Saturday, October 14, 2006

Kuzushi, yonkata#2, and aigamae

Click here for details about the Aiki Buddies Gathering at the end of the month.
At this morning's class we worked on tegatana with a focus on balls of feet then moved into hanasu with 1-2 reps of kata mode. Then we delved into hanasu #1 and #2 with an emphasis on attaining an offbalance down the line of the feet. This brought us into the first theme of the day - kuzushi.
Classical judo theory differentiates eight offbalances (happo no kuzushi) that basically involve leaning or twisting uke in the eight cardinal directions. The problem with this model is it is only valid on a static uke. As soon as uke moves, all the directions change, and smart ukes always move to compensate when pushed or pulled. So we usually talk about two directions of offbalance - parallel to uke's feet and perpendicular to his feet. The opportunity for these two offbalances happens the instant uke steps a foot down.
So, in hanasu #1, we are typically interested in otoshi-type offbalances down the line between uke's feet. As uke steps in to grasp, tori steps to push uke onto that line between his feet. In hanasu #2 we are turning out of uke's way so that he is extended into that same offbalance. In most of the first half of nijusan we are initially stepping offline inside while directing uke's attack onto the offbalance line perpendicular to his feet.
The chain of the day was the #10 chain (as in yonkata #2). We worked on stepping inside with shomenate, and a bunch of stuff that comes off of this when uke tries to grab the shomenate hand to restrict tori's strike. This often ends up being things like tenchinage, tekubikime, or kataotoshi. This chain sheds a lot of light on ryotedori practice as well as pretty much all of the owaza jupon techniques.
For the last few minutes of class, Kristof and Andy worked on nijusan # 2 - aigamaeate, while Clan McKenzie worked more on chain#10. Kristof has an effective omote kuzushi that blends beautifully into a tenkan ura type motion. Andy was also doing excellent with the motion of this technique - I wasn't sure why they especialy wanted to work on this technique today because they both have a great aigamae motion but I didnt mind because aigamae is probably my favorite of the early techniques (uh oh, is that magical thinking creeping in?) and everyone needs more reps with all of these techniques.

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