Breaking Structure

Discussion in 'Aikido' started by K-man, May 30, 2015.

  1. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    Question... does nage throw uke or does uke throw himself?
    If uke "does" ukemi rather then receive ukemi then he is sacrificing his own structure for the sake of nage.
     
  2. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    Yes,my fault. I accepted the definition of aiki but disagreed with the second part of post.

    Your second point is absolutely spot on but I would argue that the same principle can be applied across many styles of MA, the exceptions being those arts that are predominantly kicking or punching. Any style with any grappling can incorporate aiki. In fact I only started learning Aikido to use it within my understanding of Goju.

    I'm not sure I agree with your final point. Is uke's job only to harmonise? In my training we might start out harmonising, because it is only through receiving that you can learn how to reverse the techniques and obviously that is an essential part of Aikido. I consider that to be more uke's training than nage's, in a practical sense, assuming nage's is past the initial stage of learning the technique. Once nage knows technically how to perform the technique it has to be tested. So call me an arsehole but I will not go with nage unless he is doing his technique in a way it will work in the real world. I'm not saying here he is necessarily able to perform the technique on me but that if I think it would work on an untrained person I will go with it, a different perspective to just receiving without question. One of my biggest beefs with Aikido, is people throwing themselves all over the shop, making sloppy techniques look as if they are working.

    To my understanding there is pretty much only one real 'throw' in Aikido, koshinage. The rest are takedowns that, in training, uke can roll out of but which, in real life, end up with the attacker in a heap on the ground. Much of what you see is uke throwing himself which is, as you say, 'doing' ukemi, my pet beef outlined above.
     
  3. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    I would add that the way I was taught is that you need to feel the attackers intent. If the intent changes so should the technique.
    Example... from a shoulder grab I want to do an "arm bar" ikkyo. But the attacker can tell what I am trying to do so he pulls his arm away. My reaction should be to immediately switch to sankyo to capitalize on his pulling action.

    My issue with aikido is what I have been stating in this thread. That uke's actions and reactions are a learned behavior thru a kind of Monkey see, monkey do. The normal convention for uke is not a normal response. I new many of the standard wrist controll from karate long before I did aikido so I know what a non conditioned behavior should look like and what it feels like to do it on a non compliant victim. :) lol
     
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  4. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    In all probability we are seeing the same week points but arrive at the conclusion from different view points.
     
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  5. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    Agree! This apply to all MA systems as well.

    In the eagle claw system, the wrist lock involves 3 different stages.

    1. When you apply a wrist lock, your opponent is down.
    2. When you apply a wrist lock, your opponent raise his elbow to release your "downward pressure", you change your "downward pressure" into "horizontal pressure" to deal with his raising elbow.
    3. When your opponent turns his body to release your "horizontal pressure", you then change your "horizontal pressure" into "pulling pressure".

    In other words, all technique should be trained at least 3 steps ahead of your opponent. This way, you will have better chance to deal with a high skill opponent and not just beginners.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015
  6. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    Sounds like the way Aikido applies nikkyo tenkan from a shoulder grab.
     
  7. Argus

    Argus Black Belt

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    Coming from a Wing Chun background -- an art that deals quite heavily in flow, redirecting force, and using a softer approach, I find Aikido a bit peculiar. Not because Aikido itself is "bad" or "lacking" in any way; its concepts, principles, and material is quite good. But for an art so dependent on using another person's energy and working with their intent, I feel that the way it's trained doesn't generally equip the practitioner with a sense for this.

    I completely understand the purpose of the structured practice that we do (ok, well, perhaps I shouldn't claim "completely" -- let's say I value it highly, at any rate), but I do find it to be a bit of a disservice that tori never learns how to read and adapt to uke in order to learn when and how to apply a technique; an attack is predetermined, and so is the response, without any feeling; listening, perceiving, reading, or even "leading" in a genuine sense involved. Instead, aikidoka tend to think more in terms of "technique" - if uke does this, you do that; uke will do this when you do that; uke better do this, or uke is in trouble for some presupposed reason, etc. I can't help but feel that this is a poor reflection of the art, to some degree. It's fine, of course, to practice this or that technique against a particular kind of input, and to approach training in a non-competitive context. But adopting the kind of explanations I mentioned goes beyond that, I think.

    From a Wing Chun perspective, I don't come at any free exchange with an idea in my head about what technique I will use, or what the other person will do. Rather, I find it useful to start with a blank slate, and perceive or feel the other person's intention, and respond intuitively as a result of training. But, at the same time, being aware of where I'm creating openings, and what lines I'm most likely to have to deal with next. But the point is that you quickly learn that you can't just "do a technique" because you want to do that technique. Your opponent has to give you the opening, or the energy and pressure (or lack thereof) for it to be a viable response. And you have to learn to adapt to your opponent at any time. You have to be able to immediately feel where your opponent's pressure is, and realize when it changes and adapt intuitively in order to utilize your training.

    I do hope that some day I build an intuitive understanding of Aikido, and am able to apply it as I do some of the other arts that I train, but I think that's a long way off for me. But, at the very least, I try to be a cooperative, but challenging uke: if I understand nothing else, I at least understand energy. So, in the private setting of the school where I train, when I'm acting as uke with my partner, and I'm fairly confident that I'm not feeding him awkward energy, and yet I feel obviously wrong energy in return that gives me an apparent counter, I'll occasionally take that counter and explain why instead of faking a fall, if I feel it productive for my partner. The people at my dojo seem to appreciate it, but it's something that I don't really see other Aikidoka do. Yet, again, it's something that all of my teachers and many of my classmates would do in Wing Chun; if I gave my partner the wrong energy in a drill for the response that we were practicing, he'd simply counter with something appropriate and explain why. Maybe I was coming in on a different line, or giving him energy inwards or outwards that he could use against me, and he would. That always constitutes a great learning experience for me, and I feel is essential to learning to get a feeling for how to apply an art.

    But in any case, I feel that Aikido is a great art if you can develop a sense for, and understanding of it. I really enjoy the abstract side of arts, and I find them more applicable than most people would assume by looking at, and judging exercises such as those demonstrated in the OP. Not everything needs to be a verbatim, applicable technique in order to cultivate the ability to respond with such.
     
  8. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    Agree!

    If you are rich, you don't need to borrow.

    From a wrestler point of view, I prefer the attitude, " I don't care what you may do, I will take you down no matter you like it or not. I don't need to borrow your force because my own force is enough to take care of you".

     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2015
  9. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    ARGUS, I agree with you, but my experience with aikido is Different. Every thing you find lacking in your training I did in my class. So I would think either it is your particular branch of aikido or perhaps the emphasis of your instructor or maybe you are still realitivly new and just haven't got there yet. I don't know. But if it makes you regain your faith in the art there is aikido out there as you described.
     
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  10. Argus

    Argus Black Belt

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    In my head!
    That's great!

    Well, I certainly have faith in the art! And I'm sure my limited experience plays a role as well. So, I'll definitely keep training and see where it takes me.
     
  11. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    I have to agree with hoshin. We test everything. In the various waza situations we will just go with the flow but we test each other with every technique in general training.

    If it makes it any better for you. I visited the Aikikai hombu in NY a few years back and witnessed the worst example of what you are talking about. Stuff that would literally get you killed in a real fight.
     
  12. Spinedoc

    Spinedoc Brown Belt

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    Argus, that is because that is how it is taught in the beginning. Static. Technique focus, etc. As you progress, the movements become more dynamic, more flowing, with little thought to technique, but rather, using whatever uke gives you. When we do randori exercizes, you really see this. The nidan test I saw this past weekend showed this. 4 people attacking, and nage has no idea what attack will come. He had to show control of his space, ability to harmonize with whatever attack comes and a variety of techniques.

    It just takes time. (I suck at randori and jiyu waza, but getting better slowly)

    At my dojo, we provide little if any resistance for a long time. As you progress in time and rank, the resistance increases to the point where you have to nail the technique against a fair amount of resistance.

    For example, we were working on an ai hanmi katatedori ikkyo the other day. My uke kept varying the speed of his grab, and if I didn't start and meet him early, he would shove my arm down and say "too late"...must have heard "too late" a dozen times, but once I relaxed and began my movement earlier, at the first sign of his intent to grab, I had no troubles.

    Our sensei also talks all the time about how important ukemi is for learning the technique. You need to feel what nage is doing, how is the positioning occuring, where is your center, where is their center? This takes a long time.

    The greatest thing about aikido is that it is SO, SO subtle and nuanced, and all about feeling and perception and harmony. That's why I take it. Although, I think it will likely take a lifetime to learn, and I don't know that anyone ever really "masters" it.
     
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  13. Chris Li

    Chris Li Yellow Belt

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    Generally speaking, I would say that the first part above refers to things that occur when Aiki is applied, rather than Aiki itself, which Morihei Ueshiba referred to as the manipulation of In and Yo (Yin and Yang) forces within oneself (speaking very simply...).

    Since this is a process that occurs within myself I don't really concern myself with taking their center - it's more or less irrelevant to what I am trying to do.

    Best,

    Chris
     
  14. Argus

    Argus Black Belt

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    Well, I am Aikikai. But, my school actually isn't that bad; my instructor, and the people I train with are fairly pragmatic. Still, I do have trouble with some premises; for example, uke remaining in contact and holding on to grabs. This may be a result of my prior training, and not something that is natural, but when I'm grabbing to strike, my natural instinct is to let go immediately if the limb I'm controlling starts to deviate from the centerline, or take my balance. I'm definitely not committed to any grab or controlling hand that I use; it's just there as a very momentary device to clear the way for an attack. When I first started training Aikido, I would let go as uke unconsciously, just out of habit, and really had to consciously "correct" that impulse to let go.

    Now, will the average guy in the street do that? I don't really know. People who haven't trained martial arts do tend to be quite tense and committed to their actions, so I think it's definitely plausible that some, or many of them will hold on in some, if not most situations. But I think it's a good idea to train to encourage or ensure uke retains his connection, and also to train to sense and respond to "fill the gap" if uke does let go rather than relying solely on the premise that he will always maintain contact of his own will. Otherwise, if you have it set in your mind that uke will act a certain way, and one day he doesn't, and you've never experienced that before...

    On a different note, I got to experience a lot of different Aikido recently. I went to a seminar with instructors from all kinds of different schools and organizations, and it was really good. One of them happened to be a very pragmatic fellow who had trained boxing, karate, and a number of other arts, and touched on some pretty good aspects of training realistically.


    I've actually done a very little bit of randori and jiyuu waza, and I find it easier, personally! Or, at least it would be, if my technique were a little more squared away. But, it's easier for me to respond intuitively with something that suits the situation, rather than going through the motions of a very static drill where I'm trying to make a particular technique work when something might be slightly off - like the distance, timing, or angle of attack that my partner is feeding. In jiyuu waza, I can respond appropriately -- or, uh, at least attempt to given my level of training. In regular practice, I just have to "make it work." And, like I said, that's something I've come across in every martial art I've practiced, regardless of the school or quality of instruction. It's the artificial aspect of training in a very controlled manner that presents the most challenge to me.

    What's that saying? "Perfect practice makes perfect."

    That's a good way to train!
    Some of the senior students will do that with me on occasion, if my timing or something is obviously off, and will offer varying levels of resistance on occasion, which I find helpful to ensure that my structure is sound and that my body is moving as a whole so that I'm not just muscling through the technique.

    Perhaps the most valuable thing I'm learning in aikido is just that -- moving the body as a whole. Most of the time that a technique doesn't work for me against resistance is because I'm leaving one part of my body behind, or moving another part too early. I'm kind of bad about that, but slowly learning :D

    Yep. I guess that's kind of my attraction to Wing Chun as well. At the end of the day, I really enjoy exploring (and gradually ingraining) all of those subtle nuances, and examining the art in depth. My Aikido still has a ways to go before I can focus much on that, though :D
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2015
  15. oftheherd1

    oftheherd1 Senior Master

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    I am quite dismayed to hear a highly ranked Hapkido person, giving a seminar, could not make a technique work. But if he was doing it like the demonstration of Chin Na 2, I can see why. I don't consider that the best technique, and I have never been taught that exactly, but it is doable. In the Hapkido I was taught, the first thing we would do was to expand our wrist by opening our hand, then we would have a better chance of breaking or at lest loosening the opponent's grip. Then, instead of simply trying to pull my wrist loose, I would attack the thumb at the base, maybe using the straight pull shown, or levering my wrist out. Perhaps breaking the thumb, and at least further loosening his grip. He could have shown that in the slow motion up close, without worrying about breaking his opponent's thumb. The tricky part is getting the grabbed hand over and up behind the opponent's hand. But with lots of practice, it is consistently doable. I didn't think he was serious about how he grabbed the wrist with his left hand, but it should probably work. The use of two hands and thumbs to force a wrist back and break it is a fairly common practice. Of course, breaking an opponent's thumb and wrist should not be done to a practice opponent. The pitifully loud screams greatly disrupts the practice of other students in the class, and makes finding other practice opponents rather difficult. :(

    BTW, what was the stated rank of the Hapkido BB you were talking about?

    I don't see how an opponent can resist that if the moves is done quickly and forcefully, and instead of curling the fingers from the start, use the sudo hand against the ulna to break the grip, and place the left wrist against the opponents forearm at the nerve bundle.
    ...

    I use aiki all the time grappling with my Krav students, I use aiki all the time in the 'Ju' part of my Goju. Every time I want to break a structure in any of my training I am using aiki.[/QUOTE]

    I have a lot of respect for Aikido. But I am still not sure I understand what aiki is. Not that it makes any difference. The Hapkido I learned was very effective, and that can probably be said of any martial art taught and learned as it was meant to be.
     
  16. oftheherd1

    oftheherd1 Senior Master

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    Thanks, now that we have that out of the way. I have to agree with Jenna, that did need some clarification.
     
  17. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    Not quite what I meant to say. None of his techniques worked without his using physical strength and when he did that I could stop him every time. Against an untrained person, I'm sure he would be more than capable.

    I don't have an issue with the technique. Like everything, it all depends on the practitioner. If it's done properly it works. If not, it doesn't. Simple.

    4th dan.

    I'm not saying the techniques won't work. What I am saying is techniques may well fail if they are not being applied correctly. If they are being applied correctly you should be able to make them work slowly without force when practising them.

    Aiki, to me, are the principles of Aikido especially as listed by Koichi Tohei.
     
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  18. oftheherd1

    oftheherd1 Senior Master

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    I don't know the person you were talking about, but the 4th Dan's I met in Korean were not to be toyed with. They would not have needed simple brute strength/force. They would simply have applied the technique correctly and it would have worked. None of the instructors I had then, including my GM, would have allowed me to do it otherwise either. They would have kept working with ,me until I could do a technique correctly.
     
  19. JP3

    JP3 Master Black Belt

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    Guys, maybe I can share some nomenclature that we use at my place to illustrate the dichotomy of the training tools involved. There is "free" practice style things, where your training partner in the role of attacker/uke is free to do whatever in response after the initial, proscribed attack method, and then there are "drills," which are used to help somebody groove a muscle membory item.

    In drills, the entire thing, set-up to reaction is proscribed, beginning to end, sot aht both sides can literally "feel" what it is like, what happens, when, why and how. Good use for those, keeps people safe, happy and uninjured. laughing, too.

    That being said, to be serious and more realistic, after both sides know what they are feeling for, it is time to try to re-create that feeling inside a "live" environment, which is very hard to do since if you know what's coming, it is VERY easy to unconsciously block it. Hard stuff. But, if ego gets out of the way, and people just... feel, it can happen.

    I'm with Wang though on the response. I'd not grab that way. But that being said, I don't know what is being taught int he clip, either. That's the thing.

    What about this idea... as the attacker, grabber if you will... Attacker grabs closest hand, quickly passes behind to go right for a choke. Hadaka-jime. It's snake-quick if you can move right, surprises people all the time. Changes the interaction atht e "grab" hand, right?
     
  20. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    As in an arm drag?

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     

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