Martial Art Of Aikido - Training

Discussion in 'Aikido' started by koyo, Aug 3, 2006.

  1. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Regarding ATEMI IS UN-AIKI a comment made to me. See photo. O Sensei looks to be in his seventies or early eighties and that is metsubishi he is using in the follow up technique he grasps the opponent's head and twists the neck to throw him. Many have stated that as he got older O Sensei changed aikido to a more gentle and "loving" art. Of course O Sensei changed HIS aikido but the aikido taught to uchideshi such as Saito shihan Chiba shihan Tamura shihan et al was very effective and the training was severe. This is not supposition I was told this by these shihan themselves and by Many others. NONE of the shihan I have met demonstrate aikido in the manner we see in films of O Sensei in his later years. To do so one would have had to spend the same amount of time training in the same manner as O Sensei himself.


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  2. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Many aikido shihan spoke of the severity of their training with O Sensei when I showed this photo to them they would smile and say I REMEMBER THAT LOOK.
    Comments please


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  3. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    IMHO, partner training should start with the premise that both uke and tori are in a real situation, enemies in real fight. Then adjust intensity, speed, power, contact, and resistance as appropriate for the exercise.

    Ukemi does not apply only to uke and not only to randori or techniques, even when holding a pad for your training partner to hit, there is ukemi in holding the pad in such a way to move around like it is real combat to an appropriate degree.

    So to me, part of sincere training is to bring up one's ukemi skills to challenge in a learning environment, and to protect yourself at all times allowing for severity in training.
  4. kiaiki

    kiaiki Valued Member

    THAT was the 'metsubushi' I recognise, literally a smash in the eyes.
    THE LOOK reminds me of our earlier conversation - by the time you've seen it, it's too late and you're 'decked'!
    Believe it or not, the Geshe under whom I study Buddhism also has that look - it is 'wrathful' but not angry!
  5. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    What I remeber most from early training with the first shihan to arrive in Britain in the sixties invited by Kenshiro Abe was the discipline. Absolutely no talking on the mat.Most of the first aikidoka came from judo and were not about to give up their balance easily therefore every technique had to work with no harmony from the partner. Anything that was not effective was immediately countered. This caused us to concentrate on the principles such as aligning the body and attacking kuzushi.Since there were not a great number of students at that time there was the opputunity for one on one training with the shihan. Below is a photograph of Noro shihan about to execute shiho nage. And yes that is sweat seaping through my hakama. Although the training was demanding it was never cruel except on the ego when we realised just how little we knew.

    Regards koyo

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  6. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Here is an example of some technique practice. One common factor between Aikido and Kajukenbo is that we have some level of contact (if the opponent does not get out of the way or block, they will be hit!).

    For safety reasons, flow, and to get different reactions from the opponent, we will mix it up between softer and harder strikes. I believe atemi in Aikido also follows these same lines of reasoning and training.

    Here is just us practicing Punch & Counter 1b. Uke is attacking with left jab(s), right cross, and left hook combination.

    [ame=""]Punch & Counter 1b practice RW30 - YouTube[/ame]

    Here is the technique full speed:

  7. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Your "pressing" block to the right jab is immediately familiar and would lead to ikkyo in aikido. The cut to the inside of the elbow on his left arm would also lead to an aikido technique . Since aikido is not primarily a striking art we depend on mobility to execute technique therefor the first "pressing" block would see us entering to that side to avoid the second blow. Also our intent would be to gain entrance to his rear or "tie" up his elbows to control his attacks. I realise that all of these options are availlable to you also I only state them to show the different emphasis in the arts.I do not think that enough training is given to multiple attacks (from the same attacker) as there should be. As always I shall look at this again at the next pracrice.

    Regards Koyo


    In the photo in my last post 161 it can be seen that I am "behind" the technique meaning I am not anticipating the throw or "throwing" myself. Many see ukemi as an escape from the technique, Rather it is a way of experiencing the technique I personally have learned more from being uke to aikido shihan than simply "studying" their technique.A true understanding of ukemi allows us , later in training, to execute counter techniques so ukemi becomes not an escape but the beginning of a counter.This form of training is not possible if emphasis is placed upon "harmonising" with the technique which is counter productive.

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  8. kiaiki

    kiaiki Valued Member

    All of our jiyuwaza from 3rd Kyu grading onwards involve multiple attacks from the same attacker, leading on to 3 man attacks, introducing weapons jiyuwaza and suwari jiyuwaza as progress is made through the grades.

    I'm no longer amazed, just saddened, when I all I see is what I would call 'corner techniques' (where attackers queue in turn) being called 'randori' or 'freestyle' .
    The same clubs also perform 3 man attacks where each attacker takes it in turn!
    Ah well, rant over!

    Koyo - I agree totally about ukemi as a way of experiencing a technique. it also tells you heaps about the Tori's skill and power - one technique from Okabayashi Sensei completely convinced me of his!

    Incidentally, tying up someon'e elbows and gaining entrance to their rear - is that restricted to Scottish sheep farmers and MP's -or can anyone join in? :)
  9. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    My point about ukemi is that there are many aikidoka who have never felt a truly powerful technique and therefor do not realise just how powerful aikido can be.
    Or just how much concentration and awareness is needed during training. Every time I would ask about a specific point in a technique I would be thrown with that technique
    and expected to "learn" for myself. Rarely if ever did I receive "this foot goes there" type of instruction.Don't get hit was the first instruction and align your body was the next. The rest you had to discover for yourself with the occasional "more spirit!!"

    Good to hear from you again (despite the rants then it would not be you without them)
    As you say multiple attacks NOT ONE AT A TIME

    Regards your Scots buddy koyo

    Edit incidently kiaki the photo of Noro shihan was taken in "the hut" it was Kenshiro Abe's dojo and it was from here that the Grange Farm seminars were organised.

    to viewers of this thread your comments and participation are most welcome.

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  10. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.


    A major difference in aikido training (in some clubs) today from when it first appeared in britain is the position of the sensei. SENSEI does not mean teacher it means ONE WHO HAS GONE BEFORE. Therefor the sensei is an EXAMPLE. As aiki wolfie states in the next post many students approach aikido out of curiousity expecting this or that and this is because today aikido is marketed in a manner to appeal to the general public.I have no problem with that however what you learn in aikido is 99% your own effort and investigation only 10% comes directly from the sensei.
    Lessons were simple "Do not get hit" you were shown the proper angle of entry and then expected to make it effective yourself. In fact to discover the precise angle, where and when to move.
    Next lesson "align your body" this meant addressing the kuzushi and finding
    out about balance, yours and the attacker's and how they related to the technique.
    With "little instruction" we were MADE TO LEARN OURSELF. While I admire aiki wolfie's patience in teaching those who tend to expect step by step continuous instruction I firmly believe that it is up to each aikidoka to seak out the truths of aikido for themselves.
    Chiba shihan once asked me if I wanted to learn TRUE AIKIDO, of course I replied in the affirmative. "THEN I SHALL TAKE YOU TO A PLACE FROM WHICH THERE IS NO ESCAPE" was his reply.It was there under pressure that I learned more about aikido and myself than I had in earlier years of training. I do not recommend this to all students of aikido but I feel that all sensei (examples not teachers) should seak out this experience.


    Good to hear from you aiki wolfie and note as I said you bring balance to these posts.


    While the wrist grasps are really basic exercises not paractical techniques as such there are versions where uke pulls twists pushes etc however I still see them as Tai no henko (body mivement exercises) which shall be the subject of my next post.

    CHIBA SHIHAN (I make my students learn)

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  11. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    I have personaly found my self questioning why some students were being put forward for Dan grading when I have had to physicaly go down on my hands and knees pick their feet up and move them to where they should be.

    If I honestly need to go to that extreme to make sure a student gets the point and understands what I have shown them then I will. Because I have accepted the responsibility of makeing sure they know everything they're supposed to. In training I feel we should adopt the methods we have to, to get the job done properly. It's obviousley better if we don't have to go to those extremes.

    I've also come to notice that in Aikido we tend to be getting a lot of students who would probably normaly never even attempt to take up martial arts training. My suspicion is they've read a few books and think it's going to be something like Yoga. The trouble is Aikidoka have sold them this image. So I think it's unfair simpley to turn them away. "Sorry mate it's not like that, the Yoga class is next door". That to me is a cop-out on the teachers part.

    I hold this opinion because I know from experience it is possible to take such students and train them up to be fairly decent Aikidoka. The training method does require more paticence and explanation and breaking techniques down into the minutest detail. But as I see it. That can only help me develop my understanding of Aikido.

    I've personaly always considered the foundation stone of Aikido to be the principal of non-decention. As such I think we should always do our very best to help each other train. If that means going down on your hands and knees. Then so be it.
  12. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    One of the areas that caught me by surprise in a not so good way during my Aikido training was on what I would describe as the dependency on "learning how to attack."

    For instance, as uke there was a way to grab a wrist and apply forward pressure. This allowed for tori to apply a technique.

    Now I have no problem with this as an aid to learning technique. What caught me by surprise was the seemingly lack of training in learning effective empty handed attacks. For instance in Judo one learned how to grab the clothes in a manner as to take out all the slack so that there would be little or no room for the opponent to escape the grab.

    Now to give an example of karate training. If someone grabbed the wrist, they might grab in any number of ways, they might pull or push or move in random directions, they might instead grab the sleeve. In karate one would learn to escape or counter all these different types of grabs. If one could not escape, then Sensei would teach the technique to use in that situation, so that one could escape, even if it meant to atemi (strike) to escape.

    What I found was that if uke did not attack in the way that uke were trained to attack in Aikido, I could not perform an "Aikido" technique.

    Now something was very strange as a result of this "discovery" of mine, I would attack in different manners to senior Aikidoka, and unlike me, they were still able to apply Aikido techniques.

    The way I think of why this is, is because I was thinking of Aikido training as reactive (Uke attacks and I react to their attack). However, the senior Aikidoka were not reactive but were responsive.

    Responsive to me suggests dealing with uke on a tactical level. As koyo and others have said, "Don't get hit"... "Don't get hit" is a first priority at a tactical level. Enter triangularly, control circularly, finish squarely (or something like that) deals at a tactical level.

    So I learned that martial arts training, including Aikido, is a combination of perfecting technical skills that are integrated with cognitive tactics. A reaction is almost purely technical skill, however, a response is technical skill driven by cognitive tactics.
  13. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Cross training with karateka kendoka and judoka friends I had quickly learned the importance of evasive entry THEN attacking the kuzushi. It was only when I saw Saito shihan perform that I truly understood this concept not only did he enter traingularly but with astute timing he AT THE SAME TIME attacked the kuzushi.
    This may seam obvious to other aikidoka but I had been "lining" up my body to attack the kuzushi leaving a suki (if only for an instant) and since no one picked up on it I was unaware of it's existance. This introduced me to a principle obvious in Saito shihan's (and all of the other shihan for that matter) execution of techniques. That of UKE NAGARI this meaning that from the instant of contact uke is in constant motion until thrown or pinned. So I shall often watch uke to assess the effectiveness of tori's technique. There is much to learn here. A well executed technique creates a smooth ukemi in uke while others may see him stagger to regain his balance. I also find that the more powerful the attack the more effective this principle is.

    Regards koyo

    SAITO SHIHAN (the secret of aikido is in the triangles)

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  14. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    How does one train to deal with "empty time" in techniques. For instance, if I conduct a hip throw on uke, there is a small instant in time where uke rolls off my hip and is "weightless" in the air?

    Most uke would naturally be concerned about falling rather than countering the technique by that point. However, there are instances when this "empty time" (a sort of feeling of emptiness) if uke is given sufficient room to maneuver they can counter any technique.

    I remember Koyo talking about three cuts for every technique and I think that is related to this is some way as if I miss one of the three cuts, then my technique can be easily countered.

    My question comes from a recent experience of mine in training. We were going over an exercise where we grab each other and basically take turns applying whatever technique comes. I put my partner in kotegaeshi, he resisted as if he did not want to go down, but then he rolled with it quickly and ended up back on his feet. I realized I left a big hole in my technique to allow him to do what he did. There was a point where I was turning his wrist in a controlled manner and he felt virtually weightless and that was the point that he rolled in a tight small circle.

    I'm thinking that this this "empty time" should only last for a moment if things are done right, but then I think of Sankyo and how uke litterally circles around my body during the technique. :confused:
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  15. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Hi Rebel

    A major principle is that the attacker MUST BE OFF BALANCE before any immobilisation or throw. Below the attacker has been forced up on to his toes and controlled by Kancho Shioda's sankyo. Should Kancho Shioda empower the technique by turning his hip the attacker shall be driven backwards STILL OFF BALANCE sankyo is then cut to a kuzushi allowing a pin or a throw.No "empty time"
    I bet kiaki loves this picture!!

    Regards koyo

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  16. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    HI again Rebel

    As with the previous technique kote must be applied while the attacker has been unbalanced over the edge of his front foot. The atemi ensures that he cannot resist or follow the tecnique around. Hope these posts help answer what was an excellent point.I look forward to your findings.


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  17. Kwajman

    Kwajman Penguin in paradise....

    I'm trying not to offend anyone here, but when a japanese person glares at me they can be fairly intimidating looking. But that photo of O Sensei is positively scary. I'd hate to be whoever it was he was PO'd at.....
  18. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Very helpful.

    I think I had him unbalanced over the front of his lead foot, not the edge. I reached a point in the technique where I had exhausted my range of motion and I sort of stopped as if I had completed the technique but I had no follow-thru left in me. The technique should have downed him at around the 10-20% range of motion, but instead he did not go down until near 90% range of motion. My bad.
  19. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    control of the centreline
    During training we must strive to execute techniques without presenting an opening for a strike or a counter. To do this we must control the centreline I.e. attack his while defending our own. If we enter to the side to execute kote gaeshe we must atemi with the free hand to attack his centre while similtaneously defending our own (if he is defending the atemi he is not attacking) Also the wrist must be turned in such a way that it effects the elbow which effects the shoulder which displaces the hip. THis is a subtle angle and of course attacks the kuzushi.

    Here Derek is much taller stronger and more aggresive yet control of the centreline keeps him in check.


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  20. Mr Punch

    Mr Punch Homicidal puppet

    Hello Koyo, been on here too long to contribute anything any more useful for now but just quickly: do you know the kanji for your 'ken sen'?


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