aka Strangle Me Now or Strangle Me Later But Lets Be Coherent About It ... ......................
The idea of synchronicity is that the conceptual relationship of minds, defined as the relationship between ideas, is intricately structured in its own logical way and gives rise to relationships that are not causal in nature. These relationships can manifest themselves as simultaneous occurrences that are meaningfully related.
Wiki on Jung's syncronicity. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synchronicity
I follow a lot of blogs and discussion groups. Some I contribute to actively, some once-in-a-great-while and others I just lurk on like a ninja watching the passers-by.
Watching and lurking on a regular basis allows me to pick up on patterns of activity in the MA. One such pattern (of syncronicity) I've observed over the last 2 years (almost 3 now) is increasing interest in the Aiki-verse in the offensive use of strangulations (to submit the opponent) and in what can only be considered offensive knife work (with defensive counters).
We'll speak to strangulations now; tanto work later.
This interest seems to have occured on it's own, almost from a universal mind, as most of the dojo and Sensei involved in this interest very rarely communicate as they can be from different styles, organizations, and groups that have never had a relationship to each other.
For the record;
*a strangulation is most correctly identified as the application of a neck lock (affecting the cervical vertibrae) and that causes unconsciousness by lowering the blood pressure in the brain thru' stimulation/massage of either the carotid baroreceptor or the nerve sheathing surrounding the branch point (of the carotid), done correctly total submission can occur in less than 8 seconds.
*a choke is using the hands to cut off the flow of air to the lungs by compressing the trachea, a neck lock is generally not involved with a choke.
Of the two; a strangulation is most effective and safest while a choke is unsafe (due to a possible crushing of and collapse of either or both the trachea/larynx) and not effective (due to a possible/approx. 1 to 2 minutes of oxygen remaining combined in the blood and the lungs). In the real world of self-defense even 30 seconds of consciousness in the opponent can prove extremely problematic.
The exploration of strangulations is only slightly problematic. In my mind the single largest issue is that probably 95% of all styles of Aikido do not train in ne-waza and yet most strangulations they teach are either on the ground in a grappling condition or they are highly modified for use in a standing condition. Not to say that strangulations taught thusly (ne-waza strangulations modified for standing) won't work if applied correctly but the entry to the neck lock becomes an issue.
If you are going to teach strangulations in ne-waza then you'll need more (ne-waza) than just strangulations since you'll essentially be fighting a ne-waza specialist with both hand tied behind your back. Your opportunity for the strangulation will, therefore, never open.
Many Aikido players appear to be of the opinion (based on observation of videos and on-line discussions) that if they simply "end up behind uke" then the strangulation will be easy to position for and once tore is positioned, easy to apply and submit uke. Such is simply not the case. Just because tore can find himself behind uke (say in an ushiro-ate entry point) does NOT mean that the entry to the neck lock will be successful.
Entering and positioning for a presumed successful neck lock/strangulation doesn't mean that uke can be controlled and then submitted before uke applies a kaeshi-waza or at the very least blocks the proper hand positioning thus negating any attempt at neck lock and submission.
So in essence, the failure of Aikido players to focus on correct entry to the neck lock means that they have failed to account for a coherence in their understanding of the concept. They have failed to account for the most critical part of the entire waza; a successful entry which IMHO is about 80% of the effort, the remaining 20% being the correct hand positioning over the sweet spot.
This teaching and training of ne-waza configured strangulations applied in a standing condition is a lack of coherence; that is, the failure to apply a standing principle to a standing waza (and in this same fashion as applying a ne-waza principle to a ne-waza condition). Standing conditions and ne-waza conditions make use of many of the same fundamental principles but overall, they're just not the same and knowing one does not necessarily or easily translate to the other.
We have over the last 2 years begun to teach standing strangulations that were originally designed for use while in armor and to be applied only standing. All entries therefore are designed to break uke's posture upon the initial entry and then force them to turn their head to expose the throat, this allowing an easy(ier) entry for the hands to position before taking the strangulation and then the neck lock.
We also teach blocks of ne-waza in which the strangulations taught utilize a ne-waza approach and entry but are done within the boundaries and conditions of ne-waza and the rotation of opportunity (pin, strangulation, joint-lock ..... repeat .....). This coherence in principle (as the waza utilizes it) makes the waza more productive in its' efficacy and the control and submission of uke.
The point here is to understand that we should not simply take something from somewhere else because you think Aikido lacks the idea or has a "hole" in its effectiveness, but instead to consistently apply the principle of your MA ryu/style.
Mixing different ideas from different MA without considering the underlying principle that makes it work is not wise when expanding your study. Just because something works in karate or judo doesn't necessarily mean it will be fully functional principle-wise in Aikido; and vice versa. Fundamentals and firm adherence to the underlying principle of your art form (and their application to the newly inserted material) is always, always, always the only way in which to train.
L.F. Wilkinson Sensei
Aikibudokan, Houston, TX