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Old 01-26-2001, 11:31 PM   #1
gadsmf@aol.com
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Can someone straighten this out for me -
is an atemi actually a strike or is it
merely a representation of a strike
intended to distract an opponent - or can it be both?

DL Gadd
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Old 01-27-2001, 05:20 AM   #2
Matt Banks
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Atemi is an actual strike. In fact there is a separate art called atemi-jujutsu. The diffrence between atemi and a strike is that atemi is used to create balance, rather than just kill someone with it. The most common type of atemi we use is metsobushi, a strike with the middle nuckle between the eyes. In aiki atemi is followed with a tecnique. Yes it can be used to distract someone before the throw occurs, in the same way a kiai is used etc etc. But atemi must connect when truly practiced. We do seminars purely on atemi sometimes, you feel what its really like to have a whole tecnique put on you along with an atemi which connects. To clarify my above statements hijiate (elbow strike throw) is not considered atemi? Gozo shioda I think concentrated on atemi more than an other high ranking I know. In training for us it is always stressed that we must atemi or your tecnique wont work if in a static situation. That is why in rensoku dosa there is so much striking in the yoshinkan.

Matt Banks

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Old 01-28-2001, 08:33 AM   #3
Aiki1
 
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Atemi....

This is one of those subjects that is always under debate, because different approaches teach it differently. Some feel like the above post, some feel the opposite; that atemi is not really meant to connect, only distract so at a particular time in the process the attacker has to deal with it, thus having their mind lead that much more, and securing the taking of the center or making retaliation that much more difficult. As I said, different atyles teach different things.

Larry Novick
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ACE Aikido
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Old 01-28-2001, 05:06 PM   #4
Jim23
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From what I see in aikido classes, the strikes are for setting up/distracting the other person. They would be usless to stop a real attacker. Don't fool yourselves.

The other stuff can work, but, please, don't try to punch an attacker - you're wasting your time!

Jim23

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Old 01-28-2001, 06:14 PM   #5
Guest5678
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Atemi

I have to agree with Aiki1, in that this subject is always in debate. At Shindai Aikikai we train in atemi probably more than a lot of dojos. Hooker sensei will sometimes devote entire classes to nothing but atemi. It does make contact, and your intention certianly is to strike the vital points, and very hard as well.

I believe the misconception regarding atemi happens while watching advanced people train. The more advanced you become, the more aware you become of the dynamics. When you see someone put a hand it the face of uke, the atemi is assumed and you will see the advanced uke react as if contact was made. This is done so that uke doesn't go home each night in pain and can continue training. Otherwise uke would not be able to attack more than a couple times.

Now, to the not so advanced, this looks rather funny to watch and the wrong idea regarding atemi is formed.

Once you've learned the "where" "how" and "why" of striking, then power and speed should be practiced on bags and not on uke.

Unfortunatly this can leave the wrong impression with new students or those just sitting on the side lines......

Regards,
Dan P. - Mongo

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Old 01-28-2001, 07:35 PM   #6
Chris Li
 
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Quote:
Jim23 wrote:
From what I see in aikido classes, the strikes are for setting up/distracting the other person. They would be usless to stop a real attacker. Don't fool yourselves.

The other stuff can work, but, please, don't try to punch an attacker - you're wasting your time!

Jim23
Plenty of strikes to set up/distract the other person in boxing. I don't know, maybe they're fooling themselves... :-).

Plenty in sumo, too, although they're restricted to using an open hand (doesn't stop them from generating a great deal of power, though).

Daito-ryu, for that matter, uses strikes at times in order to set up portions of techniques, so the practice goes back to the roots of Aikido.

Best,

Chris
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Old 01-28-2001, 09:42 PM   #7
crystalwizard
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Quote:
Jim23 wrote:
From what I see in aikido classes, the strikes are for setting up/distracting the other person. They would be usless to stop a real attacker. Don't fool yourselves.

The other stuff can work, but, please, don't try to punch an attacker - you're wasting your time!

Jim23
There's little point in smacking your practice partner as hard as you would someone who was actualy trying to damage you. However you adjust that for the level of the person you're working with. You also adjust that for the level YOU can handle comeing back at you.
Two beginers (read that less than 1 or 2 years) are going to look quite a bit like what you describe. They're practicing, they're trying to learn the movements, they're not all that concerned with much more than that.
You go watch some of the experienced students practcing with each other and you'll see a vastly different picture.

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Old 01-29-2001, 04:09 AM   #8
petra
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I agree with Kelly, you adjust to your partner. If I train with one of our more experienced students and he tries something (a stike, turn, movement that is not incorparated in the technique we are training to see if it can be done otherwise) I react instinctively. Meaning I strike back or counter my movement, this useally results in me hitting him, let's see, elbow on nose, stike with jo in his neck, push him in one movement flat on his back to the ground and this is just the past 2 months, . No injuries resulted from this all, I have a good control of the force with which I apply and he knows that if he tries something he gets a reaction from me. I still keep apologising and he still keeps complimenting me on a good technique / countermeasure after I hit him, very dual but we both learn something.
However, I would never do this with a beginner, they often do not expect an atemi or anything that differs from the movement they have just been shown by our teacher. Furthermore, they often lack the reflexes which after some years of training prevent the uke from getting hurt when trying something different / unexpected.
Aikido is not about hitting people but to unbalance the centre. You adjust to the person you train with, an experienced aikidoka is a lot more difficult to unbalance than a beginner. So what you see more experienced aikidokas do to each other is real, at least in our dojo, but training with less experienced aikidokas they adjust and subsequently the real strike becomes something else, a push or a touch or sometimes just a word.


Petra

I haven't failed, I have found 10.000 ways that won't work.
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Old 01-29-2001, 07:15 PM   #9
Dan Hover
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I teach atemi as one of three things: 1) a technique in of themselves, if you have any questions as to what this means find some old footage of Saotome sensei and you will see what I mean.
2) to create an opening
3) to cover an opening

whether you are using a atemi to strike for real or feign a blow, it usually falls within one of the aforementioned and as previously said, is both debatable and really comes down to semantics

Dan Hover

of course that's my opinion, I could be wrong
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Old 01-29-2001, 08:32 PM   #10
Kenn
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Quote:
Jim23 wrote:
From what I see in aikido classes, the strikes are for setting up/distracting the other person. They would be usless to stop a real attacker. Don't fool yourselves.

The other stuff can work, but, please, don't try to punch an attacker - you're wasting your time!

Jim23
Jim,

I'd like to ask, what is your intent with the way you ask your questions. My humble opinion is you are trying to incite anger or defensiveness from those who train to avoid conflict, i.e. Aikidoka.

My sensei teaches atemi as part of the whole of Aikido, but don't fool Yourself, if he hit you, it would hurt. Depending on the style, or how a person was trained, atemi tend to either a. distract, as you have noted, or b. attack points along the chi, or ki meridians of the body causing numbness, pain, etc...which I suppose destracts as well.

I would recommend any of the sites on the net dealing with Kyusho. (sp?) or perhaps it is spelled Kyoshu, not sure, anyway, check it out, atemi, as well as Aikido, I have found, is an endless quest. As one layer is peeled off, it simply reveals more layers, more to learn. I have only been Studying Aikido for 6 months or so now, and I feel I have learned much. What excites me about it, is that there is obviously so much much more to learn.

Anyway, for those of you still with me, thank you for listening to me ramble on.

Peace all, Kenn

Kenn

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Old 01-29-2001, 08:44 PM   #11
Jim23
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Hi Kenn,

I was just giving my opinion on what I considered poor technique that I observed at a few aikido classes.

No strength, speed or power (I know, they are not necessary). I don't want anyone to fool themselves that something might be effective when, in effect, it might not be in the real world.

Jim23

Remember, all generalizations are false
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Old 01-29-2001, 08:52 PM   #12
Kenn
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Quote:
Jim23 wrote:
Hi Kenn,

I was just giving my opinion on what I considered poor technique that I observed at a few aikido classes.

No strength, speed or power (I know, they are not necessary). I don't want anyone to fool themselves that something might be effective when, in effect, it might not be in the real world.

Jim23
Hello Jim,

we are all entitled to our own opinions, i don't think anyone would dispute that, It just seems as though you are making rash decisions, based on little experience, (and if I am wrong about this asumption, I apologize).

May I ask how long you have studied Aikido?

Peace, Kenn

Kenn

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Old 01-29-2001, 08:59 PM   #13
Jim23
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Hi Kenn,

Not too long, although I have trained in other MA for much longer and I am trying to give opinions basd on what I have learned over the years.

Thanks for your response,

Jim23

Remember, all generalizations are false
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Old 01-30-2001, 05:34 AM   #14
ian
 
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Cool

I think atemis are not emphasised enough in the UK. It is only rarely that an instructor seems to discuss 'vital points'. Also I think Aikido (generally) does suffer to some extent from over compliance from uke.

Adrenalin is usually very high during real situations and soft strikes will not even be noticed, let alone distract someone. However harder strikes can open you up for a counter. I know one instructor who was very much into slapping rather than striking. It has several advantages:

- it keeps your hand open to allow you to take the neck/wrist (or eye gouge etc)
- it transfers more inertia to the ukes head (i.e. even through the strike is soft, it tends to push them due to the length of contact)
- it makes a loud noise and is far more distracting than a punch (which you don't generally feel till a lot later)
- it does less damage than a punch.

Ian
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Old 01-30-2001, 05:36 AM   #15
ian
 
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P.S. another advantage of slapping is that you can do it relatively hard in the dojo, almost at the same strength you would do it on the street - if uke does not defend themselves against it, it is a good warning to do so next time without inflicting damage!

Ian
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Old 02-01-2001, 11:09 AM   #16
BC
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I recently read what I think was probably the best descriptions of atemi in aikido in Ellis Amdur's book, "Dueling with O Sensei." In it he references O Sensei's quote that "aikido is 99% atemi," and that it also relates to why an uke should follow the technique. Basically, he described aikido techniques as being a continuous spectrum of potential atemi - that at any point in an aikido technique, there is a potential atemi for nage against uke. Therefore, this is the reason that uke should diligently follow the technique, because if uke tries to divert from the "path" of the correct ukemi, there is the possibility to unnecessarily expose himself (or herself) to a potentially harmful atemi from nage. Mr. Amdur suggests to try stopping at different points during techniques to determine what and where the potential atemi is. To me this is consistent with the common consideration of atemi as a tool to influence uke to move a certain way. Yes, it can be harmful, but it doesn't have to be. Two nights ago the instructor demonstrated this to our class with me as uke. I guarantee you that I could feel the underlying focus, control and power of his tsuki atemi to my floating ribs during the technique.

Also, Jim23 I agree with others on this forum, and suggest you tone down your statements a bit. Yes, some people don't focus on atemi in aikido (especially as beginners), but making blanket statements about what you see after only a few classes isn't going to hold much water. It wouldn't hurt to "empty your cup" a bit before you draw such strong conclusions based on your experience with other arts. IMHO.

Robert Cronin
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Old 02-01-2001, 11:47 AM   #17
Jim23
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Point taken.

I'll try to calm down.

The point that I was trying to make was that although aikido is a GREAT martial art, my general observation has been that people do not train at punching. Punches ARE done, but are usually done just to set up the next move - nothing wrong with that. Just don't try to punch in a real fight unless you are a strong person or you train at punching. It's just common sense.

Again, sorry about coming on too strong.

Jim23

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Old 02-01-2001, 12:46 PM   #18
REK
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Wink

Jim,

I agree with your point about training to strike. It is well and good to know where atemi may go, it is another thing entirely to be able to deliver one. Some of the members of my dojo train in other martial arts specifically for the purpose of providing better attacks as uke. For example, its hard to train in Aikido's responses to kicks if none of the ukes can kick well. Some people just focus their training differently, I guess.

I once visited a dojo where the instructor insisted that using atemi was a sure sign of poor technique. I don't think that's totally true. Such diversity in a single martial art!

Rob

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Old 02-01-2001, 03:51 PM   #19
Erik
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Quote:
Jim23 wrote:
The point that I was trying to make was that although aikido is a GREAT martial art, my general observation has been that people do not train at punching. Punches ARE done, but are usually done just to set up the next move - nothing wrong with that. Just don't try to punch in a real fight unless you are a strong person or you train at punching. It's just common sense.
For what it's worth I like what you are doing but I'm a troublemaker too. I just sit around all day working on a computer so I get bored and amuse myself.

By the way, I agree with the above.

Quote:
REK wrote:I agree with your point about training to strike. It is well and good to know where atemi may go, it is another thing entirely to be able to deliver one. Some of the members of my dojo train in other martial arts specifically for the purpose of providing better attacks as uke. For example, its hard to train in Aikido's responses to kicks if none of the ukes can kick well. Some people just focus their training differently, I guess.
This has been my own experience as well. I was fortunate to have a teacher who believed in atemi but even then it was rarely taught as such. Any limited punching skill I have is largely because I worked on it outside of class.

[Edited by Erik on February 1, 2001 at 03:58pm]
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Old 02-19-2001, 12:27 AM   #20
leefr
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Atemi seems to be a subject of continual interest on aikido forums, but I was wondering if maybe there could be another viewpoint added to the discussion. Most of the arguments I see debate the merits of atemi as valid strikes in and of themselves vs. their use as setups for techniques, but I've noticed that most people arguing for "hard"(for lack of a better term) atemi seem to confine themselves to the kinds of punches and strikes that we would see in, say, boxing or karate. Since most aikido dojos rarely train in such methods of striking, it's understandable that some people doubt their effectiveness.
But recently I read some quotes from Gozo Shioda's books on another forum, which were very interesting. First he said aikido was 70% striking/atemi and 30% throws, no special observation in and of itself, but he explained the mechanisms for an aikido "punch" and an aikido "throw" on exactly the same principles, therefore with proper training one should be able to execute a punch with any part of the body. He further went on to say that there would be a "blurring of the line" between strike and throw at some point. Watching video clips of him demonstrate, I have to say he's pretty convincing; sometimes his uke goes flying, and it's hard to tell if he's been thrown or hit, but he goes down hard nonetheless.
So I guess my question is, have any of you trained in this kind of atemi, and what do you think of Shioda sensei's comments?
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Old 03-03-2001, 08:32 AM   #21
javi-o
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The answer for this question, as being suggested by other members in this forum, would be both. Atemi is , in fact, both a way to distact and a way to really hit an oponnent. Sometimes it generates a gap in order to perform or change the technique, sometimes it is part or the technique itself. A very important mater is to keep fluidity in every aikistuff, some people incorporate atemi in their techniques stopping them, and that is somethign one must never do.
The sensei of my sensei practiced boxing before aikido and my sensei also practiced an strikelike art such as kempo, both insist in this though they also said that it is not easy to acomplish .
Atemi is sometimes soft, others hard, a kick(!) or a blow, one should practice in order to deal with REAL situation.
BUT PLEASE TAKE CARE OF YOUR UKE!
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Old 03-03-2001, 03:51 PM   #22
Jim23
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I find the responses here really quite predictable. Those who are good at atemi or want to be good at atemi say that punches should be more than just a setup for a technique, they should be a technique in themselves. Those who are not good at it (or don't wan't to be), of course say otherwise.

Imagine having this debate in a karate forum: "Should punches be strong?". kinda funny isn't it?

In other martial arts there are also "fake" punches and kicks to set up other techniques. But the difference is that in training, force is put into the "fake" strikes - that's how you get good at it. Sure you can punch to the body then to the face, or whatever, but training is done to simulate the real thing (without actually hitting the other person).

What I was talking about was the "punch" up, "tap" with a block, then throw, etc.

Scary.

Jim23

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Old 03-03-2001, 11:50 PM   #23
aikidoc
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Atemi Waza/Pressure points

It is great to see so much discussion on atemi-waza and its application. I have been working on a paper on the topic, although it has been in limbo for a while. A survey I did over the internet with 5th dans and above was quite interesting. The viewpoints generally corresponded with the head instructors orientation. Softer styles or more ki oriented styles did not feel atemi was advisable. Others felt it was a lost art.

The literature suggest that atemi does not work on everyone depending on the individual's susceptibility to pressure points. Striking vital points/pressure points/acupuncture points or whatever you want to call them can be effectively used to set up technique without disrupting the energy of the technique. If you look at old pictures of O'Sensei, he was constantly delivering atemi. Kyusho-jitsu is an Okinawan art that specializes in striking pressure points. The art contents that the katas of karate are actually strikes or manipulation of pressure points.

A friend and myself content that atemi waza is an effective method of setting up technique and may well be the transition from art to street or marital effectiveness. Learning the appropriate syntax (sequence) of striking or manipulating pressure points can be effective and enhance the art. We feel atemi should be elevated from simple striking as a definition to any form of activating a pressure point (pressing, squeezing, etc.).

Dr. John Riggs
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Old 03-05-2001, 07:29 AM   #24
andrew
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Quote:
Jim23 wrote:
I find the responses here really quite predictable. Those who are good at atemi or want to be good at atemi say that punches should be more than just a setup for a technique, they should be a technique in themselves. Those who are not good at it (or don't wan't to be), of course say otherwise.

Imagine having this debate in a karate forum: "Should punches be strong?". kinda funny isn't it?
I think you're missing the point that aikido makes the bodys movement strong and this makes the ukemi strong/effective. Actual "punching" practice is of no interest to me and has less practical aikido application than practiscing any technique.

andrew
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Old 03-05-2001, 09:02 AM   #25
giriasis
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Quote:
Jim23 wrote:
Imagine having this debate in a karate forum: "Should punches be strong?". kinda funny isn't it?
Jim23
Should punches be strong in aikido? Not necessary. But our blending better be. Blending is the essence of aikido (in my opinion).

Punching and blocking like it is found in karate is about stopping force not blending with it.

So the better question would be, "Should karateka blend more and punch less?" Why do you punch so much when you can blend? Because that is not what karate is about, perhaps?

Anne Marie
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