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Sensei Alex Gets on his soapbox

By apogeedesign, Aug 31 2017 12:54PM

This post is a small part of one of the books that I have written. I thought some of you may enjoy them.

Never Use Your Face to Block a Punch

I was always told in Aikido that we do not block the strike when Uke attacks us. We parry the strike, especially if Uke is larger than we are. Most of the time that statement is true, but there may come a time when you have to block a strike. When it does, it has to be done using the whole body, not just the arm. You cannot rely on upper body strength alone to get you through the strike. If Uke is stronger and strikes with a lot of power, and a smaller, weaker Nage attempts to block the strike, it would be like a man with a big hammer (Uke) driving a small stake (Nage) into the ground.

OK, if you're having trouble with that analogy, just watch the first Lethal Weapon movie where the leading man is on the front lawn of his partner's house fighting the bad guy. The star is armed with a PR-24 (the side handle baton carried by police at that time) while the bad guy has a metal pole. The star is doing fine being attacked with a large metal pole as long as he parries the strikes with his baton or let the strikes slide down the baton on a forty-five degree angle (which is S.O.P. for using that tool). But when he tries to block an overhead strike holding the baton parallel with the ground, instead of parrying, he was driven to his knees. The same is true if you try to block a powerful punch. You will end up getting knocked down or backwards, or getting hit.

One of many rules for survival is to never be in a whoever is-stronger-wins scenario. But if you are, then fight smart and use your mind to win. I always say the fight is won in the mind first. This is the big rule to remember.

That Will Never Work In the Street

When the students said that, I just smiled and went on with the class and, as is my routine, let them work on it for an hour. Then when they were all doing OK with the movement, I told them to suit up.(In sparing gear, head,gloves,chest)

I am sick and tired of hearing that Aikido students don’t strike. This is not accurate. It’s that simple. If any reader feels I am wrong, then you’d better go and tell O Sensei he was wrong to strike. Since it is basically his creation, and he hit Uke, I guess he is right and so am I. Again, in truth, the difference is that we do have choice, and this is where the miscommunication lies. I believe some Sensei did not want to scare away potential students so they just dropped strikes from their teaching. But this is a new millennium and there are new attacks, so they’d best get with the program if they intend to be teaching effective self defense and an intelligent, rational approach to dealing with violence.

(The minute they suited up they found the technique they were practicing almost applied itself to the Uke.)

OK, I’m off my soapbox for now.


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