Friday, August 31, 2007

Jodo kata practice

Promote Three more

This month's Promote Three Meme is an homage to three of the blogs that got me interested in blogging and helped to set me on this path. Somehow, through some strange twist of fate, I've ended up high enough to link these guys in a Promote Three. If you're not familiar with Promote Three, here are the rules.
I think the following blogs deserve honors, traffic, and link-love greater than they are getting:
Fist in the Frost - for an interesting training diary of a guy in one of my favorite Korean martial arts - Tangsoodo. Extra ponts for the groovy, stylish martial arts uniform!
Uchi Deshi - for showing us what it is like to be a live-in student in a traditional aikido dojo in California. This guy is inspiring because of his ability to balance life and martial arts. He also posts beautiful pictures and fascinating no-holds barred training stories.
Mad Moravian - for a training diary of a guy who does a very similar form of aikido to what I do. This guy's teacher is a great guy and a great martial artist and a good friend of mine. I enjoy reading this blog because I get to see some glimpses at the training of some buddies that I almost never get to see anymore. He's also into sci-fi and does movie reviews on his blog. Check it out.

Uncommon sense

I remember when I first started doing TKD in the late 80’s I was pretty naive. I’ve written on that some before.
One day we were practicing low kicks and I asked, “Why are we kicking so low?” The instructor told me we were practicing kicking bad guys in the knees. I thought that was ridiculous. “Why would you want to kick someone in the knee? That’s stupid.” I was surprised to find out that those things are easy to break and are debilitating when broken.
I suspect that there are a lot of things like this in the martial arts that are only common sense after someone points them out to you. Things that seem so trivial or fundamental that we rapidly lose track of the fact that we didn’t always know them. If we can forget that not everybody knows it, then we can forget to teach it to our beginners. Can y'all think of some examples in your practice?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Shomenate and oshitaoshi

Tonight was a lovely aikido class with Kel and I working on releasing into throws, shomenate, and oshitaoshi (the omote form directly off of the Nijusan offbalance). Because there were only two of us, we got to work repetitions in rapid succession and spent almost half the class on each of these two techniques. Good exercise. Vigorous. Sweaty.

10-20 years behind isn't so bad

I got a great comment a day or so ago from Nick Lowry at the Windsong Dojo in Oklahoma City. He commented on my “Divine Nine’ judo throws that we practice more often than the remainder of the syllabus. Apparently KG’s students in Houston were practicing almost this same set of core techniques 20 years ago and Windsong students in OKC have been practicing a similar set for 10 or so years. This is one of those funny times when finding out that you’re only 10-20 years behind the times is good. These are great guys to be 10-20 years behind. True giants! So, I consider myself to be close to the right track when I can find out that I’m only a couple of decades behind folks this awesome.

One of the differences Nick noted between my Divine Nine and their core set was that they practiced tsurikomigoshi and sodetsurikomigoshi in the spots where I practice ukigoshi and kubinage. Those are certainly good throws. I was approaching the set of core techniques from perhaps a different point – TKGoshi and sode TKgoshi are variants of ogoshi/kubinage, so I put kubinage in my list. But I can see where TKgoshi could be a higher percentage throw because of perhaps greater ease of getting sleeve grips in a tourney or because of the necessity to get lower than a resisting opponent.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Unbendable arm

Aikido teachers often make reference to this phenomenon of the unbendable arm. The Japanese term is orenaite, which means something close to, "The arm that is not to be bent." Notice that this is not really the same thing as "the unbendable arm." It is an advisory to not bend your arm - not to be so strong that your arm can't be bent.

Unbendable arm is really a posture and a mobility thing - not a strength thing. The goal is to be light enough on your feet that it takes less pressure to move you than to bend the arm. So the arm becomes this relaxed feeler that moves your body when it starts bearing weight. The only strength that is needed here is sufficient core strength to maintain a natural, upright posture.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Judo and aikido from jujitsu

Nathan at TDA posed the question the other day, "What aspects of total combat are not present in your martial art." That got me to thinking about an essay that Tomiki wrote about the derivation of aikido and judo from jujitsu. The jujitsu schools were more complete systems, containing aspects of virtually anything that could be useful in a battlefield scenario when disarmed. The modern martial arts specialized in parts of the jujitsu systems, or if you want to look at it that way, they took out some parts.

Aikido is much the same as judo because the origins of both reside in the ancient schools of jujutsu. If we generally classify the kinds of techniques (waza) in the ancient schools of jujutsu, there are four categories:

  • Nage-waza (throwing techniques)

  • Katame-waza (locking techniques)

  • Atemi-waza (striking techniques)

  • Kansetsu-waza (joint techniques)
Among these, many nage-waza and some katame-waza have been collected into the system of training that is "competition judo" (judo kyogi), and various atemi-waza and kansetsu-waza have been collected into the system of training that is "competition aikido" (aikido kyogi).
So, basically, Tomiki is saying here that judo took the throwing and locking techniques from jujitsu while aikido took the joint manipulation and striking skills. Of course, there is some cross-over of skills. Judo does have joint manipulations, but that is restricted to the elbow, so in general, aikido has a greater variety of joint manipulations. Tomiki viewed aikido throws as forms of atemi. Basically you get in a strong place when uke is in a weak place and hit him so that he falls. So, judo in Tomiki's thinking had a greater variety of throws while disallowing strikes. Aikido also has several pins and holding techniques, but not nearly the variety found in judo. So for the most part Tomiki's generalization holds: aikido is striking and joint-twisting while judo is throwing and grappling.
Why is it necessary for this division to take place? Kano restricted judo technique in order to create a randori system that was functional but still safe. Techniques that could not be thrown full-force all the way into the ground were excluded from judo. Thus striking and joint-twisting had to be disallowed or restricted. This is actually a strength of the judo system because even though there is less variety of technique, everything is acid-tested. Everything can be thrown full force against complete resistance in a competitive situation, so if uke hits the ground, tori is assured that the technique works.
Having mastered both judo and aikido, Tomiki took the remains of jujitsu that Kano was not able to make use of and began working on a way to create a randori system that would acid-test the striking and joint techniques like Kano's judo randori did for the throwing and grappling techniques. By the time of his death, Tomiki had come up with a ruleset for tanto randori that allowed competitive testing of techniques.
A lot of people still practice this tanto randori, and that's okay. We prefer to practice an open-hand randori very similar to the push-hands practice and competitions you can see Tai Chi practitioners doing.
In every generation of martial artists, folks come up with the bright idea, "Gee, I'd like to pull the judo techniques back into aikido randori," or "Gee, I'd like to pull the aikido techniques back into judo randori," but so far no one has come up with a good way to do good, vigorous free randori with both technique sets and still be safe. You basically have to sacrifice part of the technique set or practice in an unrealistic way (pulling punches, stopping and starting, etc...) in order to stay safe.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

8, 9, 10, and Goshin Jitsu

Today we had a fun aiki class. We were incredibly sore from Thursday (at least I know I was and I think Andy was in much the same shape). We warmed up and then worked on nijusan #8, 9, and 10 (hikitaoshi, udehineri, and wakigatame). This was mostly review for Andy and Patrick M., but we refined these techniques and toward the end they were looking much more precise. At the end of class we worked on the first set of Kodokan Goshin Jitsu. Goshin Jitsu is interesting because it is very much the gray area where aikido and judo become the same thing. Invented by Tomiki and his cronies at the Kodokan in the 1950's, much of it either bears a great resemblance to Tomiki's Koryu Daisan or it compliments Daisan well. I recorded some video and should have it uploaded soon.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Energetic ukemi embu

Whoa, Nellie! This makes my aging, fat joints ache just watching it!
Anyone want to know the secret to surviving energetic ukemi demonstrations like this (besides thousands of repetitions)? Check this post, and this one.

What they take away

I really like seeing my students’ blogs, like Andy’s Epic Ramble. It’s good to be able to see what they take away from each class. For instance, last night we talked about one of the initial offbalances in nijusan. I have been thinking about it lately as giving uke the feeling of hanging out over a hole on his toes without giving him extra support. If you can do this then uke is forced to slow way down, even if he was intent on attacking fast. Well, Andy phrased it in his blog as leaving uke “idling on his toes.” I love it. Great description.
We worked on oshitaoshi (ikkyo), kotehineri (sankyo), and kotegaeshi and followed up with some work on chain #4 (primarily kotegaeshi and kotehineri) as a lead-in to randori.

Bear fight

Here's my contribution to Dojo Rat's post on the guy that got in a knife fight with a bear...

Incidently, the guy that posted this video is Rhadi Ferguson. Great judoka. Both a pleasure and a terror to watch. This is the guy that was doing the superb single leg picks (maybe teguruma) in the previous video. Wanna see some good judo? do a video search for 'Rhadi.'

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Creativity in the heat of the moment

To me, the really impressive competitors are not the ones that can get their tokuiwaza (best/favorite throw) in a lot of situations, but the ones that invent the majestic perfect ippon throws on the spur of the moment with such unexpected, unusual motion that the opponent (and every observer in the arena) is totally surprised.
These competitors don’t appear to throw named judo techniques – rather they just adapt to the opponent, pick him up, and put him on his back. Sometimes the observers are able to say, “That was sorta like technique-x so that must be what he just threw.” But the competitor wasn’t thinking “technique-x” during the thing. He just threw the man down and later said, “Yeah, I must have meant to do that technique.” See the following video for some examples of this type of surprise throw in judo – particularly the guy with the single leg picks towards the end.

This sort of spectacular inventiveness in the heat of battle seems to occur more with amateur wrestlers than with judoka. Why would this be? It’s not like the domains of these two arts are really significantly different - you grapple standing and grounded with the goal of getting the guy on his back or throwing him onto his back.
One possibility is the system of groupings into which techniques are placed in judo. For instance, the judo guy has to learn a half-dozen specific hip throws, each of which looks significantly like some model presented by the instructor, and each of which is recognizably different from the others. The wrestler, on the other hand, might learn one or two principles (like back-under or hip-heist) that allow him to lift and project the man using the hips as a fulcrum. So, the wrestler does not have to try to identify the tactical situation and figure out which pigeonhole to put it in (which specific throw to use). The wrestler has to figure out how to adapt his body to the situation to express a few basic principles.
Most judo guys (I’m guessing here) would probably know significantly more named techniques than experience-matched amateur wrestlers, but the wrestlers seems to be able to more easily adapt more creatively to competition situations.
Hmmm. Makes you think…I’ve demonstrated in previous posts (click on 'Divine Nine below) that of the forty to sixty-something named throws in judo, virtually all competition throws come from about nine or ten of these throws. Might we do better teaching just a few basic forms of throwing than with a throwing syllabus of four-to-six times that many techniques?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Mississippi, land of warriors

If you can't read the text at the bottom of this awesome ad...

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Mississippi? Believe it!

Tai chi question

Ok, I need a little bit of education from my Chinese martial arts buddies - particularly from some folks with some taichi push hands experience. I have done no taichi, so I'm having some trouble figuring out what I'm seeing.

Renli recently posted a link to the following interesting video discussing some potential problems with American taichi competition rules.
What I'm really interested in is the 'uprooting' action demonstrated at about halfway through the above film. Is this flying backward with both feet a thing that the tori (thrower) is doing to uke (the backwards flyer) or is this a type of ukemi, a trained behavior that uke used to disperse tori's force? What stops uke from lifting one foot and taking a step instead of flying backward with both feet? Or, if there is so much force that a step won't disperse it, what stops uke from being thrown off of one foot?
I rarely, if ever see this sort of hopping/floating backward in judo/aikido applications, and even in the video above, some of the competitors do throws analogous to some judo throws and this flying backward motion does not happen.
I've had a taichi trained student in the past and he did this type of flying backward thing to get out of bad situations. It seemed to dissipate my force but it left him unable to follow up, so it was frustrating but unclear as to who had just attained the advantage.
What's going on here with this hoppy flying backwards action?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Class cancellation for today

No aikido class today, Tuesday August 21, 2007. We have a big scheduling conflict with getting kids to scouts and soccer and mom to a church meeting. We'll resume normal schedule Thursday.
Anyone want to hear a funny song about what the life of a family with small kids is like?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Diagnosis Wenkebach

Ok, this is off-topic, but I am a cardiac rehab geek, so it's really funny to me. This is a parody done by University of Alberta's Med school class of 2010 about a type of cardiac arrythmia known as Wenkebach. What do y'all think about the potential of this crowd of folks being your physicians in about 5 years? Personally, I'm stoked!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Aiki entries into judo groundwork

Dojo Rat posted a while back about approaching what he calls a fusion state, basically the point at which all the various martial arts that he has done become one cohesive integrated system - perhaps you could call it dojoratdo. He's also posted here and here about some very smooth judo-like grappling that some of his Chinese MA buddies was doing.
Well, here is a SUPERB demonstration of some extremely creative aiki-like entries into judo-like ground grappling. Thought you'd get a kick out of this, DR.

Jodo, on the other hand...

Jodo, on the other hand, is never done on the other hand. The most basic explanation for this is the old adage, "There is no left hand in Japan." The story goes that feudal Japan was such a homogenous society that left-handedness was repressed. Children were simply not allowed to grow up left-handed. So there were no left handed swordsmen.
Now that story might be apocryphal, but what is apparent is that jojutsu masters did not waste time trying to make the system symmetric. The kihon exhibit several different kinds of sidedness just like the judo throws described previously, but the seitei kata, like the one demonstrated below, are only ever done one-sided.
Occasionally for a mental stretch or as a cool-technique-of-the-day, I'll flip one of the kata to the other side and rep it a few times. But that is not really an attempt to bring my off-side up to speed but rather just a mental exercise. I've found that once you practice enough of the kihon on both sides then you can flip a kata on the fly pretty easily.

Kotehineri and tenkai kotehineri

This week in aiki class we emphasized nikyu requirements, especially kotehineri and tenkai kotehineri (both variants of sankyo). We've been working on getting kotehineri out of situations where your backing around uke (tenkan) and uke and tori spin apart. This gives us a chance to practice the sidestep at the end of the line that has been so magical lately. We've also been emphasizing getting offline in hanasu and not articulating the elbow or wrist of the unbendable arm - just taking hold of what we can and working with what we get. Thursday we worked on chain #2 and today we worked on chain #3. For the cool techniques of the day we worked on the tenkai kotehineri from sankata and on the seventh and fourteenth techniques of yonkata.

Friday, August 17, 2007

AWESOME newaza highlights reel

Great clips of newaza (groundwork) at international-level judo competitions. Cool music too, but you have to watch out because some of the music contains vile language.

Kinds of sidedness in judo

In judo, the motions in different throws interact with our sidedness in different ways. In other words, there are different kinds of sidedness in judo.
Universal Dominant Throws
There are a very few very versatile throws that are easily learnable with minimal training and are throwable with the dominant side whether the opponent is moving left or right, forward or backward. The only universal dominant-sided throw I have in my circle is osotogari. I can throw it right-sided whether the opponent moves forward, backward, left, or right. The opportunity for right-side osotogari literally happens on every step the opponent makes. That doesn’t mean that I can necessarily pull it off every time, but the opportunity is there.
Universal Variant Throws
There is a larger set of throws that can still be thrown on every step forward, backward, left, or right – but different variations are required in different situations. For instance, I can throw deashibarai on any step the opponent takes, but if I catch it early in the cycle it happens with one leg and if I catch it late it happens with the other leg. Two variants of deashi that are equally effective but together they make deashi possible everywhere. Hiza is similar for me. I throw a left and a right variation of hiza as well as an early and a late variation, which makes hiza pretty much a universal throw for me.
Ambidextrous Throws
There are other throws in which the motion is so simple that they are truly ambidextrous. For example, the drag-and-drop kosotogari that is so effective for me in randori is so simple in its action that my natural sidedness never comes into play. It is trivial for me to do left-sided, so I also have no problem right-sided.
Special Situation Throws
There is a fourth class of throws that I can only do in special situations or on a particular side. These special-purpose throws seem to fill in tiny holes in the system where it may be easier to throw in this particular way than using one of the universal dominant or universal variant throws described above. Virtually all hip throws are this way for me – particularly the one-legged hip throws like haraigoshi.
Overcoming Sidedness
Now, my premise in a previous post was that it is basically a waste of training time to obsess about overcoming sidedness. For instance, I listed haraigoshi as a special-purpose throw above. Obviously it is possible to learn to do it on both sides – you have to do both sides of it in Nagenokata. Junokata also gives good practice in left-sided hipthrows. But I still maintain that in training people to respond to general randori/shiai situations it is better to train the hipthrows predominantly on one side, whether it be arbitrarily chosen as right side or whether it be the player’s dominant side. In addition to taking immense amounts of training time to bring the off-side up to a satisfactory level of execution, it is just un-necessary because of the existence of the universal-dominant, universal-variant, and ambidextrous throws.
Of course, the usual disclaimer applies. This is how my judo seems to work for me right now. There are lots of people who could beat me up in shiai and could out-teach me too. So, your mileage may vary.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Okinawan aikido

I have pretty much always held the opinion that Okinawan styles of karate, like Isshinryu, make a better combination of skills to compliment aikido than do some other styles, like some of the Korean or Japanese styles that are one or two generations removed from Okinawa. This opinion was not based on a huge amount of scholarship, but rather my informal observation of the more conservative postures and stances and the manner of how the Okinawan stylists tend to handle moving their mass around. Well, now Dan Paden has sent me this video clip of an Okinawan martial art with even more striking (pun intended) similarities to aikido.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sidedness in aikido

I wrote a little bit yesterday about sidedness in judo. In that particular system, the left side is mostly un-needed because there is sufficient variety of throws that they cover the openings left by other throws.
The way aikido answers this question is a bit of the same and a bit different. That is, we practice some things two-sided and other things one-sided. Tegatana is structured so that you encounter all possible combinations of motions. For instance, in sidestepping, we learn to step left twice, step right twice, step right then left, and step left then right. That type of practice helps to cover a lot of our sidedness options. Hanasu is simple enough to do on both sides, though it can be somewhat of a stretch to the mind of a beginner. Junana/nijusan is somewhat transitional in that you can practice both sides or not. Traditionally it is done one-sided, but some clubs do the off-side too. Owaza and the Koryunokata are longer, more difficult, and complicated motion-wise, so they are done one-sided. It turns out that if you do the fundamentals (i.e. hanasu) enough, your mind develops the ability to flip a technique to the other side on the fly.
If you want an interesting challenge to the mind, try doing nijusan with a one-armed fellow as tori. There are situations that you cannot get into unless uke attacks with his off side. So, for instance, in the atemiwaza, Patrick M. has to demonstrate the first two with uke attacking right sided, the next two with uke attacking left-sided, and the fifth one right-sided again. In the floating throws section, Patrick cannot do the sumiotoshi with the free hand in uke's face, so he cannot get into the three or four variants of sumiotoshi that come as a result of uke responding to that hand in the face. Patrick ends up doing a technically interesting mix of junana and nijusan.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tegatana walking exercise

This is a video of our first exercise in aikido. The Japanese name is Tegatana, our common name is walking kata. This exercise is composed of most all the movements found in aikido techniques. These movements are abstracted out of their context and put together in this exercise so we can practice and improve motion efficiency without having to worry about an attacker jumping at us. This is the only solo exercise we do.

This isn't the greatest video,but it is sufficient for my beginning students to get the main idea and begin learning the movements.
If you like the execution of the exercise, that's me doing the kata. If you don't like it I don't know who that fat guy is.
Here is another rendition of this exercise, and here is some video of Tomiki doing some of the motions that were to become this kata.

Overcoming side dominance in judo

One unhealthy personality trait that martial arts seems to bring out in some people is obsessive compulsion – perfectionism. One of my instructors likes to say that if you aim for perfection you miss a lot that is merely good along the way. Very true.
One interesting place that obsession rears its ugly head is in the desire to overcome side preference. Virtually everyone is born with a dominant side, and no amount of practice will ever render your non-dominant side equal to your dominant side. Even if an external observer cannot tell the difference, you will always perceive the difference in yourself. That is just how our nervous systems are wired.
Some judo instructors and competitors insist on training non-dominant throws, either equally with dominant throws, or even exclusively. I’ve even seen instructors and competitors that insist on doing two non-dominant repetitions for every dominant-side repetition. Some say that this provides a competitive advantage because opponents are not accustomed to seeing left-sided throws. Some say this is to cover a perceived ‘hole’ in the system. But others say they simply want to overcome side dominance.
At Mokuren, we train judo almost exclusively on the right side, and we have not seen any adverse effects. On the contrary, it takes more than twice as long to ingrain a throw on both sides, so we produce instinctive martial artists more than twice as rapidly as those that insist on trying to overcome sidedness. Some folks will say that this produces holes in the system – potential relationships in which throws will not work right-sided. But as it works out, there are other throws in the system that cover those holes.
For instance, hip throws are relatively difficult to learn both sided. So, if you learn them all right-sided then someone might argue that you will miss opportunities to do left-sided throws. But we have found that those holes in the system disappear by about shodan level because the student has seen enough of the system that they will have other throws that will cover those missed left-sided hip throw opportunities.
There are some throws that are so trivial and so effective that they are virtually ambidextrous for everybody (like deashibarai and kosotogari) but for the most part, judo throws seem to be easier to learn and apply working only on your dominant side

Monday, August 13, 2007

Summer/Fall Schedule

Here's how the schedule for summer and Fall 2007 will go at Mokuren Dojo. Starting this week:

Aikido is Tuesday 6:30PM, Thursday 6:30PM, Saturday 9:00 AM

Judo, Jodo, and Karate are by appointment only

This gives us an extra day for aiki and this schedule meshes better with my life right now as well as Patrick M's and Kel's.

Hope to see y'all tomorrow at aiki...

It's really okay

You know what is a funny phenomenon, not just in my class - I've talked to other instructors who have mentioned this. You might have a student who seems interested and dedicated for a while and then they stop coming or their attendance drops off. Well, when you see them on the street or at the grocery store they invariably tell you they have been busy but they are coming back to class this very week.
They never say, "I've lost interest." Or, "I don't like your class." Or, "My life has gone a different direction and I just can't do martial arts." It's always, "Yeah, I'll see you this week."
I suppose they are trying to avoid hurting the instructor (who obviously has an emotional investment in the art) or they are trying to avoid an uncomfortable conflict where the instructor asks, "Why don't you like my class anymore?" or something like that.
But it's really okay to tell the instructor something besides, "See ya next class." It really is.
(and no, this is not directed at any of my current students ;-)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Nikyu rank reuirements class

Today we worked on Patrick M's nikyu reuirements. Tegatana, hanasu (particularly working on getting off the line on #2 & 4 and making the beginning of #1, 2, and 5 the same), and the wrist techniues in nijusan (kote hineri, kote gaeshi, tenkai kote hineri, tenkai kote gaeshi, and shihonage). Patrick has got the gist of the techniques - he just needs the seasoning that comes with time in grade.
We worked chain #1 and used it as an opportunity to talk about randori. We played some randori in different modes, including regular hand randori, contact improv, and some taichi push hands.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Hot fundamentals class

Today it was so obscenely hot today that aikido started out miserable. We turned the AC on about 15 minutes before class and when we went back in the dojo was MUCH cooler than outside - but it was still too hot to wear oven mitts. We practiced in shorts and teeshirts and if that makes us the bad boys of the aiki world, so be it.
We worked tegatana, focussing on the 'helicopter' pivot and the last move - the large side circle. From there we moved into hanasu #1 and #2, emphasizing moving before uke gets into a strong, settled position. We also looked deeply at why the first step is a cross step - essentially stepping over the hill. We worked on some hanasu drills that allowed uke to have perfect timing to attack tori at the absolute worst part of the stepping cycle, and the releases worked great. We also worked these releases with fingertip-pressure friction attacks instead of hard grabs and this led us to a short session of contact improv to make the point.
The end of class was taken up with shomenate - another worst case scenario. Having evaded inside and parried with the power hand, tori is forced to learn to live in this dangerous place by efficiently trading hands and pushing the face backwards into a spine lock. Good work on fundamentals

Hey, Kristof, What's this guy saying?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Why not Christian martial arts?

I'm guest posting at TDA training again today, check it out. I posted this post here at Mokuren Dojo to take any comment fallout from that post at Nathan's.
Nice comments go there, rants and vents go here. really vile comments will go in the trash. Play nice...

Monday, August 06, 2007

Pizza and aikido

Pizza and aikido - Eat your heart out, Usher-san!!!

Guest posting at TDA Training

Hi, all,

I'll be guest posting over at Nathan's TDA Training blog for a couple of days. Check it out. I had to promise to try not to tear things up too badly. We'll see. I'll probably just post interesting video clips here at Mokuren Dojo, and perhaps training logs during this time. See y'all back here in a couple of days.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Beach wrestling

Bretons (French) wrestling

The wrong yardstick

Bravo! This is a fine video essay on the effectiveness of aikido. It mirrors some of the material I have written on effectiveness here and here. I don't especially like this person's definition of aikido as 'the thing that Ueshiba invented,' (my paraphrase) because that makes it a static thing. A dead thing. Tomiki and many, many others have made advances on Ueshiba's ideas. As I wrote in a recent article, I consider Ueshiba's ideas of aikido to be the first, but not the last. But upon the idea of the effectiveness of aikido as a martial art, I think this is a very fine video response.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Shotokan and aikido

Tonight I got to practice for the first time with my new next-door neighbor, a long-time shotokan guy. We painted heian shodan and nidan with broad strokes and looked briefly at some interesting application for tekki shodan. My stances are too high for a Shotokan guy's tastes, partly because of disuse and partly because of old broken ankle and fat accumulation. I'll work on that.
In trade, I showed him tegatana no kata, hanasu no kata, and shomenate from aikido. He did very well. I'm really going to enjoy having a precise kata guy to work with again

Stick with Whit

Last night I practiced jodo with Whit. I practiced honteuchi and gyakuteuchi and hikiotoshi solo forms and then got Whit to hold a sword so I could practice kuritsuke and makiotoshi. I had to coach Whit a good bit not to flinch away from the jo, but that is understandable. A jo is a scary thing to have flinging around your head. We emphasized stretching your arms out and keeping the sword between us. At the end I took the sword and Whit spontaneously translated the jodo kuritsuke into a quarterstave technique and did a really good job of it. At the end we worked aikido releases #1-4.

I’m so proud of Whit’s progress. Last night he asked me, “How long ago did I learn this stuff?” It’s only been a few months but he’s doing it as if he was born to it.

New martial arts club in Orlando Florida

Hi, all, This is just a short plug for my student's blog. He is in the process of starting up a university club in Orlando and I'd sure appreciate it if y'all would all drop by his site and leave a comment with any wisdom that you might have on making a new club work. Thanks.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Child's mouth taped shut at martial arts camp

WLBT News in Jackson Mississippi had this story on the TV just now.

Child's Mouth Taped Shut At Day Camp
By Julie Straw

A six year old had her mouth taped shut at a summer day camp in Rankin County. Her mother is outraged and pulled her children from the camp. She wants to warn parents to be aware of what is going on at day care.

Jennifer McLemore, mother of 12 year old Alex and 6 year old Amber, enrolled her children in Kimery Martial Arts summer day camp. She thought it would be a fun place for them to go while school was out.

...When they confronted coach Kevin Kimery of Kimery Martial Arts about what happened, she wasn't pleased by his response. "He said yes he'd seen the tape on her mouth and that he got onto the guy, but he didn't do anything about it. He just got onto him and made him take the tape off of her," said McLemore.

Kimery gave this statement to WLBT. "An incident did occur. Reprimands have been put into place. One employee was involved and has since been terminated. It is not our policy to punish children in the alleged manner."

You can read the whole story here. The phone book online has this blurb about Kimery Martial Arts

Over 25 yrs exp in Tae Kwondo Hapkido Self-Defense & other Martial Arts Offering pick up for ages 5-12 in after school classes

Nathan blogged recently about the necessity of keeping a tight leash on your assistant instructors in a martial arts program. I don't know anything about this Kimmery guy but it sounds like a classic case of what Nathan was talking about.

Ssireum and Glima

While we're on the subject of ethnic wrestling styles that evolved to similar states under different conditions, check out the similarities between Korean Ssireum wrestling and Icelandic Glima. Both are belt wrestling styles in which each contestant is required to give the opponent a waist and leg grip using a strap or harness. Korea and Iceland. Hmmm.


I wonder who were the first guys to say, "Hey, I'm bored. Let's tie ourselves together by the thigh and waist and wrestle!"

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