Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > Techniques

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 04-24-2003, 02:40 AM   #1
willy_lee
Dojo: City Aikido
Location: San Francisco, CA USA
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 178
Offline
Subliminal gestures

I found this article online:

http://www.donrearic.com/SignalsKeating.html

The article is about using "subliminal gestures" -- motions that affect your opponent without touching, through redirection, perceptual leads, whatever.

Interesting stuff... I remember glancing at this article a couple years ago, but just read it again tonight and started thinking of the aiki-ness of it all.

I think it's a nice counterpoint to the recurring "atemi/no atemi" threads. This is talking about other ways that we can capture the mind, without striking or even the aikido-ish "strike with intent but not actually striking".

Some part of me wants to categorize this as atemi also, but the nitpicking part of me says no....

Do any of you practice this kind of non-atemi atemi?

Abstractedly thinking of ways to sneak this in during practice,
=wl
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2003, 03:34 AM   #2
happysod
Dojo: Kiburn, London, UK
Location: London
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 899
United Kingdom
Offline
yep, use them a lot, we call them "subtle distractions". I personally find them a lot more useful than atemis as they don't interrupt the flow of a technique, don't ever overbalance you and you never make the mistake of relying on them to work (another problem I've seen with the "hard atemi" boys and girls).
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2003, 07:57 AM   #3
aiki_what
"aiki_what"
IP Hash: 9fbb21a4
Join Date: Jul 2000
Anonymous User
Offline
"you never make the mistake of relying on them to work"

If you don't "rely" on them to work why use them at all? And if they don't disrupt the flow of a technique then how would they disrupt the flow of an attack.

I think it all goes back to the "intent". If it is an empty gesture than why bother with it. If I have the true "intent" to hit or disrupt flow then I don't have to hit or disrupt....a bit of a paradox, but an interesting one.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2003, 08:00 AM   #4
aiki_what
"aiki_what"
IP Hash: 9fbb21a4
Join Date: Jul 2000
Anonymous User
Offline
Another thought on this.....might not a sophisticated opponent "read" your subliminal gestures and obtain an advantage?..because in deploying a subliminal gesture you lose "intent" from your original purpose?
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2003, 08:00 AM   #5
Alec Corper
 
Alec Corper's Avatar
Dojo: Itten Suginami Dojo, Nunspeet
Location: Wapenveld
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 255
Netherlands
Offline
Try to get a look at the Systema video "Beyond the Physical". Keep an open mind

regards, Alec

If your temper rises withdraw your hand, if your hand rises withdraw your temper.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2003, 08:48 AM   #6
Bronson
 
Bronson's Avatar
Dojo: Seiwa Dojo and Southside Dojo
Location: Battle Creek & Kalamazoo, MI
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,677
Offline
Quote:
might not a sophisticated opponent "read" your subliminal gestures and obtain an advantage?
I don't know. Keep in mind I haven't read the article yet. When I was fencing a lot I used to use all sorts of small movements to adjust my opponents stance/openings. Many of these people had been fencing for awhile and really shouldn't have fallen for a lot of the stuff I did...but they more often than not did fall for it. Little things like rotating my hand from a pronated (palm down) to a suppinated (palm up) position, or vice versa would almost always have an affect on my opponent. It usually affected the experienced fencers more because the newbies didn't have the experience to (a) notice it (b) understand how the move would affect my abiltiy to attack/defend.

One of my favorites was to feign fatigue and start to let my point drift to the side or down. I also practiced diligently to be able to defend and attack from these off-guard positions. Given the people I was fencing, this should not have worked, but it did work, all the time.

Maybe I'm off track with this. I haven't read the article yet so I may be talking or thinking of something completely different. If so, my apologies for rambling on

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."
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2003, 08:53 AM   #7
opherdonchin
Dojo: Baltimore Aikido
Location: Baltimore
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 586
Offline
Quote:
If you don't "rely" on them to work why use them at all?
Something may help some of the time. I wouldn't rely on it, but I may still use it for the sake of the times it does help. I think of stepping through on tenshinage in this way: rarely necessary, occasionally counterproductive, but most often helpful and hence a good habit.
Quote:
And if they don't disrupt the flow of a technique then how would they disrupt the flow of an attack.
Atemi is often delivered in a way that stops uke's movement. I find that this just makes techniques more difficult as I then have to get uke moving again. Really skillful atemi, I think, manages to disrupt uke's balance without disrupting uke's flow. The movement continues in more or less the direction it was going, but control and initiative have shifted subtly to nage. A small movement of the hand can sometimes create this effect without really registering in uke's mind as an atemi. Like Ian said, I wouldn't rely on it, but on the other hand you can't really rely on anything.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2003, 09:16 AM   #8
happysod
Dojo: Kiburn, London, UK
Location: London
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 899
United Kingdom
Offline
Well, as Opher intimated, I don't rely on any single thing I do to work, either my aikido, punching or screaming like a castrato. I'll just try and maintain as flexible and calm a response as possible and generally try and take any opening that presents itself.

This isn't lack on intent, just a realistic view when it comes to an opponent, you brought up one of the many ways in which distractions or atemis (or even, gasp, aikido) may not work - an opponent who knows all your tricks. Others include they're better than you, you just get unlucky etc. etc. What ifs in a combat situation are manifold so I find it best to work with suits my own style best and let the rest go hang.

However, distractions are (as so well described by Bronson) an integral part of many combat based systems for a very good reason. Unlike a strike which does take intent to be effective, distractions can be blended easily into your normal movements with a minimal use of resources. It's only if you fall into the trap of being distracted by your own use of distractions (called being a smart alec over here) that they would interfere with your own technique.

Having said all that, I'll freely admit to being the "anti-atemi" when it comes to my aikido, so I'd be very interested in hearing others experiences of actually trying to use distraction/subliminal gestures in their aikido and how it compared for them against their normal atemis.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2003, 09:19 AM   #9
aiki_what
"aiki_what"
IP Hash: 9fbb21a4
Join Date: Jul 2000
Anonymous User
Offline
"screaming like a castrato"

I have to admit that would certianly unhinge me
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2003, 09:28 AM   #10
aiki_what
"aiki_what"
IP Hash: 9fbb21a4
Join Date: Jul 2000
Anonymous User
Offline
"Little things like rotating my hand from a pronated (palm down) to a suppinated (palm up) position, or vice versa would almost always have an affect on my opponent. It usually affected the experienced fencers more because the newbies didn't have the experience to (a) notice it (b) understand how the move would affect my abiltiy to attack/defend."

Interesting point, Bronson....But would you consider the pooint that while you are considering your tactic (pronated vs supinated palm) you are distracted and as you transition (no matter how short the time frame) from pronated to supinated palm you provide an opening?
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2003, 09:32 AM   #11
aiki_what
"aiki_what"
IP Hash: 9fbb21a4
Join Date: Jul 2000
Anonymous User
Offline
Opher, Good points. One thing I consider is that if the atemi "disrupts" their flow then I have suceeded and anything after that is icing on the cake. Even if I blend and don't disrupt the flow at that point in time....eventually I disrupt the flow by throwing them (or they disrupt their own flow by reaching a point where they have to take ukemi)
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2003, 10:26 AM   #12
Dave Miller
 
Dave Miller's Avatar
Dojo: UCO Budo Society
Location: Oklahoma
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 204
Offline
Isn't this just a classic "eye threat"?

What's described in the article sounds an awful lot like the classic "eye threat" form of atemi. One of my Senseis tells a story to illustrate the power of these subtle atemae (sp?):

The story involves Geist shihon walking to his car after a seminar. A man approached him threateningly and, despite repeated attempts to flee the situation, the man persisted. Geist made a strong eye threat and, in response, the man literally flipped over backwards onto the pavement, thus ending the confrontation.

Unless I misunderstood what the article was saying, is this not what is being discussed? If so, how is this different from a more traditional view of atemi?

DAVE

If you're working too hard, you're doing it wrong.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2003, 11:24 AM   #13
willy_lee
Dojo: City Aikido
Location: San Francisco, CA USA
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 178
Offline
Re: Isn't this just a classic "eye threat"?

Quote:
Dave Miller wrote:
What's described in the article sounds an awful lot like the classic "eye threat" form of atemi.
*Some* of what the article describes are eye threats. Most of them are not.

Here, I'll quote a bit of the article, describing a basic list of some simple subliminal gestures:

1. The action of tossing something toward the eyes or face. ("Eye threat", I believe this is what you're referring to)

2. Serpentine motion of any kind.

3. A backhand blow.

4. A lowering of the head and looking out the tops of the eyes.

5. Straightening or crouching the body.

6. Specific breathing patterns or breath related noises.

7. Making a "capturing" action with hands or arms.

Only the first one could I think be considered an eye threat.

=wl
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2003, 11:33 AM   #14
willy_lee
Dojo: City Aikido
Location: San Francisco, CA USA
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 178
Offline
Quote:
Mark Mueller (aiki_what) wrote:
Interesting point, Bronson....But would you consider the pooint that while you are considering your tactic (pronated vs supinated palm) you are distracted and as you transition (no matter how short the time frame) from pronated to supinated palm you provide an opening?
But the point of the subliminal gesture is that the action causes *more* distraction in the opponent -- hence the opening for Bronson.

See, how much distraction does it cause to yourself to flip your hand? You know you're going to do it. You're doing it as an integrated part of your movement (advises the article). Your opponent has to process it. What the heck was that? He wouldn't do it for no reason -- would he? *There's* the opening you're talking about.

=wl
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2003, 11:42 AM   #15
willy_lee
Dojo: City Aikido
Location: San Francisco, CA USA
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 178
Offline
Quote:
Mark Mueller (aiki_what) wrote:
Another thought on this.....might not a sophisticated opponent "read" your subliminal gestures and obtain an advantage?..because in deploying a subliminal gesture you lose "intent" from your original purpose?
...and...
Quote:
I think it all goes back to the "intent". If it is an empty gesture than why bother with it.
Why do you assume that a subliminal gesture is an empty gesture? Why do you assume that a subliminal gesture causes you to lose intent?

Just because your body is doing something that doesn't involve a direct strike doesn't mean it is empty or lacking intent, does it?

If I move one arm in such a way as to subliminally (i.e., processed by peripheral vision, not consciously processed) affect my opponent's posture in order to set up a hard strike with my other arm, how is my movement either empty or lacking intent?

=wl
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2003, 11:45 AM   #16
aiki_what
"aiki_what"
IP Hash: 9fbb21a4
Join Date: Jul 2000
Anonymous User
Offline
"See, how much distraction does it cause to yourself to flip your hand? You know you're going to do it. You're doing it as an integrated part of your movement (advises the article). Your opponent has to process it. What the heck was that? He wouldn't do it for no reason -- would he? *There's* the opening you're talking about."

Ahh, the circular argument. But then if I notice what he is doing with just his hand then I lose my "Intent".

I realize I am discussing "ideals" and not "practicalities" here. But I think we need to distinguish between practice/sproting events and actual application....and I, like most of us on the board have only the practice/sporting side to work from.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2003, 12:12 PM   #17
kensparrow
Dojo: Methuen Aikido
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 97
Offline
Quote:
Mark Mueller (aiki_what) wrote:
Another thought on this.....might not a sophisticated opponent "read" your subliminal gestures and obtain an advantage?..because in deploying a subliminal gesture you lose "intent" from your original purpose?
The article seems to be saying that the whole idea of subliminal gestures is based on exploiting how the brain is "hardwired". Imagine trying to train yourself not to blink when something approaches your eyes. You could do it but it wouldn't be easy and then you would have train for every other potential subliminal gesture as well (not to mention opening yourself up to potential eye injury in everyday life).

No technique is fool proof but I think the odds are pretty good if it's one that's based on 100 million years of evolution.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2003, 01:05 PM   #18
Paul Clark
Dojo: Yellow Springs Aikido
Location: Dayton, Ohio
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 52
Offline
Quote:
Interesting point, Bronson....But would you consider the pooint that while you are considering your tactic (pronated vs supinated palm) you are distracted and as you transition (no matter how short the time frame) from pronated to supinated palm you provide an opening?
Well, if you're not a fencer, you might consider all that for a long time and still not know whether it works or doesn't. Fact is, it does. Are you "open" for a moment? Sure, but that was the point. If I get the expected response, he will be more open and I will score. In aikido I hear people call it "leading", Sun Tzu called it strategy.

I found that it worked against just about everyone. Really inexperienced people will see you make a subtle change and think they just have to do someting in response, even if they have no idea what it should be. As Bronson says, experienced folks will make a change that is either unconscious or conscious; if the latter, they make a change that they think is more advantageous for them as they also plan an attack. It may or may not be what I wanted to see, but there you have it: next move! Once you get the hang of this, you also figure out that a series of moves may be required to get things where you want them to be to facilitate the actual attack.

There are many things about strategy that get overlooked by a lot of people, but here are three of them. One, the "battle" is continuous, and everything that happens before, during, and after the decisive engagement probably matters in the outcome. Second, many people neglect to consider the fact that their opponent is working on a strategy at the same time they are. Last, when you figure out that you have to know about 1 and 2, never forget that if you came to play, you're betting that you're better than the other guy and you're going to win. If you're wrong, you lose, which may mean you're dead.

Works in fencing, business, air to air combat, and it will work in aikido. Show 'em something, then take it away . . .

Paul
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2003, 01:38 PM   #19
Dave Miller
 
Dave Miller's Avatar
Dojo: UCO Budo Society
Location: Oklahoma
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 204
Offline
These aren't unique to aikido:

Willy,

It seems that many of these ideas are fairly ubiquitous among the martial arts. For example:

The "capturing action" seems similar in nature to a feigned attack to ellicit a specific response (much like an eye threat).

The "breathing pattern and breath related sound" seems an awful lot like a simple kiai, which is definitely ubuquitous among the striking arts and I have heard talked about among high ranking akidoists. (Imagine doing Gyaku Gamae Ate or Hiki Taoshi with kiai.)

These are devices that have been part of budo for longer than aikido. Their purpose has always been to startle or otherwise disrupt an attacker. My old Shorin Ryu sensei used to say, "Karate is simply chess at 90 miles an hour." Half of self-defense is keeping the attacker off balance.

This aspect of budo seems to be at the heart of aikido in that the aikidoka is more concerned about simply keeping the attacker off balance (so much so that ukemi or a joint lock results) and less about gaining tactical advantage to "counter attack".

DAVE

If you're working too hard, you're doing it wrong.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2003, 12:49 AM   #20
Bronson
 
Bronson's Avatar
Dojo: Seiwa Dojo and Southside Dojo
Location: Battle Creek & Kalamazoo, MI
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,677
Offline
Quote:
But would you consider the pooint that while you are considering your tactic (pronated vs supinated palm) you are distracted and as you transition (no matter how short the time frame) from pronated to supinated palm you provide an opening?
Absolutely. That's all part of the plan. To provide an opening. One I am fully aware exists and am ready to defend. I was also the type of fencer that would take my favored stances in front of a mirror and ask myself "if I were fighting this guy, where would I attack him?". I didn't change my stances to cover these open spots, I worked to accentuate them and bring my opponents attention to them. I would practice and practice to be able to defend those openings from any position of my blade. I figured that it's impossible to be completely covered so better to have the openings be of my choosing.

In seidokan we would call this shodo o siesu, to control the first move. If uke is going to attack, lead his mind to attack you where you want it.
Quote:
It may or may not be what I wanted to see, but there you have it: next move!
And all that happens in about 1 1/2 seconds

Believe it or not I scored a lot of hits by quickly tapping the ground with my tip, and bouncing it back up. I could actually see the opponents head look down to where the noise had come from...as my tip hit their face

I've been kinda thinking about this off and on all day. I think of my dog and the differences in how she reacts to me looking at her normally or with a more stern look. I think of my childhood and how all my mother had to do was look at me a certain way and I'd stop whatever it was I was doing. Watching sensei tonight and noticing that just before uke reaches him he lowers his center just a bit, and uke's center follows right along. When teaching new people escapes from a wrist grab we'll have them hold real tight and we'll use muscle to try to pull ourselves out then we show them what happens if we give a little resistance and then take it away...our hand pops right out because when we relax so do they. Or when you learn how a soft gaze will bring uke in

and a hard one will keep them back...just a bit but it's still there.

Oops, there I go rambling again...I should really be sleeping

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."
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2003, 02:40 AM   #21
Abasan
Dojo: Aiki Shoshinkan, Aiki Kenkyukai
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 813
Malaysia
Offline
Bronson,

i always thought that in fencing, you're only allowed to attack from certain stances/positions. most of it with your hands straight.

Although, some defensive positions allow an immediate counter attack that can be counted as well.

bouncing the tip to the floor and then hitting them in the face... is that allowed?

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2003, 09:24 AM   #22
opherdonchin
Dojo: Baltimore Aikido
Location: Baltimore
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 586
Offline
You know, Bronson, these wisdoms I learned in Seidokan about inviting uke in and also about the shodo o seisu of accentuating your openings are really missing for me when I go to dojos from other styles. Of course, there is a lot to learn in the other dojos that I may not have gotten in my Seidokan dojo, but still ...

Yours in Aiki
Opher
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2003, 04:26 PM   #23
willy_lee
Dojo: City Aikido
Location: San Francisco, CA USA
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 178
Offline
Re: These aren't unique to aikido:

Quote:
Dave Miller wrote:
Willy,

It seems that many of these ideas are fairly ubiquitous among the martial arts. For example:
Um, I never said that they were unique to aikido. In fact the article doesn't discuss aikido at all, and is not written by an aikidoist. Did you actually read the article?

I just thought it was interesting to look at these ideas in relation to aikido practice. In my dojo we practice leading and "eye threats". But what this article, and to some extent Bronson and Opher seem to be talking about, is how much more there is to the general concept than leading and eye threats. Thought people might find it interesting to think about what else they can do to subliminally take initiative or dominate the opponent.

After all, isn't that what aiki is about? [ducks and puts on Nomex suit]

=wl
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2003, 04:34 PM   #24
willy_lee
Dojo: City Aikido
Location: San Francisco, CA USA
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 178
Offline
Quote:
Bronson Diffin (Bronson) wrote:
Believe it or not I scored a lot of hits by quickly tapping the ground with my tip, and bouncing it back up. I could actually see the opponents head look down to where the noise had come from...as my tip hit their face
Heh heh, too bad the mask makes it hard to see expression. Would have loved to see that
Quote:
I think of my childhood and how all my mother had to do was look at me a certain way and I'd stop whatever it was I was doing. Watching sensei tonight and noticing that just before uke reaches him he lowers his center just a bit, and uke's center follows right along....Or when you learn how a soft gaze will bring uke in

and a hard one will keep them back...just a bit but it's still there.
Yeah, that's kind of what I was getting at. That's some cool stuff. I think I'm going to start playing with that more.

=wl
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2003, 06:12 PM   #25
Paul Clark
Dojo: Yellow Springs Aikido
Location: Dayton, Ohio
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 52
Offline
Quote:
ahmad abas (Abasan) wrote:
Bronson,

i always thought that in fencing, you're only allowed to attack from certain stances/positions. most of it with your hands straight.

Although, some defensive positions allow an immediate counter attack that can be counted as well.

bouncing the tip to the floor and then hitting them in the face... is that allowed?
Ahmad,

I don't know of any rules in fencing that prohibit your doing anything at all with stance, arms, hands, legs, or point of the weapon. There are different "allowed" target areas for the three weapons: in Epee, any part of the body,including the head/mask is legal and fair to score on, and I'm nearly positive that's what Bronson fenced. In Saber, it's everything above the waist, including the head, arms, hands, etc. In foil, it's just the torso between the edges of the shoulders and down to the groin. I fenced foil and some saber, never tried epee.

Paul
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

Koretoshi Maruyama European Seminar - Maruyama Sensei will be in Cumbria UK, 1st-3rd August, 2014



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:08 PM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate