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Old 03-08-2004, 11:54 AM   #1
aikidofan
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skikaku - in aikido

I understand that shikaku ( e.g. using blind spots) is very important to aikido but I hardly hear it mentioned anywhere. I would really like to hear as much detail as possible about this. Below is the description given on this website. Can anyone expand on it please?

Literally "dead angle." A position relative to one's partner where it is difficult for him/her to (continue to) attack, and from which it is relatively easy to control one's partner's balance and movement. The first phase of an aikido technique is often to establish SHIKAKU
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Old 03-08-2004, 01:07 PM   #2
John Boswell
 
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Quote:
"I understand that shikaku ( e.g. using blind spots) is very important to aikido but I hardly hear it mentioned anywhere."
If I may ask, where did YOU hear about it and who said it was important?

From what you've said, it sounds like it would be important and I'm sure aikido uses it to some degree, but may call it something else. Like you, I never heard it mentioned... so I'd like to know how/where this originated with you?

Thanks! Hope you find what you're looking for.

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Old 03-08-2004, 01:21 PM   #3
Janet Rosen
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All three dojo I've trained in refer to this place/principle. Easiest common example of it as a location is where you optimally end up when entering behind the uke to prepare to do iriminage (or, if you are in a Ki Society dojo, kokyunage). As a principle, I like to think of it as "disappearing" in a way that you have connection with uke but for a moment uke really doesn't know where you are.

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Old 03-08-2004, 01:40 PM   #4
Ron Tisdale
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I've heard of it too, but don't have too much to add. One of my instructors always called it the 'dead spot'. Another one just said "If you stop there, you get cut." I'd love to hear Peter G's contribution...

Ron

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Old 03-08-2004, 02:16 PM   #5
Misogi-no-Gyo
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Re: skikaku - in aikido

Quote:
Peter Strafford (aikidofan) wrote:
I understand that shikaku ( e.g. using blind spots) is very important to aikido but I hardly hear it mentioned anywhere. I would really like to hear as much detail as possible about this. Below is the description given on this website. Can anyone expand on it please?

Literally "dead angle." A position relative to one's partner where it is difficult for him/her to (continue to) attack, and from which it is relatively easy to control one's partner's balance and movement. The first phase of an aikido technique is often to establish SHIKAKU
Very good technical question.

I would like to attempt to add a bit of depth towards the concept of "blind spots." "Blind spots" is a concept that actually refers to two separate, yet connected components, that of space and time. Everyone who drives a motor vehicle or rides a bicycle understands the concept of a blind spot with relation to space, or location relative to one's own field of vision. The concept of blind spot in relation to time is not so well known. Let me provide a common example with which we can all identify. When we watch a beginner taking their 5th kyu test, the first of many test, we notice the following; Uke attacks, Nage executes a technique, and then there is a few seconds when the test seems to stop until the Nage signifies that they are ready for the next attack. This is the moment of a "blind spot" in time. When we watch advanced practitioners of Aikido demonstrate jiyu-waza, we often wonder how they are able to move so fast, take center so effortlessly, and seemingly be ahead of the attacker from beginning to end. The answer lies in the use of blind spots in both space and time. During our own training, using these principals to round out our technical expertise may seem like something to do after we reach Shodan. However, this can be demonstrated, taught and practiced from the very first day a student joins the dojo.

To be honest, I have not heard the term, as such. However, from the beginning, this was always emphasized, even to me as a beginner training for my first kyu test. It began as a simple request to "move behind" any opponent, off on a 30-60 degree angle from the line drawn connecting the hips of the opponent and extended out relative to their body. As time goes on, a strategy develops where we move to this spot because it is a safe place from kicks grabs and punches that an opponent will try when getting back up from the ground. Over time, this progresses to a realization that it is not just after a technique when we look to move towards this place, because the next attack is just a continuation of the last one. Therefore, it becomes important to move towards an opponent's back as part of the initial tai-sabaki used to off balance Uke.

Aikido can be said to be about the transformation of an enemy into a friend. On a purely physical level, this translates into blending as opposed to blocking, taking center as opposed to yielding control and leading or initiating as opposed to countering. Using blind spots Nage changes the line of attack from linear, where opposing force results in impact and concussion, to circular where opposing forces may be blended and thus fall under the influence of centripetal and centrifugal forces. There are more advanced applications of this principal. For example, the body often follows the movement of the head. Therefore, if the attacker turns his head to follow you, his hips will begin to follow. This results in it being easier to move the attacker using a leading motion because the attacker is already following, rather than Nage reacting to the Uke's attack. There is also the use of te-sabaki (hand movements) that accompanies the application of blind spots. This allows Nage to take center before the moment and location when and where Uke initiates the attack. We can also add in the application of complementary principles such as Kokyu where the focus of Nage is on attacking the center of the opponent through the opponent's body and back into the ground.

O-Sensei left examples of his strategy in the doka, Songs of the Way, that he wrote. Extracting parts from various Doka we find the following examples of such strategy of thinking:
Quote:
"…Never be drawn into the rhythm of the enemy."
read: create your own rhythm and lead the opponent.
Quote:
"Causing the perverted enemy to attack I must then stand behind his form And so cut the enemy down."
read: move to the blind spot in space.
Quote:
"The enemy comes running in to strike At the instant of the attack Avoid his strike with one step And counter attack in that instant."
read: move towards the blind spot in both space (with one step) and time (at the instant).
Quote:
"His sword raised to the attack the enemy flies at the man he thinks before him But from the very start I was standing behind him."
read: move towards the blind spot in both space (standing behind him) and time (from the very start).

Combining strategy, body position, timing and kokyu may result in a very dramatic improvement in dealing with a resistant attacker, perhaps even be the difference between success and failure, avoiding or sustaining damage or permanent injury or even life and death.

Last edited by Misogi-no-Gyo : 03-08-2004 at 02:24 PM.

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Old 03-08-2004, 02:39 PM   #6
Don_Modesto
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Re: skikaku - in aikido

Quote:
Peter Strafford (aikidofan) wrote:
...shikaku ( e.g. using blind spots) is very important to aikido but I hardly hear it mentioned anywhere.
Punning comes to mind; the Jpn do it incessantly (see Friday's Legacies of the Sword for the contortions of meaning and the switching of KANJI to accrue meaning that his KORYU, KASHIMA SHIN RYU, has been through.)

SHI, depending on the KANJI, means dead or four (I'm told that some buildings in Jp lack a fourth floor out of superstition arising from this homology.)

KAKU, if recollection serves, means angle. Thus SHIKAKU--"4 angles"--means square. Convenient to aikido's practice of KUZUSHI (unbalancing), SHIKAKU puns to "dead angle", too.

I impart this graphically in my classes by having my UKE stand in HANMI and laying four sticks in a square pattern with two opposite corners being UKE's feet. The other two corners are SHIKAKU.

I proceed by pushing against UKE's strength--into one of his/her feet-- and then against weakness--into SHIKAKU. In the first case they don't move, in the second, they lose their balance.

I then proceed to various techniques utilitizing SHIKAKU.

FWIW, I don't recall having seen SHIKAKU written anywhere, right off hand, but I've heard it mentioned many times.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by Don_Modesto : 03-08-2004 at 02:48 PM.

Don J. Modesto
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Old 03-08-2004, 02:43 PM   #7
Misogi-no-Gyo
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Re: skikaku - in aikido

Quote:
Peter Strafford (aikidofan) wrote:
I understand that shikaku ( e.g. using blind spots) is very important to aikido but I hardly hear it mentioned anywhere. I would really like to hear as much detail as possible about this. Below is the description given on this website. Can anyone expand on it please?

Literally "dead angle." A position relative to one's partner where it is difficult for him/her to (continue to) attack, and from which it is relatively easy to control one's partner's balance and movement. The first phase of an aikido technique is often to establish SHIKAKU
To further clarify, the term is actually

Shikaku http://www.solon.org/cgi-bin/j-e/fg=...bb%e0%b3%d1?TRand means, as the poster intimated, "blind spot; dead space."

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Old 03-08-2004, 02:51 PM   #8
Don_Modesto
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Re: Re: skikaku - in aikido

Quote:
Shaun Ravens (Misogi-no-Gyo) wrote:
To further clarify, the term is actually

Shikaku http://www.solon.org/cgi-bin/j-e/fg=...bb%e0%b3%d1?TRand means, as the poster intimated, "blind spot; dead space."
Hey, Shaun.

Is that KAKU, the same as "angle"?

Thanks.

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Old 03-08-2004, 02:57 PM   #9
Ron Tisdale
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Thanks Don and Shaun!

Ron (pardon the rhyme)

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Old 03-08-2004, 03:13 PM   #10
aikidoc
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Bos:

Check your student manual in the gossary.
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Old 03-08-2004, 03:24 PM   #11
Misogi-no-Gyo
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Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Thanks Don and Shaun!

Ron (pardon the rhyme)
Ron & Don

yes, and yes...

http://www.solon.org/cgi-bin/j-e/fg=.../jap/%bb%cd?TR

Shi (yon) = Four

http://www.solon.org/cgi-bin/j-e/fg=.../jap/%b3%d1?TR

Kaku = Angle

http://www.solon.org/cgi-bin/j-e/fg=...bb%cd%b3%d1?TR

Shi-Kaku = Square

Four 90 degree angles, when added, equal a square. As I pointed out in my last post, the mid-point between the 30-60 degree angular blind spot area is, of course, 45 degrees. This is important because two consecutive movements along a 45 degree angle is the exact path of Irimi. In other words, the strategy of moving through and opponent is to first disappear into the blind spot, then continue the transformation of linear to circular by moving forward and behind them. This creates a "dynamic" third point of the triangle - the Uke's "weak point" - that moves along in a circular path, one that is activated when Nage reaches the point of clear and instant access.

Last edited by Misogi-no-Gyo : 03-08-2004 at 03:32 PM.

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Old 03-08-2004, 06:47 PM   #12
Don_Modesto
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Thanks, Shaun.

Don J. Modesto
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Old 03-13-2004, 03:49 AM   #13
aikidofan
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Someone asked me why I was posting about this. It is two fold. One I heard that shikaku is very important and two was the following.

it is from johnny kwoon ming lee book on pa kua ' single palm change and walking the circle give pa kua it special flavour. they are the basis of the arts fighting strategy of moving in and striking the opponents natural dead croner (say guk) or of creating a dead corner.

The dead corner or angle is similar to the 'blind spot' (shikaku) in aikido or the zero pressure zone in kali. It is so called beacuse the opponent cannot apply force at a particular angle or cannot see our attack coming from that angle. He has a naturally limited angle of motion of certain joints. For instance, the shoulder joint, which prevents his either defending or counterattacking at that angle.
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Old 03-13-2004, 08:13 AM   #14
Chad Sloman
 
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In my training, shikaku and kuzushi tend to go together. I always use the dead spot as target to where I want to break ukes balance. In Atarashii Naginata, we have paired kata called shikaku oji which use the dead spot to strike our opponents on angles toward the shikaku. One of my dojomates is Okinawan, and she says that "shikaku" for her is used to mean dead spot. An example she gave was that when she's driving and can't see somebody because they're between side and front windshields or out of the mirror then that's the shikaku oji.

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