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Old 12-10-2004, 07:46 PM   #51
senshincenter
 
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Re: No Touch Throws

I'm not so sure we can draw this line clearly between "great personal power/acting as trained" and "exhibiting only one principle that make a real technique." In both cases, one is dealing with a choreography that is more given than not - even if it is solely given in a social contract that now goes unsaid. That is to say, in both cases there is a great deal of "editing" (i.e. acting as trained) of the valid martial setting. The nature of this editing, once allowed, makes it difficult, in my opinion, to say "up to here it is okay, but after this it is totally bogus."

While it may be true that suki are as much physical as they are mental - or perhaps even more mental than physical (if we want to say that) - it is in such cases that are being described here that suki are only present by or via a training or an editing. Folks are not so much sensitive to things like atemi and/or suki as they are sensitive to where atemi and suki are supposed to be according to the choreography. People are not so sensitive to the energy that is potentially there as they are sensitive to their choreographed reaction as delineated by the social contract that now goes unsaid. We can clearly see this in such cases whenever uke goes (as contracted) but goes the wrong way (not as planned by the contract). This makes such throws highly conditional. To be sure, all throws are conditional - we have to allow for that. However, saying that throws are conditional does not mean that we have to say that throws should be (or can be) conditional according to a training and/or an editing of what is martially viable. For that reason, personally, I cannot consider my throws viable if they can only work on folks that are trained to allow them to work or folks that I can have great personal power over in order that they act as trained or folks that have gained a great sensitivity to the choreography upon which we work. Martial tactics should be a little more universal - in my opinion.

I would say, if one is going to allow for a Watanabe to have "great power" (as oppose to noting that his uke just have great weakness), one is going to have to allow all such "trained responses" to be the result of the same "great power" - the same great power that is not great Aikido. But do we really want to suggest that? Are we not saving too much that we should do away with when we attempt to save such demonstrations as "great power" and not as "great weakness?" (assuming I'm correct in suggesting we cannot so easily draw a line between these two variations on the same type of practice)

Last edited by senshincenter : 12-10-2004 at 07:48 PM.

David M. Valadez
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Old 12-10-2004, 09:50 PM   #52
Rocky Izumi
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Of course the opponent's attention and his intention are tangible, you can feel them at a distance. But that doesn't mean that you need to react to them until the other factors dictate that you must. Training people this way makes them hyper sensitive to shifts in the energy and attention of the partner. This sensitivity is taken to an extreme at which it totally out of balance with the other factors that make up a technique. Training this way loses any and all relationship to Budo, it is a bad form of contact improv without the contact.
I have to disagree with you here George. You have to be very sensitive to it to know when to attack. A lack of attention or seeing the intent of a person allows you to see the opening for the attack. If I am doing Shomenuchi Ikkyo, I want to be able to see when my shomenuchi is going to be able to enter or if uke will raise his arm in a block so that I can do the ikkyo. It also allows you to break the other's spirit before attacking so that you can be more sure that your attack is successful. The physical attack is only the kime if the tsukuri of the mind is successful. Of course, to be truly successful in the attack, there can be no tsukuri, kake, or kime -- just one flow at the instant of breaking the other's spirit -- ki no nagare.

Rock
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Old 12-10-2004, 11:17 PM   #53
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Re: No Touch Throws

But this sensitivity is not martial. That is to say it is not the kind of awareness that comes from being in the moment and yet not being attached to it. It only appears to be of that nature. If anything, what it resembles most, as far as sensitivity is concerned, is the acquired skill to read cues that you see in horses that participate in dressage. Sorry, there's no real subtle or polite way of saying that, but I'm wishing to denote that we are not so much dealing with sensitivity in the broader martial sense as we are dealing with sensitivity to a given culture (mode of training).

A case of point: I have see the current Aikikai Doshu perform Irimi Nage. His uke's go into this huge kuzushi with the near flick of his wrist, they come up (always the same way at the same time), and they go "no touch" under his arm - in a way that could easily be described as not wishing to be struck by the arm in question. Right after that demonstration, he came up against an uke that for reasons of age and lack of flexibility could do no such ukemi. The result: The uke ran into the arm (at quite a slow speed), and as a result it was the Aikikai Doshu who bounced off of his uke as he attempted with all of his might to engage his deltoid in an attempt to salvage the throw. For me, this kind of stuff, when it doesn't go quite right, and a different picture is revealed, make such understandings of "no touch" difficult to swallow whenever we posit them as natural and not cultural.

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Old 12-11-2004, 03:29 PM   #54
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
But this sensitivity is not martial. That is to say it is not the kind of awareness that comes from being in the moment and yet not being attached to it. It only appears to be of that nature. If anything, what it resembles most, as far as sensitivity is concerned, is the acquired skill to read cues that you see in horses that participate in dressage. Sorry, there's no real subtle or polite way of saying that, but I'm wishing to denote that we are not so much dealing with sensitivity in the broader martial sense as we are dealing with sensitivity to a given culture (mode of training).
Again, I have to disagree that it really doesn't matter where you get the cues if your attack is successful. The cues help determine when and how you will attack (and sometimes who). If you read the cues right, your attack will be successful. So why would this not be martial in its aspect? If you attack with intent to do damage or control, is that not martial? Doing an ai-uchi as in a Yokomenuchi Shihonage, you often read the intent of the attacker so that you can use the opening that is created during the attack to strike the attacker down or, if they block your Yokomenuchi, to do a shihonage. My Yokomenuchi is meant to strike the other person in the head, neck or collar bone to stop their attack. Is the intent there not martial? If I see the opponent hesitate for a moment and I attack with a Shomenuchi and go into Uke tobi nage or Kokyunage or Sankyo when they block it, is the intent there not martial? My intent there is to bonk the opponent in the head good and hard. Is that not martial?

Rock



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Old 12-11-2004, 10:37 PM   #55
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
Hiroaki Izumi wrote:
I have to disagree with you here George. You have to be very sensitive to it to know when to attack. A lack of attention or seeing the intent of a person allows you to see the opening for the attack. If I am doing Shomenuchi Ikkyo, I want to be able to see when my shomenuchi is going to be able to enter or if uke will raise his arm in a block so that I can do the ikkyo. It also allows you to break the other's spirit before attacking so that you can be more sure that your attack is successful. The physical attack is only the kime if the tsukuri of the mind is successful. Of course, to be truly successful in the attack, there can be no tsukuri, kake, or kime -- just one flow at the instant of breaking the other's spirit -- ki no nagare.

Rock
Hi Rock and David,
It's not that this kind of sensitivity isn't martial, it's that this kind of reaction isn't martial. In the Kendo example cited by Rocky, those masters got to that level by fighting thousands of matches. From the very beginning they were encouraged to attack, attack, attack, At the beginning of their careers, they'd attack and get demolished by their seniors. Over time they would develop the speed, power, and intention that they start winning. Eventually, they'd shift more and more to the level at which things became more mental and less physical until the type of match you described could take place.

This isn't going to happen with the type of "training" described in the Watanabe Sensei example. In fact those students are systematically being trained not to attack or to hesitate. I did some classical martial arts under Ellis Amdur Sensei for a few years, nothing big deal but very educational for me. One of the things I noted that I've thought about a great deal is that many of the forms in the Toda Ha Buko Ryu Naginata for instance, end in ai-uchi. I didn't really get at first why we were training not to "win". After all, in Aikido ai-uchi was usually considered a mistake.

Over time, I came to realize that it wasn't that we were training not to win but rather we were training not to be attached to the outcome. It was crucial that the attack be delivered with such clarity that it simply couldn't be defeated. If one is thinking defensively, one can't attack with this clear commitment.

Yamaoka Tesshu's sword style, the Mu To Ryu, supposedly had no defensive techniques for this reason. Training was all about attack, attack, attack, until ones spirit was so strong that he could overwhelm any opponent. At that point one has developed the ability to perhaps win without fighting since any opponent would sense the clarity and strength of ones intention and decide not to attack rather than be defeated. In other words you win with the Mind. There are plenty of examples of O-Sensei doing this.

One of the things that people either misunderstand or aren't aware of is the extent to which we operate on an underlying assumption in Aikido. It's very much like Philosophy in which the Philosopher needs to start with an assumption like "Man is a rational being." in order to create a logically coherent system of thought.

In Aikido the fundamental assumption that causes most of the complex interactions between the uke and the nage is that the Uke WANTS TO LIVE THROUGH THE INTERACTION. He not only initiates the attack, but as nage adjusts, executes atemi, changes position, the uke is trained to protect himself, close his openings if possible and if not he takes his fall or accepts a lock. He doesn't force his partner into the position in which he must be debilitated to be defeated. This is, of course, an assumption and does not deal with the real life possibility that the attacker may not care if he survives the attack. As we see every day in the news it may be that the attacker merely wants to kill us and doesn't care if he survives. In fact he might seek death and will not do anything in his own defense as long as he can take his enemy with him.

Since we aren't competing in most styles of Aikido, normally an uke gets almost no experience learning to attack by discerning when the nage is "open". If I were called on to attack Saotome Sensei I would do so whether or not he was open. Only occasionally was it considered proper to try to really get him by waiting for the true opening. Most of the time we attack even when we feel that the opening isn't really there. We come to expect that we won't hit our partners. In fact you can see this happen occasionally in which someone does succeed in striking his partner and he hurts his own hand due to incorrect striking technique. We are so used to not hitting that hitting is a surprise.

In my own training and that of my students I've tried to remedy this to some extent by working with the fukuro shinai. Some simple exercises in which the partner will counter you unless you attack just at the right moment. This has helped quite a bit but it is still an area in Aikido in which folks are generally weak.

So, while it is important to have a great sensitivity to the awareness of the partner, it can't be something that conditions hesitation. The instant you commit, you are stuck with it. Even if the opponent perceives and attacks your suki you have to continue the attack. Any defense must be part of the attack or you will be defeated. The flip side of this is true as well; once we commit to a defensive move we must be fully committed or it will fail. We must be willing to step right into the oncoming attack and then execute our technique. Any thought of escape or evasion will leave us open to a counter. Even if the attacker tries to change what he is doing in mid movement, the sensitivity we re talking about is to perceive the change and cause an instant adjustment but it should not alter our commitment. This is why I believe that the kind of "sensitivity training" done by Watanabe Sensei is detrimental to developing a good martial artist.

That said, Watanabe Sensei is quite capable of doing the type of "touchless" throw which the folks on the forum have generally conceded is more real. I had the great fortune to take ukemi for him for an entire class when I visited the Honbu dojo back in the eighties. I attacked him all out and he had a wonderful time playing with me. His timing is impeccable.

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Old 12-12-2004, 05:22 AM   #56
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Re: No Touch Throws

There is a nice picture of Nishino (Kozo) performing a no touch throw against several "attackers" (I posted already in a former thread).

Go to

http://nishinojuku.com/english/e_keyword/e_key_top.html

and click on the bar with "taiki" to see the picture.

It's very interesting to see, that his standing postion is upright, open and extended. So he is very inviting position could be nicely and savely attacked by at least half of the group.

Greetings Goetz
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Old 12-12-2004, 06:35 AM   #57
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Re: No Touch Throws

Hi George,

Thanks for replying.

Not trying to be a smart-ass, I think I can say that contrary to an earlier comment you made, there does seem to be a rationale behind "no touch" throws for you as well (i.e. we should not fault the super rationalists for holding one responsible rationally). I say that only to be able to suggest that we may simply have to agree to disagree -- that we hold two different rationales by which we come to understand what is "martial," and also by which we come to delineate "no touch" throws in one way and not another.

I think for me, at a gut level, this difference stood out early on. When you described a situation that had occurred with your student, your rationale allowed the "mystery" of the event to not only mark the validity of what had occurred but also even, in a way, to mark what all else could have occurred (meaning, how else one could have defined it) as inferior in some way. I, having had that experience several times myself (and I think we all have). Yet, by my own rationale I am pressed to understand such occurrences as those moments when a student has allowed the training culture to become subconscious and has not maintained the necessary level of self-reflection necessary to place such indoctrinations on the side of what we should not do. By my own rationale, while there may be mysteries to Aikido, while there may be things that are more than the physical world, there is no mystery that can contradict the physical world (hence why we have and offer rationales).

"No touch" throws, for me, are not martial because they exist primarily in or through the culture of Aikido. While at one time that culture may have had a great deal to do with learning curves and/or safety issues, a culture that now supports a "no touch" throw feeds its own self (and thus feeds off of its own self). By that, I mean to say, such a culture is now not only one step removed from martial reality, it is now two steps removed, and worse, it is often quite satisfied (if not more satisfied) with being removed as such. Such a culture no longer requires a martial reality to provide support -- it now supports its own self. When the training culture has reached this point, concerning "no touch" throws, it is the fulcrum (which most often is what allows for a throw to occur) of the tactical architecture, not the lever as one would think, that is not of the natural world. Touch or no touch, without the artificial fulcrum, the throw would not exist. The fulcrum is artificial because it is created by the training culture (e.g. uke's trained reaction). The fulcrum is created by a training culture that has through a lack of self-reflection come to be located in the subconscious and that from there comes to lose its sense of being artificial (of being cultural) and thus comes to be experienced as "real." This process, which we must be on guard against, is a natural occurrence whenever one adopts (which one must) a training method. Hence, it is what we must be on guard against -- in my opinion. Folks ranging from Bruce Lee to the Ch'an masters of old have offered this caveat.

As a training culture comes to relate to its own self more directly than it does to the martial reality it was supposed to abstractly represent, our practicality in that reality is exponentially reduced ad infinitum. For example, because there exists a great intimacy between the lever and the fulcrum, once the fulcrum is artificially created, the lever need not be real either (hence what I described in an earlier post regarding the Aikikai Doshu). For me, what keeps this process unnoticed, what allows us not to follow the ancient caveats that accompany training with forms, are things like the positing of mysteries that are supposed to be beyond the physical world (i.e. the physical sciences), and/or (worse) in contradiction of the physical world. (i.e. see the link provided above on "taiki")

For me, there seems to be a way to create training cultures that can abstractly represent things like martial reality without having such cultures come to dominate and then negate that reality. In particular, there seems to be a way for us to make our own fulcrums as is martially intended and necessary without entering into the cultural act of discovering how we can generate fulcrums without realizing we are generating them ourselves. For me, the things we would want to acquire through our training, like the aforementioned sensitivity, must come more from that martial reality than they do from a training culture -- otherwise they are not real -- not real in the sense of not be applicable outside of the training culture. As an example, please see the following clip.

Many folks pass under that arm in Tsuki Tenchi-Nage. In fact, many of my students try to pass under that arm themselves. If they pass under it completely, by my rationale, they are sensitive to the training culture but not the martial reality that is supporting that training culture. If they hit my arm and get knocked out, they will still fall (since the fulcrums and levers are created by my person and the architecture I am employing), but they will equally not be sensitive to that martial reality that is supporting a training culture; they will merely be a victim of that support the martial reality is offering to the training culture. But if they commit to their attack as fully as the architecture is allowing, if they open up to the fulcrum that is being located in their center, and if they sense when Yang can no longer be Yang, but is now Yin, then they are developing a sensitivity that is more martial than cultural. Hence, when my students dive under my arm before the fulcrum is created in their center via my te-sabaki and tai-sabaki (i.e. the inside koshi), I say, "Nope, too early." By my rationale, I do not register it as a "no touch" throw. When they get hit in the face and knocked flat on their back and require that I reduce my rate and degree of penetration, I say, "Nope, too late." In this way, little by little they are calibrated to a level of sensitivity that they can actually use outside of the training culture itself. This is of course only the extension of the rationale I have chosen to adopt as my own. It's hardly universal and I do not wish to suggest it as such and/or to suggest that it should be.

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/vids/tenchinage.html

Last edited by senshincenter : 12-12-2004 at 06:38 AM.

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Old 12-12-2004, 08:14 AM   #58
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
. By my own rationale, while there may be mysteries to Aikido, while there may be things that are more than the physical world, there is no mystery that can contradict the physical world (hence why we have and offer rationales).
It is axiomatic, at least in Aikido as outlined by the Founder, that there is something beyond just the physical world hence, Body - Mind - Spirit. Science has been excellent in dealing with the first, dealing somewhat with the second and pretty much not at all with the third.

I have never suggested that any "mystery" contradicts a natural law. O-Sensei stated quite clearly that the same laws that govern the Universe govern Aikido movements. Yet right here we find one of the key elements which demonstrate the nature of the Spiritual process in Aikido. As we have already stated, it is impossible to violate a natural law. You couldn't if you wanted to. So why do we have trouble with our technique? Why isn't every throw perfect already?

It is because of our ignorance of the fact that we are already in accord with this natural law that we try to act in ways that are not. Just as in Buddhism when we talk about the fact that an individual technically doesn't get Enlightened; he is already Enlightened and it is simply his ignorance which keeps him from realizing this fact. We are absolutely and inextricably bound by the laws that govern the Universe (O-Sensei would say the Way of the Kami) but we act "as if" we weren't and this causes our difficulties. On the physical level in our technique it is the attempt to go against these laws that produces resistance in a technique. Where does the impetus to go against these laws come from? it is the Mind / Spirit. The Mind / Spirit controls the Body. So Aikido training is really about training the Mind / Spirit as much as training the Body because it is the ignorance on this level which is causing us to be out of harmony.

If you take this into the realm of what is martial and what is not, you find that rationality has almost nothing to do with fighting. You can use rationality to design a system for training, you can use rationality to explain why and how techniques work. In the very beginning stages of training rationality is useful to understand how ones attempts at technique compare with the model being presented. But once the actual combat is on, it is virtually all intuitive rather than rational. The rational function is simply not fast enough to process at the speed required for effective action and reaction in the martial dimension.

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
"No touch" throws, for me, are not martial because they exist primarily in or through the culture of Aikido. While at one time that culture may have had a great deal to do with learning curves and/or safety issues, a culture that now supports a "no touch" throw feeds its own self (and thus feeds off of its own self).
I thought that I was pretty much saying the same thing as you are here, at least when I talked about the extreme version of this type of technique / ukemi done by practitioners such as Watanabe Sensei or Rev Kiochi Barrish.

But in the form of "touch-less throw" as I was taught by Saotome Sensei it is simply a matter of fly or be hit. Yes, that is a response which pretty much exists within Aikido (although you'd find that the Systema folks do get this concept and use it extensively) but that doesn't mean it isn't martial. I fact, I would say that in my experience, the folks that train this way are amongst the most martially oriented of the Aikido people I encounter.

We take the fall when our partner owns the space into which we need to move in order to complete our attack. There's nothing mysterious here in terms of concept. It allows my partner to be very martial and run the energy of a technique as a strike without my getting injured. What can be mysterious is the level of connection required to be able to consistently do this. Ki musubi is not a scientific concept which can be measured. It can only be experienced by the partners although an experienced onlooker can perceive it as well as in Rocky's recounting of the Kendo match.

I am not at all saying that rationality isn't important in our training. I think I am one of the more analytical teachers I know. I have fairly detailed explanations for all sorts of processes which govern the interactions between the partners / opponents in our art. It's just that, as in Buddhism, these explanations are on some level just Upaya. They help us to point our training in the right direction and to repeatedly double check to see if the direction is correct but they ultimately don't have much at all to do with the "doing" aspect of the art. There is much in this realm that can be experienced as wondrous and mysterious without any implication that what we are talking about is irrational or counter-rational; it's just non-rational.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 12-12-2004 at 08:18 AM.

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Old 12-12-2004, 10:01 AM   #59
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Re: No Touch Throws

I can see what you are saying. I've seen the ukemi you describe; I've even been trained to take it as well. However, where I'm at now, I'm very critical of this type of ukemi (and thus this type of nage), because of how much it relies upon Aikido culture. It is an ukemi that provides more than it receives and not just in some cases, but in all cases.

For me, the relationship between a provided fulcrum and weak levers is too statistically inter-related to dismiss and to then go on saying that some folks that do no-touch are wrong and others are okay (by the same standards). Now I'm not saying you are suggesting that, however I am saying that for many folks (even very high ranking teachers) the sensitivity you are describing only masks a great ruse we should be concerned with uncovering (see last post). The practical end result of the ruse in the cases you are holding up is that most often folks go flying when in fact nage lacks the necessary base of support, the necessary body alignment, the necessary back-up mass, the necessary depth of penetration, etc., (according to nearly every other martial art and/or fighting system the world over) to create any kind of geometry or physical conditions for falling and/or flying topsy-turvy. While the rhetoric is rightly posited as "move out of the way or get hit" the reality of the situation actually warrants "why not get hit -- who cares if you smack me with that little back of hand wrist flip?" These back of the hand wrist flips are not being done only by low ranking practitioners. Nor are they only being done by the high-ranking teachers mentioned thus far in the thread. They are being done by a great many high ranking teachers who are spouting "move out of the way or get hit." In those cases, it is offered as a warning toward self-preservation -- only it's not the body that is being preserved -- it's the delusion that one actually had a reason to get out of the way. Now, I am positive that this is not your Aikido, but surely you must see that your exact discourse is the same exact discourse that folks of this nature make use of. Why or how does that happen (rhetorical question)? Because of how easily it lends itself to a lack of unaccountability. Where does that come from (rhetorical question)? It comes from positions that hold that there is something "beyond." To be sure, there is, there has to be -- that's why we train. However, when you say that fighting has almost nothing to do with rationality, and though I know you mean to speak of the experience itself, you are saying the same exact thing as the person that also means to say that a fight takes place beyond the physical world and our physical understanding of that world. Here when you write the following, again I know you are speaking of the in-the-moment experience:

"The most perfect Aikido technique I ever did was during a randori with the teens in my advanced kids class. I had just thrown one uke and I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye as another uke came in from my blind side. I spun, raising my hands towards what I sensed would be his center. My hands didn't touch him or if they did it was so light I didn't feel it. The next thing I knew my uke was flying horizontally past me it eye level and landed quite a ways away. I looked at him and asked "What was THAT?" He replied that he had absolutely no idea what had just happened. Niether did I."

But it SOUNDS LIKE someone that is suggesting that such an event occurred outside of a physical geometry of falling. But we know why he fell/flew. He had momentum,/inertia, a lever was made use of, a fulcrum was present, his line of gravity traveled outside of his base of support, etc. -- he fell/flew. Once you have this, the rest is easy, isn't it? I mean, of course, we are not always aware of everything we do under spontaneous conditions, but we should be able to analyze the situation enough to determine whether we threw our uke or whether they threw themselves -- whether what happened was martial (real) or whether it was cultural. For me, at such times, it is not required that I start speaking about the limitations of the physical world or our experience of the physical world, or our perception of the physical world -- though to be sure these things are all relevant. It's just that they are not thereby impotent; such that I am left only with a mystery and a wide open door for uke that do more providing then receiving.

It's just a training slant -- my position. Thank you for bothering to reply.

David M. Valadez
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Old 12-12-2004, 10:44 AM   #60
Rocky Izumi
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Re: No Touch Throws

Thanks. George. I understand your point, and it is well taken.

I also so David's point but don't necessarily agree.

By the way, the answer to my questions were no, no, no, and no. I believe that martiality is in the spirit or the practice and not in the intent of practice. A martial spirit is like my Kendo student who came to me with hydrocephalus and spina bifida to an extremen degree so that he could not walk normally. He practiced with a martial spirit so that now you wouldn't know of his "disabilities" and coaches kendo for a girl's school in Okinawa. A martial spirit is like that of my son who practiced his cuts until the skin of his hands all pealed off and only stopped to ask if he was doing it right and have me yell at him to clean up the floor of his blood before some slipped on it. A martial spirit is like one of my students who did his gokkyu test after I immobilized one arm that had just been broken during practice, and passed. A martial spirit is like that of the young girl I watched doing Cha-no-yu serenly for a large public demonstration only to learn that she had broken her foot the day before.

You can take any one of these people and if you attack them you will never defeat them -- kill them maybe -- but not defeat them. That is, to me, martial spirit. And it is training for that martial spirit which makes an art martial. To me, it doesn't matter if the training is Kendo or Aikido or Cha-no-Yu or Ikebana. That is why for the samurai, Bun-Bu-Ryodo, was important. It didn't matter if the training was of the fine arts. If that training was done with a martial spirit, for them, it was still part of their martial training.

I think where George and I ended up getting confused with each other is that in my dojos, I expect nage to initiate all attacks, at least after Nikkyu level. So, for Shomenuchi Ikkyo, Nage initiates by attacking with Shomenuchi and continues (henkawaza) to Ikkyo. The same goes with most of the techniques. This may be an anathema to some of you more polite people but sorry, that is the way my Shihans taught me and expect me to grade anyone in the higher Yudansha levels (Sandan and Yondan). Either nage initiates or it is done as ai-uchi so that nage is not sitting there waiting for an attack. Sometimes the attack is only in spirit and not in body so it may look like uke is attacking first but nage is still initiating so that uke MUST attack or respond in some other way. Rather than waiting to control after uke has started, nage begins before uke can think -- Katsu Haya Hi -- and is still susceptible to attack. If uke is good, they will try and attack before nage. It then becomes a battle of spirits to see whose is stronger. If they are equal, it should end up in ai-uchi.

Granted, it is difficult for mudansha and impossible for shoshinsha to practice this way so, in the beginning, allow them to have the uke attack and nage defend. This is just kata training, not waza training. As you learn and strengthen both your reading of and use of your ki, you can then get into waza training (I think in what Larry Camejo and others call randori practice -- not the way I use the term but sounds okay to me).

What others consider martial training may be different and I am willing to accept that. I also understand that many others would never have nage attack (I've been criticised in my own Federation and own ryu for that but I take my orders from my Shihan, not my federation). It all depends on how you look at Aikido and what you want from it. That is the wonderfulness of having so many different style, instructors, ryus, and whatnot -- requisite variety. You can choose what type of Aikido you want by changing jobs and moving to a place where you can practice the way you want and what you want. Yes, I have heard there are people who have said "I can't move because I have a job and a family here." This is always the problem isn't it? To balance your life and needs? Time to make choices.

Rock
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Old 12-12-2004, 07:40 PM   #61
JasonFDeLucia
 
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Re: Sensei is a nutball and I had enough.

Quote:
Peter Zalinski wrote:
I've experienced the "no- touch" throw. Frequently.... Having someone closeline you during a "freight-train" iriminage is not something you'd care to repeat. Was that "ki" I felt, as I took ukemi rather than the envisioned trachiotomy, or just body-memory? I can tell you it sure isn't a pre-concieved reaction to the technique. But he didn't touch me - and I flew.
yes i'll bet you find in randori as the match wears on the frequency a lead reaction of this type spontaneously appears due to consistantly deepening the angle of entry coupled with involuntary reflex .people who see the films of mr.ueshiba and think it's fake just don't understand.
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Old 12-14-2004, 03:29 PM   #62
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Re: Tohei Sensei's Soda Can Story

Quote:
Michael Riehle wrote:
Tohei Sensei was traveling by train with some students. I gather the trip got a little tedious and people were looking for things to do. Tohei Sensei walked in on one enterprising student who was sitting quietly at a table staring at a soda can....My hand moved because of my ki and moved the can.", replied Tohei and walked away.
Thank you.
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Old 12-14-2004, 05:41 PM   #63
Dario Rosati
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Quote:
Peter Zalinski wrote:
I've experienced the "no- touch" throw.
Quoting others, you've experienced no thouch ukemi... not a "throw".
If you think ki or whatever leads to no touch throws, you should consider the fact that any inanimate object would have ki because can "throw" you with no touch... but inanimate objects haven't ki.
Haven't you ever avoided a colliding object by pure reflexes "throwing" yourself on the ground or on the side? You don't need to be trained in aikido to try do that, or to be aware of concepts about ki.
When a certain level of speed/danger is involved, your brain didn't care if the object is a tori or a falling rock or a cruising vehicle... you simply (try) to dodge, even falling, if necessary, because in the end, you want to preserve yourself, aikidoka or not.

Plus, as you said, you're trained and are a thinking being, not an inanimated object... and expected what was coming, more or less.
A "no touch throw" would be invariant by who or what is thrown... and so a new counterexample is born: take an untrained person or an unanimated object, and no matter tori's rank/ki level, he will collide with "uke".

That's all... unless you do a fallback on a semantic or philosophical level of what is ki as said by others... and I think the Toei story whipes out any doubt: ki moves your body, and YOUR BODY makes uke's body slam himself into the mat, touch or no touch, exactly as an incoming 1000 tons rock would, touch or no touch.

All, of course, IMHO; I feel ki exists, but it is nowhere near to a thing able to "throw" anything. Bodies throw bodies, period; and since a body can throw himself... the "magic" is explained

Bye!

P.S.

Why everyone has

Re: Sensei is a nutball and I had enough.

in the subject? A subliminal message?

--
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Old 12-14-2004, 06:12 PM   #64
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Re: No Touch Throws

I just fell out of my chair, did one of you guys throw me?
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Old 12-14-2004, 10:18 PM   #65
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Re: No Touch Throws

Oh my god. I couldn't imagine that in XXI c. there are ppl who still believe in No Touch Throws. Is it kind of religion? You believers go against any boxer and try throwing him like that. He has very martial reactions. He is very sensitive. He knows perfectly all kind of timings, changing distance, and how to protect himself. He is your perfect uke. Don't need to develop hyper sophisticated theories. Just do it physically on him. Don't be shy, hit him with all your KI power, this guys are use to get hit to the face. They are real deal. Simply go to nearest gym and ask for sparring.

After, when you wake up from KO, think about your KI power.

Nagababa

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Old 12-14-2004, 10:37 PM   #66
Rocky Izumi
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
Oh my god. I couldn't imagine that in XXI c. there are ppl who still believe in No Touch Throws. Is it kind of religion? You believers go against any boxer and try throwing him like that. He has very martial reactions. He is very sensitive. He knows perfectly all kind of timings, changing distance, and how to protect himself. He is your perfect uke. Don't need to develop hyper sophisticated theories. Just do it physically on him. Don't be shy, hit him with all your KI power, this guys are use to get hit to the face. They are real deal. Simply go to nearest gym and ask for sparring.

After, when you wake up from KO, think about your KI power.
Interesting idea. Back when I boxed a lot and coached boxing, I used to have my sparring partner jab me in the forehead about 30-50 times to train myself and the people I coached to not flinch and not instinctively close our eyes when the hit came. That way, we would block and counter, rather than flinching or accidentally back away from the attack. Even though I don't go on one side or the other of this interesting argument, I have to point out from experience that you have to train yourself to not react from a punch or even a threat of a punch by trying only to to evade or block but to evade/block and counter. I am afraid that this one example doesn't really cut the mustard regarding involuntary reaction to a threat of a strike. It is the training that allows the boxer to not react to only evade/block a punch but to evade/block and counter. That 30-50 consecutive jabs in the forehead really helps to retrain yourself to react differently. But then, that may be the reason I now see double all the time and can't remember my kid's names very well. Uh, what were we talking about anyway?

Who am I? Where am I? What am I doing here?

The punch drunk Rock
Who needs rum?!!! I'm drunk already!
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Old 12-15-2004, 12:07 AM   #67
bryce_montgomery
 
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
Chris Sacksteder wrote:
I just fell out of my chair, did one of you guys throw me?
My bad *snickers as he starts his onslaught*

Couldn't resist...

Bryce
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Old 12-15-2004, 01:22 AM   #68
mriehle
 
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Re: No Touch Throws

Okay, so I've experienced this No Touch Aikido stuff. Heck, I've even done it a couple of times. The problem is that to a lot of people "No Touch" means "No Connection". No Connection Aikido just isn't possible. Really. It won't work. It can't. It would violate all kinds of natural laws.

But a connection can be made without touching.

I think George Ledyard hit it on the head when he was talking about assumptions. No touch throws rely on uke being very focused on his "task". When I've succeeded in throwing someone using something like this it was because they were so focused on the attack that I just lead them right into falling. Any no touch Aikido works on the assumption that uke is that focused.

An attacker may well be that focused. Really. I don't think it's a great idea to count on it. But I do think it's a good idea to be able to take advantage of it when it happens. IME, the attacker who is that focused tends to be someone who is very invested in the attack on some emotional level (usually anger) and isn't considering consequences. They also, IME, are often people you don't really want to allow the opportunity to get a good grasp of any kind on you.

An attacker may not be that focused. If the attacker is looking for openings in your technique to take advantage of, you're probably not going to be doing no touch throws without a healthy helping of dumb luck. Well, the caveat there is that you could still lead them into falling by giving them the appearance of an opening to follow. Maybe. If they catch on, though, you're in trouble.

Regardless, no lead is possible if nage hasn't allowed a connection. Or made one. Timing matters, spacing matters, attitude matters. Connection matters.

You can split hairs and say "this is not a throw", but even a lot of touching throws in Aikido are more about leading the person into a fall than pushing or pulling them down. It's a fairly picayune difference IMO.

Now, all this being said, I've seen some no touch "throws" that were definitely not throws at all. Hypnotism, maybe. I could buy that under the circumstances. But there was no other connection involved. No leading anyone into falling.

Part of the problem with this stuff is that there is subtle psychology involved as well as physics. That makes it possible for charlatans to fool people for a while, sometimes. It also makes it possible for honest people to fool themselves. Heck, even when we get it right I think it's pretty easy to get lazy and lose the "touch" without even realizing it's happening.

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Old 12-15-2004, 03:59 AM   #69
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
Oh my god. I couldn't imagine that in XXI c. there are ppl who still believe in No Touch Throws. Is it kind of religion? You believers go against any boxer and try throwing him like that. He has very martial reactions. He is very sensitive. He knows perfectly all kind of timings, changing distance, and how to protect himself. He is your perfect uke. Don't need to develop hyper sophisticated theories. Just do it physically on him. Don't be shy, hit him with all your KI power, this guys are use to get hit to the face. They are real deal. Simply go to nearest gym and ask for sparring.

After, when you wake up from KO, think about your KI power.
Of course, when you have done such a good job training yourself not to respond to taking a hit, then let's assume the strike could be a shot to the throat or a thrust to the eyes. Perhaps the hand has a knife in it... Things get alot different when you can't afford to take even one "hit"..

All this "no holds barred" "reality fighting" is sport, no more realistic than what we do in Aikido. When you take out the potentially deadly component of Budo in order to make fighting in to a sport, you necessarily give an advantage to folks who are stronger and who can absorb more punishment.

Try training with some knife fighters... they are far more responsive and fluid. Folks who take great pride in how hard it is to throw them are dead in a real martial encounter.

The one touch throw isn't some sort of magic., it's an ukemi choice. It allows nage to play with some potentially injurious atemi waza and not hurt the uke. It's about pointing out an opening, or suki, but having the result be something more positive than smashing someones face in. It's a perfect example of taking something destructive and changing it to something creative and beneficial and that makes it good Aikido.The "touchless throw" is a form of very fast and energetic communication between the uke and the nage and has almost nothing to do with "fighting". Someone wants to fight, I'll be happy to execute the "with touch throw" on their face. But as part of the practice of the art, I'll stick to the less rough version.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
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Old 12-15-2004, 03:53 PM   #70
Goetz Taubert
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Re: No Touch Throws

"Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
Oh my god. I couldn't imagine that in XXI c. there are ppl who still believe in No Touch Throws. Is it kind of religion?"

Yes it is a religion!
For devotional picture please got to
http://nishinojuku.com/english/e_keyword/e_key_top.html

klick on "Taiki"
and wait for the picture zoom up.

Amen

Goetz
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Old 12-15-2004, 04:19 PM   #71
senshincenter
 
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Re: No Touch Throws

"it's an ukemi choice" and "part of the practice of the art"


I think this is the point I was attempting to make (i.e. that such "throws" are cultural/that's its a training slant or a training perspective). I am sorry George but I am not sure how these two quotes fit in with the rest of the posts you made in this thread. Perhaps you can demonstrate the consistency I seem to be missing a bit more.

As for it being a training slant: Not everyone trains like this - a lot of folks think one should, a lot of folks think one shouldn't. Some folks take it to the "extreme," some folks make allowances for some versions of this, etc. However, when such "throws" occur, there is no big mystery at work. They do not occur because of some mystery that lays outside of the choices we ourselves make in regard to how we construct our training cultures. That said, while a lot of folks would say that a "no touch" throw is a form of "very fast and energetic communication," I would like to remind us of the obvious: making contact (in contrast) does not mean that one no longer has a very fast and energetic form of communication. We make contact all the time in Aikido training and energetic communication or connection is always an assumed ideal of that type of training. So why choose no contact over contact? What is the supposed advantage of choosing that type of training over contact training? In answering that, I think we have to allow that training will most likely have to include both -- but that we should place dominance upon having contact, that "no contact" should be something like the "lesser of two evils." I think this is a stark difference to upholding "no touch" as some sort of ideal and/or as some sort of apex of the art, of Budo, of aiki, of spiritual realization, or of any other like category we wish to honor.

Also, let us not forget that training need not only take place at the extremes of touch. We do not have to force ourselves to train only at the level of having no contact or at a level of where we knock our uke out (i.e. unconscious) via an atemi. There is a lot of middle ground in between in which to work - ground upon which the art and our practice can thrive as it comes to firmly embed itself in a sense of reality that is more marked by clarity than by concessional and/or sympathetic (in the Frazerian sense) logic.

To save folks an extra step, I'll repost the links here:

In this first case, I am attempting to provide an example of where contact is made but no one is knocked out. For me, this is the middle ground I attempt to stay in -- that space between actually fighting and merely having a cultural experience. It is the last rep in the clip -- the Tenchi Nage executed against the Gedan Tsuki -- where I attempt to demonstrate this middle ground.

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/vids/tenchinage.html

I offer the following clip as an example of choosing the "lesser of two evils." In the practice, I am forced to choose between puncturing my uke or not working on the correct space/time of using uke's inertia to feed the generated force at the end of my jo. In this training session, I felt it beneficial to have uke get the target out of the way while I worked on the correct timing for maximum force at impact (i.e. striking uke in the midst of his attack -- not after its completion). However, as you can read in the clip description, the back breakfall is totally understood as a training allowance. It is not a throw. And even though it is an expected allowance (since we are doing Kihon Waza), I do not take advantage of it by adopting a physical architecture that could not support a full penetration of a real target. Still, deep down, I hated training that way, and I had to "bark" at my students so that they do not disengage from their attack too early (and thus deliver no forward momentum and/or penetration in their jo tsuki). This I do/did because I felt we were treading off what is ideal, we were solely in the desert of limited possibilities concerning how to confront the realities of what we are doing (martial) with the realities of training (learning/studying).

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/vids/kaeshiuchi.html

David M. Valadez
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Old 12-15-2004, 04:54 PM   #72
Mark Jakabcsin
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Re: No Touch Throws

Ki - not sure what that is, nor do I spend any time thinking about it. Heck it doesn't even belong in this discussion in my opinion.

No touch throws - happen, on occassion. Reaction to a perceived force or threat, followed by a counter reaction when the orginal perceived threat is realized to not exist, this creates a chain reaction of events which CAN weaken uke to the point of falling or the simple addition of another perceived threat to knock him to the ground without touch. No big deal, although not easy nor reliable. Note the reaction and counter reactions become larger and more violent the more dangerous the encounter, hence the problem with training these in the sterile safe dojo. Likewise this illustrates the importance that when creating a threat or force you wish uke to perceive, it MUST be a REAL, although at a speed and angle that allows uke to perceive the threat/force and react. Note, if/when uke doesn't react the threat/force should physically affect uke, i.e. he doesn't move he gets hit, if that was the threat. Waving a hand in uke's face isn't a real threat, it's simply a wave.

One of the biggest problems with this type of work is that not everyone perceives a threat/force the same way, nor do they react to a threat/force the same way, hence it can get a little tricky.

In short this type of work is interesting to play with because it helps one understand how the attacker's mind and body work/link and how to manipulate that link. This knowledge is directly related to the hands on techniques of aikido and other MA's. Understand how to create a chain reaction in uke and you have found a big key to understanding how to move someone.

mark j.
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Old 12-15-2004, 05:35 PM   #73
kironin
 
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
To save folks an extra step, I'll repost the links here:

In this first case, I am attempting to provide an example of where contact is made but no one is knocked out. For me, this is the middle ground I attempt to stay in -- that space between actually fighting and merely having a cultural experience. It is the last rep in the clip -- the Tenchi Nage executed against the Gedan Tsuki -- where I attempt to demonstrate this middle ground.

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/vids/tenchinage.html

I offer the following clip as an example of choosing the "lesser of two evils." In the practice, I am forced to choose between puncturing my uke or not working on the correct space/time of using uke's inertia to feed the generated force at the end of my jo. In this training session, I felt it beneficial to have uke get the target out of the way while I worked on the correct timing for maximum force at impact (i.e. striking uke in the midst of his attack -- not after its completion). However, as you can read in the clip description, the back breakfall is totally understood as a training allowance. It is not a throw. And even though it is an expected allowance (since we are doing Kihon Waza), I do not take advantage of it by adopting a physical architecture that could not support a full penetration of a real target. Still, deep down, I hated training that way, and I had to "bark" at my students so that they do not disengage from their attack too early (and thus deliver no forward momentum and/or penetration in their jo tsuki). This I do/did because I felt we were treading off what is ideal, we were solely in the desert of limited possibilities concerning how to confront the realities of what we are doing (martial) with the realities of training (learning/studying).
http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/vids/kaeshiuchi.html

With all due respect, because I do respect that you put video examples up about what you are talking about, but what you are discussing here and what is shown in the videos has just about zero relevance to actual no-touch throws.

neither the middle ground or bailing out early (and in the second video - frame by frame - uke is clearly falling away as nage is drawing the jo backwards) will give you any clue. I would hate training that way too. To be clear, this first clip is pretty standard decent stuff I see people doing in aikikai dojos and nage has nice crisp movement with his jo. But none of it approaches the kind of training needed to get the timing and engagement needed to bring off an honest no-touch throw so I am not at all surprised by the scepticism exhibited on this thread.

Last edited by kironin : 12-15-2004 at 05:38 PM.

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Old 12-15-2004, 06:30 PM   #74
senshincenter
 
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Re: No Touch Throws

Mark -- I think this is a very good point:

"One of the biggest problems with this type of work is that not everyone perceives a threat/force the same way, nor do they react to a threat/force the same way, hence it can get a little tricky."

Craig -

Thanks for replying. That was my point though in the second clip. I was not trying to suggest that what was on the second clip (i.e. Kaeshi-uchi) was a "no touch" throw. Quite the opposite, I was saying that what was on the video was NOT a no touch throw - that it was not a throw at all - that it was just my uke trying not to get hit in the ribs by the jo.

The "middle ground" that I suggested was possible is seen in the last rep of the first clip - in the Gedan Tsuki Tenchi Nage. I suggest it is a middle ground because I'm making contact with my right arm at uke's face (vs. no contact) but uke is not being knocked out because through ukemi he is disseminating much of the energy away from the point of actual contact (vs. getting knocked out). I suggested it could represent a middle ground between knocking our uke out and/or not touching them at all.

You are right about the skepticism though. Moreover, I concede that my own subjective experience is undoubtedly playing some sort of role in what I am thinking. I have never witnessed or experienced first hand nor heard second hand via a person I am intimate with and respect of a "no touch" throw that was not a mere product of a training culture and nothing more. So yes, that has to be playing a part in what I am saying.

One thing though - interesting point... It was Gaku Homma, in an article I read some time ago but cannot recall the title off the top of my head, who first posited the position that George gave early on in regards to folks like Watanabe (i.e. that a kind of ki/power was at work in how Watanabe got everyone to behave/respond accordingly, etc.). Homma was using this rationale as a way to more properly understand how Osensei was able to throw his uchideshi without touching them in his later years. The undertone of the article was on how these were not really throws but were really manifestations of great power and ki. So here is a guy (i.e. Homma) coming out of a training environment that today many folks look back to as the ideal of "no touch" throws and he too is having to rework an understanding of throwing, of power, and of ki, because the simple clear-cut answer and the clarity of martial reality is not working well enough semiotically. We also have the above story accredited to Tohei - a story that seems to fly in the face of at least the general public's position regarding the man and his understanding of Ki. I mention these things because while it may be the case that none of us can escape our own subjectivity, it is not a given thereby that what we have not experienced is by default legitimate, valid, or true. It may equally be that our own subjectivity has rightly pegged something as highly worthy of skepticism. I think we have to allow for both possibilities. Thanks for reminding me of the other side of things.

david

David M. Valadez
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Old 12-15-2004, 10:40 PM   #75
Jerry Miller
 
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Talking Re: No Touch Throws

OK, I have a question. Let's say that you are practicing a technique by yourself. There is no uke. Just like shadow boxing. You fall down. Is that a reversal?

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