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Old 02-12-2003, 09:27 PM   #1
Chris Raywood
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I just got to know.

There seems to be one question that appears on this site many times, but somehow (at least in my view) is never resolved. The question - "Is Aikido effective in a true self defense application? Many seem to have their opinion, but that's not what I'm looking for.

I'm looking for Aikidoka that have actually used techniques in a true defense situation. With all respect to those who hold high ethical standards and theories to those who participate in "no holds barred" competitions, you are not the people I am looking to hear from.

I am looking to hear from people faced with an adversary with true intentions of doing great physical harm (without preset rules such as "no eye gouging"), caught off guard, filled up to their eyeballs in adrenaline, and most likely in an environment not conducive to what they were used to (such as a nice, open, airy, lighted dojo).

I should stress that I am entirely neutral on this topic, and make no statements or opinions. I have trained in the arts for almost twenty years, mostly in systems strongly influenced by Daito-Ryu. I am now training in Nihon Goshin Aikido.

Again, if you have had a true self defense situation where you have used an Aikido technique successfully, I would welcome the opportunity to hear from you describing the situation as well as the action and techniques used.

With best regards to all,

Chris Raywood
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Old 02-12-2003, 10:05 PM   #2
shihonage
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You can expect the following posts on this thread:

* 10 posts on how "Aikido helps me deal with stress of daily life and I don't need anything else"

* 10 posts of "I fall far more often than I get into fights, like that time I fell off the toilet and ..."

* 10 posts of "I suppose if I ever got into a fight, theoretically speaking, my skills may be sufficient to subdue an attacker, I think"

* 10 posts on how "You're missing the bigger picture"

* 10 posts on how "Not everyone goes to Aikido to learn to fight. Some of us pick up women there every day"

* 20 posts of people bickering with one another

* 2 posts on how "Aikido is ineffective"

* 1 post of a real confrontation.


Last edited by shihonage : 02-12-2003 at 10:15 PM.
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Old 02-12-2003, 10:57 PM   #3
ikkainogakusei
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Okay, I'll bite though it wasn't a spectacular fight. I've got a few of those from when I was young, but since aikido, I have had only one confrontation <cautiosly avoiding the inferrence that aikido helped me avoid confrontation>.

I had a roommate at the university who was transferred to our apartment because she had a rage problem and her other 4 roommates said that if she didn't go, they'd gang up on her.

Of course the management company neglected to tell us that this was why she was being transferred.

One day she began to shout at me and I asked her to address things we could fix rather than casting aspersions (mistake) she came at me and I backed into my room. Having expensive equipment there I thought it prudent to not keep backing up until she had access to these things since she had already smashed a vase of mine.

Her flurry of blows ensued. I blocked and blended and calmly asked her to stop. She finally landed a grab to the center of my chest (shirt and bra), crouched down, and pulled with all her might. I dropped in center and thought " oh, you want to go that way, okay" I followed and she flew over backwards with a "oh shi..." look on her face. She then got up and went into her room.

I then went to the campus police and filed a report. She was given 2 days to move out by the police.

Oaky so -=this=- time it wasn't a Jet Li style fight with two commandos. There are so many ways to address why. (don't say because it was a girl-fight ) I have had my share of fights and exchange of broken bones and I believe that 'girls' can be fairly hard-core because they have to be and because they don't tend to believe in 'fighting fair'. I've seen ears lost and flesh bitten free.

Ready for the classic Aiki address? It is easier to avoid a fight than start one. I'll even give you the name of a non-aiki book by a hard-style martial artist. Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun by Geoffry Canada. It's a good read.

I have had people try to clock me for a mugging in the Tenderloin of San Francisco, or feign a rush attack. I've been confronted by drunks on Muni and been able to diffuse the situation. Before Aikido, I'dve thought the only option was to fight.

My questions are: What experience have you had that draws you to need to find this answer? What if there was no answer? What if you became the 'best' martial artist in the world, what would you do next?

No matter what style, there is always someone better.

Respectfully,

me

Last edited by ikkainogakusei : 02-12-2003 at 11:00 PM.

"To educate a man in mind, and not in morals, is to educate a menace to society." ~Theodore Roosevelt
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Old 02-13-2003, 12:18 AM   #4
shihonage
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All my fights with guys happened before I started Aikido.

Last one happened in 12th grade when some guy dragged me into corridor, and we "squared off".

I panicked, tackled him and started hitting him with arms and legs. Whatever I could hit, I hit.

That was stupid, but it worked. He didn't land a single punch, but I hit him in the mouth with the knee.

Since I've started Aikido, I've had an angry 5"7 girl (I'm 6"1, yeah, I know) try to punch me in the face with a hook (my left arm went forward, met with her arm, bent at the elbow, and blocked/redirected), chase after me while punching (suddenly turn around, ikkyo ura and kotegaeshi, I didnt apply power nor did I see the need for a pin), as well as something where you turn uke from yokomen attack and end up behind them with one arm sticking forward from under theirs - which softly projected her into furniture, however I didnt apply any power this time either; it was mostly hers; and no she didn't smash into anything).

I've also diffused several things that would've grown into fights otherwise.

When people of loose behavior (drunk/ high/homeless/with buddies) start getting out of hand, there's ways to behave which draw the line without making them think that their only choice is to fight.

Standing your ground without stepping on theirs. When it works, it works miracles.

Last edited by shihonage : 02-13-2003 at 12:32 AM.
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Old 02-13-2003, 04:48 AM   #5
paw
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well, because I'm evil.....

Chris,

You may want to take some time and see how many people are "successful" in real life self-defense situations and see how many of those people had any training in any martial art.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 02-13-2003, 07:03 AM   #6
gasman
 
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I have been challenged or even attacked a few times, both in my spare time and in my doorman job.

When challenged I benefit greatly from aikido training and philosophy. I cant say that I have used so-and-so lock or pin in any particular situation, or brag about performing a perfect ikkyo on a 100kg speed-freak, but the coordination and feel for the opponent that aikido (and taiji) has taught me has proven invaluable. Even just placing a hand on a shoulder and make that special "link" with the other person is usually enough to defuse.

Going between two fighting guests, I always make a physical contact with both, establishing that link, letting them know where their center is... This is tricky however, if I make the move too agressive I might get in trouble myself. Sometimes I need to separate them forcefully though, usually by grabbing one from behind unexpectedly, TAKING HIS BALANCE and drag him off while turning (tenkan) placing myself in the middle.

When grabbed I usually release myself by going for a wrist lock. This makes the opponent release. It ususally ends right there and then. I had one drunk customer that started telling me where to stand and he proceeded to grab both my wrists and forcefully pull me over towards the wall. I was having none of it, made outside cirlces with my hands as if going for a nikkyo on each of his hands. When he released I did irimi to the outside of his right, guarding his right with my left and a very slow atemi towards his throat. The reason I made it slow was because I could see that he already was in surprise (and had understood that he had crossed the line), so I just made a point of the opening, nothing more. The customer then exused himself and left with no more hassle.

I would like to stress that I am in CONTINUOUS verbal contact with the troublesome guests and have found that I can talk myself out or into situations. The first option is of course the smartest.

When attacked I usually deflect the blow and do irimi to get behind. What I have noticed is that where I before would rely on punches and kicks for defense, I now instead move in close and go for a grab instead. Usually with atemi. This is IMHO much better, because I have the option NOT TO HARM.

So my application of aikido in real situations is more about attitude, psychology and conflict resolution. A perfect aiki move to me is when the whole fight is avoided completely.

I have trained various systems, but am currently training aikido and will stick with that for a long while.
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Old 02-13-2003, 07:48 AM   #7
bob_stra
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Re: I just got to know.

Seen these Chris?

http://www.aikidofaq.com/stories/real_life.html

http://www.aikidofaq.com/stories/real_life2.html

http://www.aikidofaq.com/stories/not_working.html
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Old 02-13-2003, 12:44 PM   #8
John Boswell
 
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You are ALL missing the bigger picture: I go to class to pick up women all the time!!



JUST KIDDING !!

/duck

/hide

/runs away

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Old 02-13-2003, 01:02 PM   #9
Greg Jennings
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Got into a tussle at a gas station. I was grabbed katadori and punched in the face.

Fortunately, I both moved enough so that it didn't land squarely and I have a hard head.

I applied a desperate half-nikyo, half rokyo/hiji osae to the guy's grabbing hand, dislocating his elbow and throwing him to his two knees and off-side hand.

I broke two of his ribs with three kicks while he was down.

I also spent a year in "anger management" to make the assault and battery charge go away.

I would have been far better off to have just let him beat the snot out of me.

Be careful what you ask for,

Last edited by Greg Jennings : 02-13-2003 at 01:07 PM.

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Old 02-13-2003, 01:03 PM   #10
Judd
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I hadn't read that before. Great stories! I love happy endings
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Old 02-13-2003, 01:07 PM   #11
John Boswell
 
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Quote:
I would have been far better off to have just let him beat the snot out of me.
Hold on just a second: How do you figure this? Granted, you really let the guy have it. But how does a years worth of anger mgt. counseling justify letting the guy just beating the crap out of you?

There's an Aiki ending that was possible to your story that I think would have been minus the AMT as well as not taking a beating. IMO

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Old 02-13-2003, 01:19 PM   #12
Greg Jennings
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Quote:
John Boswell wrote:
Hold on just a second: How do you figure this? Granted, you really let the guy have it. But how does a years worth of anger mgt. counseling justify letting the guy just beating the crap out of you?
I would have been better off from the standpoints of financial impact, hassle and grief.

I was a bouncer when I was a lot younger. I used to scrap a lot. I know how to take a shot. I would have traded the guy the dislocated elbow and broken ribs. Had it all before and recovered in a month or so. The other was much longer and much more stressing.
Quote:
John Boswell wrote:
There's an Aiki ending that was possible to your story that I think would have been minus the AMT as well as not taking a beating. IMO
Well, no duh! In 20-20 hindsight, I can think of about 1,000.

I'd only been training about four years at the time. I'd had a really, really, really bad day. I was attacked from behind after making a sarcastic comment. Bubba had a friend that was advancing on me. Etc. Etc.

I'd appreciate you not arm-chair quarterbacking my experience in public.

I put it out there for the folks to realize that there is a lot more to real "self defense" than cranking someone's forearm.

Sincerely,

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Old 02-13-2003, 02:33 PM   #13
shihonage
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Quote:
Greg Jennings wrote:
I also spent a year in "anger management" to make the assault and battery charge go away.


Last edited by shihonage : 02-13-2003 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 02-13-2003, 02:53 PM   #14
faramos
Dojo: University of Chicago Aikido Club
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Two Centered Situations

On two seperate occassions I've had to use aikido for self-defense in confrontations, both of which I am more than thankful nothing seriously damaging occurred to either myself or the other person. In telling you this it would be good to note that prior to aikido I used to have a very severe temper. So severe in fact that once, while playing a game of water polo, I grabbed someones hand in such a way that I had no idea what would happen if I moved. but I forced them to move. Unfortunately, the person moved incorrectly and broke their hand and wrist because of my hold. I later learn this hold to be a very defunked kotegaishi. Back to the other incidence though:

When I first started aikido I lived near my home dojo and would walk to and from in my gi. One evening on my way home someone walking towards me and then when seeing me pulled a U-turn walking next to me. He then turned and say "Hey, give me your money." I then replied "What?! Look at me, I don't have any money" and smiled at the guy. I guess him not having any sort of threatening weapon made it tough, but he kind of realized I had my gi on and began to walk directly around me. As he did I just stayed centered and watched him walk away. I rushed to a nearby phone, called the police, and he was arrested. Apparently he had been shaking down people that were scared of him in size. Nothing more or less, just that he was a really big guy (around 6'5, 250 lbs).

A second time I was coming back from a dinner party and while walking in normal strides someone ran up behind me and grabbed my right arm very tightly. So much so I couldn't keep walking. Same type of feeling I got when someone wants to apply tough ushiro. Well, basically I just stopped walking, took a step to the side, and turned my hips. I got a look at the person fall flat on their butt, and noted what they looked like. They just kinda sat there without moving which seemed funny at the time. I then caught a bus that was coming by and got near the local police station. The crime was reported and I'm still here today.

In both cases things could have turned out poorly if I would have reverted back to what I thought necessary. Meaning kicking the living daylights out of them. But instead, I understood that the benefits of being centered and not looking to confront someone. Today I still ask myself if I should have done anything different, and everytime I tell myself, it doesn't really matter because nothing horrible happened.

That's my story.
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Old 02-13-2003, 03:36 PM   #15
Greg Jennings
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Quote:
Aleksey Sundeyev (shihonage) wrote:
That's the nice way to do jujinage. Well, it would be a little nicer if nage kept his hands open. That ensures that uke gets free to breakfall at the end.

The mean way is to have the near arm straight/palm up. Nage gets to dislocate uke's elbow with his own arm. How ironic!

Best Regards,

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Old 02-13-2003, 04:22 PM   #16
shihonage
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Quote:
Greg Jennings wrote:
That's the nice way to do jujinage. Well, it would be a little nicer if nage kept his hands open. That ensures that uke gets free to breakfall at the end.

The mean way is to have the near arm straight/palm up. Nage gets to dislocate uke's elbow with his own arm. How ironic!

Best Regards,
If you haven't noticed, the uke's right arm is broken.
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Old 02-13-2003, 05:46 PM   #17
ikkainogakusei
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Quote:
Aleksey Sundeyev (shihonage) wrote:
If you haven't noticed, the uke's right arm is broken.
Looks to me like the dislocation is the appropriate diagnosis. That warped twist is right at the elbow. It is possible to have a dislocation so bad that all of the supporting ligaments are torn and the joint moves so freely that it looks like a break.

FWIW I'd rather have a broken bone than no ligemental attachment. Bones often heal easier than ligaments.
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Old 02-13-2003, 05:55 PM   #18
Thalib
 
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Damage to the joints never heals. My right knee dislocated and had a torn ligament. Although I can still walk and do a bit of running, it's not the same, I'm basically cippled in a way. I get uncomfortable around the right knee when there's sudden pressure change in the weather.

When I have to die by the sword, I will do so with honor.
--------
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Old 02-13-2003, 06:48 PM   #19
Greg Jennings
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Quote:
Aleksey Sundeyev (shihonage) wrote:
If you haven't noticed, the uke's right arm is broken.
Wow. It's so radically dislocated that I didn't notice that the palm was up rather than down.

Sheesh. I wonder how they did that effect?

Best Regards,

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Old 02-13-2003, 07:56 PM   #20
jk
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Quote:
Greg Jennings wrote:
I also spent a year in "anger management" to make the assault and battery charge go away.
Wow. So there were criminal charges involved. Did some sort of civil action get piled on top of that? Considering how Americans love to litigate...

Regards,
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Old 02-13-2003, 08:19 PM   #21
Greg Jennings
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Quote:
John Kuo (jk) wrote:
Wow. So there were criminal charges involved. Did some sort of civil action get piled on top of that?
There were no actual criminal proceedings. But there would have been had it not been headed off up front.

No civil charges either. The other guy and his friend actually came to my defense in the hearings.

Best Regards,

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Old 02-14-2003, 12:34 AM   #22
Edward
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Quote:
Greg Jennings wrote:
Sheesh. I wonder how they did that effect?
I do hope it's an effect. Or is it not?
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Old 02-14-2003, 03:03 AM   #23
pointy
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i was at the top of the stairs coming out of a subway station late at night (brooklyn, ny). i usually make a 180 turn at the top to head back towards my house.

while stepping up on to the last stair i had a funny feeling. because i was going that way, and to keep some ma-ai, i kept turning so that the gate was between me and the flight of stairs to my left. while i did this, i heard a foot stomp clumsily onto the stair as i felt someone tug on my knapsack. it felt exactly like an ushiro attack (the way if uke is kind of charging, a wide step to the back diagonal can take their balance right there).

near the end of my turn i had my fist cocked in sort of a subtle way, just in case...but something told me not to do anything. i didnt have a single concrete thought thru the whole thing until i saw someone stumble up that last stair out of the corner of my eye. "Lucy!" it ended up being someone i went to college with. hehee

it was all blended just right, so that she was chasing my bag as she tried to grab it. i said - "why didnt you just say something instead of grabbing me, i almost knocked your butt right back down the stairs." she laughed and we walked together for a bit.

i dont know if it was aikido tho - i would have let one fly without that little voice in my head telling me it was a friendly person and not an attacker. however i seriously doubt i would have let them fall down all those stairs
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Old 02-14-2003, 06:21 AM   #24
Dennis Hooker
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Much depends on the individual's abilities and attitude. Aikido like any endeavor is highly dependent upon the individual. I was quite active in karate and judo for a time and the same question could be ask of those students as well. I have seen individuals very creative and functional in a closed environment such as competition fall apart in un structured environment. It is quite common that the tough guy is not the most effective in real combat. So of us train and teach in an effective martial manner while others support a the non martial stance. The individuals and their abilities to function under duress are more critical at times than the ability to fight in a tournament. I think the biggest reason this question comes up is that many Aikidoka have a low level of confidence in their training and abilities and this is often supported and encouraged by students of other martial arts. After all it is a martial art and various camps want to maintain an upper hand in every way. So I would say that the answerer to the principle question is dependent upon the individual. All are not equal in Aikido no matter how had some folks try to make you believe it.

Dennis Hooker: (DVD) Zanshin and Ma-ai in Aikido
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Old 02-14-2003, 06:40 AM   #25
DGLinden
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I agreee with Mr. Hooker in every way. However in answer to the very original question asked - the answer is yes.

Unfortunately I have been in that ugly situation and after being bounced off of brick walls and concrete pillars I managed to remember that I was a (at the time) nidan and sensei. And believe it or not, it was a kokunage that broke the thing open (the last tecnhique I ever figured would work on the street) but in all truth it was two solid left hooks that ended it. I was a young man then and did things in a young man's way.

Now I am old and would do things differently, and perhaps I wouldn't have to suffer through the guilt and humiliation I felt afterward. You see, once I 'came to my senses' it was like playing with a child and it was only anger that made me feel that I had to finish it. Great power brings great responsibility.

Again to Mr. Hookers comments, it depends on the individual and his training.

Daniel G. Linden
Author of ON MASTERING AIKIDO (c) 2004
Founder Shoshin Aikido Dojos
www.shoshindojo.com
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