Stanley Pranin: Frustrating your opponent’s ability to grab and moving to the blind spot

“Think carefully about what you do and why you do it”

Aikido training in virtually all styles follows a series of rituals. Students seldom question the techniques and assumptions that underlie what they are taught. As a result, poor training habits can gain a foothold and are perpetuated over generations.

Stanley Pranin takes a look at the simple katatedori — the single-hand grab — and proposes that we rethink our range of responses to gain an immediate advantage. This sets the stage for a successful execution of techniques.


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  1. Many real attacks will end with your first blend. Most attackers will be confused and fall into a defensive mode, expecting your counter-attack. If you are lured into that counter-attack you will have accepted their invitation to fight. Even if you win, so will they have. Good aikido deals with physical conflict differently. They got you out of whatever mind-space you were in and into theirs, that of winning and losing*. If you don’t fall for the trap, they will often go from physical to verbal attacks, name calling or whatever. At the point they no longer present a physical threat, the challenge is to walk away. Of course in the rare case that their attack follows you as it would in the dojo, your technique should also work pretty well. Allow for the fact that almost nobody falls as well as aikido students.

    * http://www.amazon.com/The-Demons-Sermon-Martial-Arts/dp/1590309898

  2. Thanks Stan,

    This gave me some extra thoughts to teach for initial neutralization of uke’s attack. Nishio Sensei had these very subtly spread through his techniques. Stuff that wouldn’t look like anything yet keep uke from hitting or kicking you. A lot of students miss these subtle starts.



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