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Old 12-22-2002, 06:37 AM   #1
Bud
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Atemi cross training?

The atemi techniques I learned from my sensei were very general. We didn't have any specific training for atemi; it was basically like "apply a strike here as you move in..". I think he had a background in karate and that was probably why he emphasized atemi.

After I got to shodan, I did some boxing and some arnis and I use that as a basis for atemi. I'd like to ask what kind of specific atemi training have you done in aikido and / or what cross training have you done to improve on your striking ability.
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Old 12-22-2002, 07:05 AM   #2
Jorx
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That's a very interesting subject 'cause the Aikido community can be divided into two - those who emphasize atemi training and those who don't.

I personally think that regarding the self-defence aspect, the atemi training (cross-training, lending techniques from some other style) can be highly proficient and efficient.

I plan to take up some Wing Tsun basics to compensate my lack of atemi skills.

Jorgen
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Old 12-22-2002, 07:23 AM   #3
Ta Kung
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O'sensei once said that Aikido is 90% atemi. I wonder why some people still insist on not practising it in the dojo...?
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Old 12-22-2002, 07:38 AM   #4
Jorx
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The answer is quite clear to me - some think (and there is no right or wrong opinion) that the texhniques is enough - entering and just "slapping" someone is atemi enough. Some senseis say that atemi is something that you should learn on your own, etc etc etc.
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Old 12-22-2002, 08:17 AM   #5
Bud
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I think a lot of dojos take atemi training for granted. Sure a lot of aikidokas apply them but how many of them actually try striking a heavy bag to know how it feels to hit anything? Personally I think atemi training should be more detailed, even if the sensei has to study outside of the art to impart that knowledge to his students.
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Old 12-22-2002, 09:22 AM   #6
Paula Lydon
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~~Tae Kwon Do and Wing Chun. I prefer the Wing Chun movements, but then I'm small and am by nature more of an 'in' fighter. There is also more understanding in Wing Chun about principles that we also build on in Aikido: full and empty, absorbing, circular motion and spiraling, etc.

~~It is my belief that if you want to train effectively as nage then uke has to know how to attack realistically. That does seem to be a shortcoming in many Aikido dojos. What to do, what to do?

~~Paula~~
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Old 12-22-2002, 09:59 AM   #7
bob_stra
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Second vote for WT. Somehow the power generation seems more appropriate to aikido than boxing type strikes. YMMV.

Also of interest (well, to me anyway ;-)

http://keith.martialartsman.net/amer.../pugIndex.html
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Old 12-22-2002, 11:28 AM   #8
SeiserL
 
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Re: Atemi cross training?

Quote:
Buddy Acenas (Bud) wrote:
I'd like to ask what kind of specific atemi training have you done in aikido and / or what cross training have you done to improve on your striking ability.
I came from FMA/JKD (Fillipino martial arts/ Jeet Kune Don)training. A lot of boxing and Wing Chun for the hands/Atemi. Helped a lot. Still practice on the bags and dummy.

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 12-22-2002, 02:29 PM   #9
Paul Klembeck
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Personally, while I believe atemi is very important, I don't think cross training to acquire technique is necessary. In our aikido practice we spend our time learning to extend force efficiently by developing the body motion to deliver this force with hips and an integrated body behind this force. This means that the same motions that we use in aikido are a natural basis for striking. Aikido body mechanics supports strikes, we just need to move faster and have an impact at the end of the motion. That said, it is necessary to spend some time hitting things (heavy bags or whatever) to make this connection, but it comes quickly. I have found that (when our dojos real teachers go on vacation and leave the poor students to me) that as little as a one hour class with some hitting a pad using aikido body mechanics allows most people to strike very hard. Consequently, I think we are already learning atemi technique, just implicitly.

My guess (unsupported by anything but speculation) is that regularly mixing atemi from other arts with aikido may just confuse body motion, and perhaps lead to weaker perfomance.

These are just my personal speculation, so comments would be appreciated.

Paul Klembeck
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Old 12-22-2002, 04:54 PM   #10
JW
 
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Quote:
Paul Klembeck wrote:
... the same motions that we use in aikido are a natural basis for striking. Aikido body mechanics supports strikes, we just need to move faster and have an impact at the end of the motion.
This is really interesting--I had a hunch that this might be true. Originally I did agree that aikido dojos need to teach how to do a good (even if very simple) strike or punch. But more and more I have been feeling that aikido in some way (as stated above) really has taught good punching skills to me without explicit explaination of punching.

But I must ask--did you have punching/kicking/striking education before aikido, or before having this realization? Because I did tae kwon do before, and I will never know if what I attribute to aikido is actually just what I had already learned, coming back to me.

The story of the one hour practice sessions is really interesting--considerable evidence that there is something learned but not taught.

Then again, I am strongly in favor of eliminating all lag time that might occur before good striking skills develop in the dojo, so I still believe some instruction should happen..

--JW
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Old 12-22-2002, 05:56 PM   #11
bob_stra
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Quote:
Paul Klembeck wrote:
My guess (unsupported by anything but speculation) is that regularly mixing atemi from other arts with aikido may just confuse body motion, and perhaps lead to weaker perfomance.
Having done WT for 3yrs, I can tell you that WT style punches mix nicely with aikido movement so far. Boxing tends to be too linear (my boxing at least). Muay Thai elbows are in the wrong range (so far - unless you count for spinning out of sankkyo).

Punching isn't atemi tho, is it? Or is it?

(dumbfounded look - honest question)
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Old 12-22-2002, 06:02 PM   #12
opherdonchin
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I have found that the better the atemi the less need there is to actually strike/connect with uke (or a potential partner who does not quite see themselves as an uke). This is consistent with my understanding of how AiKiDo 'works.' If the goal is not so much to inflict pain as to take balance and center, then it is more about allowing the other person to realize their vulnerability than it is about actually exploiting it.

Of course, some people are just thick.

On the other hand, some people don't respond particularly reasonably to pain. I heard a great story about a guy with a mental history who went wild in an emergency room. One of the people around the ward knew some sort of martial art and put a sankyo on him. The 'patient' used the sankyo to throw 'nage' across the room and into some equipment snapping his own elbow in the process but coming no closer to being 'subdued.'

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 12-22-2002, 06:05 PM   #13
bob_stra
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(addendum)

I should point out that my sketchy knowledge of WT is now over a decade old. About the only things I have left from it are (1) being comfortable punching with a horizontal fist (2) Nasty habit of doing bong sau when boxing. Suprising how elbowing someones fist tends to screw up their game ;-)
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Old 12-22-2002, 06:10 PM   #14
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Opher

What your take on "verbal atemi" like

"Hey, is your mothers name Gurtrude?" SMACK.

(just read a good article by geoff thompson on this topic. Must try it ASAP just for shock value alone ;-)

I saw a guy diffuse a fight once just by saying "please don't hit me, you'll only give me an erection". Now that's AIKIDO!!
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Old 12-22-2002, 07:28 PM   #15
Shrouded
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My guess (unsupported by anything but speculation) is that regularly mixing atemi from other arts with aikido may just confuse body motion, and perhaps lead to weaker perfomance.

Just thought I'd respond...

I train in a combative style called goshindo-jutsu atemi ryu which integrates aikido in with the movements of karate (the atemi), ju-jutsu, judo and nin-jutsu. From experience, I can tell you that body motion, the key to any successful technique, is only improved by the movements of the combined styles. Our beginning students are taught how to be both soft and hard and how to flow between and into the two states. Successfully done, it is incredibly effective.

J
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Old 12-22-2002, 09:50 PM   #16
L. Camejo
 
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Quote:
Opher Donchin (opherdonchin) wrote:
I have found that the better the atemi the less need there is to actually strike/connect with uke (or a potential partner who does not quite see themselves as an uke). This is consistent with my understanding of how AiKiDo 'works.' If the goal is not so much to inflict pain as to take balance and center, then it is more about allowing the other person to realize their vulnerability than it is about actually exploiting it.
Totally agree.

The idea of using atemi to take balance also begins to address the issue of people who may be "strike hardened", where power strikes aimed at causing impact damage have little effect. To me, atemi (in Aikido at least) is all about timing of the strike to take uke's balance in all forms, this will create an opening from where technique would seamlessly follow. If uke were too slow (or thick)to react in time, well collision of some sort is almost unavoidable.

The timing/body mechanics aspect is also why I tend not to do any heavy bag training for atemi practice. Although one may develop static power from striking a heavy bag, the bag will not replicate the reactive movements of a human body when struck. Hence it does not train one for the use of atemi in an Aikido application, where placement and timing of the strike in conjunction with a follow up technique against the constantly changing bodily posture (of uke) is what is desirable. The heavy bag works well though for those who want to stand up and break stuff... but that's another story

As far as other styles go, I apply a mixture of atemi from Chinese styles (love a grab with a back fist ), Tae Kwon Do and Shotokan Karate (which my instructor did); with the atemi movements outlined in the atemi waza and Tegatana Dosa of Shodokan Aikido as a foundation, allowing for proper body alignment and extension of the strike.

Just my $9.99

L.C.

Last edited by L. Camejo : 12-22-2002 at 09:52 PM.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 12-23-2002, 01:36 AM   #17
Bud
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Personally I prefer a vertical fist and open hand strikes over the classic boxing technique, despite my exposure to boxing.

IMHO, the strikes used in conjunction with aikido must be applicable without altering any of the footwork of the "base" art. I realized this when I tried boxing; a lot of power is generated from the rear leg as you extend for a straight after a jab. Another goal of my crosstraining was to be able to strike at specific targets (nose, jaw, ribs, etc.).

My strategy is to have the means to deliver solid accurate strikes either as a preemptive tactic or as I evade the first strike. I wouldn't want to miss with my atemi just when the opening does come; I might not have the second chance. The strikes doesn't have to be a fight stopper (although that would be nice).

I guess my point is that aikidokas must experience how it is to connect with a target, thus the bag work. Only by knowing how it will feel to hit something will atemi be made more effective.
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Old 12-23-2002, 09:56 AM   #18
bob_stra
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Repost

Here's a repost of a question I placed to another board. I think the answer might be of some interest -

I wrote -

> Recently I started training in aikido and >am having trouble integrating the standard >boxing mechanics.

To which Kirk Lawson (an aikidoka) responded

Think of the BKB as Atemi (vital point striking for you non-Aikidoka out

there :-) ). Use it as a setup or an entry prior to an Aikido style

technique. The footwork and body positioning is a bit different but not

so dissimilar that it won't work together. Think of the basic BKB stance

(depending on the individual style you're using, I'll work from a Mendoza

style and a right-handed left lead for the sake of discussion) as sort of

a modified left hamni. The feet are in almost exactly the same position,

about shoulder width apart and the left preceeding the right. It may be

a bit deeper then your Aikido hamni but that's more personal then

specific. The hand positions are what's going to seem weirdest to you as

an Aikidoka. You're gonna feel like you're sticking them out there just

*begging* for someone to grab them. Rest assured that it'll be *real*

hard for them to do so once you've got a little bit of practice with the

style, anyway, an Aikidoka is gonna want to take you on the move instead

of static anyway. When you throw a lead punch and are trying to relate

how the new body position relates to your Aikido training, think of it as

being, again, in a left hamni only now you're extended, you've extended

your energy. Think about not *over* extending. Use your body weight,

moving from the legs and hips as you do in Aikido, not trying to "force"

the punch using your shoulder for all of the energy. Same for the right

hand, the rounding blow, etc. Though some extension is required, you

don't want to *over* extend. In either case, classic BKB or Aikido, an

over extension is an invitation to a throw.

On the topic of BKB throws. The classic BKB throws are not all that

dissimilar to some of your Aikido throws. The difference tends to be

that the BKB throws (at least as illustrated in the manuals) tend to rely

more on upper body strength, be far less concerned with achieving an

initial "off balance," and have less of an idea of "centering." You

should be able to apply your Aikido training to the classic BKB throws

with good results.

Peace favor your sword

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"In these modern times, many men are wounded for not having weapons or

knowledge of their use."

-Achille Marozzo, 1536
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Old 01-09-2003, 12:27 PM   #19
aikidoc
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atemi

Atemi has historically been an integral part of aikido and I find it good we are starting to get more interest in the topic. Stanley even mentioned it recently.

I have found in training students that some prior knowledge of a striking art helps them pick up atemi easier. With no prior training they have to be instructed in how to even throw a basic punch. With prior knowledge, it seems to me it is easier for the student to understand suki (openings) and integrate the strike or punch in the flow of the the defensive aspect of the technique.

Just my $.99.
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Old 01-09-2003, 01:44 PM   #20
jimvance
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I wrote the following here on the Aikiweb a couple of years ago. I think that it may be relevant to the question above, and I agree with Larry's perspective about working within the movement models of your main discipline (otherwise your body's natural movement patterns will not mesh properly). A lot of people talk about striking and atemi as the same thing, but I believe there is a distinction. In other words, you can practice striking, but that does not necessarily mean you are practicing atemi. One definition of atemi I liked from one of my Japanese dictionaries was "knockdown blow". This idea of "generic" striking as opposed to "specific" striking was the purpose of my response in the following post.

(originally posted 03-10-2001)

I think you are really talking about two different things. Musashi mentions them in the Gorin no Sho as "utsu" and "ataru" or as what could be conjugated as "uchi" and "ate". I got the feeling that uchi (striking/hitting) was used to distract the opponent and that ate (scoring/hitting) was the decisive stroke in the engagement. Musashi was describing his own strategy and not Aikido, but I think the distinction has merit.

In the Daito Ryu, atemi are used to disable the opponent in some fashion with a throw or pin applied afterwards to control or incapacitate them. Keep in mind these men were all armed. Merely punching them was not a decisive victory; seizure or control of weaponry was critical to survival. Whether it was the change in Japanese society by the abolishment of a weapon wielding class that caused the engagement between people seem less deadly, or the emergence of the modern budo as processes for individual growth, the fact remains that emphasis on atemi became watered down.

O-Sensei described aikido as being 99% atemi, then did nothing to pass along that knowledge in any coherent form. Tomiki and Yoshinkai Aikido are perhaps the only systems to codify atemi into recognizable kata. (Notice that Shioda and Tomiki were both pre-WWII students of Ueshiba.) In time and under the watchful eye of Occupational Forces, atemi lost its roots in most aikido.

Keep in mind it was understood that when engaging in hand to hand combat, if one of the combatants could be subdued via atemi (that being a decisive, staggering strike) the whole thing was over. This was not boxing, which believes in pummeling the opponent until they cannot stand up any more (utsu). Atemi is decisive. If the atemi was unsuccessful, you had better have a backup arsenal and voila! techniques of all shapes and sizes are born! They are all "what if" versions born from that one chance-one cut "ataru" Musashi talks about.

So in my opinion, expecting to go into a combative situation without understanding anything about atemi and just trying to pull off a bunch of techniques is going to get you hurt. We are not just talking about clobbering people, but having a decisive outcome from a conflict. ...Aiki is born whenever a moment for decisive victory happens. Everything else is just BS.

Jim Vance
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Old 01-09-2003, 02:18 PM   #21
Lyle Bogin
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My interpretatiom Imaizumi Sensei's atemi is that is more like a tsuki with a sword than, say, a right cross. In This is Aikido, Tohei Sensei advocates striking without cocking your arm at the elbow as well, essentially lettting your attacker walk into a well extended fist. This seems to work very well when the attacker continues to approach.

"The martial arts progress from the complex to the simple."
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Old 01-09-2003, 02:35 PM   #22
shihonage
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Jim, O Sensei described Aikido as 70% atemi, as Gozo Shioda mentions in his book.

As opposed to 99%.
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Old 01-09-2003, 03:16 PM   #23
aikidoc
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The 99% is in the literature. As pointed out by I believe John Stevens it depends on who you talk to.
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Old 01-09-2003, 05:20 PM   #24
jimvance
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Regardless of which percentage atemi accounts for in the grand scheme of Aikido, my point was more about the fact that simply practicing pugilism will not improve one's ability to execute "Aikido" techniques. On the other hand, knowing the difference between a hit that "strikes" (uchi) and a hit that "scores" (atemi) will have a marked difference on a person's ability.

To me, atemi is much more like a sniper getting a kill than just being the random victim of artillery fire. There are several factors that must be engaged in order to have a success. Good pugilists know the difference between the two kinds of hitting as well, and they are always working to get the "scoring" kind, (I don't mean this in the sporting sense, where they are awarded points) the kind that will end the fight in a knockout or knockdown. Looking at it from the feudalistic Japanese perspective, combative striking had to take many different factors into account as well, especially the one that the opponent may be armed, and the initial strike had to be debilitating, hence the term "atemi". It is my opinion that this term is getting watered down due to overuse, and people look at any striking practice as a viable alternative without really asking the questions of what and why atemi really is.

Jim Vance
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