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Thread: Aikido and self defense

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    Default Aikido and self defense

    To start I am not questioning aikido's ability to be a useful form of self defense. I have been in the armed forces and had three over seas tours. I also worked in night club security and security in an inner city hospital in their Crisis center.
    My point about that is that I have had the opportunity to use aikido to defend myself and others and have had it work just fine for me.
    Now I believe that in everything it's not the art but the individual so maybe I would have been fine no matter what I had studied.
    The thing that I find interesting is that Takeda Sokaku who had humbled some very high skilled individuals at seminars chose to carry a staff, iron fan, knife and at times a sword ( a usual sword and later a sword cane). The only events I have read about him defending himself involve him using his sword on people.
    Ueshiba Morihei who also exhibits great hand to hand skills also from what I have read chose to carry an iron fan. The only evidence outside of the dojo of his using budo outside of the dojo has him using a sword on people. Enough that his advice to students was that when facing many people the fat of the human body will dull a blade. From there you must thrust.
    Since these two icons carried weapons and outside of a dojo environment used weapons to defend themselves on others maybe people are unrealistic in their expectations of what aikido can do for them in a real situation.
    Don't know just throwing it out there to see what kind of conversation it will spark if any.

    Cheers Reg Sakamoto
    Reg Sakamoto
    a student of applied kinesiology through combatives.

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    I don't understand your dilemma. The mere fact of carrying a weapon does not make the art less effective of the person insecure in their abilities.
    I've been a karateka for 30 years, a traditional art that many time it's effectiveness comes into question. That being said I'm armed at all times. A martial artist is not invulnerable. A weapon with the right training and mindset can be a force multiplier. Also, at times in it of itself can diffuse a potentially dangerous situation.
    Tony Urena

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    Quote Originally Posted by ahundara View Post
    Enough that his advice to students was that when facing many people the fat of the human body will dull a blade. From there you must thrust.
    Off topic, when I read that account I thought that, rather than the fat, it must be de collagen of the tissues what dulls the blade.

    On topic, I don┤t think those men expected the possible assailants to be unarmed themselves...
    No weapons? Not martial.

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    From what I have read, I gather that Sokaku was fairly paranoid. Combine this with his samurai lineage (and the notion that a samurai should be prepared for battle at all times) I'm not surprised.
    Ueshiba was of merchant lineage, but from a few texts I get the idea that he wanted so be of samurai heritage. Anyway, there are photos showing him performing Daito Ryu / aikibudo / aikido techniques with a fan, so the notion of him being armed with an iron fan says nothing about the effectiveness of his art. I see it more as making the odds a little more even. As Tony says, the expectation would be that assailants would probably not be unarmed.
    Andrew Smallacombe

    Aikido Kenshinkai

    JKA Tokorozawa

    Now trotting over a bridge near you!

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    Uummm.... Since I don't have a dilemma nor was I posting a question, nor did I have an issue with them being armed or why they were armed. I was making a statement about aikidoka's expectations of an unarmed art in real world conflict.
    Hence why I posted this under Aikido as opposed to self defense or something of the sort. I'm not looking for vilification of aikido's uses I just want aikidoka to think.
    Thank you.

    Sincerely Reg Sakamoto

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew S View Post
    From what I have read, I gather that Sokaku was fairly paranoid. Combine this with his samurai lineage (and the notion that a samurai should be prepared for battle at all times) I'm not surprised.
    Ueshiba was of merchant lineage, but from a few texts I get the idea that he wanted so be of samurai heritage. Anyway, there are photos showing him performing Daito Ryu / aikibudo / aikido techniques with a fan, so the notion of him being armed with an iron fan says nothing about the effectiveness of his art. I see it more as making the odds a little more even. As Tony says, the expectation would be that assailants would probably not be unarmed.
    Andrew,

    Morihei Ueshiba's immediate family were moderately wealthy farmers and his father was a member of the local council. Another relative had a business in Tokyo and is thought to have helped to finance M Ueshiba's move to Hokkaido: it is less clear whether he financed his short-lived venture in Tokyo. Ueshiba's wife was of samurai stock and there is some discussion about his work for the imperial family. This has not, so far, been corroborated.
    Peter Goldsbury,
    Forum Administrator,
    Hiroshima, Japan

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    Here is a story Takeda Tokimune told about his father that did not involve weapons. The easiest reference I could find ended up being from my own web page:

    1910 (age 51/52) Moved to Hokkaido. Taught Oshikiuchi and other methods, and was involved in a well known incident in which Sokaku apparently warded off an attack from a thief, throwing him down head first so hard that the felon was found dead with his head deeply embedded in the soft mud.
    If I remember correctly, Tokimune also stated the thief had his neck broken. Sokaku was short, and was known for his shouldering techniques (ie: fireman's carry). My guess, based on the results, is that this was the type of technique he used in this case.

    Also, Sokaku had killed a number of people over the years, and it was not uncommon for family members to avenge the murder of their loved ones. There is a theory that this may have had something to do with his tendency to stay on the move for most of his life, settle down in the Northern most part of Japan, and maintain arms at all times (including while teaching).

    Regards,
    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

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    Quote Originally Posted by ahundara View Post
    Uummm.... Since I don't have a dilemma nor was I posting a question, nor did I have an issue with them being armed or why they were armed. I was making a statement about aikidoka's expectations of an unarmed art in real world conflict.
    Hence why I posted this under Aikido as opposed to self defense or something of the sort. I'm not looking for vilification of aikido's uses I just want aikidoka to think.
    Thank you.

    Sincerely Reg Sakamoto
    Hence why I stated I wasn't sure what you meant. Apparently I misunderstood your post. So, to that end, carry on.
    Tony Urena

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Scott View Post
    Also, Sokaku had killed a number of people over the years, and it was not uncommon for family members to avenge the murder of their loved ones.
    Not uncommon? Even setting aside the layers of bureaucracy the Shogunate imposed on vendettas in the Edo period, vendettas were out and out outlawed when Sokaku was 14. Given his paranoia, I have no trouble believing that Sokaku feared vendettas, and was thus always on the move. I have trouble with the idea that vendettas were actually "not uncommon" during Sokaku's lifetime.
    Josh Reyer

    Swa sceal man don, ■onne he Št gu­e gengan ■ence­ longsumne lof, na ymb his lif ceara­. - The Beowulf Poet

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    Mr Scott, that's interesting about the throw. The only place I think I remember reading that before was in Obata's Samurai Aikijujutsu. (I think but I'm not sure)
    Also I had read about Takeda armed when asleep, like stabbing Tokimune in the shoulder when the latter went to adjust his blanket. I didn't know he was armed even when teaching. Makes sense though.

    Cheers Reg Sakamoto

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    Hello Reg,
    As you are someone with both military and security experience you are entirely comfortable with being prepared for terrain and environment, physically and psychologically. It is also a fact that when your work gives you the authority to use force escalation then weapons make far more sense than empty hand. The legal restrictions here in Europe mean justifying carrying any kind of (obvious) weapon so I carry a kubota key ring and sometimes the travel wrench designed by Datu Kelly Worden. However there is not much point carrying anything if you are not trained and mentally prepared to go to the level of defence just beyond the level of offence. It also won't help much if your physical strategies with non-lethal weapons is fundamentally different to empty hand. In spite of the so called buki waza of modern aikido most aikido students are not familiar with lines of attack from a skilled assailant or the unpredictable onslaught of sudden attack.
    Seeing as many aikido students are not professional warriors, and many have embraced the misunderstandings about "peace an harmony" the whole discussion is probably pointless.
    I personally believe in making my aikido more rounded and complete so I cross train in other arts, including weapon arts, but not for the "street" as a first principle but out of respect for what aikido originally was.
    I hope I make sense,
    Alec
    Consider fully , act decisively
    Alec Corper

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    Quote Originally Posted by P Goldsbury View Post
    Morihei Ueshiba's immediate family were moderately wealthy farmers and his father was a member of the local council. Another relative had a business in Tokyo and is thought to have helped to finance M Ueshiba's move to Hokkaido: it is less clear whether he financed his short-lived venture in Tokyo. Ueshiba's wife was of samurai stock and there is some discussion about his work for the imperial family. This has not, so far, been corroborated.
    Professor,
    Many thanks for the corrections. One of the things I love about E-Budo.
    Andrew Smallacombe

    Aikido Kenshinkai

    JKA Tokorozawa

    Now trotting over a bridge near you!

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    Hi Reg,

    Takeda Sokaku was known to secretly carry an unmounted tanto blade, with the blade wrapped in rice paper, inside the wraps of his haramaki (cloth stomach wrap). The blade could be easily accessed through the front fold of his kimono. Apparently his stomach had numerous scars from Sokaku's blade accidentally shifting around and cutting himself over the years.

    In Section 8 of the Aiki News biography of Takeda Sokaku, which was originally written by his son Takeda Tokimune, another episode involving a largely unarmed response appears (paraphrased largely to save space):

    In 1876 Sokaku was traveling in Fukushima when he was ambushed by three bandits, who he knew had recently ambushed and killed two other swordsmen. They attacked him while walking a mountain pass along a narrow trail, which had a cliff on one side and a valley on the other. The setup involved one of the bandits laying down across the trail, in anticipation that Sokaku would stop and ask him to move. Instead, Sokaku lifted up his right foot as if he were going to step over the man, but instead stomped down strongly through his ribs, applying a killing technique called "denko no satsu". He then delivered a single killing blow between the eyes of the attacker on the left using his left fist, called "uto no satsu". Next he drew his iron fan (tessen) with his right hand and struck the attacker on the right on his cheek, applying a killing technique called "kasumi no satsu". The tessen was the shape of a closed fan, solid iron, and heavy, weighing more than 1.5 pounds.

    The attacked on the left had now drawn his sword, so Sokaku used ippondori [similar to Aikido ikkyo] to pin him on top of the attacked on the right, then broke his arm by striking it with his tessen. Sokaku next immobolized all three by breaking their ribs using kicks, and breaking their feet by striking them with his tessen. Finally, all three were kicked down into the valley before Sokaku continued on his way.
    It sounds as though Sokaku had intended to permanently disable the bandits (while sparing their lives) so that they could not victimize others anymore. However, one of them apparently died.

    The other account I referenced is in fact from "Samurai Aikijutsu", pg 19, as follows:

    In 1910 a rural area through which Takeda Sokaku frequently traveled was being terrorized by an audacious robber who was so active and successful, that all but the strongest feared to travel after dark. The police, despite strenuous efforts, had failed to bring his career to an end. Suddenly, and for no apparent reason, the felonious activity stopped. Investigations by the police resulted in the discovery of the robber's dead body, which was found deeply embedded head first in the mud of a rice field close to the route that Sokaku was known to habitually travel.

    The villagers did not question their good luck. It was assumed that the aikijujutsu master had thrown the felon into the mud with such force, that he had not been able to escape the clutches of the sodden ground, and had suffocated. On the other hand, it may have been a broken neck resulting from the impact that killed him.
    The author credits the book "Hiden Nihon Jujutsu" by Matsuda Ryuchi as one of his sources. Of the sources listed, that book is by far the most likely to contain the biographical information on Daito-ryu he used for Samurai Aikijutsu. Hiden Nihon Jujutsu contains an extensive section on Daito-ryu, and Matsuda was a student of Sagawa Yukiyoshi. Hiden Nihon Jujutsu has been one of the most credible sources of Daito-ryu in writing for many years. While I've translated bits and pieces of the book, I haven't looked for or come across the above reference. But I have a feeling it is there.

    Regards,
    Last edited by Nathan Scott; 13th March 2014 at 22:29.
    Nathan Scott
    Nichigetsukai

    "Put strength into your practice, and avoid conceit. It is easy enough to understand a strategy and guard against it after the matter has already been settled, but the reason an opponent becomes defeated is because they didn't learn of it ahead of time. This is the nature of secret matters. That which is kept hidden is what we call the Flower."

    - Zeami Motokiyo, 1418 (Fūshikaden)

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    Good day Mr Corper

    Yes I understand and agree. When the situation has demanded it in the past (as in my after incident report and I could justify use of force) I found that irimi zuki into a door frame a very effective means of slowing conflict down. Recently I've tried doing ushiro nage using a boot string (I got that idea from Mr Threadgill's story of his teacher). Since I've only tried it in the controlled environment of the dojo it works pretty well there. Don't know how I'd pull it off under stress, I can't try it as I teach English in Junior High School and they would frown on doing that to students! LOL!
    Mr Scott, thanks for the stories. I had read the one about the three bandits but since he used a tessen I counted it as armed in my hamster sized mind.
    I didn't know about that reference book. I'll have to look for it!
    I believe Takeda didn't take ukemi for his students but if he did a wrapped naked blade in the vitals would add an "interesting" element to the ukemi! LOL!

    Cheers Reg Sakamoto

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