Atemi waza

by Dennis Hooker

Aikido is a martial discipline that deals with positive values and relationships between its members. O-Sensei redefined War as Love and made it work. The Aiki of Aikido has a different meaning than the Aiki of Aikijujitsu. Aikido is a martial study centered in the philosophies of Budo, it is a contemporary art form rooted in a heritage of Japanese martial evolution brought to light by the Founder. It's value has been embraced world wide, both for it's effectiveness and as a vehicle for social health. When Aikidoka interact on the mat they express the principles of Aikido in it's purest form. What we are doing is exactly what we intend to be doing. It is not mock combat. We are not envolved with the psycho-dynamics of the victor and the vanquished, this has no role in the application of the principles. We are one unit expressing the principle for the benfit of the elements of the unit. We are not winner and loser.

I think this is the first view of Aikido a new student should have. It serves to build positive attitudes of personal interaction. The fact that we teach the correct way to strike and the correct location of the strike has more to do with the value of correctness than with fostering the idea of personal power over the life of your partner. This builds negative ego in a new student and Aikido is about building positive ego (a strong personality). Using Atemi is a science. There is no real mystery to turning off switches. Study physiology of the human body and the use of shiatsu, or kiatsu or acupunture along with a martial art.

Using Atemi to temporaly paralyze an arm or cause a lapse in consciousness is one thing but how far should one carry the teaching and to which students should one teach it. I guess there is no great harm in teaching these kinds of technique to everyone who shows up for a seminar. Although turning each others switches off and on deals with negative energy and Aikido is about developing and fostering positive energy. I have students who love this stuff and I don't try to stop them from learning it, but I will teach only so much of it. What about the other types of Atemi, the ones to kill or cripple? There are Atemi techniques that will deflate the lung volume to below 1250 ML. of air, thereby causing the lung to partially collapse. Take the uke down on the abdomen and restrain with a self retaining pin and walk away. The person will die in a few minutes from asphyixation because he can not reinflate the lung. How many people do we want walking around with this kind of knowledge. Some Aikido teachers teach a lot about Atemi and others don't. We all have our opinion and we must live with our decisions. Even though I believe in Atemi to a degree I think those teachers that don't use it are OK too.