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Old 10-05-2005, 01:06 PM   #76
Mike Sigman
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Re: atemi is 90% of Aikido

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote:
IMHO and my personal training and experience, I find that those who argue against atemi in Aikido are those who don't know how to strike. Those who know how to strike (admittedly mostly from other arts) see atemi in their Aikido at least 90% of the time.
Frankly, I put a little more weight on the quote from Shioda Kancho saying that O-Sensei said Aikido is *70%* atemi and 30% throws. I don't buy the 90% attribution.
Quote:
Likewise, those who argue against authority, experience and rank, are usually those who don't have any. If experience doesn't mean you just might have something to offer, than neither does inexperience or ignorance. Though I must admit that shoshin (beginner's mind) has often helped me see things better.
Frankly, I tend to judge what someone knows by what they can do (when I see it) or, in the case of the internet, what they post. Someone relying on "experience", while knowing that there are many people with 'experience' who don't know beans, or "authority", knowing that 'authority' is a mantle assumed by many qvacks, or "rank", knowing how much bogosity there is in rank is assuming that most knowledgeable martial artists can't put two and two together. You can get a pretty good idea of what someone knows by what they post, what they avoid posting about, what they parse, and so on.

Personally, I no longer practice Aikido specifically, although I did for a number of years, and I see strikes and power releases in ways that most people don't even imagine. The question in my mind, when we're talking about what percentage of Aikido is atemi, is more like "how much about atemi skills do most people know?". Reading Shioda's book "Aikido Shugyo" and his comments about how to do atemi, I wonder how many people really think of atemi in the terms which are written in the book or know how to generate the sort of power he is talking about. There are a lot of people with "experience in atemi" who don't appear to even know how to generate power with ki and kokyu skills.... yet ki and kokyu skills are basic to Aikido.

So when someone begins a vague, assuring discussion about how they understand atemi, I'm personally interested (and trust me, there are a number of silent readers who are also interested) in having someone describe more substantively the how's and why's of atemi. When I see something like that, indicating that they indeed do know the subject and have bona fide experience in it, I don't have the least problem in acknowledging it and joining enthusiastically into the discussion. When I get deflections that imply only someone with vague experience and credentials can really understand something, I immediately try to ask more probing questions in order to make sure that I'm not getting a whiff of bull manure disguised as "Aikido Speak".

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 10-05-2005, 01:24 PM   #77
Ron Tisdale
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Re: atemi is 90% of Aikido

To further my conversation with Murray a bit:

From James we have:

Quote:
Well, hey, if Saotome said it. Look, like it or not, be it or not, there is a group of people out there with no command of Aiki that would like to rely on strikes to get them through. Ueshiba also said that spirits inhabited his body when he performed Aikido. Have you been praying to them to acquire similar advantage?
Now, I've had similar conversations with James over at AJ, so I think I understand where he's coming from. I've also trained with people in aikido who know striking up and down, back and forth. I particularly remember one of them embarrasing the hell out of me when I got too cocky in free style. He proceeded to stalk me up and down the dojo, making me look like a fool (well deserved, I might add, I got pretty cocky that day).

Let's get away from the arguement about authorities, and the arguements about Ueshiba's esoteric language [wait a minute...for those who don't like esoterica, what about the founder's penchant for it??] and deal with the meat of what James is saying:

Quote:
there is a group of people out there with no command of Aiki that would like to rely on strikes to get them through.
This statement is unequivocally true. There are such groups out there. I myself at some point in my training probably could have fit this statement to a capital T. So there is no way to attack this true statement, other than to say that you (or me, or George, yada yada) don't fit in that group, and then to explain why.

Quote:
My qua[l]m is with the "atemi is 90% of Aikido" bullshit. Yes, that's what it is. Atemi means to hit the body. If you are not hitting the body in 90% of your training in the dojo, you are not practicing what you preach--period.
I don't believe this for a minute. When I trained in karate (watered down though it may have been), we did not hit the body 90% of the time, but we certainly did train in striking.

Quote:
If you are not teaching people to strike with proper alignment and targeting,
But at least in the aikido I practice, we do teach this. It's taught in the basic stance, it's taught (as Boon suggested) in buki waza, it's taught in recieving your partner's power, its taught (gasp) when we spend up to 20 minutes before technique with the 4th dan working just on our attacks. Of course, we don't do that last one every class (maybe we should). But if you come often enough, you'll hit a class where it happens. It's taught in one form or another in most of our basic techniques (which contain atemi).

Quote:
conditioning their bodies for impact,
In my opinion, taking hard breakfalls is one of the best ways to condition the body for impact. I think the greatest weakness in our aikido training is in terms of conditioning the wrists for the impact they take delivering strong blows. So I made a point over several years, a little at a time, to work up to harder and harder blows on various striking dummies and makiwara to condition my rather thin wrists to compensate for that. Not really a big deal, and almost anyone can do that. In my opinion, it's not rocket science, and you don't need a 9th dan to do it.

But on top of that, using a bokken in special classes where we were required to do hundreds of bokken strikes every day for four months at a time strengthened the wrists. Hitting the mat during breakfalls strengthened my wrists. Doing pushups strengthened my wrists.

Quote:
etc, you are not doing proper atemi, much less at a 90% ratio. How hard is that to understand? Hopefully not very.
I think in a lot of ways, James makes a good point. Even all of what I just mentioned, if it's without aiki, doesn't cut it. What if my strikes ARE really all that, but the heart of aikido is missing? What then differentiates what I'm doing from some fancy boxing? There should still be something else going on, even if my striking is reasonable.

Best,
Ron

Last edited by Ron Tisdale : 10-05-2005 at 01:29 PM.

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Old 10-05-2005, 01:39 PM   #78
Mike Sigman
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Re: atemi is 90% of Aikido

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Let's get away from the arguement about authorities, and the arguements about Ueshiba's esoteric language [wait a minute...for those who don't like esoterica, what about the founder's penchant for it??]
Ueshiba also spoke Japanese and used a lot of "esoterica" that he backed up by founding and performing Aikido. Because someone speaks select Japanese words and refers vaguely to "Zen Buddhism", etc., doesn't mean they have a handle on Aikido. Ueshiba's twin brother can pull that off, maybe, but wannabe esoterica simply needs to be questioned in the light of "how good is this for the students?". As I've noted before, concern for the true and viable instructions to students actually overrides the idea of "respect for someone who calls himself a teacher". I've been on the receiving end of teachers who engage in role-playing and deliberate obfuscation. We should eschew obfuscation.

Mike
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Old 10-05-2005, 01:44 PM   #79
Ron Tisdale
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Re: atemi is 90% of Aikido

But unless you get on the mat with the person in question, how could you know their words are empty? Plenty of people have taught me marvelous things in many endevours...but they wouldn't be able to describe what they did for me on the internet. Does that invalidate them as teachers?



Best,
Ron

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Old 10-05-2005, 02:10 PM   #80
Mike Sigman
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Re: atemi is 90% of Aikido

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
But unless you get on the mat with the person in question, how could you know their words are empty?
???? Do you mean that you couldn't spot some portion of someone's knowledge in what they say, Ron? Could you get onto a biology forum, for example, and not think your lack of knowledge in the field will give you away?

For example, If I have a lot of experience with hitting and punching (but without claiming to know everything or to be able to do everything), let's say I'm an 8 out of 10 in experience in various types of atemi and someone from an art using atemi claims to be a "knowledgeable teacher", yet his own conversations and lack of knowledge show up in the things that he obviously doesn't know about. Are you saying that I have to get on the mat before I can know generally that there are areas he is lacking in? I don't agree with that, if that's what you're trying to say.... and I hope you're not trying to say that.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 10-05-2005, 02:11 PM   #81
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Re: atemi is 90% of Aikido

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
As I've noted before, concern for the true and viable instructions to students actually overrides the idea of "respect for someone who calls himself a teacher".
Ron pretty much summed it up for me, but I would would also argue that, in terms of Japanese culture, and especially Japanese budo, respect for someone who calls himself a teacher (specifically, one who is widely seen as such) is, most often, an equally important part of the socialization process for the Japanese student of the budo. Sure, as Americans we want to deconstruct, re-build it, and try to sell it to the next guy. Maybe print up some t-shirts, or start a website. Does the Japanese process work here? Rarely, from what I've seen. Doesn't mean it doesn't work, or can't.
Anyhow, as Ron alluded to, anything discussed on the web, even if buttressed by lucid, mechanistic vocabulary, is still conceptual. The Appeal to Authority is often trumped by the Appeal to Impressive Expository Skills. Nothing beats the mat...
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Old 10-05-2005, 02:17 PM   #82
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Re: atemi is 90% of Aikido

It is not a fallacy to note that experience plays both a role in meaning and in understanding - especially if one is refering to one's own understanding and meaning (which was clearly the case in what George was saying). This is also why questions like Lynn's find their space in such discussions - btw. Such things are not attempts to silence different points of view and/or to prevent critical questions from arising. However, one does have to then repond in kind by prefacing what they are saying with the phrase, "In my experience..." This, I would suggest, is what most folks don't like to do, what most folks try to denounce as censorship. However, no matter how much they don't like doing it, there is no overt act to censor them and/or to suggest that what they say is without merit simply because their own subjectivity is being revealed.

It is more a fallcy of authority to hold that one has THE TRUTH and that anything that sounds different or appears different is by default unworthy, false, risky, in need of being denounced, half-baked, immature, ignorant, etc. (Which is why Ron's last question is so relevant - btw.) For underneath the fallacy of authority is the universalizing of one's own subjectivity, and this is really what is at issue concerning the attempts to silence others, etc. This taking of one's own subjective experience as the great universal by which to judge all else is what one sees in the latter and what is NOT present in the former example (given above).

For the more mature of us - in our practice, in our minds, and in our spirits - it is never an affront to preface our own points of views with the expression, "In my experience..." For those of us that cannot be or cannot afford to be so mature, it is always more tempting to feel like one is being silenced, or even to shut up altogether, than to have to reveal our own subjectivity to ourselves or even to others.

I suggest that folks try and keep this in mind before this thread degenerates into another repetition of, "You don't know what Kokyu is (and thus atemi, and thus Aikido, etc.) because you talk about it differently than I do." After all, this is a topic worthy of discussion, no matter how many times it has come up - it would be a shame to have it end in that now quite common way.

David M. Valadez
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Old 10-05-2005, 02:22 PM   #83
Mike Sigman
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Re: atemi is 90% of Aikido

Quote:
Murray McPherson wrote:
Anyhow, as Ron alluded to, anything discussed on the web, even if buttressed by lucid, mechanistic vocabulary, is still conceptual. The Appeal to Authority is often trumped by the Appeal to Impressive Expository Skills. Nothing beats the mat...
I don't have anything against the mat or the parking lot. In fact, I think the old ways of someone showing up at the dojo to check the teacher's oil aren't such a bad idea, if you're really into good martial arts (horrors... throw this guy off the list to show him he MUST conform to peace, love, and harmony! ). However, the idea that you can't get a general idea of what someone knows from what they write, expository skills or not, doesn't make sense. At some point we may not be able to know *exactly* where someone is *in regard to a particular art*, but we can certainly get a general idea.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 10-05-2005, 02:25 PM   #84
Mike Sigman
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Re: atemi is 90% of Aikido

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
For the more mature of us - in our practice, in our minds, and in our spirits - it is never an affront to preface our own points of views with the expression, "In my experience..."
I see.
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Old 10-05-2005, 02:36 PM   #85
Ron Tisdale
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Re: atemi is 90% of Aikido

Quote:
Ueshiba also spoke Japanese and used a lot of "esoterica" that he backed up by founding and performing Aikido
You said it yourself...he backed it up by founding and performing aikido.

He didn't do that on the internet. He did it in person, on the mat, and off.

Just my opinion.

Best,
Ron

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Old 10-05-2005, 03:17 PM   #86
Mike Sigman
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Re: atemi is 90% of Aikido

Non sequitur, Ron. The subject, which you slipped into the conversation, was the use of "esoterica" by Ueshiba. Let's don't go off on another tangent if the first one becomes unproductive, please.

Mike
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Old 10-05-2005, 03:30 PM   #87
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Re: atemi is 90% of Aikido

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Non sequitur, Ron. The subject, which you slipped into the conversation, was the use of "esoterica" by Ueshiba. Let's don't go off on another tangent if the first one becomes unproductive, please.

Mike
Mike,

Your usage of latin isn't making your argument any stronger. The subject at hand is:

Atemi
90% of Aikido
What is the source and context of said percentage.

The "esoterica" that you so badly want to avoid IS such a source of information regarding atemi. That O'Sensei talked about it via poetry or "esoterica" does not negate the fact that... it is a source of information regarding atemiwaza.

Go back and re-read the orginal poster's question and you'll see Ron is right in line with the subject and you are trying to debate and refute one source given in answer to the original question.

Like the doka... don't like em... I don't care. And frankly, you don't have to either. But the fact remains they exist and they do pertain to the subject at hand.

Alright... let's keep this a clean fight! Remember... keep your gloves up and above the waist. Ready.... BREAK!~

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Old 10-05-2005, 03:37 PM   #88
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Re: atemi is 90% of Aikido

Just as a brief reminder, I present to you: the Original Post.

Enjoy

Quote:
Hagen Seibert wrote:
Hello,

I frequently heard the quotation of O-Sensei, that "atemi is 90% of Aikido". Now, without the context oft these words one can interprete a lot into the statement. Does anyone know more about this statement, context, source, etc.....

Thanks for your help !

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Old 10-05-2005, 03:42 PM   #89
Mike Sigman
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Re: atemi is 90% of Aikido

And the answer is:

It's a koan and you couldn't understand it yet. I get it.


Mike
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Old 10-05-2005, 03:48 PM   #90
John Boswell
 
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Re: atemi is 90% of Aikido

Doka referencing Atemi: (can you spot the atemi reference? )

Quote:
Causing the perverted enemy to attack
I must then stand behind his form
And so cut the enemy down
Quote:
His sword raised to the attack
The enemy flies at the man he thinks before him
But from the very start
I was standing behind him
Quote:
When you assume chudan
Move the enemy's spirit into the midst
And grasp the rhythm in the same fist

Quote:
Even through surrounded by a great number of enemy
View them as one person
And so fight on!

Quote:
Even through surrounded by a great number of enemy
View them as one person
And so fight on!
Quote:
Though the enemy's spears and buts are before you and behind
With their very weapons as your shield
You must cut in and gain victory.
And one of his more important Doka:

Quote:
"You must realize this!
Aiki cannot be captured with the brush
Nor can it be expressed with the mouth
And so it is that one must proceed
to realization"

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Old 10-05-2005, 04:49 PM   #91
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Re: atemi is 90% of Aikido

Mike:

I'm curious. Based on your dialogue and "my past experience" with posters using your approach to discussion, I venture to guess, speculate, discern or whatever, that you are:
1. An academic or heavily involved in the topic or subject of debate.
2. A student of logic.
3. Have read the website with all of the argument elements on it and have studied the various methods of poking holes in discussions.

Just asking a question.
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Old 10-05-2005, 05:00 PM   #92
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Re: atemi is 90% of Aikido

Hi folks,

Could personal discussions be taken off-line into private e-mail or private messages rather than being actively discussed here?

Let's keep the topic of this thread alive.

Thank you,

-- Jun

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Old 10-05-2005, 07:11 PM   #93
Mike Sigman
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Re: atemi is 90% of Aikido

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
I'm curious. Based on your dialogue and "my past experience" with posters using your approach to discussion, I venture to guess, speculate, discern or whatever, that you are:
1. An academic or heavily involved in the topic or subject of debate.
2. A student of logic.
3. Have read the website with all of the argument elements on it and have studied the various methods of poking holes in discussions.

Just asking a question.
I agree with Jun on this one, John. Let's stick to the subject at hand. As I've said, I don't agree with the 90% statistic, but think that the 70% one via Shioda is probably correct. I don't think (my opinion) that cloaking incomplete knowledge in Aikido with quasi-mystical terminology is fair to students. I don't think that this trend in a few hierarchical "names" to attack anyone who questions them is ultimately good for Aikido. I think we should all just lay it on the line. If I have a problem with someone, I will go offline or visit them personally.... and I think that's the way it should be done in martial arts.

FWIW

Mike "Fair to Middlin'; halfway to Odessa" Sigman
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Old 10-05-2005, 08:38 PM   #94
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Re: atemi is 90% of Aikido

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
As I've said, I don't agree with the 90% statistic, but think that the 70% one via Shioda is probably correct. I don't think (my opinion) that cloaking incomplete knowledge in Aikido with quasi-mystical terminology is fair to students.
I guess I have a hard time thinking of this issue in any concrete terms. To me, saying Aikido is 70%, 90% or 99% atemi all means the same thing. I might even say it's equal parts atemi, nage, and osae, because to me it seems Aikido is, in a sense, all these things at once. The difference between a pin and a throw, for example, is the direction we exert our force and whether or not we stay connected. Beyond situational qualities, there remains a constant, singular type of action being enacted on uke (or so it seems to me at least). Do you think you could define atemi as the act of entering (softly or harshly) through uke's suki?
What is the distinction in your mind that makes 70% a more true statement than some other percentage?
As for the quasi-mysical (or even entirely mystical) language used, i agree it can be unfair to those who don't like to think abstractly. That's why I think it's important for a teacher (of any subject) to be proficient in as many modes of communication as possible. Simply put, I think teachers have to speak more than one language since even within, say, the english language, different people have differing emphases in conceptual understanding.
All that said, I'm beginning to appreciate more and more the people who have been saying true understanding comes on the mat alone. I agree whole-heartedly that teaching can come through words and the ideas they express, I remember the instant effect when I could feel a student's posture had corrected itself and I pointed it out to them by saying "that's the feeling you should have." That viceral experience seems to lock in a more complete understanding.
Take care,
Matt

Last edited by mathewjgano : 10-05-2005 at 08:48 PM.

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Old 10-05-2005, 08:51 PM   #95
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Re: atemi is 90% of Aikido

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote:
I guess I have a hard time thinking of this issue in any concrete terms. To me, saying Aikido is 70%, 90% or 99% atemi all means the same thing. I might even say it's equal parts atemi, nage, and osae, because to me it seems Aikido is, in a sense, all these things at once. The difference between a pin and a throw, for example, is the direction we exert our force and whether or not we stay connected. Do you think you could define atemi as the act of entering (softly or harshly) through uke's suki?
What is the distinction in your mind that makes 70% a more true statement than some other percentage?
I think that a martial art with 90% atemi should practice mostly atemi... period. Shioda's book "Aikido Shugyo" gives, IMO, the clearest view of what Aikido should be in regard to the atemi/throw dichotomy.
Quote:
As for the quasi-mysical (or even entirely mystical) language used, i agree it can be unfair to those who don't like to think abstractly. That's why I think it's important for a teacher (of any subject) to be proficient in as many modes of communication as possible. Simply put, I think teachers have to speak more than one language since even within, say, the english language, different people have differing emphases in conceptual understanding.
All that said, I'm beginning to appreciate more and more the people who have been saying true understanding comes on the mat alone. I agree whole-heartedly that teaching can come through words and the ideas they express, I remember the instant effect when I could feel a student's posture had corrected itself and I pointed it out to them by saying "that's the feeling you should have." That viceral experience seems to lock in a more complete understanding.
Well, if something "feels" correct, you should be able to say why.... unless you think it's some sort of mystical thing. I can correct someone's posture and tell them why at the same time.... that's why there are all these ancient traditional mandates on "correct posture". It's not something about just "feel".

Insofar as "true understanding comes on the mat alone", I'd disagree with you and I have a lot of friends and acquaintances that would disagree, too. But this is a simple exercise in logic, for those people that understand all these discussions about movement, IMO.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 10-05-2005, 09:01 PM   #96
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Re: atemi is 90% of Aikido

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Well, if something "feels" correct, you should be able to say why.... unless you think it's some sort of mystical thing. ...Insofar as "true understanding comes on the mat alone", I'd disagree with you
I agree you should be able to describe why something feels correct. My point is that you can talk about what is and is not a correct feeling and until they've felt it, it's very difficult for them to understand it and use it consistantly. As for the mystical experience, perhaps my understanding of what the term "mystical" includes is lacking, because I would say one can describe even mystical experiences. It would seem OSensei did too, or I suspect he wouldn't have spoken in mystical terms so often while teaching. Finally, I didn't say true understanding comes on the mat alone. I said I'm appreciating more, those who hold this as truth.
Take care,
Matt

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Old 10-05-2005, 09:18 PM   #97
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Re: atemi is 90% of Aikido

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
I think that a martial art with 90% atemi should practice mostly atemi... period. Shioda's book "Aikido Shugyo" gives, IMO, the clearest view of what Aikido should be in regard to the atemi/throw dichotomy.
Are you implying a martial art with 70% ukemi doesn't need to practice mostly atemi? Is the atemi/throw dichotomy too complicated to describe in this forum? I'd love to read Shioda-sensei's book, but I cannot afford it right now...and since this matter is what what this thread is all about I was hoping to learn about it here, even if only in part.
Take care,
Matt

Last edited by mathewjgano : 10-05-2005 at 09:21 PM.

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Old 10-05-2005, 09:28 PM   #98
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Re: atemi is 90% of Aikido

Personally, I do not think we can have problems with anyone here -- with anyone on the Internet. What we rub up against each other here is just ideas after all -- not real concrete matters, not people themselves, etc. I hope we are always able to tell the difference. We should be able to. Well, I like to think that we can.

When I think of things in these terms, and I hear an idea that is different from my own, or when I hear one that appears to be like my own but also different from mine, my impulse is to ask for more explanation. In requesting more explanation, I am looking to gain more common points of reference -- so that I can come to work with and through the wording that someone else has come to make use of - so I can understand what someone is trying to say. Thus, for example, if someone wants to use the term "koan," I am more inclined to see it as a working definition of sorts - since I know we are doing Aikido and not Rinzai Zen, etc. Thus, I believe I can get more out of things by seeking to understand the idea that is being presented -- by seeking to understand how it is being presented. This, I feel, is beneficial in terms of gaining the common references I require in order to actually participate in a discussion (which is the only reason for being here). Looking to harp on things because of how they are presented usually gets in the way of this.

When I first read the word "koan," I was not pressured to raise issues of Zen's history in regards to Aikido's history. I was sure that we were not hearing a historical premise. Thus, I was more able to see that George was trying to point toward two things: That the statement could not make sense at a literal or intellectual level, but that it could make "sense" at an experiential level. In agreement with Mike here, if one would say that 90% of Aikido is atemi, and if they meant this in a literal way, I too would say, "No way." Others have said something similar to this as well. Personally, perhaps going further than others, regarding how Aikido is practiced today around the world, I imagine I would say "no way" even if that percentage was lowered to 50% - maybe still saying "no way" at 30%.

Literally, or intellectually, one simply cannot afford Osensei the accuracy the founder of the art should deserve in regards to this percentage -- in my opinion. However, I can see that some have tried. I think we can note this in the attempts to calculate the number of strikes Uke does; the number of strikes one can practice within a given Kihon Waza; the number of basics that could be turned into strikes, etc. For me, these are all attempts to understand intellectually (literally) what simply cannot be understood thusly. In a way, one could say (as one has already said), indeed, that these attempts are like trying to answer a koan literally or intellectually: "Oh, ‘Mu,' well that just means a kind of non-ness." Somehow, these kinds of things come up short.

I have heard George offer this opinion for a while now. I have often disagreed with him. Looking back now, I see that it was mainly over his examples -- or rather, I seemed to always get stuck on a couple of his examples. However, I think for the first time, today, I have finally been able to see what he is saying -- dropping enough of my own subjectivity to understand his'. Personally, I had to get over his examples really -- because from my own subjectivity his examples sound very much like what a lot of other folks have been saying when they are trying to tally up enough strikes to reach that magic percentage (which I do not agree with). Having done that, I think I can now even accept his examples. Go figure.

What I am getting now is that the statement "Aikido is 90% atemi" is not a tactical statement -- it is a statement regarding strategy. That is to say, in short, this statement points to the fact that Aikido tactics are dependent upon the strategy of atemi. As a strategy, yes, atemi, when manifested, can be understood as a given tactic. However, as a strategy atemi can also be understood as something more. The statement "Aikido is 90% atemi is pointing to more than just "you got to be able to strike at Uke," etc. In my opinion, we are really talking about an underlying structure to the entire Aikido arsenal (especially as it has come to be practiced today). Now, as an underlying structure, this statement is not open to first glances. However, this does not mean that we are into the realm of esoterica (in the demeaning understanding of the word) either. It just means that we may be more open to understanding it experientially than intellectually (hence, the koan reference). This experience is in fact open to everyone. Moreover, in this case, everyone on the very first try even easily feels it.

Going with my own example here, which speak louder for me than George's, here is how one can get a handle on this statement immediately -- on how someone might say "Aikido is 90% atemi."

Conduct the following experiments:

1. First Experiment: Have a dojo mate you are close to come charging at you with anything they want to -- as long as they are charging at you "balls to the wall." Of course, I am assuming you have some spontaneous capacity here. If your dojo mate attacks you "balls to the wall," and you have some skill at spontaneity, you will be able to easily pull off any number of techniques. The techniques you pull off will feel very similar to what you experience in your normal Kihon Waza training.

2. Second Experiment: Have a dojo mate attack you again, but this time have them come in slow and cautiously -- more the way that a Roman-Greco wrestlers might bridge the gap from the standing position in overtime at the end of a championship match. If your dojo mate attacks you in the way that a wrestler (noting here that there are no strikes in wrestling) might slowly and cautiously bridge the gap, you will find that you will not pull off any, or near as many, techniques as you did in the first experiment. You will also find that of the techniques you did pull off, they were for the most part reduced to matters of raw leverage, etc. -- not very aiki. These techniques will feel very different from what you experience in your normal Kihon Waza.

3. Third Experiment: Now have your dojo mate come in like in the second experiment, but this time as he/she does, beat the living hell out of him/her with any and all strikes you can throw -- be sure to aim for the groin, and slap them across the face a lot, etc. Remember, your dojo mate is reduced or rather restricted to bridging the gap slowly/cautiously. When your dojo mate is bombarded like this, he/she should be able to note the urge in them to not come into the kill zone so slowly and/or like a wrestler trying to bridge the gap cautiously, etc.

4. Fourth Experiment: Now have your dojo mate come in any way that he/she would like to, with you doing any technique (Kihon Waza, etc.) you would like to and/or with you striking (when your dojo mate closes the gap in a way more akin to what was being done in the second and third experiment). If you do this, you will start to notice that in an attempt to not be bombarded coming through the kill zone (as in the third experiment), your dojo mate will provide an energy that is much more closely related to that experienced in the first experiment. Meaning, the tactical architectures you manage to pull off in this experiment will feel more akin to those you pulled off in the first experiment AND more distant from those you pulled off in the second experiment.

Admittedly, this is a very simple set of experiments. Moreover, this set does nothing to settle issues of power and/or of nomenclature (regarding what is "atemi," what is "Aikido," etc.), etc. However, from the experience gained here -- which can immediately be yours (anybody's) -- one can indeed see how the statement "Aikido is 90% atemi" makes sense. This one can do because one can gain firsthand how Aikido tactics do indeed need to be built upon a strategy of atemi if they are going to feel/function as expected/designed.

In other words, somewhat jokingly, if an aikidoka cannot properly execute the strategy of atemi, he/she is most vulnerable to the slow advance, in ways that would make one feel like they only knew about 10% of anything! Lol -- it is like the slow blade pierces the shield!


dmv

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Old 10-05-2005, 10:38 PM   #99
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Re: atemi is 90% of Aikido

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
...<snip>...Conduct the following experiments ...<snip>...

Admittedly, this is a very simple set of experiments. Moreover, this set does nothing to settle issues of power and/or of nomenclature (regarding what is "atemi," what is "Aikido," etc.), etc. However, from the experience gained here -- which can immediately be yours (anybody's) -- one can indeed see how the statement "Aikido is 90% atemi" makes sense. This one can do because one can gain firsthand how Aikido tactics do indeed need to be built upon a strategy of atemi if they are going to feel/function as expected/designed.
David, as always, your post is very lengthy but provide a treasure trove of good learning and teaching ideas. My salutation to you.

When I see atemi, I envision sword (ken) or spear (yari/jo) strikes. In the case of having someone comes in slowly and cautiously ala Greco-Roman style... I guess, that strategy would be useless if his opponent is an aikido stylist armed with a jo or ken. (well at least to me, having a jo in hand makes me more comfortable in those engagement).

Just a side note, in his the book The Invincible Warrior by John Steven; there are a couple of wonderful old pictures of M. Ueshiba
performing atemi. Let me describe the movement:

Picture one:
Uke is holding a bokken, and had just finished a shomen strike. Osensei is on the left side of uke, his right hand is resting above the wrist of uke, while his left hands is clenched in a fist with protruding third knuckle aimed at the left temple of uke.

Picture two:
From a right handed shomen strike in suwari waza, Osensei intercepted uke's strike and had him in a ikkyo movement. I see his right hand, again in clenched fist, with protruding third knuckle aimed at the lower left ribs of uke.

From these pictures, I can clearly see two beautiful application of atemi, FWIW.

Boon.

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Old 10-05-2005, 11:29 PM   #100
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Re: atemi is 90% of Aikido

Ok, I read with interest on this topic because recently I've involved myself in a particular striking exercise against aikido. I don't have decades of aikido under my belt, but I've been fairly consistent for some 7 years now. Trouble is, once the fast strikers breach my maai, its almost impossible to do any aikido on them. In that I mean be it techniques, or just plain blending. At the end of the day, their strikes (hands, elbows, kicks, shoulder) move faster then my body. So I've tried incorporating strikes before doing anything remotely resembling blending.

Correct me if I'm wrong here ok. But is the ultimate physical aiki being able to blend with opponents no matter the speed? Because I'm not getting there.

Another thing that pops into mind is when Osensei had an encounter with that swordsman from the navy just before he got 'enlightened'. If what he said was true, then osensei just avoided strikes which I assume are fast and of variety. I can't just see Osensei doing an irimi to a shomen strike if the swordsman was any good. Because he would immediately follow up with with a side strike reversal even from the opposite side. And with a blade, his reach and speed will be greatly enhanced.
So aside from running away or actually applying kuzushi to limit the swordsman's movement, I just don't see how.

Can anyone enlighten me on this.

PS: I didn't want to start a new post on such a trivial matter. But awhile back someone posted a link on this french art of body movement that involves building acrobatics ie they scale buildings, jump from floor to floor, etc etc. I've been trying to search for it but to no avail, can someone pls provide a link?

Thanks.

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