“Everyone thinks there’s a trick,” by Christopher Hein

“Many people engage in martial arts training to learn a ‘trick’. They think they are going to learn a cool wrist lock, or some other kind of almost magical unknown technique, that will flip everyone for real. After a few years most of us learn that this really magical unknown technique, doesn’t exist. We realize that the body is a machine and it’s limitations can be readily understood by all.”

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  1. Aikido training, including randori when the type of attack is unpredictable, does train for a martial situation or “fight” as you put it. Those who are focused learn more and more just how the human body moves and doesn’t want to move, how it acts and reacts.

  2. maybe some of the confusion lies in looking for spectacular results.

    in the dojo there are all these pretty ukemi. but ukemi are marvelous in themselves. they allow uke to hang in for what would otherwise be pretty devastating. an untrained attacker either won’t hang in or will be devastated (unless nage backs off, in which case nage will probably be devastated).

    the other neat thing about ukemi is that proper ukemi preserves kaeshi-waza options for an incredibly long time. i’ve been thinking that as long as uke has one foot on the ground there will be reversal options in many techniques. but perhaps there are still options when airborne if uke is good enough. attacks aren’t given enough emphasis in the average aikido school, nor atemi, still less kaeshi waza. granted these are advanced topics, but many schools now have numerous advanced students.

    in all events, in any real or semi-real situation, hope to survive. getting hit is ok if the result isn’t serious. aspire to retain your form and posture. be satisfied if your technique allows you to command an ugly situation.

  3. Thank you, Chris Hein, for laying it on the line.

    Although simply presented, this type of starkly honest summary of how “fighting” relates to martial theory and to formal training, does real justice to our search for meaning.

    I agree with the premise that being focused on “fighting” is the fastest course to becoming an efficient and bona fide fighter, if you survive. Let’s be frank here, fighting is all about, and only about, survival.

    If one truly wants to simply and efficiently travel from point “A” to point “B”, why would any alternate and convoluted route be better or desirable? What more is to be gained by going off on tangential routes and alternative byways, and purposefully visiting other attractions and destinations along the way?

    Could it be that, for many, destination “B” was never the primary goal to begin with? If so, say so, and solve the tantalizing conundrum with the unvarnished truth.

    Most people I know train in the martial arts, not to necessarily arrive at point “B”, but to actually explore and enjoy the benefits from other attractions, vistas and epiphanies discovered along the way. Probably why it is called the Way. You may call it whatever you want to.

    So, let us magnanimously allow those who single mindedly refuse to be distracted from their narrow and focused quest to go directly from point “A” to point “B”. That is their right, and that is their due. After all, it is their life.

    For myself, and probably for countless others, I prefer to thoroughly enjoy my own multifaceted and discovery filled alternate route, without any real concern or sense of urgency to reach point “B” anytime soon.

    To “B” or not to “B”, that is somebody else’s question.

    In Oneness

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