“The Practical Application of Aikido Technique” by Charles McCarty

“You may never need to use Aikido in a practical and physical way in your life, and perhaps you already have. You may have gone into the art on a whim, as I did, or may have begun training because of some event in which you were victimized, and vowed to never become a victim again. I can’t speak for all, but I can speak from my own experience, and will attempt to do so in this essay.

Turn on the news, read a paper or watch a movie, and you are likely to get the impression that the world is a very dangerous place. The media industry consistently presents its consumers with the worst possible news, and drives that home with repetition of the images that accompany news reports in this age of ubiquitous video and cell phone cameras. Film and television entertainment often dwell on violence perpetrated and violent response, often after implying that attempts to resolve conflict peacefully are futile and counter-productive.”

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  1. bruce baker says:

    Many many good points and a very good story.

    I disagree that mat and practical application are the same. There is fine line of sensitivity where a struggling attacker will injure themselves, so you may have to constantly adjust so they don’t either hurt themselves, as they struggle, or free themselves as you adjust to avoid causing them injury.

    Far too often I let people manipulate me in practice that cause my previous injuries to become re-injured because … they have become “robot programmed” to do aikido, they don’t allow for the different bodies of different people and they don’t feel the tension of the joints in whatever size or shape person they are working with.

    During practice you will have to figure out how flexible your partner is and adjust. Some partners feint and tap out way too early, so you will have to make a mental not that they are sensitive to pain, even if they body can be twisted a little further and the involuntary responses will take over at a higher level of pain instead of the lower thresh-holds they are responding to. Other partners let you manipulate them to the involuntary thresh-holds of pain and response which is where you begin to cross the line into injury if you go much further in you manipulations.

    In a practical application, you will ratchet up your manipulation of your attacker to increase the pain thresh-hold but need to keep a calm clear mind that does NOT feed off the adrenelin rush.

    The other thing I liked in this article is noting that we don’t spend enough time training for kicks, but a kick is no different than any other attack. Stop thinking it will hurt you and imagine a kick is either a bokken or stick coming your way, which we do train with, don’t we? Well, most of us do. Adapt and adjust …. it will work out.

    The one subject I didn’t see covered was MOBS where you are overwhelmed by a dozen or more who can’t be talked to. It may sound like some movie, but your choice is to make an example of two or three, try to talk your way out, or run if for some reason you are caught up in a mob. I would rather not be so oblivious that I have put myself in those type of situations. Pay ATTENTION … don’t put yourself in that situation!

    Did you have a bad feeling you shouldn’t be there? Well, did you scope out what was coming up and change your plans to be there, like … get the hell out of there cause there are signs all around you that you should not be there? Yep, it is not always a game of talk or physicality, but sometimes a game of paying attention and staying away from trouble, or at least keeping to the outskirts of trouble.

    I don’t know about most of you, but I seem to spend a lot of time looking around me instead of jumping in the fire and wondering .. how the hell did I get here? NOPE … you can’t just go around being oblivious to the world around you. Ya gotta look around and be suspicious.

    Other wise … there were a lot of good clues in this story that could be helpful.

    Yeah, Aikido works, but you can’t be unsure of yourself when you use it, and you have to shrug off pain if you get hit or kicked cause none of us are superman but the more we dwell on our own pain, the more dangerous some situations become for us.

    You cannot think!!!! You cannot PLAN!!! Not during a fight .. because everything must be natural and whatever you do must be faster than thought or inserted into the openings you either make or are available.

    Why do you think there are so many different techniques and variations for training? It is to get your brain and body programmed so very few attacks during a fight are unfamiliar. When all the movements a person attacking you are the same familiar movements of practice … gee … you think … I can do this .. I am not afraid anymore .. I have seen all this before … at least in the other part of your mind that generates fear you feel enough confidence not to be paralyzed by fear, even if it is pushed way back and under control.

    Fear should never go away, as it is a part of what keeps the mind in balance, but it should be under control as letting it out at the wrong time and place can be very bad. People who are overwhelmed by fear either have to learn to control it, or they will be controlled by their fears. And maybe … that is what practice does for some people, and maybe why people who have seen death and war are not as afraid as they were before they saw those horrible things. (Yeah, I know…. long run on sentences, but you have to put things together to realize how complex these subjects really are.)

    Overall .. very good Mr. McCarty, very good.

  2. My personal feeling is that when aikido has worked for me, it has been like the most intense free-style. It’s been that way since I was a 5th kyu. God help you if you start thinking.

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