The origin of Aikido can be traced back to the Jiu Jitsu School of Daito. According to the records concerning the secrets of marshal arts, the Aiki Jiu Jitsu, as it was called during the Kamakura period in about the 12th century, was founded by Yoshimitsu Minamoto. This marshal art was handed down from generation to generation until recently, when it was developed and improved into what we now know as Aikido.
The word aiki actually means "fit in," and the word Aikido is given literally as the making of your own movements fit in and harmonize with those of your opponent so that you are able to move smoothly and effectively at the very first sign of attack.
In Aikido, two techniques are brought into play: atemi-waza (the art of bending and twisting the joints).
The principle of atemi-waza is to break the attacker's balance and, at the moment this is done, direct a vital blow in the direction he is moving off balance, thus forcing him to the ground.
At the moment an attacker starts his action, his muscles strain and his body becomes somewhat stiff. It is at this point that you can apply atemi-waza. This can be done in many ways, for in some instances only the poking of a finger in the eye or another vulnerable spot will throw the opponent off guard and force him off balance.
As a matter of fact, it usually follows that the most effective method of throwing an attacker off balance is to direct a blow toward his face region. Once this is done and the antagonist is off balance, the follow-up vital attack can be made.
A second technique employed in Aikido is kansetsu-waza. This involves the throwing, or holding-down, of an attacker using (chiefly) joints in his arm between his shoulder and wrist. The point to remember in kansetsu-waza is that you take advantage of the art of bending and twisting the joints so that an attacker may be held, or thrown down, and rendered harmless. Remember, the attacker's strength can be effectively held to a minimum with a surprisingly small amount of force, provided the proper techniques are used.
Kansetsu-waza can be effectively used after the preparatory action of atemi-waza is put into play. When an attacker makes his move toward you, you can initially block him and counter with the hand to upset his balance. At this moment there is a period of inaction between- the adversary's attack and the counter-attack, when you can grasp his forearm or wrist and apply the kansetsu-waza techniques.
If an attacker grasps hold of your right lapel with his right hand and your left lapel with his left hand, and starts strangling you by crossing over the two hands using the collar as a noose, the first thing to do is upset his balance by directing the clenched fist striking point to his jaw.
The instant this is done, grasp the attacker's left wrist with your right hand, move your right foot backward, and turning towards the right, turn the attacker's wrist - sweeping his left elbow down with your knife hand. With the attacker on his back, continue the pressure, holding him under control.
To defend yourself against seizure by an attacker from behind, relax your arms at the moment you are seized, stretching the fingers of both hands. Move your right foot forward and fling off both the attacker's arms.
At the instant you have broken the hold, grasp the attacker's right wrist with your left hand and, moving back and to the side of the attacker, pass under his armpit while turning your body to the left. Continue to twist the attacker's wrist with your left hand, applying pressure on his elbow with your right hand, to force him down and hold him under control.
These are excellent methods to use if you are attacked unexpectedly.
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