On Atemi: “Would Morihei have scolded his students for using atemi?… Au contraire!”

The Founder can be seen applying atemi or “preemptive strikes” right up until the end of his life. But today, atemi have fallen into disuse in aikido. I believe this is due to a misunderstanding of its purpose. Atemi is an action used to preempt uke’s aggressive intent through a distractionary manuever in the form of a strike. The use of atemi is not for the purpose of hitting or “softening up” uke prior to performing a technique. Its role is similar to that of the kiai in that it disrupts uke’s concentration.

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