Brian Kagen pick: From – “Aikido is useless without atemi”

“Without a first strike whether it be proactive and/or a strictly defensive measure, aikido without proper hard atemi is useless. Now the real question remains; what is atemi? Is it a punch? Is it a distraction, as in the way O-Sensei taught. Or do you really need to give that attacker that first punch to the head to be really effective. In my mind, the answer is yes. This may make aikido a little more than boxing with flourish, but this is the conclusion I’ve come too.”

Brian Kagen is an avid web researcher with a particular interest in martial arts. His training background includes both judo and aikido. He has contributed hundreds of article links over the years for AJ readers.

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  1. Aikido is atemi.

  2. bruce baker says:

    Atemi is whatever it takes to unbalance.

    Be it you making the first move, or an opponent attacking, be it a physical unbalancing or a mental unbalancing of the mind, if your opponent is a tree rooted in mind, body and spirit something must be done to unroot that tree.

    If nothing can be done, then your path is to retreat and protect your life, wait for the nature of what was to turn into something else, or learn another way to affect the same situation that might arise in the future.

    Atemi starts with the child learning to punch or strike to unbalance, and then as the mind grows with experiences it becomes aware that Atemi is so much more!

    Open your eyes and your mind to what is right in front of you as it is happening!

  3. A feint is a feint. Any experienced fighter will recognize it as such. Atemi occupy space and time. In the case of aikido, space and time critical to the prosecution of an attack. Sometimes the atemi appear pre-emptive and sometimes reactive, but I think that is largely an illusion above a certain level of practice. The timing is Ai. The placement is Ki.

  4. Atemi in my opinion is very important in aikido, I use it almost all the time. It doesn’t have to be a punch or kick, if you watch O sensei in the tape that he has left he uses atemi and feints to confuse his attackers.


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