Remote Aikido Dojo

When there is nowhere else to train

Stupidity Should Be Painful

Sunday, 10 May 2020

I recently came across a really great concept that in my head immediately related to the practice of aikido. Not just one aspect of it though, but pretty much right across the board. It’s pretty simple and goes like this; 

Stupidity should be painful.

Initially as an uke, then even further as a teacher, I’ve learned that one of the quickest ways to teach somebody that they shouldn’t be in the position that they are (e.g. standing right in front of you when doing shiho nage) is to hit them. I can tell somebody all day long why they shouldn’t be where they are, but hit them and they stop almost immediately. There’s probably some official psychological term for this like negative reinforcement.

Basically though they were stupid, they got hit, they stopped being stupid.

This doesn’t just apply to nage though. While I’m firm believer that uke should hit nage if they can (which usually means nage was being stupid) I’m also for the opposite scenario. When performing an aikido technique nage shouldn’t be able to easily hit their uke. If they can then the uke has given up, which is not a smart move.

To explain that last one consider tai no henko as a paired exercise. A wrist is grabbed, nage turns and uke more often than not bends over. At this point, uke is being stupid and nage should rabbit punch them on the back of the head (but gently, because if you kill them they won’t learn why they were stupid). What uke should have done was drop their centre, maintain posture by sinking through the knees allowing them to move forward in a squatted position and continue to put pressure on nage. In this case, while the nage could strike them it’s much harder to do so because not only can uke see it coming they are in a stronger position to counter any strike. As an aside they should also have their spare hand ready to deflect or strike, not flopping around like last nights dead spaghetti.

Actions that we take, the decisions we make, these all have consequences. If you do something stupid then the consequences are likely to be unpleasant. Not always, because the world seems to love a chancer, but more often than not. Stupidity can be painful, and it should be.