Pat at Mokuren Dojo has a post (The aiki gift that keeps on giving) which made me think, a lot. And I don't usually like that, but I chose to respond here as opposed to in his comments (which you should read, to get the whole picture). The point of his post, to me, is two-fold:
- Develop the skill of evasion as a technique because it will give you more options, make you more slippery as a defender, and give you the option of escape if you choose to take it. Therefore, "Try it for a month and see what it does for your aikido..." A great idea. Anytime you try to develop a new skill, isolate it, then fit it into the rest of your skills naturally.
- Open your mind to the idea of escape first, as many of the techniques which are your first choice in Aikido are actually counter to the ideals of the art, as espoused by the founder. As Pat puts it:
"Aikido guys like to claim the moral high ground by talking about peace and not fighting with the enemy and etc... We drone things (often in a spacey voice) like, “get offline... No, don't oppose force... avoid... evade... don't fight with the attacker... Blend...”"
I appreciate and agree with the first point (again, as I see it), but the second, to me, is an ideal which is not easily met. I actually object to it (too strong a word?) for the following reasons:
- Immediate engagement can be your best defense - evasion and escape only work if you can outrun or otherwise escape your attacker - if you can't, you could be toast.
- If you have no idea what kind of weapon the attacker may have, counterattacking can be the best way to prevent it from being brought to bear. For me, hitting quick and escaping fast can prevent a ranged weapon from entering the picture.
- Most of us don't have the time, in a realistic attack, which is likely an ambush of some sort. If I could have escaped, I would have done so. If a situation makes me uncomfortable, I should get out - it's my moral obligation to avoid violence. If, on the other hand, I haven't left, then I didn't expect the attack in the first place. I subscribe to the "stop-hit now, ask questions later" school of preemption.
- Too strong a response? Not likely. If someone is deranged or aggressive enough to attack little old me, a peace-loving, non-threatening, nice guy, then he must be really dangerous.
Keep in mind that this only fits with my personal philosophy of self-protection, and may not apply to anyone else. I agree with the sentiment of escape. But when it comes to the evade part, once it's on, it's on.
Please read the post on Mokuren Dojo, then Aikido Philosophy, Taekwondo Technique ... Is it possible??? at Colin's Traditional Taekwondo.
Have a great day, and stay out of trouble!