- warmup, ukemi, hopping interspersed with ukemi using the exercise ball as a form.
- attacking the turtle with a cross-face turnover and with the roll into rear seated guard from the beginning of the meatgrinder.
- push back to base repeated over and over is a cool ground mobility skill. Sort of like backwards low-crawl.
- crawling man randori.with emphasis on keeping rolling, shucking the opponent off, and pushing back to base.
- We've got two new Black Belts at Mokuren Dojo!!
- NOLA Aikido seminar - Antony Pinchbeck - May 31-June2
- Gokata and Awesome Jo at OKC - July 18-21
- Howard Popkin Daitoryu at OKC - Oct 25-27
Now I'll tell y'all a little secret of my policy in the studio, and I find it is true. I believe it is true most times. Whenever you once decide that you are going to record a number, put everything you've got into it because... Don't say, "Oh, we'll take it over and do it again... Because every time you go through it you lose just a little something... So let's do it right the first time and to hell with the rest of it.
- ROM and groundwork cycle as warmup. The groundwork cycle was a lot more freeform and ranged across the mat almost like no-resistance ground randori. Cool.
- Three flavors of ukigoshi. Good nagekomi. Lots of airtime and mat pounding followed by light standing randori emphasizing ukigoshi.
- Newaza randori. I think I was the bear tonight. My ground mobility was particularly good tonight and Rob just had a hard time. Take away lesson: you have to keep your butt in motion., or if you're going to rest, get an assymetric grip on the opponent, get him offbalance and make him bear your weight. Then you can rest.
- Suwariwaza and Hammi handachi from Sankata.
- basic cuts (1-12 and the abbreviated 1-2-3-4-5-12), a Modular pattern, and some stick Crossada. I can see how I could become comfortable with the system but it sure sucks for me right now. Ah, the joys of being a newbie!
- First you have to have an Objective. Some goal you want to accomplish. I recommend you use SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound).
- List a few of your Strengths. Things your blog has going for it that will help it toward your objective. Be honest. Sometimes it is harder to write down good things about yourself than to admit to weaknesses. I recommend listing roughly 3-5 strengths.
- List a few Weaknesses of your blog. Challenges that are internal to the way you are blogging that might hinder the attainment of your objective.
- List a few Opportunities that exist within the environment (not within your blog itself). Chances you might have or conditions that might exist for you to approach your objective.
- List a few Threats in the environment that might hinder your progress toward you objective.
- Brainstorm a few SO Strategies – think of several ways that you can use your blog’s Strengths to take advantage of an Opportunity in the environment.
- Brainstorm a few ST Strategies – think of several ways that you can use your blog’s Strengths to reduce the risk or potential impact of a Threat.
- Brainstorm a few WO Strategies – think of several ways that you can reduce or overcome your blog’s Weaknesses in order to take advantage of an Opportunity in the environment.
- Brainstorm a few WT Strategies – think of several ways that you can reduce or overcome your blog’s Weaknesses in order to reduce the risk or potential impact of a Threat.
- Now, you have a list of several strategies! Things you can do to move toward your objective. Directions you can go with your blog! You might pick the strategy that seems easiest or choose the one that seems most likely to succeed or pick the one that you think will have the biggest impact, but pick one and GO DO IT!
Aiki with Patrick M., Kel, and JP:
- Ukemi emphasizing matching the line across the back with the line of the fall and practicing slowly enough that you can catch errors.
- Walking emphasizing the third pushing motion, the first turning motion, and the last turning motion. Especially the idea of matching the rise and fall of the center with the rise and fall of the arm and using the arm to clear a path for the center to sweep into.
Hanasu #1-4 emphasizing watching for uke switching from ayumiashi to tsugiashi just before the attack and using the first offbalance to force uke to shift back to ayumiashi.
- Chain #7 working our way through kaitennage, hikitaoshi, oshitaoshi, and tenkai kotehineri with special emphasis on the idea of switching from push to pull and from front to rear of uke and synchronizing hands with feet.
- Cool ninja technique of the night was a variant of kohonage similar to the fifth standing technique in the following film. This was definately cool - but it blew everyone's minds so we went back to the zero-distance tenkai kotehineri from sankata. It conveyed the same idea and made more sense to everyone.
- Catch uke stepping forward. Step to the side just as his front foot plants, pulling him into offbalance. Turn your hips backward into uke with a backstep, loading him and throwing.
- Catch uke stepping forward. Step to the side just as his front foot plants, pulling him into offbalance. Pull uke’s lapel side 90 degrees to get him to step with the other leg. Load him onto your hips and throw as he turns the corner.
Aikido is not about 'winning' or finishing your opponent off, but rather about being able to disengage from a chaotic and violent situation as quickly and safely as possible.
- Specific – what exactly would be an acceptable outcome to you? What do you not really care about? Your flexibility or slack in the way you do the techniques exists among the things that you don’t really care about. You can’t sacrifice tactically if that means you don’t accomplish the essential outcomes but you can sacrifice tactically in the areas in which you don’t really care about the outcome.
- Measurable – how can you tell if you have achieved your goal? Is your measure objective or subjective?
- Attainable – Your essential goals must be things that are within your power to control. Something that is possible to practice safely.
- Realistic – Your essential goals must be things that are within the realm of normal physics and biomechanics. It is smarter to base your essential goals on the natural rather than super-natural (regardless of what you believe about the super-natural). Your goal should promote tactics that reliably generalize to most of the population of potential attackers. Your goal should be based on probabilities instead of possibilities.
- Time-Bound – You have to be able to execute tactics to move you toward your goals within real time. This means that your goals should promote tactics that make use of natural motion and gross motor skills within the opponent’s OODA loop.
- Think about pulling yourself forward with the front leg just as it hits the ground. This turns on all the muscles in the back of the leg.
- Think about tightening your thighs together to snap your recovery leg back under you. This turns on the thigh adductor (groin) muscles in the front leg.
- Concentrate on this phenomenon especially during the first three or so moves in the walking kata. When you get good at that, spread it out into the pushing moves in the walking kata and from there, apply it to the turns.
- Concentrate on this phenomenon when doing the nagenokata version of okuriashibarai. The side-to-side motion with a partner should be a great place to play with this. Have your partner bump you as the lead foot hits and see how different stepping strategies help or hurt.
- Do the foot-sweep-to-control drill with a partner walking together up and down the mat bumping and sweeping deashibarai every third step. Here uke gets to play with stepping strategies just like in the side-to-side motion, but tori also gets to concentrate on putting a little drag on the front foot right as it hits on the third step. This should make the ball of the foot drag back toward tori ever so slightly right as the foot hits.
- Aleksander Karelin
- Bill Pogue
- Billy Hong
- Bryce Lumpkin
- Chip Wright
- Chuck Norris
- Dan Anderson
- Dave Camarillo
- Desmond Jackson
- Don Angier
- John Usher
- Ed Johnson
- Ed Saenz
- Henry Copeland
- Jhoon Rhee
- Jim Thompson
- John Waldrop
- Bruce Gunderson
- Todd Keane
- Kuda Shinshi
- Larry Lunn
- Leon Jay
- Masayuki Shimabukuro
- Mike Belote
- Mike DePasquale, Jr.
- Mike Martello
- Mike Miles
- Patrick Parker
- Raffy Pambuan
- Randy Couture
- Takahiko Ishikawa
- Tri Thong Dang
- Vincent Fernando
- William Hayes
- Zenpo Shimabukuro
Jackson MS - ranked 356 (and that's much worse than last year)
Baton Rouge, LA - ranked 351 (only marginally safer than Jackson)
Houston, TX - ranked 335
Dallas, TX - ranked 345
Orlando FL - ranked 368
Oklahoma City - ranked 304
Lafayette, LA - ranked 289
New Orleans - ranked 314 (much safer than Jackson)
Birmingham, AL - ranked 373 (but we already knew that)
- Tegatana several times with emphasis on getting little details right.
- Hanasu 2-3 times as preview/warmup for chains.
- Chain #3 including wakigatame and kotegaeshi. This is what we spent the bulk of our time on and it is the thing we were wowed over. Release #3 has this amazing, light, continuous remarkable lack of feeling when done right - particularly when done inchain form instaed of hanasu kata form. This release #3 really seems to be the prototype for the correct releasing feeling.
- Part of chains #5 and #7 into various forms of kotemawashi, kaitennage, udegatame, or wakigatame.
- 1st place - Mason Alford (10 wins)
- 2nd place - Knox Parker (6 wins)
- 3rd place - Gavin Jarrell (3 wins)
- Japanese pass into side or rear bearhug
- osotogari into kesagatame
- crossface turnover into munegatame
- ROM and ukemi as usual.
- Laps across the mat galloping, alternating one kid out per lap to take an assisted teguruma fall. Of all the types of movement skills I've worked on with these kids, galloping has been the toughest, so I had them gallop with a flag held in a hand and gave them the condition that they had to keep the flag out in front of them the whole time. Worked like a charm to get them galloping.
- Crab war. I told them that the mat was boiling lava and poisonous acid and they had to keep their bottoms up out of it while trying to knock the other guys into the boiling poisonous acid lava. Again, they loved it.
- Repetitions of suwari kubinage into kesagatame. I was pretty loose on the form of the thing - just wanted to get them knocking each other down with something approximating the technique. Then we had races to see whih judoka could throw his partner seven times in the least time.
- Amazon wrestling (the river, not the naked, one-breasted, warrior women) This was our approximation of the ethnic wrestling style featured recently on Discovery Channel's Last One Standing. They did well and seemed to have fun. They've practiced tactics to get around to the back and secure a bearhug but they pretty much all favored the knee control route to winning.
- Cool-down with seated meditation. Really just a quiet concentration game at this age. Quiet sitting with eyes closed trying to remember all the sounds they hear.
- Tomorrow is the kohaku shiai for this month.
I having trained in BJJ and worked with high-ranking Judo students, I think that though they have the same roots, there are important distinctions between the two arts. Brazilian Jiu-jitsu has evolved to create a more highly developed ground game. On the other hand, Judo, the rules of which keep competitors on their feet much more than that of BJJ, focuses much more on throwing and takedown strategies. Both are fairly similar arts though, and their competition rules reflect that focal points of the individual arts.
Ukemi emphasizing using ab muscles to control momentum into the ground so that you can stop more gently or roll to standing more smoothly.
Walking exercise emphasizing pulling with the lead foot to snap your recovery step back under your hips. Also emphasized brushing the inside of the sphere on the turns.
All 8 releases in kata mode.
My brain skipped a track on the releases and we ended up doing part of release#4 when I said, "Ok, here's release#2." It worked out and we got the lesson I'd intended anyway. We emphasized stay-off-me hands and moving with uke in the left-right and gaeshi-hineri loops related to release #4.
Junana version of kote hineri emphasizing stepping aside at the end of the line and moving the body to make the hands conform in the right shape without ever losing your stay-off-me hands.
Does this mean that I, as a judo guy, know everything that a BJJ guy has to offer? No. I'm sure that a lot of BJJ guys can beat me up or teach a circle around me. That doesn't change the fact that the two systems are derived from the same old arts and are currently more alike than different. That doesn't reduce the value of anybody's teachings.
But for the judo folks that like to dismiss BJJ, check out this video. I'd say that to be able to write off BJJ as irrelevant to your training then you should be able to honestly say you can understand, do, and counteract much of what this non-black-belt BJJ guy is demonstrating. I certainly see some lessons in there for myself and my students.
- ...you have to have special equipment and a lot of space to practice.
- ...you have to teach things in a certain order (generally from easier-to-harder) which means that you have to teach the relatively less street effective stuff first and it can take years to learn a sufficient amount of aikido to be effective in the street.
- ...you either limit your mat years or you have to change how you are doing aiki mid-career. At some age aikidoka need to slow down on the falling and eventually stop altogether for self-protection.
- ...you intimidate the novice and run students off.
- ...you increase the safety issues and incur greater liability. I've heard of judo clubs being told to get rid of climbing ropes because of liability. Well, for Pete's sake, think! Which is more dangerous, climbing up a rope once or twice per class or taking dozens of airfalls per class?
But on the other hand, these big throws are, in large part, the artistic trademark of aikido. Many of the people that you ask will say they got into aikido in the first place because they saw a little old man with a beard pitching young, athletic judo-type guys effortlessly. That the big falls looked like magic. Well, in my opinion, that illusion of effortless magic is actually detrimental to the popularity of aikido in today’s environment of ultra-pragmatic self-defense systems (i.e. kravmaga, CQB, etc…) and full-contact sport systems (BJJ, GJJ, UFC, NHB, etc…). I say get rid of the magic, get rid of the illusion, and concentrate on the real aiki. The aiki that the old guys did – and not necessarily the large-motion aiki that is exhibited so beautifully in demonstrations.
What does that mean we need to do?
Rethink your goals. aikido can be amazingly effective without uke being required to take an airfall. In fact, to do good aikido, tori absolutely must get rid of the idea that his goal is to make uke fall in a certain way. This is a nearly impossible goal to accomplish unless you have a compliant uke. Change your goals to things you have more control over (staying safe, keeping uke extended and offbalance, staying in motion, etc…) and which are less dependent on uke's compliance or skill. Get away from choreography like "tori does X and then uke does Y and so tori throws Z" and work on learning skills that allows tori to say, "I don't care how uke reacts to this. I'll be okay."
Look for the large subsets of aiki that you can do with uke responding by kneeling down or sitting back into a gentle backfall. Emphasize these subsets and all of a sudden you have an extremely viable, practical self-defense system that virtually anyone can learn rapidly (months - not years), comfortably, and in greater safety without the need for large open spaces and matted floors.
- street racing
- driving under the influence of alcohol
- under the age of 21
- illegal window tint (not a biggie in my book but still not wise)
...I've had the pleasure of being around and training with many martial arts champions (and a few pro football athletes) over the years and the one thing that I'd never heard any of them do was expect mercy from their opponents. Those champions understood that it was a contest to see which person (or team) was superior on that particular day. And they understood that it was their goal to dominate their opponents, hoping to leave a permanent scar on their mental psyche that would make their opponents to never want to tangle with them again. And if the outcome didn't turn out the way those proud champions expected it to, they took their butt-kicking with pride and expected NO MERCY from their opposition! They didn't get mad at the end of the contest for getting publicly embarrassed; they took it upon themselves to stop the embarrassment or to store the anger from the embarrassment for payback in the future! They didn't try to gain support from the media or rationalize the beating they received from the opponent with their fan base. They took their beating, focused on what they could've done differently with their preparation, fix the mistakes, and hope for a second chance for redemption in the near future.
Just for kicks, I looked up several martial arts related topics on Google Trends. here are some of the results that were especially interesting to me. The blue line is aikido, the red line is judo. It appears that judo maintains a moderate and level trend over time with a single spike in popularity - I guess each four years coincident with the Olympics. Aikido is trending steadily downward in popularity but what is really odd is a surge in interest in aikido during the third quarter of each year (magnified below). What's going on there, I wonder. Anyway,
the orange and green lines in the graph above are UFC and MMA, respectively. UFC appears to have a huge spike in interest around each event as well as a strong upward trend. The green MMA line starts low and surpasses all the others except UFC.
Here is a good example of one phenomenon that I talked about at the seminar this past weekend. In these film clips the point of view changes rapidly from one angle to another to create the illusion of hyper-speed motion. Notice that even when Bourne is just standing still holding a gun, the camera jiggles a little bit, creating an illusion of motion and urgency.
Well, the same thing happens in aikido. If tori allows his eyes to flit from one place to another, it changes his point of view. Not only does this spoil tori's sense of distance and angle, but it makes the conflict appear to take place at hyper-speed. We worked some randori with one partner assigned to lock his gaze on the center of mass of the other one's head while the other partner was instructed to constantly shift his gaze from his partner to the nearest corner of the room. Everyone agreed that this shifting of gaze angle and focus was not only disorienting, but it was physically exhausting because it seemed like the randori was going so much faster.
- Ping, roll the ball, and brushoff as a way out of an awkward position
- Contact improv as a way to introduce randori
- Sidestep at the end of the line
- "Stay off me" hands - also known as ki hands
- Metsuke laser vision
- Aikido as a pure force avoidance art
- Variations in walking tempo
- Ways to slow uke down to a manageable pace
- The judo groundwork cycle
Very nice form, but I have a question:
I use a vertical fist of the hook-- you are using a horizontal fist, as do other boxers I have seen.
Any thoughts? I am much more comfortable with a near-vertical fist in the hook, at least.
Which I answered:
Thanks DR. I will post on the hook punch for everyone, with video explanation. For MCMAP, I am trying to do everything strictly from the curriculum, and I think that's what they use (I'll double-check for you). I do find that the vertical fist is generally better because it keeps your elbow down, thereby using more of the lats, which supply most of the power with the hip torque. Using a horizontal fist is necessary versus a taller opponent, though, as some experimentation will probably show. I am in the vertical hook camp, though.
Good eye, there, DR. Methinks you are much sharper when you're off the bloody mary IV! :-)
I saw that Pat had left the dojo, noticed that he left the door ajar, and slipped in!
Nathan here, from TDA Training. Pat's been so kind as to invite me to do whatever it is I do here at Mokuren Dojo, and I was honored to accept. It was short notice, and I've been giving thought to what to post ever since I got the invite late Thursday night, and come up with a few ideas. I'd thought about trying to post in Pat's area of expertise, but realized that you'd see through me right away, as I don't have the depth of knowledge that Pat makes apparent in every post.
I could just post a video of me singing, a la BBM, but I don't want to destroy the house that Pat's build over a year in just one weekend, and hurt many, many people in the process. TDA Training isn't about hurting people unnecessarily, either. So what shall I post? Check back later today to find out!
Other blogs (not as good as mine, but they try awfully hard!) :-)
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