through. I particularly work on staying connected through a technique, and put as much emphasis on ukemi as on being nage.

I wouldn't show a tsuki as a karate punch, because the way I was taught it was as a knife stab, and that is how I try to teach it. I also don't suggest it as a karate punch, as it isn't good to lock the arm the way a twisted karate punch does (my ex-boyfriend was a karate teacher of many years, so I know what their punches look like). It is the connectedness between uke and nage that I am looking for, as well as the committment to the attack and follow through.
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Old 11-01-2002, 10:34 AM   #10
MattRice
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no such thing as a 'karate punch'

there are many punches in karate, some of them look just like what we call mune-tski in aikido practice. There are many styles of karate, Issin-ryu punching is vastly different from Shotokan's punching emphasis. A good attack is a good attack, specific MA not withstanding.

I think the issue at hand is that the principles of a good attack may be what's not being taught or practiced.
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Old 11-01-2002, 11:27 AM   #11
Deb Fisher
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Yeah, in order to throw a decent punch (a skill I'm still working on), I had to be taught by a friend who knows the mechanics of throwing a punch and how to explain them.

A few hours at a punching bag helped me understand what the goal of mune-tski is - as someone who has never thought to hit someone in the rest of her life... it's something I should do more regularly.

still haven't figured out a shomen strike, though.

Deb Fisher
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Old 11-01-2002, 11:32 AM   #12
Alan Drysdale
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Part of the problem seems to be that people get the impression that they are supposed to attack like other aikidoka, and people who know better will give wimpy attacks. So you smile, say something like "is that how they taught you to punch in karate", and then you get a real attack. (And usually the technique works better.)

Alan
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Old 11-01-2002, 12:10 PM   #13
rachmass
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My understanding of the punches that I learned from the ex were from a very centered stance and a twist with the punch (he practiced Shorinryu karate). How many variations are there? The point I was trying to get across is that it was almost a static punch which ended with a locked elbow. That is a position I wouldn't want to end up in as an aikidoka (no locked joints).
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Old 11-01-2002, 12:43 PM   #14
Bud
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I tell my uke to attack seriously. I've always asked for nothing less than serious attacks (correct yoko / shomen uchi or tsuki that will connect if I don't evade, etc.) and I do the same as uke. Not attacking correctly is cheating nage's learning process. Even something as basic as morote dori demands correct positioning and approach.

As for learning to punch, IMHO it should be a required skill, but probably something that the student must cross train to get right. A few lessons from a boxing instructor and some heavy bag work will do wonders for atemi. that's how I learned to strike. but the student must be able to use this punching skill in relation to his aikido; the footwork must still be firmly aikido-based and the targets for the atemi should be ones that open up in practice.
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Old 11-01-2002, 01:56 PM   #15
Bruce Baker
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Sorry if Patrick Eng does not see the point of my post ... but most people, including myself, forget that the gravity of words is accepted at different levels of commitment.

Very few commited attacks involve advanced counter techniques, so the motion of the attack, the uke and nage finding the harmony of motion between attack and defense is not a static motion, but the actuation of movement ... commitment.

And what if someone tackled you, instead of punched or kicked at you, what would you do?

How would you adapt from practice to a real fight situation.

No, I do not think I am too harsh in my comments. I believe you have not had enough time consider that even the worst practitioner needs a little help, a few pointers to increase their level of practice, and although I agree that many practices do indeed lack the reality of karate, and other martial arts, your example of doing your best until someone betters you should be in mind.

Oh yes. Sooner or later there will be someone who knocks you on your butt and reawakens you to be more lienient in your criticism of lesser attacks.

Now ... If I could just stop biting my lip during practice when I see terrible attacks ...
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Old 11-01-2002, 04:05 PM   #16
Ta Kung
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Well Bruce, I find your posts a bit hard to interpret, english not beeing my first language. I've read stuff you posted in other threads, and I usually agree with you. I don't think you understand what I mean. I'll give it one more try. (if you do understand my, but disagree, I'll just leave it at that)

Quote:
And what if someone tackled you, instead of punched or kicked at you, what would you do?
Is a tackle a standard attack in Aikido practise? I was refering to the attacks that ARE standard (grabs, strikes etc). I was pointing out, in different ways, why I felt that many do these attacks poorly (lack of training). And I also gave my views on how to better it.

I'm happy to see that many that has posted in this thread, acctually do put empasis on attacks in their teaching/practising.
Quote:
...consider that even the worst practitioner needs a little help, a few pointers to increase their level of practice
Absolutely! I never do a faster attack than the student I practise with can handle. If they tell me to slow down, I obey their wish without hesitation. I practise WITH my partner, not against him/her. But, as I'm trying to point out, even if I throw a punch ever so slowly, I do aim where sensei told us to aim. If the student freezes, so does my attack, before it hits.
Quote:
Oh yes. Sooner or later there will be someone who knocks you on your butt and reawakens you to be more lienient in your criticism of lesser attacks.
By attacking me poorly? Seriously, though. Where did that remark come from?! My criticism of lesser attacks is nothing I'm shouting out everywhere I go. I simply try to help my nage to practise. I'm not fooling him by throwing myself before he's even touched me. I'm also not trying to stomp his butt or to prove that his technique is inferiour to someone elses.

All I did was start a thread about how we should/if we should improve our attacks. Perhaps this was the wrong place to post my thoughts...

Regards,

Patrik

PS. In case you haven't figured it out yet, Bruce, my critisicm of poor attacks is not aimed at newer students. Beginners are beginners, but they should try to do it right from the start. And it's better to do a commited attack slowly, then to do a sloppy attack fast. Don't you agree?

Last edited by Ta Kung : 11-01-2002 at 04:17 PM.
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Old 11-01-2002, 05:15 PM   #17
SeiserL
 
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Re: Reason for sloppy attacks?

Quote:
Patrik Eng (Ta Kung) wrote:
I posted this in another thread, but I want it in a thread of its own. Here are my thoughts as to why some people attack sloppy. What are your thoughts?/Patrik
IMHO, the reason is ignorance and inexperience. That's an explanation, bit not an excuse.

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 11-01-2002, 07:25 PM   #18
Alfonso
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Quote:
And it's better to do a commited attack slowly, then to do a sloppy attack fast. Don't you agree?
I think that's a good training tip. Theres an essay floating about from a russian systema instructure that explains their slow freeplay which has a neat explanation of the benefits of this type of training. There's another on the "OODA" cycle that also completes the thought well too.

BTW

I tackled during randori last class

Nage was able to blend nicely and all in all it was fun. I don't think i've done this before in training {as uke I mean) . It did surprise him a bit (sorry Kevin) but since it didn't pose a problem I feel that just the footwork alone proves worth protection from certain quarters.
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Old 11-02-2002, 08:48 AM   #19
ronmar
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commitment in attacks

A good place to go for realistic commited attacks is a mixed martial arts club. The chances are they will not know aikido so will not know what to expect, but will not throw themselves for you either. The object of their attack will probably be to tackle you to the ground or get close enough to clinch and throw. Chances are they will do this kind of takedown drill every class. If you speak to the person you are practicing with and say you want to try something new, they will probably be glad to oblige.

The difference between the kind of attacks you will find in a place like this and an aikido dojo are (i) They will be used to live drilling of their attacks with full resistance. (ii) The drilling is FOR the takedown, not for the defence against it. Therefore they will give good, strong attacks with the intent being to take you to the floor. (iii) There will be no hesitation in anticipation of a heavy throw because they will not be expecting it. (iv) There will also be no overcommitment, like in aikido sometimes, in an attempt to make a throw easier for you and minimise damage to themselves.

You will probably find the experience mutually beneficial if any of you give it a go. I tried it after judo training and it was quite difficult to adapt to the fact that they were wearing just t-shirts instead of heavy gi's.
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Old 11-02-2002, 11:06 AM   #20
jimvance
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Quote:
Patrik Eng wrote:
All I did was start a thread about how we should/if we should improve our attacks. Perhaps this was the wrong place to post my thoughts...
I think this is a great place to ask the question "WHY", but not the question "HOW". The "HOW" aspect should always take place in a dojo under a competent instructor.
Quote:
Patrik Eng wrote:
Is a tackle a standard attack in Aikido practise? I was refering to the attacks that ARE standard (grabs, strikes etc). I was pointing out, in different ways, why I felt that many do these attacks poorly (lack of training)....

...Beginners are beginners, but they should try to do it right from the start. And it's better to do a commited attack slowly, then to do a sloppy attack fast.
I have a couple of questions/comments about this, because it is good food for thought. Why should we have standard attacks? I agree that we should, but do we ever consider why the attack system within Aikido is set up the way it is? Is it effective; in other words, what is the end result of a successful attack? Perhaps it is this lack of a clear objective that causes a lot of confusion for the people who are supposed to be executing attack "XYZ".

I don't think it is lack of training that causes this. There are problems that will be encountered from relative beginners regarding inappropriate attacks, but that is the point of training, establishing a correct method. If the correct method is undefined, or is unrealistic, or damages the people on the receiving end, problems will arise. It is the teacher's responsibility to ensure the above criteria are at the very least "acceptable", if not above par. Teachers expect us to learn with an open mind, but I think we must always do so with a spirit of inquiry, not merely blind acceptance.

A "committed" attack does not need to rely on speed or emotional disparity (anger, revenge, etc.) to be effective. A steam roller doesn't move very quickly, nor does it have the ability to wish me harm, but I would hate to stand in front of one without being able to move out of the way. Again, what is the attacker "committing" to? If the attack is undefined, or unrealistic, or going to hurt the other party, why would we do it? I don't think most people can make an effective attack without the idea of hurting someone, or at least engaging the emotional devices that we normally use to justify acts of aggression.

This is much more complicated subject than just "<cross-training in karate will make your attacks much crisper> <no they won't, besides we don't do karate!> <well you're an idiot...> <why are you verbally abusing me?> <et cetera, ad nauseum>". And this is as good a place as any to apply the question "WHY".

Jim Vance
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Old 11-02-2002, 02:52 PM   #21
Deb Fisher
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Jim Vance wrote:

"A "committed" attack does not need to rely on speed or emotional disparity (anger, revenge, etc.) to be effective. A steam roller doesn't move very quickly, nor does it have the ability to wish me harm, but I would hate to stand in front of one without being able to move out of the way. Again, what is the attacker "committing" to? If the attack is undefined, or unrealistic, or going to hurt the other party, why would we do it? I don't think most people can make an effective attack without the idea of hurting someone, or at least engaging the emotional devices that we normally use to justify acts of aggression. "

Jim, I think this paragraph gets to the heart of my own uncommitted, sloppy attacks. I have no idea what my intent is - and tend to do 'well' only when I am frustrated, or employing some kind of emotional device.

There is so little control in this tactic - but it's all I've been able to come up with so far on my own. I'm going to sit with your steamroller metaphor for awhile and see where it gets me.

Meanwhile, if you can speak more to what intent is (as opposed to what it should not be), could you do that?

I'm all ears,

Deb

Deb Fisher
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Old 11-03-2002, 08:43 AM   #22
SmallFry
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I believe that the attacks in aikido are the way they are because the techniques of aikido were taken from arts that were supposed to enable samurai to defend themselves against attacks that were common to them at their time period.

For example, my senseis keep pointing out that most aikido strikes mimic sword movements. I guess this is one of the good reasons to have weapons practice, so one can see why the empty hand movements are the way they are.

To answer the question of the intent of our attack, I think it would be a good idea to discuss a little about the principle of attacks themselves.

To me, there are only so many ways an attack can recognizably reach you (i.e. we don't have to deal with a "spiritual fist attack" that will magically appear inside your body and clobber you from inside). Therefore I see attacks in terms of "angles of attack". I already posted this in another thread but I guess it wouldn't hurt to mention it again here.

Let's take for example the shomen uchi attack which, if we just look at the empty hand movement, seems quite useless at first glance.

But consider that the "angle of attack" is that of something having a downward arc toward your head. So imagine that instead of the hand in shomen uchi movement, it could be a knife, a tire iron being swung by a street tough, or a rolling pin being swung by the angry baker, or an axe kick being executed by a tae kwon do guy, but all following shomen uchi *angle of movement*.

All the dynamics of these attacks are different from each other, but they generally follow shomen uchi movement. So while the specific technique that can or should be applied for the specific attack may be different, the principle of how to "get off the line" or maintain your center when dealing with a shomen uchi attack should still be applicable.

So where does our intent, as uke, come in. I believe we as uke should take the attitude that we want to help nage to recognize these angles of attack so that he can better understand the principles of evasion, centering and unbalancing the attacker since these principles are consistent even if the actual attack may take a different form outside the dojo.

So we may adjust our attack speed and force depending on nage's level, but at least we should keep in mind that we are trying to help nage "recognize the angle". After all, we don't attack so we can score hits against nage.

So if we look at the attacks this way, hopefully we can keep a more sincere attitude in our practice. The attacks are not senseless and therefore there is more understanding about our role when we are uke.

Hope that helps.
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Old 11-03-2002, 09:30 AM   #23
Bruce Baker
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Be aware the bulk of Aikido is done with hands, and that in other arts there is a variety of grappling techniques done with the legs also. So if hand techniques are becoming too slow, boaring, and putting you to sleep, be aware of other attackes beyond punches and kicks.

Leg take downs are not something to be dismissed.

Back to the subjectof committed attacks.

If there is no committed attack, doesn't that change the technique?

Practice from static, advancing to attacks is the course of raising the bar for higher practice, and although we want to be proficient we must maintain a margin of safety.

The commitment of learning how to use a variety of attacks may not seem important to the beginner, or may even become set in your mind as a standard of practice, but with the variety of striking arts out there you should be prepared for most eventualitys.

I am a bit disappointed at the attitude of "I can do this but others do not", but that too is the learning process of practice and experience ... part of the normal growing process.

Generally, I advise people to learn how to get out of the way of incoming attacks, then deal with them as the motion dictates. Only after hundreds of hours of practice do they seem to acquire the confidence to interrupt the attack and redirect the force with the true harmony that defines the power of Aikido.

Don't mind me, or become too attached to my comments, they are the experiences of a gorilla trying to play nice with the other normal human beings practicing Aikido. My 13 year old son told me I threw him too fast on his third day of Aikido in no uncertain terms, so if my words are too strong, as my throws sometimes are, I do apologize.

But still, we should look at situations from as many angles as possible to explore the depth of opportunity, and be aware of the fact that we must communicate our concerns and needs if they are to be met.

The harder and faster a practice is, the more difficult it is to maintain a margin of safety, especially if there is a laspe in awareness.

I do agree we do not spend enough time educating each other as to the martial aspect of attacks, which only reinforces my belief that everyone who does Aikido should examine other striking arts, before, during, or after their practice of Aikido to enlighten them to the true strength of Aikido and its invaluable lessons.
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Old 11-03-2002, 07:27 PM   #24
jimvance
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Quote:
Deb Fisher wrote:
Jim, I think this paragraph gets to the heart of my own uncommitted, sloppy attacks. I have no idea what my intent is - and tend to do 'well' only when I am frustrated, or employing some kind of emotional device.
I think this is the normal human condition, and why training is important. We are changing the default reaction, and in doing so, we have more options to choose from. We are always going to have emotional responses to conflict; the dojo is a safe environment where we can experience those emotions and come to terms with them.

I want to steer clear from any sort of technical discussion, but here are a couple of things to keep in mind. There is an agreement inherent within budo expressed in the statement of "onegaishimasu". Make sure that you have a clean interaction with your training partner, otherwise you are factoring extra variables into your practice that will encourage the emotional response. It's kind of like in zen: we aren't trying to "empty the mind", just not stay dependent on it. This doesn't mean we ignore our responses, we simply don't rely on them as part of the process.
Quote:
Deb Fisher wrote:
There is so little control in this tactic - but it's all I've been able to come up with so far on my own. I'm going to sit with your steamroller metaphor for awhile and see where it gets me.
Again, I would like to stay away from any sort of technical "instruction", as I am neither qualified and don't believe this is place to do so. The Jiyushinkan has very specific criteria for attacks, and we spend a lot of time learning to give and receive attacks appropriately. Here is some advice based on what I have learned so far under very competent direction.

Talk with your teacher regarding proper attacks. Ask him what the end result of a good attack is, and if this can be practiced in your dojo. Can you "test", or receive, the attack without being hurt? Does it have a definite result, i.e., does it unbalance you, does it take you off your feet, what is it supposed to do? Once you know what you are supposed to do, then do it at a level of speed and focus where you can perform consistently. With continued practice, you will gain competence at higher degrees of speed, force, and precision. If you don't find the answers you are looking for, then you always have the option to look somewhere else.

Jim Vance
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Old 11-03-2002, 08:46 PM   #25
Deb Fisher
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 145
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Hey Jim, wow!

First of all, thanks for not making this a technical discussion - that would have been useless, confusing.

You wrote:

"Can you "test", or receive, the attack without being hurt? Does it have a definite result, i.e., does it unbalance you, does it take you off your feet, what is it supposed to do? Once you know what you are supposed to do, then do it at a level of speed and focus where you can perform consistently."

This is a better orientation for learning and exploring - similar to the way I approach a technique. I had no idea I was putting attacks in a different category mentally, which is interesting. I think I assumed that they are just to be 'done'... hmmm.

I'm putting your response on my refrigerator and talking to my teacher - it's a Eureka moment!

Thanks a million,

Deb

Deb Fisher
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