Brian Kagen pick: “The Gift of Danger” by Mary Stein

“I had been brought up to be polite and not hit people. My partners, more advanced aikidoists, had a uniform reaction: “Hit me,” they said, then stood and waited until my strike connected with their body. It didn’t have to be a hard strike, but it did have to connect. When they decided I was getting the idea, they’d step out of the way as the blow approached.

Gradually I realized why this was important. When I strike with full intention to make connection, my partner has to be skillful and accurate in responding to my motion. If he doesn’t move correctly, he’ll be hit. By striking sincerely and precisely, we provide our partners with an essential risk. This demand for sincerity goes to the heart of aikido.”

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  1. bruce baker says:

    I don’t care if you train one month, or your entire life … what did you do with those lessons you learned? That is what I learn the more I read these thousands of articles for people who spend their entire lives training. It is your choice you chose to spend your entire life training, but what were you training for?

    I surely hope … it was to improve yourself so you would make a difference in not only your life, the lives of people around you.

    Life is not all positive energy .. it is a balance of positive and negative energy … I kinda wish … that aspect would be discussed more. And the other aspect is … most of us are keeping a low profile in a crowd, not drawing attention to ourselves, nor are we ever thinking about getting involved. I sometimes wonder why those who practice are even more invisible in a crowd than most people, that is … you would never suspect they were training and throwing people about during the week?

    I guess my point is … did you integrate those learned lessons into your life?

    At the end of the day, it isn’t who you are, who you were during training, but what those lessons taught you and how you worked them into your common, unimportant, everyday life.

  2. First, aikido techniques don’t work very well if the attack is off line or out of range. “Heat seeking missile” attacks will never be powerful enough to worry about, but can mess up a technique intended for a straight attack.

    Second, your atemi are directly related to your attacking strikes. When you need them, you want them to do the job. …and if your atemi are out of range or off line, your techniques also will suffer.

    We usually hold our atemi a little short which could have adverse practical consequences, but no worse than most karate practitioners. They also tend to pull their punches in practice. I personally like the 3″ punch technique taught in some kung fu schools. Even if you have put your stop-atemi lightly in place, you can easily gain effect by quickly putting extension in your arm and rocking the hips in.

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