A while back I wrote that we had practiced “ninja invisibility” during that particular class. That’s not the sort of invisibility like in Hollow Man, where light passes through you. Rather it is a phenomenon that happens when you are moving in a proper, aiki fashion with uke. What happens is uke tends to lose track of you and to be unable to reorient easily. There are roughly three skills going on in this phenomenon.
- Evade toward uke, passing through the narrowest part of his field of vision. Evading away from uke keeps you in the widest part of his field of vision. By moving into uke as you evade it is easier to get into shikaku (uke’s ‘dead angle’ or blind spot).
- Don’t grab and hang onto uke. If you do he can easily orient to you. Use your arms as feelers (Mississippi-speak for antennae) instead of end-effectors. Deprive uke of stimulus if you don’t want a response.
- Synchronize your motions as closely as possible to uke’s motions. Motion in every direction – up, down, left, right, forward, backward, otoshi, guruma, etc... Peripheral vision only works on moving things, so if there is zero relative motion between your center and his it is much harder for uke to orient to you.
These skills have the cumulative effect of more than occasionally making tori seem to just disappear from in front of uke. It is not uncommon for uke to stop his attack and look around, bewildered. It is a truly odd, truly disorienting feeling – and really useful to tori.