Larry Novick wrote:
I have had Many experienced yudansha come through my dojo over the years who could not do the most basic katate tori movements properly because they had Only looked at that attack as "an attack" and "bypassed" the deep learning that comes from using it as an exercise about connection and Ki. The problem for me when one limits oneself like this is that uke is always giving such obvious intention that nage may never learn how to actually Do Aikido - only how to Practice it in one certain way. As a result, I have seen many Aikidoists who can't really actually do very much outside of their own dojo and style, or off the actual mat.
Ah yes, the flip side of the coin (which is always there). What you are talking about is not mutually exclusive with maintaining the martial paradigm.In fact if one is really serious about his martial training it leads to what you are talking about.
I became aware in the last couple of years just how many of us who were trained to attack strongly, in this case grab as hard as we could, came to use this as a crutch when executing techniques from grabbing attacks. If one is grabbed strongly enough and one knows how to do good solid movement, then you can force the partner to move by attacking his grab.This method doesn't work on people who attack weakly however, it just breaks the connection.
If you look at virtually every technique done from a grab, it should be possible to do almost every one with the partner opening his hand and merely placing his palm on what he he has "grabbed". If he does this and you break connection when you do the technique, then you have been relying on the power of the attacker's grab to make your technique work. You place your energy in your wrist and direct it into his palm heal so that the flow of energy goes through his entire structure regardless of whether he holds on or not.
So I don't disagree that many folks who "thought" they were being martial because they were simply strong have missed the boat. But this isn't because they were thinking martially, it was that they didn't understand what training martially was.
My opponent cannot be expected to grab and then hold on for dear life as he is lead off balance and thrown. As he feels what is starting to happen he will almost certainly try to let go and withdraw in order to regroup and retake the initiative. One should always do ones technique with the idea that the partner will let go and possibly change the attack. If one is training properly, maintaining the sensitive and responsive connection to which I believe you are referring, it shouldn't make any difference. Either he will not be able to counter the given technique or a new techhnique will develop of its own because of the unbroken connection.
So I think you and I are on the same page. When I say martial I don't just mean attacks that are strong and very physical. Some of the most effective technique is so light that you can barely feel it (a la Systema for instance). So to paraphrase an old political slogan "It's the connection, stupid." It isn't about the power, per se. I feel that proper martial thinking brings this about. It shouldn't interfere with it.