“Lots and Lots of Techniques” by Nev Sagiba

I’ve heard it said that “some individuals ‘know’ lots and lots of techniques.”

I’m not sure what this means.

Of what use are “lots and lots of techniques” since all you need is clear noticing of attack and one lucid response flow that deals with the attack at hand.

There is no point doing an irrelevant techniques because quite simply it will not deal with the attack that is imminent.

Therefore “knowing” by intellectually remembering a lot of clutter is useless. Sure, reference points are a requirement of teaching in order to impart varied experience to students. For this we have the basics, the kihon, the keys or core techniques.

But gratuitous collections of stuff serve no purpose in the fields of battle. You only need to identify the attack and adjust accordingly and no other way.

To practice endless variables is good in training because it tunes you in to the one primary principle back of all techniques and enables body mind flexion in application.

After that there is neither attack or defense but the movements of the universe and nature.

What we think are attacks and defenses are the warps of the mind and ego playing tricks.

We have to learn to think beyond attack and defence before Aiki can emerge and become the Do.

Nev Sagiba


  1. bruce baker says:

    I am probably gonna get killed or injured when someone attacks me because I am a trusting soul. That part of my psyche does not click on to defend until my buttons have been pushed, such as a strike actually comes towards me or I feel pain of some sort, and even then my mind say,” … what can I do without killing or injuring this person.”

    Yep … I am probably gonna get killed one of these days …

  2. My button is pretty close to the surface.

    I think there are two things that might happen when it gets pushed. One is that I might evaluate the situation and launch into a technique that I’ve trained, attempting to carry it through, whether or not it really works, by superior force. That’s probably “where” most martial artists, military and paramilitary folks work. No war plan survives the first contact with the enemy. Second, if I’ve really moved forward, pushing the button opens the door to a universe of opportunities, each a sort of glowing path with branches. I wander through these paths, taking the most promising until, somehow, it’s over. Now, the thinking, everyday, rational part of me is spaced out. The warrior is very much attuned to the physical reality. When that is concluded, the warrior stands down and everyday me gets to sort it out.

  3. bruce baker says:

    I have met some pretty good mechanics in the thirty plus years I have been fixing boats, cars, and just about anything I couldn’t afford to pay someone to fix, and yeah … you find the people who make lots of mistakes are the ones able to adapt and overcome when something new is thrown at them, or they have a feeling in their gut that they are way over their head … get the hell out of there! Many many times I have seen those who don’t do real well on paper tests do real well when an odd-ball problem is thrown at them.

    I don’t care how many techniques you talk about … one day you are gonna trip and fall and may break your fool neck. On that day .. no technique is gonna help you. Well, maybe it will, but just to stay balanced in the middle between absolute confidence and absolute dispair .. you have to see both sides. Somewhre in the middle, between thoughtful practice and instinct is where your second wind kicks in and another level of survival occurs.

    New word for the vocabulary .. DUALITY. (really an old word but something we all need to practice more) We all need to see both sides, the positive, the negative … The natural and the unnatural so we can realize the larger picture, the greater truth.

    I can’t remember the name of many techniques to save my life .. but throw someone at me who is trying to do real harm to me … and suddenly .. I am inventing techniques I didn’t know existed before. It is all a matter of how bad you want to survive, how far you need to go to get out of your situation, and if you can figure out a way where the least amount of harm will come to all involved.

    What people often forget is that we seek to do no harm but should always be prepared to do harm .. a duality of wanting one thing to happen but we are caught up in a situation of violence that may not let us do what we want.

    Maybe it is just semantics .. words in the moot court of discussion … but realize .. even the greatest of masters occasionally trips and falls.

  4. bruce baker says:

    Just to be clear, my previous comments are not aimed at anyone, but I must say .. my most favorite teachers are humble, honest, and willing to work with anyone during practice. Despite what some students think of their sensei, as I have seen some cult worship occurring at some seminars let alone the one aikido summer camp I attended a few years back, but my favorite teachers and practitioners are the down to earth people who know they will trip and fall every single day.

    Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again … with a smile if possible.

    They rarely spout the technique they are teaching, but they show you where your practice is weak or needs improvement .. Ya gotta love when that happens, right? Yep.

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