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Old 04-26-2003, 03:05 PM   #26
Dave Miller
 
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Re: These aren't unique to aikido:

Willy,

I guess I read the article thinking it was written by an aikidoka speaking of aikido. Having the proper context, I see what you're talking about. That's actually the direction I was headed.


DAVE

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Old 04-26-2003, 11:17 PM   #27
Bronson
 
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Quote:
always thought that in fencing, you're only allowed to attack from certain stances/positions. most of it with your hands straight.
It's been a while since I've done any fencing and even longer since I've done any foil. I believe there is a rule that you can't turn your back on your opponent...not sure though.
Quote:
bouncing the tip to the floor and then hitting them in the face... is that allowed?
In rennaisance period fencing it is. We fenced with schlagers, "in the round". We took an area and were allowed to move all over in it, instead of in just a straight line. The off-hand was also used to sweep blades away or to control the bell of the opponents weapon. You could also opt to use a second weapon (sword or dagger) or some type of parrying device either rigid (small buckler shield, baton, scabbard, etc.) or flexible (cloak, cape, etc). The entire body is legal target area. I personally found it a lot easier to apply aikido principles in this setting than I did in strip fencing.
Quote:
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 ...
I hear ya. I really like what I'm learning in seidokan, but I also like trying other styles and teachers because I like the other perspectives and interpretations.

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 04-27-2003, 11:35 AM   #28
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IMHO, subtle more than sublimianl gestures can distract or redirect the mind. Atemi as a feint is a good example. Anything that interrupts the pattern. But, trickery is never a substitute for skill.

Lynn Seiser PhD
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Old 04-27-2003, 01:11 PM   #29
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I was wondering about the use of the word subliminal but chose not to challenge it, actually.

Still, as skill increases uke becomes less and less consciously aware of the gesture and how it has affected their movements, no?

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 04-28-2003, 02:28 AM   #30
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I think rhythm is something similar to whats being discussed here.

Arts such as Silat, Tomoi (Thai Kickboxing), Capoiera and etc all uses rhythm and sometimes music in their sparring.

Most wushu or boxing practicioners will also move at a certain rhythm corresponding to their breathing and attacks. Maintaining the correct rhythm and pace allows the fighter to make effective attacks and defends whilst keeping stamina. They also use their own rhythm to upset the opponents, thereby making it easier to attack and put him off balance.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 04-28-2003, 02:43 AM   #31
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Ahmed, I'll have to disagree with you here. What you're describing is a much harder form of misdirection than just a subtle distraction, which normally has a single focus and/or purpose. Using patterns of movement to affect your opponent is not only very difficult, but also relies on a more protracted combat than you'll have in a typical unarmed bout (with no rules).

I've certainly seen this used with weapons or "sport" boxing, but I'm not sure how it would be applied to a real (unarmed) situation. I'd be very interested to hear of any examples of this people have (but please, no "staring contest" tales)
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Old 04-28-2003, 02:55 AM   #32
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Just my two cents...

With every new batch of eager, aspiring aikidoka that enter our dojo i have made pretty intressting dicovery,

Many of the expected defensive reactions to techniques and atemi (hard or soft) will fail to show.

I'd like like to put this in comparison to whats been said earlier about the reaction of expriencenced practicioners.

With begginners i don't think this happens by accident but instead i often hear people asking what kind of threat the technique/atemi is suppused to pose. This has lead me to belive that there might be cultural diffrences in what we recognize as a threat.

And also how skilled does one have to be to be able to foresee potential followups from a grip for instance.

With som experience we learn the gruesome possibilitys of such a situation but what if we face an opponent, possibly wielding a blade who doesn't recognize our feingted (or real)threats as just threats.

Are the techniques and principles of "SG" really that universal in this case?

Is Aikido atemi and SG only effective in it's full extent on relatively seasoned fighters?
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Old 04-28-2003, 07:26 AM   #33
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Ah, the 'effectiveness' issue looms once more.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 04-28-2003, 01:10 PM   #34
Bronson
 
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Quote:
Is Aikido atemi and SG only effective in it's full extent on relatively seasoned fighters?
Possibly, but I don't really think so.

If you look at most dojo situations the beginner is pretty darn safe. Everybody's been really nice to them, is taking it rather slow and not trying to injure them or let them injure themselves. We ask the beginner to "pretend" we are going full speed and that they really attacked us and this is a real situation and to act accordingly. But it's not real, it's pretend. I think if you were to take that same person and stick them in a truly threatening situation you would see a marked improvement in their awarness of physical danger and their reaction times.

The short of it is that most beginners aren't expecting to get smacked/hurt/atemied or whatever, so they're not even considering that they should be looking to defend against something like that. Once they know that if I can touch there face I can hit there face their awareness starts to come up.

But that's just my take.

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 04-28-2003, 01:21 PM   #35
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Boy now I'm really confused

I'm going to disagree with my last post.

Maybe self-protection reflexes are learned and not ingrained. I just thought about a child learning to catch a ball. If self-protection reflexes were automatic the child would never get bonked in the head with the ball. He'd move or deflect it. Now that I really think about it those people we've had in class who were completely foreign in their own bodies and couldn't for the life of them anticipate any type of attack or how to avoid it, led a completelty unphysical life up to that point. I wonder if what I'm thinking of as reflexes are really reactions learned over a lifetime of getting hit with balls, falling off bikes, falling out of trees, wrestling with other kids, playing tag, playing dodgeball, etc. Over time we learn that something coming at us quickly will probably hurt if it connects. If someone led the type of life where they didn't have those experinences then when they started in a dojo they would essentially be at the stage of a small child learning to catch a ball, having no deep internal body awareness telling them to move or block it.

Like I said, I've gone and confused myself all up

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 04-28-2003, 03:11 PM   #36
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I think you're right in both posts, Bronson. You're right that most beginners don't know how to 'slow down' their movements and yet also stay true to what would happen if it was all happening at speed. I think that learning how to do this is a big part of learning Aikido. By learning to go comfortably back and forth between fast and slow, you can carry lessons from one over to the other. We can't expect beginners to know this, but we still basically want to train for the physical realities of the fast speed and not the slow.

I also think you're right about the second thing. Think about it this way: even if it wasn't a question of learning vs. instinct, still different people will have very different reaction times and very different coordination skills. You can't assume uke is going to see your atemi and you can't assume he or she is going to know what to do about it and you probably shouldn't even assume that you are strong enough to hurt them with it. One of the teachers at my dojo told a story of trying to restrain a drug user in an emergency room. Someone got a good solid nikyo on the guy and then the guy just used the nikyo to throw said somebody across the room. The guy's wrist was totally shattered by this, but he was so high he didn't notice and just kept fighting.

Nothing is more effective than being able to ready your opponent and to see what will and won't work on them.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 04-29-2003, 03:55 AM   #37
DavidEllard
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I have been taught some of these almost "subliminal gestures" by my teachers. And we spend a lot of time looking at similar ideas. The best example I can think of that I was shown and can be easily tried (either in the dojo or as a thought experiment) is as uke coming in for a yokomen strike Tori points at uke's back knee - bringing his hips to bear on the opponent. This more often than results in uke truncating the attack/freezing/leaping back even.
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Old 04-29-2003, 04:18 AM   #38
ian
 
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Excellent thread.

I have been told that the only truly instinctive responses are to the groin and eyes (flinching).

Also, when you watch Ueshiba in demo's he very often points with his hand or flicks his hand around before the attack. I'm not sure if he is actually saying what kind of attack he wants in mnay cases, but in some situations it seems more like a leading or distracting action.

Notice the difference in any blending exercises or techniques between grabbing nage softly or hard - with a hard grab nage often directs their focus to the hand and therefore has difficulty blending effectively.

I think mis-direction is a major part of aikido. Since it is (mostly) non-competitive, most people who attack will not have a clue what you are doing (just as most people can't detect pick-pockets).

This is to me a major part of aikido which is not fully explored.

(P.S. the techique where Ueshiba bends down in front of the attacker into a very prone position - notice he always raises himself up first, to raise uke onto their toes).

Ian

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Old 04-29-2003, 10:45 AM   #39
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Quote:
David Ellard (DavidEllard) wrote:
The best example I can think of that I was shown and can be easily tried (either in the dojo or as a thought experiment) is as uke coming in for a yokomen strike Tori points at uke's back knee - bringing his hips to bear on the opponent.
David,

That sounds really interesting. Can you explain it in more detail? I'm having a hard time visualizing the move.

Thanks
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Old 04-30-2003, 10:09 AM   #40
Dave Miller
 
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Quote:
Jasper Arenskogh (Jappzz) wrote:
Just my two cents...

With every new batch of eager, aspiring aikidoka that enter our dojo i have made pretty intressting dicovery,

Many of the expected defensive reactions to techniques and atemi (hard or soft) will fail to show...

Is Aikido atemi and SG only effective in it's full extent on relatively seasoned fighters?
I'll take a stab at this.

I think that there are two things that effect the reaction of a newcomer:
  • The newcomer doesn't know how to make a "committed" attack. They tend to pull and hedge so that their balance is never "offered". That makes it much easier for them to react in a "non-catastrophic" fashion, thus not reacting how they're "supposed to". I have seen new students not respond to eye threats and such in kata but when I simply walk up to them and offer a hard, controled backhand to their face, they jump out of their skin! The difference is both the suprise and also the felt intent. As more experienced aikidoka, we know both how to make that committed attack and how we're "supposed to" respond.

    I think that experienced folks are often hessitent to make good "hard" atemi to newcomers. Whether or not we actually hit them is somewhat beside the point. If we have enough control, we ought to be able to toss up a hard atemi within a millimeter or so of their nose. If that, combined with a strong feeling of intent (projection of the ki, if you like) doesn't provoke a response, then they need to see a neuro-scientist.
Regarding whether these "self protection reflexes" are innate or learned, they are definitely innate. Just think about wandering around grandma's back yard and being "knocked down" by the clothes line without it ever touching you. It all goes back to their learning how to make solid, committed attacks (a difficult skill indeed, IMHO) and feeling the intent of the atemi.

Does this make sense or am I out to lunch?

DAVE

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Old 04-30-2003, 02:16 PM   #41
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Quote:
they are definitely innate. Just think about wandering around grandma's back yard and being "knocked down" by the clothes line without it ever touching you.
As evidenced by my posts above I can be on either side of this depending on the day. Today I'm going to say they are learned and not innate In your example the child/person (no, they're not the same ) is wandering around. This tells me they can walk and probably have been doing it for a while since their head can reach the clothesline. In the process of learning to walk kids run into things, a lot of things. They learn that running into stuff hurts. They also learn to try to avoid running into stuff. If these reactions were truly innate then small children just learning to walk wouldn't run face first into stuff. Or they'd protect their eyes and face, or in my example in a previous post they'd do something to keep the ball from hitting them in the head.
Quote:
If we have enough control, we ought to be able to toss up a hard atemi within a millimeter or so of their nose.
Quote:
...they jump out of their skin!
I don't know if I'd recommend the action in the first quote because of the response in the second quote. The beginner may react but there's a good chance it won't be what is appropriate for their (or your) safety. If you throw the atemi to within a mm of their nose I think you'll find more than a couple will hurt their nose on your fist when they "jump out of their skin". I once witnessed an incident while at a friends house. He was putting the dishes away and had a small paring knife in his hand. His sister walked by across the room. He jokingly (yes it was dumb but kids are dumb) held it in front of him and said he was "gonna get her". She lunged across the distance (better than 10 feet) screaming NOOOOOOO!!! and jammed the palm of her hand onto the paring knife. He never moved toward her, never "attacked" her. It was not a response that I would say was in her best interest of safety but she just reacted.

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 04-30-2003, 03:24 PM   #42
Dave Miller
 
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Bronson,

Speaking as a biologist, I can assure you that the protective reflexive reactions (especially protecting the face/eyes) are indeed innate and not learned. They can be tuned and honed but they are, at their most basic, innate. The reason while toddlers run into stuff is because their nervous system is still developing and all their reflexes are not yet functioning at full capacity. Most of the reflexes of a newborn are built around eating. The other ones come later.

As for your point about the "wisdom" of hard, controlled atemi at newbies, I understand what you're saying. I was offering that more as an illustration of how to provoke a response. I think that if newbies are allowed to see that atemi can be quite real that it can help them to respond more realistically themselves.

The notion of a learned response to atemi is precisely because of the clothes line example I offered. We flinch at the clothes line because we don't expect it. We don't "flinch" at atemi in kata because we do expect it and therefore have to learn to emmulate the "flinch". However, making the atemi more "real" in the beginning may help to illustrate the need for the reaction.

Did that make any more sense? (I'm not sure it did to me... )

DAVE

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Old 04-30-2003, 09:37 PM   #43
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Quote:
Did that make any more sense?
Yes...um, no...wait, um ok...maybe?

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 05-01-2003, 05:50 AM   #44
Jeff R.
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Speaking as a biologist as well . . . it's interesting discussion as to whether protective response and fight vs. flight are innate or learned, but there are truths that go a little deeper than cultural perspective. Everyone blinks when something is blown into the eyes. Everyone responds when another entity makes contact or displays an intent to make contact. Our task is to identify the subtleties of Atemi and utilize the elicited responses to supplement the techniques. My brother and I--about 270 lbs. and 200 lbs. respectively--have been studying a range of martial arts and full contact sparring for many years. We have relatively solid centers. When we began studying Aikido, we used to crank on each other's joints to make the techniques work. Then we started really getting into Atemi, strong thrusts to the face or abdomen, rapid shots to the groin or other parts of the body, and it made the techniques very effective.

Then we finally got a little older and smartened up a bit.

Now, the Atemi is little more than snapping the fingers in uke's face. A quick blow--but with the breath--to the eyes. (Onions for lunch help immensely!)

Atemi is subtle and does not need to make contact. It depends upon how involved Nage becomes with Uke's spirit and ki. Less connection, harder Atemi; more connection, more subtle Atemi.

We all go through the "does-this-really-work, daito-ryu-to-make-it-stronger" phase, and we know that Atemi is 98% of Aikido. But if your Atemi is slamming, breaking, bruising, bloodying, then you're doing 98% boxing.

Make a funny face. Fart. Flap your elbows like a chicken. Does it elicit a response from Uke that may facilitate a resolution to the situation? If so, then you have performed your Atemiwaza.

Exercise and extend your Ki with conviction; feel its awesome power--just smile.
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Old 05-05-2003, 08:21 AM   #45
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Trickery vs Skill?

Quote:
Lynn Seiser (SeiserL) wrote:
IMHO, subtle more than subliminal gestures can distract or redirect the mind. Atemi as a feint is a good example. Anything that interrupts the pattern. But, trickery is never a substitute for skill.
Lynn, I wasn't sure what you meant here... the ability to use atemi or other movement to control the perception of the attacker IS skill. Because of the connection between intention and action and the necessity for perfect timing in doing this type of technique one simply can't do this type of thing without being skilled. Was I missing something about what you call "trickery"?

George S. Ledyard
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Old 05-05-2003, 09:31 AM   #46
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Skillful trickery is what budo strategy is about.

Lead the mind. Let them believe what they think is going to happen is actually going to happen and then change it just enough that they have a really hard time feeling it but gravity grabs them and they can't stand up or be dangerous any more.

Hey George, how's it going?

Chuck Clark
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Old 05-05-2003, 09:50 AM   #47
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Hi Chuck!!!

Quote:
C.E. Clark (Chuck Clark) wrote:
Skillful trickery is what budo strategy is about.

Lead the mind. Let them believe what they think is going to happen is actually going to happen and then change it just enough that they have a really hard time feeling it but gravity grabs them and they can't stand up or be dangerous any more.

Hey George, how's it going?
Hi Chuck!

Life is good. Lots to tell next time we meet.

- George

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Old 05-06-2003, 01:03 PM   #48
Dave Miller
 
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Thumbs down

Good post, Jeff!

DAVE

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Old 05-06-2003, 08:34 PM   #49
Mark Jakabcsin
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Quote:
Ian Hurst (happysod) wrote:
Using patterns of movement to affect your opponent is not only very difficult, but also relies on a more protracted combat than you'll have in a typical unarmed bout (with no rules).

I've certainly seen this used with weapons or "sport" boxing, but I'm not sure how it would be applied to a real (unarmed) situation. I'd be very interested to hear of any examples of this people have (but please, no "staring contest" tales)
Ian,

I gotta disagree with just about everything in this post. IF, stress IF, you understand the mental aspect of a person when they really attack another, the 'patterns of movement' used to affect them is not difficult nor does it require protracted combat as you claim. Actually the opposite, the movements are simple and time required is a smidgen over nothing. The key is in understanding what is happening and why, then not being afraid to fail and look foolish as you experiment. (Note the second is part is more important than the first.)

Personally I found that such movements to be far more affective and reliable in real life than in dojo or sport settings where the attacker is concerned with aspects 'other' than attacking. In the dojo or sport, folks tend to be far more fake and far from real. To understand those statements you will need to understand what is really going on in the attackers mind and how one attacks another. The study of being human.

As for real life situations, which I assume you will ask for next, a public forum is not the place I wish to discuss such matters. Actually, I will not put anything in writing for obvious reasons. You are welcome to read into that however you like.

mark
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Old 05-06-2003, 09:18 PM   #50
Mark Jakabcsin
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Quote:
Bronson Diffin (Bronson) wrote:
Maybe self-protection reflexes are learned and not ingrained. I just thought about a child learning to catch a ball. If self-protection reflexes were automatic the child would never get bonked in the head with the ball. He'd move or deflect it

Bronson
Bronson,

You make a very interesting theoretical point but it has limited practical application. Remember that balance is a learned response, it is NOT a reflex and yet you can manipulate it like a reflex. Eventually over time balance becomes as close to a reflex as possible but it is still not a reflex, similar to the self-protection defenses you mention above. Note people with severe head trauma or protracted comas need to re-learn how to walk. Their bodies have forgotten how to balance, however they still have their reflexes, i.e. balance or self-protection (ball catching) defenses are learned but reflex like once learned.

IMO, one of the major reasons why people are having trouble with manipulating these 'self-protection reflexes' (nice descriptive phrase) is that THEY aren't REAL with their manipulation. If you want someone to react to your atemi, your atemi must be real and 'YOU' must believe your atemi is real. If you don't believe in it how in the hell can you expect your attacker to believe in it. BE REAL!

The second major problem I normally see when folks try to accomplish such manipulation is that they move too fast and frequently outside the range of vision of the attacker. If my motion is so fast my attacker barely sees it or if my motion is outside the range of their vision there is no way they are going to react. 'In general' (big quotes there) any manipulation must be accomplished at the same speed or slower than the attacker and within their range of vision. If they still don't react as you want so what, your atemi is for real. Right?

Short story. A few months ago at a seminar I was working with a retired state police officer, who had more than his fair share of real life situations. During his attack I moved off line and initiated a left hook to his jaw. It was a fairly big, somewhat lazy hook, but it landed square on his jaw and dropped him to one knee and I never got to accomplish the intended technique. He got up a little pissed and I asked if he was being real with his attack. He said he was so I asked if he saw the hook.

He said, 'Sure it was big and slow, how could I miss it.'

I asked why he didn't move out of the way.

He said, 'Because I didn't think you were really going to hit me, this is training and I am the attacker, not you.'

I asked him what he did when he was confronting someone as a police officer and he saw a hook coming. He said he would move and then beat the crap out of them. I asked, 'Then, if you were being real then why did my slow hook land? Why didn't you move?'

After the dumb look on his face expired he realized it was his fault he got hit and not mine. Plus, I never apologize when someone else doesn't do the minumum to protect themselves. Not surprisingly he started moving after that and his mental state went from dojo to real.

Some might say this is not doable with all beginners (although Mike was far from a beginner). I would counter that in not doing so you are cheating your partner in the most valuable training of the day, that of uke. When we are uke we should be learning how to do the minumum to protect ourselves (moving out of the way of a slow hook would qualify here).

When we are uke we 'should' be learning what it means to attack another person so we understand what is going on mentally in the attacker and how to manipulate it (this takes time). IMO, many of the best leasons are learned when playing the role of uke not tori. However, as I travel around I frequently see uke's that are more worried about what tori is doing and ignoring 'their' learning opportunities. Sad.

mark

P.S. Survival is moment to moment, techniques are a myth.

Last edited by Mark Jakabcsin : 05-06-2003 at 09:21 PM.
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