Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The aikido decision stick

Was it Rory Miller that coined the term "Decision Stick?"  Or maybe it was Marc MacYoung?  Anyway, the idea is that because your response time increases dramatically when presented with either/or type choices, you have to minimize these branches in your strategy.  You have to prune your decision tree down until it has (nearly) no branches. That's what we worked on last night in aikido.  Our decision tree looks something like...

If the attacker gets closer than ma-ai, then...
  • get out of his way
  • get your hands up between you and him
  • try to push back away from him (or try to move behind him)
  • try to match his motion to minimize his potential energy...
  • if any of the above goes awry, palm to the chin and drive him backward off of you
And the last, most important step in the aikido master's decision stick/tree...
  • if the attacker happens to fall down or get his arm twisted up, give it a name and claim it as your secret technique!
See, the best aiki happens when the tori is trying to work that minimal decision stick and the attacker puts so much thoughtless energy into the system that he becomes unstable and destroys himself.  One of my students put it best... "Aikido is the art of making it look like you meant for that to happen just like that."
[photo courtesy of movestill]
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