Monthly Archives: February 2016

basics are important too

Today we worked on ikkyo and shihonage for 6th kyu, 5th kyu, and 3rd kyu.  None of us are so good (me included) that we can not benefit from more basics.

We also worked on flow – doing kote gaeshi and flowing to maximize effectiveness and minimize effort.  We did it a la Barbarella, with a sword, and empty handed.  All of these ways should be the same.

Flow is particularly important for smaller people, as they can’t just muscle their uke when they don’t quite get it.  But if you move well, even a small person can be effective.

However, we then worked on kaeshi waza and henka waza from ikkyo, mostly for the advanced folks.  It is all about flow there too.  For either one, it is important to not take uke back along the same path you used to take his balance.  If you do, you will put him back on balance.  Instead, you should be like the Boers, and go back by a different route.

We did the 7 bokken suburi and shihogiri, then finished up with randori.  Very important to keep moving and keep turning, so people don’t sneak up on you from behind.

good practice

Had a good practice today.  We worked a lot on the motion for kote gaeshi, doing a lot of Barbarella exercises and bokken to work on the movement, both for throwing and ukemi.  Though when we went back to regular kote gaeshi people had to be reminded to keep moving like in the exercises.

At the Hut, there used to be solid steel bars about 1″ diameter cut to 3 and 4′ to represent a bokken or jo.  You had to move your whole body to move those bars.  Maybe we need to get some for Enmei.

We also did a lot of shiho nage and nikkyo.  For any technique, we need to keep thinking about all three parts, but especially kuzushi.  If you take uke’s kuzushi, the rest is easy.  If you don’t, you are vulnerable to a continuation of uke’s attack.  And aikido is a martial art.

There are also three phases in learning a technique.  In the first phase, learning the movements, more than token resistance is counter productive.  In the second phase, learning how to use the technique, reasonable resistance is useful.  In the third phase, practicing executing the technique, resistance is futile.

2-14-16 Happy Valentine’s Day

The downtown event went well, thanks to Rhiannon helping me set up.  It was quite windy, and would have been difficult on my own.  Thanks to the folks who showed up to man the booth.  There were not as many people downtown as I would have expected for Mahdi Gras, but we did chat with half a dozen prospects.

We had our usual Saturday morning class, with a new guy for the first hour.  Welcome Jeff.  He is nidan in TKD and juijutsu.  We worked on testing techniques again, for 6th, 5th, and 3rd kyu.  We finished up with randori, empty hands and then with a jo.

Then I rushed home to drop off Rhiannon and Teddy, and on to the cross training.  We started off with ukemi, as both myself (for aikido) and Ricky (for karate), were going to do some throws.  We segued into throwing with irimi nage, to practice both backward and forward rolls.  Then we did some kaiten nage, which besides being good practice for front rolls was related to what Ricky was going to teach.

Ricky did some throws and takedowns that were a lot like what we do in aikido.  Casey wore me out with a big iriminage-like throw.

Bill Wahne, who just got promoted to 4th dan in Goju Ryu, taught kubitan techniques.  They are definitely painful, and useful for control.

Finally, I taught some exercises on connecting and taking uke’s center.  This allows nage to either do aikido or karate techniques.  We started with uke not moving his feet, and then without designated ukes and nages, with either party able to do a technique if they can.  This is a lot like the tai chi pushing hands technique.  You maintain contact and jockey for advantage, then do a technique.  Usually what led to a successful technique was one partner not being flexible enough.

Overall, the cross training seminar went very well.  Lots of interesting stuff, and nobody got hurt.  I didn’t do a count, but there must have been over 20 people there.

Regular practice, downtown Titusville, and Cross Training

Worked on test material for 5th and 4th kyu and 1st dan. Katate tori (gyaku hanmi) and yokomen uchi are very similar, and shodan is a compilation of all the other tests, so it isn’t hard to find material that is related.

After we got a bit worn out, we started working on aiki jo.  What we do in aikido is probably as similar to jodo as aiki ken is to kendo.  The moves are similar, but the emphasis is different.  Jo work is important as it involves a different ma ai.  It also helps to improve movement.  At the Hut, we used to use heavy metal weapons.  This makes it even more important to move from the hips (center).

We did the first 10 jo suburi, then worked on the 1st kumi jo.  Maintaining correct distance and alignment is both important and requires practice.

On the evening of the 12th (Friday), we have another downtown Titusville event.  Doug can not make this one, so I hope lots of others will.

Saturday 13th, 1 – 4, we have our annual cross training seminar with Yoshukai Karate.  Hope to see you all there.

Direction and flowing

Today we worked on throwing in any direction.  Once you have uke’s kuzushi, you can turn in any direction and throw where you wish.  You can do four directions of shihonage, of course, but four directions of any other technique also.  (And four directions implies all directions.)

We also worked on ukemi.  If you flow with a technique, you can redirect it to a harmless direction, and even into another technique: kaeshi waza.  Trying to stop a technique to do kaeshi waza only works on weak techniques, and even then usually leaves you vulnerable to a strike.  Flowing with a technique can result in you being thrown, but there is usually a place in there where you can extend and redirect so that nage no longer has any power.  Even better, redirecting nage’s power usually results in a suki, where you can move in and throw him.

You can not do counter technique if nage takes your balance (kuzushi), and keeps it.  Nor can you do it against somebody at least as strong as you are who has momentum going for him.  But you can take his momentum and move it along a different trajectory, and maybe get his kuzushi.  To do this you have to study ukemi to the point where you no longer think about it, so we worked on kote gaeshi ukemi, flying into a slapping breakfall.  We also did a few falls over a pile of the folding mats.

At the end, we did some freestyle (randori).  Interestingly, the problems were mostly in the initial escape.  People were thinking about doing technique, and messing up the initial part of it.  Accordingly, we did a second round of freestyle, where we just escaped, and did not attempt to do technique.  If you get the escape right, it leads naturally into taking kuzushi, and to the throw.

Time and distance

We spent the practice working on timing and distance.

Timing starts when you see your opponent move.  If there is no unnecessary movement, that is the most efficient technique, and involves the shortest time to the point where you have control.  However, there is always some premotion, or telegraphing.  This adds to the time you have to respond to uke or, if you are the one doing the premotion, to the time uke has to counter your technique.

If you move too soon, uke can change his attack, albeit with reduced effectiveness unless you are way early.  If you move too late, of course you get hit.  Somewhere in the middle is where you should be.  We practiced sen no sen, sen sen no sen, and go no sen from various techniques.

We practiced ki musubi no tachi, then took each of the movements and related it to unarmed techniques.  The first movement, the wrist cut, led to kote gaeshji.  The second, the thrust to the throat, led to a very early irimi nage (sen sen no sen).  We digressed to look at other timings of irimi nage.  The last movement of the kumi tachi was related to ikkyo irimi, entering with the rising arm as uke attacks shome uchi.

None of these, none of aikido, makes sense unless uke is committed to attacking.  But then if uke is not committed to attacking, there is nothing to worry about. Ai‭kido is about harmonising with uke’s energy, which is much easier when there is a lot of it.

We finished up with randori, working on the basics: keeping moving, turning, extension, keeping out of the corners, and keeping track of where everybody is.