Thursday, October 25, 2007

Aiki in the interstices

Very fine night of martial arts here at Mokuren Dojo. We started with an hour of kid's judo, in which we played with all the regular running, jumping, etc... but then settled into working on the pancake into munegatame. Our randori tonight included clothespin gripfighting and belt tug-of-war. Everyone had fun. The adult aiki folks came in and helped me with the kid's class a lot - especially Jill. Thanks, Jill!
In aikido tonight we did warmups, ukemi, tegatana focussing on the backward turn toward the end, and releases #1-4 without beating any of the releases to death. Then we worked on chain #1 emphasizing getting behind uke, moving with him and sort of "testing each throw out" to see if tori had the right time and place for a throw before transitioning to the next position.
At the end I pointed out one of the coolest phenomena - at the beginning everyone was struggling and gripping and grabbing and groaning over release #1. But when we moved into chain #1 and I gave them 3-4 "real techniques" to worry over they relaxed and practiced the release just fine. At the end we retured to release #1 and everyone was amazed at how magically easy it was after fumbling through the chain for 30 minutes. Part of this is simply because every repetition of chain #1 starts with release #1 so you get a lot of practice doing it - but there's more. The "techniques" within the chains serve as distractors to worry over so tori's subconscious mind gets to relax and just do the release. All of a sudden at the end you realize that the technique is just gravy and the movement between the techniques is real aiki.
Let me repeat that for emphasis:
The techniques are not what make aikido special. All the techniques we worked on tonight are common to jujitsu, aikijitsu, karate, judo, hapkido, and probably most other martial arts. What makes aikido special is the type, or quality, of movement between the techniques.
Aiki is in the interstices- not in the techniques.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post-- once again, as soon as thought i knew something, some uppety black belt goes and blows my mind and makes me think of everything differently. (insert chuckle here) I'll be mulling over that one for a while, Patriclus.

    I've got a cool story by the way, in the same theme of mytchiko kicking ass though blind.

    My mother was born without one hip, and broke the other at the age of three, resulting in around thirty surgeries to date including several hip replacements, and surgery on her back. Needless, to say, she does not move too well on her feet.

    Anyway, to the point. At work last week, she was physically attacked by a woman. The woman ran into her full speed and tried to knock my mother on her ass. My mother instinctively grabbed onto two points on the woman torso, used the womans forward momentum to spin her around, and pinned the woman on the floor, almost giving her attacker a concusion from the fall.

    I would like to take some credit for her reaction-- ive showed her the dramatic effects that simple lateral motion can have on an attacker who is attached to you-- but i dont think i deserve it. I just think its cool that my mother, who can barely walk, completely nuetralized such a potentially dangerous situation with some rather bitchin aiki/judo. Anyway, i just thought I'd share that.

    Later, Patriclus.

    Chopopotomus Rex III


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