Brian Kagen pick: “Don’t Stop,” by Mike Van Ruth

“Many students,in their practice, fall into the trap of stopping the technique at the instant they think they have done something wrong. There can be many reasons for this. They may think the technique was botched and there is no reason to continue. Others may stop performing the technique in order to evaluate the cause at the point of the mistake. In cutting the techinique short, the student misses out on fundemental lessons and if this stopping is done often enough, the student can develop a bad habit.”

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. Well said. What you repeatedly do in training, you will do when it is needed for survival. Habits become preconditioned response/ second nature. Training is not an exam but an exploration and NOTICING of multiple possibilities towards an ideal technique. Trainees who get hung up on “throwing” the opponent miss the multitude of teachings the technique offers. “Throwing” is the least part of Aikido. Indeed there are no throws in Aikido. It is VITAL to ALWAYS follow through without forcing and find out what else the kihon is teaching you about POSITION and KUSUSHI; and other possibilities. Whether it leads to ukemi or not is mostly irrelevant. When real kusushi happens it seems to do so all by itself, not because of ego shoving because you think someone’s watching and you have to look good or something. Stopping short is a like negative self-talk, extremely bad habit. The worst habit. In a real situation, the attacker will be a “live wire” and you will need those other teachings that come from technique as backup, because most of the time there will be no successful kusushi. What do you do then?

  2. To discover what these are you MUST follow through always, not stop short.

  3. bruce baker says:

    Uh .. what happens when you do a technique in a manner that injures your partners and you know, or should I say you sense you are doing it wrong because that little voice in your head is screaming at you to stop, what about that?

    Yeah, I understand all this POSITIVE INPUT we now have for modern age thinking … but I just don’t get you guys when you miss out on the negative aspects of training and how we can injure our training partners? Grasp the deeper meaning of what your doing and what you need to do to be a better practitioner.

    I know I am most dangerous when I completely ignore all safety protocol and just go numb to whatever my victim, yeah they become a victim at this point, becomes my crash test dummy instead of a live human being that I am carefully manipulating for practice.

    STOPPING is not all bad, but at some point, also, there must be a somewhat seamless transition that appears to have no breaks , I understand that theoretical idea we are trying to achieve.

    For Aikido practice we have trained our people to be able to not resist and to anticipate the movements until they are almost ahead of the techniques so they don’t get hurt, but then when completely unfamiliar patterns of practice occur they are still limber enough in mind and body to avoid injury in most venues.

    REALIZE … the training and the co-operation of BOTH training partners is important to avoid injury!

    I agree and I disagree at the same time. I say … one must stop and reprogram both body and mind when dangerous patterns come into practice for the safety sake of practice, but in a practical application one may need to injure an attacker … so all that practice to avoid injury to your attacker is not paid attention to. What was once a dangerous pattern for Aikido practice becomes a practical application for the situation at hand.

    We seek the positive peaceful path, but we recognize the negative destructive power that we must learn to control also.

    My point is … stretch out your transitions as you become more and more proficient in your practice until you are NOT thinking anymore, stopping anymore, and doing a safe practice of Aikido, but realize … the wrong things you do are what cause injury to either yourself, your practice partner, or an attacker, but you need to catalog them for use in a different venue none-the-less.

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