Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The new Monday class

Hello all you Sanbukan devotees,
Last Monday marked the first Monday class in years.  We worked on a couple of techniques that are not covered in the standard syllabus, both based on techniques covered in Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere.  They were modified to better suit the intention of the lesson, ALWAYS KEEP YOUR CENTER.

 images from Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere
click the image to animate

Uke grabs both of your wrists in a straight grab for the "one - on - one" attack.
You do a reverse 180 degree pivot in right stance, while bringing your elbow just over uke's arm. In this first motion, you have not moved uke much from his original position.

Next, while stepping back with your right leg, you draw back your right arm to place uke in a sankajo position while keeping your left arm outstretched, much like an archer draws his bow. It is important that during this motion you keep your hips and shoulders facing the same direction and keeping your center line.

Next, you keep your arms stationary with respect to your torso and perform a "turn-in-place" motion. Finally to complete the throw you take a step.
 images from Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere
click the image to animate 

Uke chokes you from the front.
Your right hand extends up through the middle of the choke, brushing up past uke's face and then extends down uke's right arm. This movement of your arm is vertical with respect to you.
At the same time you are starting a step and a half pivot. By the "half pivot" part, you have placed your left arm loosely on uke's shoulder, while your right hand acts as a hook for uke's arm which has his weight and balance dependent on it. After you complete the step and a half pivot, you now let your right arm drop. You begin to turn in place and your left arm pushes into the small of uke's back and your right arm comes up for an irimi.  Finally, you take a step and complete the irimi throw.

After the techniques we participated in a bit of light randori.  Each student was allowed to pick a single defense against a right center punch. Even just one person coming in at a time at random can get a bit unnerving for beginners, but everyone had a fantastic time.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Try it this way...

Today's blog entry is an excerpt from Ryu Mail Magazine - February 2011 that discusses a problem many Aikidoka face. What do you do when when you're shown many different ways to perform the same technique?

The Art of an Aiki Life

In this section this month, Ando Sensei talks about the meaning of obedience. The word he uses is sunao. This can be translated as obedient; dutiful; respectful; submissve; in other words someone who is not stubborn; willful or obstinate. This word has very positive connotations in Japan, especially when applied to a child, whereas in English the word may have slightly negative connotations. Certainly, when used to describe an adult it may suggest that the person is overly meek or submissive, ready to obey any command unquestioningly. In this instance, Ando Sensei is also using it in the context of being obedient to one's own best self.

He recalls that Shioda Sensei told his uchi deshi that the best way for them to learn aikido was to obey him unquestioningly. "If I tell you to eat shit, then you say 'yes sir!' and eat it." Ando Sensei thought to himself that he definitely wasn't going to eat any but Shioda Sensei had made his point about the importance of obedience.

The problem was deciding who to obey. At that time, the uchi deshi were not taught directly by Shioda Sensei but by their senior deshi. One deshi told him to do a technique in this way, while another told him to do it in another way - everyone was telling him something different. The only thing to do was listen and nod obediently at every opinion; try it once and then choose from among the various options. At the very least, the quantity of information you possess increases. If you aren't obedient in a situation like this and don't listen to what people are teaching you then you lose a little bit of information every time.