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Old 10-27-2005, 03:24 PM   #1
chionardo
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Confused Being able to take atemi for real

I expect I will get replies that answer my question well and will make me feel foolish but my Sensei said something that made me think and want to ask this question.

Hypothetically in a real situation an attacker would be unpredicatable, and as they are not Aikidoka would not fall as we would they could end up being able to get in a lucky punch or maybe if you were not 100% aware (as in why would you be looking for it if you were just standing there with friends talking), they could hit you.
Now my question is, unless you are a pretty tough person, would it not be a great shock to the system to recieve a blow? In harder styles such as Muay Thai or Karate, where there is sparring, you take punches and kicks all the time so you are accustomed to it and in a real situation you'd not be AS phased as a normal person, BUT in AIkido there is no sparring and you never get the feel of being punched in the face or kicked so I am thinking that it would disrupt your focus and thow you off if it were to happen.

Thanks
Ben
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Old 10-27-2005, 03:28 PM   #2
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Being able to take atemi for real

Where do you train? I've been punched, kicked, thrown, stepped on, poked in the eye, all kinds of stuff. I try to set my mind not to let it stop me. Take the ukemi, finish the throw, whatever...then cry about the booboo later. You know...kind of like in life...

Best,
Ron

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Old 10-27-2005, 03:48 PM   #3
Aiki LV
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Re: Being able to take atemi for real

No offense, but I getting really tired of the same old WHAT IF QUESTIONS!!!!!!! No one no matter what they practice knows for certain how they will react in a "REAL LIFE" situation. I wish people would stop trying to look into the crystal ball and read the future. Deal with the fact that not everything in life is known before hand. Even if you have been in a situation in the past you don't know how you will react to a different set of circumstances. Deal with life as it comes and don't put yourself in situations that would promote something like that. Not always, but most of the time people don't try to hit you unless they have a reason. If you are a police officer or a soldier that is a different story all together.
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Old 10-27-2005, 03:53 PM   #4
Lan Powers
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Re: Being able to take atemi for real

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Where do you train? I've been punched, kicked, thrown, stepped on, poked in the eye, all kinds of stuff. I try to set my mind not to let it stop me. Take the ukemi, finish the throw, whatever...then cry about the booboo later. You know...kind of like in life...

Best,
Ron

oh yeah
L

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Old 10-27-2005, 03:58 PM   #5
James Davis
 
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Re: Being able to take atemi for real

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Where do you train? I've been punched, kicked, thrown, stepped on, poked in the eye, all kinds of stuff. I try to set my mind not to let it stop me. Take the ukemi, finish the throw, whatever...then cry about the booboo later. You know...kind of like in life...

Best,
Ron
Yeah, man. Just wait until the fight's over to go lick your wounds, right?

"The only difference between Congress and drunken sailors is that drunken sailors spend their own money." -Tom Feeney, representative from Florida
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Old 10-27-2005, 11:21 PM   #6
Joshua Livingston
 
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Re: Being able to take atemi for real

Quote:
Ben Harrison wrote:
Now my question is, unless you are a pretty tough person, would it not be a great shock to the system to recieve a blow?
I'm rather sick of people who post on here and do everything but answer the question of the thread. If yah don't like the question, go somewhere else; it's a big board!

Now Ben, straight up, Yes!

The average person who is not accustomed to getting hit will fold if they suddenly get hit without expecting it, and many times even when they are expecting it. Your body basically goes into panic mode, you have a huge adrenaline dump, and if you have a so-called "glass jaw" you can even lose consciousness over a rather weak punch.

The only way to get your body to not freak out when it happens, unless you happen to be a natural bulldog type o guy who can take anything someone dishes out, is to gradually allow your body to become accustomed to the trauma. If you are training some place where it is rare to receive the stray hit, and you are concerned with this, I would recommend acquiring some boxing gloves, helmet, and a mouthpiece. Find a training buddy and let your partner start getting some hits in on you. Make them very soft at first and then gradually allow them to become harder as you feel comfortable. Also start with hits to padding areas of the helmet. You really shouldn't allow someone to lay into you until you have practiced this for a few months and are totally comfortable with it, as well as making sure your partner can hit you with a good degree of control. You shouldn't have any lasting pain after the fact, if you do you are pushing it to hard and fast.

This should allow your body to grow accustomed to the impact. I also wouldn't ever advise allowing someone to free deck you such as in Fight Club, it's simply too dangerous and not very intelligent. Sure the real thing is going to hurt more when and if it really happens, but you should also have quite a bit of adrenaline pumping at the time, which can make all the difference.

Also don't think because you do this now that you will be able to take the same 3 years from now. The only way to keep it is to keep doing it every now and then, otherwise homeostasis kicks in and your body is no longer prepared for it once it realizes that it no longer needs to worry about it happening; so simply have a 2 hour boxing session with a buddy once every month or so as an upkeep. Don't worry about not knowing how to box "correctly" as that's not the point as long as you can control the punches enough to only dish out what you both can take. Make it very casual and focus on control.

The best way to take it of course is to simply not place yourself in a situation where someone is going to want to hit you, like always having your best friend Tiny around who happens to be 7'4.

Joshua Livingston
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Old 10-28-2005, 05:16 AM   #7
chionardo
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Re: Being able to take atemi for real

Thanks for the replies. OK, first, Ron I train at two different places, one is Aiki Jujutsu and the other is Modern Aikido, neither of which I have been hit or kicked although I'm sure if I asked my Aiki Jujutsu Sensei he'd be more than willing to assist me :-) I also train in Muay Thai, not for a few months now though but I'm considering going back and stopping the modern Aikido class because I feel that maybe I need a harder style of martial arts again to work with the Jujutsu.

Next, Mindy, I don't think you know what I mean. Basically "STATISTICALLY" there is a high chance that you could get hit, I mean there is more chance than not that someone would lash out with a wild punch as thats what most untrained attackers would do. Also, when you say that most of the time people do not try to hit you unless they have a reason...............wrong in my experience, maybe its just where I live (its not a bad area at all though), many times I've been out and for no apparent reason..................actually its probably just because they're drunk, people will walk up to someone and just puch them in the face, ALSO because SO many people here just go out every week, week in week out drink and start fights, they're used to it and even though they're totally wasted they are quite accurate with the punches and would not go down as easily as one might expect, they're just used to it.

I was just thinking that you could spend 20 years practicing Aikido and be at a high level and never have to had to use it, until one day something kicks off and you catch a blow to the face, what are you gonna do, you're gonna be in shock. I know that you're going to say that Aikido is not practiced JUST for protecting yourself its practiced for mind, body and spirit too and I appeciate that FULLY, I'm just talking in respect to the protection side of things.

Joshua, thanks for the lengthy reply, I am accustomed to the impact of kicks and punches as I study Muay Thai, I was just asking the question as a hypothetical one.

Thanks
Ben
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Old 10-28-2005, 05:21 AM   #8
Steve Mullen
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Re: Being able to take atemi for real

i would feel very cheated if i paid my money and didn't receive a few punches in return. when you get into (or should i say IF you get into) that type of situation assume two things,

1) you are going to get hit
2) its probably going to hurt.......lots

if you expect to get hit then your body will do it's best to prepare you. all in all you will probably find that if the situation does arise there will be so much adrenalin pumping through you that the first punch is probably the only one you will feel.

"No matter your pretence, you are what you are and nothing more." - Kenshiro Abbe Shihan
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Old 10-28-2005, 07:42 AM   #9
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: Being able to take atemi for real

Ben,
maybe your concerns are important, but in which MA do you get used to being punched into the face with bare fists or even steel tubes, to get more realistic. Although I even feel Joshua getting sick again, I'd like to recommend George Ledyards column about "Ultimate Martial Arts" here on aikiweb.

But nevertheless I also want to reply on the topic:

Yes, many people, not being used to be punched, choked, etc. the first time could be a psychological shock, which could hinder them from defending themselves or doing whatever is prudent.

On the other side there are many examples about not really realising the pain during the incident. I personally didn't face this effect in street fights, but in normal accidents and similar situations. Once I even had a chance for a Kyokushinkai fight on a junior level. I did not feel to be punched harder than in semi-contact fights of the same level. I don't care if it is adrenaline or anything else.

Now how far does aikido prepare for this and why not more? Again schools and organisations are different. Saotome hits his uke and not only gently, but never in the face. AFAIK in Shodokan the xx ate techniques are often done as punches, as the name says. But even in softer aikido classes, depending on your skills, you have to take break-falls, sometimes hard and high break-falls. In my experience they are as hard to take as hard boxing glove punches to the body. So aikidoka are prepared, but obviously not as good as many full contact martial artists.

My opinion is that this is totally enough. As George Ledyard stated for many of us it is not a probable scenario - I've never been in a British pub late at night and after your comments probably I'll never do, as well as would probably would not walk late night through Soweto, Harlem or other places, which might no be as bad as their reputation, but I just do not need to check out.

2nd, if you are in a situation that you feel, you need to be prepared you can either cross train any full contact sport - or just do their preparation. You can run with your head into a wall - maybe Makiwara would be better for the beginning - or do anything you think, it is realistic enough. I cannot - I am earning my money with my brain, so I try hard not to kill unnecessarily my little gray cells. Yes it is somewhat ironical, but seriously everybody can find his own path for best profit and costs.

And my last - not the least argument: Aikido focuses much more on not being hit than taking lucky punches. That does not mean that some people might train for wrong situations, but most of us have limited time to train. Is it really worth neglecting to train your reflexes to avoid, evade or at least weaken the hit, from rear or where ever for being able to take them? Again there is no absolute right or wrong answer and your solution to take Mouay Thai is a good one. Offering harder lessons on being able to punch and get punched in some 7/24 aikido dojo might be another one. For the normal aikido student, training twice to 3 times a week some 2 hours, I would not propose to do that. It is wasting time you need for other lessons.

Best regards and just the 2 cents of a 4th kyu - though some years of experience in aikido and former 2nd kyu in Karate with lots of semi-contact experience.

Dirk
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Old 10-28-2005, 07:45 AM   #10
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Re: Being able to take atemi for real

Quote:
Ben Harrison wrote:
I am thinking that it would disrupt your focus and thow you off if it were to happen.
Oh yea!

It really can disrupt your focus when getting hit back, that's why IMHO, boxers (Western and Thai) are so tough, they train close to to conditions they are going to fight and they learn how to take a few for real.

Hopefully, you will never really have to take atemi for real.

Lynn Seiser PhD
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We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 10-28-2005, 08:25 AM   #11
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Re: Being able to take atemi for real

Just make sure you don't fall. An aikidoka on the floor is pretty much dead unless he knows judo or jiu-jitsu.

Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.
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Old 10-28-2005, 09:00 AM   #12
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Being able to take atemi for real

Some are, some aren't. I tend to avoid such generalizations.

Best,
Ron

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Old 10-28-2005, 10:17 AM   #13
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: Being able to take atemi for real

Quote:
James Matarrese wrote:
Just make sure you don't fall. An aikidoka on the floor is pretty much dead unless he knows judo or jiu-jitsu.
James,
most aikidoka know falling - called ukemi. If a good aikidoka falls, he is mostly right up again, probably a few meters away.

You probably refer to grappling and you can go to the bear hug or BJJ threads. Standing in such a position is not more comfortable than on the ground. The skills are there. First try to act before the agressor is in a strong position. Then you apply standard techniques - mudansha level. If you are too late, it is getting more difficult and many aikidoka might get mixed up, if they haven't trained this situation. But here it is still aikido syllabus, even if they do not test it lying on the ground. If you feel you need it and your aikido dojo is not providing enough practice, you better add some grappling sports. So it is quite similar to what i've said before.

And of course, Ron is right. Some aikidoka can deal with it some cannot.

And Ron don't you think, that most aikidoka who can handle well being submitted (grounded?), had some practice in judo (B)ju-jutsu or wrestling? Then it would be an acceptable generalisation ("...unless he knows ...")

Another 2 cts

Dirk
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Old 10-28-2005, 11:27 AM   #14
chionardo
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Re: Being able to take atemi for real

Just wanted to say thanks for all the replies, you've given me lots to think about.

Thanks
Ben
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Old 10-28-2005, 12:00 PM   #15
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Being able to take atemi for real

Yes Dirk, I think that statement helps a lot. But you have to remember as well that some people are naturally inclined toward fighting in general. I've known people that train in shotokan, that I thought I could simply grapple with, and not get pounded. Well, I was wrong! It wasn't that they had trained in ground fighting, or that they had any magic....their shotokan was much more reality based than what I was familiar with. Every time I tried something wrestling based, I was locked on the ground about to get kicked while he was still standing.

Admittedly, Norman is an exceptional guy...and he's huge. But still...

Best,
Ron

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Old 10-28-2005, 01:37 PM   #16
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Re: Being able to take atemi for real

Great replies Dirk, Ron, and James!
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Old 10-31-2005, 06:17 AM   #17
Ben Joiner
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Re: Being able to take atemi for real

For you fellow Britishers out there. Did anyone see Eastenders this week? Ian Beal's pathetic attempts to apply his Aikido knowledge upon the return of the infamous Phill and Grant are particularly relavent here I think.
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Old 10-31-2005, 06:30 AM   #18
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: Being able to take atemi for real

Quote:
Ben Joiner wrote:
For you fellow Britishers out there. Did anyone see Eastenders this week? Ian Beal's pathetic attempts to apply his Aikido knowledge upon the return of the infamous Phill and Grant are particularly relavent here I think.
Ben,
what to hell is the link to this thread?

there is another thread about Ian Beale's aikido, where you can place this - sorry , I wanted to say rubbish .

Dirk
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Old 10-31-2005, 07:11 AM   #19
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: Being able to take atemi for real

I rememer one guy who came to train - he said he often got picked on and even attacked and wanted self-defence. Fair enough, so I thought, and he started Aikido. Once I got to know the guy, I realised that his problem was his clumsyness and attitude. In a pub he would bump into people, spill their drink, and not even notice. If someone said something he would immediately jump on the defensive and refuse to acknowledge it. If he bumped into someone and spilled his own drink he would immediately blame them. It only takes so long before you meet the wrong kind of person - no wonder he got into so much trouble. No amount of training will help if you have such an attitude. I think the fact that he did Aikido made it even worse - he felt tougher, though he wasn't. He didn't last long in Aikido...

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Old 11-01-2005, 08:47 PM   #20
xuzen
 
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Re: Being able to take atemi for real

I hate to take Atemi for real... it will hamper future practice (unnecessary injury and pain). I will not advocate it as standard practice during mat time. Boxing and other competitive striking arts allows their players to take punches but under very strict rules and regulation, which again is arguably is very "unrealistic" compared to a street situation.

Playing two much tennis or golf and you get tennis/gold elbow. Sport medicine termed this as repetitive stress injury (RSI). I wonder by allowing another person to repetitively hit your head as in boxing will lead to what sort of RSI?

Given a choice between training to harden one's body to take hits vis-a-vis learning to move the body swiftly and quickly in a stable manner away from the trajectory of an incoming punch/kick, I'd choose the latter, i.e., moving away. But if one wishes to take real atemi to see how it feels like, by all means go ahead, but i do not advocate it as standard aikido practice.

How, then does one practice to deal with real intention atemi if we do not hit real? Substitute punches with bokken or jo. Nothing better forces your body to move than a oncoming bokken or jo. Wrt to taking real atemi.. how is getting a bokken knocked on your head without a headgear, or a getting a jo hit your thumb while parrying it with your bokken. Are these atemi real enough?

My view is such that aikido as an art do not advocate you getting punched or kicked as form of training to be a good martial artist. We have other method of training to cover that aspect.

Boon.

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Old 11-01-2005, 09:50 PM   #21
RebeccaM
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Re: Being able to take atemi for real

It [i]is[/is] a shock to get hit when you aren't used to it. That's why we used each other for target practice in karate. We'd start out gently, and as we progressed we'd hit each other harder and harder. Eventually you get desensitized. An adrenaline dump can be handled. You just need to learn your reactions and how to control them.
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Old 11-02-2005, 08:09 AM   #22
ruthmc
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Re: Being able to take atemi for real

Quote:
Ben Harrison wrote:
BUT in AIkido there is no sparring and you never get the feel of being punched in the face or kicked so I am thinking that it would disrupt your focus and thow you off if it were to happen.
You don't have to be sparring to get punched in the face (or elsewhere!) or kicked. There's plenty of opportunity for these things to happen to you during regular Aikido training if you mess up your timing and/or direction of movement

After the first few times you get used to it. Physical blows don't hurt as much as joint injuries (shoulder separation etc). Sure it throws your focus off a bit, especially if it's your nose that got whacked and you can't see through the tears streaming from your eyes but it needn't stop you in your tracks. Unless it's blood streaming from your nose and Sensei hauls you off the mat to deal with it

Aikido training taught me to take a punch to the face, and I'm happy to admit that.

Ruth
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Old 11-02-2005, 11:12 AM   #23
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Re: Being able to take atemi for real

I don't' care if you're Mike Tyson, if someone hits you out of the blue (like when talking to friends and not paying attention) it's going to be shocking. Most knockouts are due to punches that weren't seen. Even in a sport fight, if you hit someone when then don't see it coming it will have a very powerful effect. So you really cant "get use to" these kinds of blows, as their very nature is "unexpected". However Aikido does train awareness and that's part of its' job, to keep you from being unexpectedly hit, or stabbed or shot or what have you. Aikido is one of the few martial arts to work on awareness as a tool. Some might say that Aikido 50% awareness training....

Now just on the issue of training with blows. I've been in several fights inside and outside of "the ring", in few of these fights did I feel many of the heavy blows during the fight (I would feel them the next morning), there is so much adrenaline in a fight that it's hard to feel pain, now getting knocked out is another story, and it's hard to train against that. I wouldn't worry about being accustomed to feeling the blows, I would worry about stopping or avoiding them, that's the use of training in a boxing system.

-Chris Hein
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Old 11-02-2005, 11:57 AM   #24
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Being able to take atemi for real

Boon,

Appreciate where you are coming from.

I think however, that we must first understand WHY you are studying aikido.

You also use say the following:

"My view is such that aikido as an art do not advocate you getting punched or kicked as form of training to be a good martial artist. We have other method of training to cover that aspect."

To me the question is "what is your goal?" How do you define "good martial artist"?

I agree 100% with your argument if you goal is to be a good aikidoka or to follow the path of budo. There is NEVER a need to trade blows, or to take them to "toughen up".

However, people have different objectives, endstates,and goals. Frankly I think many come to aikido looking for something that is not there. Same with most martial arts. "Self defense" or "fighting effectiveness". Aikido is a poor way to achieve these goals, IMHO. (won't get into it like I always do!).

However, aikido can be used as a base to develop yourself as a martial artist. As well as boxing, MMA, and the Dog Brothers method as well. Is it necessary. NO is it a way YES.

However, if you are like me, a soldier, and your definition of Martial arts requries you to fight for real, then I would not want the first time I dealt with the stress of real combat to be at that point in time.

Again, it depends on your goals.


All that said, I do agree with you in regards to aikido. It is pointless to the goals and objectives of the methodology or art (budo) to do this.

I find it interesting that you cannot learn really to hit well or to defend well by going full speed. By going slow, controlled, and cooperative we can teach our bodies the proper propreception and muscle memory, and emotional state to do this. If you train full speed it tends to amplify your shortcomings.

It is good though, and right if you are a "combat focused" kinda guy to at some level train hard and real and learn how to compensate for your weaknesses at full speed. Frankly I found my years of aikido taught me correct principles, but when I go full speed I crumbled under the pressure.

Again, it is not required to learn budo, but may be if you are concerned about "being martially effective".
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Old 11-02-2005, 04:05 PM   #25
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Re: Being able to take atemi for real

For me, I would say the following:

- the average person that is not struck as part of their regular practice (i.e. struck regularly) does tend to "freak out" (which I will define later) when they are struck and/or struck for the first time and/or struck repeatedly.

- the average aikidoka, though struck here or there, though taking high and rough falls, though hit with weapons here or there, etc., is not outside of the above category simply for having done these things. i.e. average aikidoka freak out when struck.

- I would not distinguish "martially effective" from "budo" from "not freaking out when struck."

For me, these things all fit together because the "freak out" of being struck is often really nothing more than a habitual response to act egocentrically (i.e. self-concern, awareness monopolized by the self), which means that we are dealing here with an unawareness that comes about from an attachment to the self (in this case experiencing pain, fear, anger, violence, aggression, etc.). For me, Budo is very much related to a sense of selflessness, the cultivation of non-attachment, and awareness (i.e. the unfettering of the body/mind). This is why these things are all related and why this is not just a topic for someone that whats to be martial effective (vs. "someone that just wants to do budo").

What one should look for in trying not to freak-out from being struck is not really a desensitization (since one can never desensitize oneself to everything) but rather the capacity to observe one's habitual tendency to act egocentrically in terms of body and mind in response to things like aggression, violence, pain, injury, etc. (i.e. foul weather things). While one can and should seek this kind of self-reflection in forms training (i.e. standard Aikido training), one has to realize that forms training, because of its choreographed nature (and because of all else that that assumes), often cannot take us to as deep a primal level in terms of violence, aggression, pain, fear, etc., and so it often does not have us reconcile these types of attachments fully (which is why the average aikidoka still finds him/herself acting egocentrically when they start getting hit and/or hit repeatedly).

If you are going to do seek martial effectiveness, if you are going to practice Budo, if you are going to want to get used to being struck, you are going to want to depart from forms at some level (and regularly) so that your practice can penetrate to a level primal enough where you can practice more complete forms of reconciliation, so that you can cultivate more consistent forms of non-attachment, so that you can maintain more universal types of awareness. One great way of doing this is, in my opinion, and as others have said, is to go a few rounds on a regular basis with someone and stop expecting forms to have an answer for everything. For if the forms of Aikido do not capture the whole of the art (which many are able to agree with), then the forms of Aikido cannot answer everything, cannot provide for everything. We must therefore have some sense of what is needed and of where and how to get that which is external to the forms. I do not see this as an attempt to build the ultimate martial art. I see it as an attempt to ultimately know/understand/practice Aikido.

dmv

David M. Valadez
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