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Old 12-15-2004, 10:40 PM   #76
NagaBaba
 
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
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.
Yeah, right. Uke is attacking by prearranged attack and you strike him to the throat or a thrust to the eyes. And of course, he has no right to strike you back, to evade/block and counter......
Do you understand what do you propose? :-O

Anyway, I gave example of boxer only to illustrate, that this entire atemi thing to initiate no touch throw is silly and naive. I never thought about real fight context.

Doing action to create reaction is judo principle not aikido.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 12-16-2004, 04:46 AM   #77
wendyrowe
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
...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....
I think that's the crux of the matter right there. I'm still skeptical of some supposed "no touch throws"; but I have been on the receiving end more than once and have seen others on the receiving end of what I consider a real (pure physics, not conditioning-induced) "no touch throw." In every case, it was in randori (1 on 1) rather than ordinary practice and was definitely because of the timing and full engagement.

Example (this happened in FAR less than the time it'll take you to read it): I entered toward Sensei. He countered by coming at me with what looked like irimi nage where the arm was going to catch me across the neck. I instinctively braced myself by leaning forward (not ridiculously far, just enough to counterbalance against the force of the contact) so I wouldn't fall over backwards if it hit me before I could complete my evasive maneuver. Instead of making contact, Sensei raised his arm so it missed me by going over my head. Braced against a force that was not there, I fell forward because I lost my balance -- and I was falling before I took ukemi, so I know it wasn't that I took ukemi to avoid get clotheslined. If I hadn't leaned forward, he surely would have made contact and I surely would have fallen over backwards.

I'm sure I had the wide-eyed look of surprise I've seen on people in the same situation.
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Old 12-16-2004, 08:30 AM   #78
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
Doing action to create reaction is judo principle not aikido.
Judo principle, aikido principle, same thing.

Sean
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Old 12-16-2004, 11:43 AM   #79
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Re: No Touch Throws

I think that you need to separate what a throw is to understand this thread. I don't believe in the "touchless throw" because it is a contradiction of terms (oxymoron). There seems to be a pretty gray area on what is considered a "throw."

To me, a throw is physically moving an object through contact; regardless of the force expended in the action. Whether a person or a sack of potatos, grab it and heave it; there you go, a good ol' fashioned throw. That said, I do believe that uke can be "thrown" without contact. To me, that kind of "throw" is more a decision by uke to reduce the possibilty of injury or to retreat from a failed encounter; ukemi.

Good uke often realize the suki exposed during an attack and protect those openings. I have seen many good uke "throw" themselves to avoid a dangerous atemi or awkward fall. To me, this is good ukewaza, but not necessarily a "throw." Sometimes, a good nage will remove all other avenues of retreat except ukemi; to me, this is good nagewaza, but not necessarily a "throw."

I think the concepts sometimes overlap and that may be the point of confusion. What do you call the result when nage does what he/she is supposed to do and uke does what he/she is supposed to do? I don't know, but I am not sure a "touchless throw" is the right term.
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Old 12-16-2004, 01:23 PM   #80
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote:
What do you call the result when nage does what he/she is supposed to do and uke does what he/she is supposed to do?
Let's call it Vinnie...or Gustav that's a cool name

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 12-16-2004, 04:33 PM   #81
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
Anyway, I gave example of boxer only to illustrate, that this entire atemi thing to initiate no touch throw is silly and naive.
It's only silly and naive if that's the only thing in your toolbox. All you have done is suggest what could happen if you are dealing with someone who is technically better at their game than you are at yours.
I wouldn't give you any better odds of "try throwing" the boxer with an iriminage than I would a no-touch throw.

Quote:
Doing action to create reaction is judo principle not aikido.
now that is silly and naive.

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Old 12-16-2004, 05:48 PM   #82
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
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.
[/BLOCK]

I would like to point out that learning to do effective "no-touch" throws requires a heightened awareness of your training culture. It's really no different than the awareness you need to have when you are doing throws that make contact. It's a matter of degree. If success in what you are doing is a mere product of a training culture and nothing more, than in either case touch or no-touch you are still unconsciously incompetent. I would suggest that if a student doesn't believe an aikido waza works the way he is being taught he is unlikely to be willing to go through possibly very frustrating stages of learning to reach at least conscious competence in that waza. It really doesn't matter if this is ikkyo or a no-touch kokyu. A full cup prevents understanding. It is good to have skepticism because it is necessary to honest training but it's also important to keep collecting data so that growth is possible.

[BLOCK] 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,
I have heard many versions of that story about Tohei Sensei though I admit it's the first time I have heard involving a Soda can, usually it's a salt shaker. I think Jay Gluck retells it in his book and I think Tohei Sensei retells it in his book "Aikido in daily life" top make a point. For Tohei sensei, the point is that ki flows from you when your mind and body move as one. To atempt to move something that is physical with an act that is only mental makes no sense. When your mind and body move as one, it is possible to move an inanimate object only by physcial contact because it has no mind. But for a human being to do this requires coordination of the mental with the physical. When your mind and body move as one, it is possible to throw a human being by making contact with and leading their mind via their senses. It may or may not involve the sense of touch.

escape you own subjectivity to what ? where ? I doubt that's possible.
One time you make contact and with no effort uke flys away as a result of your mind and body moving as one, another time you don't make contact and with no effort uke flys away as a result of your mind and body moving as one. A day later, what is left is memories filtered through our perseceptions.

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Old 12-16-2004, 09:10 PM   #83
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
Sean Orchard wrote:
Judo principle, aikido principle, same thing.

Sean
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yes!!! Also judo, aikido, same thing. In fact, all MA same thing.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 12-16-2004, 09:21 PM   #84
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
Craig Hocker wrote:
It's only silly and naive if that's the only thing in your toolbox. All you have done is suggest what could happen if you are dealing with someone who is technically better at their game than you are at yours.
I wouldn't give you any better odds of "try throwing" the boxer with an iriminage than I would a no-touch throw.
Iriminage is based on physical principles. It will work on everyone, regardless of his psychical conditioning. No touch throw will work only on aikidoka who is drilled to tank, to throw himself. No other person, out of aikido dojo(new age aiki fruity dojo) will do it.

Nagababa

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Old 12-16-2004, 10:45 PM   #85
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Re: No Touch Throws

I don't know what folks thought the "no touch throw" was but it has nothing to do with fighting other than the same timing and spacing as needed to deliver an effective strike. David's point that it has to do with conditioned response on the part of the uke is absolutely correct. Is that a problem? Did someone think they were going to throw car jackers and muggers with a "no touch" throw? Of course it only works with a trained uke.

The no-touch throw is part of the art of Aikido as done by the Founder. O-Sensei used it, Osawa sensei did, the Ni Dai Doshu did, Yamaguchi Sensei did... the two Tenth dans from our tradition did (Tohei and Hikitsuchi Sensei). My own teachers do. I think I'll base my idea of what Aikido technique is and is not on these "Aiki Fruities". I figure I'm in good company.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 12-17-2004, 02:16 AM   #86
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Re: No Touch Throws

Well in the end, regardless of what one ends up doing or not doing, I think it is a good thing and a good time when training slants come together and rub shoulders. So I would just like to say thanks to all involved - Thank you.

david

David M. Valadez
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Old 12-17-2004, 02:24 AM   #87
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Re: No Touch Throws

Well Sean grew up in the Shodokan family. He can't help but express Tomiki's views especially with regard to Judo and Aikido. It really does make a lot of sense when you read the articles and study the system.
Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
yes!!! Also judo, aikido, same thing. In fact, all MA same thing.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 12-17-2004, 02:39 AM   #88
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
I don't know what folks thought the "no touch throw" was but it has nothing to do with fighting other than the same timing and spacing as needed to deliver an effective strike. David's point that it has to do with conditioned response on the part of the uke is absolutely correct. Is that a problem? Did someone think they were going to throw car jackers and muggers with a "no touch" throw? Of course it only works with a trained uke.
Back at the beginning of this thread I argued that it was a mistake to call this a no-touch-throw because throwing wasn't involved, but it was a matter of reflex akin to jumping out of the way of a speeding car.

People said that that argument was "just semantics" and that *everyone* understood that it was based on guiding and reflex and making uke believe they were going to be hit and it was nothing mystical.

However, I think in this case it might be important to consider semantics and to rethink the name of this phenomon. If word gets out to the uninitiated out there that we can do no-touch-throws then they *will* think that we do mean that we can "throw car jackers and muggers with a 'no touch' throw". Sometimes we have to consider who we are communicating to and what the words we use will mean to them.

Amongst ourselves, if we agree that a no-touch-throw is a throw using a conditioned reflex on the part of uke so that they fall without us physicall touching them...that's okay. But lets not call it a no-touch-throw to the media or someone else who isn't in the know.

And if this is what we all agree a no-touch-throw is, then what do we tell the people who say they can feel the ki coming off a clenched fist and that's why they fall?

Language is a difficult enough way of communicating without specifically defining terms that have many interpretations.

Just a thought,

--Michael

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Old 12-17-2004, 03:08 AM   #89
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
Michael Stuempel wrote:
what do we tell the people who say they can feel the ki coming off a clenched fist and that's why they fall?
Tell 'em it's just Gustav

Bronson

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Old 12-17-2004, 04:10 AM   #90
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Re: No Touch Throws

Bronson, I think you're being sexist - I prefer Lucy. The you could have terminology such as "I've been Lucyed", "I did a good Lucy yesterday" etc. Much more in keeping with my aiki-fruity ways I feel.

Michael, I can see your point about semantics, but if you head down the root of trying to have all terminology transparent to the totally clueless, you'll just end up with a rather clunky and inelegant dictionary (which will have numerous abridged/different versions depending on the dojo)

While I'm all for describing terms if asked, I see no reason to change how I say something for the theoretical outsider to aikido. If someone isn't even interested enough to ask the obvious questions, I'm not really going to factor them into my thoughts.
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Old 12-17-2004, 06:28 AM   #91
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
David's point that it has to do with conditioned response on the part of the uke is absolutely correct. Is that a problem? Did someone think they were going to throw car jackers and muggers with a "no touch" throw? Of course it only works with a trained uke.
This is where I fundamentally disagree.

If we had a long discussion on this, I think it would come down to that I really don't make a distinction between touch and no-touch. I am connecting and leading the uke/attackers mind in either case. If actual physical contact is made is not really material to me as long as the result is the same. I have engaged them in movement that results in loss of balance.

From my point of view to say no-touch only works with a trained uke is ultimately saying all aikido waza only works with a trained uke. The principles are not changed only the probability of no contact occurring changes outside the dojo, but then so does the probability of any waza happening the same way as it occurs in the dojo.

I appreciate David and others who are willing to at least have a discussion.

As to being greatly concerned about what the public thinks, well the media is hardly beating down my door. There was a silly show recently. I think it was Buffy the vampire slayer rerun where she was being tested on her Aikido and Jujutsu moves, what followed was all punch/kick bad kung fu.
Given that level of confusion, I am not going to lose sleep over terminology. All terminology requires explanation in the context of training. Those looking for the mystical are going to find some group that will give it to them be it Yellow Bamboo or the guy in China Bill Moyer's devoted a show to or something else.

Last edited by kironin : 12-17-2004 at 06:32 AM.

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Old 12-17-2004, 08:15 AM   #92
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Is that a problem?
Yes, it is. Tori doesn't need to have ANY skills, he will simply put hand in front of uke face, from any distance, and uke will fall down like crazy. Why study complicated aikido techniques 30 or 50 years?
Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
The no-touch throw is part of the art of Aikido as done by the Founder.
So any fresh beginner 5 th kyu can throw like that 6 th dan? Or 1 dan will do his randori against 10-20 attackers and throw them without touching?

These are results of your approach. I think that common sense and credibility aikido as MA is lost somewhere.

Last edited by NagaBaba : 12-17-2004 at 08:17 AM.

Nagababa

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Old 12-17-2004, 11:26 AM   #93
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
So any fresh beginner 5 th kyu can throw like that 6 th dan? Or 1 dan will do his randori against 10-20 attackers and throw them without touching?
Isn't this a bit of a straw man? I mean, I don't hear any of the practicioners who argue that no-touch throws exist arguing that they require no skill or training--quite the reverse. Are you arguing with someone else who's not here?

In our last seminar the seminar sensei unexpectedly put a no-touch into a series of touch throws and his uke fell. He showed what he'd done and asked us to try. I had the same uke to work with, conditioned reflexes and all. I tried to do the same moves, and I was not very successfull (one maybe and a lot of definite no's). It was clear from sensei's and my partner's commentary that there were a number of deficiencies in my technique--same as my touch throws.

The two things my teachers have consistently said are "This is hard" and "Don't count on it in a fight." No claims of martial effectiveness. We practice them because they offer some insight into timing, projection, and connection, and I think that's true.

I'm reluctant to not call them "throws" because the dividing line can be so thin. In Mary Heiny sensei's recent seminar she was doing the same move over and over, but due to differences in uke's speed and energy it was sometimes touching him and sometimes not. The dynamic looked, to my novice eyes, extremely similar both ways. I think you would need calipers to say for sure which were which; and is there really that much difference between a "touch" throw that involves fleeting fingertip contact and a "no-touch" throw? So it seems unreasonable to me to insist that they have different terms. I am not going to say to Heiny sensei "I'm not sure if you threw me or not." Of course she did.

And if she is an aiky-fruity it's company I would be deeply honored to keep.

Mary Kaye
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Old 12-17-2004, 05:13 PM   #94
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Re: No Touch Throws

This may be a new thread -- sorry if we all end up thinking thatů

Well George and Mary have both offered the supporting position of "being in good company." It is a reasonable viewpoint (at least at a common sense level -- which is an important level of understanding), and it is definitely part of traditional martial arts training. That is to say, the defaulting of one's own position to a place of doubt, skepticism, or to a place of withholding, etc., for the sake of adopting and/or reflecting upon the viewpoint of one deemed more wise, more skilled, more mature, etc., is always going to be a part of training in the martial arts. However, hearing this position twice here brought something to mind.

Many times in these threads we hear talk of Aikido's degeneration, etc. Usually such talks center on the issue of martial practicality - in particular, the lack thereof. As for degeneration, I think we should realize two aspects central to its probability. First, degeneration, especially in mentor-based pedagogies like Budo/Aikido, is not something that only occurs because of a lack of investment by the learning disciple. At some level, perhaps at a very significant level, the fault of degeneration rests on the mentors of such learning systems. And, second, when speaking of degeneration, we must note that degeneration must always be preceded by a source capable of such decline. When I thought about these two aspects of degeneration, I began to see the supporting positions of "good company" (i.e. mentors who function with a system that is in a state of degeneration) and of "historical precedent" as if not problematic then certainly unworthy of the a priori validity normally afforded to common sense.

For me, things become even more problematic by the fact that the latest posts that made use of the supporting positions of "good company" and of "historical precedent," also made disclaimers that posited "no touch" throws as exempt from martial ("real" "fighting" "outside of training environments", etc.) critiques. For me the proximity (even the discursive proximity) of mentors that may be responsible for the degeneration of the art away from martial applicability, to tactics that are historically precedent but that may very well be the potential source for a degeneration away from martial effectiveness, to disclaimers making certain tactics valid but exempt from martial criticisms, is cause for alarm -- not cause to let the dust settle where it will. In other words, the proximity of these three things is more reason to ask more questions. The proximity of these things is not any kind of answer. It is not really the kind of thing needed to put this issue to rest -- in my opinion.

So I went back and looked at the Asahi film of Osensei. Forgetting for the moment all the unsupportable divisions one might like to make regarding the evolution or the devolution of the art, in that film, in the body art section, Osensei only performs two clear-cut "no touch" throws. Two more are questionable -- it is not clear whether contact was made. Going ahead and granting all four as "no touch" throws, these four throws occurred within an ocean of full-contact throws. Yet, today, this ratio of touch to no-touch is no longer held up by folks that comfortably practice "no touch" throws. I would suggest something has changed in the training ethos -- regardless of there being historical precedent or not. People may be doing the same thing (i.e. a no touch throw), but in many other ways, people are not doing the same thing (i.e. doing way more no touch throws than full-contact throws). This latter difference may be at the heart of the art's degeneration regarding martial applicability. Most folks that do demonstrations of "no touch" throws, in my experience, do a ratio that is quite opposite to the Osensei ratio of the Asahi film. We can even see this ratio alteration in the Osensei of later years -- particularly when he was on occasion training in Tokyo (not so much when he was training in Iwama). We have to ask then: Are we putting ourselves in good company and/or demonstrating historical precedent when we do no touch throws or are we merely a cog in the overall degeneration of the art?

Another difference between the Asahi film's "no touch" throws and the demos of today or of the older Osensei demos in Tokyo is that it is not uke that causes the miss by taking ukemi. The four no-touch throws in the Asahi film are not of the "get out of the way or get hit" type. It is clearly the case that Osensei lifts his arm well over uke's head. In this case, we are not looking at an accidental miss on nage's part, nor are we looking at a deviation on uke's part. Rather, by going over the head of uke, Osensei is causing uke's center of gravity to go up -- traveling from the hara to somewhere in the upper chest. This happens because of uke's attachment to the limb in question (for whatever reason). Being attached to the limb in question, uke follows the limb up and over his head with his gaze, then his head, then his neck, and eventually his upper chest, but he is doing this at a time that his inertia is having his lower body (i.e. the portion of his mass that is below his center of gravity) continue forward. Carry this physics through to its conclusion and eventually uke's line of gravity falls outside of his base of support behind him -- hence the back breakfall.

I would have to say that this IS a no touch throw -- which is contrary to what I have been saying up to now (i.e. that no such throws exist). However, the martial effectiveness of such a throw may still lay in a training culture (which is also something I have been saying). This is because it may still be the culture that is causing the attachment to the arm that is leading uke's center of gravity up his body, etc., to the fall. Osensei's arm in question is pretty well telegraphed, and I'm not sure that an experienced fighter would rather choose to follow it than take advantage of the huge openings created by nage in trying to draw the attacker's attention to it.

Let me sum things up a bit: This type throw as seen in the Asahi film is a throw. It is also a no-touch throw. Yet is it very different from any "no touch" throw I have seen at the All Japan Demonstrations, or by any high-ranking instructor (even those mentioned, Saotome, Ikeda, Aikikai Doshu, Tohei, Heiny, etc.) It is also extremely different from the "get out of the way or get hit" variations that have also been offered here in this thread. However, it is very much dependent upon uke's attachment to the limb in question -- such that he/she is neither aware of the prime opportunity for counter-attack that he/she has skipped over in favor of following the arm up and back, nor is uke aware of the continuing effect their forward inertia is having upon their equilibrium. While I can say that some attackers may very well do such a thing, it is probably true that more uke will do it than more attackers will. Maybe that is why Osensei only demonstrates it four times out of about a hundred throws.

David M. Valadez
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Old 12-17-2004, 07:25 PM   #95
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Re: No Touch Throws

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
...Another difference between the Asahi film's "no touch" throws and the demos of today or of the older Osensei demos in Tokyo is that it is not uke that causes the miss by taking ukemi. The four no-touch throws in the Asahi film are not of the "get out of the way or get hit" type. It is clearly the case that Osensei lifts his arm well over uke's head. In this case, we are not looking at an accidental miss on nage's part, nor are we looking at a deviation on uke's part. Rather, by going over the head of uke, Osensei is causing uke's center of gravity to go up -- traveling from the hara to somewhere in the upper chest. This happens because of uke's attachment to the limb in question (for whatever reason). Being attached to the limb in question, uke follows the limb up and over his head with his gaze, then his head, then his neck, and eventually his upper chest, but he is doing this at a time that his inertia is having his lower body (i.e. the portion of his mass that is below his center of gravity) continue forward. Carry this physics through to its conclusion and eventually uke's line of gravity falls outside of his base of support behind him -- hence the back breakfall.

I would have to say that this IS a no touch throw...
BINGO!! I'd been starting to feel like no matter what I said, people weren't going to understand the no-touch throw I described here as having experienced and seen with Sensei Jason. This is EXACTLY it! The only difference in our explanations is that David says uke's center rises because "for whatever reason" uke is "attached to the limb in question"; but when I was that uke, as I said in my description it felt like I fell backwards because I had adjusted my stance expecting to get hit by the arm that wound up missing me intentionally.

Thank you, David, for the research and detailed explanation.
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Old 12-17-2004, 09:11 PM   #96
senshincenter
 
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Re: No Touch Throws

Wendy,

Yes, it was a back breakfall in the video - uke fell backwards (meaning "belly up"). What rises is uke's "center of gravity," which causes uke's "line of gravity" to move outside of uke's "base of support." Since uke's inertia is traveling forward along the sagittal plane, uke's feet eventually end up further along that plane sooner than uke's head - the result is the back breakfall. So maybe this is just what you experienced - if I understand you correctly.

More elaboration:

I feel I must point out that in the throw, uke never adjusted their stance, or their attack in an attempt not to be struck and/or to not fall. Uke's attention is clearly led upwards by nage in the attempt to make uke's center of gravity travel upwards in their body and therefore make it lag in relation to the mass that is under the center of gravity. This causes the head to pull on the feet and thus this causes the feet to lift. Gravity finishes what the rising "center of gravity" and forward inertia began - uke falls - yet uke is still traveling in his initial forward direction. For example, he doesn't step back with his foot in order to lower himself into the back breakfall - at no point is he going backwards.

In addition, I would not say that those uke felt for one second that Osensei was going to hit them with that arm. I say this because there are countless other times when Osensei creates the same physical geometry by actively striking their face and/or by placing their head through full-contact behind their feet without them flinching an inch, looking upward, and/or going backwards. They are not looking up, etc., because they are avoiding the arm -- they are looking up because they are "captured" by the arm.

I imagine the throw was a throw that was based in the "ura" aspect to the standard versions of various irimi nage. I'm sure the uke were aware of such a throw and of such aspects to their training, such that they knew that it was part of their responsibility as uke to "become attached to the arm." I am not saying that their reaction was choreographed but that their attachment to the arm was culturally orchestrated. Central to that orchestration, I feel, was the fact that nage's arm is not to be touched for the throw to be successful. This I say because it is clear from a biomechanical point of view that the arm is not in an architectural position worthy of addressing uke's forward mass and/or momentum. As an "ura-aspect-based" throw, the arm is meant only to "touch" uke's attention - not uke's body. It is also meant to "touch" uke's forward inertia - which is also an "invisible" and/or "ura" energy/entity. These three things have to go together: no contact, capturing uke's attention, and the presence of forward inertia. This, in my opinion, is very different from an uke that goes under nage's arm to not get hit, etc. From what I can observe from Osensei's throw in this film, and different from what we see folks doing today, should uke make contact with nage's arm, the arm continues to lift up and over uke's head, not in order to miss, but in the sole attempt to continue to draw uke's center of gravity up by drawing his attention upward - allowing inertia and then gravity to do its thing.

As a manifestation of an ura-based-aspect of irimi nage, I imagine that the throw was marked highly by its rarity and not by its physical difficulty. Its rarity, and hence it's small ratio to other throws, comes not from how hard it is to execute the throw but from how seldom such an attacker might be allowed to have his attention drawn out thusly. The skill aspect of this throw comes not from the difficulty in generating the physical geometry but from the subtly of acquiring the equally ura aspects of being able to "read" the immaturity of an attacker's spirit and being able to capitalize upon the immaturity of the attacker's spirit spiritually. In other words, the throw requires great weakness in the attacker's spirit - or in the ura aspect of his attack. This should not be a surprising fact since any throw first requires a suki in the attack. As a physical suki creates space for a physical counter-attack (omote), a spiritual suki creates space for a ura-based counter as well. In that sense, I would testify that Osensei's uke in the video do not come in with weak spirits, so I would say that at some level, at an ura level, there is still some orchestration occurring. It occurs for the sense of fulfilling that aspect of that particular training culture. I do not think therefore that there is any mystery as far as the uke are concerned in regards to what Osensei is attempting to do and/or how or why they are falling.

This for me remains tricky ground. You of course would like to practice such things in order to acquire and capitalize upon the skills of sensing an attacker's weak spirit in such a way. However, I would suggest that there are other means where these same things can be achieved - particularly in any kind of spontaneous training environment. I would rather acquire them (i.e. addressing the attacker at the ura level of their being) there. There, the reading of uke's spirit and capitalizing of uke's spiritual weaknesses can remain martial. There, the manifestation of such things can remain viable without orchestration. There, the manifestation of such things can remain rare as their exact duplication is resisted by the specificity of their own given space and time. There, uke (one's students, my students) is being cultivated to reconcile such spiritual weaknesses so that they do not and/or cannot have their spirit so easily drawn out. For me, practicing no touch throws and feeling we are in good company and/or feeling we are allied with historical precedent because Osensei practiced such throws in this film is something I reject (personally). I can understand them, I can witness them, I can decipher the false examples from the legitimate ones, etc. Yet, here I choose to see them as something we should reject (because of how they are practiced today). Personally, I turn from this path and choose to understand it as one of the potential sources for the arts degeneration and place responsibility, not glory, upon the Founder's shoulder's for not getting all of his "uchideshi" to understand exactly what he was trying to do. When in his old age he let one of the current shihan (then young) go under his arm in attempt to duplicate the same throw he (i.e. Osensei) did in the Asahi film, rather than smiling and laughing and feeling invincible, he should have slapped the crap out of those uke for being so weak and shallow in their understanding of what he was doing. Wow! Can you imagine the positive effect that slap might have had in regards to Aikido's current martial status?! Camera present or not, perhaps even more important that the camera was present, he should have yelled his ass off at those guys for ducking under his arm and lowering themselves and falling backwards for no freaking reason.

That is why, for now at least, I chose to constructively admonish my students for having such a weak spirit that I would be able to lead it away from their best interest. I would not chalk such throws up to mysteries and/or to any great skill -- only to great weaknesses in the spirit of my attacker. Thus it is a thing I as an instructor should work to cultivate more out of my student than I should work to capitalize upon. That way, and here's the heresay, I will do what Osensei should have done but didn't.

Sometimes, heresay can be a very positive force.

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
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Old 12-17-2004, 10:00 PM   #97
Rocky Izumi
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Re: No Touch Throws

Hey, I just watched my mailbox do a no-touch throw on my mailman. After hitting the ground with his butt I ran over to see a 10 inch centipede come crawling out of the mailbox. I asked if he got bit but the mailman said it didn't touch him. Well, maybe it was the centipede and not the mailbox. It looked like the mailbox did it. Well, on the other hand, I guess the mailman was touching the mailbox. Ah, semantics are getting the better of me. So, did my mailbox throw the mailman or was it my ki from 50 feet away? Or was it the centipede that was in the box. Ah, I got it now. The centipede is the ki of the mailbox. Well, a shot of rum fixed the mailman. Fixed me too. Now to find that centipede and fix it with the rum.

Rock
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Old 12-17-2004, 11:23 PM   #98
MaryKaye
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Re: No Touch Throws

David,

I've heard these arguments--put in their most blunt form "Your style is unmartial, therefore evil"--before, and spent some time chewing over them.

At this point they do not seem to be any use to me in improving my aikido; they're just a way for people to (try to) intimidate me away from the path and teachers I've chosen.

I'm a novice. My choice of teachers may be bad; my choice of styles may be bad. I try to deal with this by training widely so that I see the alternatives. Mary Heiny sensei, for example, doesn't teach within my tradition; I sought her out so that I could see what her aikido was like.

Of course I may be wrong to be impressed. We all know beginners are sometimes impressed by unsound flashy stuff. But ultimately I have to take responsibility for my own path, and that's going to mean testing my teachers against my own aspirations, not someone else's. Martial effectiveness narrowly defined is not my core goal. I feel afraid to say that because such statements are usually met with derision (phrases like "degeneration of aikido" come to mind) but that doesn't change the basic fact, and I am certainly not practicing with sincerity if I pretend to different goals than I really have.

Also, if I don't have enough experience to evaluate peoples' aikido when I can see, hear, and feel it, I certainly can't accurately evaluate verbal claims about what is martially effective and what is not.

So I think this is "agree to differ." And a good thing, too, because if you took out of Ki Society praxis every technique that fundamentally depends on "leading uke's mind" you wouldn't be removing just the no-touch throws but around half of the touch throws as well (thinking particularly here of shomenuchi kokyunage, our iriminage replacement and the bane of my last kyu tests). Wouldn't be much left, really.

You essentially claim "spiritual weakness" as a result of certain training methodologies, but looking at myself and my progress, looking at my fellow students and my teachers, I just don't agree.

Mary Kaye
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Old 12-18-2004, 01:34 AM   #99
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Re: No Touch Throws

Hi Mary,

Thanks for replying.

Yes, I think you are right - about choosing a course of action, having one's own goals, and being responsible toward those things. I think what you wrote is very well thought out and that capacity to think things out (if you will allow me to say) will always serve you well. No need to agree with me and/or to take anything I write serious enough to question the sound wisdom you are following all on your own. Please don't take my position as in any way trying to condition your own - I'm really just thinking aloud. I think you not only have a right to disagree, but that you may actually be right in disagreeing. After all, it's your Aikido - not mine. Keep it up!

Thanks for sharing,
david

David M. Valadez
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Old 12-18-2004, 06:42 AM   #100
Rocky Izumi
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Re: No Touch Throws

Well, I am going study under my mailbox. I was impressed with that no-touch throw. Now, all I have to figure out is how to puke up a 10 inch centipede each time someone attacks. If I could only find that centipede and pickle it in the rum here. At least the rum would make it palatable and too drunk to bite me.

Rock
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