Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Amen, brother! Preach it!

This is the best video explanation I've found of what I've been teaching and calling the aiki brush-off. Just like this guy mentions in these videos, if you watch most aikido randori sessions, the tori is concentrating on applying techniques to each successive attacker. Problem is, this ties the tori up, creating openings for the other attackers. Most of the time, when you see really successful aiki randori practitioners, they brush-off more attacks than they counter with actual techniques.
This type of brushing-off action is what I've been concentrating on in my personal practice and in my teaching for the last couple of years and it has really changed my aiki for the better. I've had several highly-ranked folks whose opinions count a lot to me say that my aiki has become more robust and effective, while at the same time becoming softer. I attribute this to practicing the aiki brush-off.

Another interesting thing to note about these randori sessions: when the brush-off either fails or creates enough time to actually do a technique, the two techniques that pop up most often are shomenate and aigamaeate (A.K.A. aikinage or iriminage). Just exactly like the results we've gotten in knife randori like here and here. Atemiwaza is the first backup for the brushoff. Everything else in the art is backup for the atemiwaza.


  1. Very, very nice.
    I hope you get a chance to see the Peter Ralston Demo (Cheng Hsin) sometime. I'll be curious about your thoughts about his movement.

  2. I finally got a chance to take a look at these. They're interesting, but I am curious: most of the fights and confrontations I have seen here in the heart of Redneck Oklahoma start with the combatants very, very close to each other, far closer than the attackers and defender in these video clips--often nose to nose! If you ever feel inclined to dig out the video camera and explore for us how the brush-off might be used against an attacker who didn't start off from so far away, I'm sure it would be interesting.

  3. Frankly I'm fascinated by the fact that someone has taken the time to evaluate this intriguing pause in pacing or action. Thought provoking and nice to have a name to something.

    Dan's comment makes me think of something our teacher says, "never let that person get that close." Nice to say in class, but I realize real life can be different, but it tempers your interaction with folks after that starts to sink in. I notice that keeping that distance no matter what becomes important to me.

  4. Dan, I'm not ignoring this request for video - it's just my video capabilities are defunct right now due to technical issues. I will be sure to put together some of the videos you asked for when I get a new video recorder...


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