True and False Attacks In The Martial Art of Aikido
by Sensei Robin Wilden
(Bognor Regis, West Sussex, UK)
Robin Wilden (right)
This is a much debated topic in the Aikido community and holds different levels of importance depending on which style you study and your individual perspective.
Whether you focus on blending your timing with soft graceful movement, using your breathing and centering to create a dynamic energy, or using technical stages to achieve strong movement through alignment for self defence, there is a constant that runs through your Aikido training...
Avoid an attack, break uke's balance, and apply your technique.
So what do I mean by false attacks?
1. No intent or power behind it.
2. Attacking, knowing what move is coming, and resisting that movement.
3. Grabbing then basing in a squat position as if to say "move me".
4. Committing enough to reach Tori but hanging back with the body.
5. Letting the Tori know when the attack is coming.
These types of attacks are usually caused by your training partner being deliberately awkward to test you, fear of losing control, or receiving uncomfortable breakfalls.
Unfortunately this creates a negative influence in how we train. It creates more tension, competitive attitude and use of muscle, rather than correct technique.
Not only will this make it harder to create a flow of energy in your movement, it completely removes the reality aspect of your training.
So what are the benefits we can gain from altering this mindset?
1. Better technique.
2. Improved timing.
3. Increased reaction speed.
5. A more enjoyable training experience.
6. Improved break-falls.
This can all be achieved by committing to faster, firmer (but still controlled) attacks. With the point of attack being where the power lies and the rest of the body relaxed and ready to react.
Katate Mochi (wrist grab) should involve either a push or pull. To create a better connection with your training partner, look to grab firmly with the lower three fingers but looser with the thumb and index finger.
Try to keep a constant connection between your palm and Tori's wrist when they move. This will help create much more dynamic movements.
We all come to the dojo to work hard, improve our skills and enjoy our training as we do so. After all, Aikido is about peace, not resistance so we can all move in the same direction.....forwards.
Sensei Robin Wilden
Arun Aikido Club