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15 How to Attack

Some tips on attacking correctly
We are practicing the art of peace, so why do I need to learn to attack properly?  If you want to do good Aikido then you need to dealt with honest, sincere and effective attacks - otherwise you are just kidding yourself.

Without a proper attack nage doesn't need to do Aikido.  In order to train correctly in Aikido, the attack needs to develop real power, be correctly aimed and arrive in such a manner that Aikido is the best answer.

Correct ma-ai
Ma-ai is the space and time between uke and nage.  Being in the wrong place at the wrong time leaves you exposed to counters and nage need not employ Aikido at all.

The hand grab attacks need to be made such that nage is pinned effectively not only at the shoulder and wrist but also through the centre and down to the ground. From this helpless position nage learns not to use their own power but the principles of aiki.  From the body position of your attack it is difficult for them to hit you, kick you or retaliate.  These are the skills nage needs to learn when doing the grabbing attacks.

From here we progress to the striking attacks that similarly should not leave you over-extended and exposed to counter attacks.  Shomenuchi should not expose your centre, yokomenuchi needs to come from the ura (hidden) position.

Strike with 100% commitment
Aikido is a body / mind art and everything you do needs to be 100% body and mind together.  Attacks are no different.  By giving yourself to the movement 100% there is less room for fear, and with you mind wholly on the job you give better energy for nage to work with. 
Striking with correct body alignment and mind focus protects you from the unexpected and limits nage to aiki based responses which will protect you both.

Don't over commit
In the heat of practice its easy to get caught up and the practice becomes faster and faster and looser and looser.  Its easy to do: when you and your partner are giving each other a great workout the whole world shrinks.  The problem is that so can your awareness, and an over-zealous attack may lead to you, your partner, or even the people working next to you being injured. 

Striking to teach not to win
Strive to attack such that it is challenging for your partner, but so that their form is maintained.  Going faster or harder than this hampers the learning process.  Try not to block ukes technique as this is also counter-productive.  Remember: its their turn to attack next!

Try not to predict the technique
When attacking try not to predict the technique. Subconsciously we often make it easier or more difficult for our partner by using this foreknowledge.

Try not to compete
Aikido practice is intended to be cooperative rather than competitive.  In the clan-based martial arts of old the aim was to help everyone survive the coming battle rather than prove who had the best nikkyo.  Remember this with your attack.

The above are intended as guidelines only and may be modified by sensei in order to correct something or to practice a specific aspect of the art.