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Old 06-12-2001, 07:40 PM   #1
akiy
 
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Pain in Aikido

Hi folks,

To reflect upon this week's poll of, "Do you think pain is a necessary component in effective aikido?", what do folks here think?

-- Jun

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Old 06-12-2001, 09:41 PM   #2
Sarah
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Re: Pain in Aikido

Quote:
Originally posted by akiy
Hi folks,

To reflect upon this week's poll of, "Do you think pain is a necessary component in effective aikido?", what do folks here think?

-- Jun
Not necessary - but perhaps inevitable. I've felt both yonkyo and sankyo -working- (moving a resisting uke) without pain, but I'm blowed if I can do it consistantly (yet). So pain, or possibly the threat of pain is still sometimes a necessary component of my aikido.

Sarah
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Old 06-13-2001, 02:00 AM   #3
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I don't think using pain as a control mechanism is dependable. I've come across too many people who you either can't hurt or they don't much care if you hurt them.

Take the opponent's balance properly and control their center of gravity, lock the joints to the point that they create their own pain if they think about moving. This can all be done with softness and what I call good engineering.

If you create pain, it actually can tell the opponent (who is sensitive and skillful) where the source of your power is. That of course is the point of balance and connection between your feet and the earth. If the opponent can feel this, then even if you're hurting them they can often turn the technique against you. Softness and good engineering gives no feedback for the opponent to use to solve their problem.

Chuck Clark
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Old 06-13-2001, 03:59 AM   #4
ian
 
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Yeh, definately agree with Chuck here. I've been attacked with knives, hit by rocks and punched and grabbed quite hard during real situations but never really felt any of it at the time. I think this is where the dojo can differ from some situations. Often the adrenalin is pumping round someone so hard they don't feel a thing. (although at other times when the opponent is not necessarily 'fighting you' in a conventional sense e.g. in controlling mentally ill patients - pain is a control thing, and the subject is more likely to feel it).

Also good point about feedback. A beautiful aikido tecnique is certainly one you could do nothing about 'cos you couldn't feel it.

However I wouldn't say painful techniques are redundant. Unlike many striking techniques the pain from e.g. nikkyo and sankyo, can be incremently introduced, until the point where the joints break or the opponent is forced down/up (which is why I think it is best to feel these techniques, for control, rather than just whacking them on).

Yonkyo is always a funny one - because it was derived from a sword taking technique I think that it is often more effective for pain when disarming someone because the ligaments are tighter. However the pressure point is also a ki draining point - and so may have additional effect over the aspect of pain (though I've not noticed any 'ki draining' effects myself).

Ian
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Old 06-13-2001, 08:06 AM   #5
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Thanks for everyone's feedback so far!

Quote:
Originally posted by ian
Yonkyo is always a funny one - because it was derived from a sword taking technique I think that it is often more effective for pain when disarming someone because the ligaments are tighter.
At least the way we practice yonkyo at our dojo, it's still mainly a balance breaking technique rather than a pain-invoking one, though.

Anyone else have thoughts about the role of pain in aikido?

-- Jun

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Old 06-13-2001, 09:03 AM   #6
JO
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I think pain can be useful but is not necessary and should not be relied upon, for most of the reasons already mentioned. The taking of balance is much more fundamental to aikido, I believe.
One important use of pain is probably to the uke. It gives you warning to avoid injury. An attacker out of the dojo may not care about pain and he may get a broken wrist for having ignored it. This may not even stop him from achieveng whatever it is he hopes to achieve (killing you, getting you wallet, whatever). However, as an uke I plan to protect of my body and pain is an essential tool in accomplishing this. Warning of potential damage to the body is the primary function of pain, and a very important one.

Jonathan Olson
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Old 06-13-2001, 09:48 AM   #7
Steve
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RE: pain

Nikyo is all about pain. Without pain it wouldn't work, as with many of our techniques. If these things didn't hurt, there would be no reason for uke not to wrench off his own arm as he fights against sankyo, for instance. When uke is much larger and stronger than nage, then just taking uke's balance probably isn't enough for compliance or a pin. (Strength does matter.) I can do an ikkyo pin without hurting uke because, at 220 pounds, I can put enough weight on his shoulder to keep him on the mat. One of our senior students -- a tiny woman with a very large black belt -- needs to add a little nikyo to keep my shoulder on the mat. -- Steve

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Old 06-13-2001, 10:29 AM   #8
andrew
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Re: RE: pain

Quote:
Originally posted by Steve
Nikyo is all about pain.
Actually, that's just wrong. (I'm aware that sounds rude, so sorry, ok?) I believed it myself for a long time, but then got shown how to concentrate on controlling the body and ignore causing pain, which worked better and hurt less. I can't explain this, but I'm hope you're as lucky as I was to get shown it someday.
Mind you, the level I'm at it's a lot easier to make things be about pain unnecessarily. However, stranger things have happened than somebody with a wrist broken in Nikkyo getting an adrenaline surge and coming back with the other hand (unlikely though it may be), while I think the notion of somebody being controlled properly breaking that control by breaking their own locked wrist is a lot less conceivable.
andrew
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Old 06-13-2001, 12:11 PM   #9
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Pain allows the beginner to believe in the 'effectiveness' of aikido. They are more likely to be impressed by nikkyo/sankyo etc than tenchi-nage or irimi. Pain is sometimes the gateway to learning painlessness.
Of course, everybody has a different idea about everything...

Last edited by mj : 06-13-2001 at 03:33 PM.

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Old 06-13-2001, 06:49 PM   #10
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I'm in the pain-is-incidental-not-essential camp...
being a small person, I would disagree that I would need the pain edge; in fact, I try my very best to avoid it since pain usually causes uke to try to get away from it. And if uke is big and does not know how to get away correctly, they may further injure themselves (or ME!) trying. I only have a couple of years experience, but so far at least i've found that my only real hope of success with a large uke (almost everyone to me) is to take their balance immediately...causing pain to a big balanced uke would probably get me pounded into the ground.
I have seen very small black (and white) belts hold down large ukes without pain. One of my favorite instructors would constantly remind me that nice firm contact in a pin was important...an uke who doesn't feel any slack doesn't try to wriggle free. Do some techniques sometime cause pain--yes. But i think it is neither necessarily wrong or right if they do. It is difficult to cause me pain in nikyo, and impossible to cause me pain in yonkyo, but done correctly the techniques still bring me to the ground.
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Old 06-14-2001, 12:05 AM   #11
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Re: RE: pain

Quote:
Originally posted by Steve
Nikyo is all about pain. Without pain it wouldn't work, as with many of our techniques.
I guess if you are speaking from experience, we all know where you are coming from. It is kind of unfortunate that abuse at this level is perpetuated. I have been there. You would do yourself (and your training partners) a lot of good by thinking through why your study revolves around the principle of "aiki" and not "might makes right". Sure, there's going to be some pain somewhere; why make it a necessary ingredient anywhere?

Not being judgemental; it is your practice. Make of it what you will.

Jim Vance
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Old 06-14-2001, 07:06 AM   #12
ian
 
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Nikkyo does tend to be the technique that most beginners think 'wow! aikido does work', cos it is technically simple to achieve and doesn't require much body movement/timing or co-ordination. I think the pain aspect is useful to develop an idea of how to control pain (i.e. through progressive application you can get to know how painful it is for uke). I've only used it once outside the dojo, and it didn't seem to give them much pain - but they did back off quite rapidly; possibly because there was the threat of pain, but also probably because it does manipulate the joint and allows control of uke.

Ian

P.S. there are two ground applications for ikkyo. The vertical application is obviously easy to induce pain in the shoulder, but the horizontal (arm pinned on the floor) can also be used to induce pain - using the blade of the hand you roll the tricep forwards over the arm and press weight on to it (it's actually a pressure point, but this description usually finds the spot).

However, these pins do not require pain to hold someone. I've held someone who is 6 stone (84 pounds) heavier than me and who was determined to show me how crap the pins were (but they were convinced after that). In fact, the only way I know to get out of a good horizontal pin is through relaxing the shoulder (and you have to have very supple shoulders) and re-aligning it through turning it, and I have only ever known one person who could do that. (of course - crap pins you can roll forwards out of).

Ian
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Old 06-14-2001, 11:36 AM   #13
Steve
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Re: Re: RE: pain

[quote]Originally posted by andrew
[b]

Actually, that's just wrong. (I'm aware that sounds rude, so sorry, ok?) I believed it myself for a long time, but then got shown how to concentrate on controlling the body and ignore causing pain, which worked better and hurt less. I can't explain this, but I'm hope you're as lucky as I was to get shown it someday.
SNIP


Nikkyo without pain? Teach me, Master! -- Steve

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Old 06-14-2001, 11:58 PM   #14
TheProdigy
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Well, I disagree that beginner's are convinced through pain, but rather through pure effectiveness. Personally, I'm still learning the names of the techniques, but my 1st day on the mat a black belt wanted to test her skill against an untrained uke(me). Well, needless to say, after a ski she had me fumbling around the mat trying to get back up and more importantly trying to keep my face off the mat..which when I did come back up.. I met her arm and went back down lol. Not an ounce of pain, but my attack was completely nullified and I couldn't do a thing.

So I'd say pain isn't necessary for good aikido, however good aikido can include pain.

Balance, Timing/Rhythm, and Distance seem to be the keys to me so far... though I'm still very much a beginner.

Quick Note: I'd say the times I felt the least in control, and in awe of aikido's effectiveness were the times no pain was used. Amazing to feel.

-Jase

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Old 06-15-2001, 12:12 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by TheProdigy
So I'd say pain isn't necessary for good aikido, however good aikido can include pain.

Balance, Timing/Rhythm, and Distance seem to be the keys to me so far... though I'm still very much a beginner.

Quick Note: I'd say the times I felt the least in control, and in awe of aikido's effectiveness were the times no pain was used. Amazing to feel.

-Jase
Jase,

Lots of "old timers" haven't come to the conclusions you have. In my opinion, you're right on the money. Keep those feelings and structure your practice around that picture.

Best of luck and don't quit!

Chuck Clark
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Old 06-15-2001, 12:54 AM   #16
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I feel that pain may have its usefullness in finalizing a technique/pin, but I think the word (discomfort) should replace the word pain. My instructor views the application of pain to (the last bullet in the chamber of a gun). A person has only "one" chance to fire that gun and if it is not properly timed, the adrenaline dump produced from the receiver of that pain might overwhelm tori/nage and create a dangerous and unavoidable problem.
In training, pain/discomfort should be timed and applied only to create a short disruption in the mind of uke. Hence,
proper and if possible,soft control is preferred. This unbalancing of the mind and body should allow the minimum use of force for maximum benefit for both partners. I think causing pain in your partner is due to one's unconcious, competitve nature to win.
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Old 06-15-2001, 06:26 AM   #17
ian
 
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When I first looked at the poll I was wondering if it meant pain for uke, or pain in general. I mean, I see a lot of value in intensive training where physical pain from exaustion or muscular tiredness can help build up the psychological aspects of the practitioner.

Ian
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Old 06-15-2001, 10:16 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by ian
I see a lot of value in intensive training where physical pain from exaustion or muscular tiredness can help build up the psychological aspects of the practitioner.

Ian
Psychological aspects, yes. Physical, no.

No pain, no gain -- that's old fashioned thinking and proven to be inneffective (but you knew that).

Like they say: train, don't strain.

On a serarate note (still pain related), the one thing that really bothers me about aikido is that uke totally gives himself/herself to nage. If nage wants to inflict pain, for whatever reason, uke has little choice but to receive it.

Also (future pain related), some warm-up exercises/stretching that I've seen are "outdated" and proven to be dangerous to joints, etc.

Jim23

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Old 06-15-2001, 10:46 AM   #19
Steve
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RE: pain

Originally posted by TheProdigy:
SNIP

So I'd say pain isn't necessary for good aikido, however good aikido can include pain.
SNIP
*********

But can you do nikyo without pain? Is it nikyo if it doesn't hurt? It's pain that drives me to the mat when someone applies nikyo to my wrist. As far as I can tell, the other folks in my dojo drop to their knees during nikyo because it just plain hurts. So is pain an inherent part of this technique? If not, I don't see how it could be effective, especially if uke is much stronger than nage.

What about kotegaeshi? What is it that makes us think "I better get my ass over my arm?" as we go into a crashing breakfall? Because we know the technique will hurt if we don't? Because it is starting to hurt? Because it hurts?

Pain. The great motivator. -- Steve

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Old 06-15-2001, 11:11 AM   #20
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That's one form of nikyo, Steve. It can be countered by people who understand the principles of pain and the fact that for an instant the uke still has control over their center and can counter.

There is another form which takes the uke's center so cleanly that there is no pain in the locked joint and uke is going down because they have no structural ability to stand or even stop falling. The joint lock only hurts if uke trys to tighten up to resist or tries to stand after the fall.

Of course, as the joint is locked (kime) the joint could be damaged if tori makes that decision within the levels of force that might be necessary.

Regards,

Chuck Clark
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Old 06-18-2001, 05:20 AM   #21
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I would also say the same for kote-gaeshi - I've been thrown with it many times because of unbalancing rather than pain application (though it is a useful back-up - and I prefer both at the same time).

Ian
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Old 06-18-2001, 08:39 AM   #22
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Hi Steve,
try looking at it this way:
When you are doing nikkyo without (primarily) trying to cause pain to move uke, it is in order to make a connection between your center and ukes center and moving/controlling uke by this connection. That sounds very theoretical. Ok, imagine a towel, which is a soft piece of cloth. You are holding one end, uke the other. If you twist the towel again and again, it will become a stiff wind-up thing, which you can use even for pushing lightly towards uke. Thats because of the tension within the towel.
Now much the same is the case with ukes arm. You getting it into tension, the joints cannot bend any further, so you can apply your weight (=center) onto him.

For kote-gaeshi try throwing without bending his wrist, by grabbing his arm just below the wrist. So you cant really do the lock. But you can still throw, using the dynamics. ( to find it out you need to make a big movement )

regards
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Old 06-18-2001, 09:11 AM   #23
andrew
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jim23

On a serarate note (still pain related), the one thing that really bothers me about aikido is that uke totally gives himself/herself to nage. If nage wants to inflict pain, for whatever reason, uke has little choice but to receive it.

But in that case Nage isn't a very nice person and it's time to educate him on the necessary attitude towards dynamic training. By words or forcible example.

There's some good words here:
http://gargas.biomedicale.univ-paris...ts/ukemi1.html

andrew
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Old 06-18-2001, 03:38 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by andrew


But in that case Nage isn't a very nice person and it's time to educate him on the necessary attitude towards dynamic training.
andrew
Although I've never experienced it myself (yet), I've seen nage, with a gleam in their eye, inflict a little too much pain on uke.

The person inflicting the pain is usually (IMO) trying to prove some silly point (I'm better than you, or see, I can hurt you even though you're stronger, more experienced, etc.).

What I find funny about this is that, quite often, (the bully) nage wouldn't be able to hurt uke under normal circumstances -- if he didn't give himself fully. But if he didn't ... well, that's just not cricket. I mean aikido.

Just an observation.

Jim23

PS: Thanks for the article.

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Old 06-19-2001, 12:59 PM   #25
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Although I've never experienced it myself (yet), I've seen nage, with a gleam in their eye, inflict a little too much pain on uke.

When I am practicing with a beginner or a overzealous partner, I make sure I am leading them to the technique and not vice-versa. You must earn the right to do it *to me*, until then you must do it *with me*.

What I find funny about this is that, quite often, (the bully) nage wouldn't be able to hurt uke under normal circumstances -- if he didn't give himself fully. But if he didn't ... well, that's just not cricket. I mean aikido.

You don't mean this literally, I presume.
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