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Old 02-21-2004, 12:48 PM   #26
Don_Modesto
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Re: Systema and Atemi

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
....sometimes you have a partner who initially wants to be a tough guy and he ignores the threat of the atemi (he demonstrated on one of his students with an atemi that didn't make contact; the student didn't flinch....he gave the student a real whack...). After the student had taken a real hit or two, when Vlad went to deliver an atemi the students whole body responded even though Vlad hadn't made contact.
How do you suppose that would go over at a seminar with an unknown partner?

(Sorry. I love the point, it's one I make myself, but there's just this little devil sitting up on my shoulder...next to my good ear...)

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Old 02-21-2004, 02:07 PM   #27
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Re: Systema and Atemi

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Don J. Modesto (Don_Modesto) wrote:
How do you suppose that would go over at a seminar with an unknown partner?

(Sorry. I love the point, it's one I make myself, but there's just this little devil sitting up on my shoulder...next to my good ear...)
Happens all the time. I was recently at a seminar in which Saotome Sensei was meeting a ryote tori attack by simutaneously deflecting the two grabs outswrds and grabbing the head. My partner, who is senior to me insisted on pulling her arms away and jumping back. The problem from her standpoint was that when she did so she drew me right into her unprotected center. She had already committed to the attack. It wasn't possible to escape without being struck by the atemi. I, of course showed the atemi but didn't land it. She looked at me as if there was something wrong with my technique. Whether she understood what had happened wasn't my problem. I knew I had her. That was enough.

There are occasions in which you simply have to do the atemi. I had a student do a nidan test in which an uke refused to acknowledge an atemi that was literally in his face. My student was trying to be kind by not landing the atemi but that required that the uke would acknowledge it. When he didn't he put the students whole randori at risk. I had warned my student that this might happen and that if it did he needed to nail the uke in order to get an honest response but the student wouldn't do it and consequently his randori was ruined by this uke.

In general when you have a partner who doesn't get it, you simply move on to another partner. It's not your job to correct someone else's problems unless that person is your student. It's their teacher;s job to fix it. It's your job to train and understand what is happening in order to grow. Sometimes it is the restraint that is the best education.

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Old 02-21-2004, 05:37 PM   #28
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Excellent post George-san. I recently started reading Shioda's Shugyo and he basically states that in a combat situation you need to use atemi and quick throws.
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Old 02-22-2004, 08:43 AM   #29
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Re: Re: Re: Systema and Atemi

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
In general when you have a partner who doesn't get it, you simply move on to another partner. It's not your job to correct someone else's problems unless that person is your student. It's their teacher;s job to fix it. It's your job to train and understand what is happening in order to grow. Sometimes it is the restraint that is the best education.
Ledyard Sensei, is it wrong to just go ahead and apply the atemi? In the past I had problems with some techniques because I was told that I was being "too nice", i.e. I was applying atemi but missing the target on purpose because my partner wasn't moving. So I was taught to just go ahead and land the atemi, if they didn't move out of the way then it was their problem. Now I don't mean to say that I strike my partner's head as fast and as hard as I can but I put real intent behind the atemi which seems to really help my technique.

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Old 02-22-2004, 02:41 PM   #30
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Almost all these comments and I include myself among these respondents, are irrelevant to the original question. "Did the founder take out atemi in Aikido?"

In response to Jun and Craig, there are some "strong leads" in the taigi, which I would call atemi. In particular there is a back fist strike, which I have been told is a "lead" because you roll your fist, rather than just letting it drive through the other person's face. Of course you pull back your fist before you actually hit.

I am assuming that a nage would use an open hand to indicate a strike during the execution of a technique. This would indicate an atemi and help maintain correct ma-ai. However most people just do the technique and don't indicate the atemi. Many times, doing the strike breaks up the motion of the technique. In some techniques, the atemi has evolved into a stylized movement.

I'm going to start asking around. Perhaps I'll find something worth reporting.

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Old 02-22-2004, 04:17 PM   #31
George S. Ledyard
 
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Atemi

Quote:
Ted Ehara (tedehara) wrote:
Almost all these comments and I include myself among these respondents, are irrelevant to the original question. "Did the founder take out atemi in Aikido?"

In response to Jun and Craig, there are some "strong leads" in the taigi, which I would call atemi. In particular there is a back fist strike, which I have been told is a "lead" because you roll your fist, rather than just letting it drive through the other person's face. Of course you pull back your fist before you actually hit.

I am assuming that a nage would use an open hand to indicate a strike during the execution of a technique. This would indicate an atemi and help maintain correct ma-ai. However most people just do the technique and don't indicate the atemi. Many times, doing the strike breaks up the motion of the technique. In some techniques, the atemi has evolved into a stylized movement.

I'm going to start asking around. Perhaps I'll find something worth reporting.
When I talk about atemi being intrinsic to Aikido I mean a number of things:

Striking:

a) the possibility of a physical atemi at any instant b) a strike that has the juice to catch an attacker's attention but may not actually be intended to physically land (you know this but the uke doesn't c) a strike which would land if the uke didn't block it and d) a strike which does land causing pain and / or physical dysfunction

Non-Striking:

The wider sense of atemi includes anything designed to capture the attention of the uke for an instant or momentarily effect his will to resist: a) kiai as an audible form of sonic atemi b) the "silent kiai", an energetic form of kiai by projecting a sharp intense mental focus outwards at the uke c) anything unexpected which can capture the uke's mind for a second (Joanne Veneziano Sensei in Seattle would sometimes plant a kiss on the cheek of the uke just before she threw him in irimi nage)

All of this comes under the general heading of atemi they way I was taught. If atemi only means the striking of vital points to cause physical pain and dysfunction then one is looking at only the very narrowest of the meanings of atemi. There would certainly be teachers whose Aikido was sophisticated enough that this type of atemi would only account for a relatively small anmount of their practice.

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Old 02-23-2004, 03:45 PM   #32
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osensei starts no atemi aikido

I understand the original question, and do not wish to stray too much from that topic set by it, but I wonder if there is not a subtopic here that is much more relative to the broader Aikido community -- one that could be settled outside of the respective camps of the individual believer.

Before I get what that might be, I would like to state here that I think we are dealing with a historical question -- that is to say, we are dealing with matters of historical accuracy. In that light, we are going to have to accept, on the one hand, that the practicality of striking may not lend as much credence to what is being asked as one may believe, while on the other hand, as in all matters dealing with historical questions, second party accounts (hearsay), and deathbed statements have to be treated with a healthy dose of skepticism. This skepticism has to be of such a nature to allow things to be suspended in doubt, long enough for other types of evidence to be considered. It's a healthy dose of skepticism that not only allows for but makes necessary the raising of other topics like those brought up by Mr. Ledyard, however relative they may or may not appear to be to the original question being asked. My position is that they are relative, but perhaps most strongly at an individual level (i.e. "Will you strike in your Aikido practice or not?"). However, that aside, I think an equally interesting thing to consider is what is being "unsaid" in the original question.

No one can doubt the martial viability of striking, especially not within those situations or circumstances that are deemed ideal toward striking. Thus, no one can doubt the practical space striking may find within any kind of martial application of Aikido. And yet such obviousness works little to satisfy the original question (and its many forms). Why? Because of what is going unsaid in the original question. What is going unsaid here is that somehow striking falls firmly, or more commonly, on the side of immoral action whereas throwing, locking, and/or pinning does not. Aikido, thought to be, or considered to be a "moral" art among a sea of immoral arts, therefore, does not strike. Osensei being the founder of this "moral" art, must have been against striking, therefore. This is how the logic is supposed to work, in my opinion, at the heart of question first posted in this thread. Let's dig a bit deeper.

The most common element for this division has to do with some sort of intuitive level of harm. Such that strikes are considered to be immoral because they cause more harm, and/or more harm than necessary, and/or, at least more harm than throwing, pinning, locking, etc. The argument is of course circular, such that throwing, etc., is considered to be more moral than striking because it causes less harm than striking, etc.

But how is such a position truly upheld? It seems to me it is all a matter of big egos in small wells looking up at the sky and thinking they see the whole of it. There appear to be some incorrect assumptions here and I'm wondering if someone, someone who is a strong proponent of aikido having no strikes, and/or aikido being a moral art (among immoral arts), and/or strikes causing more harm than throws, etc., could speak up and address some of the following, briefly stated, points:

1. (As to what demarcations can and cannot be used to define Aikido) Is not the art defined more accurately by the implementation of the tactic of ‘aiki,' or lack thereof, as opposed to the superficial and relative elements of waza and/or the basics found within waza? If so, cannot one strike via the tactic of ‘aiki,' and if so, cannot one strike and be practicing Aikido?

2. (As to striking causing less harm than throwing, etc.) Is not a large part of the harm being generated caused by the amount of force being delivered or manifested upon a given point of the human body? If that is true, is not more force being generated at a given point on the body when that body is being thrown (and hitting the ground) than when it is being struck? (Due to more mass being present at impact.) Was not this the whole tactical point of choosing to throw armored adversaries, along with addressing the likely hood of multiple opponents, over striking them, and/or of having throwing as a choice among striking them? In short, isn't this why throwing was seen as a viable alternative, if not a preferred one, when addressing battlefield possibilities?

3. (As to Aikido being unique morally to other arts) Are not all of Aikido's waza, once allowing for the individual interpretations of any given practitioner, found in nearly any other martial art (in and outside of Japanese origins)? Why don't all these other arts make such claims to their uniqueness? Why is aikido, armed with the same arsenal, under the impression that said arsenal can and does allow for non-injurious forms of fighting when no other art makes such claims? Why does Aikido assume that other martial arts seek violence and do not also equally idealize peace over war, etc.?

4. (As to the uniqueness of Aikido's "interpretation" of the same arsenal that is present in countless other arts) Is not the spiral Aikido's main geometric pattern? Does not the spiral contain all of the energies found in every other art: horizontal energy (centripetal and centrifugal), vertical energy (gravity), and linear energy (thrusting)? Is not harm the likely outcome of anyone of these energies when applied to the human body within a martial situation? And, can anyone of these energies truly be produced in and of themselves when manifested bio-mechanically? Can a movement ever truly be totally circular for example? Will it not always have gravitational energies working on it, as well as thrusting energies? And if so, once allowing for the possibility of the ground being present, are we not looking still at great deals of force at impact once that ground is met? Isn't the real lack of harm coming from a reduction in force at impact brought about by (in training situations) a learned cooperation on the one hand and (in non-training situations) a decrease in acceleration within one's technique on the other hand? Can't any basic from any art reduce force at impact, and thus injury, by reducing one's acceleration and/or by relying on a leaned cooperation? Can't any type of movement be done slowly, and thus gently?

To be sure there are more things that make it difficult, for me at least, to adopt the position that underlies the original question, but this seems to be as good a start as any.

Thank you,

Dmv
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Old 02-23-2004, 04:06 PM   #33
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Wow, and I thought -I- tended to the lengthy posts *grin*

In any case, DMV, you've got some interesting points that need addressing. I agree that many people might have some kind of opposition to striking due to some percieved aggression that is inherent in a strike, and not in a throw... although I think they would categorize it as disharmony, rather than agression.

I don't entirely agree with throws being inherently more deadly, though. More likely they were favored on the feudal battlefield due to considerations of armor. If you punch a heavily armored man, you will accomplish not much other than hurting your hand. If you apply a joint lock, it will probably still work.

As for the "can't any kind of technique be done softly", well, no, they can't. You simply cannot subdue someone by punching and/or kicking them softly. If you're really skillful, you may be able to subdue them by throwing them softly, then pinning them.

However, this may be a false dichotomy. I believe (and this one is going to cause some uproar) that when O Sensei was talking about not harming your opponent, he was talking about not killing them, or doing any -permanent- damage. Given how hard he was known to throw people, they may have found it to be more merciful to be knocked out with a quick fist to the jaw.
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Old 02-23-2004, 04:22 PM   #34
George S. Ledyard
 
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David,

Send me an e-mail. I lost your address. Mine is aikigeorge@aikieast.com

- George

George S. Ledyard
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Old 02-23-2004, 05:05 PM   #35
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Many times within my dojo the subject of atemi is raised. I believe that the use of atemi is critical in the application of Aikido technique, but the question is what do we mean by atemi? O'Sensei spoke of taking the centre of an opponant before the conflict has begun. This I believe takes a great deal of spiratual discipline. In his latter years O'Sensei is seen Kiai-ing and entering, his Kiai was so powerful, it became his attemi-I think what you are really searching for is the word intent - if your opponant truely believes that you are commited to the attemi 100% he will move to escape what he believes is the devistating blow - one that will never come. He will, I assure you be off balanced enough to complete any technique on. When you learn or teach atemi, dont let it deteriorate into a boby movent that is part of the technique, a hand here, a fist there, but rather let the intent of your action penetrate to the soul of your opponant, strong Zanshin will overcome even the strongest of attackers. A point of interest, you said that Lau had applied joint locks properly - this point is rather mute as corrctness is in the eye of the beholder, obviously the techniques were not applied properly, or the outcome may have been different - but once again this is just my humble opinion - control the situation by controling the energy and spirit of the situation, not the physical situation - the bigger man will most likley win the physical confrontation.

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Old 02-23-2004, 08:15 PM   #36
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Thanks for addressing the post Ted.

Not necessarily to disagree, but to elaborate my original point: I was trying to keep things as scientific as possible, in order to stay away from hard to define terms like "harmony" or "disharmony". Those kind of terms are too loaded, or rather too embedded by the unsaid issue I am trying to raise as an alternate method of dealing with the question of striking in Aikido. This is why I made the jump as quickly as possible from "harm" to "injury" to "force at impact", and why I left "foggy" terms that I could not get away from in their original Japanese -- for example, ‘aiki'.

If one would allow me to not have to go too deeply into the various historical understandings of both the ura and omote takes on what ‘aiki' is and/or is not, I would like to say here that ‘aiki' could be understood as the use of the opponent's energy against him/herself (that is to say, using their energy toward our own designs which we can say are at the moment not in total agreement with that of the attacker). This, I think, is the closest I came to terms like "harmony" in my original post. But even by this definition one can strike, as my first rhetorical post suggested, with ‘aiki', such as in the case of using the opponent's oppositional energy to generate more force at impact or at contact - a force which is then usually applied to a given "corner" of the body for purposes of kuzushi, and/or throwing, etc. Aikido would not look the same at all if we did not allow the use of an oppositional energy to generate more force at impact/contact. By using that force in this way, we are using the opponent's energy for our own designs, designs that are not currently his/her own, and thereby we are applying aiki, and hence practicing Aikido - as this small deduction process has laid it out here.

So here, addressing your suggestion that this is a matter of ‘disharmony', rather than a matter of aggression, etc., I would say that we are going to either have to count a lot of Aikido as disharmonious or a lot of striking as ‘aiki', and leave matters of "aggression" to the psychological fields it is so rightly allocated to.

On your other point: I did not mean to suggest that one thing is more "deadly" than another. The true mortality rate of something, even caliber size in fire arm ammunitions, is too highly dependent on any given set of circumstances such that it would never behoove us to talk about such matters outside of very specific examples. I was only saying that a throw would product more force at impact, over a strike, because more mass would be present at the point of impact (e.g. the mass of the ground, and the mass of the body being thrown), as opposed to a strike which would have less force at impact due to the decrease in mass (e.g. the mass of the weapon used, the mass of the target being struck) -- allowing for acceleration to remain reasonably equal of course. I then went on to say: More force, more chance of injury, more chance of harm, more chance of acting harmful toward another human being. This last line is of course riddled with jumps in logic, but I do feel they are reasonable, or at least reasonable enough to have us doubt the position that striking is more immoral than throwing because it causes more harm.

I agree with your point over the practicality of striking concerning an armored adversary, but I would like to suggest that throwing such an adversary would be the option of choice, that it would not be the selected default tactic ‘because striking wouldn't work'. Allowing for the viability of throwing over striking in a multiple attacker situation (i.e. battlefield warfare), throwing an armored opponent would cause a lot more harm than both striking and than throwing an unarmored opponent. This is of course made possible due to the increase in mass caused by the added material and weight of the armor -- armor that did not have the luxury of today's absorbent technologies or materials. In short, I would say that there definitely was a time in Aikido's history (the history of the arts that preceded it) where it was fully understood that if you wanted to injure someone, truly injure him, throw him, don't try and hit him -- throw him. What happened?!

On your final point, I would still hold the position that any basic could be done slowly,in order to reduce acceleration at impact, in order to reduce force at impact, in order to reduce the likelihood of causing injury, in order to reduce the likelihood of acting harmful toward another human being. I do not at all suggest that the application of speed plays no part in a single or in any given martial tactic -- it does and always will. So I was not trying to say that striking could be done slowly and remain martially viable in one or all situations. I would not say this about throwing, pinning, or locking either. The speed of one's movement, or rather the need for speed in one's movement, is entirely relative to the skill the practitioner hold in matters of timing and also to the lack of said skill in the opponent. What cannot be attributed to this skill, or lack thereof, can in extreme cases be relegated to elements of strength or lack thereof. Which is why I can in fact use slow strikes (understood culturally to be pushes) on a person much less skilled than I or on folks a lot weaker than I. The same goes for throws as well -- if we are wishing to talk about martial viability. In short, I would have to disagree at the embedded suggestion that one can do a slow throw on anybody at any time to achieve any end.

Your last point is very interesting on how one might understand what Osensei meant by "not harming." It may point to some problems in translation, problems that we without access to the original sources, and/or without access to the original language, will have to suffer through for some time to come - I would imagine. It may very well be like the original commandment that reads "thou shall not commit MURDER" and NOT "thou shall not kill."

Again, thank you,

dmv

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Old 02-23-2004, 10:28 PM   #37
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Atemi

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Chad Sloman wrote:
Ledyard Sensei, is it wrong to just go ahead and apply the atemi? In the past I had problems with some techniques because I was told that I was being "too nice", i.e. I was applying atemi but missing the target on purpose because my partner wasn't moving. So I was taught to just go ahead and land the atemi, if they didn't move out of the way then it was their problem. Now I don't mean to say that I strike my partner's head as fast and as hard as I can but I put real intent behind the atemi which seems to really help my technique.
Hi Chad,

When my peers and I trained together we would actually land the atemi but we would adjust the focus to the surface rather than through the target as one would normally do. This let you bop someone in the face if necessary without actually causing any real injury. I had my nose flattened a couple of times, enough to recognize that I had been grievously open, but never enough that I was really hurt. You really do need to be careful, the more junior you are the more slack you need to put in for safety. Later you can get to the point where you are making contact but controlling how hard it hits.

This also goes for the uke as well. You can adjust where an attack is focused and give your partner a 100% commited attack which won't actually injure him if he blows his move simply by aiming at the surface of the target rather than through it. This is much better than lowering the force involved because it feels the same to the nage so he isn't being mislead about what an attack feels like. Also, up to the point of impact it actually does carry the right energy so that if he tries to block or catch the strike he will feel the impact that comes with opposing the incoming attack rather than blending with it.

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Old 02-24-2004, 03:29 AM   #38
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I had a chance to talk to my chief instructor Eley Sensei about the Ki Society tagi. He noted that the strikes in the taigi were large, observable strikes designed to get a reaction from the uke. Actual atemi is shorter and should not be noticed until it lands. So perhaps that is why tagi "atemi" can be called "strong leads".

He also noted that there was a definite change from Aiki Budo to Aikido. The pre-WWII art had atemi while the post-WWII art didn't emphasize atemi and took it out of the teaching curriculum. You might assume that this was the founder's doing. Since K. Tohei mentioned that atemi got in the way with learning a technique's movement, you might also assume that this was a reflection of the founder's thoughts.

In the above case, I am using atemi as a physical strike. It is not a kiai or extension of ki or focusing your energy, although I can see how it can be interpeted that way.

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Old 02-24-2004, 07:45 AM   #39
Peter Goldsbury
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Quote:
Ted Ehara (tedehara) wrote:
He also noted that there was a definite change from Aiki Budo to Aikido. The pre-WWII art had atemi while the post-WWII art didn't emphasize atemi and took it out of the teaching curriculum. You might assume that this was the founder's doing. Since K. Tohei mentioned that atemi got in the way with learning a technique's movement, you might also assume that this was a reflection of the founder's thoughts.

In the above case, I am using atemi as a physical strike. It is not a kiai or extension of ki or focusing your energy, although I can see how it can be interpeted that way.
My own view is that this is a matter of degree, rather than a sharp change. In Kisshomaru Ueshiba's "Aikido", published in English in 1975, six years after Morihei Ueshiba's death, there are plenty of references to atemi. The explanations of kata-dori techniques are similar to those given in "Budo Renshu" (1938), though there are fewer techniques shown in Kisshomaru's book.

I would certainly agree that there were plenty of atemi in prewar aiki-budo; I would disagree that these disappeared in post-1942 aikido. Virtually all of my own teachers joined the Hombu after this date and they all taught atemi.

I suspect that postwar aikido spent much more time making more explicit what was implicit in Morihei Ueshiba's own training methods (I do not say 'teaching methods' because all his disciples I have ever talked to denied that he 'taught' aikido in any recognized sense).

Thus, there has been more attention to breaking down techniques and kata into teachable segments and emphasizing basic movements. Thus, I can see a way of teaching, say, kaiten nage without atemi, though I would say that atemi got in the way only if the technique is taught purely as a complex movement. I can also see a value to teaching this same technique with atemi included, or at least emphasized (in about six places) as the technique is executed.

Best regards,

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Old 02-24-2004, 12:50 PM   #40
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I would have to agree with Mr. Goldsbury - as I have had the same experiences when it comes to my post-war sensei and atemi: it is always taught. But for those that don't, perhaps it might helpful to point out some historical tendencies that are usually relative to any historiography.

While history is indeed discontinuous, it does tend to act this way slowly and by degrees - as Mr. Goldbury has suggested. It would almost be a historical anomaly if we could look into the lives of so many people and say, "Bam! Here is where it stopped (assuming it did)." So rarely does this kind of discontinuity hold up to actual historical data that when one does take up this position one almost always has to rely upon "extraordinary" events - such as the ones seen in this case: the enlightenment experience of Osensei; the profound trauma of waging and being defeated in WWII; etc.

Even then, these types of historical interpretations simply do not hold up (9 times out of 10) to the slightest bit of research. Which is why on the one hand you got an offered position that atemi was banned following WWII (or at least during the lifetime of Osensei), and the fact that we can find no current shihan that trained during that time (not even K. Tohei, who had his statements entered as evidence supporting the original position) who did not strike as part of their art and training during that time.

Osensei's extraordinary experiences aside, which is where any sincere historian would put them for the time being, we are nevertheless left with the fact that today atemi is not only rarely taught in the art, or poorly taught, we are also facing the fact that striking is seen as some kind of degradation and/or regression of the art itself. So, if I were to advise someone taking on this heavily politicized history, where Aikido' economic niche in the martial arts world is at stake, I would suggest that we are indeed looking at a discontinuity, one that happened by degrees, but one that is attempting to legitimate itself by tracing it's origin to an abrupt moment that can only be crafted via the cult of personality. In other words, we are looking at a shift in practice, but it's a shift that happened much later than the late 40's, only proponents, or agents of this shift, are claiming otherwise in order to address their own sense of investment. Connecting one's current position it to a founder, and putting it further back in time than their own time period, is the oldest way of gaining legitimacy for that position, especially in the martial arts, and particularly in Japan. In all likelihood, as it has been my experience with these types of "truth games," as Foucault calls them, the real discontinuity probably didn't start taking place until Osensei's life had passed or at least until he was well out of the picture of deciding what will make up the Aikido curriculum and why. This take on things, of course, will be shocking for those who have invested in the aforementioned position concerning striking, but to those looking at the historical data, and willing to accept what it says "as is", it will be heard as something obvious and barely worth mentioning.

dmv

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Old 02-24-2004, 04:30 PM   #41
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Quote:
Ted Ehara (tedehara) wrote:
I had a chance to talk to my chief instructor Eley Sensei about the Ki Society tagi. He noted that the strikes in the taigi were large, observable strikes designed to get a reaction from the uke. Actual atemi is shorter and should not be noticed until it lands. So perhaps that is why tagi "atemi" can be called "strong leads".

He also noted that there was a definite change from Aiki Budo to Aikido. The pre-WWII art had atemi while the post-WWII art didn't emphasize atemi and took it out of the teaching curriculum. You might assume that this was the founder's doing. Since K. Tohei mentioned that atemi got in the way with learning a technique's movement, you might also assume that this was a reflection of the founder's thoughts.
I have the utmost respect for Eley Sensei, but since he started Aikido in the 1960's, he really hasn't any way of knowing this other than by second-hand stories.

Taigi wasn't created till the late 1970's and has certainly undergone some evolution since then.

I have been taught variations of taigi that would meet Eley Sensei's definition of atemi (unnoticed until it lands) by Ki Society teachers more senior than him. They may not be the current form that would give you a high score in a taigi competition but they do (did) exist. Taigi itself actually is not considered self-defense or martial art so much as

the filtered pure core essence of aikido where Shin Shin Toistu Do is expressed.

An obvious example of atemi that comes to mind is a short quick thrust inserting the second joint of the middle finger between two ribs as you pass through on technique 5 of taigi 3 (Yokomenuchi Kokyunage Sudori Nage) giving uke a sharp jolt create weight upperside.

Tohei Sensei over the last thirty years has been constantly evolving his ideas. I am not sure that you could ever make the assumption that what Tohei Sensei says is necessarily a reflection of the founder's thoughts. Tohei Sensei very much has his own ideas about aikido.

Craig
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Old 02-24-2004, 09:41 PM   #42
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I've given the source of my understanding and I've given my reasoning. The response is obvious:

Ted,

You are so full of it...AGAIN!

I spoke with Shihan ___ and he assured me that the founder did not implicitly or explicitly discourage atemi. In fact, he assured me that he was continually struck by the founder from 195_ until O Sensei's death, everytime he took ukemi for him.

It seems that the guy who spoke to Lau was just as mistaken as you. However you've proven yourself to be more consistent!

Just fill in the blanks, folks.

Actually, I would be interested in hearing reports about this from those who might know. It doesn't matter to which side of the hill their opinions fall on. "Just the facts Mame"

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Old 02-24-2004, 10:47 PM   #43
Peter Goldsbury
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Mr Ehara,

What would count as facts here?

My own post offered some evidence that Mr Koichi Tohei did not take atemi out of aikido, which is what you asked in your original post. Or if he did in his own classes in the Hombu, this did not extend to the whole Aikikai. As for Mr Sadao Yoshioka, the quoted discussion with Mr Lau does not make clear whether he himself had any conversations about atemi with Morihei Ueshiba. If not, the question then arises whether videos, possibly of demonstrations, are a reliable indication of daily training.

Of course, as with any of the other intriguing questions about Morhei Ueshiba's life and practice, the best thing would be to ask him directly. Failing this, we have to ask those who knew him and were taught by him. In this latter case, it seems very much to depend on whom you talk to.

Then there is the question whether Morihei Ueshiba's own training, up till the end of his life, is a reliable indication of what I should do, for example, in my own training. For example, I understand from talking to those who knew him that towards the end of his life, Morihei Ueshiba stopped using weapons and performng kata, but this is no reason for anyone to abandon the training they received in Iwama.

I, too, am interested in discovering facts about Morihei Ueshiba and have been searching for several years. Unfortunately, those who possess evidence strong enough to count as fact here are diminishing in number and unfortunately are not in the habit of posting on web discussion boards.

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Old 02-25-2004, 09:49 AM   #44
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Ted Ehara-

Perhaps you misunderstand me. I wasn't claiming to know anything about what O Sensei did or did not do as part of his training regimen. I can't claim first hand knowledge of it, so I just leave it be. Instead, I was trying to account for a way that two conflicting viewpoints could be reconciled, since each had some vague support.

That, and you totally missed my point.

One of my major points was that just hitting someone might not be the "atemi" that O Sensei, or Tohei wasn't so keen on. Now, if you were to say that either of these people routinely hit people with multiple pressure point strikes in such a way as to cause knockouts before throwing thier ukes, then you would be justified in telling me that I am full of it. Until then, it'd be nice to keep the discussion down to the level of point and counterpoint without personal attacks.
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Old 02-25-2004, 10:09 AM   #45
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Mr. Ehara-

We need to get different names. I didn't realize your post was (presumably) aimed at yourself until I looked and saw that you had started this thread. It's kind of ambiguous as posted.

Remind me never to post in haste again, OK? *grin*
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Old 02-25-2004, 11:20 AM   #46
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Pssst!

Hey, Ted!

*snicker*

Don't post in haste anymore... okay?

Have a good day!

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Old 02-25-2004, 02:56 PM   #47
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". . routinely hit people with multiple pressure point strikes in such a way as to cause knockouts before throwing thier ukes". That might, however, explain why some of O'Sensei's ukes claimed to see "lights" when he touched them. He may have lit them up with a pressure point. I would be surprised if O'Sensei delivered atemi without a purposeful intent given his martial arts background-especially given the aikikai defines atemi (see Best Aikido) as strikes to vital points (aka pressure points, nerve points, etc.).
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Old 02-25-2004, 03:16 PM   #48
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I know it's unusual for someone to flame themselves, but if it will bring up any facts it would be worth it. However as Dr. Goldsbury pointed out, reports by people who were there, are harder to come by as the years go on.

People look at atemi as a division of martial and spiritual training. The person who does atemi is more martially oriented than someone who practices techniques with no atemi. The person who doesn't atemi does Aikido because of spiritual development. This is a delusional way of looking at people.

A person who does atemi in training could be more spiritually developed than someone who doesn't. A person who practices technique with no atemi could have a stronger martial spirit than someone who always does atemi. To judge a person you have to look at an individual, not make assumptions from the training techniques that they use.

-- the other Ted

Last edited by tedehara : 02-25-2004 at 03:26 PM.

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Old 03-02-2004, 10:43 AM   #49
Keith Morgan
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Some really interesting comments on the use of atemi in the aiki arts.I choose the phrase Aiki arts as opposed to Aikido,because I believe that Aikido aspires to be more than a martial way,and in trying to achieve that goal,the effectiveness of the techniques in what some may deem a "real" situation are somewhat diluted,and could leave the defender in a more exposed precarious situation.I am not saying Aikido is ineffective,just more the way it is taught and practised.The originator of this whole discussion was concerned about their aggressors ability to pull away from a lock.That doesn't surprise me.A lock was originally designed for one thing only,to break.Many of the more complex hold downs and pins,could only be achieved once a dislocation or break had been applied.It is only modern training that seems to portray locks as some sort of control and restraint technique.Have you ever seen how many police officers it takes to "escort" someone who doesn't want to go,even with a 'control and restraint' lock on?

Students of the arts should really look into the history of their arts,not always the individuals who have expounded the system,but the history of the techniques,how and why they were developed,and what were they designed for.It would then help to put what most practise today into perspective.Also the use of pressure points,or kyusho jutsu,was not that extant in Japan as it was in China.The reasons for this being numerous,and perhaps open for debate at a later time.
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Old 03-02-2004, 11:35 AM   #50
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Quote:
Keith Morgan wrote:
I am not saying Aikido is ineffective,just more the way it is taught and practised.The originator of this whole discussion was concerned about their aggressors ability to pull away from a lock.That doesn't surprise me.A lock was originally designed for one thing only,to break.Many of the more complex hold downs and pins,could only be achieved once a dislocation or break had been applied.It is only modern training that seems to portray locks as some sort of control and restraint technique.Have you ever seen how many police officers it takes to "escort" someone who doesn't want to go,even with a 'control and restraint' lock on?
Sorry but to me this just comes across as simply theorizing in effort to convince yourself or your students of this.

I have trained police officers and prison guards and pretty soon in my experience they find that their partners and other officers start asking them or deferring to them to escort the perp. In my experience, police officers training in locks is usually as superficial as their fire arm training.

They need a lot more training than they get and

because of that you see the problems. Sometimes very tragic.

In Aikido, there are formal finishes and then many variations more appropriate to practical situations rather than the dojo. It's a simple matter to make the student aware of this in their training.

IIRC what Ted said about the aggressor pulling away from a lock, it sounded to me like a classic situation that can be solved by a little training to be open to going with the aggressor's ki at that moment. More of an issue of training in freestyle where the ki is constantly changing. Not an issue of needing to add atemi. Not being on the mat with him and seeing exactly the situation he had in mind I was loath to offer internet solutions, but I am reminded of my late teacher's reminder to "unstick your feet".

Craig

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