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Old 04-23-2005, 07:33 AM   #1
Mike Sigman
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Atemi ga ii

Gozo Shioda Koncho mentions in his book "Aikido Shugyo" (it's in other sources, too) that O-Sensei said Aikido is seventy-percent atemi and thirty-percent throws. He goes on to describe (on page 22-23) how to punch, including factors such as:

"...the question is whether or not the body's center of gravity is riding on the right foot."

"The key point is the pliability, the suppleness, of the knees."

"...with the forward movement of the front knee and the advancement of the hips, the rear leg gets drawn in."

And so on. Are there some dojo's that also focus on the correct way to hit, among forum members? Do you practice this type of power or any specific power generating techniques in your atemi?

Thanks.

Mike Sigman
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Old 04-23-2005, 03:09 PM   #2
AikiSean!
 
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Re: Atemi ga ii

I think in the book he says aikido in a self defense situation is 70% atemi. I also asked my sensei about this and he did agree. Our dojo is fairly new, sempai for aikido being blue belt. When I mentioned it to him he said we have'nt dabbled much in it because we'd be bonking each other all the time but he said we will get into much more later. The concept of atemi is so neat I think, it can be anything at all, physical or non. Yet when done correctly the outcome is just as amazing.
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Old 04-23-2005, 03:15 PM   #3
Mike Sigman
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Re: Atemi ga ii

Quote:
Sean Constable wrote:
I think in the book he says aikido in a self defense situation is 70% atemi.
In "Aikido Shugyo", it says: "He (Ueshiba) said, 'In a real fight, Aikido is 70 percent atemi and 30 percent throwing.' Based on my (Shioda) own experience, I can say that this is precisely the case."
Quote:
I also asked my sensei about this and he did agree. Our dojo is fairly new, sempai for aikido being blue belt. When I mentioned it to him he said we have'nt dabbled much in it because we'd be bonking each other all the time but he said we will get into much more later. The concept of atemi is so neat I think, it can be anything at all, physical or non. Yet when done correctly the outcome is just as amazing.
OK. Thanks.

Mike
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Old 04-23-2005, 06:46 PM   #4
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Re: Atemi ga ii

Sensei Phong of Tenshinkai Aikido holds high belts in other arts. We train in striking effectively and efficiently. Pretty standard stuff; alighment, focus, etc.

Lynn Seiser PhD
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Old 04-23-2005, 06:54 PM   #5
Mike Sigman
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Re: Atemi ga ii

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote:
Sensei Phong of Tenshinkai Aikido holds high belts in other arts. We train in striking effectively and efficiently. Pretty standard stuff; alighment, focus, etc.
But you don't engage in or discuss the movement of the center of gravity of the body, the transfer of the resulting momentum, kokyu to the fist, etc.? Thanks.

Mike
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Old 04-23-2005, 10:21 PM   #6
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Re: Atemi ga ii

Quote:
Sean Constable wrote:
... we have'nt dabbled much in it because we'd be bonking each other all the time
I had to read that twice before wondering if you were aware that "bonking" has quite a different connotation down here...

Ignatius
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Old 04-24-2005, 01:19 PM   #7
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Re: Atemi ga ii

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Gozo Shioda Koncho mentions in his book "Aikido Shugyo" (it's in other sources, too) that O-Sensei said Aikido is seventy-percent atemi and thirty-percent throws. He goes on to describe (on page 22-23) how to punch, including factors such as:

"...the question is whether or not the body's center of gravity is riding on the right foot."

"The key point is the pliability, the suppleness, of the knees."

"...with the forward movement of the front knee and the advancement of the hips, the rear leg gets drawn in."

And so on. Are there some dojo's that also focus on the correct way to hit, among forum members? Do you practice this type of power or any specific power generating techniques in your atemi?

Thanks.

Mike Sigman
We try and have at least one class a week dedicated to striking.

In that class we do the "usual" - gained from my prior Kenpo training. So we seek to cultivate proper form through instruction, observation, repetition, and application, etc.

One of the earlier connections we try and make between this type of training and the other beginner type training (body art with limited atemi application, etc.) we do is that we are also trying to learn how to attack properly for standard body art practice. Toward this end, one of the drills we do, I would propose, is very relevant to what Shioda is saying in regards to the advancement of the hips.

In this drill, we usually just take the standard shomenuchi strike. The drill requires the assistance of three partners. We take two partners and have them stand shoulder to shoulder/foot to foot/side by side. The striking practitioner is facing them head-on. The third partner is on the other side of the two partners that are standing side by side and he or she is holding a focus mitt that is to be struck. The goal of the striking practitioner is to advance the hips through the resistance offered by the bodies of the partners that are standing side by side and strike the bag as if the initial resistance was not there at all (i.e. having no effect on momentum or balance, etc.).

In order to pass through the partners that are standing side by side, they have to sort of be "displaced" outward. This is achieved by bringing a positive angle to one's knees as one progresses forward - such that one can "thrust" forward with the whole of one's mass. As one's hips come through the technique, the partners standing side by side are displaced by the striking practitioners hips since no two objects can occupy the same space. It is a great drill, I feel, because it reveals how much some folks actually attempt to strike with their arms, shoulders, and chest, and make little or no use of their legs and hips. As a result, very often, these folks can't even make it through the two partners that are standing side by side - other times they make it through but have nothing on the strike and/or throw it from a state of having lost one's balance. So it's a great calibration tool that helps folks find their hips in their strikes and thus in the rest of their movement as well.

David M. Valadez
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Old 04-24-2005, 04:05 PM   #8
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Re: Atemi ga ii

Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote:
I had to read that twice before wondering if you were aware that "bonking" has quite a different connotation down here...
"So does through another shrimp on the barby" here!!!

Charles Burmeister
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Old 04-24-2005, 06:26 PM   #9
maikerus
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Re: Atemi ga ii

I believe Goza Shioda also said in Aikido Shugyo that atemi could be striking with any part of the body. That being said, everything we practice can be said to be towards that goal because we work on weight, balance, timing and, of course, the suppleness of the front knee.

Just a thought,

--Michael

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 04-24-2005, 06:41 PM   #10
Mike Sigman
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Re: Atemi ga ii

Quote:
Michael Stuempel wrote:
I believe Goza Shioda also said in Aikido Shugyo that atemi could be striking with any part of the body. That being said, everything we practice can be said to be towards that goal because we work on weight, balance, timing and, of course, the suppleness of the front knee.
You're absolutely right, Michael. I didn't approach the "any part of the body" because obviously you can't put the knee forward with every part.

All the Best.

Mike
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Old 04-24-2005, 07:06 PM   #11
L. Camejo
 
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Re: Atemi ga ii

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Are there some dojo's that also focus on the correct way to hit, among forum members? Do you practice this type of power or any specific power generating techniques in your atemi?
Hi folks,

As a general rule we try to practice proper movement form and focus of power for a variety of strikes that may be used by Uke when attacking Tori. This also translates to use of atemi by Tori when executing Aikido technique also. Elements such as generating power from the hips / lower body structures, aligning the muscles/spine/limbs at or just before the point of impact, relaxation prior to and in the midst of executing the strike, correct tension/extension at the point where the strike makes contact (including proper breathing), striking through the target (including mental focus aspects), proper targeting of physiological weak points, and at times striking (mainly the head) in a way that also disrupts balance for Aikido technique are regularly practiced and refined as time goes along. Tomiki's idea of atemi included it as a means of creating kuzushi as well, so atemi is always explored with an aim to disrupting balance as well as any percussive or distractive options that may be available.

The amount of tanto work we do (due to the competition aspects partly) also calls for proper practice in effective knife strikes from tsuki to slashes and angular stabs. In the end the idea is to work with as powerful and correctly executed an attack as possible so that in the event one may meet one for real one may have already become accustomed to the "worst case scenario" as far as powerful, centred, focused, threatening attacks go. We also tend to describe the actual physiological effects of particular strikes on the body when landed correctly (e.g. vaso-vagal respones, muscular weakening, nerve paralysis etc.).

Just my 2 cents.
LC

Last edited by L. Camejo : 04-24-2005 at 07:10 PM.

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Old 04-24-2005, 07:11 PM   #12
Mike Sigman
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Re: Atemi ga ii

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
Elements such as generating power from the hips / lower body structures, ....
Thanks, Larry. Sounds good. Could you elaborate on what you mean by "power from the hips", please? I.e., what is it about the hips that adds power to the strike?

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 04-24-2005, 08:07 PM   #13
L. Camejo
 
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Re: Atemi ga ii

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Thanks, Larry. Sounds good. Could you elaborate on what you mean by "power from the hips", please? I.e., what is it about the hips that adds power to the strike?
Hi Mike,

I'll try.

I guess it comes down to timing, focus, extension and relaxation of the hips as a support structure and therefore a conduit of force in the midst of the body. An example is where the hips are rolled forward or extended at the point where impact with the weapon (for example the fist) is made, allowing the fist to penetrate its target with the augmented power of the body coming forward, which is controlled by the rotation, relaxation or extension of the hip. This, along with body alignment allows the forward motion of the body (caused by the forward step), to be channelled into the arms via the spine and focused at the point where the strike makes impact.

So the hips are like the "power transmission and focusing unit" imho that links the power structures of the lower body musculature and the forward motion of the whole body to the upper body musculature via the spine. It also stabilises the body (along with the legs and spine) and controls balance while in motion so that the transmission of power can be maintained all the way through to the end strike. In this way one is able to harness and focus (by correct timing of hip motion) the energy being generated by the larger muscle groups of the lower body, the forward momentum gained from stepping and also the power of body weight and relaxation by sinking into the hips at the culmination of the strike.

Fwiw. I reserve the right to be wrong.
LC

Last edited by L. Camejo : 04-24-2005 at 08:17 PM.

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Old 04-24-2005, 08:21 PM   #14
Mike Sigman
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Re: Atemi ga ii

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
I guess it comes down to timing, extension and relaxation of the hips as a support structure and therefore a conduit of force in the midst of the body. An example is where the hips are rolled forward or extended at the point where impact with the weapon (for example the fist) is made, allowing the fist to penetrate its target with the augmented power of the body coming forward, which is controlled by the rotation, relaxation or extension of the hip. This, along with body alignment allows the forward motion of the body (caused by the forward step), to be channelled into the arms via the spine and focused at the point where the strike makes impact.

So the hips are like the "power transmission unit" imho that links the power structures of the lower body musculature and the forward motion of the whole body to the upper body musculature via the spine.
Thanks, Larry. I wasn't sure if you were talking about "twisting the hips" or "snapping the hips", etc., that so many people discuss, so I just asked. Many thanks.
Quote:
Fwiw. I reserve the right to be wrong.
Sorry, but that's my seat.

Mike
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Old 04-25-2005, 12:03 AM   #15
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Re: Atemi ga ii

Dear Mike,

Yes, my dojo does practice atemi. However there are atemi and there are ATEMI. In standard class time, we will do the standard text book atemi (usually a gesture rather than a hit). However the after class session (opened to DAN and ikkyu levels students) simply because of the assumption higher level students know better ukemi and hence less chance of taking injury.

I have taken atemi from my sensei since I am usually called to be his uke. Most of the time I avoid his atemi by flinching away from his direct hit. But sometimes when I do actually so get hit square on, I felt the heaviness of the hit (I do get winded and coughing from his hit). His favourite target include the throat, the solar plexus, jaw, collar bone and those you might consider soft targets. NB: It is also when I am flinched that it is easy for him to proceed to effect a technique since my attention has already been taken away.

However, I'd recall that sensei never mention any special training to do a proper hit. He said that strong basic/kihon, and the usual strikes that we do in class are good enough. I know this may sound cliche and very similar to what G. Shioda had mentioned in Aikido Shugyo, but then my sensei was a direct student of 'Da Man' so I am not surprise of what he said.

Now on a personal note and from what I have learned from my dojo practice; to me a good atemi feels like thrusting a spear/jo. Vital ingredients include balance i.e., rooted on the feet but free waist motion. Firm hand but not clenched. What I am trying to say is a punch in aikido sense is more like a thrust with jo. It isn't about muscle strength more of using your unified body forward momentum to hit something. Fists, elbow or shoulder; what does it matter? They are only just example of the focus of the exerted hit.

To illustrate, taking ikkajo as an example. At the point of contact, extend your hands outwards as you surge forward using unified body forward momentum to apply kuzushi. Never, never let uke regain his balance. That is why the position of the hands are outstretched. Also to add, the point and instant of contact itself is also atemi. Once you have taken the balance, proceed with the forward movement until osae.

Mike, I am contributing on what marginal knowledge I have so far from my practice. I hope you may find them of interest.

Boon.

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Old 04-25-2005, 05:54 AM   #16
Mike Sigman
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Re: Atemi ga ii

Quote:
Xu Wenfung wrote:
Mike, I am contributing on what marginal knowledge I have so far from my practice. I hope you may find them of interest.
Oh, that was a very good post, Boon. It tells me exactly what I was wondering about in various dojo's. Many thanks.

Mike
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Old 04-25-2005, 08:24 AM   #17
rob_liberti
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Re: Atemi ga ii

I got to hit full force on a guy wearing one of those red padded suits (makes you look like a big human-crab) that really help absorb the impacts. (But you can still drop someone if you kick them very hard in the solar plexus - yes we tried!) Anyway, the first thing I learned was that I had to hold my punch just a bit longer to really get the full potential of the driving force. I had always been told to pull the punch back as quickly as you put it out - but I didn't have the best idea about how long it needed to be left out there before pulling it back. I suppose any of the people I had really hit in my past (who were never wearing the big red suit) were injured enough by my lame punching ability for me to develop some misconceptions about how "good" my punching was.

Also, I have since that a better analogy for what I want to do in aikido, would be something like eat, digest, then get rid of the waste. Most lower level people's aikido kind of skip the "digest" phase. I'd say that the punch needs a bit of this phase too.

According to Dan Mesisco sensei (godan in aikido), his other teacher Hwang Gee, who would be considered by some to be a Tang Soo Do Grandmaster taught him about how you really need to feel the weight of your body on your feet. A lot of Modern Arnis folks talka about how they are excellent at defending the little piece of real estate that they are standing on. I got the impression from Dan sensei that wherever Dan is standing that is "his space" and when he moves he moves "his space" is maintained under his feet more like he is on roller blades and the Earth just rotated under his feet, as opposed to thinking about the Earth is stationary and we move from one place to another. Dan does his striking from there. When I started working on this mindset, I found that to be very valuable for my striking as well. (Of course you have to have enough looseness in your body to not get in the way of yourself.) There is nothing wrong with the horizonatal force of the hip twist, but I'd say I find that Dan's insight seemed to add a different move verticle-oriented power component.

Another thing that helped me with striking was the idea of practicing puches was doing a ki-ai just a moment before it seemed like my strike was supposed to end - and then kind of chasing the ki-ai with my punch.

What I don't have is a good working knowledge of how to chose stikes that ellicit common responses. (I understand that they will vary from person to person, but we should be able to generalize a few typical responses and I'm a bit lacking in that area.) I don't think that this is so necessary for aikido, so I haven't actively looked for it in cross training yet. But, it's on my wish list...

I hope that helps...

Rob
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Old 04-25-2005, 08:47 AM   #18
Mike Sigman
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Re: Atemi ga ii

Quote:
Michael Stuempel wrote:
we work on weight, balance, timing and, of course, the suppleness of the front knee.
Incidentally, in light of Shida Koncho's comments about the weight going over the front leg and about the knee, etc., there's perhaps a better way to say what he did so that the "front knee" is not such hindrance when you're discussing the whole body, the way Michael is. The essence of what Shioda was saying is that the full momentum of your body needs to be transferred. In other words, if you picture two billiard balls and you roll one straight into the other, the first ball will stop and the second one will take up the momentum and begin rolling. Same thing when you hit... if you picture yourself as a large billiard ball and you try to impart every bit of your forward-going moment (which is riding on top of the knee, in the case of a punch) into your opponent, it's pretty devastating. In fact, unless your arms, shoulders, wrists, and fists are conditioned, you'd better not try it with too much vigor. In the case of a strike with some other place on the body, as Michael was mentioning, the same transfer of momentum is important, among other things.

Of course, there are some really nifty additives that will make a punch even more powerful than that... I was curious to see how many Aikido schools incorporated punching techniques. I agree with Shioda Sensei that just punching someone is not really enough; you need to have a devastating punch and you need to know where to punch... and you need to know when to punch. Seeing that a well-known and skilled aikido expert like Shioda mentioned it, as well as Ueshiba Sensei, I was wondering how prevalent actual punching practice was and whether anyone used very sophisticated practices (which still must be simple... you only have a split second to punch), etc.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 04-25-2005, 09:07 AM   #19
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Re: Atemi ga ii

In our dojo, we also have an instructor in Isshin-ryu karate-do. This affects the way some of our students atemi (using an understanding of chinkuchi) and such.

Just a little info.

Brcye
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Old 04-27-2005, 01:50 PM   #20
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Atemi ga ii

Hi Mike,

They have a really nice makiwara in the Boulder aikikai that I tried out a bit while I was there. A little too much play in for my tastes, but still really nice. I played a bit with the idea from the book you mention...it does indeed seem that my striking power has improved from the basic training method. 'Course, that's just my relative self assesment...no guaruntees its accurate. I was a bit hesitant to really wack the makiwara...I was worried that since I hadn't hit a bag for at least a year my wrists might give and I'd hurt myself. Didn't happen though, at about 3/4s or less power. I did note that keeping the fist not too tight didn't bother my hand...what little I remember from karate was a pretty tight fist. I don't seem to need that now.

I did get a comment about 'taking out my aggression' though...embarrassed me enough to stop!

Best,
Ron

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Old 05-02-2005, 06:11 PM   #21
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Re: Atemi ga ii

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Are there some dojo's that also focus on the correct way to hit, among forum members? Do you practice this type of power or any specific power generating techniques in your atemi?
We are learning to strike with Muay Thai punches, elbows, knees, kicks, and errr...headbutts. It's much harder than I thought it would be actually. I was quite pleased yesterday when firing off shin kicks into thai pads my holder exclaim "Awk...<cough>! .....That was a good one!" while doubled over. My Sensei had just given me a few pointers (turn foot out more, angle leg into pads more) and the power increase was tangible. I could tell that kick had full body behind it. I couldn't seem to do it again though. Even though I wasn't interested in learning a striking art, I've found I really enjoy it and can see the application of the strikes to my Aikido.
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