Simple and Direct

I was flipping through the book Dynamic Aikido by Gōzō Shioda and the ending of the book just tickled me.

The book is intended to be an introduction to Aikido, and is typical of martial arts technique books. The book starts with a little history and background, then explanation of concepts, then into a lot of step-by-step technique demonstration. Major Aikido techniques are demonstrated and illustrated, because this is what people buying books want to see.

The last chapter of the book covers “practical application” and shows pictures of people in street clothing and situations, demonstrating the application of a technique. For instance, the series of pictures show a man washing up at a sink in a public restroom. Another man comes up behind the hand-washer to steal his wallet, and the hand-washer applies kote-gaeshi to defeat the pick-pocket. These practical application of fancy Aikido techniques goes on for many pages.

But the last practical application technique is never covered in the book. It doesn’t have to be.

This final movement is a good example of how in some situations simple, short measures can be effective. Indeed, this should be the criterion when considering techniques for self-defense; the less complicated a technique, the faster it can be applied and, more importantly, the less chance there is of failing.

Emphasis mine.

In the pictures you see two men sitting at a bar. One man grabs a beer bottle and swings it like a club to hit the other man. The other man merely applies a palm strike to the first man’s chin (Aikido would more push than hard strike, but let’s ignore stylistic details for now). The technique is simple, direct, fast, and effective. Sure it’s not sexy, but it works and that’s the bottom line.

Like many things in life, Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS principle).

2 thoughts on “Simple and Direct

  1. I thought the KISS principle was “Rock and Roll all night and party every day”. That’s the principle I’ve been using all this time. You mean I got it wrong?

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