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Old 03-02-2004, 01:30 PM   #51
senshincenter
 
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These last two posts said some interesting things. Thanks for sharing.

However, it should be pointed out that the original post was merely asking if Osensei took out strikes or not, etc. - a point he repeated later in the thread when people got off his stated topic. The point of a person pulling out of a lock was made by Lau, which was quoted in the original post in order to have us focus on the last line he spoke in an interview (i.e. about Osensei taking strikes out of Aikido proper).

I would not say that Mr. Morgan is merely theorizing. Obviously there is some research here - some historical and some practical. And even some cross-cultural studies can lend some perspective here if we look at the biomechanical make-up of locks vs. holds (say, from Roman-Greco wrestling): Undoubtedly the majority of locks in the aiki arts do rely on one or more points of articulation being brought to a point of excess or near excess -- if not in practice then definitely in potential. If one were just trying to "hold" a person, why would such excess be necessary? I think that is a fair question to ask, and that is all I see Mr. Morgan doing.

I can also see that what Mr. Hocker is saying is also true. As a trainer of law enforcement personnel myself, I have experienced this fact lots of times - folks stepping aside to have my men come in and put the situation under control with a lock/hold they have practiced under me. And, I can also agree with the point that law enforcement personnel are highly under trained and that that under training has a lot to do with the overall (in)effectiveness of whatever it is they are applying -- more so than any other aspect.

However, in such cases, I would like to say that what I see going on is not so much that the lock is holding, but that the subject being detained has stopped resisting - that he/she is allowing for a tactical opportunity for the lock to hold. This means, for me, that though the lock is holding, I would not dismiss Mr. Morgan's perspective outright, because I can admit that the lock is only holding because the subject has allowed or is allowing it to hold.

In my own training experience, with these same officers, situations where we deal with the extremes of arrest and control (and by "extreme" I am noting that we are dealing with cases that while possible are less probable in the line of duty), locks that "work" in the field are overloaded time and time again on the mat simply because in the practice session the "suspect" is told not to surrender no matter what. This experience too would lend credence to what Mr. Morgan is suggesting.

If you, Mr. Hocker, have undergone this type of training in your own setting, I would really like to know what your experiences have led to. Sincerely interested. Do the locks hold for you? If so, which ones? (Note: This setting is reached most efficiently when one is not training with folks of low pain tolerance. I say that, yes, because pain is present, which is when most folks in a dojo "quit", and which is also when most folks in the field may "quit", but I'm referring to a training environment that is set upon the question of: "What if they don't quit?") Have you trained under these conditions and if so, what did you find?

With that said, I do have one point of clarification to make, perhaps even a point of disagreement, concerning Mr. Morgan's position. I would say that a bigger obstacle to applying locks in the field than expecting them merely to "hold" is that of consciously searching to apply a lock or hold. I would say that locks are more something one falls into -- something stemming from traps, which stem from proper positioning, which stems from proper timing, which allows one to capitalize upon a specific tactical environment that allows for a lock to be placed. This is obviously consistent with the tactic of aiki, but it is also the only sure way of making sure a lock is applicable -- something which the addition of strikes will not do nor the completion of an excess on particular point of articulation will do either. If you want the lock to work, you may have to force a joint or two, should the opponent or the suspect not submit to the "hold," but you cannot force the lock itself. As the opponent falls into the lock, we ourselves must also fall into the application of the lock. In my experience it is the fail to do this that makes most applications of locks/holds fallible -- not striking, not breaking, and not holding, or their opposites.

Thank you,

dmv

David M. Valadez
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Old 03-02-2004, 02:13 PM   #52
Ron Tisdale
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Dear DMV,

That last paragraph of your last post is pure gold. We should frame that and hang it on the wall.

Ron

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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
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Old 03-02-2004, 04:49 PM   #53
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DMV. I would disagree with the statement that strikes cannot set up a lock-by hitting a pressure point you can release a resistant joint via pain compliance making the lock easier to put on. It is hard for the brain to provide resistance when it is dealing with pain. For example, kotegaeshi is easier to apply with pressure on Lung 10 (median nerve)-hurts like hell (even causes the shoulder to drop making the kotegaeshi easier to apply. Triple Warmer 3 can also be used to release the wrist as well. Obviously, the lock is an opportunistic move and proper positioning, etc., must be present. IMHO.
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Old 03-02-2004, 06:11 PM   #54
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Thank you for reply Mr. Riggs.

Well that is the basic assumption of pressure points and of pain compliance, isn't it? I mean, without that notion the whole idea of touching (or striking) someone for the purposes of "guaranteeing" a particular tactic but touching them in a way that is not directly assisting the particular mechanical advantage that is being produced by a particular set of levers and fulcrums, etc., would fall apart. In other words, it's an assumption that one has to accept from the "get go" or not. So, you are right, we may have to just disagree on this point.

In my experience, it is best not to accept that assumption, or to at least not to depend upon it being "true". Your position does -- at least at some point it will have to. While I would answer "no" to the following questions, I would imagine that your position requires an answer of "yes" in each case: "Does pain make someone inoperative or at least tactically inoperative?" "Do all people tactically fail at the same pain tolerance level?" "Can pain tolerance failure be objectively predicted and applied universally?"

For me, though I have been exposed to pressure point training and/or pain compliance strategies (as well), have seen it successfully applied and have applied it successfully myself (as well), I have had to place my opinion on the side of the numerous and various bodies (e.g. some intoxicated and some not) and situations (e.g. some over-weight and some not, some dressed in thick clothing and some not) that have convinced me not so much that pressure point attacks and/or pain compliance doesn't work, but that is a luxury of strategy that one should not depend upon. To the case: I would not rely on pain compliance in order to have kote gaeshi work, I would rely on aiki. And if aiki could not be present with kote gaeshi, I would not attempt kote gaeshi. .

Point of fact: I believe that this last assumption that I just made is at the heart of the tactical difference that lies between aiki and pain compliance. In aiki, I don't need an opponent or a suspect to want go where I want them to go; in pain compliance I need the opponent or suspect to want to go where I want them to go. The former captures my whole point of "falling into locks;" the latter, at least psychological speaking, captures the tactic of pain compliance.

We all must choose, and we would be wise to have that choice rest on a mountain of research and experience -- especially when lives may be on the line as in the last couple of cases that were brought up (i.e. law enforcement). So we may be choosing differently. And that may be the end of that: agreeing to disagree.

Still, I think there is a bit of room here to question, or to at least begin to question, the thinking (often associated with the "pro-striking" segment of Aikido practitioners) or suggestion that we can achieve aiki by opting not to use aiki, which is what I would say is going on when we need to hit or touch Lung 10 in order for kote-gaeshi to be applied.

In short, I pose the following question: It may be true (by which I mean it may be something that we can all point to in our personal realm of individual experience, that we may even be able to repeat and predict under objective circumstances on the training mat, and that we may even be able to kinesiologically define) that our "throws" don't work, but being practitioners set to employ the tactic of aiki, do we so easily satisfy both requirements of having throws that work and employing aiki by merely adding atemi to our kihon waza?

I would say "no". I think the matter is much more complicated and cannot be so easily solved by the mere practice of eclecticism and/or of producing more accurate histories regarding the founder's life. I would suggest that the true answer may lie more in our (mis)understanding of locking, pinning, and throwing, and of aiki than in our (re)growing wisdom in atemi (or pressure points, etc.). If that is the case, then we would all do well to enter into this dialog on striking since we will probably end up learning a lot more about locking, pinning, throwing, and aiki than if we outright rejected discussion as "absurd" (which I do not).

Thank you,

dmv

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Old 03-02-2004, 11:55 PM   #55
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Quote:
David Valadez (senshincenter) wrote:
"What if they don't quit?") Have you trained under these conditions and if so, what did you find?

I would say that locks are more something one falls into -- something stemming from traps, which stem from proper positioning, which stems from proper timing, which allows one to capitalize upon a specific tactical environment that allows for a lock to be placed. This is obviously consistent with the tactic of aiki, but it is also the only sure way of making sure a lock is applicable --

but you cannot force the lock itself. As the opponent falls into the lock, we ourselves must also fall into the application of the lock. In my experience it is the fail to do this that makes most applications of locks/holds fallible -- not striking, not breaking, and not holding, or their opposites.

Thank you,

dmv
A lot of good points. I guess one thing I have been thinking about when training under those conditions is the to play with making them feel safe where they are and to make it scary to attempt to break free. This tends to take the fight out of them even when they are trying not to stop till they break free. Using a bit of behavioral psychology.

If you want to hold a lock a long time you have to be very sensitive to controlling the trunk of the body and aware enough to move. A lot of nonverbal communication going on.

I liked very much the way you put that last bit about a forcing a lock but falling into or letting it happen.

Very well said.

Craig

HKS
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Old 03-03-2004, 12:08 PM   #56
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"Does pain make someone inoperative or at least tactically inoperative?" "Do all people tactically fail at the same pain tolerance level?" "Can pain tolerance failure be objectively predicted and applied universally?"

It can make someone inoperative but does not always. Vaso-vagal faints for example. It often however makes them more cooperative as the body tends to move away from pain.

No not all people have the same tolerance to pain and it cannot be objectively predicted or applied universally. Some people simply do not respond to pressure points. Some authors have suggested this is about 10% or less.

My position is that atemi to pressure/vital points is:

1. They are a useful adjunct to the aiki principles.

2. They are part of the martial aspect of the art (this is the opinion of several high ranking aikidoka as well).

3. They do not always work on everyone-those with high pain tolerances, deeper nerve structures, on drugs (PCP for example), etc.

4. They can be applied without interruption the flow of the technique or the "aiki". This can be a bit challenging.

5. They are not for everyone-some chose to simply not apply them. I for one believe they are important as an element of the overall technique.
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Old 03-03-2004, 03:03 PM   #57
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Atemi is not about pain! It is a sudden, shock inducing, distracting action. There may be pain there, but that is not the result that is sought.
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Old 03-03-2004, 03:11 PM   #58
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Pain is only if it lands. Vital point strikes though are generally painful.
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Old 03-03-2004, 03:16 PM   #59
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Mark,

There are various definitions of atemi. I hope we can agree there are at least more than one, yes?

Though atemi, to you, is not about pain... it was not always so. In fact, Shioda Sensei has a very strict definition of atemi which was specifically geared TOWARD pain and potential k.o.'s. In his Aikido Shugyo book, he gives specific examples of leaving a class that O'Sensei had just been teaching ... and going out into the roughest parts of town to execute what he had just been studying. Shioda Sensei describes atemi usage that didn't just make contact, but put his opponents out of the fight upon one single hit!

SHOULD atemi be about pain alone? No. Absolutly not. But Aikido IS a martial art and I completely believe that proper use of atemi should be taught not just for training with other aikidoka, but also for the purpose of street fighting... god forbid we need to use it, but wouldn't you like to know it just in case?

Pain does not mean something is non-aiki.

That's my 2 cents.

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Old 03-03-2004, 03:38 PM   #60
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Having trained in Yoshinkan for quite a few years, I know Kancho's definition.

Atemi - strikes to vunerable parts!

Like I said, pain is not the goal. A KO can be the goal and whether the recipient feels pain or not is irelevant - they are KO'd!

Don't get caught up in pain from atemi. It is analagous to treating the symptom, not the cause - looking for a side effect, not the result!
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Old 03-03-2004, 04:40 PM   #61
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Mark:

What do you mean by side effect vs. result- are they not the same? And what would cause that side effect besides the use of pain compliance. A KO would definitely hurt. I agree with your statement that the goal or intent is not pain but rather one of facilitating the technique-from my perspective by either making the attacker more cooperative or positioning them for the easier application of a technique. It can also be used to shut down resistance or body systems (now you are getting into the deep stuff).
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Old 03-03-2004, 05:04 PM   #62
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It's not deep. Atemi does not need weight in all circumstances.

EG: Touch the eyelid of your Uke. Don't warn them! Watch their reaction. That's Atemi! No pain but reaction.

Strike the ribs! Sudden pain and then reaction! That's Atemi!

Strike full power to the side of the neck (please don't do this to anyone unless you are under threat of harm). They can pass out, but not feel anything, as it is instantaneous. That's Atemi.

So KO does not necessarily hurt. Pain is a side effect, if it is felt at all!

There are people who will not react to pain. Shock is what you need to induce!

Remember, we don't have inflicting pain as our goal, so it is unimportant.
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Old 03-03-2004, 06:02 PM   #63
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Quote:
Atemi does not need weight in all circumstances.

...Touch the eyelid of your Uke. Don't warn them!.... That's Atemi!

Strike the ribs! ...That's Atemi!

Strike full power to the side of the neck.... That's Atemi.

...Shock is what you need to induce!
I really enjoyed reading everyone's responses in this thread so far, but I would like to add my two cents worth.

To begin with, the term atemi may be referred by some as striking vital organs or causing a distraction in the opponent. I think this is a less than complete view of the term, as there are other terms to describe the above two situations, such as kyushojutsu or creating suki. The word atemi means something akin to "fortuitous happening" and one of my Japanese dictionaries calls it a "knockdown blow". I like to think of it as a "scoring blow", one that would take the opponent out of the fight more than just momentarily (if they respond to the creation of atemi through ukemi, then it might be a "distraction" between a striking technique and a throwing technique) and my first intent would have been the striking technique designed to put the opponent out of the fight with a single blow.

Perhaps another way to look at it, since most aikidoists claim that their art is the unarmed version of swordsmanship, is through the eyes of an armed engagement. Cutting a man down with any sort of wielded weapon requires stability, structure, target, awareness of distance and timing. Translating this into unarmed fighting is how I equate atemi. If you could cut someone down for real, you have the opportunity to delivery real atemi (either softly and overwhelmingly or smashing or punishing or....).

Have to get back to work....

Jim Vance
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Old 03-03-2004, 08:28 PM   #64
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These takes on what atemi is or is not are of course interesting -- topics in themselves really. But they seem to be addressing the issue of "What is the relationship between striking and throws (or other regularly agreed upon Aikido waza)?" And not the issue of "What is the relationship between striking and aiki?"

I tried to raise the latter issue by questioning the common answer, which is, "Strikes are adjunctive to other Aikido waza like throws, etc." I of course saw no reason for drawing a distinction between striking and pressure point tactics of a different nature, or between making contact and causing pain, and/or between psychologically affecting the opponent or not. Call atemi what you will, and it has been defined as many things throughout this thread -- fine, let's accept them all -- what is the relationship between striking and the tactic of "aiki"? This is a question I pose because it simply is not answered by saying "I need to do strikes to throw an unwilling opponent?" I mean, that statement alone begs the question doesn't it? Because it is really saying nothing more than, "I need to force my opponent in one way in order to force them in another way." Plain and simple, that cannot cover even the basest understanding of what aiki means or is.

I am not against striking, nor do I disagree that strikes lend themselves to making certain throws more viable, under certain conditions, particularly within the training environment, but that alone does not satisfy all of the needs of practicing an art that claims to be "The Way of Aiki."

Nor do I believe that "striking" to distract is any more viable as a solution to this "dilemma". Distraction is, like pain, an unpredictable element of hand-to-hand combat -- one that is best chalked up as a strategic luxury. In short: Putting a fist in someone's face, may get your opponent to blink, to flinch, to become fettered, but it also simply may provide him/her with the opening they needed to stick a knife into your lower ribs/lung, or the opportunity to trap your main line of defense in order to close the gap to your other vital targets more safely, etc. Personally, I think if we are training in an attempt to "unfetter" our minds, we should not so quickly expect our attacker or necessitate our attacker to become fettered simply because I cause them pain or say "boo" or put a fist in their face.

Another way of looking at this question I'm posing is like this: "How do strikes operate in an aiki manner?"

I believe they can, I just don't believe that using them to set up throws is always going to achieve that.

What do you think?

Thank you,

dmv

David M. Valadez
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Old 03-04-2004, 09:38 AM   #65
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"what is the relationship between striking and the tactic of "aiki?"

dmv Please define aiki for me. As this too is open to different points of view, I would like to know what you mean by aiki before I even venture a comment.
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Old 03-04-2004, 01:50 PM   #66
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DMV

WHy worry about throwing???

Yes there are throws, but there are also restraints, locks, controls, pins, evations, strikes! Aikido is not throws.

So now I will ask a question. What do people think the difference is between "atemi" and "ate"?

I am not a linguist (I struggle with English), so I would like to hear the definitions from those who are.

- Booyakasha! Respect!
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Old 03-04-2004, 03:10 PM   #67
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Thank you for your replies.

Mr. Dobro: I didn't mean to suggest that Aikido is throws - that I feel was clearly established in earlier posts made by me and by others. Even in the last post I made I used the expression, "regularly agreed upon Aikido waza." So pick your choice, even among what you suggest (i.e. restraints, licks, controls, pins, evasions, strikes), it matters not. The question I raised is a simple one and one that cannot be glossed over by simply saying Aikido is many things. This question is forced upon us because while it may be true that Aikido is many things, it is not all things. Strikes were used as an example here solely because that is the tactic brought up in the thread the most and/or thus far. It should not be taken in a limiting way.

If you would like to have a more abstract version of the question - here it is: "How can you maintain aiki by violating aiki?" It's a trick question, to be sure, but one no one seems to be seeing nonetheless.

Mr. Riggs: Since I wrote it in an earlier post of mine within this thread - I can just stick with that in answer to your question. Here is what I said then concerning how we can understand aiki in this case: "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)."

Please let me know if that suffices or not.

Thank you,

dmv

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Old 03-04-2004, 04:01 PM   #68
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‘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)."

I would probably describe it differently. However, based on the above definition and in response to your question on "what is the relationship between striking and the tactic of "aiki?" A real simple answer would be to use the energy of the attack towards our own design I could simply stick out my tegatana at the moment of an attack thereby using the energy of the attack to creat a strike so to speak. For example, on a munetsuki strike I could energy off like with my tegatana extended causing the uke to strike himself against my tegatana (using his energy). If I'm accurate enough uke will strike his own pressure point against my tegatana thereby creating an atemi and likely pain compliance resulting in a dropping of the shoulder.

I'm using your definitions here as I understand them.

To me, however, the use of aiki would involve blending with the energy of the attack and redirecting it in a relaxed and purposeful fashion. A strike or atemi here would have to involve timing in such a fashion to not disrupt the energy which is necessary for the smooth blend while still causing the pain compliance. This requires timing and appropriate direction to keep from stopping the energy. Hard to explain but not too bad to do.
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Old 03-04-2004, 06:33 PM   #69
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Thank you Mr. Riggs.

Well there you have it: If aiki can be understood as involving the blending with the energy of a given attack and redirecting it in a relaxed and purposeful fashion, how much "aiki" was there in my attempt to throw (or whatever) if it requires strikes or pressure point attacks, etc., in order to be able to fulfill itself? Answer: Not very much.

Again, I hold that one can strike with aiki, its just that this last point seems to be missed by most folks altogether who talk about striking (atemi) and its relation to other Aikido martial tactics. The problem, in my opinon, is that the "will to throw" is the very thing which separates one from aiki, right from the get go, and when I strike in order to throw, or in order to be able to throw, my strikes only perpetuate my separation from aiki as it reinforces my original (and mistaken) will to throw.

Summarizing: Doing one thing in order to be able to do another shows a preference and a predetermined planning that illuminates a dissatisfaction (for whatever reason) with whatever energy and/or openings an attacker or a combative situation is providing. That dissactisfaction (for lack of a better word) a priori makes aiki beyond our reach. Why? Because being able to use an energy (however we would like) requires that we first of all accept it as it is.

Again, thank you,

dmv

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Old 03-05-2004, 01:39 PM   #70
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Atemi as Pain Compliance?

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
‘To me, however, the use of aiki would involve blending with the energy of the attack and redirecting it in a relaxed and purposeful fashion. A strike or atemi here would have to involve timing in such a fashion to not disrupt the energy which is necessary for the smooth blend while still causing the pain compliance. This requires timing and appropriate direction to keep from stopping the energy. Hard to explain but not too bad to do.
I think this is part of it... but if an atemi works because of it's pain component it will not be effctive against someone who is skilled enough to close the opening by blocking the atemi.

If the idea of an atemi is expanded to include a strike which touches or grabs the "attention" of the attacker, allowing some other movement or action to take place in that instant, then I think we are getting somewhere.

For example, take what I would call katatetori sumiotoshi... I think that most people are in agreement that on the ura version in which we turn, lead the partner out, then turn again to stretch the partner's arm out so that we can drop our weight on it in his balance point, we need an atemi just before we place our hand on his elbow to throw. With no atemi, you can be struck every time. However, the normal Aikido response by uke is usually simply to protect their face against the strike and then take the fall.

If you ask your partner to take a more martially real response by deflecting the atemi and then entering and striking you, it becomes a different kettle of fish. Then you find that what most Aikido folks were doing with their atemi was simply holding their arm out, pointed at the uke's center until he protected his face and then they executed the throw. The uke will be able to deflect this and counterstrike every time. This isn't a real atemi and has no hope of ever striking a partner who doesn't wish to be struck. A real atemi is an explosive outward movement to the focus point and then an equally rapid return to the starting place (making it ready to fire again if necessary).

If you execute you atemi in this fashion you find that by placing the focus point of the blow just in front of the actual target, say the attacker's nose, it is impossible for the attacker to discern the difference between an atemi which is going to make contact and one that will not. So the attacker is forced to make a defensive move to deal with that atemi. In that instant you can execute the throw without being struck by the uke. This is true even if the uke tried to deflect the atemi and launch a counterstrike.

I am a very large guy. I don't move very quickly compared to the lighter, smaller folks on the mat. By uilizing atemi in this fashion I can redirect my partner's attention to create the temporal gap that I require to move into position for the throw without him tracking me and striking me.

So there is no pain component in this instance as it is not actually designed to physically hit but is rather designed to "catch the attacker's attention".

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 03-05-2004 at 01:42 PM.

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Old 03-05-2004, 01:51 PM   #71
aikidoc
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George. Agree totally. Not all atemi have to land. What I was trying to convey is that atemi that do land can be integrated in the flow or blend of the movement in such a way as to not disrupt the energy of the attack. I was responding to previous comments and perhaps I did not make myself clear.
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Old 03-05-2004, 03:15 PM   #72
George S. Ledyard
 
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Atemi

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
George. Agree totally. Not all atemi have to land. What I was trying to convey is that atemi that do land can be integrated in the flow or blend of the movement in such a way as to not disrupt the energy of the attack. I was responding to previous comments and perhaps I did not make myself clear.
Sure, I figured, just using your post as a launch pad for another thought...

Think I'll do so again.

If atemi isn't going to disrupt the "energy" of the attack, I think the key is the rhythym... (you mentioned "timing" a while back I believe) Every attack has a "beat" so to speak. For beginners the notes are all whole notes, but as we progress the beat gets faster and the elements of the technique take place as half notes, quarter notes, 32nd notes, etc. But no matter how quickly we are moving, the atemi, in order not to disrupt the flow, takes place on a "half beat". So a technique which has three movements could be said to take three beats. The atemi, if it is the type we are talking about now, will not disrupt the three beats but will fit in between... 1 - 2-atemi-3.

Anyway, this is just one type of atemi. There are certainly atemi that are designed to strike and are designed to "cut the ki" of the opponent so as to prevent him from blending with your technique to produce a kaeshiwaza.

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Old 03-05-2004, 04:15 PM   #73
aikidoc
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I agree on the rhythm aspect and it is what I mean with timing I think. You have to understand I'm musically challenged. I wouldn't know a half note if it atemied me upside the head. I get accused of delivering atemi to my students all the time even when I'm not trying. I guess it is becoming a part of the rhythm of my response to an attack.
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Old 03-06-2004, 06:18 PM   #74
Lan Powers
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Just an aside, but this thread is SO much mo?re civil than several other "atemi oriented" threads have been.

Does just talking about hitting folks make people seem more aggressive to you too?



Hard not to want to "stick" somebody when it is for "real"

Lan

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Old 03-09-2004, 06:18 AM   #75
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This is a good subject to discuss, imho i think there are many atemi 'hidden' within our aikido techniques.

Similar to the applications (bunkai) with karate kata.

I was recently shown a kaiten nage, which included an atemi strike to the back of the neck (shuto uchi) and when the hip was brought through for the projection a knee strike to the face.

I had never seen these atemi before.
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