- Upon principle, tori does not want to bend his arm
- Tori can’t tell if uke will bend his arm from this position
- Tori cannot force uke to bend his arm form this position
Incidently, The following video is very nice. Well put-together demonstration video.
We have gone too far; we do not know how to stop; impetus
Is all we have. And we share it with the pushed Inert.
We are clever, -- we are as clever as monkeys; and some of us
Have intellect, which is our danger, for we lack intelligence
And have forgotten instinct.
Progress -- progress is the dirtiest word in the language--who ever told us --
And made us believe it - - that to take a step forward was necessarily, was always
A good idea? In this unlighted cave, one step forward
That step can be the down-step into the Abyss.
But we, we have no sense of direction; impetus
Is all we have; we do not proceed, we only
Roll down the mountain,
Like disbalanced boulders, crushing before us many
Delicate springing things, whose plan it was to grow.
Clever, we are, and inventive, -- but not creative;
For, to create, one must decide -- the cells must decide -- what
What colour, what sex, how many petals, five, or more than five,
Or less than five.
But we, we decide nothing: the bland Opportunity
Presents itself, and we embrace it, -- we are so grateful
When something happens which is not directly War;
For we think -- although of course, now we very seldom
That the other side of War is Peace.
We have no sense; we only roll downhill. Peace
Is the temporary beautiful ignorance that War
It has been a long time since I have read this in its entirety. I remembered phrases of it, but not in Millay's crisp, precise, beautiful language. Something in Tegatana no kata made me think of this poem the other day and I had to look it up. This poem speaks volumes about war and peace, which is what aikido is really about anyway. This poem speaks about aikido on the spiritual/philisophical level but also on the physical, tactical level.
Whenever we take a step, there is a part of the step that is ballistic. By that, I mean we can't take it back. We are committed to stepping. "Impetus is all we have - and we share it with the pushed Inert." However, in tegatana no kata we work on minimizing this ballistic phase of stepping by taking smaller steps, walking on the balls of the feet, etc... What this does for us is makes us more neutral and gives us more options - more choices."
Consider this quote from another 20th century mastermind, C.S. Lewis, in juxtaposition to Millay's poem about progress:
We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.
That brings up another, related aspect of tegatana. You want your progress to be reversible. As a general rule of thumb you don't want to make ballistic (irreversible) actions because you end up (in Millay's words) "rolling down the mountain like disbalanced boulders, crushing before you many delicate springing things whose plan it was to grow." You lose the capacity to make intelligent choice, which is what makes us human. You lose opportunity. Moishe Feldenkrais mentions this in his book, Awareness through Movement - reversibility is the mark of voluntary [good] movement.
So, in tegatana we learn to make small, conservative steps, minimizing our disbalanced nature while also minimizing the ballistic nature of our motions. Working on this in your kata will bring Progress (with a captial P).
We spun through hanasu and played for a while with #2, emphasizing not premeditating the technique - starting off as in #1 and letting uke force you into #2. From there we got to experiment with shihonage and sumiotoshi as uke responses to the motion of #2.
Andy's uke was unable to attend today, so we did his sankyu demonstration by way of each of us doing about a million repetitions of oshitaoshi, udegaeshi, hikitaoshi, udehineri, and both flavors of wakigatame. These we did in kata mode with the pins on the end. Andy has perfectionist tendencies, so I was concerned that he would feel cheated or inferior for not having done a formal rank demo with folks watching and etc... But, talking to him afterwards, he seemed to handle it well. He has the proper amount of time in grade, is improving (dramatically) on his gokyu and yonkyu requirements, and is able to reproduce the sankyu techniques without much trouble - and those are the requirements for the rank. The formal rank demo is mostly gravy. The things that Andy especially needs more work on are the same things that plague me these days - gedanate and udehineri. But, we're going forward together!
Rhetoric is the counterpart of Dialectic. Both alike are concerned with such things as come, more or less, within the general ken of all men and belong to no definite science. Accordingly all men make use, more or less, of both; for to a certain extent all men attempt to discuss statements and to maintain them, to defend themselves and to attack others. Ordinary people do this either at random or through practice and from acquired habit. Both ways being possible, the subject can plainly be handled systematically, for it is possible to inquire the reason why some speakers succeed through practice and others spontaneously; and every one will at once agree that such an inquiry is the function of an art. Aristotle, Rhetoric, I;1.
- anyone can do it, but not everyone can do it equally well
- it can be systematically learned, practiced, and made habitual
Funakoshi, in Shotokan karate, created four simplified kata (Taikyoku shodan, Taikyoku nidan, Taikyoku sandan, and Tennokata) as a mechanism for making sure that students get structured repetitions of at least a minimal set of necessary kihon. Some Shotokan schools have dropped these four kata because they are "trivial." I think that is a shame. I, for one, would much rather participate in a school where these four "kihon kata" are practiced at the beginning of every class as part of a sport-specific warmup.
- Always shake hands with those you meet. As thry reach to grasp, step slightly to the outside and put your free hand on their elbow. Greet them cordially and think to yourself about the kuzushi you just achieved while moving toward shikaku. People tend to be slightly disturbed by the offbalance but they react favorably to the two-handed handshake and think youre just a really friendly person. This also reduces their strength so that if they are the hand-crushing type then they are at a disadvantage.
- Pick a person walking down the other side of the street or hall and synchonize your movement to theirs. This works best when you don't freak them out by setting off their spidey sence, so be discreet.
- Doors are heavy objects that rotate around an axis - just like a person. Practice pushing doors same-hand-same-foot vs. same-hand-stuck-foot and watch how your mobility changes.
- Walls are REALLY heavy ukes. Practice trying to push them then bouncing off them. This is easier when you are same-hand-stuck-foot. try to smooth out the transition from push to move when you realize you can't push the wall.
- Concrete curbs - walk on them like balance beams. Just don't blame me when you fall off and break your ankle and get run over.
- Practice SMR jodo solo forms a lot. Let the stick be your uke.
- Practice taisabaki from Tegatana every time you brush your teeth. Try this while brushing our teeth with the wrong hand.
- The transition from lying in bed to standing on the floor is the same as lying on the floor and rising to standing - just easier. Focus your attention on what you are doing as you rise from bed.
- Stay aware of ambush points as you are walking around. Pay special attention to places where a person could take one step from hiding to inside your ma-ai.
- In college we made a pact among the higher-ranked students and instructors that we would attack each other anywhere on campus if we could catch each other unawares. That was FUN! Thank God those guys live hundreds of miles away from me now.
I'd love to hear how y'all discreetly practice martial principles outside the dojo.
Lately I have really been getting the feeling that "releasing" is such a HUGE part of aikido that it might even be the one central principle - almost a Grand Unification Theory for aiki. We really might just be "releasing" uke instead of "throwing" him!
Miyake went on to explain that this was the kata of the old Kito school - one of the schools upon which both aikido and judo was based. Unfortunately I didn't get to participate in those sessions, but it really seems to me that Ms. Miyake really brought that Kito theory into the center front of our system in a big way. We'd already played with pretty much all the concepts before, but Miyake really got us to thinking and talking Kito.
- Uke's attack can only solidify at the end of the step, so tori doesn't need to be strong or push hard.
- Tori should concentrate on moving his center toward the hole betwen uke's feet and then allowing uke's attack to solidify right at the edge of the hole.
- Tori should allow the momentum of his center to move in one direction until the solidity of uke stops tori's forward motion.
- Tori should get both feet under his center right as uke's front foot lands.
- Often the feel of this offbalance is that of catching uke's punch, stepping to the edge of the hole, and dropping uke over the edge. When it works right it does not feel like tori is pushing uke's arm. It is very much a feeling of releasing uke - as in hanasu.
Here is a picture of Mytchi working on release # 6 from hanasu. Pretty good extension. She's losing her arm behind her head a little bit, but overall very good. I learned an interesting lesson from Mytchi yesterday. I was talking to her about her blindness and how it affects her life and her aikido. She was telling me about how people see the cane and think "she's blind, she must be retarded." Well, Mytchi is a pretty sharp tack and her other senses have compensated to a pretty high degree. She gets some sense of distance based on the amount of detail that she can pick out with hearing. For instance, if she can differentiate two parts of footstrike she knows you're within about two steps.
Here's a picture of Kristof trying to throw poor Dr. Wake out the front door of the dojo with hikiotoshi. That belt she is wearing is very sneaky. It's hard to tell if it is a white belt that is so dirty from ten or fifteen years of use that it almost looks brown or if it was once brown and has faded from ten or fifteen years use. The official color is "Sanka" brown but it looks more cafe aulait to me.
After class last Saturday, Amanda allowed my three year old, Knox, to repeatedly throw her HARD with tenkai kotegaeshi. We don't know where Knox came up with that throw. Before that day I would have sworn that he'd not watched me enough to pick up the technique, but he did it both perfectly and consistently on an uke that outweighs him by about four times. I've got some video but I wish I had some pics to post. Anyway, thank you, Amanda, for being such a good sport and nurturing aikido and judo in my kids.