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Old 06-17-2003, 03:55 PM   #1
Kensai
Location: South West UK
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Is self defence a myth?

Ok, now I'm sure that O Sensei, Tohei Sensei or Shioda Sensei could look after themselves with Aikido in a "real" situation, even against the odds. But what about those of us normal people that cant train that often, that do say 6 hours a week.

Lets say I did 4 hours of Aikido and 2 hours of Judo for 3 years. Assuming I worked on fittness in my own time, I MIGHT be ok verus a larger attacker. But in todays modern world were fights are usually started by gangs of guys, what chance do I have.

Even BJJ or Mauy Thai guys cant deflect, stools, tables, chairs, snooker ques or flick knives. I mean, I'm sure a Gracie could kick some arse but what about those dedicated guys that can only do say 5 hours a week.

Muitiple attackers are very hard to fight, that has to be said regardless of what style is practiced.

So, can true self defence ever be achieved?

ps, its seems that my post is some what of a brain "fart", but you get what I'm asking.

"Minimum Effort, Maximum Effciency."
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Old 06-17-2003, 04:35 PM   #2
shihonage
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Check out www.senshido.com . It's articles will provide far truer answers about self-defense than you will find in an Aikido forum.
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Old 06-17-2003, 05:05 PM   #3
Michael Owen
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YES ! For only $100 I too can become a STREET SOLDIER!

Michael Owen


"All I'm sayin' man is that you've got to respect the chickens." -B. Hopkins
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Old 06-17-2003, 09:18 PM   #4
Arianah
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Quote:
Chris Gee (Kensai) wrote:
Muitiple attackers are very hard to fight, that has to be said regardless of what style is practiced.

So, can true self defence ever be achieved?
At the end of one randori class, my instructor demonstrated a four person grabbing-only randori. It went on for quite a while, but eventually he grew tired and the uke started latching on. He tossed a couple off his back by dropping down a couple of times, but in the end he was overwhelmed, and the uke all piled on him. He said as he was pulled down, "... and at one point you are defeated. And you will be defeated." He got up. "There isn't any way that I can fight off four guys forever. They will win. Seppuku - Akira Kurosawa. The last scene, the samurai is surrounded by twenty, thirty guys. Even though he knows he can't win, he fights, cuts down a couple of guys, but inevitably he dies. But his spirit was the important thing. He didn't just give up. He knew he was going to lose, but he kept going. That's the spirit you have to have in your randori. You just keep going until you've got nothing left ... and then you give a little bit more. And you do this, knowing that you are going to 'die.'"

Maybe not the kind of thing you were going for, but I thought it was an interesting statement, and your post made me think about it.

Sarah

PS. I think it was Seppuku. I never saw it, and my instructor said it a long time ago.

Last edited by Arianah : 06-17-2003 at 09:20 PM.

Out of clutter, find simplicity.
From discord, find harmony.
In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity.
-Albert Einstein
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Old 06-18-2003, 12:31 AM   #5
sanosuke
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I remember my teacher said that in the end, all techniques in aikido comes to just two techniques, irimi and tenkan. In case of multiple attackers, same thing. Don't think or try to block their attacks, catch their weapon etc. just do irimi and tenkan, give them way...

In my opinion, true self defence isn't when you beat up your attacker or such. True self defence is when you survive from the hostile situation you encounter, and this isn't from the martial art only. By avoiding dangerous places and running away (yes, running. sometimes there's no shame in it) you already do a self defence.
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Old 06-18-2003, 12:51 AM   #6
JJF
 
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In randori we learn how to place ourself between a number of opponents by expanding your awarenes of the surroundings, and with some practice it's often possible to avoid placing yourself in a bad position. In a REAL LIFE STREET situation with multiple attackers the very same thing is applicable, but with the major difference that you should do what is neccesary. If this means that you have to break a limb or two or punch some of the attackers when you have the option then so be it. The aiki principles of love and forgiveness are the ideal, but your own safety comes first, and you have to adapt to the situation. I believe Nishio sensei once said something along the lines of: "Sometimes you have no choice but to cut the opponent down."

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 06-18-2003, 04:14 AM   #7
Kensai
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"YES ! For only $100 I too can become a STREET SOLDIER!" lmao! I nearly spilt my OJ when I read that.

"Minimum Effort, Maximum Effciency."
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Old 06-18-2003, 06:38 AM   #8
TomE
 
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http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/
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Old 06-18-2003, 07:33 AM   #9
jxa127
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Re: Is self defence a myth?

Hi Chris,

You're presenting us with a whole mess of preconceived notions and assumptions. Some of which I'm not sure I agree with.
Quote:
Chris Gee (Kensai) wrote:
Lets say I did 4 hours of Aikido and 2 hours of Judo for 3 years. Assuming I worked on fittness in my own time, I MIGHT be ok verus a larger attacker.
First, I don't believe it's necessary to study two arts and work out just to maybe be okay against a larger attacker. So much of how much you learn depends on you, your instructor, and your training partners that I can't make a good generalization, but I firmly believe that with two-three days of training in aikido only, for a year or so, you should be able to handle yourself pretty well in a physical confrontation.
Quote:
But in todays modern world were fights are usually started by gangs of guys, what chance do I have.
Really? Gangs of guys? Where do you hang out? Growing up, all but one of my fights was one on one. The one time I faced multiple attackers (in seventh grade) two of the four ran away as soon as I took a ready stance. The third ran away after I threw my first TKD kick, and the last was caught by a teacher trying to punch me.

More to the point, do you have any statistics, maybe from your local police, that indicate just what kinds of violence are most common?
Quote:
Even BJJ or Mauy Thai guys cant deflect, stools, tables, chairs, snooker ques or flick knives. I mean, I'm sure a Gracie could kick some arse but what about those dedicated guys that can only do say 5 hours a week.
Again, where in God's name do you hang out? I spend a fair amount of time in bars, and I've never seen a bar fight.
Quote:
Muitiple attackers are very hard to fight, that has to be said regardless of what style is practiced.
True. Aikido randori provides some good skills for dealing with multiple attackers, but there's no abosolte method for "winning" against multiple, determined attackers.
Quote:
So, can true self defence ever be achieved?
Of course! Not in all cases, against all situations, at all times, but you can do a lot to increase your odds of surviving a violent encounter. Self defense starts long before a fight starts. In fact, self defense starts long before you're even in the same square mile with a possible attacker. How you carry yourself, how aware you are of your surroundings, how good you are at making realistic assessments of the current level of danger you're in, all contribute to good self defense.

The last point is a very good one. Know your level of risk, but don't over or under-estimate it.

I have successfully used aikido to subdue a violently angry person, without injury to either of us. That was two years ago, after I had about two years of aikido training. It works for me. But the incident wasn't in a bar, it didn't involve somebody trying to mug me, it was somebody I cared about in somebody's home. Had I been wrapped up in preparing for some sort of "street fight," instead of focusing on the the principles being taught to me, I may not have been ready for what happened off "the street."

Regards,

-Drew

----
-Drew Ames
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Old 06-18-2003, 08:14 AM   #10
Kensai
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I was assuming the worst case senerio, plus I dont mean gangs in a American sence. More like groups of drunks (which we get a lot of the UK).

I too have never been in a fight, or in a rush to get into one.

I didnt put my point across very well, so I'll try again.

Training in the dojo, whethers its Ki or Yoshinkan, BJJ or Taiji probably wont tool you up with the knowledge and physical ability necessary to deal with real encounters. Ofcourse some encounters are worse than others, but lets say the bottom line, muiltiple attackers atleast.

What I'm saying is that can a few hours of training a week really help you out?

"Minimum Effort, Maximum Effciency."
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Old 06-18-2003, 08:28 AM   #11
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Put it this way, are you WORSE off for having studied aikido and judo? Of course not! Also you can do a really high, powerful throw and that will scare some people away from attacking you when they see their buddy fly. But didn't O'Sensei say that your job in a fight is not to win but merely bring harmony? If I were faced with that situation, my harmonizing would involve very fast sprinting!
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Old 06-18-2003, 08:43 AM   #12
jxa127
Dojo: Itten Dojo -- Mechanicsburg, PA
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Quote:
Chris Gee (Kensai) wrote:
I was assuming the worst case senerio, plus I dont mean gangs in a American sence. More like groups of drunks (which we get a lot of the UK).

I too have never been in a fight, or in a rush to get into one.
*grin* Well, that's a relief. It sounded from your original post that you were living a very dangerous life.
Quote:
Training in the dojo, whethers its Ki or Yoshinkan, BJJ or Taiji probably won't tool you up with the knowledge and physical ability necessary to deal with real encounters.
I disagree, if it's a good dojo. Otherwise, why train at all?
Quote:
Of course some encounters are worse than others, but let's say the bottom line, muiltiple attackers at least.

What I'm saying is that can a few hours of training a week really help you out?
Yes, it can, depending on how good the training is. Good training stresses principles -- proficiency in principles leads to good, spontaneous, application of technique. Good training involves training partners giving strong and committed attacks the whole way through the technique. I like it when my uke points out a hole in my technique or stops it because I've messed up.

I strongly suggest you check out two books: (1) "The Gift of Fear" by Gavin DeBecker -- this book will help put violent encounters and your own level of risk in good perspective; (2) check out "Dueling with O'Sensei" by Ellis Amdur -- Ellis really digs deeply into a lot of the questions facing aikidoka regarding effectiveness, training methods, attitudes, conflict resolution, etc.

Do you train now? If so, how long have you been training?

Warm regards,

-Drew

----
-Drew Ames
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Old 06-18-2003, 08:47 AM   #13
gasman
 
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"What I'm saying is that can a few hours of training a week really help you out?"

against a group of drunkards, you'd surely be able to use ma'ai training to keep your distance, tenkan to avoid and irimi to penetrate enabling you to get the f**k out of the building.
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Old 06-18-2003, 08:50 AM   #14
jvadakin
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IMHO this is silly. Every technique you learn is a tool that you can use well or poorly and that may or may not be appropriate to a given situation. Your point seems to be that because no form of self defense can assure victory against terrible odds, self defense is worthless. Hmmm. That's sort of like saying, why bother to ever carry an umbrella because a hurricane could come along and would rip right through it and you'd get wet anyway! All you can do is prepare yourself as well as you can. Absolute security is impossible, and we all die eventually anyway. Cheerful aren't I?
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Old 06-18-2003, 10:15 AM   #15
stoker
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A friend of mine tells his students the story of the two guys are in a bar arguing over their arts. 'Karate is better' said the Karate student. 'Tae kwon do' said the Tae kwon do student. The bartender told them to 'take it outside' so the two men, slightly drunk, stagger outside and square off ready to settle the karate versus Tae kwon do issue for all time. Just as they were ready to start swinging, a Buick sedan ran them both over.

The morals of the story is 1) don't not get into dumb fights, 2) be aware of your surroundings, and 3) you may be very good in a martial art but being blindsided by a Buick at speed is going to hurt :-)

dave stokes
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Old 06-18-2003, 10:17 AM   #16
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Is self defence a myth?

Quote:
Chris Gee (Kensai) wrote:
Ok, now I'm sure that O Sensei, Tohei Sensei or Shioda Sensei could look after themselves with Aikido in a "real" situation, even against the odds. But what about those of us normal people that cant train that often, that do say 6 hours a week.

Lets say I did 4 hours of Aikido and 2 hours of Judo for 3 years. Assuming I worked on fittness in my own time, I MIGHT be ok verus a larger attacker. But in todays modern world were fights are usually started by gangs of guys, what chance do I have.

Even BJJ or Mauy Thai guys cant deflect, stools, tables, chairs, snooker ques or flick knives. I mean, I'm sure a Gracie could kick some arse but what about those dedicated guys that can only do say 5 hours a week.

Muitiple attackers are very hard to fight, that has to be said regardless of what style is practiced.

So, can true self defence ever be achieved?

ps, its seems that my post is some what of a brain "fart", but you get what I'm asking.
First of all, most self defense has to do with awareness and paying attention. This is something that should be part of your training from the start. It simply has to do with "thinking martially". The book by Gavin DeBeker mentioned earlier is wonderful on that subject.

As for self defense in these real street situuations... Aikido is perhaps one of the very best arts for that type of self defense. More than all of the other bad ass "fighting arts" everybody is always carping on, Aikido is based on movement, any direction at any instant. Defense against mass attack is about escape. It has nothing to do with knocking everybody out, choking them, putting submission holds on them, etc. None of that is possible in that type of situation. What one needs to be able to do is see a path for escape and take it. Aikido randori is one of the best forms of training for this that I can think of.

Sure you still need to be able to strike effectively, etc. But movement is what it is all about. The only other place I have seen really excellent coverage of multiple attacker technique is by Mr Vasiliyev in the Systema program. His "Defense Against Mass Attack" video is priceless as far as I am concerned. You can get it at:The Systema Website

But it still comes back to the awarenees issue. See that group of drunks when they are still down the block, not when they are on top of you. Sense the change of atmosphere in that bar as things start to get ugly and leave before things are totally out of control. Always look where the exit is when you enter a new place, etc. This does not require years of training, it requires a shift in how you view things. Good martial arts training should make you aware of this.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 06-18-2003 at 10:20 AM.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 06-18-2003, 11:15 AM   #17
Kevin Wilbanks
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Quote:
Tom Engelen (TomE) wrote:
I just started looking at it, but this site seems to have some very sensible thinking behind it, along the lines of some of these posts. Definitely worth reading.

Using your brain and senses and making good choices is most of self defense. I think you can reduce your odds down to somewhere between getting in a car accident and getting hit by lightning just by thinking about how you live. For instance, I have known people who were either in or witness to at least one fight per week, while I, living and working in the same area, was never in or around one. Coincidence?
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Old 06-18-2003, 02:57 PM   #18
Kensai
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Thanks Mr Ledyard, that really put things into perspective.

"Minimum Effort, Maximum Effciency."
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Old 06-18-2003, 09:44 PM   #19
Mel Barker
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Quote:
Bryan Benson (Thor&#039s Hammer) wrote:
If I were faced with that situation, my harmonizing would involve very fast sprinting!
What if the situation involves someone holding a knife to your loved one's throat?

Mel Barker
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Old 06-18-2003, 10:22 PM   #20
PeterR
 
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Quote:
Mel Barker wrote:
What if the situation involves someone holding a knife to your loved one's throat?
Or had a thermonuclear device.

Sorry I couldn't resist but the myth cuts both ways.

Self defense runs a pretty broad gauntlet from the mundane to the patently ridiculous and the options are just as broad.

The average person is not going to face a drugged-up, samurai sword weilding psycopath anytime soon and training for those maybes is a waste of time. What is more likely is defendable against or at least someone with training will be able to even the odds. Done right - Aikido training can cover most reasonable eventualities without having to become a full time professional.

Knife to my wife's throat - well that no longer is self defence now is it? It is a really difficult situation in that someone willing to go that far is in total control. By the time you can do anything she could be dead - what you should have done long ago is have her learn something that would not put her in that situation or if it got that far some chance of getting out. Well so you are not going to run away -you don't have to she's the one in danger. What you do is give him anything he wants until she gets loose. Then you can play your fantasy to hearts content.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 06-19-2003, 02:58 AM   #21
ian
 
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but what if...

I always give this self-defence scenario; what if ... you've been knocked unconcious by an attack from behind - now what technique will you use?

I think awareness is everything initially. Self-defence situations are very variable and many can be avoided by being aware of stupid situations you get yourself into in the first place.

Also, I firmly believe that anyone can kill anyone else (except for maybe the US army being able to kill Saddam or Osama!) Therefore there is nothing that can defend you against every eventuality. Therefore there are two key requirements:

1. achieve the best self defence that YOU can achieve.

2. accept that one day you will die.

I think aikido has helped me with both,

Ian

P.S. I think point 1 is a good reason of non-competition; the aim of self-defence not being to be the best fighter, but to improve your own ability in self-defence. People readily criticise different particulars of techniques - techniques are not sent to us from the gods; they are all infallible. In most self-defence situations they won't know the martial art we've trained with and it is very unlikely attackers will see the holes in a self defence response if it is quick and thorough enough.

Last edited by ian : 06-19-2003 at 03:05 AM.

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 06-19-2003, 03:34 AM   #22
deepsoup
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Quote:
Ian Dodkins (ian) wrote:
P.S. I think point 1 is a good reason of non-competition; the aim of self-defence not being to be the best fighter, but to improve your own ability in self-defence.
You could just as well say point 1 is a good reason not to play snooker. The aim of self defence is not to knock little balls down holes on the edge of a table, so why bother.

Competition isn't about 'self defence', it isn't meant to be. (Nor is it about "being the best", imho, but thats besides the point.)

Sean

x
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Old 06-19-2003, 09:52 AM   #23
Mel Barker
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Quote:
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
Knife to my wife's throat - well that no longer is self defense now is it? It is a really difficult situation in that someone willing to go that far is in total control.
Well, I guess it's still "self defense" if you turn and run like Bryan suggested. And therein lies the problem with the question. My point is more meant to play off the title to the thread, and I think you expanded on that quite nicely.

This is another in a long line of threads where someone paints a scenario in which a couple of good for nothing, no account ruffians beset our intrepid hero, who, through no account of his own, must now deal with "defending himself". And, since this is an Aikido forum, he must turn and run so as not to harm the evildoer(s).

The only problem is they then proceed to brutally rape and kill my niece since they didn't get to "play" with the guy that ran away.

So my question is, "What responsibility do you have to your society, community, and fellow man? And, does that responsibility change when you have acquired some martial skill?"

Anyways, I think that is a potentially more rewarding question to ponder. I have read where clerics in this country (USA) pondered such things several hundred years back, but it seems the "me generation" hasn't use for such things.

Well these are the things I ponder when I'm not wondering what I'll do if some no account ruffian were to attack me.

Mel Barker
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Old 06-19-2003, 11:31 AM   #24
jxa127
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Mel,

I'm with you 100%. This whole "I'd just run away" thing is really starting to drive me nuts. Of course, if running away is an option, then take it. But, running away is not aikido and avoiding conflict is not the aikido way!

It seems that people attach a lot of virtue to running away. I study aikido for those times when I can't avoid a problem or run away from it.

The question from the initial post is whether somebody studying aikido can sucessfully defend him or herself. Yes!

Avoidance, awareness, and common sense really do help. But they are not aikido. Aikido is embracing conflict and controlling it -- hopefully to a mutually beneficial end for both (or all parties). That's the highest goal.

Running away is not aikido!

Rant mode off.

By the way, Mel, I also like your idea that we are responsible for others as well as ourselves. The limits of that responsibility makes for a very deep topic.

Regards,

----
-Drew Ames
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Old 06-19-2003, 12:07 PM   #25
Charles Hill
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I heard a wonderful teacher define the word Aikido as "appropriate response."

With that in mind, I'd say running away could very well be Aikido.

Charles
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