Feb
19

Best of the blogs: Riots, Violent Assaults and Aikido – by Mark Bilson (November 2006)

As soon as you mention the spiritual aspects of Aikido many people construct a subconscious barrier by assuming that the spiritual and martial aspects are in distinction to each other. In other words, Aikido is either “spiritual” or “martial.”

In my own case I discovered the spiritual foundation through the martial application. I have worked in the punishment and management unit in a maximum-security prison for the last 10 years and it is through being involved in a multitude of violent incidents that my Aikido was transformed.

We had a riot in the prison and it was through this that my interpretation of the foundation of technique changed. It is normal practice that when a person is brought into my area that they are handcuffed with their hands behind their backs. They are then placed facing the wall in order for the cuffs to be removed. As one cuff is taken off their hand it is then placed above their head and on the wall. Then the other is removed and both hands are on the wall above their head. However, in this particular instance as the right hand was placed on the wall he turned anticlockwise and attempted to strike me in the face with his right hand. As my left hand was still holding his left wrist (still behind his back) I turned with him and placed my right hand on his inner left elbow and continued to turn with him (with me in the center of the movement) and Ikkyo Ura was created, it was being powered solely by his aggression and intention. He hit the ground harder and faster than any Ikkyo that I had ever done before and I had used almost no force. He had nothing to resist against as it was his own power that was causing it to happen and all I did was encourage it in the direction it was already going. Later on another person lunged at me with both hands outstretched in an attempt to take me to the ground by grabbing my waist. I stepped to the side and placed my hand on his neck (at waist level) and my other hand rested on his forearm. A variation of Kaiten Nage was created by his power and it sent him face first into the ground.

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Comments

  1. nev says:

    When it is nage that receives ki and uke who is using force, it is AIKIDO.

    When this is reversed and nage is showing off and uke is “expected to receive ki” it is collusion.

    When both use force it degenerates into unpredictable contest.

    In the dojo it is possible to collude and fake.

    In a real situation, such as the one described here, reality has to be faced as it is, the attacker is attacking with real intention, so only real Aikido will save you.

    “I turned with him …… and continued to turn with him (with me in the center of the movement) ………… it was being powered solely by his aggression and intention. ………….. I had used almost no force. He had nothing to resist against as it was his own power that was causing it to happen…………. in the direction it was already going…” This is Aikido.

    Anyone would be hard pressed to improve on this description of true and applied Aikido.

    Thank you Mark, this is good to read over and over and over.

  2. For me, the puzzler is the sparring type of attack. If you let it get in-distance the attacker can use quick, relatively uncommitted, strikes to cause significant damage. Reacting to any one of those to attempt a full aikido technique is unlikely to work very well and is apt to expose you seriously. If you have room, you can trade distance for time, but the problem is unchanged. It actually gets easier if the attack is multiple person. The pals are likely to try to pin you for the hitter, or launch some other unguarded attack. Then you can launch one of them at the first. Anyway, the best answers I’ve come up for the single attacker situation are improving awareness of timing, atemi, and second-strike variations.

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